Packing for a big trip can get overwhelming – especially if you’re heading out for an African adventure where you need to pack clothing for multiple uses, camera gear and more. Whether you’re going to the beach or the bush, there are a few things to consider for your gear list.
Between picking out what to wear on safari to packing the best gear for travel, your packing list might be looking a bit too long.
We know that no two travellers are alike, and everyone has a unique packing style when it comes to travel gear and accessories. So, we’ve pulled a list together, featuring the best gear for travelling that everyone can use.
In this article, you’ll find our top recommendations for:
- Travel essentials,
- Minimalist travel gear for those who want to pack light,
- Gadgets and tech
- Luxury travel accessories
Starting with travel essentials
One of the essential travel items is good luggage. When looking for the best gear for travel, you also need to consider luggage options that are both practical and stylism.
Some of the best luggage brands include American Tourister, Samsonite and TravelPro. Each of these brands has a range of suitcases and luggage options, available in all sizes, shapes and colours.
When choosing the best luggage for your tip, remember to look out for features such as spinner wheels, expandable storage, locks and a good quality handle. They should also have enough space to fit all of your travel equipment.
Please note: Many African safari destinations have restrictions on luggage weight and material (due to limited space in light aircraft and 4WD Landcruisers) If your travel itinerary includes charter plane rides, typically across the Okavango Delta, then you cannot use a hard shell suitcase and must use a soft bag. If this applies to you, then we recommend getting a good quality duffel bag, like the ones from North Face.
While you’re busy exploring, you’ll need a good daypack. These are handy for storing all of your essential items while you’re sightseeing.
We love the Herschel Dawson Backpack, which is available in a variety of subtle colours. It can hold up to 33L and includes two useful pockets, pouches, a combination of drawstring and buckle closures and a neat design. If you’re a digital nomad or working remotely, the Herschel Little America Backpack has a lined interior with a snug pouch for a 15-inch laptop.
All travellers should also consider getting a passport holder – for obvious reasons. The passport holder is an essential item if you are a frequent flyer. Stick to something simple like the AmazonBasics Travel Wallet.
Minimalist travel gear
If you don’t like travelling with too many items, then a minimalist approach to packing may apply. Packing like a minimalist involves cutting down your suitcase to essential travel items only. Some minimalists will try to make sure everything they need fits into only one bag.
Minimalist travel gear needs to be functional while not taking up too much space. This kind of kit and packing style is best suited for short holidays and weekend trips – or a more extended holiday involving accommodation with reliable laundry facilities!
Here are some suggestions for the best gear for travelling minimally:
- A reliable duffel bag, like the ones from North Face
- One pair of jeans, as well as lightweight shorts and pants
- 1-2 pairs of comfortable socks (Merino is a reliable brand)
- 1-2 t-shirts, as well a long sleeve t-shirt and dress shirt (for the ladies)
- A lightweight windbreaker jacket/raincoat. One of our favourite brands for rain jackets is Marmot. These lightweight shell jackets are waterproof for rainy weather and just generally comfortable. The rainjackets available for both men and women, and come in a variety of colours.
- A pair of all-purpose shoes as well as a pair of flip-flops for warmer weather
- Your travel accessories should include sunscreen, sunglasses and a light cap/hat
- A toiletry bag for all of your essentials; something like this hanging toiletry bag is a great minimalistic option that won’t take up too much luggage room
- A microfibre towel, such as the Rainleaf microfibre towel is great because it folds up small
- If you want to write notes or keep a diary, you may enjoy bringing a Moleskine notebook with you to jot down your thoughts; it’s small enough to fit in your carry on
- If you are going to be doing any outdoor activities, it’s useful to pack a small first-aid kit. Something like the Mini First Aid Kit would easily fit into your luggage without taking up too much prime packing space.
Best gear for travel: Travel gadgets
Next up is travel tech, gadgets and electronics.
If you are an adventurous traveller and want to shoot unique footage during your trip, consider getting a GoPro. The latest model, the GoPro HERO9, features a touchscreen, support for 5K video, 20MP photo capture capability and has live streaming functionality.
If you’re a keen photographer, check out our post on the best cameras for wildlife photography!
Another one of the most useful travel gadgets is a travel adapter. If necessary, you should choose an adapter that can work in multiple countries, like the Ceptics travel adapter or the BESTTEN plug adapter, suitable for use in South Africa, Botswana Namibia and more.
For the coffee enthusiasts that are concerned about the quality of coffee that your hotel will provide, you may be interested in something like the Wacaco Portable Espresso Machine. It lets you brew an electricity-free espresso in just minutes.
It’s perfect for activities like camping or hiking where there are not many amenities to use. Just make sure that you bring a flask of hot water with you!
Other handy travel gadgets include wireless earphones, a portable Wi-Fi hotspot, and a flashlight. And of course, you can’t forget about a power bank for keeping your devices charged at all times!
Best luxury travel accessories
If you’re going on a luxury safari, check out our list of what to pack for a safari trip in Africa. While all top hotels and safari lodges will provide all of the bells and whistles for you (such as hairdryers, adapters, laundry and so on), you may want to pack a few extras to make your travel extra comfortable. We’ve narrowed it down to only the most essential travel items for your safari.
Similarly, here are some other top-tier accessories to bring with you.
To begin with, why not opt for the OSTRICHPILLOW luxury memory-foam travel pillow? This swirly pillow will ensure that your neck is comfortable on a long flight, and is also excellent for a power nap at any time of day.
If you happen to have an Apple Watch, you should consider getting the Moretek Apple Watch Charging Holder. Its tiny size and capsule design allow you to protect your watch while keeping it powered up at all times.
Always carefully consider your travel gear
It’s important to pack appropriately for the kind of travel you’re going to be doing. A weekend away may benefit from a minimalistic approach, whereas a month of hopping between the bush, beach and mountains will require you to pack more items, including practical things like a first aid kit and hiking boots.
While you don’t want to unnecessarily carry around gear for travel that you’re not going to use, you also don’t want to regret not taking something.
Whether you’re a keen photographer or not – we highly recommend always having a camera with you (even if it’s just your smartphone). Again, if you’re a wildlife photography enthusiast, remember to check out our list of the best wildlife cameras. You don’t want to get home after an amazing trip and regret having no photographs to remember it by.
We hope this list of travel gear helps you prepare for your next trip (hopefully to Southern Africa for a safari!). If you have a favourite travel item that’s not on the list, comment with it below and we’ll add it!
Thanks for reading!