5 Surprisingly Useful Items to Have in Your Backpack
Before you start packing for a trip, it’s a good idea to make a list of all the items you need to take, then cross each one off as you pack it in your bag.
These days, in this technological age, many travelers have forgotten (or never been educated in) the amazing uses of simple household items that can help you out as you travel in so many ways (from keeping your valuables safe, to repairing your backpack and providing you with entertainment).
Here’s a list of surprisingly useful items to have in your backpack when traveling (that most people wouldn’t think of packing):
A Combination Padlock
A combination lock can be a very handy item to have when traveling. Why? Many hostels around the world provide lockers for their guests. To be able to secure these lockers, you’ll need a padlock of your own, as hostels rarely provide padlocks to guests.
I personally prefer to use combination padlocks as you don’t have to worry about losing the key (as losing the key and not being able to retrieve your valuables from the locker would be disastrous).
Throughout my time traveling I have always made sure to carry a roll of Duct Tape with me.
I have since used it to repair a large hole in the corner of my backpack, fix a broken tent pole while camping and repair a pair of (slightly unfashionable) sunglasses.
If you’re like me, you probably have a never-ending supply of plastic bags from the supermarket. Even though I try not to take these plastic bags from the supermarket anymore (as I bring my own), the amount of bags I have at home seems to multiply each week. Perhaps they are breeding…?
Anyway, these plastic bags are super useful when traveling as they can be used for a whole variety of things, not to mention the fact that they take up very little space in your backpack (and weigh very little).
For example, I use them to store all of my dirty washing (to keep it separated from my clean clothes), as well as to cover any ‘suspect’ items (such as sun tan lotion, shampoos and drinks) that could leak/explode all over the rest of my bag.
I know I already mentioned plastic bags (i.e. carrier bags), but zip-lock bags are a different kind of plastic bag, as they’re typically a lot smaller and they have an airtight zip-lock at the top.
This makes them ideal for storing valuables (such as smart phones, iPods and books) as they can protect them from the elements and keep them dry. They’re also great for when you go to the beach or out hiking, as they can prevent sand and dirt from getting in.
A Notepad and Pen
These days, although lots of travelers like to bring their smart phones and iPods traveling with them (which can be used to write down information), sometimes you just can’t beat an old fashioned pen and paper.
For starters, when I’m traveling and I’m out and about I like to record notes from my day (usually as I’m sitting in a taxi) so that I can write them up in my journal/blog later on. Having a notepad in my pocket makes this easy to do, and means there’s no more worrying about losing my smartphone (by leaving it in the cab or falling victim to a pickpocket).
Secondly, when traveling on long bus/boat/plane rides with friends, nothing beats having a pen and paper for entertainment. Games such as Noughts and Crosses, Hangman, Squares and Pictionary are great fun and can really pass the time.
Have you used any common household items while traveling (and found them to be extremely useful)? Leave a comment in the box below!
- Buying the Right Backpack for You – What’s the Best Travel Backpack?
- Using Electrical Items Abroad – Plug Adapters and Converters
- How to Make Your Own Improvised Backpack
- Should You Swap Your Backpack for a Suitcase?
- How to Protect Your Backpack from Thieves
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