From the first time I set out interrailing around Europe as a starry-eyed teenager, to the 40 something with two kids I am today, I have developed my own list of must-have travelling essentials over the years. We will look at the essential items for travelling this summer. I’m reminded of an interview I once saw with Francis Rossi of Status Quo – commonly referred to as the hardest working band in the music industry. The band are infamous for being almost permanently on the road, notching up an astonishing 6,000 live shows during a 48-year career. That’s 125 shows per year… or an average of 2 shows every week, for nearly 50 years! And these aren’t local pubs, either.
The Quo are a well-established large venue band – famously opening the global Live Aid concert in London, 1985. During the interview, the host asked Rossi if he had any travel tips, as he was clearly always on the road. Francis pulled out his trusty leather travel bag, which was permanently packed and ready to be taken everywhere. The bag was a well-packed, seasoned travellers kit, encapsulating a variety of essential and comfort items you wouldn’t normally consider when preparing to go on the road – it even included a shoehorn and a door wedge!
Apparently, the door wedge earned its place as an essential travel item, as the band and management team would all stay in the same hotel, often drifting in and out of each other’s rooms as they discussed set-lists, transport, and any items they needed before each gig. This meant that Mr. Rossi was constantly having to answer the door to let various people into his room. Hence the inclusion of the door wedge! It’s simple, but it’s also very interesting to see how a little forethought can remove unnecessary aggravation and frustration whilst on the road.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you rush out and buy yourself a door wedge. After all, most of you won’t be staying in 5-star hotels with an entourage. Instead, the items I would advise packing are considerations from my own travelling experiences, derived from a mixture of good advice from fellow travelers, and lessons I’ve learnt – often the hard way. Some may seem silly, some just outlandish, but I can guarantee that if you follow these crucial tips, you’ll have a far better time on the road. Without wasting any more time let’s have a look at the essential items for travelling this summer you might need too.
The Lazy Lounger
Sometimes you come across a new product and wonder how it’s only just been created. The Lazy Lounger is an item that I only discovered last year, however, there’s no way I would set out without one – even if I’m just hiking for the day. It’s basically an inflatable chair, however one end opens up, making it almost like a gigantic bin bag. You don’t require a pump to inflate it – simply open the end, spin around to take in as much air as possible and close the end to trap the air inside. You then roll the end up, compressing the air into a tighter space, clip and seal, and you have the perfect portable lounger. I feel, that’s one of the essential items for travelling this summer for you.
It weighs nothing and packs down to the size of a lightweight waterproof jacket. You’ll never notice carrying it and having a Lazy Lounger in your itinerary means that you always have a comfortable place to relax – crucial for when you’re waiting for transport or simply just want to take 5 minutes to enjoy the scenery.
The solar charger has been a real lifesaver for me in recent years. It’s been an essential item for me for over a decade now. Whereas they used to be quite primitive, modern panels can charge very efficiently and power your devices incredibly quickly. Ever since owning one, it has been a permanent fixture on the top of my rucksack – always taking on charge as I travel around. We’ve all been in situations where you’re trying not to use your phone as you try to save the remaining bars, and having a ready supply of fresh power truly takes the worry out of travelling with smart devices.
When touring hot, remote destinations you never know when you will be able to visit a store or even find a tap with drinking water. As a rule, I always carry a full water bladder, normally filled from bottled water, to ensure that I always have the ability to hydrate whenever I need to. The lack of clean drinking water in some countries means that a hydration pack is basic necessity, and you should always have one with you. Always fill up when you can, even if its only to top up, and assume each filling stop is going to be the last one for some time. For me that’s an important thing while for a trip and among the essential items for travelling this summer you might need.
Most probably consider a folding bicycle to be a luxury item, however you can buy a great quality folding bike from under £250 nowadays. A few years ago, I decided to buy a folding bike from Ecosmo and so far it has carried me around most of Europe with ease. Travelling with the right folding bicycle is simple, as they fold down small enough to fit into a rucksack or carry bag. You don’t have to pre-book them onto trains as they are able to be stowed away on luggage racks. Having your own transport is a wonderful way to tour a new destination, giving you the kind of experience and local access that you could never achieve by using taxis and public transport alone.
I know, I know. This is an obvious, common sense choice and hardly worth mentioning. However, there’s so much capability on your smartphone now that many of the apps I rely on today replace much of the physical stuff I used to carry around. Compass – gone. Maps – no longer required. Transport timetables – bin. There are some truly life saving apps available today, enabling you navigate the unknown and plan your journey as you travel. Mobile applications have revolutionized travel over the last decade, with almost every corner, road and alleyway being mapped, photographed, and reviewed.