Every great trip starts with the right gear.
No doubt much if not all of your travel gear is going to be bought online, unless it’s something so obscure that only a specialist shop will stock it! That said, it’s easy to get lost online with the plethora of information available about travelling and everything related to travelling, so we’ve put together this helpful guide should give you some ideas to approach your spending with a solid plan that’ll help you spend less and stay on track with the task at hand.
It’s so easy to find advice online
Start off easy - there will be countless resources for the type of equipment you’re looking for, even if you think it’s quite niche. Google phrases like ‘best climbing socks for south america’ or ‘best waterproof backpacks under $100’ and there’ll likely be lots of lists for you to take a look at. Think about your budget and what you REALLY need the equipment for before narrowing your research. (If you’re not planning to be sleeping under the stars in freezing temperatures you probably won’t need a 5 season sleeping bag for example!). If you follow travel bloggers on social media, try reaching out to them in the comments for advice, especially if you’re travelling somewhere that they’ve been.
Use filters to narrow your search
Sometimes you really need to discipline yourself, so you don’t end up falling down a tunnel of travel gadgets and . Make a list of the items you know you’ll need before sitting at the computer, so you’re more likely to stick to what you’re looking for. Once you’ve got a list, approach the items on there one at a time and use filters when searching online retailers so you can get straight to what you’re looking for and can immediately see if they’re offering what you need, and at what price it’s listed at. Consider keeping a table of prices so you can compare with other retailers as you’re going along so you don’t forget where the best bargain is!
If you’re not sure, head to a store
This seems like a contradiction to the title, but stick with us. The store can be a great place to gather research, speak to experts and go away feeling more confident in your purchases BUT don’t feel like just because you’ve been in the store that you have to buy the item from there.
If you’re a bit further along in your research, it’s a good idea to have a plan before you enter the store: maybe you’ve narrowed your choice down to between two backpacks and want a feel for their sizes or want to see if the store’s special offer compares to the online price. Maybe you want to see if the headtorch you’ve been researching will fit you correctly or whether the light will be bright enough for the activities you’ll be doing whilst you’re away.
Some stores might even offer a price match system where they will match the cheapest price you can find elsewhere, sometimes including online prices too. In this case, if you can show proof that you’ve found the item cheaper online, print off the page and get them to match it!
Buy new or used
You don’t need to buy brand new items. We all know somebody that buys all brand new things for them to be used only ONCE. If you know someone that’s been travelling, approach them and ask if you can borrow or buy equipment from them. Travel equipment is generally made to last for a long time so if something’s only been used on a few occasions it’s likely to be able to last a lot more! If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
Don’t fear local collection
If you’re buying second hand from an online store, or a marketplace like eBay, don’t be discouraged by ‘collection only’ if you can see that the item’s location is far from you. Use courier comparison sites like Shiply to get the item to you without having to travel to the seller yourself. Just remember to factor the courier price into your budget.
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