Another post about travel gear? Of course. While I’ve already talked about my basic travel items including my backpack, that’s honestly the baseline stuff. I think there is a next level of gear that you might need at some point in your travels. Maybe I’m a little too much of a Type A planner/safety freak, but I don’t like to be caught out there unprepared for certain situations.
I brought the items I’ll highlight below with me to India, but these items can help you regardless of your destination. Here are some next level travel items that you may not have thought to bring with you:
1. A money belt
The main purpose of the money belt is to keep your money (and passport, if you want) on your body. Pickpockets are out there in touristy areas, and some people prefer to keep money and other paper valuables very, very close.
I’ve used a money belt off and on since I started traveling independently years ago. I’ll say that if you don’t mind your money being a little sweaty (I sweat. I’ll admit it.), it can be an effective way of keeping your moolah safe. Someone would have to reach under your shirt and cut it off of you to get your stash. On the other hand, if you’re wearing tight clothing, it will create a bulge in your clothes signaling to the robbers where you money is. I tend to like it better than whipping out my wallet from home, which is pretty big. I leave my wallet from home in the hotel safe.
When choosing a money belt, I would make sure to find one that adequatly wraps around you. Not all of them are going to be comfortable to you. I needed to replace my old one before leaving for India, and I have to admit I was not a fan of the Belle Hop brand that I bought in the picture above. It just never seemed to stay wrapped around me and kept slipping. I fell for the pretty packaging. Bad idea.
2. A sleep sheet
I’ve found that people tend to use sleep sheets for a few reasons. If you’re in a totally low-budget hostel with no sheets (Do these still exist? They did when I traveled when I was younger), then you’ve got an automatic set of sheets with you that’s easy to fold, store and clean as you keep on traveling. Another option is for camping purposes as a liner for a sleeping bag in case you’re sleeping in colder conditions (camping/outdoorsy people, help me out here if I am wrong).
In India, I used the sleep sheet at those hotels and situations where the sheets just looked a little suspect. That definitely was the case in a few instances. I could put my feet into the sleep sheet, and it was like an extremely lightweight sleeping bag.
Here’s an example of a place where I used my sleep sheet below: on an overnight train from Ajmer to Delhi. Sheets and a blanket were provided, but I decided to pass on them.
On the top bunk of my sleeper train. Okay, so I wasn’t actually in the sleep sheet yet, but there it is. Please excuse my ashy feet.
3. Extra strength bug killer
Malaria and other disease that are transmitted by insects are still common in parts of the world. You will need the extra protection. Not every place in every country is going to require you to dose yourself in extra strength repellant, but you should be prepared in these areas. For those in the U.S., I highly recommend checking the Centers for Diseas Control website. They give pretty detailed information on countries and their levels of malaria and insect-borne disease and is a great resource overall for travelers’ health. I’m going to do a traveler’s health post soon.
There are a variety of creams and products you can use to keep the buggers away that have strong acting ingredients, namely DEET. This time around instead of a cream, I used individually-wrapped towellettes.
In the U.S., a maximum of 35% of a repellant product can include DEET. My Australian travel mates from Team Ozzie had creams with 95% DEET in it. Lucky…
There was a stick that I could have bought, and I think I will next time. I just hated that fact that I needed to thoroughly wash my hands every time I used this. Just make sure to not get this stuff near your eyes and mouth after you’ve applied it.
So I’d like to hear from you. Have you ever used any of these three pieces of travel gear? Am I just being overly cautious? While this isn’t an exhaustive list, what piece of travel gear do you think more people should consider using?