Don't Leave Home Without
September is one sniff away and we know what that traditionally means…new school term, new pencils and new shoes…but not for all – indeed the gap year has well and truly started for 1000’s out there and 12 months of non-academic bliss lie ahead…oh the joys. These lucky gappers, lets hope you are one of them, will be able to glide past the stationary counter in WHSmiths in hot persuit of packing cubes, ear plugs and hammocks.
Oh yes…a new era of gear and gadgets is upon you that will have you climbing mountains, surviving the jungle and sleeping like a baby in the nosiest of hostels, so listen up and start your Christmas list with our latest gap year advice...
I have resisted these for years until my friend came to stay and showed off her ordered back pack (a side opening one I might add). Literally she had squirreled away all her belongings into colour coded cubes and at any time could grab whatever she needed without emptying her rucksack all over the floor. I know what Santa is bringing my family this Christmas. Let me tell you, seeing the cubes in action was a eureka moment - best piece of gap year advice ever.
Top Tip: Apparently don't skimp…you need sturdy fabric and good zips.
Buy From: Amazon or any outdoors shop is the place to find these.
Simply speaking these are hammocks made of parachute material with para cord to attach them to any tree/post available. They are super strong and incredibly lightweight, packing into a bag not much bigger than a passport – yes I promise.
They are perfect for camping or chilling and the best thing about them is they get you off the ground from any creepy crawlies.
Top Tip: Get a double one so you can wrap it right around you and keep the mozzies out.
Buy From: Try Ticket to the Moon - they make the real deal and ship worldwide.
Water Purification Bottle
Double benefits here - save plastic (always good) and guarantees you always having clean, safe water wherever you end up. They come in all shapes and sizes, but start with LifeStraw – not only are they high quality, removing 99.99999% of waterborne bacteria, but for every item purchased LifeStraw will ensure a child in need receives clean water for a whole school year.
Top Tip: Don't skimp on quality – buy the best you can afford.
Buy From: Start with LifeStraw.
Music Speakers and Splitters
Everyone needs a few tunes on their travels especially when it comes to creating the perfect camp fire moment or to help day dream your way through a long bus journey. When it comes to the speaker definitely get a waterproof one so you can take it to the beach and won't panic over a spilt beer - you'll be thanking me with this relevant piece of gap year advice later! Splitters – help share the love of tunes or a movie on the go.
Top Tip: Good sound and long battery life. Don't skimp on sound, its music you need not a headache.
Buy From: John Lewis for guaranteed quality.
Smartphone Camera Lens
If you love your photos and are considering taking out a bulky DSLR or equivalent camera …have a look at these clever lenses which take up no room at all and can turn your standard travel photos into instagram worthy shots…worth considering…
Top Tip: Research - as there is a huge range for every budget and if you love photography only you will know what you are after. Consider the destination too – Namibia for example needs a wide lens to really capture the moment whereas the jungle in Peru needs a good zoom for those wildlife encounters.
Buy From: These on Amazon come recommended and at only £11 are at the affordable end of the spectrum.
Scrubba Wash Bag/Dry Bag
Now you might think we are mad but I promise you having clean clothes on the road is a luxury and there is a limit to how clean you can get your stuff from giving it a swill in the shower. Now we were sent one of these, a pocket-sized device to make washing your clothes easy, and I can’t wait to road test it in few weeks when I venture out to our camp in Namibia.
Have a look – it won’t take up any room at all and the good news is it doubles up as a dry bag which is one of the most useful things to take with you.
Top Tip: Buy the real deal.
Buy From: Scrubba of course.
Sand Repelling Towel
Photo credit - Tesalate
Oh yes – there is such a thing and we can all whoop with joy. Invented by the Aussies these towels are half way between a sarong and towel…quick drying, pretty, compact and the best bit of all is the sand really doesn’t stick …we love…a game changer for me :)
Top Tip: Pretty expensive so don't loose it...
Buy From: So far go straight to Tesalate who ship worldwide.
Really important to consider where you are going…for example if you were heading to Australia then don't worry – power points are everywhere but if you were going on our Madagascar program, to volunteer on remote islands, then you would definitely need a solar powered charger!
Top Tip: Buy cheap buy twice! Buy the best you can afford.
Buy From: Start with Amazon
I love this one…less of a gadget but oh god you will never look back…pack a single duvet cover – preferably one with superman or wonderwomen on the front, then climb in, button up and kiss those bed bugs and creepy crawlies goodbye! You will be the envy of every other traveller trying to squeeze into a ‘sleeping liner” which are never big enough.
Top Tip: Take your favourite from home.
Buy From: Laundry cupboard.
Super Helpful Stuff
In no particular order and need no explanation…just some all times favourites which should be considered:
Photocopies of all documents and leave an extra copy at home
Money belt for night’s out
Padlock for your rucksack
Short washing line
You Can Never Be To Organised
I promise you the effort you put in beforehand will reap reward when you are out on the road. You can be the traveller who can access anything in a nano second, have light when the generator breaks, hang up wet clothes in the middle of the jungle and sleep in the middle of a rave with your earplugs wedged in!
Think about where you are going, write a list and send it to Santa early. Any problems - give me a shout.
on 31 / 08 / 2018