My husband and I took our 3 teenage sons backpacking through southern Spain and Morocco a few years ago for a month. For the cheap places we stayed in, I found that a sink/tub stopper was handy to have! We could soak our socks, undies and hang over chairs to dry.
We all carried a small notebook with our current hostel / pensione address and number in it (updated each time we moved of course). In the notebook I had written some Spanish / French (for Morocco) phrases they might need. We also all carried a photo of the whole family in case we lost someone, we could at least point to the person we were looking for! We had photos of each of our packs in our notebooks and the boys had photos of their skateboards. We had practised with the currency before we left so they had pretty good ideas of what was what when they were bartering for items (minimal shopping), eating out or whatever they were doing.
Dental floss and a large needle did an amazing repair job on a broken backpack strap.
We had an absolute blast and are planning another trip for this summer to Turkey and Iran. Boys are a tad older and their schooling is restricting us to summer travel.
Some things I find also useful:
- water purification tablets (for in case you are in the middle of nowhere and don't find any drinkable water)
- ear plugs
- some plastic bags
- a piece of rope
Haha! I thought of trying to get all the items all of you suggested and put them on my bed to see how many suitcases I could get all of them in. 8 or 9 suitcases? Maybe 10!
Ofcourse, it depends on where you travel. In my family (husband, wife and 2 teenagers) each of us has a 20" rollaboard and a totebag. Whatever you bring, you carry! Although I love my wife very much, I tried not to carry her stuff for a while(not when the woman travel with 3 or 4 pairs of shoes, and 15, 20 oranges, yes oranges). Now, everyone packs what is essential for his or her need. Different people has different needs. I think it is easier for us, men, to pack lighter than women.
Besides, some of the items already listed, for an oversea trip, I always pack my voltage changer. It is no bigger than your computer mouse, but it changes 220V to 110V for the electrical items which we use here in the US. Since I love photography, I must have my cardreader to transfer digital images from my compactflash card to CD along the way; and a tripot to take picture of me and family, without having to ask passerby to do it for us ( I have a small and very light tripot, fits inside my rollaboard nicely.)
Something else that can also be helpful:
Scan all your important documents, and put them on a website. In case you are robbed are lost something, you can go to an internet cafe and print them...
This is such a fun thread because it keeps popping up after hiding under the surface for a while.
Iloveflyin, your wife took 15/20 oranges with her; that would last me a year... I was laughing out loud here in the office when I read that; my fiancee wouldn't take oranges but I wouldn't put something like that past her
Coming to think of it, my dad has this story which involves him bicycling across the Nularbor (big desert in Australia) in his younger days and running out of water. He then found in a few separate places by the side of the road oranges lying in plastic bags and they served as his 'water'.... so I guess the moral of the story is that 'never leave home without oranges'
Keep the tips coming... this weekend it is update time for the packing list/travel tips etc. pages!
Just realised something about the whole tri-pod idea . .. . I've personally never really had the necessity of one, even with my unsteady hands. If I want to take a really clear picture I use a natural tri-pod: flat/smooth rocks, felled trees, bridge railings, street curbs, statue bases, car roofs (not with passengers in them or moving, obviously!), etc etc can be used and take up no room or weight in your pack. Or, if you have a travel partner with significantly better steady arms/hands you could get them to take the shot, just tell them what you want. I don't rely on foriegners who offer to get "both of you in the picture," because often these are clever (though not that clever) thieves. Not like my camera is worth stealing, anyway- it's a cheap 50-dollar-my-first-camera that has a crack in it and currently used-up batteries. My next one will have a timer on it so that I can place it on the ledge of something and then jump into the frame!
Another note about camera paraphernelia is something that I wished I had on my trip to Europe a few years ago. In the airport in Frankfurt I lost a whole bunch of film because the metal detector blanked it out. I've heard it doesn't happen in every airport, though, so I asked the guy by the metal detector. He said it wouldn't affect it. But he lied! Needless to say, I was very disappointed. This can be solved by getting a special film protector bag sold at photography stores (I can't remember the technical term for it, though). I will most deffinately be picking one up before I take my next trip that requires going through airports.
Either that, or develope on the road- I did in Germany because I was living in one place for 6 months. In Europe it tends to be more expensive if you want decent quality. The cheaper stores don't offer very good quality printing- kind of blurry and grainy
Anyone going to Nth America can find cheap 1-hour-photo shops all over- a really good one being Japan Camera. If you buy a camera there you get free film for a year. Also try London Drugs. You can also buy film that includes the cost of developing at Blacks, at a discount from doing it the regular way there, but it isn't one-hour.
So there you go! (I hope this isn't too off the original topic)
Did anyone say sleeping pills?
They are really helpful for overnight flights or overnight in airports or other not so comfortable, not so quiet locations.
Or for getting over jetlag...
Not so much something to pack, since everything appears to have been covered . . . . . . .
but to add to the debate about photocopies of essential travel documents . . .as well as leaving copies with someone at home, I am also using the travel vault on the YHA ekit . . .allows you to store details of absolutely everything, which you can then access via the internet or telephone . . .I thought invaluable for a lone traveller . . . .
No one has mentioned TUMS yet? Although delicious, foreign food doesn't always set right with the stomache (as I'm sure many of us know). Take a couple of TUMS tablets before a meal. It makes it easier for your stomache to handle the meal.
just spamming this forum to bring it to the top for Blondie.