readers share the unusual things they bring on vacation

One in 30 Britons take a CD player on holiday, while more than a quarter still carry a camera, a survey has found. But British luggage choices range far beyond outdated gadgets. We spoke to seven people about the more unusual items they pack for the holidays.

“We always bring a teapot with a cozy tea”

We always take a tin teapot with a cozy tea to prevent the lid from rattling, plus a packet of tea bags. It’s a habit we picked up after our first InterRail adventure 10 years ago, when after 14 days, and on the back of a stressful delayed night train, we stumbled across a cafe in Salzburg that offered “Englischer Tee” and suddenly everything was fine again.

Our second trip we took tea bags and milk powder (always good to carry a small unmarked bag of white powder through customs!) and it’s grown from there. Whether you’re in a Premier Inn in Croydon or a lovely apartment in Verona, you can’t beat a good cup of tea, a quick taste of home, a reset after a long journey, a refresher after a long day in a new city. Edward, 29, railway engineer, Derbyshire

“I’ll bring an electric mini pancake maker”

I bring a 1980’s film camera with a stock of black and white film, a CD player and a set of Patti Smith CDs, a mini DVD player with a box set, a mini coffee maker and a mini electric pancake maker.

I love taking photos and developing them using the Caffenol method. I like a bit of Patti Smith and I like to carry a set of CDs with me. I use the DVD player to watch Scandi noir late at night. The Mini Electric Pancake Maker heats up buns, buns, store-bought pancakes, scones, and basically anything small enough to go in it.

A CD player can be used when traveling and does not need to be connected to the internet. Add a small speaker and you have a mini ghetto blaster. It runs on batteries, so you can use it anywhere. Lynn, 62, English teacher, Washington, Tyne and Wear

“My traveling companions used to laugh at me”

My friends and I have been on holidays to Lanzarote, Sicily and rentals in England. A small grater always comes with me. And a sharp chef’s knife, pepper grinder and non-slip frying pan. Rentals or villas never have decent kitchen equipment, so I like to travel prepared. My traveling companions used to laugh at me, but see the method in my madness when all the knives in the villa drawer are dull.

I don’t like lying in the sun – I prefer to put on some music (with the “magical little speaker”, pictured) and rustle up lunch or dinner for us all. I love making eggs in purgatory, shakshuka, pasta and pizza, or a smorgasbord for lunch. The box grater, chef’s knife, pepper grinder and non-stick pan have saved the day on many trips to great villas with terrible kitchen equipment. Patrick, 57, occupational psychologist, London

“I highly recommend taking a shower head”

We take a decent shower head. Too often hotels and villas have these tiny shower heads that just don’t have a good flow of water, even fancy hotels. I know we’re fussy, but it transforms your stay when you can have a rain shower in the morning. I highly recommend this, there is always room in the bag.

We usually go to Mediterranean countries and around the UK. We had dozens of bad showers until 2019 when we devised the solution. It is a rain shower head with different settings. The water pressure where we live is usually good, so it’s the shower head that lets hotels down. We stayed in an old five star in Rhodes which had an aging shower head. Instead of moaning, we changed it and pure luxury was the result. Alan, organic food retailer, London

“We used to take a gramophone, but it was a bit too heavy”

We usually take a portable record player when camping with a single box of vinyl. We used to take a gramophone, but it was a bit too heavy and loud. The photo above was taken at Shell Island, Llanbedr – but we’ve also visited Burnham Deepdale, Norfolk and Bishop’s Castle in Shropshire.

We have quite a varied taste in music, but when we camp we love the nostalgia of previous summer soundtracks. We pack a box of ‘village hall disco’ records – which can range from pre-Beatles bubblegum pop and the odd psychedelic, to glam, new records (especially the late, great Bernard Cribbins), and early ’80s synth (The Human League, Soft Cell, Depeche Mode). Simon, 55, Scarborough

“If I’m not driving, I’m knitting”

I take Fair Isle knitting with me on holiday. In the UK I can usually take on a large project like a cardigan as there is room for the many different colors of wool and the gradually growing garment. If I’m only flying carry-on, I’ll make a small bag of wool with a project like a pair of socks or a hat.

Needles are essential – either five pointed needles or a circular needle of various sizes for most projects. If I’m not driving, I sit and knit to pass the time. Becki, 55, dyslexia specialist, Chester

“I’ll take a cutter and a potato peeler”

We usually live in apartments and Airbnbs since there are four of us (my wife and I and two teenagers) and we like to cook. I usually take a router and a wireless access point. And a potato peeler. The peeler because the ones in self-service places are often not very good. And the router to bypass any wifi issues. Granted, I usually can’t improve the underlying speed of the connection – although you’d be surprised how often they’re poorly configured – but at least everyone in the family can access it. Sameer, 48, London

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.