Universal Packing List - Europe for 10 Days
|By this I mean the things you usually have to fix before you go. The list does not contain any of the travel preparations you have to do, like buying tickets, getting visas and such.|
To do for most tripsCheck the expiration date of your passport
Some countries requires that your passport has at least 6 months validity left.
Make a lunch
By having a few sandwiches made in advance you can save quite a lot of money.
Turn down (or up, depending on where you live) the temperature in your home
If nobody is home, why waste energy heating or cooling it?
Empty all trash cans
Vegetables left in the trash can quickly become pretty disgusting.
Confirm airline tickets and seats
Everyone is recommending you confirm airline tickets a few days before the flight.
Sign up to get your airmiles.
Most companies offer signup and monitoring online.
Order special air meals
Some people claim the vegetarian meal by far is the best to avoid the ordinary beef or chicken.
Memorize PIN codes to credit cards and your phone's SIM card
So that you can use them with ATM machines to get cash.
Unlock your credit card for use in other countries
Some credit cards are locked by default for use abroad, or gets locked after a few months of unuse abroad.
Check out what hospitals are covered by your health insurance
Check out beforehand which hospitals are covered by your health insurance.
Get travel insurance
Make sure your insurance covers the activities you plan to do, such as climbing!
You can often get a much better deal if you change money at home.
Install or recharge batteries
It is such a pain and hassle to get these replaced in cameras etc during the trip.
It can be easier to get maps of your destination from home.
Hold delivery of mail and newspapers
Put your mail on hold and pause/resume newspaper delivery until you come back.
Empty your wallet
It may get stolen, so only bring what you need, and leave behind everything not needed.
It is nice to have all your clothes shining clean for when you return home.
Leave expensive watches and jewelery at home
In case you lose them, or they get stolen.
E-pay the bills
So you don't get hit with late payments when you're away.
Turn down the temperature on your water heater
If nobody is home, why waste energy keeping water warm?
Empty your fridge of perishables
Vegetables, for example, are pretty disgusting if they rot while you're away.
Give copies of your keys to someone else
It is a good idea to let someone else have copies of your keys if you are out on a longer trip.
Packing List for MenUnderwear
Can be obtained very cheaply in many towns, but if you prefer the western style, you'd better get a basic set of these at home before you go. Definitely stay with cotton, or possibly silk, if you can afford it.
There is almost no place on the globe where you can be without needing a good warm shirt. I usually bring one or two tough flannel shirts, but I leave them at home if my destination is really hot.
Pretty impossible to be without, unless you just use thin shirts. You can buy them cheaply along the road.
This is a must unless you travel in cold climates. I think it is one of the most important pieces of clothing you use. Buy one or two pairs of very good quality. Shorts can double as swimming trunks. Don't use sport shorts made for running, since their length may be too short to be considered decent clothing in some countries.
Good quality socks can be a blessing. Wool is best. If you are hiking, be sure to bring a lot of socks in case the weather is bad - walking in wet socks is horrible! Remember that if it is hot summer at your travelling destination, you may not end up using socks at all, just sandals!
Trousers ( Pants, Jeans )
I like black jeans at home, but leave them at home if you're going to a really hot place. Shorts will be a much better choice.
A must in colder climates, and a good idea if you're flying.
Cap ( Hat )
Two out of every three Australians who live to the age of 75 can expect to develop some type of skin cancer, so hats are more or less government recommendation in Australia. I'm not too fond of hats, but I have burnt my nose to pure coal so many times now that I've bought myself a cool hat.
Clothes for menSome extra clothes applicable only (?) to men.
If you need to look formal.
ShoesVery important. Only use good quality shoes!
Sandals ( Flip-flops )
Very nice to have in hot climates, or on filthy bathroom floors.
Nice if you want to do some kind of sports during a trip, but the risk is great that they will never be used.
Optional clothesPick the ones you like, and leave the rest at home.
Swimming trunks ( Bikini )
Takes virtually no space in your backpack, and can be very nice.
Pyjamas ( Pajamas )
Thin cotton pants that are great when shorts are too casual and it is too hot for regular trousers. Also nice on long flights, since they are very comfortable.
Easily stolen, so I wouldn't bring anything too valuable.
Money and documentsThis list is about what kind of documents and what kind of money you better not be without.
Some countries requires that your passport has at least 6 months validity left.
A trip to Africa can be very difficult to plan since you have to get so many visas. I'm not kidding when I say that it can take you two months to get all the visas you need. Plan ahead!
A small yellow booklet containing stamps and signatures from doctors and nurses that proves that you have taken various vaccines. Many countries demand that you have such a certificate when you enter their countries.
Insurance certificate ( Health Insurance card )
Very handy if you want to rent a car in the US without having to pay for insurance. The insurance that covers your car at home often also covers cars you rent, but check with your insurance company before you go, to be sure.
Paper from your local social insurance office
In this bright new Europe I have been told that I need a paper from my local social insurance office EACH TIME I go somewhere in the European Community!
If you bring cash, the equivalent of US $10 and $50 are the most convenient denominations.
Credit/ATM cards ( Visa, Eurocard/Mastercard, American Express etc )
They take virtually no space in your backpack. American Express has the advantage of letting you use the Amex office facilities. In a group, have each person bring a different brand of card. Make sure to carry the phone numbers to call to report if your card is stolen! Remember, typical free numbers (such as 800 or 888 numbers in the US) often do not work from outside your country (for example, calling american 800-numbers from Sweden is bound to fail). Make sure you bring "normal" phone numbers together with the free (800) numbers.
Can often double as your ID card.
I have my Swedish driver's license for security if I lose my passport.
Address list (with phone numbers and email addresses)
For writing letters, sending emails from a cyber cafe, or for phoning home to Mom for more money.
Optional documentsSome of the items on this list might be very good to have with you.
For writing letters.
This packing list
Can be very handy if you have things stolen. It can be darn hard to remember what you lost otherwise.
Photocopies of passport and other important documents
Keep a set of these in case you lose your passport or any other valuable document. Might be of help. Of course, keep them separate from the important documents.
International Student Identification Card ( ISIC )
Can save you some money in Youth Hostels, trains, museums, planes, so get one if you qualify as a student. If you can, get the brochure with addresses to student travel organisations in different countries, and tear out the pages you want. You will need these addresses if you want to buy student plane tickets.
Tourist organization certificate
Can save you money in a way similar to an ISIC card.
Addresses and phone numbers to embassies
Just in case you get into problems.
Very nice souvenir, since I like to write down where I have been each day to help me remember what happened on a trip.
For keeping documents in, or for letters.
They can sometimes give you an air of respectability that your appearance might not warrant. Some people bring small cards with just their name and address on. Handy when you swap addresses with someone.
Hotel and car rental vouchers
For those that book in advance.
If you have any of these (AAA, Hertz, Avis, Hilton, ...), going abroad may be a good opportunity to use them.
For carrying money and documentsYou might end up carrying a lot of important documents, as well as money. This list gives some hints on how to carry them. Remember to carry these things in 2 or more locations. Unless everything gets stolen, this way you'll have some extra money and papers that will make it easier to replace what was stolen, not to mention that some extra money can make it possible for you to continue your travels while waiting for new travellers cheques or documents. When making purchases, be modest. Don't flash large amounts of cash. The wallet of a westerner has tempted people in poor countries to commit murder! Please remember this!
This is my favourite! They have a distinct disadvantage though - pickpockets! Where pickpockets are a problem, carry your wallet in your front trousers pocket.
I tend to carry quite a lot of paper with me; to prevent it from becoming unreadable from the massive pressure in my backpack, I put it all in a sturdy paper folder. I have never regretted this. The folder also gives some steadiness in the backpack. The stiff envelopes available from Federal Express or Express Mail (in the US) are great for carrying the assortment of papers one picks up. They are a little stiffer than folders and available free of charge.
TicketsMaybe you'll be hitch-hiking. The rest of us might need tickets.
MapsI always travel with lots of maps. Remember that good maps can be pretty hard to find in many countries.
Small scale map
I like to have a small scale map for the occasions when I sit at a cafe and try to figure out where to go next.
Large scale map
For more detailed kind of travelling. In cities in the western world you can often get them for free in tourist information offices. Good souvenirs!
Small world map
For showing people where YOU live. You may have one in your diary.
BooksBooks are heavy but hard to be without.
Saying hello, goodbye and thank you in the local language may give you a friendlier response outside heavily loaded tourist areas. You may find these words in your guidebook, or by asking people you meet (even better response). Some people prefer dictionaries.
You may end up waiting a lot on most trips, so a novel or two or three will make your trip more enjoyable. A guideline is to bring one book per week of travel. Books in your native language are all nice and cosy on the road, but the price of it on the second hand market may be reduced. Travellers often swap books, so if you have a book in Swedish you may be out of luck. Choose English.
I usually have a Lonely Planet guide with me, but they're approaching the weight of a brick nowadays, so try to reduce it by ripping out pages or leave it at home. A too-complete guide-book is kind of boring, since it reduces the thrill of finding your own hotels and magic places around the globe. You can be pretty sure that if a place is in the guidebook, it is more or less crowded with travellers. At the same time, it is a bad idea to go to a place like Africa without a guide, since you will be unaware of local rules, conflicts and other things that are bound to put you in lots of uncomfortable situations.
EquipmentQuite a few lists of general equipment handy in different situations.
Things for packingItems that enable you to bring along the other items as effortlessly as possible.
Small extra backpack ( Knap sack, Day pack )
I can't be without a small extra backpack, since that is where I carry things when walking around in cities. It serves two other purposes as well. First, it gives you a chance to carry more things along the road since I try to keep the small backpack more or less empty from the start. Second, when carrying the big backpack, I have the small one attached by a carabiner (a climbing D-ring with a spring-loaded latch, and possibly a safety lock so that it will not disconnect) to the shoulder strap of the big one. This way I have easy access to tickets and other important things in the small backpack. The carabiner makes it impossible for thieves to just grab the small backpack and run. To be honest, I'm pretty proud of this idea.
Plastic bags ( Ziploc )
Excellent to put stuff in.
I have a set of small sacks (up to 3 litres) made of cloth with a drawstring, in different colours. I keep different types of things in different sacks, and with this colour code I can easily find what I'm looking for in my backpack. Without these sacks, your backpack will look like a mess in no time. Bring a few spare ones as well.
Can be a good idea for small things that easily get lost in the backpack. Such a box is also a good place to put fragile stuff in, such as a pair of extra glasses.
For trips of a more businesslike character, or if you really hate to see all your clothes wrinkled up, it might be worthwhile to bring all clothes in a large suitcase. I have one of the new plastic types with three clasps, and it is very good. Some people dislike travellers with backpacks. A suitcase could make such people treat you better.
It helps identifying your luggage at the airport quickly (many suitcases looks the same). It can also stop your suitcase from cracking open during the (mis)handling at the airport.
With the name, address and phone number to you, so you might get your luggage back faster if it gets lost.
Necessary when using a steel cable or chain to lock your loggage, but also works in cheap hotels where you don't trust the default padlocks provided by the hotel. Some backpacks are lockable by allowing you to lock the zippers. Keep an extra key somewhere separate so that you don't end up with a locked room if you somehow lose the first one, or, preferably, buy a combination padlock and make sure you remember the combination! There are also locks that double as motion alarm.
Things for sleepingThings that might give you a better sleep, or actually give you a chance to sleep at all.
A black hair-band is said to work as well, when for example trying to sleep on an intercontinental flight, a bus or on a ferry.
Inflatable neck supporter
Kind of wimpy, but has given me some good nights sleep.
Eating equipmentThis list contains items that might be good to bring along even if you don't cook your own food.
Swiss army knife
I think a multi-tool is better, like a Leatherman.
Multi-tool ( Folding knife )
A Swiss army knife is good for many things, but the blade is usually too short for slicing bread or fruit. Avoid anything that might look military unless you want problems at border crossings.
Bring a good Swiss army knife or multi-tool instead.
Nice for keeping liquid cold in hot climates, as well as keeping liquid warm in cold climates. A metallic indestructible thermos can double as a water bottle. Heavy.
Miscellaneous equipmentThings that just didn't fit into any other list.
You can buy them anywhere, but the quality is often very bad. Bring a bunch of good ones. Bring one in your carry-on luggage in case you're flying, to fill out immigration cards. Works as much appreciated gifts to kids. Bring a few with a very fine point felt top since they are excellent for writing compact letters.
Poker cards ( Playing cards )
Can be a hit when waiting for transport.
Invaluable on long flights. Packs very small and can also save you (or your fellow traveller) a night's sleep.
Small ones are cool but will leave your eyes pretty unprotected.
To places you plan to visit that you have keys to.
Extra thingsIf any of your equipment breaks or you lose something. There are actually kits you can buy that contain many of the items below. It could be an option instead of buying them one by one.
You are wrong if you think you don't need them.
These are normally the size of a softcover book of matches, and can be purchased for a reasonable price from most travel stores, and many airlines even give these out for free. They usually contain 2 needles, a little bit of different coloured threads, and a couple of buttons. This can be *VERY* handy sometimes, and does not take up any space at all. Unfortunately the kits you get for free invariably have the cheapest, weakest cotton thread made. Bring a few yards of strong black, grey or light brown thread, and throw away the thread in the kit.
Duct tape ( Racing tape )
Rolls of silvery grey sticky tape are standard issue for National Geographic photographers out in the field, and it is also used by astronauts!
Cable ties ( Zip ties )
HygieneThis is a list of the kind of hygiene things all of us are likely to bring with us. It is a good idea to put most of these things in a separate pouch so that you can easily bring everything with you when you go to the bathroom.
HygieneToilet bag ( Bathroom bag, Necessaire )
A handy bag where you put all your hygiene items.
Either a razor with disposable blades, or disposable light-weight razors. They are actually good for several shaves.
Extra blades for Razor
This only applies to we who prefer to avoid electric shavers, since they are heavy, and electrical standards are different all over the world.
Shaving gel ( Shaving foam )
Make sure you bring along a really small can. Another option is to use brushless shaving cream, or shaving oil, or gentle soap.
If you are just going for a shorter trip and don't mind the weight. But then again, if it is a short trip, why not just leave it and shave when you get home?
Must be pretty sturdy. Glass may not be a good idea for some journeys. Highly polished stainless steel mirrors are available. Also very reflective are the undersides of CDs.
Toothbrush ( Electric toothbrush with charger )
One of the few things you can buy all over the world.
Can be bought almost everywhere.
Handy for that strange vegetable plate with the stringy stuff, or to reset a PDA because of a different time zone.
If you are really hard-core, you can use soap, but, well, I'm kind of wimpy and prefer real shampoo. Not as available as soap, but it should be no real problem getting it in most towns all over the world. Also available at all hotels, free of charge, but it may not smell like you're used to.
Styling gel ( Hair gel )
I don't use it myself, but most other people do, it seems.
Some say this is a must. Some even say "lots of deodorant, PLEASE!!!
I just used a T-shirt on one trip, but now I think a small towel is a must, unless I know I will be staying at hotels all the time.
Can be hard and/or very expensive to get in some countries. Bring some heavy duty stuff!
If you are like me, blind without glasses, you need some kind of backup. Carry your prescription as well, and keep the glasses in a sturdy box so that they will not be crushed in your backpack.
In case you need glasses specifically for reading books and newspapers.
Lip balm ( ChapStick )
If the climate is dry or windy, or if the sun is just outrageously strong.
Hygiene (optional)After taking a sneak look at some womens makeup "equipment", I realize that this list could easily grow to ridiculous proportions.
You might be pretty unhappy without it. Packs very small.
Bulkier than a comb.
Barrettes, headbands, hair ties
To keep your hair in place.
Clothes pegs ( Clothes pins )
Pretty usable, actually. I carry with me a few of these magnificent inventions.
A special bag where you put your dirty laundry, to keep it separate from your clean clothes.
Is said to be perfect as a cheese slicer, and reports say it is perfect as heavy-duty sewing thread!
Can also be used on hair if sun makes it impenetrable for your comb.
After a dirty bus or train journey. Before you eat.
Cotton on a stick to clean the ears after dusty bus trips.
The metal tongs women use to pluck hairs from their eyebrows, but also handy for pulling out splinters.
Baby wipes ( Towlettes )
The pre-moistened disposable ones.
HealthThings which can help preserve health on your trip. Put most of your things in this category in a special pouch. On long trips through many remote parts of the tropical world you should count on becoming ill at some point and make allowances for this eventuality. Many things can be sorted out, given time and care - be prepared to forget your schedule and stay put for a week or so.
For other sources, check our resource/reading checklist, as well as about other health concerns.
General health itemsPrescription medicine
Can be kind of hard to find in some countries. Don't go abroad without them! As for birth control pills/devices, these can cause some raised eyebrows (or worse) at customs checks in some countries if the woman is travelling alone. Wearing a wedding ring even if you're single is often recommended.
Sore tape ( Adhesive tape )
If you need to protect and/or cover these blisters you got from your shoes. Band-Aid/bandages work alright for this; however, there are excellent products available which are made specially for walking blisters/sores.
Very good to have in Malaria prone countries, as well as in Canada or Scandinavia during the summer. Avoid putting it on the skin of small children. They should only be protected by clothes in the day, and mosquito nets at night.
Band-Aids ( Plaster )
These are available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Take a good selection as well as some tape rolls.
First aid kit
I have never had to use one, but I carry one with me, just in case.
If you go to Africa, Asia, South America or even the Rocky Mountains in Canada, you'll be very sorry if you didn't bring a good watertight bottle. Soda bottles are sometimes OK, but they don't last very long. Buy one of the metallic types (e.g. Sigg, they also make fuel bottles) or a sturdy plastic one (Nalgene). Pour in some dubious water and throw in some of these purifying tablets; in some minutes you have some horrible tasting water, but bad tasting water is better than Amoebic Dysentery or "Beaver Fever" (Giardia). Trust me. If you hike in the mountains, bringing along a water bottle is more important than many people think. Any climb of a mountain is bound to make you sweat. At high altitude water is very important, if only to reduce the risk of headaches. Bring enough of it in your backpack. You also absolutely need a water bottle or two with water if you travel with children.
Water purifying filter
If you know you have to purify large amounts of water for a long time, then this gadget might be an option. Quite expensive and quality varies. Many water filters have appeared on the camping market in recent years. It would be wise to read reviews about them before purchase, or stick with the old standard (Katadyn). Water filters also vary in what they will remove. Some are capable of removing virus organisms and even chemicals. Others filter only larger organisms and particulates. Determining what your needs are will help simplify your choice.
Helps adjust to cabin pressure changes during flights.
Copy of prescriptions
It can be a good idea to bring along copies of the prescriptions you use at the pharmacy back home. The prescription itself is not valid abroad, but it can give a doctor you meet in another country a good hint as to what medication may be best for you.
Pills, tablets and medicinesThere's a lot on this list, since there are many diseases you can catch. Remember that with a backpack full of strange pills, you can get into border problems. Keep the pills in their original containers, and stuff them all in a box so that they don't end up being ground to dust by the pressure in your backpack.
Water purifying tablets
Take lots. Perfect gifts in poor villages in Africa. Remember that they are also necessary in "civilised" places like the Canadian Rocky Mountains, where there is now a greater incidence of "Beaver Fever", a form of giardiasis.
Motion sickness tablets
Also available are "patches" which attach to your skin (behind the ear) and slowly release the required medication. There are also devices, wrist bands, which are reported to provide relief by applying pressure to wrist pressure points.
Melatonin and Tylenol-p is supposed to work, but I don't know personally.
Paracetamol/acetaminophen is recommended by some.
Headaches are quite common during travels. You can easily get it from not drinking enough, or any of the various sicknesses you can get. Or altitude. There are many different types, so make sure you bring a type that works for you.
Allergy pills ( Anti-histamines )
Don't mess around with malaria! I've seen travellers get very sick with it, so bring lots of malarial medicine. There are several different types of Malaria medicine (Chloroquine, Proguanil, Mefloquine, Doxycycline, Fansidar) and any single type doesn't work everywhere. So in many cases you will be recommended to take two or more types. You must ask your local specialist about this! Bring more than you need - you can always discard them (safely!) or give them away. Please note: Malaria is endemic in many parts of the tropical world. There is a wide range of resistance to current malaria drugs! Seriously, the only sure way to avoid getting malaria is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. An alarming fact is that many doctors in the Western world seem to be pretty out of touch when it comes to resistant strains of Malaria. Malaria is one of the most popular topics among travellers!
Electrical stuffGeneral electrical or electromechanical stuff sometimes worth bringing with you.
General electrical itemsCell Phone ( Mobile Phone, Cellular Phone )
Remember that there is a risk your phone may not work in other countries. It could be the wrong network technology, or your phone service doesn't allow you to use it outside your own country, or even outside your own state in the US. An alternative is to rent a phone at your destination, but that is probably expensive.
Charger to Smartphone/Cell Phone
Remember that you may need a Wall socket adapter if you wish to recharge the batteries of the telephone, unless you have one of those new solar-powered cell phone battery chargers.
Multi Power Outlet
These days travellers carry all sorts of electric equipment that requires charging at night. Smart Phones, cameras, toothbrushes, laptops, etc. It can sometimes be hard to find enough many wall sockets to charge all your gear, so bringing along a multi power outlet is a really good idea, since you can charge all your gear from just one wall socket. Also, if you're in a foreign country with weird wall sockets, you'd need to find adapters for each and every item, unless, you have a multi power outlet.
Alarm clock ( Travel alarm )
I think a watch with alarm would be perfect, but I sleep like a rock and need an alarm clock that can wake the dead. Essential if you have a flight very early in the morning. Many PDAs and cell phones works as an alarm, so don't pack one too many.
There are many choices from Laptop, Notebook to Subnotebook. Make sure you really need it, since many of them are heavier than you first might think! Many times an internet cafe will be all you need to process your emails. Remember that you may need a Wall socket adapter if you wish to recharge the batteries in the computer.
Wall socket adapter
There are at least half a dozen different wall socket designs in the world. I forgot to bring an adapter to the US recently and if it wasn't for a well-stocked Radio Shack store, my portable computer would have run out of charge without any way for me to recharge it.
I use a cheapo watch when I travel. No big deal if it gets stolen. Be sure the battery is fresh!
Flashlight ( Torch )
I have a Maglite (a thin black slick metallic torch with an adjustable magnifying glass) that I like to bring with me. It's nice to carry along at night in strange neighbourhoods abroad. Kind of expensive. The smallest Maglite is called "Solitaire" and can hang off your key ring. An alternative is the tiny, long-lasting LED lights that cost about $10 US. Get the kind with the lockable on/off switch for hands-free use.
Bookmark reading light
A small travel light in the form of a bookmark. Very useful and works with AA batteries. Also good for fully discharging lithium batteries, which help prolong their life.
Extra batteries for your camera, flash, torch, watch, MP3-player and GPS
Portable DVD player and disks
Perfect for long flights, especially if you travel with children. Many laptop computers these days can read and display DVD disks (or even ripped ISO files from the hard drive), so bringing it on as hand luggage can be a really good idea.
Camera equipmentIn many cases a digital camera is probably a better choice for a trip than a normal camera, since they are so much simpler to handle, takes up less space in your luggage, and are cheaper to use in the long run.
Be sure the batteries are fresh, or bring along a charger.
Some memory cards are now so large that you are able to get away with a single card for the whole of your trip. Try to estimate how many pictures you'll take during your trip, and how much memory they normally take up on your memory card, and you should be able to calculate what size memory card you'll need.
Bring lots of it. Anything other than 35mm can be hard to find in many countries, but if you travel in Europe or the US you can buy film anywhere. If you fly, bring all film with you as carry-on luggage and kindly ask the airport staff to check it manually. In your check-in luggage it might be zapped by X-ray. Putting your film in a lead-lined film shield bag may very well mean your check-in luggage will be opened for manual inspection, which is not recommended.
Battery charger for camera
If your camera uses non-standard batteries, and you're off to a longer trip. You may also need a Wall socket adapter.
To your charger, or from the camera to your computer, in case you want to move some of the pictures off your memory card, to make room for more pictures.
Generic photo equipmentVarious things to bring with you if you bring along a camera or video camera.
Music itemsA music player can be heaven and hell. It can be stolen, and it can also give you some of the best highlights of a trip.
Music player ( Cassette, CD, MiniDisc, MP3 )
For travels it is probably best to take an MP3 player since they pack small and can hold a lot of music, as well as many MP3 audio books. Particularly great if you can't read on buses. Even better if it has a radio tuner. There are solar cell battery chargers you can buy, so that you don't need to buy so many batteries. Remember that you may need a Wall socket adapter if you wish to recharge batteries the normal way.
Can also be a good idea on long flights, since the ones you're offered on planes are often of very low quality.
Music media ( Music cassettes, CDs )
If you bring too many, they take up a lot of place in your backpack. If you bring too few, you get sick and tired of them in a flash. One option is to leave them all at home with your music player. That way all your music will be like brand new when you come home.
Tapes with sounds from trains or cities can be marvellous to have to remember what the trip was like. Packs very small.
Headphone 'doubler' plug
It plugs into your the headphone 'out' socket but has two sockets on the other end to plug two sets of headphones into. That way two of you can listen at the same time.