I was recently asked for advice on my must-have items by a friend that is embarking on a four week adventure. Based on my experience traveling by myself for three weeks between Australia and New Zealand, I gave her my run down and then she asked if there was anything I wish I would have had but didn’t bring. After I shared a few items, I figured my email to her may double as a good blog post. The things that you need may change depending on where you go. For example, a trip to the Tokyo temples & shrines will require completely different things to a trip to the Alps!
While I had a pretty good set up, here are a few items that I wish I would have had packed in my bags. So, if you’re looking for gift ideas for me (and who doesn’t love gifts?) here’s my current travel wish list.
Since I was on a lot of planes during my trip (8 of them, to be exact), I often found myself taking a little snooze on the plane. When I wasn’t sleeping on the plane, I was sleeping in Virgin Australia lounges waiting on my flight delay. I didn’t bring a travel pillow because the travel pillows that offer good support (like this J Pillow
) are a little too bulky for my carry-on only policy.
Then, upon doing some research, I found the Nap Scarf by Trtl. Weighing in at only 3.5 ounces it packs super small and can easily fit in your carry on bag. It’s also machine washable and the fleece is super soft. Plus, for a neck brace, it’s pretty fashionable. You can watch the video from Trtl
to see just how it works.
Australian summers are hot and, much in part to the big hole in the Ozone that is near the country, the sun is super intense. Even with the 50 SPF sun block, I still ended up with this dumb (and painful!) burn
Looking back, I wish I had purchased a sun hat to wear at the beach and while walking around town (especially in Melbourne) that folded for easy travel.
Not into the straw hat? I also found this cute poly blend hat
or if you want a super portable option that won’t mess up your hair, try this cute sun visor
that rolls right up.
Even though I was “fash-packing,” I still found myself without a towel a few times when I needed it (like when I was chasing waterfalls or swimming in hot springs). Normal towels are too bulky to travel with, don’t dry quickly, and get a mildew smell if you pack them wet.
The answer – a quick dry towel that is coated in silver ions, which helps the towel fight off bacteria and small. Personally, I’d go with the largest size that still fits in my bag, but I met many people that just used the extra small towel (which is about 1 foot by 2 feet). This would be perfect for a beachside vacation that will involve you traveling about a bit, such as doing the famed Phuket to Koh Samui
I’m a huge fan of Tide Travel Sink Packets
for doing quick laundry while traveling. But what happens when you do a bunch of laundry and you have no where to hang it? I wish I had this clothesline a few different times, as I rarely had much room to hang my wet clothes. It would have come in handy to dry my items while I was hanging by the hot springs and rivers. While I don’t think I would have needed it in my fash-packing situation, I could see maybe adding a sink stopper
to your travel laundry kit. Or, if you want to get really fancy, check out the Scrubba Washbag
I stayed at a lot of Airbnb
homes when I was traveling (I’m just too old/picky for hostel life). One thing I noticed that the homes in Australia lacked top sheets, and instead the bed was made with a covered light duvet (or a doona as it is called in Australia). Well, it’s freaking hot in Australia during the summer, often too hot for the duvet, but you still need something to cover up with.
I actually own the Cocoon Silk Travel Sheet
and didn’t think I’d need it on my adventures. I read so many travel blogs that said to leave it at home, and I wish I would have not listened. It’s light weight, feels awesome against your skin, and is easy to wash. Plus, if you’re camping, it adds a few degrees of warmth when used inside of your sleeping bag. It would have made my sleeping arrangements so much more comfortable. In fact, some friends of mine are currently in the process of planning an Icelandic roadtrip in a campervan so I will definitely be recommending this product to them. They have already started to do some research into finding an iceland camper rental
vehicle online so I hope this information comes in handy. I personally think they will need as much help staying warm as possible as Iceland can be really chilly in the winter!
Anyway, if you’re not into silk, Cocoon also makes a cotton sheet. The sheets can be a little pricey, but in my opinion worth it. If you’re really into saving money, you could probably find an old silk sheet and make your own. I’ve also heard that sleep sacks are very inexpensive (like $10) in Asia, so if you’re traveling that way you can pick one up.
While I’m on the subject of items I own but didn’t bring, let’s talk about the Qlipter, which is essentially a carabiner on steroids. I forgot to throw this in my purse before leaving for my flight, and highly regretted it. I use this while traveling and in everyday life to hang my purse, connect my luggage, connect shopping bag handles, and so many other things I haven’t even thought of yet. To learn what else you can do with the Qlipter, watch this video.
Nothing screams tourist like wearing a fanny pack (but don’t get me wrong, I wish they’d make a comeback), but sometimes taking a bag on a hike or a walk though town isn’t convenient. Then I found this Flip Belt and it would be a great bag free option when going on hikes to find the best swimming hole or waterfall.
When I was in Australia, I signed up for a few guided tours. Essentially, you get in a bus, drive to a lot of places, and you leave your gear on the bus when you’re out exploring the hikes, waterfalls, etc. While the bus is locked, I was not super comfortable leaving my stuff on it.
I would have loved to have something like the Eagle Creek Undercover Bra Stash to keep maybe one credit card and my license on me. I could also see this working well when you want to protect yourself from pick pocketing, etc.
When I was snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, I saw amazing underwater creatures that were absolutely beautiful. I wish I could show you, but I can’t. I went the cheap route and bought a waterproof case for my phone. Well, it didn’t end well. The case leaked, the phone was ruined, and the few pictures I did manage to take are gone (along with the pictures from the day before in Cairns). This will definitely be with me on my next trip. I’m thinking about an rv rental Philadelphia
at the minute as this would allow me and my friends to tarvel wherever we want!
I almost bought a Go Pro before my trip and wish I had. There were many times, mostly involving water, where I think it would have been really cool to capture a few videos here and there. The good news, I bought the Hero 4 Silver, so I’ll be prepared for my next adventure!
I would venture to say that no one has ever looked cool while using a Selfie Stick
. Having said that, I wish I would have had one on my vacation. It’s not like I knew anyone anyway, so judge away, fellow tourists.
While traveling alone, you either have to take a selfie or ask a random to take your picture (if someone is even around). I was never much of a selfie person before my trip Down Under, but somewhere between Melbourne and Auckland, I embraced the art of the selfie
(I kind of had no other choice). Had I had a selfie stick, self-documentation would have been so much easier.
Do you have a great travel product that you would never leave at home? Let me know by leaving a comment or sending a Tweet!
A quick disclosure: some of my links above link to my Amazon Affiliate URL. If you click it and buy something, I make a small percentage of the sale and it makes me happy.