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How to Make Your Travel Packing More Efficient and Never Overpack Again

The core of your travel experience is not just about what you see and do, it also involves what you bring along – how you prepare for the journey.

But it’s easy to bring too many things or even bring the wrong things.

How can you make sure you’re packing as effectively as possible?

Reduce Your Load as Much as Possible

Our first order of business comes down to the size of the bag you will carry and the actual volume of your packing list. Try and go with a smaller bag, especially just a carry-on-sized bag – this will encourage you to examine each of your packing list items more carefully and only pack what’s absolutely essential.


A good rule of thumb is to lay out everything you plan to take, then cut it down by half. Why? Most people tend to overestimate just how much they’ll need for a trip, with many of their items going unused.

Better to underpack than to carry excess; if you ever find you’re missing something at your destination, you can almost always buy/rent/borrow things locally.

Usually, the bulk of this packing involves clothing.

There are many articles that condemn the common habit of overpacking clothes and instead present a compelling case for minimizing the quantity and maximizing the functionality of the clothing items you do bring.

We’ll dive into that next:

Optimize Your Wardrobe

There are two main things to consider with clothing you’re interested in packing:

  1. its functionality/versatility
  2. its size and weight.

If you’re sticking exclusively to warmer climates, all you really need is a few changes of clothes – a minimum of 3-5 shirts and maybe 2 pairs of shorts.

That may not sound like much, but you’re not packing a year’s worth of clothes, you’re packing ideally no more than a week’s worth and doing laundry (which becomes a necessity if you’re on the road a long time). The more frequently you’re willing to wash your clothing, the less clothing you can get away with.

If you’ll be spending time in colder weather as well, there’s a bit more to consider.

The best packing strategy for cold weather is layering: picking lightweight pieces that insulate well and can be added or removed as the weather dictates.

This means that everything you wear as a layer in the cold can still be worn, individually, in warm weather, when a thick jacket would likely be overkill.

A note on fabrics: traditional materials like cotton and polyester may be fine for everyday life, but issues like odor and lack of moisture wicking after prolonged use can be a deal breaker for travelers.

Many travel experts tout merino wool as the ideal travel clothing material, as it wicks moisture effectively, insulates in the winter and breathes in the summer, packs down compactly, and is essentially inhospitable for bacteria (meaning you can wear it for months on end with no odor).

What about shoes?

3 pairs should be the absolute most, but 1 or 2 pairs is ideal.

These could include flip-flops, walking shoes, or hiking shoes that can also be stylish enough to wear for the occasional special event.

Finally, if you’re bringing two or three pairs, wear the biggest ones on the plane.

Keep Things Efficient and Organized

Another important facet of effective packing is not only what you choose to pack, but also how you pack said items.

What’s the most space-saving way to actually pack your items into your bag?

There are conflicting opinions out there, but many travel experts and veterans recommend rolling your clothes to maximize space and reduce wrinkles.

Some use rubber bands to tie up clothes and reduce space even further, and there are other travelers who fold all their garments into a big pile using the bundle method.

This should go without saying, but arrange your bag’s items by how frequently you use them; keep items you use every day within easy reach and the more special-occasion items towards the bottom.

Finally, packing organizers are a fairly recent development, having only really picked up steam within the past few years, but using them to organize your clothing and other items in your bag can reduce headache and make packing and unpacking so much easier.


Packing cubes often come in small, medium, and large sizes, so you can pack large clothing items like shirts or shorts/pants into a large cube and smaller pieces like socks or underwear in a medium-sized cube, while using smaller cubes to organize things like cables or fashion accessories.

Keep Some Other Minor, but Helpful Packing Tips in Mind

Look for ways to further pack down.

For example, you can reduce the number of toiletries you pack by using versatile multi-use items like Dr. Bronner’s soap, and don’t forget that many accommodations offer complimentary toiletries like body wash or shampoo.

If any of your electronics have the same charging connectors, don’t bring cords for each one; just take maybe 1-2 charging cables and power blocks.

If you’re traveling, especially long-term, look for a decent travel backpack, which is better for traveling and long-term adventures than suitcases or wheeled luggage. They’re easier to haul around and are less likely to make you stand out as a tourist/foreigner.


Use technology to your advantage. Life in the 21st century has given us gear and other electronics that get smaller and lighter each year. Instead of physical books, load a tablet or e-reader with ebooks. If you have a cell phone that takes great-quality pictures, simply use that instead of taking a bulky DSLR.

Lastly, one of the keys to packing efficiently is being able to discern between the most useful must-have items and the nice-to-haves. You want to pack things that will suit you well 95% of the time.

Bringing items that are only good for that remaining 5% aren’t worth the trouble and don’t constitute efficient packing.

Do you know of any other tips or tricks to pack more efficiently?

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Great Travel Gift Ideas Under $100

We’ve only got a few more days before Christmas! Do you already have your gifts lined up for the holidays, or are you still trying to think of the best gift for your travel-loving family and friends? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.

As a bonus, everything on this list has a price tag under $100 – perfect if you can’t spend too much this holiday season.

Here are some of our top travel gift picks:

  1. Pour-Over Brewer with Travel Mug, $22.95: Perfect for coffee aficionados who love a cup of brewed coffee on the go. It’s BPA-free and comes with a cone-shaped dripper for brewing. It also has an easy-to-close tab to avoid spillage.


  1. Anti-Theft Backpack, $99: This is well-suited for your friends who bring valuable things with them or who just want to be extra sure that they won’t lose their things while traveling. It has hidden zipper closures and is made of cut-proof material and a water-repellent fabric.


  1. World Travel Adapter, $14.15: This gadget is something that your traveling friends might like to have, especially if they carry a lot of gadgets with them that need to be charged. This small but amazing device allows the user to plug their device into any kind of power outlet anywhere, as it has an 8-pin AC socket that can be used with different kinds of plugs all over the world.


  1. Swimmer Bluetooth Speaker, $29.99: This next item is perfect for traveling audiophiles who want to bring their music along on their adventures. Why? You can mount it on your bike and ride with it or take it with you to the pool or ocean when you go out for a swim. It’s shockproof, and you can immerse it in up to 3 feet of water without this baby getting damaged! Amazing, right? Get it for only $29.99.


  1. OutdoorsmanLab Ultralight Sleeping Pad, $37.97: If you know a traveler who is fond of camping or backpacking on their adventures, this is the gift for them. This pad will definitely improve the quality of their sleep, as it allows them to sleep slightly above the ground on a softer base. And it’s portable, packing down into a tiny 8” x 3.5” case.


  1. Collapsible Mug, $14.78: Here’s another convenient item that a traveler can add to their packing list. This collapsible mug is made of silicone, which makes it easy to wash. It’s also microwaveable, which makes it even more convenient and easy to heat up. This cup also comes in different colors, so you can pick out the one that best suits your loved one.


  1. Rescue Tool, $12.95: This nifty gadget comes in handy for emergencies, especially if you get trapped inside a vehicle. It can break through glass windows in cars and can easily cut through a seatbelt. So this might be a good gift idea for your friends who enjoy taking road trips or who otherwise often ride in vehicles. (Warning: it’s not necessarily airplane carry-on safe – bring at your own risk!)


  1. Trekking Towel, $60: This is unlike an ordinary beach towel or your towels at home. This trekking towel was specifically made to make it easy for outdoors people to bring with them and not worry about the weight or space it takes up in their carry-on bag. It is lightweight and very absorbent; not only that, it dries up so fast you might hardly notice it even got wet in the first place. Last but not least, this particular towel offers sun protection (UPF) material.


  1. Compression Socks, $18.99-$24.99: One of the must-haves on our gift list is this pair of compression socks because not only do they protect your feet, they also aid in the circulation of blood in your legs, especially when traveling. This is also recommended for pregnant women and exercise buffs, as they help reduce stress on the legs.


  1. Multi-Tool Kit, $34.46: Would you believe that this handy-dandy item contains the things that you might need to survive in the great outdoors? It has a lid that works as a signal mirror, and it also has a nylon cord and emergency sewing kit. Neat, right? But wait, there’s more! It also includes a stainless steel wire, fishing kit, fire-starter, and compass. It comes equipped with a 100 dB whistle that can be heard over a mile away, too. This is definitely something that you want to give your friends or loved ones this Christmas. (Note: due to the knife, this item is also not carry-on friendly.)


  1. Grundig Mini Radio, $39.95: This mini radio is highly recommended not only because it is made by a well-known brand, but also because you can pick up AM, FM, and SW radio signals. It also comes with its own carrying case.


  1. Swivel Tool, $11.95: As one of the smaller items on our affordable travel gift list, this swivel tool disguises itself as a key. However, as soon as you unfold it, you’ll see that it’s not your typical keychain. It becomes a serrated knife, and when you place it at a 45-degree angle, it also becomes your very own Phillips screwdriver. It comes with a bottle opener, too. (Be wary about taking this one on planes as well.)


  1. Occles Eye Shades, $30: Finally, we’d like to recommend this pair of eye shades for travelers. It makes regular sleeping masks pale in comparison with its ergonomic design. You can use this not just while sleeping, but also while lazing around on the beach. It protects your eyes from harmful sun rays and its design helps prevent the dreaded “raccoon eyes” after a long sleep. The design of these eye shades allows you to keep it looped on your neck because of the flexible support that it has. You can now say goodbye to sleepless nights.


 

If you’re strapped for cash and still trying to think of what to give your traveling friend or family member this Christmas, we hope our suggestions here will help you in your search to find the perfect gift for them.

Happy Holidays to you and everyone on your list this year.

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The Christmas Gifts Wandering Travelers Want – and Need – This Year

The holidays are a time of giving and sharing. They also represent the time of year when we are getting ready to say goodbye to the past and welcome in the new year. With the turn of the calendar always comes some New Year’s resolutions.

One of our favorite resolutions to make get us out and experience more of the world through travel.

These gifts are perfect for the frequent traveler, or someone with such a bad case of wanderlust that you know it is just a matter of time before they take off on their own adventures. Check out our choices for travel gifts we know they’ll love.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Noise Canceling Headphones

Whether your traveler is just looking for a little more peace and quiet, or they need a device them helps them tune out background noise for important calls, these QuietComfort Headphones by Bose are sure to be an appreciated addition to their travel arsenal.

These wireless, noise canceling headphones allow the wearer to adjust the level of cancellation to suit their needs or the environment. And as always, Bose provides exceptional sound quality, making it possible to truly relax and escape into their music.

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Sim4Globe Prepaid International SIM Card

Don’t let lack of coverage put a damper on your favorite traveler’s adventures. Give them the gift of mobile coverage in over 190 countries. With this sim card they will automatically be connected to the provider with the best coverage, no matter where in the world they are, with their unlocked GSM phone.

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SOKOO Solar Charger

The very nature of travel and adventure means you never know just where you might end up. This also means sometimes finding yourself in unexpected situations where you might not be able to charge your devices when they run low.

The SOOKAR solar charger is extremely portable, foldable and waterproof, giving a traveler peace of mind wherever they are. It can even be worn on a backpack while biking or on foot. Also, great for camping and hiking adventures where there is a lack of options for plugging in and recharging.

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FOCUSPOWER F10 Mini Bluetooth Earbud

This small, hidden Bluetooth earbud is perfect for the life of travel. It easily connects to two separate mobile devices at one time, is discrete and has one of the longest battery lives of 6-8 hours of talk time.

This gift is perfect for travelers who frequently use Bluetooth technology, but want an earbud that offers extended life and comfort for those extra-long trips.

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SteriPen Ultra UV Water Purifier

Water is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, but that doesn’t mean that all of the world has safe, clean water. Many traveler’s “bugs” often start by drinking unpurified water. Even water that looks and smells clean can contain bacteria that the local population has built up a resistance to but can be devastating to a traveler just passing through.

Protect the health and well-being of your favorite traveler with the SteriPen water purifier. Simply stick in a glass of water and destroy 99% of viruses and bacteria.

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HYDAWAY Collapsible Pocket-sized Travel Water Bottle

It is important to stay hydrated while traveling, but sometimes carrying around an empty water bottle can be cumbersome. Enter the HYDAWAY collapsible bottle.

This BPA free bottle folds down so compactly when it is empty that it actually slips easily into a pants or coat pocket. Your traveler will love this compact water bottle as an addition to their travel essentials.

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Handpresso Outdoor Espresso Set

There are hidden little corners of the earth where you can find great coffee. There are also plenty of corners where that just isn’t an option.

Whether your traveler is heading to a place that isn’t known for its great coffee, or heading to the wilderness and wants to enjoy their morning espresso surrounded by the splendor of nature, the Handpresso Outdoor Espresso Kit is the perfect gift for the traveling coffee lover.

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Foldable Rain Boots

It’s a struggle trying to fit all of the essentials into a reasonable amount of luggage. Any well-seasoned traveler has needed to make sacrifices for the sake of saving luggage space. Now, being equipped for rainy weather doesn’t need to be one of those sacrifices.

These full size, foldable rain boots are a traveler’s dream. Compact, easy to clean, and the perfect accessory for travel days.

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Hidden Pocket Scarf

Give your traveler the ability to keep their belongings safe and secure while being fashionable at the same time. We are pretty sure that the hidden pocket scarf will be more appreciated than a fanny pack.

Stylish and unassuming, this scarf has a hidden pocket large enough to carry all of their necessities, such as a passport, money, phone, medications and hotel key cards. Plus, it carries it all without looking obvious or weighted down.

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Earth Pak Dry Bags

A true traveler never knows exactly where the adventure will take them, so they should always be prepared. This compact, foldable dry bag lets your traveler carry on in the adventure without worrying about dodging the sudden rainstorm or missing out on an impromptu kayak excursion.

Earth Pak bags have the best reputation around for being durable, and truly waterproof. They come in different sizes to suit the needs of your favorite traveler, with the larger ones capable of comfortably holding up to 55 pounds of essential travel gear.

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The Perfect Travel Companions

Merino Travel Kit
What does a traveler need more on a long flight than the comfort of their own blanket and a soft eye mask? The Parachute Marino Travel set is perfect for finding a bit of comfort and coziness when home is far away. Easily folds small enough to fit into carry-on luggage.

Buy Here

This year find the perfect gift that your traveler will love and actually get some use out of. There is a wide world, filled with adventure out there, waiting for each of us. Each of these travel gifts can make the experience of discovery even more enjoyable.

Happy Holidays to you and everyone on your list this year.

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Travel Gift Guide: Ideal Gifts for the Tech-Savvy Traveler

It’s very fun to have a friend who is tech-savvy and loves to travel. You may have seen some cool gadgets they take with them on their adventures, and you also might have a collection of keychains, fridge magnets, or other trinkets that they’ve given you.

This holiday season, try to return the favor! It’s not that hard to think of a gift for a tech-savvy traveler after all, right? The ideal gift should be useful, reliable, robust, and portable. It’s not really too much to ask for.

…Okay, so it might be a bit hard and complicated. But through this article, we’ll give you ideas about what gifts you can get that your tech-savvy traveling friends or family members will truly appreciate their adventures.

Richo Theta SC 360 Camera

Taking selfies with famous landmarks is nice. 360 pictures? Even better. With this HD 360-degree camera, travelers can immerse their friends and family in the places they’ve been! It’s also very easy to use compared to its competitors in the 360-degree camera market.


GoPro Hero 6 Black

The latest iteration of GoPro’s waterproof action camera has all the bells and whistles. With its sleek and simple design, a built-in 2-inch touch display, and features like voice activation and 240fps 1080p recording capability, GoPro has really dominated the action/sports camera market. These are just a few of several reasons why GoPro has become a household name with thrill seekers and adventurers.


Biolite SolarPanel 5+

Is your traveler going to a jungle? a desert? Without electricity to charge all their devices, their gadgets will be useless. But with a Biolite solar charger, as long as they have the sun above their heads, no electricity won’t be a problem. This Biolite solar charger also comes with an integrated sundial that shows you the most effective way to align it with the sun, and it stores unused electricity in its 2200mAh onboard battery for later use.

Yatra Aquatune 9612 Portable Speaker

If your travelers love both listening to music and going on hardcore adventures, this portable speaker is for them. It’s not just waterproof – it’s also shockproof and dustproof. This device can satisfy any ear, whatever the surrounding conditions are. It also features a nifty hoop to latch it outside a bag or backpack, saving precious internal space for your traveler’s other items.


Sennheiser Momentum Wireless Headphones

Is your traveler in for a long flight? Have they had to put up with unwelcome noises like snoring and screaming babies before? They don’t have to look rude anymore, because these headphones will help them screen out all those noises. Their 22-hour battery life means that they’ll survive the entire flight. They might be a bit pricey, but everyone will agree that serenity is priceless.


Mophie Powerstation XL

With this power bank, you can charge your phone and tablet at the same time. The Mophie Powerstation XL features two USB ports and a lot of juice (10,000mAh) so that you can charge your phone three times over. With a gadget like this, tech-savvy travelers can charge their devices on a day-long outing or prudently save themselves (or their friend) from having to hunt for open power outlets in crowded airports or hostels.


DxO One

Is a DSLR too big to fit in your traveler’s backpack? Maybe they’re not satisfied with the quality of their smartphone’s camera either? No worries, the DxO One camera is the perfect solution. Slightly bigger than a matchbox, this camera has a pro-quality 20.2-megapixel sensor that performs well even in low light. It can be connected to an iPhone via the Lightning port or function as a point-and-shoot standalone camera. Waterproof shells are available for those who are planning on a more adventurous trip.


SAMSUNG Portable SSD T5

Nowadays, we all need flash drives. They’re kind of like a modern digital filing cabinet where we can store not only pictures, but videos, music, and movies as well. But most of the time, flash drives can’t hold that much storage. If you don’t have a cloud backup, you’ll be forced to delete some of your files. The solution: a portable SSD. The SAMSUNG Portable SSD T5’s capacity options range from 250GB to 2TB. It holds quite an unbelievable amount of space for such a small thing. Weighing in at only a few ounces and with a physical size close to that of a business card, it’s a great example of how far technology has come.


Zagg Pocket Keyboard

Imagine a scenario where you’re out traveling with no laptop or nearby computer available, and you suddenly receive an urgent email, maybe from work or from home. But typing out a full email on your phone’s keyboard can be tedious, and you probably hate your phone’s annoying autocorrects just as much as I do. Zagg Pocket Keyboard makes typing on mobile devices a bit easier. Just connect it to your phone and you’ll compose that email in a jiffy.


Travel Tripod

Nowadays, anybody who travels also loves to document their adventures through photos and video, and a good tripod can mean the difference between a decent shot and a spectacular one. However, full-size tripods are bulky and may not fit in a traveler’s bag. Enter the flexible, more portable travel tripod. There are several brands available on the market to choose from, but this ultra-compact GorillaPod from JOBY is a particularly good choice that’s rated highly on Amazon.


If you’re not a serial traveler and/or not really a techie, it can be hard to think of the perfect gift for your tech-savvy traveling friends or family members. But with a little thought, you can pick out the perfect gift by considering what kind of traveler they are and their unique travel needs. We hope that this guide will help you figure out the ideal gift for your techie traveler.

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Ultimate Gift Guide for Solo Travelers

It’s that time of year again when most of us are starting to think about the things we want to give our loved ones, including those friends or family members that are fond of traveling or jetting it from one place to another.

We have to admit that it’s kind of difficult to find that perfect gift, especially if you’re not familiar with what items solo travelers usually bring. But don’t worry! We’ve compiled a list of the perfect gifts for solo travelers.

1) Mobile Food Survival Kit

The first to make it on our list is the Mobile Foodie Survival Kit. This cute but nifty set of containers holds your favorite assorted herbs and spices. This is perfect for solo travelers that cook on their outdoor adventures. The containers are not labeled, so you can reuse them for different spices. Each container can hold up to 1.5 teaspoons of herbs and spices.

2) Scratch-off Map

Another great gift idea is the Scratch-off Map. This is perfect for those solo travelers who go to different parts of the globe. This will allow them to mark off the places they have been to. The beauty is in the unraveling of the different countries as they get scratched off the map.

3) Travel Journal

Here’s another gift solo travelers could make great use of: the Scratch Travel Journal. It is the perfect complement to the aforementioned Scratch-off Map, and it offers your intrepid adventurer a travel planner, checklist, and diary rolled into one.

4) MiniPresso GR Espresso Maker

Does your travel junkie also enjoy coffee? Then this next item is perfect for them. The MiniPresso GR Espresso Maker is a mini espresso machine which comes with its own scoop and cup. It’s efficient, easy to use, and what’s more, you can use any variety of coffee bean and get the same quality result for your cup of coffee. Perfect for a cup of coffee anywhere that your traveling friend chooses to carry this baby.

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5) Packing Cube

Next on our list is the Packing Cube. Packing cubes allow for easy packing and unpacking of clothes, and they can also be used to separate dirty laundry from clean clothes. Plus, it makes it easy for your globetrotting friend to quickly find what they’re looking for inside their suitcase.

6) Parka

If your traveling friend is heading off to cooler climates, then this parka from Uniqlo would be the perfect gift for them this season. It is light, comfortable, and insulated with premium down for superb warmth, especially for long cold nights. It’s not bulky, which makes it easy to pack and store.

7) Emergency Blanket

While we’re on the subject of keeping warm, one other item that you may want to consider giving your travel-savvy friend is an emergency blanket. This amazing item can easily be stored and pulled out for those times when there are sudden drops in temperature. It is lightweight and compact, and you will hardly notice that it’s in the bag.

Dry Sack

Another item that’s ideal for the solo traveler is the dry sack. This item is useful for storing electronics or other items that you want to keep dry or protect from moisture, since this storage bag is waterproof. It’s perfect for those friends who are into water sports or go on travel adventures that expose them to the elements. It also comes in different colors, so you can pick out the one that your solo traveler likes.

9) Multipurpose Shoes

Any traveler knows how much packing space bulky pairs of shoes can take up. This multipurpose shoe is lightweight, with a soft cushioning material that makes it perfect for taking long walks outdoors. It also has breathable material, so that even if it is worn for long periods of time, it will not smell. Multipurpose shoes are available for both men and women.

10) Travel Hammock

Looking for a comfortable way to sleep while enjoying the cool outdoor breeze and the night sky? A travel hammock will do the trick. It is easy to carry because of its lightweight material and can be used for camping, hiking, or simply lounging around the campfire. It is so sturdy that it can carry the weight of two people or up to 400lbs.

11) Travel Pillow

A unique item that makes it on this list is this travel pillow from. This pillow is not your ordinary kind of travel pillow, because when you first see it, it actually looks like a scarf because of its unique ergonomic design. It’s specifically designed to support the neck for those long hours of land or air travel. It’s also easy to store and it easily attaches to your luggage.

12) Filtered Water Bottle

Another must-have for the solo adventurer is the filtered water bottle. It allows your traveler to take a refreshing drink without worrying about the cleanliness of the water that they are drinking outdoors or in an unfamiliar place. This bottle comes equipped with a filtered straw which cleanses out the bacteria and doesn’t leave any aftertaste. Perfect for people who love to camp or hike.

13) Travel Iron

A cute but handy item that you can add to the growing list of choices to give your solo traveler is the iron. This is not your regular kind of iron. It is small and lightweight so it will occupy minimal space in their bag. What’s more, it comes with its own travel bag and measuring cup. This iron can steam clothes and can remove all kinds of wrinkles from all kinds of fabric.

14) Bag Scale

Finally, to ensure that your solo traveler’s baggage does not exceed weight limits, a scale would be the ideal gift for them. It is portable, small enough to easily fit in a pocket. It has an LCD display that shows the weight of the luggage.

So now that we’ve given you the lowdown on some gift ideas for your wandering friends/loved ones this coming holiday, you can be sure that they won’t be lacking anything, whether they’re roughing it in the great outdoors or globetrotting throughout different parts of the world.

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Items That Should Be on Every Traveler’s Packing List

There are a few staple items that you will probably find in every traveler’s bag until the end of time. A passport. Toiletries. An assortment of clothing. Maybe a journal, laptop, or money belt. But there are a few other items that, while they might not be as ubiquitous as the usual packing list items, can be extremely useful. These often-forgotten packing list items are invaluable for saving you in a pinch or for simply taking your traveling to the next level:

Paracord

Paracord is standard string/twine on steroids. Even the survival prepping community unanimously recommends carrying paracord with you because of how versatile it is; when it comes to possible uses, you’re really only limited by your imagination.

Use it to tie items together, or secure them to the outside of your bag. A long piece of paracord, or even short pieces tied together, makes for a great clothesline to hang your laundry. Some more uses for paracord include, but are definitely not limited to:

  • compressing items like clothing
  • reinforcing a tent or other shelter
  • replacing missing shoelaces or bag straps
  • using as a self-defense tool
  • fashion small items like lanyards or slings
  • using as a clothing accessory, like a belt or bracelet

There are also many uses for the strands within the paracord casing:

  • temporarily sew up holes
  • use it as fishing line
  • stitch up wounds in an emergency
  • make an emergency snare or tripwire
  • even improvise dental floss, if you’re so inclined

Sarong (or similar piece of fabric)

Most seasoned travelers know that clothing takes up the most space in one’s bag. It’s no secret that sarongs are great in that department, being versatile enough to serve as a scarf, shawl, or (if you’re a woman) a skirt or dress.

But what makes sarongs great isn’t just their flexibility as a clothing piece; a sarong can also serve several other useful purposes, such as:

  • a towel for general traveling or a day at the beach
  • a blanket for a picnic
  • an airplane blanket if you’re cold on the flight
  • an emergency bed sheet or blanket for a sketchy hostel bed
  • a privacy screen or curtain
  • a swimsuit wrap
  • a rudimentary bag/daypack
  • in an emergency, an impromptu tourniquet/sling/bandage

So this one’s not only for the ladies; men who travel could find many uses for a sarong as well!

Multi-tool

It’s vital to carefully examine every single item on your packing list since space is at such a premium when you pack your entire life into a bag or backpack for a trip.

What’s one of the best items to pick up to maximize functionality while taking up very little space?

Enter the multi-tool.

These nifty gadgets often sport a small knife, a pair of scissors, pliers, a screwdriver, a bottle opener, and more all rolled up into a compact device that easily fits into your pocket. The combination of versatility and portability with these is practically a godsend for travelers and backpackers, who often find themselves in a host of different situations where multi-tools can prove extremely useful.

Keep in mind that traveling by air with a multi-tool in your carry-on luggage can be an issue, as most airline regulations will treat it as a weapon. There are particular “TSA-approved” or “travel-safe” multi-tools available on the market, but if you’re traveling with one, your best bet would be to put it in a checked bag, just to be sure.

Portable Charger

In the age of electronics, a portable charger that can charge your phone, tablet, or other electronic gear on the go can be another handy item to include in your packing list.

It can give you peace of mind to have a backup power source at the ready if you’re miles from the nearest plug-in. And if you like venturing deep into the great outdoors but still don’t want to go completely off the grid, a solar charger might be something to consider as well.

Small Packing List Extras

Additionally, there are several small, versatile items that may not be absolutely necessary but would be great to bring along regardless, as they can be useful in a variety of situations.

Duct tape can be a great all-around quick-fix. Use it to seal holes in shoes, backpacks, clothing items, or seal up leaky containers. Mark your belongings, use it as a bandage, or use it to prevent your feet from getting blisters. Others have gotten even more creative with duct tape, using it as a rope, clothesline, or even flypaper in buggy dorm rooms.

Carabiner clips can be used as a theft deterrent, holding zippers closed. They’re also great for latching items to the outside of your bag, like a water bottle, shoes, a stuff bag, sleeping bag, or yoga mat.

Rubber bands are ideal for keeping your bag organized, from compressing clothes so they take up less space to wrapping up cords and cables. They’re also useful for keeping containers or bags of food or other items closed up.

Safety pins are great for closing things up and keeping them closed in a pinch, like unexpected holes in your bag or clothing. Clip two zippers together to keep your bag more secure and deter thieves, or use a pin as a zipper pull if it’s fallen off.

Plastic bags are also nice to have. You can use them to store food for later consumption, and larger plastic bags can be used to compress clothing, keep wet or dirty things separate from the rest of your bag’s contents, or keep items dry when you’re around water.

A packing list isn’t just about what to wear or how to maintain your personal hygiene on the road. Including versatile items such as these not only saves space and unnecessary expenses, but it’s also wise in helping ensure that you’re prepared for the variety of situations you’ll face on the road.