Here’s a list of nine things you probably wouldn’t think to pack but will definitely come in handy and save you money when you’re in full travel budget mode. In the height of youthful travelling, there’s nothing worst than having to spend an extra 5 euro on something you could have brought from home. All these things are easy to buy at home for $10 or less and will take up next to no room in your bag – and trust me you’ll be glad you have them at some point.
#1: A small cooler bag
I’m not talking about an esky, but just one of those small ‘Sistema’ lunchboxes that can be folded down to nothing and squashed into your bag – or better yet use it as another compartment for undies or something. Having a lunchbox that keeps food reasonably fresh and lets you pack a picnic is a great way to save money on food. Packed lunches/picnics are perfect for the days when you’ve hired a scooter and have no idea when you’re going to reach somewhere for a cheap meal, especially if you’re headed off the tourist map and into some of the more secluded spots of the world.
#2: A raincoat/umbrella
Often when you’re heading into summer you wont think about it raining; but it just might! There’s nothing worse than being caught out in the rain and having to fork out a stupid amount of money for an umbrella or raincoat or better yet not spending the money and just ending up with wet clothes and a cold. Grab one at home and put it in the bottom of your bag for the ‘just in case’ days.
A very wet, rainy day in Salzburg, Austria. We were very great-full for our raincoats and umbrellas.
# 3: A towel
Now I understand these can take up a lot of room in your bag, which is initially why we didn’t take one, however we were quickly regretting it when a few of the hostels we stayed at charged extra for towels. Just bring one of those small quick dry micro-fibre ones that roll up to the size of a small drink bottle because you won’t want to spend 5euro every time you get somewhere new.
#4: A decent water bottle
Staying hydrated is so important and its easy to forget about when travelling. Plus, you get so over paying for water; trust me. Pack an empty bottle in your suitcase or in your carry on and you can fill it up everywhere that has clean drinking water (fountains and bubblers are all over most big tourist destinations) and take that out for the day. It might only save you 2-5 Euro per day that you’d otherwise end up spending on bottled water but that gets old really fast regardless of your budget. I don’t think anyone likes paying for water and it can get really expensive in some places. We once payed almost 5 Euros for less than half a litre each in Paris!
#5: Ear Plugs
Just pop a few pairs in your handbag or toiletries bag. If you’re sleeping in dorms or camping in close proximity I can guarantee, there will be someone snoring. They’re also great for napping on long train, bus and plane rides when people are chitchatting, coughing and just being a downright nuisance.
#6: Plastic grocery bags
Just save the last 5-10 when you do your last grocery shop and screw them up and shove them in your suitcase. They’ll come in handy to separate your dirty clothes and in case you get stuck having to travel with wet things like swimmers or clothes that haven’t dried properly yet.
#7: Enough Sunscreen for your trip
Okay, so this one could potentially take up room, but trust me it’s worth it. If you’re going for a 2 week holiday I wouldn’t stress but we went for over 10 weeks of the summer and ended up spending a fortune on sunscreen because its expensive in Europe! We struggled a lot to find places that sold decent size bottles and even the small amounts were expensive, which only lasted me 2 weeks at a time. In the height of Summer, the European sun has more bite than you think and if you’re fair skinned like myself you’ll chew through the sun protection so you’ll save a bunch by just taking one of those big Coles bottles or a few banana boat bottles over with you.
#8: A deck of cards
Now so this isn’t totally necessary and it wont save you any money – it could actually lose your money if you’re a gambler but anyway. This is one thing we wished we packed and struggled to find for a reasonable price once travelling. Cards are a great way to pass time when on the move or at long stop overs between trains and planes away from the electronics (and they don’t run out of battery YAY). They’re also good fun in a hostel dorm or common room and make for a great addition to some social drinking.
#9: A backup adaptor
In a perfect world we wouldn’t need backups because nothing would go wrong, but unfortunately in the marvellously imperfect world of travelling things are going to go missing, get lost or stolen or just buried deep in your suitcase never to be seen again. One thing I recommend you take a backup of is an adaptor. They’re not the easiest things to get your hands on overseas and they’re often expensive and a monstrous inconvenience to go without. They also happen to be really easy to leave behind as I found out the hard way because who is used to pulling 2 plugs out of the wall? Save yourself the hassle and pack a spare, you’ll more likely than not be grateful.
Some of these things definitely don’t seem that drastic I know, but they’ll save you a few Euros here and there, enough for an extra beverage each day maybe…