As someone that lives much of the year on the road whether in Cuba or high in the Alps, I get asked a lot of travel tips. One of the most common is about packing and the essentials. I do have to preface my answer by saying that I'm rather low maintenance. I don't travel with a hair dryer or a multi-level dop kit.
So, what are my essentials that I bring on any adventure or trip?
That's easy. I recommend you don't leave home without:
1) $100 cash
2) Toilet paper
1)Whenever you are in a pickle, you will need cash. Cash is king. There is a lot that can be said for help in fixing a flat tire, a lift when it's raining or a place to stay for the night.
2)I'm low maintenance, but I would prefer not to use leaves, twigs, or tree bark to do what a little pack of tissues can. Do yourself a favor even when not traveling, carry a small pack of tissues.
3)This is simple. With a sarong you can never go wrong. A sarong can be a picnic blanket, towel, shawl, or even a dress or kilt in case you have an accident. Yes, it's all fine and dandy until someone poops his/her pants. Trust me bring a sarong!
4) The most under rated travel essential, but also the most frequently forgotten at home is patience. I can count on my right hand the number of trips that went off without a hitch, where absolutely no Plan B's were needed. That means that almost always, I need patience for the situation or perhaps my travel companions that left patience at the last stop.
What are my gear essentials for an adventure?
1)If you wish to travel far and fast, travel with a lightweight backpack.
Although I traveled a lot for business and expos with rolly bags. There are no more rolly bags for me! My current favorite day pack is the Osprey Talon 22 Pack. I took this to Switzerland this summer for day hikes. It has water bottle holders or a sleeve for a Camelback bladder.
2) Unless you are in the desert, it's going to rain on your adventure parade.
After getting caught in the rain in Cuba, Kauai, and all summer in Alaska, I no longer use an umbrella for rain. I roll up my favorite raincoat, which goes in my day pack everywhere. If you need something to sit on or even if you get chilly, it can substitute. My absolute favorite is LL Bean Raincoat. I have purchased two of these. They are awesome.
3) You don't want to break your phone or get it wet, you need a camera that can take it tough.
I want to take pictures while I'm kayaking, biking, hiking, snorkeling, sailing, and other. In addition, I drop my camera a lot. The one camera that I have yet to repair or ever put in a drybag or Ziplock is Olympus Tough Camera.
4) Not everywhere can you buy bottled water or trust the running water.
Somewhere along your adventures you will need water. If you are going out in nature or to a country where there aren't stores available readily for bottled water or the running water is questionable, you will need one if not more ways to purify your water. I trust the SteriPen the most, but when in a jam the iodine tablets will take care of it in the short-term. Choose between the SteriPen or Iodine Tablets. Don't go without one or the other!
5) Accidents happen and many will require basic first aid.
Regardless if you are in Barcelona or the backwoods, it is imperative to bring OTC drugs as well as a basic First Aid Kit. It may sound like a no-brainer, but I'm typically the only one in the group with a first aid kit as well as what I call the magic little blue pill (not Viagra, Immodium).
I write about why I suggest a sarong as well as the magic little blue pill in my most recent book, Cubicle to Cuba. Get yourself or gift a copy!
Here's to looking up!