Tag: My Bag

What is gate-checking a bag? And is it bad?

What is gate-checking a bag? And is it bad?

A few days ago I flew home from London with Easyjet. I was one of the last passengers to board, and was carrying a big backpack. An employee told me the flight was full and I would have to gate-check my bag. At first I was […]

When to Buy Cheap Things vs When to Buy Expensive Things

When to Buy Cheap Things vs When to Buy Expensive Things

This is something I think about a lot. Sometimes buying something cheap means you’re spending less money, which overall is a good thing. You can’t buy “expensive” everything- with no limits, unless you’re Jay Z you’d eventually run out of money. Other times, investing in […]

Packing (less) Light: 5 handy electronics that you really don’t need… but might want to pack anyway

Packing (less) Light: 5 handy electronics that you really don’t need… but might want to pack anyway

Most of my friends would say that I pack insanely light. I disagree: no matter how small my bag, there is SO much in it that I don’t need!

Here are five electronic items that I really don’t need at all… but I pack them anyway because they make life on the road so much easier 🙂

1. Bluetooth speaker

I tried to convince B not to get this because “aren’t our laptop speakers good enough?”.

I was wrong. I use our little speaker almost every day to listen to podcasts while I cook. It has better sound than a laptop and can follow us anywhere- great for music at the beach or the park.

We even have a friend who brings his bluetooth speaker to cafés and sets it up right there on the table… But his music is so good that no one complains 🙂

I would say that this little guy has earned a spot in my pack, but actually, B has been carrying it in his… Thank you….

We bought ours for about $30 in Bangkok.

2. Laptop

Ok, so this might be cheating- I really do need a laptop on the road for work. In fact, I am so attached to it that I lugged my Macbook the whole 118km walk along the Camino de Santiago. It was worth every extra pound!

Aside from work, having a full-sized screen and keyboard was priceless for reserving flights, late-night Netflix parties, and diffusing tense conversations with YouTube videos.

Price: a lot of dollars but worth it 🙂

3. HDMI cable (or equivalent for Mac)

Really useful when your Airbnb has a TV but you want to stream from your computer.

We didn’t bring one of these on our last trip, but we will on our next one!

$5-10 on AliExpress

4. GoPro

This is another purchase I argued against. Why would we want videos of ourselves? In water? Why???

…but I’m so happy that we have this little thing. Even though it doesn’t even have a screen, having such a tough little camera to follow us into waterfalls and through underwater caves has been priceless.

The only downside: I have 17 Gigs of videos on my hard drive that need to be edited… and somewhere in there is 45 minutes of bumpy scooter footage in the rain -_-

Pro tip: edit your videos the week you take them, otherwise they’ll sit there forever…

We bought ours for $180 at the time (GoPro HERO, the “budget” version), although now you can get a decent no-name “live action camera” on AliExpress for much less.

5. Headphone splitter

The days of sharing one pair of earbuds are over- we’re grownups now, we each get our own pair! This tiny cable allows you to connect two sets of headphones to one jack. Great for watching movies together in the airport.

We bought ours for about $8 in Kuala Lumpur.

6. Bonus: e-reader

This one is also cheating because it actually saves space. After my Kobo died last year, I alternated between real books and reading e-books on my computer.

Each had their drawbacks, so I was ecstatic to find a Kindle for sale at a pawn shop for $30. It’s like new, and will definitely have a spot in my pack on every trip.


These aren’t essentials by any means, but they are so nice to have that I’m happy to leave that second pair of jeans at home to make room for them. I hope you find this list useful too!