7 Odd and Surprisingly Essential Travel Items

1. Old t-shirt Sleeves

Yes, you did read that correctly. Cut off the sleeves of an old long-sleeved shirt that you no longer wear to use as a neck pillow cover. Trust me, between the airplanes and public buses, you’re going to want some semblance of cleanliness regardless of where you are in the world.

 2. Individual Packets of Laundry Detergent

Coming right off of that first one, you’re going to need something to wash those dirty t-shirt sleeves. Finding a Laundromat in new place, especially when a language barrier is present, can get a little tricky. Put a plug in your sink or bathtub (assuming that you have one), pop one of these bad boys in and wash away.

The detergent especially comes in handy with socks and underwear. I would assume that most of you readers enjoy a fresh pair each day. Then again, I also assume that everyone washes their hands after going to the bathroom, but as we all know there are some offenders out there who don’t concern themselves with basic hygiene.  Hopefully, you are not one of them.

 3. Sham-wow

Have you seen the infomercial for this thing? Enough said. I would buy one regardless of my travel plans. However, if you are going somewhere with a beach/lake or if you are staying in a hostel where you only get one towel regardless of the duration of your stay, I would bring one of these along. They take up very little room in your suitcase or backpack and yet are incredibly absorbent. It actually amazes me how these things work so I attribute it very simply to magic.

And that, my friends, is why I will never be a science major or an engineer.

 4. Inflatable Pool Raft

What could you possibly need this thing for, you ask? Great Q. When I was in China, the beds were hard as rocks. Not even sure if I just used that expression correctly, but we’re going to go with it. Anyways, the point is that this little raft was the difference between sleeping and making an international call to the chiropractor. As it can be deflated after use, packing it away is fairly easy when you are ready to move on to your next destination.

 5. Any Type of Bar

Cliff Bar, Luna Bar, any kind of bar! Anything that can prevent an international incident from occurring due to food deprivation. Just kidding, but not really. Bring a few with you in a Zip lock bag and store them someplace where they won’t melt all over your clothing…talk about embarrassing.

 6. Tooth Brush Cover

Alright, continuing with the hygiene trend, if you throw your toothbrush into a toiletry bag or worse a backpack all by itself, you might as well be licking the inside of a garbage bag the next time you brush your teeth. If you disagree, you and George Costanza can stop reading this now.

Think of all the other stuff you casually throw in there-old gum wrappers, trash, pens that inevitably explode all over your stuff- and then think about whether you want to ingest any of those items. I rest my case.

 7. Fake Wallet

Slightly paranoid? Yes, but you would be too if your grandma sent you weekly chain e-mails with subject headings like, “WARNING PLEASE READ!! THIS E-MAIL COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE!!” The all caps and extra punctuation marks really just add to the sense of urgency…

Ask your parents for some old credit cards, take any Visa or American Express gift cards that never quite seem to work and place them in a makeshift wallet. Keep it on you while walking around in unfamiliar places (in a different location than your primary wallet). If you ever get into a sticky situation, throw it one way and run in the opposite direction.

Also, if you ever get into a sticky situation and survive to tell the tale, please let me know so that I can inform my grandma.

Happy travels!

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