Travel Hacks you asked? Here are some tips from the pro himself
Life on the road is not as glamorous as most make it out to be. A lot of the time it really is living out of a backpack with the creature comforts of home seemingly a world away.
After almost a year of traveling I’ve picked up a few travel hacks that help make things easier. Although not the most comprehensive list, it may provide some useful tips for those of you embarking on an upcoming trip.
Clockwise from top left…
– The first thing you need is a good backpack. Considering backpacks run into the hundreds of dollars and it’s something you’ll be strapping to your back long term, it’s important to pick the right one. So what is the right one? Well, to be brutally honest, you have to go and try each and every one on until you find one that feels right! This may mean walking around the store with the backpack on for a while. Ones with lots of strap adjustments is good too as it allows you to adjust the backpack to your body type.
It’s a very subjective task but some things to look out for is the open flap style (as pictured). Opening up like a suitcase makes it easier to store and retrieve things. Some European brands have the opening at the top which is a real pain as you’ll have to remove everything in order to get to the bottom.
Other features I find useful is locks/hooks on the zippers for security purposes. After all, you will be sharing a room with complete strangers.
– Eye mask and ear plugs. If I need to explain to you why you need these then, you deserve to lose some sleep.
– Battery pack and USB memory stick. Taking pictures and GPS usage really chews up your phone’s battery. A battery pack really helps for the longer days or road trips, especially after a long flight/bus/train and you need to turn on your GPS to get your bearings right. A USB stick is to store all your valuable photos just in case you lose your phone or max out your cloud storage.
– Sunglasses. Not necessarily for UV protection but for those days you want to sit at a cafe all day and people-watch (without everyone thinking you are a creepy pervert!).
– A good day-pack. Quite simply, something with a lot of pockets/compartments! Mine has drink bottle holders, added straps/hooks, an inbuilt rain-cover plus air-flow system to help alleviate the nuisances of sweat. These days you can get one at any market at a very decent price. Again, zippers with holes large enough to pack-lock through is an added security benefit.
– A rain cover/backpack protector – I always have one on my backpack to protect it from wear and tear, as well as from getting dirty. Trust me, your backpack cops a hammering from all those buses and flights. And if you ever needed to wash your backpack you’ll discover not only is it a hassle but it takes days for the thick padding/sponge components to dry out. Worse off, if your backpack is damaged, that’s another few hundred dollars out of your budget.
– Bike lock – great for securing your backpack to a fixed object (i.e bench) when you quickly need to duck off to the toilet i.e bus terminal, airport etc. Also good for overnight trains or when you have to leave your backpack in the hostel luggage room. Of course you will occasionally use it to lock your rented bicycle too!
– Luggage strap – Used to make a line across your bunk bed that can be used as A) a clothes line to dry your clothes or B) to hang up your towel or sarong as a privacy curtain.
– Sarong– One of my favourite items. It’s lightweight and acts as a beach towel, scarf and privacy curtain. Every now and again it does get used as a sarong but that’s a different story altogether wink emoticon
– Thongs/flip flops/jandals – Ok so almost every backpacker has one but they’re not just solely for walking. I always have a pair of rubber ones that I use as slippers around the hostel and most importantly for when I shower. Shower? Why? Let’s put it this way, showers aren’t just used for washing and residual body fluids is quite commonplace. Yes I’m talking about masturbation.
This post was written by a guru traveler and friend, Joe Le. Joe is from Sydney and has truly learned the ins and outs of every city and country he has visited. He has another way to see things and he reflect this in his posts, his writing is not only humorous, but also informative. Joe is also, by far, one of the best cooks we’ve ever met. Follow him on his tumblr page. Joe was also feature in the blog Medellin Salsa Tours where this post was first published.
Thank you Joe!