Sunday, February 26, 2012

Travel Tidbits

For the past six months we've really enjoyed life on the road. With all of this living out of bags we have picked up some handy bits of wisdom for staying organized, comfortable, thrifty and efficient. I've had folks ask for details on what we carried, used, and learned on our journey in South America, so here are some snack-sized travel morsels to you, from me.

As you may have noticed, we've been on dozens of buses, trains, and planes over the last few months.  Along with packing a snack, I am always sure to keep my scarf accessable. It's an excellent blanket and, rolled up like a doughnut, an excellent pillow.  This scarf is a synthetic blend which is important because it dries quick after being washed in a hostel sink or after being caught in a downpour.  It also adds some style as we romp about town. 

Warm and cozy
Pillow doughnut How-To

Being the uber organized and meticulous dude he is, Travis has an excellent filing system in his pockets.  Cash goes in one pocket. Receipts get filed into another pocket and then moved to a back pocket after being processed. Or something like that. I can't really keep up but I do know that the t-shirt pocket gets a lot of action as well. Sunglasses. Passport. Tickets. Trav is all about the pocket tee.  His favorites come from Mollusk in SF.

Ye Olde Pocket Tee

My favorite shirts for traveling are the 50/50's from American Apparel. 50% cotton means they're soft and don't perma-funk. 50% poly/synthetic means they dry quick and don't fade.  American Apparel means good color options and (apparently) ultimate hip-ness. 

I've mentioned before that I like to fix stuff and we're both all about making stuff last, which is muy importante on the road.  One of the things I find super helpful is reinforcing Ziplocs with clear packing tape. It seems silly but Ziplocs are key and covering them in a layer of tape means they don't shred and don't leak.  They are more reusable and durable than ever. Plus, it's a cheap way to keep important stuff dry (even though I do dig these for things like our camera).   

I know you can't actually see the *clear* packing tape here, but who doesn't like a visual?  Plus, there are some other nuggets pictured too: Dr. Bronners Magic Soap and GoToobs. Both pure gold.  On the far left there you see mini bars of soap (free from hostels) that we hold on to. They always seem to come in handy. Finally, toothbrush caps repaired with duct tape. Which brings us to duct tape.

Wrap it around the end of a pencil. Around your contact solution. Or your water bottle. Doesn't matter, just don't leave home with out it! Speaking of water bottles, I'm all about Klean Kanteen. They may be a little heavier than other bottle options (though the 27 oz only weight 6 ozs) but you don't have to worry about them breaking or stinking. We've been refilling our bottles and then purifying with tablets, which is significantly cheaper than buying bottled water. Not to mention the obvious environmental benefits.  I find the 27 oz size just right. 

Below is a smattering of essentials that meet a whole range of needs. Playing cards are a must. P-Cord (or parachute cord) has been useful in all kinds of ways: clotheslines, holding doors open, keeping things connected.  The Buck Knife (with corkscrew and good blade) is one of Travis's favorite items and I am in agreement. Finally, the Light My Fire spork. I carry this thing with me most everywhere here at home, but on the road you never know when you need a utensil. 

Finally, all the electronic goods. One of our most favorite items is this little gem of a speaker (thanks HayHay!).  We take it everywhere. Even on backpacking trips, it comes along and we kick back in the tent and listen to tunes at the end of the day. Joined with our iPod Nano, our whole sound system fits in the palm of your hand.  We've gotten great feedback about our pictures and lots of inquiries about what camera we're using. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 has been nothing short of amazing. It has high quality features and capabilities, while being compact and easy to use.  Combined with our Kindles (amazing wedding gifts from the Conley crew) and HP Mini netbook, our electronic gadgetry is rock solid and travel sized. 

So there you have it. Nothing groundbreaking, but hopefully helpful.  I left our outdoor gear out for now, but we're planning a series of gear reviews in the coming weeks.  If you've got questions on what we used, carried or wore for your own adventures, lemme know... I (obviously) dork out on this stuff. Happy Travels. 

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