Although we’re serious supporters of the one-bag method of travelling, we’re also all for the idea of having a few luxuries (or oddities) with you when you travel. After all, you want to enjoy your trip, not just get through it with the absolute bare minimum.
Some travellers take a large towel as their luxury item, others have an extra pair of shoes. But not us. No, we have a potato peeler.
We’ve picked up and left behind items along the way, notably giving up on our one serious luxury, a stovetop espresso machine. But some weird things have crept into our luggage, and they’re important for us.
1. Potato peeler
We like to be able to prepare our own meals at least several times a week, and that usually involves peeling a vegetable of some kind (carrots, mostly). If we’re somewhere that doesn’t have a kitchen, we certainly won’t have access to a potato peeler, and even if we’re in a hostel or staying with friends, there’s only a 50/50 chance of finding one. I don’t like peeling with a knife, so we carry our own peeler.
2. Marriage certificate
Since we don’t have a home base, we decided to carry all our important documents with us, which means we also have our birth certificates and a whole lot of receipts. The wedding certificate has come in surprisingly handy, though — we’ve had to produce it a couple of times in order to get a double room.
3. Knife sharpener
This tiny knife sharpener has been with us since almost the very start of our trip, and although we almost never use it, it often proves its worth. It made more sense to carry when we had a pocket knife to sharpen, but now we use it to make hostel knives usable or to buff up our current knife.
4. Headphones double adaptor
I keep meaning to donate this or leave it behind, but it takes up so little space in a forgotten corner of my backpack. It comes in handy occasionally, like when we were travelling by bus in South America and Ange and I wanted to watch Bueno Entonces at the same time on my iPod. We could both plug in our headphones and get stereo sound with our own volume control.
Another use was to share an audioguide. Many of the commentary devices you get at museums have headphone jacks, and I usually prefer to plug in my headphones and listen through both ears, rather than hold the machine up to one ear — I think it looks a bit silly. Well, the double adapter allows two people to listen off one device; we’ve saved a fair bit by just getting one audioguide instead of two. Of course, we usually leave the double adapter in the aforementioned forgotten corner of my bag, but still, it’s a good idea.
5. An umbrella
It started raining as we got off our tour bus at Uluru, so Craig pulled the umbrella out of his bag and we huddled under it as we walked towards the rock. The guide was incredulous. “You don’t seem like the types to have an umbrella!” he said. But apparently we are.
We also have jackets and waterproof pack covers, but the covers don’t get used anywhere near as much as the umbrella — it’s just so nice to have! We use it a lot when we’re wandering around without our bags, but it also protects us and them from minor showers.
Although we have a lot of not-so-useful items, we’ve still come a long way from what we had with us when we first left New Zealand — at least we don’t carry an iron any more!
What luxuries or non-essentials do you carry with you when you travel? What do you have that you really could leave behind?