My mum has been asking what I’d like for Christmas, and with little over a month to go, I started drawing blanks. My go-to answer is always in the form of tours or activities or experiences, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised how many practical travel accessories I could do with.
I’m not the best traveller when it comes to packing. Lots of bloggers swear by packing cubes, which I don’t have. Tons of people say that microfibre towels are the way forward, but I just packed towels that we’d otherwise be throwing out so that we didn’t have to buy more.
But these are two things on my wishlist for future travels, along with many other bits and pieces.
I also LOVE travel homeware and cute things with maps, and I’ve been finding a lot of both. Here are some things that should be on your wishlist too:
The aforementioned packing cubes! Stop sifting through every piece of clothing in your case and immediately grab what you need. I’m quite good at organising everything I own in a suitcase, but I still get frustrated sometimes when I can’t find what I’m looking for. “Finally found my black leggings! …nope, it’s another bloody black t shirt.”
I hadn’t really considered one of these a necessity until we settled down in a hostel in Australia without lockers. I’m now wishing we had one. The price has always put me off, but I think it’s a worthwhile investment! Even in Asia I occasionally found myself with a locker too small for my laptop.
This is another handy little packing essential that I had never really considered. For one thing, I’ve heard a lot that they feel weird – that they don’t really feel like they’re drying you. And I was happy to pack a “real” towel – in fact, we have one each. But the more I travel, the more I realise just how much space they’re taking up. And more importantly, just how little space a microfibre towel would take up instead.
Okay, I REALLY wish I had one of these. Do you want to know what I use for a toiletries bag when I go for a shower? A camouflage drawstring bag that I got free with Smash Hits! magazine. This is no word of a lie – I got it when I was about 10 and I’ve taken it on every trip I’ve ever taken! However, now that I’m travelling long-term, I have decided that this hanging holder would be THE MOST USEFUL THING EVER.
A genius gadget designed as a sun cream bottle, just big enough to hide your phone and a bit of cash. I meant to get one of these before I left but completely forgot!
I have a confession to make. I actually sold a solar phone charger when I was having our mass pre-travel clearout, thinking we wouldn’t really need it. Since coming to Australia particularly, I’ve realised how invaluable it would have been. We did a road trip for four days and my phone was basically dead for all of it – while we were able to charge in the car, there were four of us fighting over the charger. I’ve also stayed in hostels where there are virtually no plug sockets. When I went to AC/DC last weekend, it was very (very!) last minute and my phone died so I didn’t get any pictures, while my mate portably charged his on the train to the gig using a stick charger (I’m nicking his photos).
Let’s start with the basics, shall we? No traveller’s wall should be complete without one of these! Mine? Mine is attached to a cork board and full of push pins in all the places I’ve been. In fact, you can now buy a PIN BOARD MAP OF THE WORLD READY TO PIN YOURSELF! I know what I’ll be buying when I get home.
I LOVE vintage map things!! I’ve seen better clocks in kitsch homeware stores, but this one is cute!
Some more super-cute maps homeware that I definitely want to buy!
AWESOME TRAVEL THINGS
My number one “awesome travel thing” that should be on this list is an El Camino bracelet. El Camino was set up in England by travellers for travellers, and is a unique charm bracelet to represent your memories and experiences. It’s similar to a Pandora bracelet in that you can buy more “charms” to add to it – except it’s cheaper and completely travel oriented! You can buy a step for every country in the world, as well as regions and even custom steps. Get one for all your favourite countries in the world and map your travels on your wrist.
I am a sucker for cute travel journals, and this is why I can’t stay out of Paperchase. I came to Australia hoping to evade Paperchase for a few months, only to find they have an even BETTER version here (Typo). Here are some more to tickle your travel stationery fancy:
I also love looking at travel wallets. They can be really handy for holding all your important documents such as tickets, money insurance and passports. And there are so many cute ones out there!
Here’s a more practical one:
THINGS I ALREADY OWN THAT YOU SHOULD OWN TOO
An alternative to a travel journal, this is SO MUCH MORE! I love it! There’s a packing list complete with checklist, a pocket to keep tickets and stubs, and even a scratch map so you can mark off your journey and where you’ve been. This is the ultimate travel companion.
It’s a laundry bag that actually receives compliments. Enough said, really.
Okay, so I don’t actually own this, but I don’t know where my bag came from and this one is VERY similar in size and structure! Lots of inside pockets and secret stashaways make this an ideal “handbag” to travel with.
This is my laptop case, and it is awesome. Made by the same company as the travelogue.
Not as practical for travel, but I own this bag and also a matching weekend bag. I also own a matching purse – I’m not sure where else you can buy it any more! They’re all beautiful quality and I adore them!
If you don’t want to buy a guide book yourself, why not ask for one? I discovered these Marco Polo guides last year and ended up getting the Thailand and Vietnam ones given to me. These guide books are great – they’re not convoluted in a wall of text like some guides (I’m looking at you, Lonely Planet) and they’re much more compact. They also include separate maps of each country.
Will you be getting any of these for Christmas?!