Regular travellers get their packing down to a fine art and know their must-haves. Olivia Haughton asked some of the Wanderlust team to name their one essential travel item...
Lyn relies on a scarf: “It protects from sand and dust (I often end up in deserts). It protects my camera from sand and dust. It covers my head in holy places and Muslim countries. It smartens up an outfit and If I need a splash of colour in a photo, I'll put it on someone.”
Tom gets practical: “I've found a few extra plastic bags to be very useful one way or another - dirty laundry, bagging up sun lotions so they don't explode in transit, keeping smuggled water bottles hidden from hotel staff, etc. It turns out they're also quite useful for carrying stuff in, apart from when the print on the bag melts in the sun and smears over the items in it.”
Well no one likes it when that happens, but the real question is Tom, what are you hiding in your water bottles that warrants smuggling into a hotel?
Heidi likes her technology: “It's really sad but it's my iPhone; I would die without it. It's a phone, guide book, music centre, camera, amusement arcade, phrase book, map, mobile internet café...”
It's the overweight baggage queue for Clare who can't whittle it down to one item: “I always take a blank notebook and a pen so I can draw pictures and maps, note down place names and get people to write down useful phrases or directions. If the trip's over a month I always take my teddy. He's only got one leg now from too much adventuring. Duct tape is also ridiculously useful - mending bags, shutting up overly boastful backpackers...”
So if you ever come across a backpacker with their mouth taped shut on your travels you can be fairly sure Clare's not far away. Probably best not to brag too much if you do bump into her...
Emily's in good company with her item: “My travel essential is my camera so I can capture special moments and take my memories home with me. I can also bore all my friends and family with my snaps.”
Augusta's got her head screwed on with her must-have: “I always take my medical travel wallet. It's bright green plastic one from M&S for £4, but already the contents has been changed loads of time. It has my travel sickness pills, allergy pills, painkillers and other weird medical stuff accumulated through my travels.”
Augusta will be sitting happily pain-free while the rest of the Wanderlust team scratch their hypothetical mosquito bites.
Peter is an Aussie so, naturally, he always travels with koalas: "I always take a couple of packets of cling-on koalas, crappy little souvenirs you can pick up in tacky souvenir shops in Sydney for a couple of bucks. You get five in a pack and kids love them. They also come in handy when African border guards ask for a 'souvenir'. It's not exactly the kind of souvenir they have in mind of course – a cling-on koala is cute but it won't buy you a beer down the pub – but I've never had one keep insisting on a bribe. The guy manning the border between the two Congos threw his on the floor in disgust, but he still let me through."
What's your travel essential? Let us know below.