Life is moving at an accelerated pace in the 21st century, and the art of travel is no exception. Nowadays, I consider that there are at least five travel essentials for the frequent world traveler, each of which now accompanies me on every single one of my trips overseas. They represent the evolutionary result of more than 45 years of traveling the world extensively and frequently. I would not dream of hitting the road without these travel essentials, so much so that I sometimes find myself wondering how travelers without these basic items are able to fully enjoy their travels! Just as you would not wish to face an Arctic winter without wearing the right clothing and carrying the right equipment, you should not want to travel the world without the right gear. Here are the top five items on my packing list for every overseas trip:
1. Hidden Cargo Pants:
Among travel essentials, none is more important to have on your travels than the hidden cargo pants! And that is because hidden cargo pants provide the best protection I know of against the loss of valuables while traveling overseas, and thus offer a peace of mind which I find priceless. I have been fortunate never to have been the victim of theft or pick-pocketing during my 45 plus years of traveling the world. I firmly believe that taking basic precautions, such as storing valuables deep inside hidden cargo pants has played a major role in my (so far, at least) perfect record. I have learnt from experience that the most secure location for your valuables while traveling is not in the hotel safe, not in your locked luggage, not in your car, not in your purse or day bag, but on your person. And the best location on your body for those valuables is inside the deep front hidden pockets which, in a pair of hidden cargo pants, secretly supplement the normal right and left front pockets of the pants. I’ve been wearing hidden cargo pants on my travels for many years now and have always stored our passports, credit cards and cash securely in the hidden front pockets.
Admittedly, there are several manufacturers of hidden cargo pants, and each has its own characteristics. The brand I swear by and have worn for many years is Scottevest. I do not know of any other brand which offers as deep and as well hidden front pockets as Scottevest does. The hidden pockets of other manufacturers whose pants I have tried are usually so shallow that they do not reach below the main front pockets. The result is that the protection offered against pickpockets by those shallow hidden pockets is minimal and frankly inadequate. And, almost as importantly, the stored items in the shallow hidden pockets end up lying on top of the items in the main pocket, creating a very unsightly and bothersome bulge in your pants. The hidden pockets on a pair of Scottevest hidden cargo pants reach down well below the main pockets, allowing you to store your valuables comfortably out of reach for pickpocket thieves, without any noticeable bulge.
Another one of my favorite features of the Scottevest hidden cargo pants is that they look like a regular pair of pants, which makes them suitable for any occasion save formal events. This allows me to easily and seamlessly transition from a day of touring to an evening at a top restaurant or concert venue.
2. Travel Vest:
Second on my list of travel essentials is the travel vest. A travel vest fills two very important needs. The first is the need to easily and efficiently manage the process of going through security checks not only at airports but increasingly at hotels, museums, and other security conscious locations. A good travel vest has many zipper pockets, lots of them, and this allows you to securely store all of your electronic or metallic objects somewhere inside the vest. As with the hidden cargo pants, I swear by and have worn for many years Scottevest travel vests. Scottevest makes several models of travel vests, from a 14-pocket featherweight travel vest for hot weather spots to a 42-pocket travel vest for the aficionado. Since I may sound like one, I should point out here that I am not a paid sponsor of Scottevest, even though I have been recommending Scottevest travel clothing for years. I have bought and paid for every pair of hidden cargo pants and every travel vest that I wear on our travels. I just happen to think that Scottevest is by far the best in travel clothing … come to think of it, I do think Scottevest SHOULD reward me for these recommendations, don’t you?
Whenever I am on my way to the airport, I make sure to move everything in my shirt and pant pockets to the inside of my Scottevest travel vest. Thus all I have to do when I get to the security checkpoint is take off my travel vest and place it in the bin. That’s it. Wallet, keys, coins, cash, iphone, ipad, hotspot, battery charger, compact camera, notebook, pens, tickets, handkerchief, and whatever else I am carrying all go thru security together inside the travel vest. There is no risk that I will leave something behind, there is no risk that someone will pilfer a loose wallet or IPhone in a bin. All I have to watch for is my travel vest! That makes the whole process very manageable.
The second need met by a travel vest is the need to efficiently carry lots of items required for travel. The 26-pocket Scottevest travel vest I usually wear overseas allows me to store everything in a very efficient way. My notebook and pens are in one pocket. Another has my IPhone. A third pocket contains my Skyroam global hotspot (see below). A fourth has a Ventev Mobile battery charger for recharging the Iphone or hotspot during a long day of usage (see below). A fifth pocket carries my compact camera. A sixth pocket contains a replacement camera battery pack and a replacement storage memory card, again for those long days of usage. A seventh pocket contains the trip itinerary and tickets. And so on. All items are in zippered compartments yet within very easy reach. I can’t think of a better way to travel !
3. Global Hotspot:
We live in an increasingly “connected” world and the need to have voice and data access on the go is increasingly evident to more and more people. And while smartphones have evolved greatly, they still do not offer worldwide data access at a reasonable price, except for very small volumes of data. Waiting for the next wifi hotspot at a Starbucks cafe or at the hotel may work for some, but the increasing integration of apps into our daily activities are making this less and less of an acceptable option. That is a big issue for world travelers who need instant connectivity when, for example, they want to post a selfie to Instagram from the Spanish steps in Rome, or want to avoid heavy traffic areas while driving on the streets of London. Lack of constant connectivity is not acceptable for a travel blogger like myself who wants to upload blog articles, photos, tweets, etc… at all hours of the day. For several years now, I have used mobile hotspots to address this issue, essentially because one mobile hotspot can provide internet access on the go to all of our devices (IPhones, IPads, laptops, etc…). Since internet access from cellular service is only made available from local providers in each country, it used to mean that I had to rent a different hotspot for each country.
Imagine my delight when I was introduced a couple of years ago to the very unique Skyroam global hotspot. By replacing actual sim cards with virtual sim cards located on a remote server, Skyroam has made it possible to have a single device provide data access to multiple countries, more than 80 countries so far in Skyroam’s case, and at an extremely reasonable cost. $8 a day for unlimited internet in any country is a far better deal than anything else I’ve looked into. The Skyroam global hotspot immediately became a permanent addition to our travel essentials and has been so for more than a year now. The Skyroam global hotspot is completely user-friendly; the hotspot will automatically switch to the appropriate provider when you move from one country to another. My wife and I have been able to travel the world with constant data and internet access to all our devices (wherever there is cellular service anyway), all from the small Skyroam global hotspot stored in one of the pockets of my travel vest. Definitely, one of our favorite travel essentials!
4. Portable Battery chargers:
When you are traveling the world loaded with portable electronics such as IPhones, IPads, hotspots, digital cameras, etc…, you need to think about your ability to re-charge these devices when the battery goes dead. Mobile battery chargers are the answer and they are getting better and smaller all the time. Mobile battery chargers have been part of my travel essentials for quite some time. For the best in mobile battery chargers and for that matter all mobile accessories, you need go no further than Ventev Mobile. When it relates to mobile accessories, the people at Ventev Mobile have clearly done their homework well.
For example, the Ventev Powercell 3015C is an IPhone charger which, in my opinion, should be in every woman’s purse and every man’s shirt pocket! It provides one full IPhone charge in a minuscule and neat battery pack that comes with its own integrated IPhone cord. I can’t think of a better IPhone battery charger to carry around. This is only one of many models available from Ventev Mobile. All of their mobile accessory products seem to have an edge in design and features over the rest of the competing products. Naturally, I carry larger capacity Ventev Mobile battery chargers in my travel vest, since I may need to re-charge several devices during a typical day of travel.
5. Waterproof hiking shoes:
I have come to wear waterproof hiking shoes on all of my travels a bit unconsciously. It was not something which I set out to do, it just evolved that way over time. Several rain and unexpected puddle experiences in various countries in the past led me to wear waterproof shoes. The long walks over many different types of terrain which are inherent in the type of travel that we do led me to hiking shoes.
Finally, the need to wear waterproof hiking shoes which could be worn in a top restaurant as comfortably as on a mountain top led me to Keen waterproof hiking shoes, and more specifically (for those who might be interested in the exact model) to the Keen Men’s Durand Low WP waterproof hiking shoes. There are many other models to suit just about every taste. I have found waterproof hiking shoes to be the most versatile and practical type of shoes for travels around the world, from Tokyo to Paris, from Nairobi to Buenos Aires, from New York to Ketchikan, from a cruise ship to an airplane, from a limo to a street cab. Another of my travel essentials I would not hit the road without!
Stay tuned to BonVoyageurs.com for more Countries of the World as we share our joie de vivre from around the world. Luxury escapes, cruises and city breaks to Quebec City, New York, Washington, Buenos Aires. In Europe, places like Paris France, Nice France, Provence and the Cote d’Azur (French Riviera), Tuscany and Florence in Italy, Rome, Napoli and the Amalfi Coast. In Asia, countries like China, India, Nepal and so much more!