Travel Gear Essentials: Top 20 under $20

Gear Guide — By Tyler Renaghan on April 30, 2009 at 9:22 am

Just because we’re in the biggest recession since…well, ever, doesn’t mean you have to forgo your travel plans this summer just because you can’t afford the gear. I’ve put together a list of 20 essential traveling gizmos, gadgets, and gear all under $20.00! Who says you need the new North Face Summit Series extreme sub 50 degree all in one tent/sleeping bag/GPS/water purifier/air-conditioned gadget to enjoy a trip?

(no, the previously described item does not really exist)

Now for the list:

1. Swiss Army Knife – $13.49 – never leave home without one

2. Chap Stick – $1.39 – nobody likes dry, cracked, peeling lips

3. Havaina Flip Flops – $19.95 – stylin’ and comfy foot attire (please wear in the shower too…athletes foot? No thanks.)

4. Dr. Brommer’s 18 in 1 Liquid Soap – $8.00 – shampoo, body-wash, laundry detergent, dish soap…

5. Nuclear Grade Duct Tape – $13.97 – that’s right…it says Nuclear Grade. Strap things down, patch holes, tie people, I mean things up…

6. A deck of cards – $5.00 – planes, trains, and automobile rides can be long and boring – especially the train ride from Paris to Rome…seems to take forever!

7. Cliff Bar – $16.30 – that’s for a 12 pack – the energy needed to help you brave the mist at Niagara Falls

Don't mess with Texas

8. Bandana/Handkerchief – $0.99 – besides looking like a bad ass, the bandana comes in handy in all kinds of situations

9. Multi-colored Luggage Tags – $13.95 – six pack of fancy colors to set your black Samsonite luggage apart from the rest

10. Sun-Block – $17.52 – a nice tan is guaranteed to impress, your skin will thank you for applying some sun-block

11.A Journal – $12.21 – no internet? Must be off the path…bring a journal to capture your every thought

12. Aviator Sunglasses – $12.95 – besides looking like Maverick, they’ll protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and sun-bathers taking advantage of the ‘clothing optional’ sign

13. Ibuprofen – $17.24 – so many reasons you’ll need pain-killers while on your journey

14. Water Bottle – $18.00 – some places you’re just not supposed to drink the water…

15. Wrist Watch – $18.21 – no need for a Rolex while traveling…any time keeper will do

16. Ziploc Bags – $3.99 – you never know what you might want to keep fresh…or keep away from your clean clothes

17. Packing Organizer – $11.79 – don’t just throw your stuff in your pack – organize it with Eagle Creek’s Pack-it Cube

18. Chewing Gum – $12.21 – dirty mouth? Bring some breath freshening, teeth whitening chewing gum for an easy alternative to brushing…plus, chewing gum can be used for MacGyver-esque situations

Dont let this happen to you

19. Outlet Adapter – $2.50 – in London, Amsterdam, Beijing, Cairo? Be sure to use the right kind of power for your non-battery operated tools

20. NileGuide Trip Itinerary – FREE – sorry for the shameless plug – it just makes sense though!

Anything missing? Feel free to keep the list going and add below.

Tyler is a resident gear junkie at NileGuide. Have a question about travel gear? Shoot the gear junkies an email at

Gear photo by John Starfire, bandana photo by Billie and outlet photo by simplerich, all via Creative Commons

Tags: cheap travel gear, gear junkie, NileGuide, Swiss Army Knife


  • Elliott Ng says:

    Love this post. I love Nuclear Grade Duct Tape!

  • Alexi Ueltzen says:

    I also love Nuclear Grade Duct Tape. But I love gum more (just ask Tyler, his desk is across from mine). Someday I hope they combine the two – somehow – into Nuclear Grade Trident.

  • Tyler says:

    Thanks guys! Nuclear grade anything is excellent! I’m rather partial to the aviators…and for some reason the “that’s right…IceMan….I am dangerous.” just never gets old!

  • Nai`a says:

    A small waistpack!!! Neither sex can be without one, unless you’re ready to compulsively guard your daypack in any and all situations (not).

    bon voyage

  • Lynn M says:

    bandaids. various sizes.

  • osmosis water filter says:

    We must learn to walk before we can run.

  • Ton Press says:

    What a great list. I am always on the look for top lists, and your list is great starting point. Lists are very useful.

    Well, this is my first visit to your blog! But I admire the precious time and effort you put into it, especially into interesting entry you share here!


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