Keeping with this week’s theme of travel essentials I immediately knew that I needed to write about pockets, specifically zipper pockets. While traveling anywhere, doing anything, your pockets can be your best friend or your worst enemy. They can give you peace of mind, or make you paranoid beyond belief. The trick is getting the right pocket. I always travel with an amazing pair of REI adventure pants that has six pockets, four of which zip.
I have found that when I wear pants that have zippered pockets I feel much more comfortable that I will not be a victim of the always present pickpocket. When my pockets are exposed I am always on much higher guard and it can ruin a fun experience in a crowded market place.
A crowded Market in Shanghai, China
Using your pockets in a smart way is also helpful to avoid a terrible day if you do encounter a person with sticky fingers. Many people wear money belts or something under their shirts, that is a great way to keep things safe, but it is also a bit conspicuous and I always felt funny going up my shirt for some cash. Instead I always divide what cash or credit cards I have between all my pockets. That way, you always have a pocket that did not get picked. I also try to separate out my bills for two reasons; one it feels odd pulling out 100 dollars when you just bartered a price from 20 to ten dollars, and second, you are showing anyone who is watching, “Look I have a lot of cash!” Most places have a plethora of ATM’s so you really don’t need to carry much cash on you anyway. Now go explore.
There are a few things I don’t leave the country without, but apart from my passport and some money, I can’t travel without my headlamp.
Although I wouldn’t classify myself as an “adventurer”, I’ve found quite a lot of uses for this nifty device. Whether you’re trying to find something you’ve dropped in a dark space, or you’re experiencing a power-outage, a hands-free light is always useful.
Other than maybe a camera, the two things I never want to travel without are an inexpensive watch and a spork.
I always like having a watch, especially when traveling in different time zones. An inexpensive one is nice because you don’t have to worry too much about it and you can also offer to trade it while bargaining. I got this one for less than $20.
Having a spoon and a fork is great, especially when you end up buying food at a market or grocery store. This one even has a knife built in.
Bringing a DSLR camera while traveling can take up a lot of space and add a fair amount of weight. When I first started looking for a bag to carry my camera equipment in I looked mainly at backpacks specially made for DSLRs. Then I found this smaller bag that easily holds my camera and a second lens, and fits into other bags I already own:
My goto daypack when traveling is a beat up old backpack I got in the 7th grade:
It fits the camera bag, a water bottle, and a packable rain jacket (you can sometimes find these on sale for about 40% off, so shop around) with extra room if I end up buying anything throughout the day:
Plus, it doesn’t scream “THIS BACKPACK HAS A NICE CAMERA IN IT SO YOU SHOULD PROBABLY STEAL IT” like some bags made specifically for DSLRs.