Five essential/useless items for travelers

Every traveler has them – those items they’d never be caught dead without. And, mostly likely, another traveler would consider those very things useless. It’s an interesting thing, this travel idea.

With that in mind, a bunch of us family travel bloggers are all posting today with our lists of essential/useless items. I can’t wait to see how many of my gotta-have items are on others’ throw-away list.


Bikes – OK, this one is pretty basic. I’ve already written enough about why I prefer traveling on bikes.
Beads – John would vehemently disagree with me on this one, but I think every traveler should have some kind of craft or something to occupy the time when you’re stuck in your tent in the pouring rain.
Chapstick – dry lips are so lame!
Kindle (or other e-reader) – we used to have a whole pannier dedicated to books. Not anymore – and we can carry more books!
Fanny pack – quick and easy for when I leave my bike.


Day pack – big and bulky and a pain to strap on a bike.
Towel – it just gets wet and then we have to dry it somehow. We just use our t-shirts and then wear them dry. That being said, when it was cold a towel was nice to have.
Jeans – but then, I don’t get jeans even at home. They just seem so uncomfortable and hard to wash. Get tights instead – much more comfy and easier to wash/dry.
Camelback – I know some cyclists prefer the Camelback, but I hate having that thing on my back. I’ll use water bottles.
Cell phone – I mean, who am I gonna call when I don’t know anyone? I carried one for a little while – should have kept it just as an alarm clock.


Here are lists from other travelers – love how we all have such different opinions!

Edventure Project

Livin on the Road

Wander Mom

Snaps and Blabs

Tripping Mom

Got Passport

Wandering Educators

Around the World in Easy Ways

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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6 Responses to Five essential/useless items for travelers

  1. Mike Vermeulen June 1, 2011 at 6:17 am #

    When cycling across Russia, I would trade beads for a cell phone (though my craft equivalent was small computer related).

    Why? When outfitted with a local SIM card, this made it easy to send short SMS text messages to a twitter account. What this let us do was in some spots remote enough to have few internet cafes, we would post a very brief update.

    A secondary reason it would have helped is when two of us got separated from each other, it would have made it easier to send a text message and find each other again.

    There is lots of places without cell service, but still seemed like this was more frequent than finding a public available internet point.

  2. Amy @LivinOnTheRoad June 1, 2011 at 6:26 am #

    It is funny the way one family’s essential is another family’s luxury. After we nearly ran out of water on a hike, we went straight to the shops to buy camel baks and absolutely love them. I wouldn’t do another hike without them, particularly with a 5 and 2 yo who want to stop constantly to have just one sip of water.

    Couldn’t agree more about the kindle, though. It has been such a great device for us travelling in an RV.

  3. Marilia June 1, 2011 at 7:38 am #

    I´m still missing ont he kinddle, but I read loads on my net book. E-books are a traveler savior for space and entertainment. But I still always carry one hard book.

  4. wandering educators June 1, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    this is SO smart – i don’t bike so i had no idea about some of these!

  5. Snaps & Blabs June 1, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    The kindle is great for anyone that likes to read. We also have had a great time with the games on it and the free 3G internet connection.
    My jeans have been keeping the bottom of my pack sturdy so far and I cant even imagine wearing them right now.
    Fanny pack, camelbacks…I dont even know what you are talking about 😉

  6. lisa Shusterman June 1, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

    I agree with the cell phone – we’re thinking the same on that one. I also agree with the jeans but my husband brought a pair and said they were worth their weight. e-books would have been a lighter alternative but I’m still not ready to give up on books.

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