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You’re packed, you’re pumped, you’re ready to roll – all systems go for an extended romp around the world. But hold your horses for a minute – have you actually got what you really need?

All well and good to have the basics covered, but what about the true essentials? Here’s a faithful AWOL hack-list with nine of the most crucial additions to any long-haul kit.

1 / 8

The right weight

Are you the kind of traveller who breaks into nervous sweats in the check-in line over excess baggage? Whether you do or don’t, consider locking down your heft well before any terminal transits, and leave nothing to surprise with a neat, lightweight digital luggage weight. Check-in rigmarole just got a little less jittery.

2 / 8

Noise control

As stealthy as the engines are on today’s fleet of spruce A-380s and Dreamliners, you’re probably still in for some degree of sonic discomfort (like when seated immediately next to a bawling newborn). For smooth in-flight noise control, hook yourself up with a primo headset – noise cancelling is the only way to go, and don’t forget the sound-on-the-ground either. Keep a couple of disposable earplugs handy for noisy late-night locales, and the ubiquitous snoring symphony if you happen to be bunking hostel-style.

3 / 8

Reading material

Who doesn’t love a long haul read? In-flight entertainment is all well and good, but tuning out to your favourite novel or long form works can make the difference between a good transit and a smoother one. Load your travel guides and destination-related fiction onto a multi-purpose, space saving iPad, Kindle or Kobo (or, if you’re a purists/techno-laggard, an old school paperback or two).

4 / 8


Eyeballs remain the ultimate lenses, but for posterity and instant share-ability, you’ll want to make sure you’ve packed a sufficient capturing device to remember your trip forever. Digital SLRs can prove a little chunky for the lightweight traveller, so consider something compact. The Fuji X-Pro1, for example, provides a perfect blend of convenience, stealth, and image quality.

5 / 8

Scrawling gear

It might be a digital world, but nothing captures the moment like the stream of consciousness scrawlings from your travel-intoxicated mind. If it worked for Robyn Davidson and Jack Kerouac, it’ll work for you too. Invest in a solid pen – a neat Viscontior LAMY, perhaps – as well as a heavy duty Moleskine to keep those chits and riffs together in one collection.

6 / 8


A travel necessity? Absolutely. Every moment abroad is a cause for celebration, but not everywhere on earth has a well-stocked bar. Equip yourself with one of these neatStephen Kenn travelling cocktail kits, and be the bar.

7 / 8

The ultimate toiletry kit

It’s the simple comforts that make all the difference on long haul transits and treks. As well as basics, here’s what you need:

  • Hand sanitiser: For the sweaty, the tropical, or the germy occasions, especially where the water isn’t the finest purity, a little hand sanitiser goes a long way (doubly so if you happen to wear contact lenses).
  • Sleeping ‘aids’: By aids, we mean drugs – wonderful, wonderful sleeping drugs. If you’re an anxious flyer, ask your doctor for some sleeping pills, and make sure they’re legal in the countries you’re heading to.
  • Eye mask: Who cares if you look like a human fly to the people sitting next to you? Catching winks on the road can be tricky, but they’ll come thick and fast with thanks to one of these ever-handy numbers.
  • Duct tape: You might be surprised how handy this stuff can be on the road, from fixing leaky windowsills, broken electronic parts, torn luggage – you name it – duct tape has got your back when things go amiss, and you need a little sturdy reinforcement. Never leave home without it.
8 / 8

Sonic inspiration

Music, people: we need it, and your trip needs a soundtrack. It’s all well and good to zone out into your own private sonicscape, but what about those magical communal moments when beats are a must? Pack a lightweight, yet powerful portable speaker system and plug in you devices on the go for maximum party and sonic inspiration.