The One Thing You Can’t Live Without

By Nomadic Matt | Published July 15th, 2011

travel itemEveryone has that one thing they can’t live with in life. When you are traveling, you also have the one thing you can’t travel without. That one item that makes the good day, better, and the bad day, good. For me, it is my iPod. I love music. It makes my world go around and you will rarely find me not listening to something. I once had my iPod stolen and was without music for 5 months. It was the longest 5 months ever. So, heading into the second to last part of my community questions series leading up to my 5 year travel anniversary (and huge giveaway), I wanted to to know what is the one thing YOU can’t travel without!

“My laptop.” – Sarah

“Pen and paper. You can’t always get Internet connections, batteries have a finite supply – especially during power outages, but you can always write (or draw) to remind yourself, explain yourself, communicate.” – Maria

“My iPhone…I can write on it, take pictures with it and it has been known to get me out of some pretty hairy situations in the past!” – Nicole

“I’d say either my diary. The diary I need, as I always want to take down notes, incase I forget some small detail in the future. Needless to say though, I have forgotten many times to write down things but there is no harm in attempting.” – Rob

“My cameras. I can’t imagine being unable to document my travels. Not only are photographs the best souvenir, but I think stopping, composing an image, and preserving it forever makes you more intimate with the subject. I have actual nightmares about my battery running out at a beautiful moment my underwater housing flooding during a great dive.” – Alex

“I would say my greenstone necklace gifted to me in NZ. It reminds me that this life isn’t always about work or play. Balance is essential.” – Crystal

“Our RV. It is our home, and we love it. Our 8 year old likes to tell people we are homeless. This isn’t exactly true — it’s just that our home is on wheels and we rarely stay anywhere for more than a week.” – Amy

“Aloe. No matter what I do, I always get a burn somewhere and aloe saves me every time.” – Julie

“Books. Not even necessarily good books, because the random castoffs from hostel libraries will do in a pinch. There’s not much mundanely worse, though, than boarding an overnight bus/train without an unread book to pass the time.” – Stephen

“I suffer from bad ear pain while flying so I can’t live without Airwaves chewing gum (an Australian brand). The gum contains eucalyptus, which helps my head decongest and chewing the gum unblocks my ears.” – Justine

“Ipod. I couldn’t sleep most nights in hostels without it.” – Mike

“Lipgloss.” – Jenni

“I hate to admit it, but I love having my laptop with me. My laptop provides me instant communication with friends and family back home (so important when traveling long-term), and it provides security when managing my finances and other personal affairs online.” – Stephanie

“My camera, to be cliche. Or a notebook, I like to write on buses and planes so I don’t forget everything that just happened.” – Penny

“My personal travel sized air purifier. I never travel without it!”- Kelly

“Obviously, my passport but next would be a camera.”- Niki

“My blackberry smartphone. It does many things. I can use it as GPS if I get lost, taking pictures and post ‘em to Facebook. And it’s fun when people always knowing where I go, so if you’re in trouble they can track you.” – Emir

“My camera.” – James

My Lonely Planet guide. It really is my bible.” – JJ

“I have grown accustomed to having my macbook with me, so I can write, email, and upload my photos immediately.” – Michael

“An iPhone. Having instant access to maps, directions, and GPS (not to mention all the other apps) has been a huge advantage on the road.” – Christy

“In these times of high-technology, I couldn’t live without… the soap container! A fantastic plastic box that solves forever the problem of a drying multi-purpose soap bar.” – Fabio

“Solid shampoo and conditioner from Lush. It doesn’t count towards your liquid allowance on a plane as it’s, well, not a liquid. Plus it smells great, and you can also buy a travel tin so the insides of your backpack don’t turn into a gooey, albeit pleasant smelling, mess.” – Tom

“A folded zippered tote bag ready to be stuffed with clothes so the main suitcase is available for purchases.” – Margy

“Hands down my PackTowl quick-dry towel”- Kelly

“A hoodie. It’s a good pillow/comfy for car travel, a hair protector, a cover from rain and cold, and a clever disguise!” – Margot

“My Kindle. It really helps to pass the time at airports, weighs next to nothing, and doesn’t take up any space in my suitcase!” – Pinai

I asked my readers a series of 6 questions about travel. Read their answers to the other 5 intriguing questions:
Why did you start traveling?
What is your greatest travel memory?”
What’s the worst thing that has happened to you?
What advice would you give to new travelers?
What is your greatest regret?

comments 33 Comments

Hands down, its my computer; its keeps me connected with the world at at large and records my thoughts.

Definitely hand sanitizer! You’ll never know where you’ll end up with no proper way to sanitize.
Love the picture too!

NomadicMatt

Cleanliness is next to godliness.

jRo

My passport!

Rick

My ipod speakers, always a great icebreaker

NomadicMatt

Really? How so?

A solid cup of black coffee.

NomadicMatt

Tea?

my simple and light compact camera. Looking at some moment-capturing photos I’ve taken through my travels still gives me goosebumps.

I agree with you, gotta have the Ipod. I need the buddha bar when I’m riding atop a bus in Nepal. Gotta have the drum and base walking around London town. Need the Tom Petty when I’m nostalgic for home. Yea, need the Ipod lol.

NomadicMatt

Both good choices.

Andy

I am a recent new reader and look forward to following your adventures.

NomadicMatt

Great! Thanks for leaving a comment. Hope to see you again.

My passport, my cards, some cash – everything else you can get along the way! Though I must admit I think my new Kindle is my new best travel friend!

NomadicMatt

I still like old fashioned books. I don’t like to read on a screen.

Rob Davies

Have to agree totally with you there Matt. I really don’t like the Kindle. Just isn’t the same as a book.

Vanderhelst

A pillowcase. It serves as a clean (!) pillow, laundry storage, lunch pack, emergency backpack, shopping bag, emergency towel. And best of all: it weighs virtually nothing and takes no room.

Definitely my iPhone… but I am not sure how practical it would be… Do you carry an iPhone? Is it easy to switch SIM cards and use the phone as you border hop? I used my iPhone during my honeymoon in the Dominican Republic and I had a $800+ bill when I got home… not good.. luckily I was able to negotiate that down…

We still have a few months before we start on our RTW journey, but I already can’t imagine traveling without my Kindle. To be able to buy a book, whenever… wherever? That is straight addictive.

Can’t travel anywhere without my sketch book and a pen. You can write down contact information, useful hotels/restaurants and addresses, draw, write your thoughts. Really, its like having someone there when you’re traveling on your own.

My passport, my camera, my prescription medicine and prescription glasses. Everything else I can buy while on the road.

simplythreecents.com

A good tea made my wife in the morning!

Julie, without aloe I would not have survived 3 months in Mexico! I used it for everything :D
But I can’t travel without my lip balm!

Katie

My first aid kit is a permanent fixture in my backpack. I rarely have had to use it though! :D

Definitely my iPhone. I can take photos, surf the web, update my twitter, stay in contact with friends and family, skype, listen to music. LOVE it!

Definitely a book, whatever the book!

The one thing which i cant live without while traveling is my IPad….where ever i would be going,i want to still connect to my family,office mates and friends around me :)

Two things that are already for 15 years in my backpack:

1. A small stone turtle to put my incense sticks in – excellent for smelly rooms and it keeps some of the mozzies away, or so I hope.

2. A small replica of Buzz Lightyear. No idea why but it may come handy, eventually.

NomadicMatt

To infinity and beyond!

LH

Backpacking? Mouthwash! especially when water for brushing is scarce.

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