Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My travel buddy-buddies

Travel Buddies
Some of my travel buddy-buddies
I used to hoard Ziploc freezer bags and use them as my clothes and toiletries container during travels, a carryover from my mountaineering/hiking days when we waterproof our stuff so we can hike even under the rain.  I still bring some Ziplocs in my backpack but not hoard them anymore, probably part of my evolution as a traveler much in the same way that I've acquired new habits and discarded old ones.   I try my best to travel as light as possible and in the process, I've discovered stuff that now I can't travel without.  Here are some of which you may find useful yourself.

Travel Buddies - Eagle Creek CubeCubes can help save on laundry costs.  I first came across these Eagle Creek Cubes last year when it found local distribution, mainly at ROX in Bonifacio High Street and Travel Club outlets.  I use the 2-sided Cube which keeps me from sending unused clothes to the cleaners as one compartment holds yet-to-be-worn clothes while the mesh compartment on the other side holds used ones.

I recycle one Cube for use in the gym and the mesh-enclosed compartment is great for keeping used clothes from stinking.
There's a wide variety of sizes available though I personally use the medium-sized ones as it disciplines me in traveling light.  The Cubes are also a great way to organize my backpack so I won't have to guess if I left something at home.

I just wish they carry the other Eagle Creek Pack-It products here like the compression sack and t-shirt sleeves.  But for the time being, the Cubes will do.
Travel Buddies - Lock N Lock Sports Bag 
To travel lightly, compress.  I got these Lock & Lock storage bags at Ace Hardware, which was a surprise since I thought Lock & Lock only make hard plastic containers for food and other stuff.  There are about 5-6 sizes available though I personally use the sports bag which is a roll-up type of container.  You put in some shirts or shorts, zip the lock and just roll the bag to release the air inside through a one-way valve.  Presto, the clothes occupy just a third of the space in my pack.

I use these mainly not to be able to bring more clothes but to bring less. Whereas I used to bring a big backpack during long travels, nowadays, I'm content with just a 30-liter pack.   These compression bags are also very useful for taming bulky stuff like jackets or malongs and are also, happily, on the cheap side -- about P120 per piece (comes in a pack of 3s though).  Ideal for maximizing the benefits of Eagle Creek Cubes.
Travel Buddies - Aquazorb
Absorbing threads.  Cotton towels are swell but they are bulky and really hog the space inside my backpack.  Here's when Aquazorb microfiber towels really come in handy.  They come in a pouch and folds flat.  Another plus: a loop so you can hang them to dry in the great outdoors.

What I like about them most is that I can wash and dry them easily during travel lulls.  Doesn't stink, too, if I happen to forget a used one inside the pack.  Not that it happens often but what the hey.  Still another plus:  affordable price.Travel Buddies - Universal Adapter



Becoming universally adaptable.  Got this universal adapter in Hong Kong awhile back for less than P300.  The plug adapters are nifty and really useful.  But the feature I like best is the USB port which saves me the hassle of bringing extra chargers for my iPod and mobile phone.  Now if only manufacturers of electronics can agree on coming up with devices that use just one charger -- not only will that help save travelers bag space but also plastics and other components that go into each charger.
Travel Buddies - MoleskinesNotable notebook.    Not that I have illusions of becoming a Hemingway or Bruce Chatwin but ever since a friend of mine gave me a Moleskines many Christmases ago, I got hooked.  I used to order from HK which was a hassle so when Powerbooks got the local distribution rights, I was one happy camper.

Maybe I'm just being old school but I'm happy I can still refer back to my past travel (and meeting) details without using batteries (besides, I've changed mobile phones so many times in the past, I wouldn't be able to keep travel notes in my phones' organizer this long).  I personally prefer the personal size, 18-month version which helps me keep tabs of a year and a half worth of notes in one very handy notebook.

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