“It’s not about the destination, it’s the journey that counts.”
So wrote someone who has clearly never caught the red-eye with a coterie of screaming children. Because in reality, travelling kind of sucks. Whether by plane, train, or automobile, travelling these days often means cramped conditions, uncomfortable temperatures, annoying passengers and unaccountable delays.
Which is why savvy travellers never leave home without the five items mentioned below. Small, light, and inexpensive; keep them on-hand to make your journey as relaxing as your vacation.
Few things can send a traveller into a tailspin quite like pulling out your iPad at the start of a l-o-n-g journey to find the battery flashing red. Enter the portable charger: a miniature plug socket that will ensure you never have to involuntarily go offline ever again.
When you’ve got a long way to go or are travelling late at night, getting some shut eye is a great way to both while away the hours and make sure you arrive at your destination feeling refreshed. But drifting off to the land of nod while travelling is far easier said than done.
Pulling on an eye mask helps you shut out distractions and signals to your brain that it’s time to sleep. It’s particularly valuable when you’re crossing time zones, or when your travel companion has a burning desire to switch on all the overhead lighting in order to peruse their copy of Twilight.
In the rush to catch a flight/bus/boat, grabbing something to eat is often the last thing on your mind. Which means that three hours later you can find yourself stuck on food-free transportation absolutely starving. And even when there is food available, it’s almost guaranteed to be both unappealing and expensive.
Chucking some cereal bars in your bag is an easy way to ward off any rogue attack of the munchies while travelling. Plus, cereal bars are particularly travel-friendly food: not only are they full of energy, they don’t spill, spoil or squish in a jam-packed holdall.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that any long journey must contain either (a) a screaming baby, or (b) a group of beer-swilling stags or hens. Noise-cancelling headphones are about the only way of blocking them out and enjoying your Sudoku in peace.
Added bonus: they also protect you from the conversational advances of a nosy travel neighbour.
Immersing yourself in a great book is a surefire way to make an otherwise boring journey fly by. But books are heavy, and most people are reluctant to lug more than one around with them – which ends up being a problem if it turns out to be dull or if you finish it before your journey ends!
When you pack an E-reader, however, you have access to thousands of books, magazines and newspapers. Not only can you switch up your reading material throughout your travels, you don’t have to rely on sufficient surrounding light to get stuck in.
Beth Leslie is a career and lifestyle writer, and editor of the Inspiring Interns blog, which provides graduate careers advice.
Inspiring Interns is a graduate recruitment agency specialising in matching candidates to their dream job or internship. Click here to browse their London-based graduate jobs, and here for their graduate jobs Manchester page.