Travel light & self sufficient
Most of these tips have served me well, wether it’s taking a drive through UK, a business trip commuting through rush hour traffic to London, or a World overland expedition. It never ceases to amaze me just how ill-prepared most motorists are when they just jump into their cars, or mount their horses!
Save your money or save your life
If it’s scorching summer time, or freezing winter, you still need to have some basic travel preparation on any journey. At worst it all save you money and improve your comfort, at best it could save your life.
Suggested items to have on a road trip, or motor journey 10-10,000 miles
- Petrol stove / small pan or kettle – I love mine, I get a nice fresh quick cheap coffee & simple hot dinner, noodles etc anywhere/anytime. I use mine constantly even traveling in UK and USA. Much prefer making a brew up in a quiet spot, on the road someplace real nice.
- Add a Thermos cup/sml flask Keeps you warm & happy in far away places! (I make a hot coffee & stick it in my tank bag each morning – always got a nice hot coffee on the go:) Light weight Titanium ones work well. Insulated & stops your hands burning with hot coffee.
- Carry a small Ground sheet – keeps you off cold floor & doubles up as a great emergency shelter, (take some elastic cords/ bungees) & wether you’re stuck on the hard shoulder of highway M1 or in a desert, it makes a shady spot, or in a storm keeps you dry while fixing a puncture. Also handy to get dressed in the dry after packing up tent, if its wet.
- Cash – even at home! or Local currency– cash is king, US$ is convertible in most parts of the World. If there’s a power outage your credit cards won’t work, even at home! If master cards system goes down, people get stuck at toll booths! Currency note for Asia: from Russia onwards it is best to obtain extra local cash from an ATM as well as taking a small supply with you + changing a small amount on a border (usually not a great exchange rate on borders or airports, or any ports)
- WATER– you’d not last long without it. Always worth carrying, anywhere, anytime.
A lot of the time you can be travelling in quite extreme high temperatures, even at home – and if you stop in a desert region, you will soon use 2 ltrs of water. Always try to carry at least 2 Ltrs / person. I have carry min 2 litres on a bike, or much more in a car or truck. On motorbikes I’d carry the bottles on the top boxes + an extra 500ml on my bars / tank bag, or use a camel back water holder, lots of riders swear by these.
- 1st Aid & Hygiene – hand sanitiser + use it! Carry what you know ‘how to use’, or what you’re familiar with using. (keep lotions in small containers – you can always top-up anywhere on the way, everywhere sells lotions & potions!)
I think we actually only use 90% of the clobber we take on trips, 5% of the time, !
- Keep things simple and compact / leave space to think & work 75% of the time, you’re driving or riding – you can’t actually use any of that stuff! 20 % of the time you’ll be eating & drinking! and It goes without saying THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING you will carry is: 1st Aid & Hygiene and water. We use most of the clobber perhaps 5% of the time we’re travelling, that’s why it’s worth keeping it compact.
- Bike or luggage lock – medium size plastic coated, locking bike to post/other bikes, locking valuables in hotels, helmets etc Most places on the trips are quite secure, especially in eastern Europe and Asia. (UK is about the worst place for crime/ theft etc)
- Two essential items not to forget; Small torch, or head torch & a penknife / multitool. Always handy, even at home.
- Marino Wool shirt, never leave home without one! so light, comfortable, never get dirty and sweaty, wash/dry in 5 minutes.
Luggage tips for travelling light
11. Clothes take up most of the luggage space
For long motorcycle trips, I Pick stuff that can do more than one job. I would take a Merino wool baselayer, an armoured gortex jacket and trouser with plenty of pockets. Gerbing’s heated jacket liner saves loads of time taking off and putting on layers. Lightweight waterproof enduro type gloves and lightweight waterproof oversuit. Flip-up lid and spare visor on helmet. Waterproof boots.
- Top tip for travelling light – get an airtight small stuff bag; place your clothes together and roll them up as tightly as you can. Place in stuff bag and then roll that up as tightly as you can, squeezing out all the air. You’ll be left with A/ real small cloths luggage bag B/ no air, which helps keep cloths fresher C/ no need to worry about ironing! D/ more space to have fun on your adventure.
12. Grab-bag– 1 main bag which can contain everything you’d need if you had to leave in a hurry. I have 1 bag (on a bike it goes inside 1 of the metal boxes), it holds; cloths, 1st aid, wash-bag, paperwork + some spare space. Heaven forbid – but if there’s an incident and you need to leave bike/boxes in situ – it means you can quickly gather the key things you need to travel & carry in 1 bag. (also handy for hotel nights/camping – its the 1 bag that goes with you)
I also find this a useful excersize for making me think about a/ what I really need, b/ what I could manage without c/ what I’d not miss if I had to leave it behind. It helps stop taking too much stuff as well as making you re-consider carrying all those pricy electric items & Leica’s!
Bonus tip – don’t forget your sunglasses!