You never know until you head out onto the road what you will love and need and what will be extraneous – it’s impossible to guess! But after traveling for four months, I’ve realized what my travel essentials are. I hope they’re helpful for you as you plan your next adventure!
A few days before we left, an amazingly generous friend of mine gave me this scarf out of the blue. She had one and loved it and thought it would be perfect for an adventure. She was so right! It has snaps in order to convert to a sweater/wrap/hood and can be unsnapped completely to change into a blanket. This has been my favorite on flights and buses. It’s so soft and wonderful, I just snuggle under it and feel at home and loved by a sweet friend far away.
In order to avoid buying bottled water wherever we go, we brought the SteriPen Freedom UV Purifier. It’s tiny and lightweight and can recharge using any USB plug. It takes 48 seconds to sterilize 0.5L of water, so it’s a little time consuming. However, we think it’s worth it to save all those plastic bottles and to not support the water industry in profiting off limited natural resources.
I was doubtful about Kindles when they first came out. Can anything replace the smell and feel and weight of a good book? But when you travel and love to read, there’s nothing more practical than a Kindle. We borrow digital books from the Boston Public Library in order to read, anywhere, anytime and are plowing through our long reading lists!
I absolutely love this bag from Osprey. I bought it when I graduated from my sign language interpreting program, knowing as a freelancer I would need a bag big enough to carry a snack, lunch, water, tea, notebook, book, etc. while on the run but not wanting it to be bulky since I’d be working in cramped doctor’s offices. On this trip, it serves as my purse, grocery bag, carry-on bag, or beach bag. It has just the right amount of pockets, an easy-to-clean lining, and is the perfect size. I only wish I bought a darker color because it’s beginning to show how many miles it has traveled!
It may seem like an annoying item to travel with, but we buy a small bottle of olive oil as soon as we land somewhere for a few days or more. It’s a necessity if we cook, can garnish any dish, and I can use it for some special skin or hair treatment, too. I got sunburned in Bolivia and didn’t want to give in and buy lotion for my drying, peeling skin. It would be one more thing to carry! Then… ah ha! I used olive oil twice a day for a few days on my skin and smelled delectable, too. I also use it as a hair treatment whenever we have some leftover that we can’t use before we jump on a flight. Love this stuff!
That same friend who gave me the scarf also recommended these mugs to us last year. BINGO. Keeps hot stuff hot all day. Keeps cold stuff cold all day. Never spills, never leaks. I brought my small 12 oz mug which is perfect for hot tea and Nate brought his 16 oz, which is perfect for iced drinks. Yeah, sometimes it feels a little luxurious to have them with us but tea on demand is a surefire way to keep me smiling and calm while traveling.