This post is part of the Ask Alex, Travel Question Wednesdays weekly series. To see previous questions click here. To submit your own; tweet it to @AlexBerger, ask it in a comment on this post or send it in by e-mail.
A quick introductory note – When I began authoring VirtualWayfarer in July of 2007 I never expected that I’d still be blogging on travel, adventures, study abroad and everything that goes with it nearly five years later. Over the years I’ve had a lot of questions and luckily my friends, network, and more than a few random strangers have gone well out of their way to answer those questions. While I still find myself asking questions on a regular basis I’ve found that I can also pay it forward as a resource for friends, my readers, and strangers alike. In an effort to share what I’ve learned from my various adventures I’ve launched Travel Question Wednesdays. I’ll be answering one reader-submitted question every week. You are all encouraged to submit, and all past questions will be archived and available as a resource for readers of this blog. I’m going to take a very open approach to the topics I’ll cover, so feel free to ask me just about anything , just keep it somewhat travel related.
This week’s travel question is from Pernille N. she asks,
Q. “When you are short-term travelling, is there one item you will never go without?”
A. – There are a few items that always find their way into my bag. Power adapters, a small luggage combination lock for hostel lockers, my cameras and a pair of jeans are all items that I won’t leave home without. However, the one that best answers your question is likely a microfiber towel. While many hostels (and most hotels) offer a towel as part of your room, or for a small additional fee, I find having a microfiber towel on hand as a backup is always a welcome travel tool. For the last few years I’ve used a small MSR Packtowl. As a funny side story, I actually accidently ordered a hand towel (about 9×20 inches) in place of a regular small travel towel. It arrived right before a trip, and I didn’t have time to swap it out. I decided to go with it anyhow, and I’m glad I did. Despite it’s size (it’s too small to wrap around me), it takes up virtually zero space, dries quickly, and is so absorbent that it is sufficient to dry me off completely.
I find that I use the towel about 70% of the time during hostel stays. It’s flexible, incredibly durable and can double as a small table cloth in a pinch. The more I use it, the softer it gets while retaining its super absorbent nature. They really are fantastic travel accessories, and as an added bonus you don’t have to worry about a large, bulky traditional towel which is prone to mold, takes forever to dry and can be extremely heavy. My mini-towel weighs less than a dollar in quarters, and rolls up into a ball about the size of a roll of pennies. Microfiber towels are made by a variety of vendors and are relatively cheap. I highly recommend them for people who want a useful backup or who are considering a bit of camping or hosteling.