Some of these 8 essential items may seem obvious. But they will be genuinely helpful and will make your life easier and more comfortable when the situation arises for their usefulness.
Sleeping bag liner
Unfortunately budget accommodation establishments are unlikely to have the best hygiene when it comes to bedding. A sleeping bag liner Is invaluable when sheets are too disgusting to touch, and handy when it’s too hot for a blanket but you want some covering. Silk and cotton liners are the usual fabrics, silk being most expensive. Silk liners are cooler, thinner, pack up smaller and are woven tighter to stop bed bugs getting to you.
The boy scout or girl guide in you should know that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. That wont help when you cant see the sun. You don’t need a fancy compass, or worry about being able to navigate accurately from it. A little button compass kept in your day bag will save you when you look at your guidebook map, and want to simply know which way north is. 90% of the time just knowing that will help you get your bearings.
Hopefully you arrive at your destination with a map in your guidebook of the local area. With a compass you can get your bearings before you get off the bus/train. Knowing that you’re near a landmark or in the centre of town will prepare you for those rip off by taxi drivers and touts when you stop.
A mini padlock can be used for securing multiple things. It probably wont put off a determined thief but it will thwart an opportunist one. Get two. One attached to your day bag and the other as a spare or for your main backpack. If I sleep on public transport, I lock up my day bag to stop hands dipping in. Some hotels have padlocks on the doors, presumably with spare keys. So my spare doubles up on that for extra security.
Whether on a plane, a bus, in your hostel above the local techno club, or to block out the snoring person in your bed. With these beauties you’ll get some solid sleep, or simply escape the madness that may be going on around you! Bring loads.
An invaluable item for those lacking strong mental arithmetic (me). With a simple pocket calculator you can quickly work out local prices into your own currency. If you’re struggling to communicate a price during while haggling, or having a change dispute, then you can whip out the old calculator and show them what you want.
Have you tried using a squat toilet during a power cut? It’s no fun. Walking down a dark, pot-holed road after a few beers? You’ll need a head torch.
Notebook and pen
Ahh…treasured memories. Write down your experiences and stories so you can re-live them in years to come. Also essential for jotting down insights, currency conversions, expenses, local phrases, directions, recommendations and that gorgeous girls email address.
Rain mack / Poncho
You may think you look silly in one of these, but in monsoon afflicted countries they are all the rage. Non technical in every way, but will keep you and your backpack bone dry when it pours on you. Which it will!
A little battery powered alarm clock will save you a lot of money on missed 4am bus journeys. Essential for those dreaded early mornings and more reliable than a hotel wake-up call.