Five Things You Think You Need For Long-Term Traveling, But You Don’t
by Jason -- December 8, 2010
In order to prepare for our year-long trip, we read through numerous websites about what things we should and shouldn’t pack. Overall, we did a pretty good job, but within the first 10 days of traveling we realized there were many things which we packed that we ultimately didn’t need. Here are 5 things you think you need for your long-term trip, but actually don’t.
- Nalgene Water Bottle – It seems like a great idea to always have a water bottle on you. However, these water bottles are bulky and can be a real nuisance when packing. Instead, I recommend buying a plastic water bottle while traveling and just refilling it. Water bottles are inexpensive and when you need to save space, simply throw it away. Don’t forget that in many countries that water isn’t potable (in which case I always recommend a Steripen).
- Voltage Converter – Don’t get this confused with a power plug adapter. Power plug adapters change your plugs to the correct form — they’re absolutely essential and also very cheap. Power voltage converters, however, adapt the voltage of your power cord to prevent it from frying your electronics. While this seems necessary, it’s actually not. In our flat world, nearly all power cords that you use now automatically do this. My laptop power cord is capable of handling between 100 volts and 240 volts. Make sure to read your electronics before plugging them in, but rest assured because nearly all electronics take care of the voltage for you. (Voltage information is typically found on the power plug itself.)
- Silk Sleeping Bag – Perhaps if I had a bad case of bed bugs on my previous trip, a silk sleeping bag would be on my “must-have” list, but I didn’t, therefore it’s on my “don’t bring” list. The idea behind silk sleeping bags is to use them instead of the hotel/hostel provided sheets. Silk sheets are sewn such that bed bugs can’t penetrate it, thus making them unable to bite you (apparently). I think they’re a waste of space and time. In the age of Internet reviews, your time is better spent looking up reviews about the hotel or hostel you plan on using and making sure previous guests haven’t gotten bed bugs. In fact, at most hostels or hotels, you’re strictly prohibited from using your own sheets, making silk sheets extra worthless.
- Extra Toiletries (Deodorant, toothpaste, etc) – Sure, you’re traveling to a foreign country, but you’re not going to the moon. Chances are, there are plenty of stores there with everything you need. You don’t need to pack 6-months worth of toiletries. Take what you need to start and then buy as necessary when you arrive.
- Money Belt – Some people swear by them, I’m not a fan. You should certainly be wary of where you put your wallet and passport, but I don’t think you need to go so far as to wear a money belt. They’re really uncomfortable and you look ridiculous when you need to get something out of them. Put your wallet and passport in your front pocket or better yet, buy pants with a zippered pocket.
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