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Indispensable items for round-the-world travel
March 16, 2011  |  by jess m  |  Packing, Stuff For Wanderers

Since we have such small packs, everything in there has to earn its keep. Below are the items that we truly could not imagine doing this trip without.

Inside Shoes
We had planned on using our flip flops as shower shoes, but we hadn’t anticipated that in a lot of places you have to leave your outside shoes outside. We picked up some $1 flip flops in KL, and now have inside shoes to protect us from nasty bathroom feet.

Chaco Flip Flops
These are the greatest shoes on earth. They are impossibly comfy with incredible arch support. You can walk for hours in them, while still playing the “shoes off before you go into the store, house, restaurant, hotel” game.

Sleep Sack
Some of the beds we’ve seen are not lovely. But even more than that, this sleep sack is made of silk. Sleeping on silk sheets is the most luxurious thing in the world. We had no idea. This one has a pillow cover too.

Head Lamp
Not just for when there’s no power. Also helpful for late night reading, walking home on dark roads with no sidewalks, and for looking around your room at night when your light switch happens to be located outside in the hall.

Magic Towel
It dries quickly, sucks the water out of your hair and body, is a blanket when the AC on the ferry is set to 37 degrees, and best of all, if you wring out your wet laundry in one it will dry in half the time.

Local phone
Not actually indispensable, but so handy to have to call ahead for hotels.

Shirts with sleeves
We have so far been in predominately Muslim areas, where the women are covered head to toe. Shirts with sleeves and high cut necklines make us slightly less of a spectacle.

Tissue packs
Over here, toilet paper is not the favored method of cleaning up. Instead they use something called a bung hose. In theory makes a lot of sense, like a little bidet in every bathroom. In practice though, we’re still mastering it. It’s hard to spray the undercarriage with a hose without soaking everything, including your clothes. Practice. And tissue packs.

It doesn’t just rain here, it No Joke Rains. These are Navy Seal approved waterproof bags. They make ones sized exactly for a laptop, a passport, and any other size you would ever need. They hold up much better than ziplocks.

Hydrocortisone, Neosporin, and Benadryl
There are more ways to itch, chafe, puss and generally fester in the tropics than you can possibly imagine.

Sewing kit
With safety pins and hook-and-eyes

Compression bags
Great for squishing down the warm clothes you don’t, and may never need. Even better for keeping your dirty clothes away from your clean clothes. Thanks for the idea mom, genius!

Head scarf, dress, skirt, beach towel and table cloth all in one.

Packing cubes
Keeps the bag organized. I would be loosing it if the bag wasn’t organized.

So much lighter than lugging around a bunch of books and Lonely Planets. It also has a web browser so if you’re really patient you can use it to check email.

Many, many, many an hour has been passed over cutthroat games of Rummy and Spite and Malice.

This is probably the best thing we have (thanks Sabrina!!). It’s slash proof and locks to something sturdy, so we can leave the computers, passports, cameras, and wallets in the room and not worry. Especially great for fan bungalows with windows that don’t close securely.

Charcoal soap
It comes with it’s own scrubby thing. Great for getting the city out of your face.

Luggage locks and bag locks
Great for locking your bag to the train.

Black garbage bags
Keeps everything in your bag dry in the rain.

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  1. OK – I have a savings plan, I am coming to see you, I will the tall, awkward, sweaty, itchy, cursing, ornery Farang. Let’s start talking about where to meet!

    Loving the posts guys – missing you, I would have run away to SF at least once by now if you both were still there!



  2. Yay, love that you are getting use out of the safe!! Um, also love the packing cubes. Hello, who was around to hook me up with those when I was prepping for my trip?? ALSO love that you are posting every single day. Keep it up please. xoxoxo

  3. Tell us about the weight and specifications of your laptop, since that is so essential to your trip. Has it held up OK?

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