Deciding what to carry with you on your adventures can be as difficult as self circumcision, and there’s invariably things you wish you’d thought to bring with you (a corkscrew). On the flip side however, at the bottom of everyone’s bag is a collection of items that haven’t been used once, but your inner hoarder refuses to get rid of as you’re convinced at some point they’ll be absolutely essential and you’ll be kicking yourself if you’ve thrown them out.
- A first-aid kit with all the plasters (bandaids) gone
Your mum, bless her, gave it to you on your way out the door. “Here Steph, take this just in case you have any accidents, you’ll thank me when the time comes.” Several blisters, paper cuts and drunken scrapes later, you find yourself using the last of the eight plasters provided in the kit and that may very well be the last time you touch the kit. It will remain firmly buried at the bottom of your bag, untouched for the remainder of your trip but you can’t get rid of it, just in case the occasion arises when you need a surgical mask, three meters of bandage, or an iodine swab.
- A single, very nice thermal sock
Obviously this started out as a pair but at some point along the way, in a party hostel or a dubious laundromat, one of these socks has gone walkabout. Now your stuck with a surprisingly complex conundrum: to throw or not to throw. On one hand, a single sock isn’t much good and it’s so vastly thicker and warmer than your other socks that wearing it with another sock would leave you feeling a bit lopsided. On the other hand, isn’t it better to have one warm foot than no warm feet? And if you threw it away and then happened to find another lonely high quality foot garment, you’d feel like a right muppet so….. Back in the bag it goes!
- Shower loofa/net-ball/scrubby thing
Whatever you call those things, they’re more trouble than they’re worth. Providing you remember to take it from your hostel room to the shower, you then have to deal with a soaking wet ball, and after that you have to deal with the loofa thingy! But seriously once that thing’s wet it’s no good for travelling. Either you chuck it in your bag and get all your stuff wet or you put it in a plastic bag and let it ferment in its own juices until the next time you use it. However, if you get rid of it then you start to feel like a dirty hippy traveller and it’s handy to have something capable of scraping off weeks of grime.
- Your “fancy” outfit
Every girl has a pretty long dress and every bloke has that one nice Calvin Klein shirt your gran got your for Christmas. You packed it under assurances that there would be a formal occasion where your Sunday best would be necessary, but such an event is yet to occur. Your normal clothes have allowed you into every club and done you proud, yet you are loath to dispose of the formal wear, just in case you have to attend a function at an embassy or get asked on a date by a millionaire.
Seriously, you should start using them. Stay safe kids.
If you have a roller case then the weight of these frivolous necessities isn’t really an issue until your flying home and have to get it under 23 kgs, however space is a factor for backpackers and wheely case users alike. After buying a few souvenirs and expanding your party shirt collection, you may have to start making some tough decisions. When push comes to shove, you’re gonna have to ditch some of this shit. My recommendation? Keep the sock and the condoms. I still have hope that one day I will encounter another sock on my journeys to complete the pair, and my soul. If you don’t share my optimism and are feeling like part of you is missing, it’s probably a Stoke Travel Passport, the cheapest way to have the best time at Europe’s top festivals!