On a planet where we need to save money on travel but still get the very best experience possible, these essential travel items can certainly help keep your travels easier, safer, plus much more enjoyable. I’ve compiled this list from my own experience with travel items which have made my life easier around the country, and so I can fully attest to them.
Here are 10 items needed to be a successful traveler:
10. Damp washcloth
Seems simple enough, but on a daily basis it’s worth its weight in gold. Whether you’re wiping food off your hands, sweat from your face or grime off your gear this little essential item is light versatile and always leaves you feeling refreshed throughout the day.
9. A Map
Some people might think of this a little old fashioned nowadays with smartphones and GPS, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found myself running out of battery and still in need of direction when the good old map comes in and saves the day. Just about all the places I’ve been have tourist information centers with free maps and info of the town. Bus stations and libraries are another great place for maps. I’ve even sat down at diners where the paper place mats were little maps of the city.
8. A book
Books are a great way to relax and pass time while traveling. Whether you’re stuck killing time waiting for a train or can’t really fall asleep after an exciting day the good old book is there to help keep you occupied. Also it’s another one of those items that doesn’t need electricity like the good old map.
7. Sunscreen and bugspray
The closer you get to the equator the more attention you need to pay to sun exposure and bug bites. A sunburn and a few dozen mosquito bites can ruin any vacation but if you’re traveling without the creature comforts of a hotel like an a/c, soft bed, nice shower, this can really be hell. Nothing like trying to get a good night’s sleep outdoors when you’re burnt to a crisp and itching all over. One of those things you do once and remember for the next time.
6. Travel Mug
This is one of those indispensable, multi-use items that should be on everyone’s essential travel gear list. With a proper travel mug you can always enjoy a discount on your coffee and use it to do a little cooking in a pinch. This stainless 64 ounce mug is a great example and the one I use. It’s single wall insulated so if needed you can heat its contents over an open flame and coming in at 64 onces it can pack 3xs the coffee for a refill price of less than a buck a most convenient stores. I really do love this thing.
5. A change of clothes
With proper attention to your wardrobe you can pack a couple of outfits for less than the weight of a pair of jeans. A lot of these light weight close are also quick to dry which is nice if you happen to get caught in the rain or need to wash them as you wash yourself which I’ve done plenty of times. I found that a big part of traveling is being able to condense things, and if I can reduce my wardrobe and the time it takes to do laundry I’m all for it.
4. Toothbrush and dental floss
Bad breath leaves a poor impression wherever you travel. Maintaining hygiene while traveling is important. You should always be prepared with a toothbrush and toothpaste because you never know when you might find a nice little spot to do some quick refreshing. If you do happen to skip a day or two brushing at least you can floss in between. The floss can also be used to repair a backpack, leaving it minty fresh.
The passport really comes in handy during a border crossing. Unless you enjoy jumping borders illegally, this is a must when touring multiple countries. It’s also considered primary identification right up there with your birth certificate and can help you acquire things an id alone can’t get.
2. A little cash and a credit card
It’s always good to have both on your travels. Nowadays you can’t be sure which one is acceptable. The days of cash is king is gone. Some hotels accept only a credit card for a deposit while the city bus that dropped you off only took exact change. Some local restaurants don’t accept credit cards as payment while the meter you parked at doesn’t accept cash or coins. It’s also a good idea to carry cash and credit separate-you don’t want to lose everything to a pickpocket in one shot.
1. Positive attitude
By far the most important and essential travel item on the list. A positive attitude. A lot of things don’t go as planned while traveling. There’s always Murphy’s Law waiting around the next bend to hit you upside the head. It’s just one of those facts of life. The best way to combat the unavoidable obstacles you’ll face along your travels is to meet them with a positive attitude. Like when you get caught in a torrential downpour and forget to pack a raincoat. Look at the brightside, maybe you remembered to pack a bar of soap.
Adventure tour operators specialize in guided tour packages focused on providing an experience of the National Parks like most have never seen. Visitors to the great National Parks of the United States southwest will be exposed to the offerings of scenic landscapes and natural terrain that is unlike anywhere else in the country, or even the world. These “adventurous types” are generally overwhelmed by the volume of choices of day trips, and a lack of understanding of the area actually could have potentially disastrous effects, as recently discussed in a story presented on ABC’s show “20/20” called “My GPS Almost Killed Me.”
The 20/20 story follows a day trip to Death Valley involving Donna Cooper and her family, where a lack of updated information causes the Garmin GPS in her car to give directions leading her horribly astray from any civilization. Her car runs out of gas in a remote part of the park near Scotty’s Castle, and the lives of the family are saved only by a California Highway Patrol chopper who got lucky and followed a hunch, finally locating the family in a small area known as “The Big Trees.” The nightmare story of being lost in one of the Earth’s most harsh climates without food or water has a happy ending, but should be used as a learning experience. It isn’t called “Death valley” for nothing, and many of the other National Parks that are located within driving distance are equally daunting.
Adventure tour operators offer an experience that is both safe and entertaining, as the operators utilize professional equipment and vehicles so as to tour in style and comfort, but also have an intricate knowledge of each area that they tour. As a learning experience, a professional tour operator will provide the tidbits of information that you cannot find in books, and as a tourist experience you will have a far more pleasurable trip not worrying about your GPS being updated.
Many tour packages are available on websites that carter to National Parks tours that will provide the adventure you are seeking, and private tours are another option for those who want a more private experience. National Parks like Zion, Bryce, Death Valley and the Grand Canyon provide scenery and landscapes that are unlike anywhere else on the globe, and professional tour companies can enhance the experience by removing the stress, allowing you to experience the park the way you want to, and giving you the guidance you may be seeking.