Five Small (But Mighty!) Traveling Must-Haves
Travel is a great way to expose and immerse yourself in new cultures. Travel writer, Juno shares five things that she considers “must haves” but are still small enough that you can definitely fit them in your luggage!
Even after over 10 years of traveling, packing still stresses me out in different levels. The fact that I’m not a light packer is also something to do with it. We need to think straight and see what really is needed and what isn’t. We all know the major items to pack: Passport, Visa (if you need), travel insurance, cash, guidebooks, and so on. Every traveler has different details in their packing procedure, but I’m here to introduce the five small (but mighty!) items that you might want to take on your next backpacking trip.
We all had a handkerchief, or a hanky in our pockets while we grew up. The white cotton cloth ones are for little kids, and the flowery and masculine ones are for older women and men. It’s not exactly fashionable for young people, but it became one of the most important travel items during my recent travels. The handkerchief can be an eye mask in the airplane, a mask in a polluted city, a neck warmer, it can wipe off sweat during hiking, and my favorite feature of all–I can blow my nose without using a bunch of tissues all at once. Environmentally friendly and versatile; all around, it’s a must pack item in your bag.
My dad gave me a pocketknife for my first backpacking trip to New Zealand. It’s a knife, bottle opener, scissor, corkscrew, screwdriver, and more. ‘How many times do you think do you need a pocketknife?’ is a frequently asked question, but it’s totally up to an individual’s travel style. For me, it was always useful, especially if you are an independent traveler. If you are planning to camp at some point, you would want to pack it in your bag.
3. Travel Mug
I’m a lover of hot beverages, and I like it hot-hot. I travel with both a water bottle and a travel mug–trust me, they both come in handy. There are many different varieties of travel mugs, some of them are even combined with a French press or strainer. Don’t forget to pack a small amount of tea or coffee for emergency (or an instant pick me up!) With a travel mug, you can enjoy your coffee or tea anywhere, if you can get hot water. You can also bring your travel mug to your favorite coffee shop, and more often than not, take out coffee in your own travel mug can get you a discount (plus, you help save the planet).
4. Elastic Bands
I’m not a light packer; in fact, I’m the opposite of one, but I’m good at packing my stuff. My secret is elastic bands! When I pack clothes, I roll them up and tie them up with an elastic band. This technique saves me a lot of space! Elastic bands also come in handy for lots of occasions–it is useful when you fix something, can save your food by making sure the container doesn’t spill, can pull up the bottom of your hiking pants when it’s bothering you, can be temporary lock for the backpack zippers, organize small things in the backpack and tie my hair back. If you didn’t pack any, a produce band will also work very well.
You can get sarongs in any (or most) Southeast Asian countries. The one I picked up in Malacca, Malaysia 11 years ago still travels with me. It has been the best travel item over the years. It’s a scarf, sundress, towel, picnic blanket, and a blanket for an overnight bus ride. Sarong is very travel friendly as well; it’s much smaller than a towel and it dries quickly. Especially for female travelers in Asia, the sarong is also a great item to show your respect in religious places.
Are you going somewhere soon? Consider packing these five items!