Okay, not every situation. But we've carefully pondered various scenarios travellers might encounter on the road and come up with some suggestions and tips. What's the ultimate set of accessories for a bar crawl? What should you take if you're visiting somewhere prone to four-seasons-in-a-day weather? And what item is pretty much essential for a trip to the beach featuring minimal hassle?

Monsoon in Asia

Umbrella madness by Asmund Heimark. CC BY 2.0.

Take a small umbrella: seriously. They’re underrated. Buying a disposable plastic poncho is bad for the environment and makes for a poor fashion statement. Besides, it’s such a hassle to put it on and take it off each time you go indoors. A fold-up umbrella doesn’t take up much space but can save you from being drenched in a pinch! Note, an umbrella also comes in handy when you're out in the glare of the sun. Don’t be weirded out if you see people using them in Asia on sunny days: it’s pretty commonplace in lieu of a hat/sunscreen/shades.


Do your bit to save the environment when you go shopping with a fold-up shopping bag. Forget the tacky-looking ones sold by supermarkets and opt for something stylish (and therefore likely to see far more use) such as the Baggu (www.baggu.com). For a trip to the supermarket, consider packing an insulated cooler bag to transport perishables (camembert doesn’t take long to turn into a gooey mess).

Blogging or vlogging on the road

With larger screens and more functionality, devices are increasingly power hungry. If you’re the sort to document everything, keep your camera, phone and tablet charged up with the Power Bag (www.mypowerbag.com). These bags come with a removable battery pack installed. Just plug your devices in via its USB charging cable and you’ve got extra juice to get you through the day.

On a work trip

Ill nuovo MacBook Air by paz.ca. CC BY 2.0.

Forget netbooks with their poor screen resolution. Shave off weight by carrying an Ultrabook or a Macbook Air (www.apple.com). These lightweight devices have long-lasting battery life and fast solid state hard drives with screens you can watch movies on when you’ve got down time. Noise-cancelling headphones or canal phones help block out the noise whilst you’re powering away on the plane.

Road trip

Music is essential to any good road trip but why waste space packing CDs (how 1995)! Take along your iPod/iPad with a pair of portable speakers such as the X-Mini (www.x-mini.com). Of course, you haven’t forgotten your GPS satellite navigation (or similar app for your smartphone) have you? If you’re travelling with kids, consider getting an in-car DVD player and screen or an iPad loaded with movies, books and games.

Sports, the beach and hostels

Take along a microfibre towel. These towels are way more compact than regular towels and absorb way more water too. Plus they dry quickly. For those who prefer reading to getting wet at the beach, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (www.amazon.co.uk) is an ultralight ebook reader with great contrast for outdoor reading as well as a backlight for when you move indoors.

Winter sports

Record all that adrenaline-pumping snow action with the Liquid Image HD Goggles (www.liquidimageco.com). These goggles come with a built-in camera that records HD video. Users have also had success recording skydiving and other similarly flighty videos. Wonder if anyone’s taken it bungee jumping yet?

Bar crawling

Stubby holder with anti-fly hat by thinboyfatter. CC BY 2.0.

Don’t forget a stubby holder. It’s essentially an insulated beer cosy made of neoprene (the same material used to make wetsuits) that helps keep your beer cold. Take along a waterproof pen or pencil and a small notebook for getting that email address or telephone number when your phone dies at 3am. Pencil works well as it won’t run if you spill beer over your notebook.

Fickle weather

If you’re visiting somewhere with notoriously fickle weather such as Melbourne, you’ve got to be prepared for it to be hot and sunny one minute and freezing cold the next. Dress in layers instead of wearing that one thick jacket. This way, when the temperature goes up and down, you can peel off or add layers as required.

Shawn Low has roved and road-tested gear all over Southeast Asia on behalf of Lonely Planet. He tweets at @shawnlow.

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