Essential Travel Items

What do you take abroad with you? What is essential or merely useful? We have put together what we believe to be the most inclusive and comprehensive essential travel items list that is available on the web today. We gathered these ideas for essential travel items from personal experience and that of our followers and members. Some are unusual, others are items that you must have in your case, some are inexpensive whilst others are top of the range.

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Essential Travel Items

There are meant to be 99 essential travel items; however, we add and take away constantly. Obviously it would be impractical to take everything here and you might be pondering the cost. If you are volunteering abroad and using our advice you will be saving at least £300/$400 to £900/$1,200 . That is the minimum an agency would cost you. There is also the saving on clothing that most travelers insist on buying before they go on a trip – DON’T – invest in something truly useful.

Every item you purchase using our website means that we can continue operating this platform for free and contributing to our upkeep and to our Fish Farm Project. In addition to buying from us and helping our charity, Amazon will also offer to contribute to a charity of your choosing. Everyone benefits from buying via our platform. It is win/win/win for everyone.

Essential Travel Items | Most Valuable

From personal experience and horror stories this is awarded to the GPS locator. Occasionally, hired motorbikes and cars are stolen. Miraculously the thieves have keys to the vehicles. Reporting a vehicle stolen and the time spent with the rental company is easily 3 – 4 days plus all the hassle and stress. The insurance cover will never cover the loss. You lose your deposit and maybe a lot more ( we had one contributor lose £3,000 to get his passport returned). Hide a GPS locator in your hired vehicle and tell no-one. IF the vehicle goes missing find someone trustworthy to help you. This might not be the rental company or the police. Hotel staff, volunteer police etc.

Essential Travel Items | Most Unusual

Just has to be travel underwear. From special underwear for the flight to disposable briefs to keep you fresh. Who would have thought about this?

Essential Travel Items | Most Useful

Probably all of the essential items that we recommend, the ones that revolve around solar power and hand powered electrical equipment will prove indispensable. Wind up radios to manual mobile phone chargers, solar fans to solar mobile iPad chargers . They are also great gifts to leave behind when you return home.

Essential Travel Items | Most Awesome

All of the essential items the camera equipment available now is amazing; Dji Drone, underwater camera and GoPro. These are truly awesome pieces of kit. Share the cost. Your blogs or Face Book will be awesome. Images and video will be amazing to show to friends rather than holiday snaps on your smart phone.

Essential Travel Items | Most Disgusting

Without doubt this goes to the UV Light to test if your bed and linen has unseen stains. Many hotels, guesthouses and hostels do not launder linen properly. The UV torch is the only way to tell for sure that your bed linen is truly clean. A UV light goes hand in hand with  groundsheets and bug sprays that we recommend.

When To Buy

We suggest that you start to buy your essential items TODAY to spread the cost and gain benefit from the items immediately. Hopefully you have booked your flight and accommodation through our links and are looking to support a charity abroad or simply go on an adventure of a lifetime. By using our links we are able to support our fish farming charity in Battambang which aims to provide fish for personal consumption and commercial activities for struggling farmers in Cambodia.

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Essential Travel Items

Essential Travel Items

The staff at Voluntouring Abroad, our members and website visitors have suggested that the following 99 items are the "things" they must take or would want to take abroad to make their adventure more comfortable or memorable.

To support us all you nee to do is purchase from our advertisers. If you do not buy today please come back to this page so that our charities benefit from your purchase.

Not for a minute do we suggest that you need all of these items; however, there are some items that might prove very useful. Clothing for the local enviroment is something you do not need to take. Generally speaking you will be able to buy suitable clothing wherever your destination is.

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Medical Kit

Medical Kit

This is first in the list because it is the first thing you should consider having. If it contains sharp implements pack it in your suitcase or back pack. When you are in a foreign country you should treat every scrape or minor cut as something that should be treated immediately. We have a fairly simple medical kit; however if there are a few of you, chip in and buy something more substantial and "share the weight"

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GPS Locator

GPS Locator

This is one of our favourite recommendations. A small device that can be hidden in a car boat, motor bike or your suitcase. Do not inform any rental company that you have the device. We hear so many stories about cars and motor bikes being stolen and the insurance not covering any excess that this is essential if you are going to rent a vehicle.

Once you locate the vehicle have someone you trust locally to help you recover or deal with police.

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Dji Spark Drone

Dji Spark Drone | Capture The Awesome

This is an amazing piece of kit to invest in, to capture awesome video. With the money you save organizing your own volunteer project abroad or a few friends contributing to the cost - this should be on your essential list.

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Backpack

Backpack - Rucksack

A backpack is far easier to carry your belongings. Foreign roads are not often made for solid cases on wheels. The only places guaranteed for solid cases on wheels to work are in the shop you bought it in and the airport. Unless you have someone carrying your luggage for you, you should load it with what you are taking on your trip and carry it for at least 500 metres. Choose from a large 85 litre or medium 65 litre.

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Language Translator

Language Translator

There are numerous excellent choices available now at very reasonable prices.

  1. Do not depend on using your smart phone as you might need this in remote areas or poor internet coverage.
  2. Can be used offline.

Practice using your translator before you go abroad. It's good to look professional.

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DVT Socks

Deep Vein Thrombosis

If you are at concerned about how a long flight at a high altitude is going to affect you; invest in a pair or 2 of DVT socks. You might even consider asking your doctor for DVT advice.

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UV Torch

UV Torch

Otherwise known as black light shows up body fluids and other nasty stuff on bed linen. Maybe you would rather not know what your sleeping on. Many hotels wash linen in water that is not hot enough to clean body fluids from your bed sheets and pillows. A quick flash in the dark with a UV torch will let you know.

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Noise Cancelling Headphones

Noise Cancelling Headphones

If you are going to do the job properly then it has to be Bose. They have class in every department. Look no further. Please feel free to contact us and offer an alternative recommendation.

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Underwater Camera

Underwater Camera

SCUBA or snorkeling or simply in a swimming pool; you need one of these. Opt for a camera with a gimble for hands free operation ! Awesome x Amazing.

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Ear plugs

Ear Plugs - Soft Foam

These are incredibly cheap and do a great job when you do not want to be using your head phones. They are so cheap that you will be able to share them with other passengers and become their hero. Use once and throw away.

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Wide Brimmed Hat

Wide Brimmed Hat

Absolutely essential for at least one reason and has a couple of other uses:

  1. keeps the sun out of you face and prevents sun burn
  2. a proper "jungle" hat is reversible. The inside is often of a very bright material so that you can be noticed in a crowd or if lost
  3. Can be used to carry fruit, veg etc.

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Global Mobile Internet

GlocalMe

Don't leave home without it. Global Internet Hotspot. Never depend on local mobile internet access.

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  • WORLDWIDE SIM FREE CONNECTION - Powered by innovative Cloud SIM technology, GlocalMe G3 hotspot allows travelers to access the Internet at any point of their travels without any local SIM card or roaming charge in 100+ countries and regions (including Cambodia)

  • 4G LTE HIGH SPEED NETWORK – 50Mbps max upload speed and 150Mbps max download speed allow you to enjoy movies music and reading everywhere. It can connect up to 5 devices, you can share the internet with your friends or families

  • 1GB INITIAL GLOBAL DATA PACKAGE – Each device comes with 1GB initial global data . GlocalMe also offers different kind of data plans for different regions to satisfy all your need wherever you are

  • PRIVATE SECURITY WIFI – GlocalMe use the most security protocol to keep your WIFI connection safe. Also with the GlocalMe APP, you can manage the data usage effectively and smartly. Easily track detailed interaction with the data, connect to personal network, purchase data, etc

  • MULTI-FUNCTIONAL – G3 also works as a traditional unlocked Wi-Fi hotspot with two SIM card slot. Built-in 5350mAh battery, make sure up to 15 hours non-stop using. Also you can take it as a power bank, that means fully recharge a standard cellphone over 3 times

Light Weight Walking Shoes

Light Weight Walking Shoes

2 world beating reasons for buying at home.

  1. You can "break in" your shoes before start walking all over the place in a new country - guaranteeing blisters.
  2. You will be shocked at the prices of good quality shoes abroad. They may make them in the country you are visiting but that does not mean they will be cheap!

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Travel Pillow

Travel Pillow

This will cost 2 or 3 times this price at the airport! Use it in the home, office or car.

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Power Bank

Power Bank

Ensure that you always have emergency power; you never know when your next plug in power will be.

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Zipper cubes/packing cubes

Zipper Cubes

Very handy for keeping "stuff" well packed. Keep your things sorted into categories; underwear, toiletries, sports gear etc.

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GoPro Camera

GoPro Camera

An amazing bit of kit that is awesome for recording your adventures. Splash out or share the cost with a group; This will be an awesome investment to record your adventures leaving both hands free. Cycling, paragliding, elephant jaunts or any other activity where both hands are needed.

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Decent Sandals

Decent Sandals

Unless you were brought up wearing flip flops, they are not ideal for foreign pavements and sidewalks (if they have them) or unsteady terrain. Invest in a decent pair of sandals and wear them for a few hours or more. You really do not want blistered feet ruining a holiday or curtailing a volunteer mission. And great quality sandals are probably cheaper at home.

Birkenstock Unisex Sandals come highly recommended.

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Plastic/waterproof document holder

Plastic/waterproof documents holders

The last thing you need when meeting officials abroad are wet and soiled documents. Keep them dry from sudden downpours, leaky hotel roofs or living in the open.

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Medicated Wet Wipes

Medicated Wet Wipes

Never ever be caught short for either a grazed hand or a visit to the rest room. Always dispose of sensibly. Foreign countries do not have the same sophisticated sanitation systems we might be used to. PUT IN THE BIN.

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Wind Up Radio

Wind Up Radio

Simply a piece of magic. Music and the spoken word without a power source (apart from some elbow  power). A great gift to any school or institution in the 2nd world.

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Solar Charger

Solar Charger

Truly essential for any traveler in Asia or Africa. Power cuts, expensive generators or just out for the day - the power is there for free.

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Kevlar Gloves

Kevlar Gloves

Unusual and certainly worth buying. The gloves look like a normal pair of gloves; however, they are lined on the inside with Kevlar. Fantastic if you are going to be riding a bike, working on construction or in horticulture. Cut and puncture proof; You should have a look, you will be amazed at how trendy and inconspicuous they look.

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Head Torch

Head torch

An essential item when you need both hands. You could be negotiate streets with no lights or a power cut in your hotel. You will need this at exactly the time it dawns on you that you have not got one. BUY TODAY.

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Fear of flying

Fear of Flying

A little preparation can help you easily overcome your fears. Liftoff to a great adventure. You cannot get better than Allen Carr.

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Money Belt

Money Belt

Keep your valuables hidden when travelling from place to place. Only take out enough cash for expected expenses. Credit and Debit cards should be locked away. Or keep some in room safe and some in your money belt.

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Airtight Plastic Bags of Various Sizes

Airtight plastic bags of various sizes

At some point something will get wet or smelly or pungent food. Keep it bagged up until you can visit the laundry. Do not ruin your other clothes.

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Business Cards

Business Cards

Some simple cards with your home contact details. Make sure they are not laminated on the reverse so that you can write additional details. Next country or local phone number, favourite bar or where to meet. Maybe your home business details.

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Sun Cream

Sun Cream

We suppose this is obvious if you are heading somewhere sunny; however 2 things to remember, before the skin peels off and you cannot sleep because of the searing pain that only the sun can cause:

  1. Most worst cases of sunburn are in the first 24 hours; be prepared.
  2. Quality sun lotion is expensive abroad.

Do not overlook the after sun lotion. Even if you do not feel burned; for the first few nights apply some before going to bed or going out for the evening. Many have a bug repellent factor within them.

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Headphone Splitter

Headphone Splitter

This is far better than trying to share the same set of headphones. Share the sounds - PRIVATELY.

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Portable wireless speakers

Portable Wireless Speakers

Be prepared before you go. Although you can buy speakers cheaply they are often very old models or poor copies. Buy at home with a guarantee and hassle free.

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Umbrella or Rain Mate

Umbrella or Rain Mate

A Tote or a plastic rain mate can be in your back pack or carry luggage at all times. Nothing worse than looking like a drowned rat on arrival.

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Kindle

Kindle

A Kindle or even a cheaper E-Reader is far easier to transport your reading material than books. You can literally save 3-5 kilos (We know form personal experience). Why choose to carry 3 or 4 books when you can have 10's of books or even hundreds of thousands. Nor can anyone borrow them and not return them!

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Cheap Wrist Watch

Cheap Wrist Watch

Always handy to have the time without either using your expensive smart phone or showing off your Rolex Oyster. Take a couple and have them set at your destination time before you leave. Great items to give to kids when it is "time" to leave. This is Amazon's #1 seller in the USA.

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Diary/Notebook

Diary/Notebook

Keeping a diary is going to make it easier for you to relive your experiences for years to come. Might help you start a travel blog, a charity or even do an article for Volunteering Abroad.

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Waterproof Groundsheet - Bedsheet

Waterproof groundsheet

Apart from the obvious use in a tent; if you have used your UV torch in your hotel room and are less than impressed with the cleanliness, this will will come in handy as quick; solution. You might have arrived late or just want to lie down and relax; unpack your groundsheet to give you some comfort.

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UV Sun Glasses

UV Sun Glasses

Your eyes are delicate : protect them carefully. Do not chance buying cheap copies abroad. Have a couple of pairs - 1 practical and 1 for looking great. If your doing many outdoor activities, invest in suitable protection.

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Additional Reading Glasses

Additional Reading Glasses

Good quality reading glasses can be bought very cheaply at home or online. Don't wait until it is too late. Buy 4 pairs and have them packed in all your luggage.

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Duct Tape

Duct Tape

This is just so handy and versatile. Use it to identify your ruck sack, repair burst bags, quick shoe repair, set a broken bone, wrap loose items; just a small roll should be enough.

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Bug Repellent

Bug Repellent

You will be able to buy this cheaply when you arrive at your destination. However if you arrive late at night or have a bit of travelling to your destination; be prepared. Nothing worse than a rogue mozzie in your room or a bite on the way to the hotel! Consistently in Amazon top 3 sellers. Expensive but worth it.

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Inflatable Toys for Pool

Inflatable Toys for Pool

OK, this is one of the more unusual suggestions. However, it is a great way to make friends by the pool and hotels rarely provide inflatables. An inflatable lilo can always be used to make an uncomfortable bed a bit more bearable.

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Electrical Adapter

Electrical Adapter

Something you can probably get at your destination. However, if you have a long trip to your departure airport and then a long flight - you might need a power boast at the airport. Make sure it takes USB devices ETC.

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Lightweight Rain Jacket

Lightweight Rain Jacket

Many of the rain protection in 3rd and 2nd world countries is no more than a sweaty bin liner. Invest in a decent lightweight rain jacket; wear it to the airport - no additional weight. And if it is raining at your destination you are prepared. Additionally in many hot countries locals will wear light weight jackets to protect themselves from the sun.

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Dried Snacks

Dried Snacks

It is quite acceptable to be a bit of a prepper. We are not suggesting weeks of food; enough for a few days. Arriving at your hotel when all the shops are closed or on a long journey early in the morning, It is good to know you have something to nibble on. Get some high protein bars etc. These can be in your hand luggage. And much cheaper than buying snacks at airports.

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Travel Laundry Kit

Travel Laundry Kit

Generally laundry is very cheap in Asia and Africa; however a handy laundry kit is great for those items you would rather keep private.  Or maybe just a few items that will dry overnight and is not worth a journey to the nearest laundry or for 48 express fee from your hotel. Some hotels do not allow items to be hung on balconies; ask first.

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Bulldog Clips

Bulldog Clips

Not a lot you can say; keeps things together or hanging up clothes.

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Local phone rental

Local Phone - Throw-away

You must be careful here. In many Asian countries local Sim cards must be registered. Ask your hotel if the can rent you a phone for local calls. If not, buy a cheap throw away before you go. You do not want to be having your iPhone confiscated or stolen.

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Transporting Fragile Goods

Transporting Fragile Goods

If your going to be taking home anything fragile; then a VinniBag is the answer.

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Battery Operated Fan

Battery Operated Fan

Sitting in a broken down bus, hotel room has had a power cut, out in the hot countryside, in a bar with no fans, sitting at the pool with useless roof fans, hot child in a pram - need we go on. Or solar powered fan whilst your sitting at the pool on a windless day.

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Vaseline

Vaseline

A trusted moisture with a global reach. Before, during and after your flight. After  a swim in the pool or a day out in the sun. If not Vaseline, treat yourself to something to revitalise your skin - you need and deserve a bit of luxury. Remember 100 ml jars for the plane.

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i-Pad Mini

i-Pad Mini

You name it and it is at your finger tips. Music, Video, Maps and more Apps than you can shake a stick at. New or certified refurbished to suit your budget.

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Travel Underwear

Travel Underwear

Yes, travel underwear exists and it is not incontinent. Check them out on Amazon; Give-N-Go Bikini Briefs. If nothing else it is a talking point.

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Face Cooling Spray

Face Spray

Revitalise your face with a quick 3 second burst. Great at anytime of day when your feeling a bit hot and sweaty.

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Extension Cable

Extension Cable with Multi Sockets

It is almost guaranteed that your power socket will be single and at the opposite of your room beside the TV. There is only one answer; get yourself an extension cable.

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Slippers

Slippers

Not all hotels will provide in room slippers and even if they do; how do you know they are clean. And you should wear slippers when walking about hotel bedrooms. Take your own. Use them in

  1. Hotel
  2. Plane
  3. Airport
  4. Poolside

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Face Cloths

Face Cloths

Some cheap face cloths come in very handy. Just add water and pop into a waterproof bag and carry about with you for a quick freshen up throughout the day. Leave a couple in your room fridge for an amazing cool down when you have had a hot day volunteering or exploring.

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Sewing Kit

Sewing Kit

A bit obvious what this would be used for. However, remember to put into into your hold luggage. Do not put in your carry on luggage; obvious, but has to be said.

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Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Use a cheap digital camera when you might not want to take your smart phone or tablet. There is something about a camera that is not a smart phone - it stands out from the crowd - different. Plus if you lose it, you lose a camera and not your entire personal life data.

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Antique Charms & Bling

Antique Charms & Bling

Buy some cheap charms and bling at home to accessorise cheaply at your destination. If you are not going to the Governors ball there is no need for the family heirlooms. Give it away to and make some locals happy to have something from a foreign land. You can buy lost and lots very cheaply Amazon.

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Self-Inflating Mattress

Self-Inflating Mattress

If you are going to need a mattress you might as well get one that self inflates. Great for camping or groups sharing a room/dorm. Use it as an extra bed or possibly the mattress in your hotel is not fit for purpose.

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Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Bag

If you are going to Africa or a Pole you are going to get very cold at night - be prepared. Also protects from dodgy beds.

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Portable Luggage Scale

Portable Luggage Scale

Incredibly cheap, light and simple to use; allowing you to maximize what you can take in your luggage without being stopped at check in and being fined. Be confident and buy a luggage scale.

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Newspaper Subscription

Newspaper Subscription

Join your favourite newspaper before you fly. Newspapers in foreign parts are often out of date and expensive. Some might not be allowed and some news feeds might be blocked.

Remember not to share with others. Keep your subscription as your own private news network.

Register with your favourite publication and do a trial download before you leave. Remember that downloads if foreign parts can take some time.

Chill Pillows

Self Cooling Pillows

Make space for at least one of these. Great for heat, migraines or hangovers.

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Puzzles

Puzzles

A great way to pass an idyllic hour or 2 at the pool or beach or a quiet evening at home when there is no TV. Be it solitaire or a group game. Have some puzzles and games on hand. Fantastic ice breaker.

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Memory Card

Memory Card

Do not get caught short of memory. Invest in a couple of expandable SD memory cards BEFORE you go. Always have a spare one in you wallet or purse.

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Camera Detector

Camera Detector

This another unusual essential; a bit of kit that detects hidden cameras and recording equipment in your hotel room. If you think you might be watched, invest in some detection equipment.

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Imodium

Immodium

As you will no doubt know, the experience of diarrhea is akin to a plug being pulled on your innards. Suddenly everything must drain and there is very little you can do about it, other than squirm and generally feel sorry for yourself. If you experience it within hobbling distance of a lavatory, you’re one of the lucky ones; if it hits you in the middle of the night on a bus with no toilet in a developing country, you’re not. Thankfully, Imodium acts as a very effective emergency plug.

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Corkscrew

Cork Screw - Swiss Army Knife

If you drink wine never ever be without a corkscrew! Pack into luggage that is going in the hold.

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Condoms

Condoms

Do not leave home without them. Size, availability and HIV. Be careful. Br Prepared.

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Ultralight Water Purifier Bottle

GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier Bottle

If you think you might be heading towards anywhere remote - take some precautions. Water is something you will definitely need.

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Unisex Cooling Cap

Unisex Cooling Cap

Keep a cool head with this neat bit of kit.

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Collapsible Water Bottle

Collapsible Water Bottle by Kemier

If you are going to take your own water bottle; make sure it is collapsible so it does not take up extra space in your luggage.

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Mouth Wash Tablets

Mouth Wash Tablets

Save space by taking your mouth wash in tablet form. Pop some in your purse or bag.

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Tripod

Tripod

When you need a steady hand to create an awesome picture or video. Get your tripod out.

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Papershower

Papershower | No Water

Run out of water - no problem. Unpack a shower.

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Mini Foam Roller | Self-Massage

Mini Foam Roller | Self-Massage

Got home late from a busy day sightseeing or volunteering; have a massage.

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Bucket List

Bucket List

Make your adventure truly memorable by taking a bucket list. People who make a bucket list get far more out of their holiday than people who do not.

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Personal Alarm

Personal Alarm

Cheap and effective. Keep fob in your bag or on your neck. Invest in a few to give to friends and fellow travelers.

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Binoculars

Binoculars

Looking ahead - see what others cannot. Make sure binoculars are shock proof.

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Night Vision

Night Vision

Just super cool kit. If you are going to be involved in night time activities splash the cash on some night time vision equipment.

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Travel Guides

Travel Guide

You should never be without an up to date travel guide. Our favourite is the world's favourite - Lonely Planet.

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Manual Phone Charger

Manual Phone Charger

If you are visiting a 2nd or 3rd world country this is a must for your luggage. Buy before you leave home. But it now!

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Eye Mask

Eye Mask

The eye mask from your flight provider just will not do the job. This offering from JEFlex is a 5 star seller on Amazon and eBay. Plus you can use it in your hotel or long distance bus travel. Stay in the dark!

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Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs

If you are at all worried about who is sharing your bed; let Zero get rid of unwanted companions. With a fresh linen fragrance all you need is 1 spray which means that you can share with others in your group.

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