Sure, it's hard to resist cool travel stuff but these are nine things you really don't need weighing down your bag.
Within my travel-loving soul, there lies a contradiction.
I love packing light. Like, I really, really love it. You know that joke "How do you know if someone travels carryon? They'll tell you!"? It was written about me. I not only love packing light. I equally love being insufferable about it. Oh, you just took one suitcase for your resort vacation? Well I used one backpack for a six week round the world trip and half the space was taken up with camping gear.
Like I said, I'm insufferable.
But I also love, and I mean LOVE, specialty travel gear. The more task and trip specific, the better. I am obsessed with travel supply catalogues and I haven't met a packing cube that I don't love. But the truth of the matter is that much of this stuff is, well, how do I put this? It's garbage. It's poorly constructed mass produced stuff that preys on our fears of being unprepared, the uncertain nature of the open road, and the shame that comes when you don't keep pace with fast fashion. All of this stuff has weighed down my bag at one point or another and I am here to tell you that you don't need it. Any of it.
Updated in 2022! Is Vargo's Hexagon wood stove, the lightest backpacking stove we've ever tried, up to the job?
In case you haven't heard, I have a bit of an obsession with ultralight packing. The lighter, the smaller, the better! And one of my biggest pet peeves is when travel items described as "lightweight" are anything but. So when I had the chance to test Vargo's ultralight titanium backpacking hexagon wood stove, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical that a stove could even remotely be described as 'light'. Turns out, it's the lightest backpacking stove we've ever tried.
Tieks: A Perfect Pretty, Packable, Polished Shoe.
I can't claim to be the most stylish person to ever hit the road. There was that first summer of backpacking in Europe, when I brought along just one pair of trousers. There was also a sarong and clogs combo that I wore to an Easter church service in Birmingham. And the two - count em, TWO - bright orange cotton T-shirts I brought along to Malawi that I am convinced played a role in attracting a higher than normal level of mosquitoes. But I'm slowly growing up and my travels are evolving to include more business and formal occasions -but I still love my bare bones, carry on luggage. So exactly what am I wearing on my feet for special occasions?
Is it time to throw in the towel on travel towels? Not quite! Here's what you need to know about quick dry towels for travel. Plus: Do hostels have towels? We'll give you the scoop!
At first glance, it may sound a bit silly to take a towel with you when you travel. After all, what kind of hotel wouldn't provide towels?! It turns out that there's actually a wide range of accommodations for whom towels are a luxury, not a standard amenity. People often ask me "Do hostels have towels?" and the answer is: Maybe. Many do. Those that don't usually offer rentals. But I still like having my own. It's not just hostels where the question of towels come up. Campgrounds usually require you to bring your own towel, along with some cottage rentals, university dorm accommodations, couch surfing, and even convent stays.
Even if you are staying in quality hotels with guaranteed clean towels, you still might want something with you to freshen up on overnight trains, buses, and flights. Lightweight travel towels are also helpful for drying your hand-washed laundry. So what's the best solution that balances comfort with practicality?
The Osprey Porter 46 is one of the most popular travel packs on the market.... Here's our honest review of this backpacks pros and cons.
Packing obsessed? Who, me? Maybe just a little! I'm constantly in search of the perfect bag and, at one point, I thought I had found it. In a previous post, I wrote that I was thrilled to have discovered the Osprey Porter 46 - but now that I've traveled with it for over a year, how do I feel?
The Osprey Porter 46 is the absolute lightest pack I've found. It weighs about 1.2 kilograms, much less than traditional backpacks and significantly less than conventional carry on suitcases. A big travel pet peeve of mine is "ultra light" carry on bags that actually weigh closer to 10 lbs! Carry on weight restrictions are increasingly enforced and this bag's tiny weight is a huge asset.
A decent rain jacket is an essential piece of travel gear.
If I waited until the rain stopped to go traveling, chances are I would never leave the house! It seems like it's drizzling for at least half the year in Canada and some of my favourite travel destinations are notoriously wet - I'm talking about you, Ireland! While I HATE being damp, I'm not going to let the bad weather rain on my travel parade.
When Ryan and I had the chance to take Tilley Endurable's waterproof jacket with us on our round the world trip, we jumped at the chance to put this product through its paces and we were thrilled we found a raincoat that was compact enough to earn a place in our pack.
Are bath salts a liquid? Are body scrubs allowed in toiletry kits? And I've always traveled with St.Ives Apricot Scrub - but is it a liquid or not? Updated in 2023.
On my first trip to Italy, I had booked myself a hostel bed in the village of Finale Ligure. Up, up, up I climbed, hundreds of steps, until I came to the hostel's door at the top of the hill. Of course, it was closed for a mid-day cleaning! So down, down, down I went to kill some time at the beach. A whipping wind coated my sunscreen-clad body in a thick layer of sand. After a few hours, it was time to haul myself back up the hill. That was one well deserved shower! The effort it took to scrub off all the sweat, sunscreen, and embedded sand left me with remarkably smooth skin. Talk about a backpacker's spa treatment!
There's no denying that traveling can leave you gritty, grimy, and in need of a good scrub but I prefer to use something other than sand these day! Alas, not all skin treatments are so cheap and so travel-friendly. And I know I'm not the only traveler carting along bath scrubs and bath salts and trying to fit everything into my toiletry bag and 3-1-1 kit. Now readers want to know if any of these products are carry-on friendly. That's a great question! So let's talk about exfoliating body scrubs and relaxing bath salts. Are they liquids? Can they have a spot in your toiletry kit?
Travel, toiletries, and one tiny pack.
I love everything about packing. From the challenge of making my bag as small as possible to the excitement and anticipation, I feel like the fun of packing is an extension of the fun of travel. Even though I'm determined to pack as little as possible, I always make room for a few treats.
Looking at it all written down, it seems like an extensive list of "treats", especially considering that I rarely wear any make up at home. But most of these items are tiny travel sizes or samples and, for the most part, they are very inexpensive. Together, these products will take me anywhere I need to go. Deep pink lipstick, dark lashes, and a smoky eye in Paris. Some bronze highlighting and shine buster in the Sydney sun. Glossy nails and polished, light eyes and lips for a Brussels hotel review. Rosy cheeks and pinned back hair to combat jetlag in San Francisco. The possibilities are endless! Here's what I'm packing in my make-up bag for our round-the-world trip:
Introducing our very own Thundercat!!! A look at the Thundershirt for cats who travel (or the owners who want them to). Updated in 2021.
I've seen a lot of strange things when I've travelled, but one scene really sticks out in my mind. We were camping in Prince Edward Island’s Cabot Beach Provincial Park, and enjoying gorgeous ocean front views, when we realized we weren't alone. There was another presence nearby, something sly and unnatural….It was a cat! A camping cat! A fluffy Persian camping cat on a leash! It was the last thing on earth we were expecting to see. Who goes camping with a white fluffy cat and secures them under a pine tree with a leash and harness? Obviously they never met my cat! Enter the Thundershirt for traveling cats (and maybe dogs too?)
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