I would have loved one of those aluminium spinners, but with many airlines limiting carry-on weight to 10kg, I go for function over form. This is one of the lightest hard-shell cases I could find. I chose a combination lock instead of a key – one less thing to lose – and without a front pocket, because, despite the added convenience, fewer compartments mean more space and less weight. This one is the smaller dimension of 55cm x 40cm x 20cm (38L), so it is accepted by all airlines.
Many of the hotels I’ve visited don’t have a plug for the sink – this issue is probably limited to budget travellers like myself. If you shave, you need one of these.
This stuff is Potassium Alum (aluminium alum does the same job). It lasts for months. Just rub it on your skin after a shower. It kills the bacteria that causes smell but doesn’t stop perspiration. I like the design of this particular brand because the ergonomics. The other I’ve tried has a screw going up the middle that, over time, creates a ragged hole that scratches. I also use it to get a matt effect on my head after shaving.
At a price of around £5 and a lifespan of up to six months, this thing is a bargain.
Tip: It kills smell on your skin, but not on your clothes. Spray some fragrance on the the fabric.
Toiletries bag with hook
Sick of having to dig into a chock full bag to find the tweezers or nail clippers, spilling half the contents out as you do so? Get organised with one of these. Hang it up on any ledge and you’ll never have to dig again.
Coffee filter holder
This little Japanese contraption takes up no room in your bag. Slot the three plates together, shove in a paper filter and off you go.
Retractable fountain pen
I love the feel of a fountain pen nib as I write, and I always write my first drafts by hand rather than on the computer. It’s no more of a travel pen than any other, but I’ve included it in this list because I take it everywhere.
My laptop has been left at home. By swapping for the Samsung S4 Tab with the keyboard cover, I save over half a kilogram and can do everything I did on my laptop.
In-ear noise cancelling headphones
I liked my over-ear things, but after a while they hurt my ears, and they weren’t comfortable to use with a travel pillow, so I’ve changed them for in ear versions. Yes, the wire is a pain but I read these have better NC than the new bluetooth version. They can also fit easily into a pocket, unkike the over ear ones.
And if like me you’ve had problems with the fit of many in-ear headphones before, I can say that these are designed to keep the buds snug. I don’t think you’ll have any problems.
If you are using Android, like me, get the right version.
I’ve been on many night flights where the cabin temperature was way to high. With its perforated sides, this pillow keeps you cool and supported. It’s made with memory foam and grips tightly around your neck via a drawstring. It’s much better than any pillow I’ve tried before.
P.S. Do not spend £129. I have no idea why that’s the price on there. I got mine for £46 in Aberdeen airport.
Yoga Towel (the blue and white one I’m sitting on, not the white one in front)
I might change this for a foldable yoga mat at some point, but there are always mixed reviews regarding their stickiness. I rub essential oils like sandalwood on my palms and the soles of my feet, and somehow it makes them stick better, so I can use this without slipping.
4 pairs of boxer shorts
1 smart/casual jacket
4 pairs of socks
1 pair of trainers
1 pair of flipflops
1 pair of jeans
1 pair of linen trousers
2 pairs of board shorts
Pentax K1000 film camera with film.
Dora The Explorer in Scottish dress. Given to me by my niece who was four at the time. “This is to remember me by,” she said. This and my passport are the only things I cannot forget to take.
Tip: wear a jacket with many pockets when flying. Fill the pockets with whatever fits if you are struggling to make the weight limit.