8 extra travel items to pack

By: Colin Kerr, Photography by: Colin Kerr

You’ve got the essentials covered, but it’s the little things that make the difference.

8 extra travel items to pack
You may have the essentails covered, but what about those little extras that will make travel a breeze?


At the end of a long day’s travel, bushwalking, exploring or just lazing around, everyone needs a good night’s sleep. A comfy bed, even a favourite pillow from home and a warm blanket or sleeping bag are not just luxuries, but essentials for an enjoyable holiday. I also recommend some woolly socks to keep your feet warm on cold nights – particularly when travelling in inland areas!


One of the most enjoyable parts of life on the road is a daily ‘happy hour’, where you sit back and unwind after a busy day. Just remember to bring along some healthy nibbles that won’t impact on the waistline!

If the idea of drinking your favourite drop out of a plastic mug doesn’t hit the mark, carry your wine (or other) glasses in stubby coolers – we have found this most effective in preventing breakages.


When it comes to keeping up with washing on the go, we use our own form of ‘washing machine’ – a 20L drum with a wide opening screw-top lid. We fill the drum with water then add some washing powder and our dirty clothes. We sit the drum in a square hobby crate to stop it falling over and after a few hours of travel the clothes have ‘sloshed’ around enough in the drum to only need rinsing in clean water and hanging out to dry!


Carry a few spare rolls of decent toilet paper with you – not only for use in the RV but also in public toilets and national parks where paper can sometimes be scarce.

It’s also handy when the only paper supplied in community toilets, or even some private camping areas around the country, consists of that skinny, wafer-thin stuff or those small sheets in a box – we’ve all experienced it, haven’t we! Over the years, we’ve learnt that we’re not the only ones who do this – yes, small home comforts in the bush can even extend to these unmentionable jobs!


Although we have gas cooking facilities in the van, we enjoy an open fire whenever possible and quite often do our cooking out there. The hot coals of a fire are really wonderful for jaffles, damper, toast and camp oven cooking.

We also often cook in al-foil – including fish, meat, garlic bread, sausage rolls and small pies. Just five or six minutes immersed in the coals is usually enough to nicely heat items like this and they are then ready to eat – just like out of the oven! Just remember to carry a couple of old pots, a billy can, jaffle iron, etc., that you are happy to get blackened in the fire.


Carrying good paper maps and acquiring information on the areas you’re travelling to is always important. A good GPS/navigation device with offroad mapping is particularly valuable in remote areas.

If we want to make sure we see and do everything there is to offer at a particular place, we try to talk to as many locals as we can. There’s no good finding out later that we missed out seeing or doing something really special only because we didn’t know about it when we were there!


With many places around Australia starting to phase out the use of plastic bags, we try to set out with a good supply on board – handy for a variety of uses, including rubbish, which should always be wrapped before disposal in roadside bins, etc.

A good supply of rags is also handy around your RV and campsite. When they get grotty, you can either rinse them out or simply throw them away as you go.


Being pretty busy at home before heading off on our travels, there is often not enough time to thoroughly read through the variety of magazines that continue to accumulate each month. So we put them into a box in our van and after we read them on our travels, we leave them in caravan park laundries, or give or trade them with fellow travellers along the way.

Some caravan parks have an official book/magazine swapping system, but even where this doesn’t exist, most parks don’t mind the laundry being used as an unofficial magazine/book swapping point for park patrons. This way, instead of magazines just being thrown out when they’ve been read, they are passed on to someone else, then someone else – recycling at its best!

The full feature appeared in Caravan World #549 March 2016. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!