I am the queen of random travel knowledge. Did you know that in the Amsterdam airport you can rent a shower room in 15-minute increments? Now, this may seem unnecessary to some of you, but let me paint a picture for you:
I was leading a team that had been unexpectedly evacuated out of Africa due to political unrest. We had spent one night in a small airport in rural Kenya and one night in the Nairobi airport. It was my birthday. I hadn’t had a shower in several days. My team all pitched in to buy me a shower for my birthday! To this day, it is one of the most treasured, thoughtful gifts that anyone has ever given me. Steamy hot water, shampoo, heated towel—the works!
After 15 years of traveling internationally, I have acquired a list of a few of my favorite things to make travel easier and more fun, thus contributing to more of my random travel knowledge. Here are a few that might help you, especially those of you who travel internationally:
1. A sturdy, easy to maneuver rolling duffel bag.
My choice: eBags TLS Mother Lode 25” Wheeled Duffel Bag. Trust me when I say that I have shopped around extensively to find this bag. It is a little pricier than your average rolling duffel, but this is one area where the saying is true: You get what you pay for. This bag has more room than what it might seem at first glance. I have packed for a month-long trip to Africa in this bag. The larger wheels are sturdy and result in smooth transport regardless of the terrain. If I am going to be gone for more than a few days, then I simply do not travel without this bag.
2. A versatile carry-on sized bag.
My recommendation is the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekend Convertible backpack. There are several color options to choose from. My experience is that the eBag brand has taken what people love most about several different styled bags and combined them into the same bag. I love all of the different pockets, the backpack straps that you can also conceal, and the comfort of wear. This bag serves as a great carry-on or weekend bag, as well.
3. Research outside of the box.
If you need help thinking outside the box, do some research with unique websites such as Sleeping in Airports. As I mentioned above, anytime you can fly through Amsterdam, I would recommend it. This fun website offers a lot of great information. Also, it is just entertaining to read about what different airports have to offer. The information on this site is composed by current travelers and is updated pretty regularly. Once you know where your layover will be, check out what people are saying about your airport there!
4. Don’t leave home without travel insurance.
The Volunteer Card has helped our 127 Worldwide volunteers out of more than one predicament, for sure. They go above and beyond what you are actually paying for. Check out the website to see what best fits your needs. The great thing about VC is that most insurances that they offer are good for up to one year. There are other travel discounts available through your VC membership, too.
5. Ladies: A good day pack is a must.
My suggestion? The Kavu Rope Bag. This is a great sized bag for carrying your essentials for the day. You can fit your phone, water bottle, wallet, camera, snacks, map/travel guide, journal, or into one bag. I also love the many different compartments to keep things separated. This sturdy, durable bag can also endure harsh travel conditions.
6. For a more limited audience: You need water filtration.
If you are traveling on a mission project or to a third world country, hands down SteriPEN Classic 3 is the best reasonably-priced portable water filtration. If you use lithium batteries, you can purify 150 Liters of water before having to change the batteries! Check it out.
7. Always pack snacks.
For high protein snacks that travel very well, check out Steve’s Paleo Goods. There are other brands available, but I like Steve’s.
8. You never know when you’re going to need music.
Portable Speakers can serve several purposes as you travel. If you are with a team, then you never know when a dance party is going to break out. I have used these speakers for background noise when I am trying to sleep, music for when I am getting ready, entertainment for friends, exercise, and—yes—for dancing!
9. Document everything.
I rarely leave home without a Moleskine Journal. I have a collection of office supplies. I make to-do lists, journal, tuck trinkets away in the back pocket, doodle, and daydream. Many of my future life plans were first jotted in a Moleskine at 35,000 feet.
If you are interested in international travel and you have a heart for orphan and widow care, then we’d love for you to possibly join one of our summer teams to Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, or Uganda! Visit 127worldwide.org for more details.
What are some things you don’t travel without? Are you headed anywhere fun this summer?