If you’re new to backpacking, going on an extended vacation on a budget, or are experienced and want some new product info to make your life easier, this is for you. If I could turn back time to my first ever back-packing trip and integrate these items, I would – so I wanted to create this post to save you some hassle (and money).
Because my biggest pet peeve about some (ahem) blog posts is an extended introduction that you have to scroll down to get to the important bits for what seems like hours, I’m going to get right to the good stuff:
The Scrubba was a lifesaver while backpacking southeast Asia, and I so, so wish I had it in South America, where getting your laundry washed is NOT cheap. The Scrubba is a portable laundry machine which folds up really small. Just throw in some laundry detergent (I just got a mini-pack from a local store upon arrival), some warm water and your laundry, then rock it back and forth in the bag. The inside is like a new-age wash board which helps to provide friction to clean your clothes, and the bag also doubles as a dry bag if you’re spending some time on the water.
Pros: Really extends the life of your clothes and gets rid of most stains and all smells.
Cons: Your clothes get clean, but not super clean, so it’s a good idea to get laundry done about once a month to get all the tough dirt and grime out of your clothes.
2. Travel Clothes Line
Although this couples with the Scrubba, it is also good independently for hanging up damp towels or clothes, to dry them before heading to your next stop.
I found the FLEXO-LINE the best, as the suction cup kind don’t always stay up. Find it here on Amazon.
3. Door Stopper
Especially if you’re traveling as a female, or as a couple, or actually, if you are even a person at all, a door stopper is a cheap and effective way to make sure no one breaks into your room.
4. Multi-Use Tool (aka Swiss Army Knife)
This seems horrendously obvious, however make sure you have one as it ends up also coming in horrendously helpful (opening wine, cutting fruit on the beach, you get the picture)
5. Tablet or Phone with Netflix
You may be thinking “but I am traveling to experience cultures, meet people and chill out etc.” which is so very true, BUT if you are traveling for months on end, there will be some point where you just want to hang out and watch the latest episode of Orange is the New Black or Schitt$ Creek. We didn’t use it too much, but found it useful when we wanted some wind-down time.
A tablet or phone is also helpful for booking hotels, hostels, researching destinations and for keeping in touch with friends and family. But I don’t need to tell you that
We love love love these backpacks for long-haul and long-duration trips. What we loved most is that they open up from the side, like a regular suitcase, and the men’s and women’s bags are suited for our spinal and body-shape differences. We’ve had other (read: worse) backpacks which open from the top and bottom, so you have to tear everything a part to find that one shirt you’re looking for, and find the MEC Supercontinental backpacks far superior. They also have a day pack which straps onto the back, which work perfectly as a carry-on and day hikes.
7. Inflatable Pillow
You may already have a neck pillow for the plane, but these
can be are definitely bulky and take up some much-needed real estate in your bag. Get an inflatable neck pillow so you can blow it up when you need it and deflate to fit it into smaller areas.
Get it here on MEC, or search Amazon.
8. Waterproof Beach Wallet
Here in Canada we have the luxury of waterproof bills (and people who generally don’t steal your stuff), but not all currency is created equal, thus a waterproof wallet is a great idea. Like a tiny dry-pak, this one is highly visible and comes with a lanyard to help keep it safe when you’re riding the waves.
Find it on Amazon here.
These towels are great for the beach and the shower – they are compact, absorb twice its weight in water and is antimicrobial which helps curb any odours.
Again, this is from MEC, but available online through other stores.
10. Maui Babe Tanning Lotion
Ok, so this is not so much essential as it is just a great product that I like to take with me. Although I am not classified as tan-orexic, I do love having a nice glow and this product gets you there faster, so you can explore more of the sights.
Check it out on their website here.