Okay, so if you know me and my complete and utter oddness at all, you know that despite trying to keep my pack light, there are some things I would never travel without. There’s the bunny hat that keeps me warm on cold nights. Then there’s the stick from Peru that has traveled to nearly 30 countries (that’s a whole other story of insanity). Volcano Ross, an odd thingy someone once made for me, remains at all times in my purse, and I like to introduce him to strangers to test their coolness factor (insanity = coolness). So what about everyone else out there? What do they keep with them at all times? I asked, and my fellow travelers told me. My pack may get a whole lot heavier with my new found temptation to pick up some of these items…
A Hawaiian Hat by Noel Morata of Travel Photo Discovery
When I travel abroad, I love to bring along my hat from Hawaii which is a piece I can always share with others that I meet along the way. The hat has a band of feathers that I made, and feathers were typically used as adornment by the Ancient Hawaiians for their lei, hair pieces, and other accessories in their every day lifestyle. The hat band took quite some time for me to finish, so I love to bring it everywhere with me on my travels and share a story about Hawaii and the love of natural crafting on the islands.
Nail Varnish by Stu of Looking for Stu
I get a lot of funny looks if anyone in a hostel catches me with clear nail varnish, which is possibly the strangest thing I travel with, but I assure you it’s only to stop the flag stickers on my guitar from peeling off. I’ve also got a fluffy sheep key ring someone gave me for luck which sits in an outer rucksack pocket, and after hitchhiking with me through 57 countries is beyond filthy. He was too embarrassed to have his photo taken
Those Trusty Flip Flops by Millie of Millie Goes
People always think I’m slightly odd for this, but I will never dare to step into the hostel showers without my trusty shower flip flops. As a backpacker, I’m not all that bothered about gross things anymore, from having snakes wrapped in my hair to eating cockroaches, I’ve been able to get over most peoples idea of ‘ew’. However, when it comes to standing in other people’s residual filth on the tiled shower room floor, I put my foot down. I really have no desire to have another person’s strands of hair flow between my toes, or to stand on someone’s fresh toenail clipping with my barefoot. So next time you see me walking over to the shower block with cheap rubber flip flops in hand, perhaps you won’t look at me with those raised eyebrows… There are some things you should leave at home though, so maybe check out my list of what NOT to pack?
A Clothespin by Carole of Travels with Carole
I always travel with a clothespin attached to the lining of my suitcase. I have found this item to be helpful in keeping willful curtains closed in hotel rooms when I am trying to sleep, and it also keeps my teabag from slipping into the coffee pot when I am brewing a batch (I clip it to the label and hang it over the side of the pot). In a pinch, it can also hold a sweater or other clothing item closed.
Who Doesn’t Want Espresso on the Road? By Kate and Mark of Vagrants of the World
We have been on the road for over two years now. As full time travelers, we carry some unusual bits and pieces to make our lives a little more agreeable on the road. But there is no item more important to us than our coffee maker. Most people wouldn’t think to pack a coffee maker but we would not go anywhere without it.
This little, lightweight 2 cup espresso maker has been to around 20 countries with us and is starting to look like it too, although most coffee lovers will say our pot is perfectly seasoned. Coffee varies so much all over the world from sublime to downright nasty. We just aren’t taking that risk with our morning brew!
I won’t even mention the pair of kitchen tongs I have in the bottom of my bag!
…and they’re not the only ones who travel with a coffee maker! Ruth of Exploramum writes:
I travel with a mini coffee plunger / French Press and a small water boiler called an immerser. Here it is in Quito, Ecuador, and then in Meteora, Greece. We have travelled to 64 countries over 3.5 years as a single Mum and son duo from Australia, and I can always guarantee waking up to a good short cup of coffee to start my day.
©Exploramum and Explorason
Bullet the Traveling Dog by Laura of Savored Journeys
I am a really light packer, almost to the point where I sometimes really underpack for the activities I’ll be doing, so there’s really no extra space in my bag. That being said, I have never traveled anywhere without my little dog, Bullet. I started taking him with me when I was traveling solo many years ago, and now he’s just become part of the journey. Last year I almost left him at home by accident, and it might have the worst travel mistake I’ve ever made. Perhaps it’s cliché to travel with a stuffed animal, but having him with me gives me a sense of peace and normalcy that is much needed when traveling in unknown and sometimes uncomfortable situations. Plus he’s really little, so he always fits!
The iPad Mountie by Charlie of JayWay Travel
At home I’m used to a having a second screen plugged into my laptop, it makes me way more productive but I love to travel too. The Mountie lets me attach my iPad to my MacBook’s screen and Duet Display (a $15 app for Mac or PC) along with the free iPad app make the iPad behave like a second screen. It’s connected over USB, unlike the first iterations of similar apps for iPad so there’s no issue with lag. When traveling for extended periods the Mountie is a must-pack item for me. While that in itself isn’t a “strange” item, when I was working on Koh Lanta, Thailand everyone was curious about the Mountie!
From St. Christopher to Pokemon by Nic of The Roaming Renegades
I actually carry three things whenever we travel, and they come from a weird sense of superstition. The first two are a little bit more traditional. I have a St. Christopher medallion (the patron saint of travelers) which was given to my by my grandparents. Even though I am not religious, they are and I love that they gave it to me to keep me safe! The second is a Buddhist prayer card for good luck; we received this from a monk whilst at a temple in Tokyo on our honeymoon and we have carried one each ever since. We love the Buddhist traditions and the sentiments behind the card as well as the fact that is was given to us on our honeymoon…
But the most odd? A toy of the Pokemon character Zubat! It is always the first thing that I pack in my carry on and the sight of it always makes me feel strangely calm! It was bought in the departure lounge of Dalaman airport in Turkey in 2009 when I was majorly stressing out about our flight. As much as I travel, I hate flying and so Shorty bought it for me to make me feel better, and ever since it has become a good luck charm. When I get a bit nervous I pull him out and he always makes me smile!
The Tartan Tie by Gemma of Two Scots Abroad
There is no family tartan for ‘Armit’ so Craig chose his own, Earl of St. Andrews – it was the closest he could get to his name (his middle name is Andrew). For his 30th birthday, I surprised him with a Earl of St. Andrews tartan tie, in skinny form of course – never sacrifice style over being Scottish! Unbeknownst to me, Craig packed his tartan tie for our eighteen month sabbatical to travel the Americas and Europe, you know, just in case a ‘special occasion’ was to occur. Craig proposed in Vancouver back in October, so you never know! I’m just thankful he’s not been carrying his full kilt around!
Dollar Bill the Shrimp by Crystal of Castaway with Crystal
I came into possession of Dollar Bill after an epic New Years on Koh Rong Island in Cambodia. I’d done a full circle around SE Asia and come back to this island to spend New Years Eve with a couple of friends I’d made on the trail. After one of those messy nights where you love everyone near you, we watched the sun rise together in a ‘cuddle-puddle’ and vowed to always be friends. As we parted ways on the mainland ferry dock, Josh gave us all a knitted shrimp and told us his theory about “Spreading the Shrimp Money Love”. Shrimp Money is three things, and most people have the first two: positive vibes and happiness. Your pockets are already full with shrimp money. But you need a little courage to make it rain that shrimp money paper rain! If you have these three things then you are LOADED. So I took Dollar Bill and traveled the world spreading the Shrimp Money Love!
A Portable Washing Machine by Meg of Mapping Megan
There’s nothing I hate more than having to hand-wash while traveling. So now I always travel with a washing machine. The world’s smallest washing machine in fact!
The Scrubba Washbag is a must for every traveler – it’s a light and easy way to quickly wash your clothes while abroad, and a much more sanitary approach than hand-washing your clothes in a communal sink. It’s a pocket size device that weighs less than an apple and has hundreds of resilient nobules that act like a flexible washboard. It allows you to wash your clothes in minutes, and it easily slips into your backpack!
So yes, I travel with a washing machine! It’s light weight, compact, and self contained. And in 3 minutes your clothes are genuinely machine wash clean.
The Many Lost and Reincarnated Items from Marta and Boris of Roving Snails
We really tried to keep something several times, and almost always failed. Boris used to carry many dear things, but as we said they all got lost along the way… some of them are (well, were)
- His lucky shirt, with which he hiked and hitchhiked since teenage years (stolen with backpack)
- His gaiters, the first piece of mountain equipment he bought when he was 17, which he carried everywhere, just in case it was needed to climb a snowy mountain anytime anywhere… (stolen with backpack)
- A little glass bottle with sand of special places we reached together (dropped and stepped on by someone)
- A bag of amethysts we had found in Bulgaria… we actually felt it was nicer to give them away than keeping them (slowly given away)
- A woolen camel, gift of a Kazakh family that took us home (lost)
Only a brass stamp from Boris’ grandfather still survives, although it did almost get lost a few times… once in pretty scatological circumstances. From all the clothes and equipment he left home with, only a very broken pair of shoes and his polar came back with us. And I always carry a scarf, but it disappears or disintegrates along the way, and gets reincarnated into a new one…
In the photo we have one of the surviving scarves on my head (from Iran), and Boris with two necklaces (the stamp from his grandpa and a necklace made from shoelace from an Iranian rasta who gave it to him on the street…worn for months, then lost in unknown circumstances).
I am not sure we are interesting enough when it comes to keeping objects, things do not seem to accompany us for long. At least, we have the cat 🙂
Lego Figurines by Lauren at #LJOJLO
Lego Figurines, yes Lego figurines. My partner and I like to keep things mysterious and therefore like to remain semi-anonymous on our blog. Why you may ask? You know Sia, the singer, well no one actually knows what she looks like so when we become super famous (which is totally going to happen ha ha) no one will actually know who we are and we can still live normal lives. Genius plan, don’t you think?
So these Lego figurines represent us on the road. They were made when I visited the home of Lego, Denmark. I spent over an hour trying to create Lego figurines that best represented us. I am holding an apple because I am a teacher by trade and my partner, jlo, a microphone because he believes he is a great singer… I can tell your right now he isn’t.
In 2017, we are becoming full time travellers and these Lego figurines will be accompanying us to all the major sites including Machu Picchu, Antarctica, road tripping the USA, the Trans-Siberian Railway and many more. So please keep an eye out at www.hashtagljojlo.com for all the fun with some Lego Figurines.
A giant thank you to everyone who participated! And now I want a Lego version of me…