One in 30 Britons take a CD player on holiday, while more than a quarter still bring a camera, according to a survey. But British luggage choices go far beyond outdated gadgets. We spoke to seven people about the most unusual items they pack for their vacation.
‘We always bring a teapot with a cozy tea’
We always take a pewter teapot with a comforter to keep the lid from rattling, plus a pack 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 delayed and stressful overnight train, we came across a cafe in Salzburg that offered “Englischer Tee” and suddenly everything was fine again.
On our second trip, we took tea bags and powdered milk (always good to carry a small bag of unlabeled white powder through customs!) and went from there. Whether you’re staying in a Premier Inn in Croydon or a lovely apartment in Verona, nothing beats a good cup of tea, a taste of home, a reset after a long journey, refreshment after a long day in a new town. Edward, 29, a railway engineer, derbyshire
‘I bring a mini electric crepe maker’
I bring a film camera from the 1980s with a supply of black and white film, a CD player and a set of Patti Smith CDs, a mini DVD player with a box, a mini coffee maker and a mini electric crepe maker.
I love taking pictures and developing them with the Caffenol method. I kinda like Patti Smith and like to have my CD set with me. I use the DVD player to watch Scandi Noir late at night. The Mini Electric Crepe Maker warms up buns, crumpets, store-bought pancakes, scones, and basically anything small enough to fit.
A CD player can be used while 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 laughed at me”
My friends and I have vacationed in Lanzarote, Sicily and rented in England. A small box grater always comes with me. And a sharp chef’s knife, a pepper mill and a non-stick frying pan. Rental properties or villas never have decent kitchen equipment, so I like to travel prepared. My traveling companions laughed 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 magic little speaker” in the photo) and cook lunch or dinner for all of us. I love making eggs in purgatory, shakshuka, pasta and pizza, or a lunchtime smörgåsbord. The box grater, chef’s knife, pepper mill and non-stick pan have saved the day on many trips to gorgeous villas with a terrible kitchen kit. Patrick, 57, occupational psychologist, London
“I highly recommend taking a shower head”
We take a decent showerhead. Too often hotels and villas have those tiny showerheads that just don’t have a good spray, even luxury hotels. I know we’re picky, but it transforms the stay when you can take a rain shower in the morning. I highly recommend it, 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 found the solution. This is a rain type head with different settings. The water pressure where we stay is generally good so it is the shower head that lets hotels down. We stayed in an older five star in Rhodes that had an aging shower head. Instead of moaning, we changed it and pure luxury was the result. Alan, organic food retailer, London
“Before, we took a gramophone, but it was a little too heavy”
We usually take a portable record player camping with a single box of vinyl. We used to take a gramophone, but it was a bit too heavy and noisy. The photo above was taken on Shell Island, Llanbedr – but we also visited Burnham Deepdale, Norfolk and Bishop’s Castle in Shropshire.
We have quite a variety of tastes in music, but when camping we love the nostalgia of soundtracks from the past summer. We pack a case of ‘village hall disco’ records – which can range from pre-Beatles bubblegum pop and psychedelic weirdness, to glamorous, novelty records (especially the late great Bernard Cribbins) and early synth 80s (The Human League, Soft Cell, Depeche Mode). Simon, 55, Scarborough
“If I don’t drive, I will knit”
I’m taking Fair Isle knitting with me on vacation. In the UK I can usually take on a large project like a cardigan as there is room for the many colors of yarn and the gradually growing garment. If it is a carry-on only, I will make a small woolen pouch with a project such as a pair of socks or a hat.
Needles are important – either five double-pointed needles or one circular needle of various sizes for most projects. If I’m not driving, I’ll sit and knit to pass the time. Becki, 55, dyslexia specialist, Chester
‘I take a ripper and a peeler’
We usually stay in apartments and Airbnbs as there are four of us (my wife and I and two teenagers) and we love to cook. I usually take a wireless router and access point. And a potato peeler. The peeler because those of the lodgings are often not very good. And the router to bypass all wifi issues. Granted, I usually can’t improve the underlying speed of the connection – though you’d be surprised how often they’re misconfigured – but at least this way everyone in the family can access them. Sameer, 48, London