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8 items I won't travel without


Yarrrrgh! It be Talk Like A Pirate Day this week (yes, really!). I’ve always loved the idea of a pirate life – desert islands, parrots and sailing the seven seas with a bottle of rum and all that – so I started thinking about what I would need to take with me if I was to survive a life as a pirate in a constant state of travel. Answer: far too much stuff. I’d definitely be told to walk the plank!

I’ve managed to narrow it down to these 8 travel essentials – my desert island must-haves, if you will!

I’ve excluded the obvious (luggage, passport, sun cream, a coat etc) in favour of focusing on the things that make travelling – or being marooned on a desert island – easier for ME. As I went through the list, I found that all the items tended to fall into four categories: sleep, sustainability, health and beauty, and minimising.

Sleep: because life on a desert island – and every trial you might come up against on the road – is so much more bearable when you’ve had a good night’s sleep.

  1. My knee pillow. I like to sleep on my side, but have knobbly knees so don’t sleep well unless I’ve got something tucked between them to stop them from knuckling each other!
  2. Camomile tea. A big mug of camomile tea is my bedtime ritual. It doesn’t matter what time I fall into bed, I always have camomile tea beforehand – it’s hydrating and relaxing and helps me sleep better.

Sustainability: just because I’m away from home doesn’t mean my awareness of my impact on the environment takes a holiday too.

  1. A reusable water bottle, coffee cup and shopping bags. I carry these items at all times, in a concerted effort to reduce my plastic usage. You should too.

Health and beauty: because I like to feel and look like myself when I travel – and because I’m also getting to be of an age where a change in routine can make itself felt on my body, and not in a good way!

  1. Mini products: I decant my favourite, most-used products into mini bottles and containers so my skin doesn’t have to put up with a change in care. It’s also cheaper than buying ‘proper’ travel-sized products, lighter than taking the full-sized versions, and kinder to the environment as I re-use them again and again.
  2. A decent pair of shoes. By ‘decent’ I mean practical, supportive and not horrible to look at. I must be able to walk for miles and miles in them. Bonus points if they go with every other item of clothing in my suitcase. (This has become much easier since chunky trainers came into style!)

Minimal: a carefully chosen selection of smaller, lighter, multi-tasking tech and gadgets will always win a place in my luggage.

  1. 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner. Because, minimising.
  2. Kindle. Pre-loaded with a selection of fiction, including some about the place I’m visiting. At home, I prefer to read physical books because they smell better!
  3. A small backpack. For use as my day bag, so it has to look good and be big enough for my water bottle, collapsible coffee cup, Kindle, diary, slimline wallet, phone, sun cream and lip balm.

I suppose this list says a lot about how I like to travel: lightly (both in terms of luggage and my impact on the environment) and comfortably.

When I asked the community what they consider to be their travel essentials they came up with some great ideas, including:

  • “Bedroom slippers”
  • “Back pillow, lavender cream (zzzz) &
  • yoga pants”
  • “Comfortable walking shoes”
  • “A book of course!”
  • “I've stayed in some basic places and never travel without my mosquito net.”
  • “Flip flops!”
  • “I can't travel without my tooth brush. Is the first thing I pack.”
  • And this resourceful woman recommends coconut oil, for so many reasons: “I decant the oil into small Tupperware pots and use it for the following:
    • Hair defrizzer!
    • Conditioner
    • Make up remover
    • All over moisturiser 
    • Cooking oil
    • Insect bites 
    • Eczema 
    • Jewellery cleanser 
    • Facial scrub mixed with salt or sugar
    • Toothpaste
    • Apparently, it’s also an SPF 4, but I’m not sure about that.
    • I’m sure it has many other uses too!”

I’m sold on the coconut oil! My bedroom slippers have been known to slide into my suitcase too.

What are your travel essentials? And what do they say about how you like to travel?