I’m a minimalist. I don’t buy things. I don’t want you to buy things.
After reviewing my entire packing list, here are five things I think will markedly improve your travel life:
Perfect in gross accommodation where bedding probably hasn’t been washed – recently or ever. Some swear bed bugs can’t get through the silk. It’s spacious, cool when you’re hot, warms you up in the cold, dries quickly if you wash it on the go, and doubles as a beach blanket!
Get the blue one!
If you’re about to enter the land of unsafe tap-water, you will need to drink water out of a bottle. This saves $ and dozens of one-time-use plastic bottles. Also enables buying water in large quantities, then packing along the amount you need that day.
Takes up zero space when not in use, unlike roll-up or regular water bottles. No push-pull cap (which quickly become disgusting and leak easily)! Slides into the seat-back pocket on planes. Saves $ on budget flights charging for water. The Platypus brand hasn’t let me down. I also love that the bottle is clear so I can see how much water I’ve got left.
Bottom line: I have yet to find one that doesn’t end up reeking (when wet), but it’s excellent to have a towel when linens aren’t included in accommodation.
Forget about using a sarong or t-shirt. The quick-drying towel material is worth it. Trucking around wet cotton is cumbersome and often mildewy. Save space with a medium if you’re around my size (170cm, 63kg), large if you’re bigger or uber modest.
Sea to Summit is great.
In hostel after hostel, room after room, you’ll be longing for a longer cable.
Common cables will almost reach from an outlet to your bed. (You know, the place where you’re going to be right before your 5 a.m. budget flight?) This micro USB cable DOES reach! It’s braided sheath means it doesn’t get tangled, banged up, or easily damaged. It’s easy to spot among all the other cables you have.
If you’re an Apple baby, this 6 ft. cord or this 10 ft. cord both work for iPhone 5, 6 and a bunch of iPads. If you see the value of a brightly colored, no-tangle cord, pick one of these. Or if you’re still using Apple’s original, proprietary charger (iPhone 4, old iPods, etc), get this 6ft. or this 10ft. cord.
If you’re following the excellent advice to take a pack no larger than the Osprey Farpoint 40L, you’ll need a solution for the increasing tyranny of budget airlines. Size has long been a carry-on deal-breaker. Many budget airlines are now incredibly pedantic about weight. The solution? A travel vest.
All the stuff one brings on an RTW trip usually weighs over 10 kilos (some budget airline carry-on limits are 7 kg! 15 pounds!). To avoid the cost, time, and hassle of repeatedly checking your bag, put heavy items like electronics, lights, locks, etc., into a travel vest and wear them on the plane. Last-minute, didn’t-know-I-was-overweight, bag checking fees are a major cash cow for airlines. You’ll get your money back in three to five uses of this high quality vest. This Ex-Officio Vest is my second choice. Incredibly hot Spanish men could make this vest look good.
Reader beware: If you buy any of these items within 24 hours of clicking on the images above, Amazon will give me some beer money.*
*I cannot actually guarantee I will spend the money on beer. I might pay for this website’s hosting instead.