5 Things We Never Travel Without
Day by day we share our impressions and insights from adventures around the world with you. So why not offer a glimpse into our bags and tell what we take along to all those places? While we gathered online to discuss our pack lists, we discovered all-team favorites and uncovered secret habits. Obviously all of us never travel without their camera, so that one goes without saying. The rest of our top 5 lists compile everything from funny, to useful and pretty. Enjoy!
1. Zip-loc sandwich bags: We’ve used these bad boys to spontaneously protect our valuables, passport and phone/electronics when we’ve been at the beach, caught in a rainstorm or when I was soaking in the Blue Lagoon in Iceland – genius.
2. Tiger balm: It soothes mozzie bites, headaches, bruises and aching muscles. I also now take it everywhere because it just smells of travelling.
3. My Kindle: I don’t know how people travelled with books. Ebook readers are getting lighter and lighter. Having one while travelling should be a no-brainer.
4. Hard case luggage: I am convinced a good suitcase should be a traveller’s number one investment and if you prefer hard shell suitcases like me, you’ll know the benefits – lightweight, sturdy and also often more spacious than soft suitcases, I always feel my belongings are better protected in a hard case suitcase.
5. A fold-away shopping bag: I used to love huge expensive leather handbags. Now I’m travelling, I know how impractical they are. Fold away bags like Longchamp shoppers mean I can have a lightweight ladylike bag that is practical and doesn’t eat into my luggage allowance.
1. A trusty pair of denim shorts: My Levi’s are classic, comfy and tough enough to withstand the wear and tear and salt and sand and vigorous hand washing that life on the road has thrown at them. Plus, they go with everything.
2. A hide-all-traces-of-the-night-before pair of sunglasses: These might save your life.
3. My little, pink ipod: Long scenic journeys; long boring journeys; flight turbulence; rough seas; long waits; sleepless nights; days at the beach… a good soundtrack keeps me going.
4. A colourful sarong: This little gem can be a towel, a blanket, a cover-up and is light enough to take everywhere.
5. Eye-catching luggage tags: I spot my bag on the belt and minimise my chance of the ultimate travelette nightmare of all my things going awol for good with my Hello Kitty luggage tags.
1. An alpaca scarf: My little sister got me this one from Bolivia. It’s soft, crazy warm and super light, and it’s the best improvised blanket to snuggle into on plane and train rides. I believe it’s for good luck too: Even though I forgot it in numerous places (including a San Francisco bus) and I always magically got hold of it again.
2. Books: Unlike Frankie, I still can’t give up the old school approach! I usually carry around a good kilo worth of books (unless I’m going on a several-month trip). They’re free, their pages smell like adventure, and they double as wedges for wobbly restaurant tables.
3. UV-protecting conditioner: After my hair turned into hay during summer Down Under, I started systematically carrying leave-in conditioner spray with UV protection, like this two-phase one. It’s also a detangler, so it’s a must for any outdoor festival.
4. Papaw: I still can’t pronounce its name properly, but the mighty little red tube from Australia cures everything from small cuts to insect bites. It’s also the best lip balm for travel, because unlike sticks it doesn’t melt when you take it to the beach.
5. An extra pair of undies hidden somewhere in my bag: This way when I realise I’ve used all my underwear and it’s time to organize emergency laundry day… it’s not really!
1. Eyepads, earplugs and travel pillow
2. A notebook: This is really important to me, because I don’t always fully trust the digital world, when it comes to flying or moving from place to another. I also try to purchase a beautiful notebook from every country that I visit, so they also brings me warm memories from my travels.
3. Extra money: 50 euros on my socks, just in case.
4. A plan to always know my way from airport to the city.
5. Vans shoes: They literally go with everything – with dresses, while skateboarding, for sightseeing, a night out in town, when visiting parents and family. They are comfortable and simple but still neat enough if kept in good shape.
1. Red bag: This is going wherever I go, simply because it’s my favorite one! Besides that, it’s big enough to hold my camera when I don’t feel like carrying the full equipment around.
2. Sunscreen: This is a must, especially when travelling during the summer or to sunny destinations. It will protect from an instant sunburn upon arrival and saves the time of sifting through local drug stores in seach of an appropriate product.
3. Perfume: Even though I love to travel, I also love things that remind me of home while I’m away from there. Plus, a lovely scent helps to bridge the time between plane/train/bus and shower, and is great to freshen up during the day or for an unexpected dinner date.
4. Handbag flats: While these simple polyester flats were originally created to offer relief from oppressing pieces of footwear after a club night, the heavy duty pieces work just as well as rain flats and substitute slippers when needed for questionable hotel carpets.
5. Address book: I try to send a postcard from every place I go and enjoy sitting down with a tea or coffee to pen some lines to friends and family back home. Smart phones are great, but to me they don’t quite fit into this ritual of old fashioned letter writing.
1. Smartphone. It’s telephone, computer, MP3-player, GPS, photo and video camera all rolled into one – the ultimate travel gadget.
2. Guidebook – I love nothing more than getting excited about a trip to a yet unknown destination by looking through a Lonely Planet guide and to dream of all the awesome stuff I’ll be doing once I arrive. This way my holiday starts always on the plane ride there.
3. A pair of heels – duh, you might say, the website’s name has to come from somewhere, right? But seriously, bringing a bunch of dresses and at least one pair of heels is my way of staying true to myself, regardless of whether I go skiing in Norway or backpacking through Thailand.
4. Lipstick – big must have. If you know what it means to get your way by smiling, try smiling wearing red lipstick.
5. A handbag. I should add that my bag is a pricy designer bag but it’s just so roomy and stylish that I wouldn’t dream of bringing a backpack or some cotton bag with me instead. I’ll admit that one can get some curious looks when riding camels in the Dubai desert or going icefishing in Norway as the only person wearing a yellow MCM bag worth $1400, but hey – travelettes representin’!
1. Waterproof bags: Whether it is a rain cover for my backpack, a drybag to protect my beloved camera during any water activity, plastic bags to pack wet bathing suits or ziplog bags for my valuables.
2. A scarf: This goes for any destination, no matter the weather conditions. A scarf protects from cold airconditioning on airplanes, serves as a towel, beach-dress, emergency bag and shields your head from aggressive sunrays.
3. A notebook: This is for my research results and all the information I gather ahead of a trip – addresses, route plans, secret spots extracted from blogs and locals; with plenty of space for diary entries, drawings and tips for the next visit.
4. A map: I love reading maps. I’m a orientation geek and nerdy when it comes to navigating in a new country – I know where I am and how to find the things I’m looking for.
5. Cute pyjama pants: Whether I find myself hanging out with my couchsurfing host or just hiding at the hostel during a blizzard – I want to feel comfortable, but also adorable.
1. Hand sanitizer and eye drops: For me, these two go literally hand in hand. I easily get things in my eye but trying to get them out with dirty hands makes the problem ten times worse.
2. Lavender oil: This is the ultimate aromatherapy oil – it soothes headaches, helps you fall asleep, supposedly wards off mozzies (not for me though) but it definitely soothes my mozzie bites! It’s just a bonus that it smells great too!
3. A small travel sized spray deodrant: I always carry this in my bag for when on planes, trains, or buses. You never know when you’re next going to be stuck on a 13 hour journey with not a shower in sight!
4. A head scarf: A scarf can either totally be a fashion thing, but it has so many practical benefits! It can cover your eyes during an impromptu nap, keep your hair off your face when you’re seriously sweating, cover your nose incase of severe dust or bad smell, …
5. A couple of key ring hoops: Great reinforcements to detachable bag straps, whether you’re worried of bag snatching or if your straps look quite threadbare and loose.
1. Thin cashmere blanket: I have do admit I am a little snob and don’t really like plane blankets. And also I am always cold so sometimes I need both. And regardless of the climate I travel to there is always a bus with too much aircon and even in Morocco’s desert in August it came in handy.
2. Rosewater face spritz: I just love the stuff and unlike face spritz without any smell, it really refreshes even when it is not cold. Good for quick hydration anywhere.
3. A head lamp.
4. Kindle: I read too fast and too much to take books. I took four along for a two week island holiday once and ran out halfway and was very upset that I had to read them again.
5. Chapel backpack: The practical hipster of all backpacks. And after 2 trips, roughing it up, I can also say that they are very sturdy.
Now that you know what’s within the traveletty luggage – what are the favorite items you always travel with?
Photo #1 courtesy of Brad Go, other photos by Marie, Cordula, Kathi and Annika.
Cordula Schaefer is a photography enthusiast who loves to venture out to explore new places and hardly ever leaves the house without a camera. A New Yorker at heart, she is especially fond of city trips and has a soft spot for beautiful beachscapes. She currently bases herself in Berlin and keeps the visual documents of her travels at Cordugram.