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Favorite budget travel items?

Old Jun 18, 17, 4:17 pm
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Last edit by: EmailKid
Best items to have for Budget Traveler:

Unlocked SmartPhone with local Sim card with data (not all countries have addresses posted)

Extension cord with multiple outlets (some budget hotels have exactly ONE electrical outlet)

Free local maps that you might pick up at tourist information places (the more the better - different versions seem to list different streets depending on what printer considers important)

USB battery pack for when you are lost and mobile is running low on juice and you need Google maps
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Favorite budget travel items?

Old Sep 29, 16, 9:58 am
  #271  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 8
Lightbulb Organize Your Suitcase

I recently discovered these small zippered travel bags.
About the size of a 1 qt. plastic sandwich bag, one side is breathable mesh, the side is nylon. Similar to compression sacks (only much cheaper!)
I use a marker to label the contents.
Makes it SO much easier to find things in my suitcase!
Save
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Old Oct 3, 16, 12:54 am
  #272  
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Greater Seattle Area
Programs: Star Alliance
Posts: 134
Being a very budget conscious traveler, I've slept and crawled up at various airport and couchsurfing spots. From the modern and air-con ready international airport to central america's steel chairs and ghost airport.
One set that I always bring is a yoga mat and a square or rectangle scarf. The scarf is relatively easy to carry(on your neck) and yoga mat with its strapping or folded loosely in a carry-on bag.

The other one that I found VERY useful is a "Bagel" Universal Adapters+Extension Cord. Found this online and seemed to be a Singaporean startup, but being a size of a regular bagel, it's an extension cord for 5 plugs and 2 USB ports. This has won me many many friends both at the airport and at the host's house. Don't fight over plugs, share it with a bagel.
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Old Dec 15, 16, 9:59 am
  #273  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: BOS, PVD, HYA
Programs: MR, TYP, AA, B6, DL, WN, HH, MB, 2V
Posts: 658
Kindle. Others have echoed similar sentiments with iPads and such, but here's the kicker. Buy a first generation kindle for under $40 bucks (http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_sacat=171485&_nkw=kindle&_dcat=171485&Prod uct%2520Line=Kindle%25201st%2520Generation) and download a bunch of PDFs to it. Before every trip, I download PDFs of
  • directions and maps (airports, cities, specific routes I'll be driving)
  • passports and IDs
  • plane/train/bus/etc. tickets
  • hotel/lodging booking confirmations and emails
  • itineraries and guide information
  • printouts of useful website info or Flyertalk posts

You can really add anything to it PDF style, plus I put a few books on there to actually read.

Last edited by financialhippie; Dec 15, 16 at 9:59 am Reason: formatting
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Old Dec 15, 16, 11:45 am
  #274  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: MSP
Programs: DL Gold, DL MM 8/22/16!
Posts: 2,563
Originally Posted by financialhippie
Kindle.

...plus I put a few books on there to actually read.
I love my Kindle, but our local library stopped the service that would let me load free books to Kindle (Overdrive). I've found some other iffy on-line sources, and sometimes resort to doing a "free" search in the Kindle store, but that isn't very powerful and effective.

Any particular tool you are using to load your books? Since this is the Budget forum I'm hoping you might have tools for free books??
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Old Dec 15, 16, 3:27 pm
  #275  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,039
There is a website called Book Bub where you can sign up for emails every day with a choice of three books for $1.99 or $2.99. It links to Amazon for the purchase so you can use the Look Inside feature to be sure you would like the book. There is usually one fiction former bestseller or classic, one non-fiction, and one mystery or horror book. I find something I like about once or twice a month. You can also search Amazon for Low Priced Books.
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Old Dec 15, 16, 5:07 pm
  #276  
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 3
Power banks! They are like 15$ on aliexpress and you can completely recharge your phone 3-4 times.
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Old Dec 15, 16, 8:55 pm
  #277  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: BOS, PVD, HYA
Programs: MR, TYP, AA, B6, DL, WN, HH, MB, 2V
Posts: 658
Originally Posted by Romelle
I love my Kindle, but our local library stopped the service that would let me load free books to Kindle (Overdrive). I've found some other iffy on-line sources, and sometimes resort to doing a "free" search in the Kindle store, but that isn't very powerful and effective.

Any particular tool you are using to load your books? Since this is the Budget forum I'm hoping you might have tools for free books??
Yes! Not exactly your New York Times bestsellers lists, but some very interesting reads and plenty of classics at the Gutenberg Project! https://www.gutenberg.org/

You can download them right into Kindle or Epub formats, and save them to your Dropbox, Drive, etc.
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Old Dec 16, 16, 6:13 am
  #278  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: MSP
Programs: DL Gold, DL MM 8/22/16!
Posts: 2,563
Originally Posted by financialhippie
Yes! Not exactly your New York Times bestsellers lists, but some very interesting reads and plenty of classics at the Gutenberg Project! https://www.gutenberg.org/

You can download them right into Kindle or Epub formats, and save them to your Dropbox, Drive, etc.
Thank you! I'll try them.

Originally Posted by Tizzette
There is a website called Book Bub where you can sign up for emails every day with a choice of three books for $1.99 or $2.99. It links to Amazon for the purchase so you can use the Look Inside feature to be sure you would like the book. There is usually one fiction former bestseller or classic, one non-fiction, and one mystery or horror book. I find something I like about once or twice a month. You can also search Amazon for Low Priced Books.
Thank you! Occasionally I break down and pay money for books. Always good to have another source.

Last edited by EmailKid; Dec 18, 16 at 8:33 pm Reason: back to back posts
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Old Jan 17, 17, 6:14 pm
  #279  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: IAD, DCA, BWI
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I always enjoy having a good notebook with me. I can write down what I want to do, what I have done, and any questions about the culture I want to look up later. I also use it like a scrapbook, collecting entry tickets etc.

Also, a well charged power pack has saved me numerous times.
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Old Jan 17, 17, 8:35 pm
  #280  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: BOS, PVD, HYA
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Posts: 658
Originally Posted by youseeme
I always enjoy having a good notebook with me. I can write down what I want to do, what I have done, and any questions about the culture I want to look up later. I also use it like a scrapbook, collecting entry tickets etc.

Also, a well charged power pack has saved me numerous times.
+1 to the notebook, never leave without one in my pocket. I use it for writing down directions, costs, exchange rates, questions, new words, you name it!
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Old Jan 18, 17, 6:38 am
  #281  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Poland
Posts: 869
Originally Posted by Demian
Power banks! They are like 15$ on aliexpress and you can completely recharge your phone 3-4 times.
DH bought a Hootoo that can charge phones, but it also helps to protect you when you are on someone else's wifi.

One thing I like to do is take one of those 7 day medicine containers and fill each "day" with common meds... Benadryl, Motrin, car sickness meds, etc. It just seems like every time we travel, someone gets a little sick or gets a small injury and I hate overpaying for 2 tablets of something.
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Old Jan 25, 17, 9:59 pm
  #282  
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: LEJ, BOG
Posts: 25
Not necessarily budget travel items, but available on a budget:

A sharp (!) Knife above all
several Ziplock-Bags
Earplugs
Headlamp
Acetaminofen + WHOs ORS
if you feel hardcore: buy Levofloxacine in capsules: broken apart the powder inside cures wound-infections, but hurts like hell (do on your own risk, not takinge responsibility! - in the Andes it saved me from developing a nasty gangrene though)
Chewing Gum
Lighter
Pen
some meters of clothline

Last edited by EmailKid; Jan 26, 17 at 11:28 am Reason: Removed commercial link
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Old Jan 27, 17, 10:43 am
  #283  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: YUL
Programs: Skymiles Silver Medallion
Posts: 947
Things I never leave home for a budget trip without:
  • Pillowcase -- a soft one from home. It's incredibly versatile. You can wrap it around questionably-clean hostel or airplane pillows, stuff it full of clothes when you need to grab some sleep somewhere, use it as a laundry bag, stuff sac, or even a face towel. Takes up next to no space and gives a bit of the comforts-of-home feeling.
  • Scarf -- easily the most versatile item of clothing for women. Accessorizes outfits without the need for expensive jewellery. Works to cover your head or shoulders if you're visiting temples, churches or mosques. Covers your mouth and nose if you are in a smoggy or dusty area. Protects you from sun, rain , cold and wind. Even doubles as a towel in a pinch. I usually take one from home that goes with most of my clothes, and often pick up another one or two on the road depending on where I'm travelling.
  • USB battery pack -- I have one that can charge two devices at a time, and that can recharge either with electricity or with solar power. Keeps my phone charged all day, on long train, plane or bus rides. I wouldn't go anywhere without it.
  • Mini laptop -- a cheap light one that I use for blogging, backing up my photos, and making travel arrangements. 'Cause sometimes it's easier to work on a laptop than on a phone. If you mostly just want to consume content, a tablet and/or e-reader might work better for you. But I find I prefer the laptop.
  • Mini headlamp -- even if I'm not camping, I find a million uses for this -- during power cuts, in remote areas, or in hostel dorm rooms when I don't want to be that obnoxious person who wakes people up late at night.
  • Cable luggage locks -- useful to secure my bag to a pole or a rack, especially if I'm travelling solo and want to, say, get up to use the washroom on a train without worrying about theft. Locks won't prevent determined thieves, but they will deter opportunistic ones.
  • Ziploc bags -- rule of thumb: if it can leak, it probably will. Take lots of these.
  • Unlocked smartphone -- I buy local SIM cards in pretty much any country I plan to be in for more than a few days. It's easy in most countries, and is much cheaper than using my home plan. (I live in Canada where we have some of the highest mobile rates in the world. If you live somewhere like Europe and get access to awesome roaming plans, that might work better for you. YMMV.)
  • Mini-hairdryer -- yeah, I'm a woman with long hair. I prefer not to go to sleep with wet hair, to freeze in cold places, or to look like something out of a zombie movie. My mini-travel hairdryer is teensy-tiny and operates on 110-240V, and folds up to fit easily in the side pocket of my backpack. If you're only staying in fancy hotels, you might expect them to provide such amenities. But hostels surely won't.
  • Small pack towel -- sure, some hostels provide them. But some don't, and having my own means I can save on the cost of renting one. If you hated these before, they've come a long way since the last time you probably tried them out. I have this one by La Cordee -- it's ultralight, soft, quick drying, anti-microbial, and comfortable to use. Sure, you could just towel off with a t-shirt, but that just means having to do laundry more often, and who wants that?
  • No-fee ATM card -- check with your bank before you leave home to see if they offer a plan with no or low international ATM withdrawal fees. You may still have to pay a local fee, and most banks will charge 2.5% on the forex, but avoiding the per-transaction fee can save a lot of money -- especially in places where you're withdrawing small amounts of cash at a time for safety reasons.
  • 2-in-1 outlet adapters -- the first rule of hostel dorms is that there are never enough electrical outlets. 2-in-1s or small multi-outlet power strips are lifesavers. Bonus if they have universal inputs, so that your dormmates from other countries can share with you.
  • Mesh packing cubes -- not just to save space, but also to keep stuff organized in my backpack. It helps avoid annoying hostel dormmates when you don't have to empty your entire bag to find stuff in the small hours of the morning.
  • Mini notebook and pen -- 'cause you may not always have access to your tech or to digitized versions of things. The old fashioned way usually works best to keep track of important details.
  • Hand sanitizer -- should be self-evident.
  • Plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent -- should be self-evident as well.
  • Tissue / toilet paper -- I take a small amount from home and replace on the road as needed.
  • A few protein bars -- useful for long train or bus rides, or times when you're hungry but there's no convenient place to stop for food. Most stupid decisions on the road are made due to hunger and exhaustion. So getting enough sleep and food is essential.
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Old Jan 27, 17, 10:48 am
  #284  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Montreal
Programs: Aeroplan
Posts: 204
I always carry this:
-USB battery back
-unlocked iphone, preloaded with ton of music
-small notepad
-hand sanitizer
-protein bars
-tissue packs
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Old Jan 27, 17, 10:55 am
  #285  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: YUL
Programs: Skymiles Silver Medallion
Posts: 947
And if travelling to cold countries, here are a few additional must-pack items:
  • Packable down jacket -- smallest and lightest way to stay warm.
  • Thermal base layers -- I have a wool sensitivity so I prefer synthetics, but you may find that merino wool works best, since wool can go longer between washes. Companies today make surprisingly decent looking items that are both fashionable and functional.
  • Fleece half-zip -- to layer over whatever I'm wearing for warmth.
  • Tuque, gloves and warm socks -- keep your extremities warm and the rest will follow.
  • Thermal sleeping bag liner -- I don't pack a full sleeping bag; it would take up too much space in my bag. Even if I end up needing one, I can usually rent it on the road. But my tiny Thermolite liner adds about 10 degrees (C) in warmth to any bag or blanket. I use it camping, but also sometimes in hostels if it's cold or if the sheets are questionably clean. It's useful on buses, trains and planes where the air conditioning is blasted too high, too.
  • Lightweight hiking shoes -- my go-everywheres on a trip where it's too cold for sandals.

This is for a regular backpacking trip where I may encounter cold weather / cold nights. If I'm going on a specific cold-weather activity trip like a ski trip, I'll pack specialized gear for the purpose.
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