This is a post in an ongoing feature on Her Packing List called “The One Little Thing“. Each week or two, I’ll be interviewing a traveling lady to find out the one little thing she just can’t travel without. This one comes to you from Cassie Kifer.
What’s the one little thing you can’t travel without?
The one odd little thing I always carry with me is a plastic “spork”, a multipurpose utensil that is part spoon, part fork, and has a serrated edge so it can used as knife. The one I have is made by the camping gear company Light My Fire.
>> Check out the Light My Fire spork on Amazon.
Why has this one item been so important to you?
When I travel, I spend a lot of time visiting local markets, grocery stores, and food stalls to find out how the local people eat. I usually discover lots of fresh food to try – local fruit, bread, meats, cheese, pastries, yogurt, prepared salads, curries, ice cream, etc.
Carrying my own eating utensil means I’m always ready for an impromptu picnic!
My bright and cheery travel spork is made from sturdy Tritan plastic so it is much nicer to use than the flimsy, disposable plastic forks that eating establishments often give you to take. It’s also more sustainable than using a disposable utensil every time you eat.
How packable is it? Does it take up much room? Is it heavy?
My travel spork is the smallest thing that I pack! I keep one in my purse, one in my camera bag, and one in the glove compartment of my car, so wherever I go I’ll always have one.
Would you recommend this to your travel friends?
Definitely, it’s top of my list for travelers who love to eat!
Can you name one situation where you were glad to have this item with you?
One evening in the Galapagos Islands, we stumbled upon a tiny market selling my favorite tropical fruit (passionfruit) for ten for $1.00. We bought a big bag and I couldn’t wait to eat them, so I was grateful to have the spork (and its serrated edges) to slice into the hard shell and scoop out the tart flesh. It made for a memorable sunset picnic on the beach.
I’ve also used my spork in Paris to cut bread and cheese, Tokyo to eat fresh Japanese pickles (tsukemono), and Chicago to enjoy a leftover slice of deep-dish at the airport before my flight home.
How did you hear about this item?
Oddly enough, I received my first spork in the “swag bag” at a travel conference a few years ago. This stands as one of the few promotional items I’ve ever received that didn’t go straight into the trash!
The giveaway was sponsored by leaders in independent adventure travel, Hostelling International. Ironically, I’ve never had to use a spork in a hostel because hostels usually have kitchens with real utensils! In terms of lodging, the spork is most useful when you’re staying in basic hotel rooms that aren’t stocked with utensils or have a kitchenette.
What sort of traveler is this item perfect for?
Packing a spork a good idea for independent traveling foodies, people who love markets/street food, and anyone who likes to sample new foods. Packing a travel utensil is also good for vegetarians (like me), and travelers on a restricted diet who opt to snack throughout the day rather than risking a meal at a restaurant.
About the Author: Cassie Kifer writes about travel, food, and photography at Ever in Transit. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she spends her time plotting her next journey and eating adventurously. Follow her on Twitter or Facebook.