November travel essentials: the round-up

Travelling ensures a few unexpected leaps and drops in temperature but I think today may be my record – snow during the day here in London, while the forecast for The Gambia tomorrow is 36C. I’ll be landing in the slightly cooler late afternoon, so probably only a jump of about 25 degrees!

Girl in a field with a suitcase - my travel essentials for the month, from beauty, books and fashion to my latest suitcase must-haves

It does mean that I’ve got my summer hat on again in the depths of winter, eyeing up swimwear online and realising I’m running low on suntan lotion… while also wondering where my gloves have got to and snuggling happily into the scarf I bought in Burma.

Not to mention treating myself to one exciting (and essential) new piece of kit – here are my November travel essentials and additions to my packing lists.

Travel essentials
Can you imagine travelling without your phone these days? Even having being warned that WiFi may well be intermittent in my hotel and non-existent outside it (if not, keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram for a few live updates), I’ll be using my phone to take photos and video as well as making notes, saving my Lonely Planet guide, books, a few confirmations and who knows what else.

So having realised I was (sort of) due an upgrade, after smashing the camera on my old phone, I’ve got myself the new Samsung S8 with a Black Friday deal (and via TopCashBack as a bonus) – after syncing my gazillion bits and bobs, I still seem to be logging in to various apps but the camera looks like it’ll be amazing and I can’t wait to try out a few of the focus options and filters properly. I can even play around with the ISO (although my DSLR will be coming along for the ride as well).

Naturally I’ve also got my standard map print phone case and having discovered I need a USB-C adaptor now, have picked up some spares to go with the one they throw in. No point having a collection of portable battery packs if I can’t actually connect anything, after all.

And because I love some good old-fashioned stationery as well, I’ve bought a new personalised planner from Pirongs which will double as diary, travel wishlist and blog planner for 2018. I had one this year as well, and think this new one will be even more perfectly tailored to my list-making obsession.

Both Minnie and I have had our wanderlust whetted by Lonely Planet this month – the fascinating Incredible Cabinet of Wonders which we’ve both been dipping in and out of, and two for my five-year-old.

First, How Animals Build which is a gorgeous hardback with loads of facts and trivia, and pages which open out – perfect for any kids who love animals, if you’re looking for a last-minute present. Minnie has discovered some distinctly smelly facts about meerkats and has initiated several conversations about which animals dig fastest and what it might be like living in a tree. I am impressed, as ever, by how ingenious nature is – and by the level of detail that’s shared in such a child-friendly way.

The Dinosaur Atlas is on similar lines, with fold-out maps and lift the flap sections to teach about where the ferocious creatures lived (and the less ferocious ones) as well as how they were discovered, plus some life-size images of claws and bones which had my jaw dropping. There’s detail about new theories and finds as well, which makes it nicely up to date for any mini palaeontologists.

And while I’ve been adding to my own nature knowledge alongside my daughter, I’ve also been looking at some books linked to The Gambia – I love learning about countries by reading about them as I travel. So in preparation , I also bought Roots by Alex Haley, following the history of his ancestors – I’m planning a tour based around the story, which follows some of the locations linked to the slave trade in the country.

And one last purchase – a travel essential? Probably not. It’s debatable if it’s a fashion essential too! But a winter essential? Oh yes… A new, extremely snuggly pair of fleecy lined FitFlop slippers which I live in while working from home. I suspect those will be very essential indeed when I return from Africa!


Main image courtesy Pixabay, Samsung image courtesy of the retailer, all others copyright MummyTravels

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links – any purchases you make are unaffected but I may get a few pennies to stock up on suntan lotion. If you sign up to Top Cashback using my link, you should also receive a gift voucher. Opinions on all products, including those sent for review, are my own – especially about the necessity of a new phone.