Getting there and back again is often the most expensive part of travel plans, and spending so much in one go can be incredibly demotivating. Whether you’re headed to another hemisphere or simply hopping between the east and west coasts of the US, a flight can cost a lot of money even if you’re using my trusty Skyscanner hacks!
Given that, it can be hard to justify investing even more of your budget into travel supplies. Here are a few cheap and easy additions to your suitcase capable of making even the busiest, most cramped and sleepless trawl across the globe just that little bit more bearable.
1. A Solid Pair of Headphones
Screaming kids, airplane chatter, noise outside your hotel window – there are few travel problems a pair of solid headphones can’t solve, or at least drown out for a little while. Wired earbuds will take up the least space in your luggage, that’s for sure, but if you’re willing to treat yourself consider a bulkier pair of noise canceling Bluetooth headphones. TechRadar has a list of the best of the best.
2. Travel Documents (with Copies)
No matter how much you plan, problems can and will occur. Hurdles are a part of life and an even larger part of travel. Print yourself some peace of mind and keep important travel docs on you at all times: visas, insurance information, boarding passes, the lot. Make copies, even. It never hurts to come prepared. I only used to do this for long trips, but ever since my passport was stolen, I do it every trip.
I’ve even seen some people go as far as putting a paper in all their bags that have their names and addresses on them in case their luggage tag gets lost!
3. Sensible Shoes
No matter where you’re headed in the world, travel is always going to involve a whole lot of standing, a whole lot of queueing and a whole lot of walking around new and foreign places. Lose the heels, lose the business brogues, fit yourself a pair of practical shoes when traveling and be sure to wear them in beforehand. Never, and I mean never take a new pair of shoes on a trip!
4. A Trusty Pack of Wet Wipes
For clean hands, for a clean face, for a happier, less-jetlagged you. You never know when wet wipes might just save the day. I would packthese in your carryon to refresh on the plane, or in your checked bag for later.
Wet wipes have saved my butt (literally! haha) when I travel in areas of the world where toilet paper isn’t as prevalent (looking at you Cambodia). Also great as impromptu showers like when I was on trains for several days for my Trans Mongolian Train Journey!
They come in different styles like flushable, biodegradable (my fave!), smaller packets and gentle.
5. Travel Snacks
Airplane food is expensive – bring your own and save yourself some hassle. Avoid fresh fruit and veg, and especially meat, as this can lead to customs issues. Otherwise, any sandwich filling and chip flavor is fair game. I always try and bring some from the grocery story, which is much cheaper than airport food. But as a last resort, I will buy airport food to bring on plane in case I can’t eat the plane food.
6. A Language Phrasebook
Even with the powers of Google Translate at your disposal, a hard copy phrasebook of your destination’s language is an invaluable tool. Brush up when you get the chance, or else produce from your bag as required. LonelyPlanet has an excellent combination dictionary/phrasebook for most languages around the world – for less than ten bucks you’ll know how to say everything from “Where’s the bathroom please?” to “How much does this cost?”
I use Google Translate (app) for longer conversations or advanced talking topics (be sure to download the language so it’s available off of Wifi), but I like to have a few phrases memorized. Even if you have to later swap to English, almost everyone will appreciate you trying to speak in the local language. Americans are notorious for jumping straight to English. Let’s try a little, shall we! 🙂
You can get a book specific to a country, specific to an area (like Western, Central, or Eastern Europe for example), just a folder with quick words, flash cards, and literal playing cards!
7. A Travel Tablet
For all its glamour and intrigue, travel certainly has its boring parts. These days,a tablet goes a long way towards keeping yourself entertained, with many cheap and easy models on the market and Wi-Fi available on many flights. Watch movies, play games, zone out. This is a great way to pass the time on a long haul flight.
Digital trends have a top list of the best Android tablet adventure games right now, while BonusSource breaks down the most generous casino and slot jackpots on the web. A game of Dragon’s Luck and one hundred bonus free spins later and your flight will be touching down before you know it.
I think you’d be surprised at how cheap some of them can be!
8. Souvenir Space!
What’s the use of traveling if you can’t bring a piece of the trip back with you? Souvenirs aren’t for everyone, but keeping a little extra space in your suitcase is always a wise idea. A great way to accomplish this is with compression bags and packing cubes!!
Grab yourself a few or all of these, and you’ll be right as rain wherever you are in the world.