(I will revise and enlarge this list while traveling)
Although the what-to-bring list will change according to where you are going, a couple of these tips down here seem useful to me around the world. These tips are written while traveling through SE Asia, I will write another one after camping in New Zealand.
Listen to your intuition and don’t stress out too much: most stuff can be bought while traveling. In this post I won’t tell you which underwear, toothbrush or friend you should bring, ask your mother or look online! :)
Multi-tool & ‘Spork‘
Most of the time I could find enough fruit on the street. For cutting these up and spoon them out I had my multi-tool with spoon and fork. We also brought a ‘Spork‘ (spoon&fork) which eats a bit more comfortable but I could not have missed my sharp knife. If someone has the trick to conquer dragonfruits, watermelons and coconuts with only a Spork please enlighten me :)
Can be handy if you like to eat leftovers or make oatmeal. Since we didn’t bring any, we had to cut the bottom of a big plastic water bottle or ask for a bowl somewhere. After months we bought a dog food bowl-ish bowl to eat from since we ate more oatmeal. I will write a seperate post about oatmeal while traveling soon.
Maybe even a small cutting board for all the fruits, although I’m not really missing this one yet.
Look further online for hundreds of basic tips on what to bring, how to pack the best and what to leave out. Here I’ll just write down a few.
Daypack: Bring a daypack if you don’t want to leave valuables behind in luggage-spaces. Also useful in cities or when hiking. My big backpack is 60 liters (although the top would add some more if filled), which I found the perfect size for 5 months and multiple climates.
Zip-lock bags or packing cubes to create some orderly system in your backpack. But don’t make the blocks to bulky and fill up the gaps with underwear.
First aid: Bring some essential first aid stuff and be aware that most basic medicines can be bought cheaper in some other countries.
After having an infection on my finger I like to carry around a small bottle of alcohol and Betadine. Keep it clean!
Dry bag: I bought a small one to keep important papers and sometimes my smartphone or solar panel dry. If you’re traveling in rainy season maybe consider buying a big one.
SENDING STUFF BACK HOME
During our months in Southeast Asia we gathered quite some souvenirs and new clothing. Next to this we were going to be in a different climate in New Zealand where our summer clothing would just be useless extra weight. To relieve our backs we sent a parcel back home to loose some weight. We sent it from Bangkok and used the Thai Post (national postal service). They gave us a box, taped it in and sent it away. The box was around 8kg and costed us around €50. Quite some money but still cheaper than sending stuff with international companies. We went for the cheapest and slowest option, sending it by boat. Hopefully a bit more eco-friendly as well, but could take around 2 or 3 months. We don’t know yet if our package will see our front door, according to reviews online this could be a leap of faith. (Edit: it arrived and all was fine!)
– HappyCow (I wrote a separate post on it)
– V-cards (iOS) or any multi-language vegan-explanation app
– MapsMe (iOS, Android and Blackberry) or Google Maps for offline maps
– Vocabulary / learning language
– Country quiz/learning app. Socially useful if your topography is as bad as mine!
We decided to bring along some gadgets. It took a while comparing the pro’s against the con’s but for now we are glad we brought everything. The biggest part in safety, addiction and dependency is you, it’s not the gadget that is taking away the spontaneity of traveling, making stuff too easy or is a mental burden when it comes to breaking of stealing. Although these point are definitely a risk you should watch out for, so find your balance!
For our trip to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Taiwan and New Zealand we took the following:
Tablet (iPad 60gb)
We use this one for more comfortable browsing, storing and editing pictures, watching movies and playing games from time to time, writing for our blog, reading ebooks and I paint on it with a stylus. Although most of this list can also be done on a smartphone, the storage, bigger battery, ability to paint on and extra comfort won from the weight and risk to break/lose. I won’t advocate iPads though, pick your favorite brand.
All the above with less comfort but easier to grab and take with you on the road. Used a lot for snapshots, staying in touch with friends and checking out the map of the area. Put a scratch-resistance sheet on your phone’s screen. It doesn’t only help keeping your screen scratch free but when my iPhone fell it minimized the cracks and kept the glass together (so no splinters!). I also bought a sturdy cover so I could be less paranoid on breaking my phone (see photo below).
Camera (Sony a5000 with 16-50mm kitlens)
We were thinking about bringing my DSLR (old Nikon D50) but the outdatedness and weight made us consider buying a new one together. Our best buddy now is definitely our new Sony a5000. (Photo nerd stats: it has almost the same quality and size chip as a DSLR, a changeable lens and a lot of the features I was missing with most small digital cameras.) Glad we brought this one. Although the 20 megapixels and my iPad storage weren’t best friends. So I am shooting in 10 megapixels now.
Sport camera (GoPro-like)
This wannabe GoPro was cheap and can be of good use while snorkeling or running around waterfalls. Although sold as HD, the quality is not really amazing. If you want to have your memories in high definition, maybe save some more money for a good camera.
If my girlfriend would have to carry around all the books she reads in a month she would have needed a second backpack, or even her own tuktuk!. This kindle with built-in light and WiFi (deluxe one has 3G), has enough battery for weeks and can store thousands of books. A real recommendation from a real book lover!
WakaWaka solar charger and LED-light
A wonderful and socially responsible company that has a buy one-give one strategy. They will send the second one to people in need. Good for charging your phone and can be used as a light. Small enough to hang on your daypack (if area is safe enough) but still pretty efficient. Take a look at: http://waka-waka.com
All of this technology might scare some travelers but until now everything is going perfectly fine. We found a good balance in using them and sometimes consciously putting them away.
I hope this list was of any use. If you have any suggestions please send them over!
Enjoy packing your bag! Don’t take too much stuff with you, a common mistake made by beginners (including us).