Travelling is easy, but getting travel right is a bit of an art form.
There are so many different aspects you need to think about, from choosing a destination to deciding who to go with; working out what you’re going to do while you’re there, and finally deciding what to pack! I’ve done a post already on what I always take on long-haul flights, because no-one likes to be stuck for 19+ hours realising they’ve packed all the little odds and sods that they need in their checked baggage, but this is my ultimate kit list for all eventualities.
General must haves
Travelling solo is fab. You meet so many people along the way, and the adventures you have are countless. However, there are plenty of times when you’re in your hostel or hotel at night, and the thought of having to do anything more than put your pyjamas on and curl up on your bunk makes you feel exhausted. Cue Amazon Prime. You can sign up for a free 30day trial, and if you like it, it rolls over to just £7.99 a month. If not, just cancel within the 30 day period and it wont cost you a penny! Less than the price of two beers back home for unlimited streaming. Also handy if you’re stuck at the airport for hours on end.
North Face 90l Waterproof Bag.
There are pros and cons for all of the different types of luggage out there. Do you get a hard case with wheels? Do you go for something lighter and more versatile? I personally only ever take this bag with me. It fits everything I’ve ever needed and has really thick shoulder straps that are comfortable to lug even the heaviest of kit around on your back. There are great little loops all the way along each side, and it’s the perfect size to bungee cord onto the back of a motorbike!! (Can’t do that so easily with a hard suitcase!).
Super Sparrow Water Bottle.
I cannot emphasise enough just how great this bottle is! Pretty much everyone I know has one now, and they all sing its praises! I first used it to take to Spain last summer, and left it on the back shelf of the car for the whole day while we went galivanting about. When we came back, I was expecting disgusting warm water, but no word of a lie, it was still icy cold. It comes with a bamboo lid, a sip lid, a small carabiner and a cleaning brush for the nozzle and internal straw. (It’s also for hot drinks, but I’m a sucker for my smaller thermal mug so I’ve never tried it).
Lifeventure Thermal mug.
On the other end of the heat scale, this mug is always tucked away in my bag because I haven’t found one that keeps your coffee as perfectly warm as this one. Piping hot for a few hours, and the perfect temperature for drinking even at the end of a very long day. I went on a paragliding course with my mum recently, and 9 hours after making the coffee, it was still piping hot to drink on the way home to try and keep my exhausted body awake!
This is by far my favourite notebook I’ve ever bought. It may seem weird fawning over a notebook (I have a major stationary obsession), but the cover is so smooth and the paper inside makes me want to lose hours scribbling away! Its also small enough to tuck in your handbag or jeans pocket to take with you wherever you go. I’m already halfway through filling my current one, and am going to treat myself to a new one before my next travels 🙂
Waterproof MP3 Player.
I wish I had a stack of these in my bag whenever I went swimming, because not only would I have made a fortune by now selling them on, I would also avoid having to let someone do a lap with my own one while I stand there (in the middle of my training session) while someone tries it out! 🙂
Even though I love swimming, I get really bored after a few minutes in the pool, but having an mp3 playing all of my music really passes the time. I start my playlist off nice and chilled for the warm-up, then get some bangers going to help me put in that last bit of effort when I’m starting to tire! Easily plugs into your computer to transfer songs.
This is by far the BEST thing I might have ever packed! Long haul flights suck and so on a flight I recently took from Wales to Vietnam I thought I’d give it a go just to see if it would help. It was recommended to me for long haul flights to not only give you a more comfortable position for flying (I always get killer achey legs and a bad back sat in one position for hours), but apparently it’s also meant to help combat DVT as it keeps your legs gently moving. I cannot emphasise how much easier it made the flight!! One foot up, two feet up, tucked higher, stretched lower – I am so fidgety but this made it all ok! I am seriously never ever ever going on a flight without this again!!!
The actual clamp on this GoPro Jaws Flex Clamp is insanely strong. Ive used it for rowing, cycling, surfing and paragliding, and that thing is not letting go! It has a pull strip inside the jaws to make the clamp bigger or smaller, so will fir most things you could think of attaching it to. Its also flexible but stiff, so it doesn’t flop around all over the place when you want it to film in one direction. Great for action sports and travel.
If you haven’t jumped on the Kindle bandwagon yet, where on earth have you been? As a traveller this is invaluable! Imagine being able to carry more than 3000 books in your handbag? Oh wait, you can!
I admit I do miss the feel of a paperback, but when you plough through a few books a week when you’re on holidays, you really can’t beat it. Click on the banner below too for some great books to get you going!
Cycle Touring or Camping Kit
Cycle touring or camping as a form of travelling is a bit different to the normal type of travelling that people do as you have to carry every little thing that you need for all sorts of different eventualities, often with the knowledge that you may not find a hotel or place to stay for the night if things go wrong. For that reason, it’s especially important to make sure you have all of the right kit! The following are things that I probably wouldn’t stress too much about packing for a normal holiday, but that might make all the difference when you’re out in the wilderness 🙂 Saying that, a lot of it still goes in my bag whatever type of trip I’m doing!!
These cycling shoes.
Since doing my Hanoi to Saigon cycle trip, I’ve been asked numerous times about where to get these shoes, because they are quite simply amazing. Made from a combo of a sort of wetsuit material around the top, with a breathable mesh and a solid frame, they keep your feet cool even in the hottest and most humid climate (tried and tested!), and are incredibly easy to wash and dry quickly whenever they get too disgusting.
I found then great for riding in the torrential rain too, as the water is able to easily drain and dry out again once you’ve stopped rather than filling up and remaining wet like a normal shoe.
Waterproof first aid kit.
Very important, especially if you’re going off the beaten track! While any old first aid kit will do, I take a waterproof one so that plasters and bandages don’t end up soggy, and tablets don’t become disgusting molten blobs if you get a good soaking one day!
Ones like this are perfect as they can be attached to any bag or bicycle, or slung over your shoulder if worst comes to worst.
Paramo Cycle Jacket.
I bought this jacket up in North Wales at the start of summer after some serious nagging by my parents that it was the ultimate cycle accessory.
They have done some pretty decent cycle tours in their time, and of all the jackets they have ever tried, this was the best.
Designed specifically for cycling and outdoor adventure activities, it is warm when the weather is bad, cool when its warm out, has a fantastic hood that turns with your head (if you’ve ever been cycling and turned to see what was coming only to see the inside of your hood, you’ll know how fab this is!), has a secret pocket inside, and zips all the way down each side to let some lovely cool air in!
Despite their nagging, I have to say thank you to them for this recommendation, because it truly is worth its weight in gold. Although it is very very light to make packing easy, so maybe worth more than its weight in gold haha.
Being able to bunk down wherever you are is invaluable. Tents can be bulky and heavy, but a bivvy bag folds down into a small pack (21x11cm) and can be pulled out and climbed into in seconds! Its fabric is fully waterproof and breathable, which means you can use it outdoors in all weather. Watching the stars above you as you drift off to sleep is an experience that turns a camping trip into a lifelong memorable experience.
Mosquito repelling soap.
I don’t know about you, but I must be absolutely delicious, because as soon as there is a mosquito within a 50 mile radius, it will sniff me out and chow down. I was in Venice with a friend a while ago and while walking on a beach at night I was flapping around like mad because they were destroying me. She thought I was lying as she didn’t have a single bite. Back at the tent, she took her mocking back as I looked like I had the leurgy I was so covered in bites! This soap is great as it takes up almost no room in my wash bag.
Garmin Vivoactive HR Watch.
I absolutely love this watch. I’ve let myself go a bit in the training department over the last year, but now that I’m determined to get fit again, this enables me to track my exercise, monitor how much I’m doing, and get loads of really interesting info on what I’ve done and how well I’ve done it! It has a heart rate monitor and so many different sports and widgets you can download off their website that you’ll find something perfect for you. I use it a lot for swimming too as it’s completely waterproof and tracks your lengths, and it also has GPS for tracking my cycle trips.
Penknives are such a traveller must have, for so many reasons. I use the Skeletool from Leatherman and take it with me wherever I go. It has needle nose pliers, regular pliers, hard-wire cutters, knife, carabiner, bottle opener, and four different screwdriver head bits. It also comes in a carry pouch which is handy for your travels, or has a clip to attach onto jeans etc.
Ortlieb Pannier bags.
Available in 12.5l (like the yellow one) or 20l (the blue) these pannier bags are more than enough for the front and back of your bike! Totally waterproof, they’re easy to wipe down when they get super mucky, and the handle either folds down to tuck into a clip on the front while you’re cycling, or un-pops to make a shoulder strap for ease of carrying! They slot onto your pannier racks in seconds, and to remove them just pull the little handle at the top which releases the clips that hold it onto the rack.
There is plenty more that I take along, but these are the things that get the most wear and tear! I’ll be adding to this page as I go, so check back and see what else I recommend before your next big trip 🙂
This page contains affiliate links, but only for things that I personally take with me everywhere. That means that if you order from one of these links (Click any of the images to be taken to the product), I earn a commission. It does not in any way affect how much you pay, it just helps support me and this blog 🙂
Originally written by Mick for wanderwomanadventures.co.uk. All affiliate links on this page are the original author’s.
Photo by Benjamint444 – Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9514350