For our year-long trip, we didn’t pack much specialized travel equipment. The criteria we used was that anything we packed could be lost or stolen and should be easily replaceable.
It turns out that the things we’ve found the most useful, the most essential during our nine months (so far) on the road, relate to practicalities – like laundry and normal, we’d-go-mad-if-we-didn’t-do-this stuff like reading.
Our Top 5 things we’re glad we brought are:
1. Petzl headlamps rock for reading on buses or in shared hostel dorms late at night, for finding the bathroom in a campsite or a hostel and for general usefulness as a compact flashlight.
2. Amazon Kindles provide us with a constant supply of reading material for the kids.
3. A flexible clothesline, because if you hand-wash clothes in a hostel sink, you have to have somewhere to hang them to dry!
4. Silk sleep sacks pack up a small as a pair of socks but provide huge peace of mind when the sheets in your budget accommodation are a little less than clean.
5. MSR travel towels are not cheap but are worth every penny. Many hostels and budget hotels either don’t provide towels or will rent towels for a small fee. The MSR towel is super-light and even though I bought extra-large sized towels, when rolled up, they’re not much bigger than one of my husband’s shirts.
The one thing I can’t believe I forgot to pack was a universal sink stopper (http://www.magellans.com/store/Clothing_CareTL469). We picked one up at a market in Santiago.
For similar lists from a great set of other families who are doing or have just done some form of extended travel, check the links below:
AroundTheWorldInEasyWays: Five Essential + Useless Items to Pack.
LivinOnTheRoad: 5 Essential and 5 Useless Items We Carry.
WanderingEducators: Packing Essentials.
SnapsAndBlabs: Useless and Useful Items to Pack.
TrippingMom: The Essential Items on a 4-year-old’s Packing List.
GotPassport: Top Five Most and Least Essential Mindsets for Family Travel.