This is a very obvious list and one that most seasoned travellers will have mentally checked off many times before in one form or another.
However, half way through my RTW adventure as the novel excitement of long haul flights and overlays in airports wore off very quickly, I realised how important a little extra comfort is on a long haul journey and how essential the following cheap items are to achieving this.
Before embarking on any long haul journey I ensure I have more ear plugs than orifices as they are essential to any attempt at sleep or relaxation rumbling plane, noisy bus or busy train.
I am not one of those “can sleep anywhere” people and I have been known to throw my (used) earplugs at anyone who is, such is my envy, so for additional sensory deprivation an eye mask is also an essential item. An eye mask has also come in handy when staying in accommodation that deems curtains as an optional extra.
Why do aeroplanes sometimes imitate a walk-in fridge? I will probably never have the answer to this, but I will be able to combat cold toes and chilly ankles by keeping a pair of socks in my carry on luggage.
Over my many years of beach hopping, my sarong has become more than a handy cover up or temporary beach mat; it is also a pillow or blanket when I am on the move. Of course if you’re an alpha male or heading to chillier climes this doesn’t need to be a sarong, it could be an fleece blanket or large scarf, but a big enough piece of soft, light fabric which can be folded up small in your carry-on bag will serve the same purpose.
It may not be allowed in some shopping centres in UK, but my hooded sweatshirt is very welcome everywhere I go as it provides comfort and warmth from evil air conditioning or unexpected bad weather at your destination. As a side note should you lose or forget your eye mask you could try putting your hoodie on backwards, it works though you do feel a little bit like you’re wearing a straight jacket.
I threw one of these miniature anti-bacterial hand gels in my bag as an afterthought as we embarked on our RTW trip but really should have foreseen its importance as we have shared breathing, coughing, spluttering, sneezing and even vomiting space with more people than I like thinking about.
If you’re travelling with children you will no doubt have baby wipes coming out of every pocket and bag you own but childless travellers shouldn’t dismiss how invaluable a baby wipe or two can be when faced with a spilt sugary drink or a toilet roll free bathroom.
At the risk of sounding like a women’s magazine, flying does dehydrate you (especially if you are lucky/rich enough to take advantage of complimentary on board alcoholic refreshments) and so a decent moisturiser will go a long way to making you look and feel a bit more human after a long haul flight. Fellas, I’m talking to you too.
If I’m flying or travelling on the same mode of transport for more than four hours, I am putting my pyjama bottoms on, I don’t care how many strange looks I get when I emerge from the aeroplane bathroom. It’s very easy to value personal comfort over strange looks when you’re on a 13 hour flight.
Of course others may choose to be prescribed something a little stronger but I find herbal sleeping tablets surprisingly effective at relaxing mind and body when faced with a chaotic journey or annoying passenger. Just don’t smell them before swallowing…
Happy comfortable travelling!