I travel/live with a backpack of just 45L, it’s not huge. So, I’m selective about what I bring and I don’t indulge in carrying around many luxuries. But there are a few “accessory” items that always make the cut and have been along for the ride for years now. If you pack a real suitcase, go on a short holiday, and then go home, you most certainly won’t consider these items luxurious, but if you’re a backpack toting, hostel sleeping, shower skipping, bus riding, grimy traveler like myself than you’ll know exactly what I mean.
There’s a lot of travel towel options out there these days, mine comes from Pack Towl. A travel towel means nothing more than a towel made of micro fiber which makes it quick drying and compact. Sand won’t stick and it won’t get too smelly too fast. I used to have a small but that didn’t actually wrap entirely around my body which meant whichever way I worked it there was always one bit or another hanging out, and I traipse around hostels in my towel. So I’ve upgraded to a ‘body’ size. It wraps fully around all the bits and doesn’t noticeably take up any extra space.
My 45 L is super cool but I ditch it at the first opportunity I get. And when I do, and still want to carry more than fits in my purse, my Eagle Creek packable daypack springs to life. It’s simple and unfussy. One large compartment and a small front pocket. The entire bag tucks back into the front pocket making it super packable. My day pack’s been through a lot and is starting to show the signs of its three years in my life, but hey, that’s not a bad track record considering my lifestyle.
I acquired this accessory when I was traveling to Norway where hostels are already insanely expensive, charge an extra fee for sheets, and ban sleeping bags. Now, Norway is an exception to the rule and most hostels do provide sheets but I’ve found my sleep sack to be perfectly handy in plenty of other situations. Mine is from Sea to Summit and it’s silk so it’s a great light weight and I often whip it out around Asia to stay cool while being protected from vicious mosquitoes. I’ve also whipped it out in the less than desirable hostels where everything feels a bit dodgy and I want something I know is clean around my body. It’s been handy when sleeping in airports, on planes, on overnight buses or trains or even camping. Plus, bedbugs hate silk!
Not to be confused with a sleeping bag my sleep bag is a small bag that is my personal essential. In it I have ear plugs, a plethora of them so I can give them to travel companions or if I lose one I’m not without coverage. I also have melatonin, a natural sleep aid that I pretty much only use on long haul flights when I want to quickly get to sleep. And a sleep mask which is so vital for hostel life. Whether you’re off to sleep early, sleeping late, or someone flicks the light on in the middle of the night it doesn’t matter if you’ve got your handy, dandy sleep mask covering your resting eyes.