Like many people, I find planning for a trip almost as much fun as taking one. Luckily, my husband agrees. It is no surprise, therefore, that we spent a good deal of time researching and choosing the gear to take with us on our big trip. Of course, some of our purchases were more successful than others. Since several people have asked me about this, I decided to post a short list of some of the best gear we took with us.
We liked our travel packs, but the hands down winners in the best luggage category were the various packing cubes we used to organize our clothing in gear inside of our packs. Eagle Creek makes packing cubes in a variety of sizes, as do some other companies.
My best clothing find for this trip was the Macabi travel skirt. I searched extensively for a good, versitile travel skirt before eventually settling on this one. I never took advantage of its ability to clip into shorts or pants, but I did love its practical fabric, reasonably flattering fit, and excellent pockets (in addition to deep regular pockets, the skirt has a discrete zippered pocket that I found perfect for my wallet). I bought the long skirt, thinking it would be more appropriate for our time in Muslim Malaysia. I was wrong, but that's another blog entry. If I were to purchase this skirt again, I would definitely buy the regular length. In fact, I may do just that before we take another lengthy trip.
My husband's best clothing purchase for this trip was a pair of Dockers hidden cargo pants. I think they are the Iconic Khaki style, but there is not enough info on the Dockers website to be certain. These pants have a large internal pocket with a zipper, which gave him the ability to carry his wallet or our camera in a secure pocket while still looking moderately formal. They also wore extremely well. He wore them frequently during our four months on the road, and he is still wearing them now that we have returned. This is not just because he doesn't like shopping for new clothes: the pants still look good. We never attempted a truly formal look on this trip, but you can get an idea of how good these pants look by the fact that when he got a new job that requires slightly more formal attire than his previous position (to which he could wear shorts and flip flops), my husband went out and bought another pair of these pants.
Best Medical Kit Component
Given my background in biomedical research, it is probably not a surprise to anyone that we had a variety of antibiotics and other medicines with us on this trip. I did use some doxycycline in China to cure a sinus infection, but most of our fancy medicines thankfully went unused. The oral rehydration salts we had in our medical kit were a godsend, though. We both got a nasty case of food poisoning in the Chiang Mai, Thailand, and were incredibly grateful for the rehydrating and nourishing properties of our oral rehydration salts, and also for the fact that we could get something with these properties without straying far from our toilet. In fact, I was on a diet consisting solely of Sprite and the oral rehydration salts drink (you mix the salts with clean water) for the one day I spent incapacitated from the food poisoning.
Luckily, we only needed the oral rehydration salts once. However, given their low-price and small size, I may never leave home without them again.
We took my iPod, a handy radio that also served as our alarm clock, and the modern traveler's usual assortment of cameras and phones. Our favorite gadget during the trip, though, was definitely my husband's GPS. We used it at every stop. I wrote our latitude and longitude in my trip log, and we also to take "latitude pictures" such as this one of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
We were packing light, so didn't take many toys. The decision to use some of our precious pack space on our snorkels and masks was definitely a good one, though. Not only were we ensured a perfect fit whenever we went snorkeling, we were also able to have some very cheap days in Thailand. Having our own snorkels with us meant we could spend the day snorkeling for free-and there is some excellent snorkeling in Thailand!