The Best Thing to Accompany Your Travel

Let’s head to Barcelona for a crazy city break weekend. Or maybe fly to Canada for a week of amazing winter sports.

Perhaps it would be better to travel down to the Caribbean and enjoy some serious sand, sea and sun time. But then again, I have always fancied a long road trip adventure. We live in a world where huge travel plans are an everyday topic of conversation. 

Holidays, breaks, events, adventures and even your work can involve massive amounts of travel – and today we all think that’s perfectly normal.

Travelling for up to 24 hours to a destination is no longer considered an arduous trek – it’s what everyone does to get away. An hour to the airport, a five-hour flight, another couple of hours at the other end – that’s all considered quite average. These long travel trips are generally no longer difficult, dangerous or even particularly expensive. We’re so used to it.

But we have become concerned with something else about these journeys – what makes a great travel companion?

From hiking pants to special travel soap, airport shops and online retailers are full of weird and wonderful ideas to make our travel pass more pleasantly – and to encourage us to spend our money of course.

Whether your ideal travel experience involves Slingo games at Rainbow Riches Casino or repeatedly tilting your seat back to annoy the person behind, the world is full of ideas to make your journey pass more easily.

While we mention it, games like Slingo are actually a good idea – they can keep you engrossed and entertained at the same time.  And it’s easy to use your smartphone or tablet to enjoy games like this anywhere you are – whether sitting on a long bus journey or waiting at an airport terminal for a delayed flight.

The travel world has certainly progressed since travellers considered a sun hat, compass and water bottle as the essentials for any overseas trip.

So we asked a group of ‘travel experts’ for their tips on the best things to take along with you on your travels today. All of them, even the business traveller, picked the number one item as – a smartphone.

You can forget guidebooks, cameras, maps and even that compass – because it’s all available on your phone today.

So simply maximise your phone’s travel potential by thinking about getting a decent case to protect it, a spare charger and a portable power bank to keep it charged up away from a power source. Then slip it in your pocket and you’re done.

After choosing the mobile phone we noticed the experts start rubbing their chins. After all, what is useful can depend on where you’re going and who with…

Some listed the obvious extras like sunscreen, insect repellent, first-aid kit – or even a mini-iron. Their lists included boring things like money belts, sleep masks, medicines, earplugs, water purifiers and hydration systems with weird scary tubes and pouches.

We reckon these are all a bit like the things your mum would pack for you – and are probably easier to buy when you get where you’re going, rather than carry all the way there.

So for things that actually enhance your travel experience we ignored the ‘experts’ and opted for these instead:

  1. A good travel pillow can make any seated journey on any type of transport much more comfortable. You can even sleep in an economy seat on a long-haul flight.

Find one that packs small and light – but make sure it’s comfortable or there’s not much point is there?

  1. What about a simple lightweight waterproof top that scrunches up to fit in a pocket? 

There aren’t many journeys that don’t risk a shower at some point. You’ll be cursing if your best travel outfit is drenched just as you walk from the airport to the bus stop.

  1. And finally, and this is so simple but so many people forget, take a decent day bag. No, not the big backpack you took on the flight or the case that had all your clothes in.

You don’t want to do a city tour carrying a monstrous suitcase.
But you do need something to hold your spare top, the light waterproof we just mentioned and a bottle of water. Maybe you’ll slip a few souvenirs in it or a snack for later.
Make sure it’s small, light but rugged. Nothing spoils a day out more than a strap breaking on a bag and everything falling out over the pavement in front of the locals.

And did we mention your phone? Really, don’t overthink this. Just a phone, that’s today’s travel essential.

Then grab a window seat, sit back to play Slingo, relax with your pillow and think of all the money you’ve saved by NOT buying a travel iron and water hydration system.

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