Bare Minimum Packing – Travel Gear!

Travel gear

This is my camera. One lens. Simple.

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. (Disclosure, they are links to Amazon and I do get a commission if you buy from one of these links).

Bottom line: I hope you discover a solution, find an easy fix, solve a travel challenge… with these recommendations from your fellow solo travelers.

Travel Gear: what to take when you travel.

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 commute 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.

Beck – Zip-loc 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 adaptors (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, but I think it’s only available in Asia). And Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm (Note from Janice: Burt’s Bees is my choice as well.)¬† Never, ever travel without a 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.

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! (Note from Janice: See how I put together my iPad with a keyboard and a couple of cables on the Gear page.) 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.

Andrea – iPhone, Just Mobile Gum Plus Power Pack for iPhone, iPod and More (charges iPhone 5 times before it needs to be charged again), 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.

Sally – iPad, camera, heavy duty moisturizer for plane travel, portable elastic 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

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.

Lamb – Travel security lock

Jfur – If you’re looking for minimalism (and aren’t anti technology) the iPhone has many uses and replaces many heavy items. (Here’s a list of possible smart phones) Here are just a few: Flash lite for late nite dorm entries, digital versions of guide books, maps, GPS, phone, computer, free (or near free) international calls w 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 2 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 love ones at home and navigate street before I start) chargers, travel adapters. Other essentials: Ibuprofen, cough drop, 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, & I save the water bottle they give on a 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 on to 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.

  • andremoves

    great site and well written post….. thanks from man and van london

  • Gillian Frances

    A sarong is one of my travel needs. It serves as clothing, towel for when there is none supplied, and screen. I tuck it under the mattress of the bunk on top of mine, giving me a little (imaginary) privacy. Three T shirts, three light pairs of trousers. No toiletries (buy them there), warm clothes from charity shops when I get there and they are given back. I almost always travel with carry on luggage alone. I now take ipad and leave camera at home. I do take earplugs and a head lamp, totalling around 10kgs.

  • French Monkey

    I started bring a Britta water bottle, the blue or purple ones with the carbon filter which hold about 24 ounces of liquid. I used to travel with a 12-ounce metal bottle but I like the Britta better because of the filter. You bring them through security empty and fill up at the drinking fountain on the other side. They make tap water taste better. I don’t typically travel to places where something more heavy duty than carbon is needed. If you want to fill it with something other than water, the filter is easy to remove. It fits perfectly in the water bottle pouches of my backpack or rolling bag.

  • Cindy Van Vreede

    I bring a small netbook when traveling. Free wifi gets me on the internet and at night I always take time to write down what I did, who I met, and put down my observations of the day.

  • wai

    If you have many gadgets that need charging, you can consider bringing a travel adapter and a multi plug. That will save space in the luggage.

  • Lavinia

    honestly, I’m going to leave in ten days(yeaaaahhhhh) for a five month trip. I have a 45 ltrs backpack, essentials to me are passport, my debit card, a rain jacket and my DSLR. Of course I have other stuff(warm clothes and a sleeping bag for example)but all the rest I can get on the road, if anything happens. Travel light! I pity these girls crawling under a 70 ltrs backpack and a 40 ltrs daypack. You might need to run for a bus, to fit into a crammed local pick up, you really don’t want to carry to much stuff with you.

  • Millie Donnel

    I think these tips are really helpful while you decide to moving for travel reason

  • Carrie Dahle –

    I would also bring along noise cancelling headphones — you never know when you will have an annoying seatmate that you don’t want to listen to. :)

  • Julio Moreno

    I would remove “computer” if the trip is short enough. While I am a blogger myself, I don’t see the need to tell people where I am this very second, unless I am a long term traveler.
    Great post.

  • TravelnLass

    Most interesting guide, though like a few others, I get along on about half what others here consider “must haves”.

    One thing I’d add: ear plugs. Bitty and super light, they pack a MOUNTAIN of comfort – against the onslaught of dawn roosters, yapping dogs, calls-to-prayer, and 3 am gap-year hostel parties.

  • Roni Faida

    I have never needed duct tape but vaseline is essential for me, I use it on my skin along with lotion as a moisturizer. I always have some kind of pain pills and imodium, I don’t ever want to be in a foreign country without either of those.

  • Traveling Reporter

    That’s a good guide, real helpful. Although, I’d skip the balm and some of the other stuff that Elly and others packed.