Tiny and Light But Worth Packing

Some things are so light and small they’re not worth leaving home without. Despite the plethora of travel aids and gizmos the best travel knickknacks are cheap, light, small and (generally) multi-use.

SarongsScarf / Bandanna / Sarong

A towel might definitively be the ‘most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have‘ but for my money, with the advent of the micro-fibre towel, this is the new champion. High fashion or improvised basket, sun hat, sheet, towel, sling (with some safety pins) and many other uses besides. Available world-wide and probably more cheaply than at home.

Light strong cord

For use as a clothes line and for securing bags in a pinch. A travel clothesline, designed to hold clothes without pegs, is a widely popular alternative but I’ve always managed to survive without one.

Zip-lock bags

Literally millions of uses – for dirty laundry, snacks, carry on liquids, keeping a travel journal dry, the list goes on. Larger bags are simple replacements for packing cubes.

Universal rubber plug / sink stopper

Cable TiesA must if you’re planning to do your own laundry. Whereas laundry powder is easy to buy most places, it’s worth buying a decent plug at home. Even if you never have to use it, it’s light and small enough to be worth packing and lugging.

Cable ties

A simple and cheap means of securing your luggage during flights – not necessarily tamper-proof but tamper-evident (as suggested by Budget Travel)

Rubber door stop

A small rubber doorstop is the simple and effective means of securing a hotel or hostel room door.

Passport PhotosSmall tupperware container

Useful if you have anything you wish to avoid crushing in your bag. In the meantime, perfect for storing most other things on this list.

Passport Photos

A few spare recent passport photos tucked away in the bottom of your bag may well save some unnecessary grief if you need a visa extension or a replacement passport.

Medicare Card

For Australians travelling to countries with reciprocal health agreements your medicare card is worth taking along.


You should ensure you always have access to:

  • Photocopy of your passport
  • Details of insurer and your policy
  • Contact details for Airlines/Lodging
  • Contact details for your consulates or embassies
  • Bank / ATM or Credit card provider contact details (especially emergency contact numbers)

Photos of your luggage (highlighting any identifying features) and any valuables you’re carrying are also worthwhile. You can keep copies of these details in paper format at the bottom of your luggage or store them or electronically – a good approach is to either email them to your web-based email account (or simply save them in a draft message) or take advantage of a free online storage site. It’s also worth leaving a copy of all of the above with a friend or family member back home.

Anything I’ve missed?

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[Sarong image via somesatellite], Cable ties image via fotocitizen, passport photos image via imperialdoghnut]

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