Odd Items to Always Have In Your Travel Bag
I just finished a hike up in New Hampshire this past weekend and was thinking about some of the most necessary items I should have brought with me, but didn't. Things I could and would have wanted if I got lost, or met some unfriendly wildlife, or simply wanted to stay the night out in the woods that probably would have come in handy.
We've all traveled and have been somewhere and gone, 'Oh shit,' I should have brought ____ or packed the _____. If you haven't been in that kind of situation, maybe you haven't traveled enough (yet), but those moments will come, I swear to you. Whether you're out in the woods, desert, or in the middle of a foreign city, it's never wise to find yourself unprepared, and that's why I wanted to share a few things you should always pack when traveling (even if it's just out for the day).
Plus, I've been reading a lot of the 'Green Beret Survival Manual,' and while that has some more of the extreme examples of those kinds of situations in life, the moral of every story in the book is that you should never find yourself wishing you had something when you really need it.
Let's hop to it.
1) A Knife
You obviously can't take it in your carry-on backpack but put it in your checked luggage when you travel. After you get off the plane, you might need it. If you're in Paris, out on the mountain, or elsewhere, it's always a good idea to know how to use it, and to carry it. You should never 'plan' on using it, but always be ready to, just in case. It's a big world out there, and again better to be prepared.
Avoid a switchblade-type knife, and get a separate one other than a Swiss Army knife, and again, something like any of these should do the trick. You should be able to eat with it, and also defend yourself if need be.
2) A bandana
Ahhh, so many times I wish I had a bandana for either keeping the sweat off my brow, or for an abrasion of some sort. Whether you have long hair, need it to bandage a wound, or simply just want a handkerchief, bandanas may have been a thing of the 60's, 70's and 80's, but their uses never cease. Male or female, you will find a use for it, and it's better to have one in your day bag than to need it and not have it.
Trust me on that one.
3) A Shitty Pair of Sunglasses
Ever been somewhere and it's been overwhelmingly bright? Squinting sucks, that's why you should invest in a shitty pair of sunglasses you can sweat in and not really care about. Spend the 5$ somewhere and make those street vendors super happy by purchasing a pair of sunglasses you can go ruck around with.
They WILL come in handy, and you shouldn't care about them if you lose 'em either. They need to be rugged, plastic, and will probably not last you long, but cool kids always wear sunglasses when applicable.
P.S. If you want to invest in a real kickass pair of sunglasses, I would recommend Gatorz without a doubt.
4) An extra pair of socks and underwear
No shirt, no shoes, no problem? Might be true, but if you don't have a fresh pair of underwear and some clean socks on hand, that's a major problem. Anytime I fly, I ALWAYS ALWAYS pack a pair of fresh socks and underpants, just in case....
You never know if you're going to have a flight cancelled on you, or need to spend the night somewhere you don't want to, and I'll tell you what, there is NO better feeling in the world than putting on a fresh pair of socks and underwear. Even if you haven't showered in a day or two, putting on a clean set of undergarments will make you feel like an entirely new man.
Trust me again on this one. Male or female, pack it - and be thankful if you never have to use it for it's intended purpose.
5) A Compass / Swiss Army Knife
What year is it - 1492? Do people still use compasses? More importantly, do you know HOW to use a compass? Sure, you might know North, East, South, and West, but what about the map of the city or terrain you're hiking? Do you know which direction your accommodations are? Do you know where the sun sets based on where you are? What about if it's dark, or you don't have your smartphone on you?
You should read up on how to use a compass and always memorize where things are on a map in whatever locale you are in. You never know when you're going to actually need it and it's worth being prepared for. Whether outdoors, lost in the city, or worse - kidnapped, you should be able to find your way back without the use of Google Maps or Waze.
Also, throwing in the Swiss Army Knife for obvious reasons. If you don't have one, just get one, would ya?
6) A Book
If you don't have a good book with you when you travel, what are you doing? Traveling allows us to visit places outside of our normal daily routines and helps us really find ourselves.
Plus, have you ever been somewhere and wished you could just pull out a good book and soak in the scenery while you read? Never underestimate the power of a good book, and the impact it might have on you in a foreign place.
7) A Small Journal
I'm a writer. Not necessarily a good one, but I love to translate my thoughts onto paper. Whether I have my computer with me, or a good moleskin journal, I really do like to write my thoughts down and save them for later.
I've recently found some journals from my college years, and have come back around to read a few. What I was thinking, where I was, how I felt, good, sad, or bad, it's always insightful to look back and see where you've been. It will help you plan for the future and show you later in life just how much you've grown and have come to accomplish.
8) Water Tablets And a Water Bottle
Aquatabs probably have the most applicable use out of anything here on this list, but if you are traveling without them to a third world country (or even first world for that matter) then what are you doing?! Avoid water-borne illnesses by dropping a pill in your water bottle and stay hydrated.
They are $5 and can be bought in bulk on Amazon. Just buy 'em and always use a clean water bottle. It is not worth getting dysentery, typhoid and anything else you might find out there in the jungle.
If you have anything else you would add to this list, comment down below! I'd love to hear what some of your FAVORITE products are, and what else you would consider a somewhat, 'odd' item to bring with you on an excursion, but deem absolutely necessary.
If you have any other questions, reach uot to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org