If you’re on a budget, like most of us are, building up your travel kit is something that could take a lot of time to do. It’s important to make sure you have what you need for your trip, but at the same time, it’s easy to get swept up in a frenzy of talking to shop assistants and buying the extra-water-proofing one-time-only-sale-you-really-need-this-stuff that can really drive up the cost if you let it get out of control. Here are some tips to ensure that you use your money wisely and hopefully have some spare cash to spend while you’re away.
Do your research
It’s so easy these days to find a review on almost anything. When you’re unsure of which brand or type of item to buy, check the reviews and see what others have to say about it. Many online stores have a star rating system so you can find out which items are most worth the money, as told by people that have already bought them. If you’re still unsure of which to buy, visit a store and see which one you prefer.
Visit a store, but don’t necessarily buy there
Actually going to a store can be really useful, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy everything there in person.
Make sure you go to the store with a clear purpose. You might have a few options of hiking boots that you want to compare in person, or you might want to find out which litre capacity backpack you think will suit your trip.
It’s best to go in with a plan so you’re less likely to be swayed into buying everything. Once you’ve decided what you do want to buy, go online and see what deals you can get. You will probably find that buying online is cheaper, but beware that this might not always be the case.
Buying second hand
Think of all the people that buy expensive travel gear for their Duke of Edinburgh expedition, or a once in a lifetime round the world trip? A lot of people will hardly use their kit, and it’ll be in their wardrobe somewhere looking next-to-new. Have a look on second hand sites like gumtree or eBay and see how much cheaper you can get a backpack that’s had only minimal use. Just remember that for huge items, you may need to use a company like Shiply to get the item delivered to you, as some will list as ‘collection only’ or ‘local collection’. Don’t forget to factor this into your budget, as you might find it cheaper to buy new in some cases.
Think about what you REALLY need
It might be tempting to get a super duper waterproof swiss army knife of a travel kit, but although it’s nice and comforting to have kit that can withstand blizzards, sandstorms and natural disasters, think about your trip and what is really necessary. For example, if you’re travelling around Spain in the summer, you’ll be more likely to need a rain-proof bag ‘just in case’, rather than a 4 or 5 season sleeping bag designed to withstand freezing temperatures.
If you’ve got friends or family that have been traveling, or who have experience of doing activities involving specialist equipment, like hiking for example, why not have a chat with them and see if you can get advice on equipment?
Remember that your upcoming trip will not necessarily be the same as theirs was, so your kit requirements might not be an exact match, but you might end up being able to borrow your cousin’s barely-used walking socks or a friend’s handy headtorch or mosquito net that will save you having to buy one yourself. As well as coming away with stuff, you’ll probably also be given sightseeing recommendations!