Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be one of those traditional travel gear posts. I am not going to tell you how many t-shirts or pairs of socks you should bring with you.
Instead, I’ll tell you about neat little things that you might have never thought about … but will make traveling either easier, more comfortable or safer!
In this blog post, I will cover items that I am currently using myself & recommend for anyone doing casual traveling. If you plan on hiking, or climbing the Mt. Everest, this might not be suitable for you.
In regards to safety, you can go one of two ways: either secure the item of value OR make it look like it’s not worth stealing.
If you’ve never head of that term & are confused – nothing to worry! It’s has only recently become relevant to the average person.
Basically newer passports & credit/debit cards can now be used contactless via electromagnetic fields.
Meaning, information from these chips can be read from distance.
That’s quite convenient, you might think …
Why is that a problem?
Because now you’re suddenly vulnerable to anyone with a compatible reader.
He doesn’t even need to be physically close to you & can read these RFID tags attached to your passport/cards/whatever.
Think of it like a WiFi without passport. Anyone could enter – but using RFID blocking would be like adding a passport to that WiFi.
I use a RFID blocking case for my passport & wallet. Both are important, although the wallet is at higher risk because you carry it around daily (unlike your passport).
Custom Condoms & Condom Case
Any time I had a friend tell me about a condom that broke, I found myself confused, “How does that happen? I can’t even imagine? They are so robust!”.
… and for the longest time, I didn’t understand why or how breakage could possibly happen.
Maybe they’re all pounding p*ssy for hours on end?
Nope, that’s not it either. Then, I found out that these dudes carry their condoms in their freaking wallets!
So, due to friction the condoms get micro tears and eventually break during sex.
It’s the stupidest thing you can do: carrying condoms in your wallet or worse – in your pockets.
Don’t ever do that – your condom might break plus you have a chance of catching one of many nasty STDs.
I carry 3 condoms in a simple case, that way they’re safe.
RAW Just Feels Better!
Or does it not? I could never understand that claim. That is until I ran out of my own condoms and had to resort to the locally-available ones from 7-Eleven.
They are tight. They are uncomfortable.
I tried using them once – now I can see why many say that going raw (without a condom) feels better. It does – but only if you’re using a shitty condom!
Most likely, one that’s too tight or thick. Now you’re not feeling much. The solution isn’t to ditch condoms altogether but to find one that fits you perfectly.
Condom Size …
Granted, this CAN be an issue of safety (too large = slipping off; too small = breakage) … but it will most likely be one of comfort.
You might not notice a condom being too tight if you’ve never tried size or brand.
Next time you take off your condom, look for red marks of the condom ring on your penis – that’s a sign that the condom is indeed to small!
Too small/tight = restricts blood flow to penis = weaker erection.
A condom that doesn’t fit well can make for a bad sexual experience.
The condoms I use are from MySize (large selection for girth) – although I have also tried TheyFit (even larger selection for both length & girth) but found them a bit to pricey for my taste.
Locally available sizes are limited and in 9/10 cases too small for Westerners.
Locks (+ Why They Matter)
Now, you might think this is common sense: Use locks so people don’t steal your stuff. True, but in South East Asia, you’re facing another type of risk: people planting stuff in your luggage.
Hell yeah, they’re giving me free stuff!
… not exactly.
If anyone plants even small amounts of drugs in your luggage, you might end up behind bars for life/face the death penalty.
There are less dangerous but still annoying & costly scams, for example the bullet scam in the Philippines where someone simply plants a bullet in your bag.
I use something like this. Basic, but does the trick.
If you’re staying somewhere without a safe or where you feel your valuables are at risk, use a lock for your laptop.
Why? The truth is, most safes aren’t “safe“. There are backup codes to open any safe & I wouldn’t be surprised if the lady cleaning your room knows one of these codes.
An alternative to that (although I don’t personally use it) would be a backpack and bag protector (can also be used for laptops, etc.)
Money Belt … Kinda
I’m saying “kinda” because what I am using isn’t a money belt per se but rather a underarm pocket shoulder bag.
Sounds like James Bond gear, but really, it looks like this.
It’s practically impossible to get anything stolen from there – simply because you’re wearing it underneath and it’s not even visible.
If you want to take it even a step further, you can use a belt wallet & put some of your money there.
This is another commonly overlooked security issue. Carelessly leaving your passport at reception and you might end up with identity theft. What can you do to prevent that?
Simply make copies of your passport beforehand, sign those & before you hand one out write a note on it stating who it is for. That way it’s more difficult to use it for anything else.
Never deposit or leave your passport anywhere – not even at the hotel you are staying at.
If they say it’s required, you say, “I need it for the embassy/[another good reason].” Now they have no way of keeping your passport.
Use a VPN
Okay, stay with me here for a second. I’ll explain it in a way that even if you’re not tech-savvy, you’ll understand.
They see which sites you visit, know the location you are staying at & can block websites when they feel like it.
A VPN is a little tool that allows you to surf anonymously & access blocked sites. Using a VPN is absolutely mandatory if you’re looking up/reading anything controversial or sexual (remember, most Asian countries porn = illegal!).
PIA (Private Internet Access) is the VPN I am using – simply because it works, is the cheapest I’ve found & has many locations to choose from. I went with the yearly membership, which is $3.33 per month.
As “comfort” gear, I categorize anything that isn’t mandatory, yet still makes traveling a whole lot easier & less of a hassle.
They’ve been a loyal companion. Whether I use them on the airplane, while working on my laptop (with distracting outside noises) or – most commonly used – when going out.
… and yes, you can still hear & talk like a regular person 🙂 I am not sure how they actually work (from a technical standpoint) but they somehow cancel out some noises but talking to someone next to you, you don’t notice a difference.
This depends on where you are coming from and going to. Granted, socket adapters – at least in Thailand – can be bought for a few dollars just about anywhere. No problem here. I am just saying, look into it if you don’t want to run into socket/plug comparability issues.
In Thailand, any 7-Eleven will have such an adapter; extension cords can be found at Big C, Tesco.
Multiple Credit/Debit Cards
This might seems like an overkill, one card and cash should be enough? Well, I learned the hard way …
One afternoon, I was heading to Siam Paragon Mall in Bangkok with a buddy … you know, to walk around and chill. I quickly wanted to withdraw a thousand Bath at the Bangkok Bank ATM.
- I entered the correct pin.
- Machine said PIN accepted.
“Your card has been retained. Please contact your bank.”
WTF? Yes, the machine “swallowed” my only card. Luckily this ATM was right outside of the bank, so I was able to come back the next day (also had to bring my passport).
What if the ATM had been somewhere else? I would have had no access to my bank account for days until someone would go there, open the ATM machine.
- Bring more than 1 card!
- Ideally, always withdraw from an ATM that is attached to its bank.
- If you only withdraw rarely & larger amounts, also bring your passport so you can get the card back immediately in case anything goes wrong.
I am not much of a drinker (perhaps once every two months), but when I do go out and drink I have never had a hangover the next day.
This hasn’t always been the case, so I attribute it to my protocol.
The moment I decide that the night is over, I mix electrolyte powder with at least 1 liter of water and drink that (before going to bed).
Initially, I started using this electrolyte powder available at 7-Eleven.
However, I suspect that this isn’t really good as it contains 4 minerals only.
If you decide to use this hangover prevention technique, I recommend you bring a quality electrolyte powder to Thailand with you.
Something like this contains everything you need and should last you for year. Feel free to do more research and pick another brand – this is just one I recommend.
+1 Bonus Tip
I travel light – only carrying the essentials. That way, my suitcase always qualifies for carry on luggage = no waiting, no lost luggage.
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
Pack electronics on top of your suitcase (just one item such as socks or shirt to act as cushion).
That way, it’s easier to remove/pack electronics prior to/after the security check at the airport.