A message to our readers
None of us will be traveling anytime soon, but it doesn't mean that we will stop dreaming about it! Until we can travel again, we will continue to publish Solo Traveler and support the companies that treat solo travelers well.
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With thanks, Janice, Tracey, Simon and Tycko
From clothes to travel gear to bits and bobs, I travel light.
I've told you what I take traveling in my Bare Minimum Packing post. But the travel gear on that list is specific to me. It's my personal list. And while everyone needs the same clothes (shoes, pants, jackets…), we don't all need or want the same travel gear.
In addition to my packing list post, I've already given you my essential gear, including my camera and other technology on the Gear & Books page. So let's forget about me. Let's focus on you and your travel gear recommendations for solo travelers.
To accomplish this, I did as I often do, I asked the Solo Travel Society on Facebook for their opinions. The result is travel gear recommendations I would not have thought of. I've added links when I can.
Bottom line: I hope you discover a solution, find an easy fix, or solve a travel challenge with these recommendations from your fellow solo travelers.
Travel Gear: What to Take When You Travel
Jory – I highly recommend packing cubes – especially if you'll be moving locations every couple of days, they make the process much easier. Bring an extra one for dirty clothes and half your job is done!
Beck – Ziploc bags (the zipper kind), wet wipes, crystal rock deodorant, quick-dry undies (ExOfficio – they aren't kidding when they say you can get by with 1 or two pairs for an extended trip). Here's a link to all ExOfficio underwear on Amazon.
Elly – Universal travel adapters (I always carry 2: one for my laptop/tablet and one for my mobile phone or camera). And if you're a vainpot like me, a small can of dry shampoo (I love Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo) and sunscreen (at least SPF50; I swear by Diorsnow by Dior) and I never, ever travel without a lip balm! (Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. For first aid kit: plasters (band-aids), pain killers, charcoal pills, histac (for gastric attack), sore throat lozenges, and a small bottle of cough syrup.
Janice – Save plastic water bottles with the Grayl Ultralight Water Purifier. A standard water bottle is fine for some travel but the Grayl is needed for travel to places where you're not confident in the water. I've used it for camping and it worked great though you do need to have a stable base on which to plunge the filter. A kayak is not stable enough.
Tracy – If I could only take three things with me, I'd bring my passport, my Visa card, and my iPhone, and I'm pretty confident I'd be okay. That being said, I love my timbuk2 commuter bag (here's a variety of timbuk2 commuter products). It holds my MacBook, my DSLR camera, and enough other ‘stuff' to serve as my only bag for short trips. And it makes getting through airport security breeze.
Phill – Body Glide is an anti-chafe product you can even put on your feet. It comes in a stick/roll-on. It's a life saver! Totally prevents blisters! (Here's a variety of body glide products) My iPad/tablet is ideal for travel – slips in the outer pocket of my carry-on. It's much easier than my laptop! I always download a few movies in advance in case I don't like the selection on the plane. Also, always extra socks. A clean, cool pair of socks does a world of good after a lot of walking.
Tracey – Our editor has tested this herself and she loves this sleep mask that doesn't touch her eyes. The Dream Essentials Sweet Dreams Contoured Sleep Mask comes with a set of earplugs in a drawstring bag.
Jeffrey – A Swiss Army Knife works wonders at fixing random things (Note from Janice: don't plan to take this in a carry-on). Aspirin for those pesky hangovers. And my Tilley hat. Also, unlike the last poster, the iPhone stays at home. What is the point of going halfway around the world, just to be glued to your smartphone and tablet?
Tracey – Here's another from our editor. The Demi Hugger is an adjustable travel strap that securely attaches most travel items such as a backpack, laptop bag, purse, or shopping bag to your roller bag making carrying all your gear easy. Get the Demi Hugger on Amazon.
Sally – iPad, camera, heavy duty moisturizer for plane travel, portable clothesline! I take small padlocks for my backpack; if someone really wanted to rip them off they could but I figure it deters pickpockets. Also I put the built-in rain cover around my backpack and padlock it when checking it in, that way it's easy to see if it's been tampered with when you pick it up at the other end.
Lamb – Here are a variety of Travel security locks to protect your gear, your hotel room, and more.
Andrea – iPhone, Power Pack for iPhone and More, I do bundle wrap packing method & travel with my travelite carry on roller (weighs just over 4lbs, hybrid case, hard back, soft front). My pacsafe Metrosafe 200 crossbody shoulder bag. Those are my essentials.
Jfur – A smartphone has many uses including: flashlight for late night dorm entries, digital versions of guide books, maps, GPS, phone, computer, free (or near free) international calls with Skype, weather information, translators, currency and measurement converters, music, movies, books, calculator, camera for posting and staying in touch with friends and family, address book, notepad, journal, photo processor, road conditions, mirror, with headphones it becomes the perfect way to drown out that snorer, entertainment during long waits, etc.
Stephanie – Absolute requirement: Vaseline. On the feet EVERY DAY to prevent blisters. And insect repellent if between April & October.
Chris – I've never used or needed to use a first aid kit. Never used my army knife. I've traveled on 2 pairs of underwear and a pair of boxers for sleeping – ExOfficio is the best brand for this. Wet wipes are great for hot days or those toilets that hardly flush and have no toilet paper in the middle of nowhere!
Lee – Duct tape and now zip ties since I lost the button to my pants and had no belt! Try to find a button in a foreign language. It was interesting
Karen – A must for me are tablet/laptop, hiking boots, my two cameras, credit card, some cash, and a watch, all either on me or in my small hiking backpack. Everything else I can get on my way.
Lorri – Ace Bandage with Velcro Closure and an instant ice pack.
Heidz – Safety: I bring whistle, MINI first aid kit and flashlight. Technology: iPad/phone(in case of emergency to get in touch with loved ones at home and to navigate streets before I start), chargers, travel adapters. Other essentials: Ibuprofen, cough drops, feminine hygiene products, the to-go Clorox Wet Wipes/Cottonelle Fresh Care, key chain hand sanitizer, sunscreen, Febreze/Lysol in a small container, corn cushion in case my toes get pain, extra padlock/travel bag, flip flops use in a shower room, and I save the water bottle they give on the plane to use later.
Man On The Lam – A tablet for portability, small padlock, plastic or ziplock bags, headphones, small bag or backpack to use during the day.
Dianne – As little as possible. Netbook (I work wherever I am), Galaxy SIII, credit card, clothing, toiletries. Less than one full suitcase for 10 days. (There are laundromats, you know!)
Josh – Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier are an absolute bargain for what you get! I've had mine for almost 5 years. I've used it traveling, holidaying, walking, mountaineering, on exercise, and at home! I haven't even had to sharpen the blades yet, and the quality is outstanding, if a little on the heavy side. (Note from Janice: this can't be carried onto a plane in your carry-on luggage.)
Allison – The LL Bean toiletries bag is my absolute favorite thing. It's like a traveler's version of the shower caddy you used in college.
Don't Take it All
Travel gear can be enticing but much of it is really unnecessary. I see some of the above as really valuable but some wouldn't suit my travel style at all. I hope the recommendations of your fellow travelers are useful but I also hope that you don't add unnecessary weight to your backpack or luggage.