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Why Jandals should be your only travel necessity

Jandals (which is Kiwi slang for flip flops) should be included in every travellers backpack. Check out why in this post.

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To paraphrase Forrest Gump, Kiwi’s and jandals go together like peas and carrots.

What are Jandals?

In fact, after just 18 months of travelling I am currently on my third pair of jandals.  The first pair, stock standard brown havaiana’s, blew out while I was working as a white water rafting guide in Jasper, Canada, during the summer of 2010.  The second were lost in the first backpackers in Edinburgh. While the third are still going strong, although they are on their last legs with no stone left unfelt while wearing them.

The history of where they first originated from may be sketchy but the term Jandal was first trademarked by the Skellerup company – one of the earliest manufacturers of the most common design – and is very rarely used outside of New Zealand.  

In fact there are a huge variation of different names from various countries, including the Aussies who being a little sun-touched, call them “thongs” which may in fact have come from them trying to convert the straps into something that they might consider comfortable around their nether regions.

No matter what you call them, whether it be jandals, flip-flops, thongs, go-aheads, clam diggers, chinelo, sandalia, slippers, tsinelas, sayonares, japonki or lapti, jandals are ALWAYS one of the first items I put with my packing list before I go anywhere on holiday.  There is no denying that they are a versatile and essential part of any packing list.  

Sure if you are headed to Antartica they might not be at the top of the list, but who wants to catch athletes foot in the shower. Especially when I don’t even think the freezing temperatures could kill those damn bugs.

Accordingly, the following are my top 9 reasons why jandals should never be left behind:

  1. They are light weight which means you won’t be paying any excess fees at the check-in counter;
  2. Can be packed / strapped / tied / folded into or onto any form of travel luggage;
  3. Match any style of clothing you may choose to wear that day or night (although girls always stand a better chance of getting into night clubs with them on rather than me);
  4. If you are in Whangamata on the Coromandel Peninsular in New Zealand then you can donate them to my parents to add to their jandal fence.
  5. They don’t leave the hostel room stinking like the rugby locker rooms after wearing them all day in 30 degree heat;
  6. Super fast drying so they can be worn in the wet saving your closed-toe shoes (Disclaimer: tend to lose their limited grip in the wet so don’t blame me…)
  7. Can be utilised as impromptu sports equipment, including bats, goal posts, frisbee’s and chew toys for the dog; 
  8. As mentioned above, by wearing jandals in the shower or around the pool, you don’t have to mix your own personal growth of athletes foot with others in public wet areas, thereby lessening the risk of creating super-bugs that will one day rise up against us all;
  9. And finally they are extremely inexpensive to buy.  Although if you can afford a few extra bucks then try to fork out for ones made of recycled materials such as tires as these will often last a lot longer as well.
On a final note maybe the reason why Kiwi’s and Jandals go together so well is that us Kiwi’s are so fashion confident we know that while the rest of the world continues to decide what is cool and what isn’t, we can stick with the tried and true and continue this strong tradition.  Just please, whatever you do, don’t try to claim that Croc’s are jandals, it’s a sin.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Simon P

    March 22, 2012 at 3:41 AM

    Nice! I love my jandals. And crocs are indeed a sin – whether they’ve being lumped in the same category as jandals or just being worn.

    • Cole

      March 22, 2012 at 9:45 AM

      Haha love that we both agree that Croc’s are terrible 🙂

  2. Laurence

    March 22, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    I have some awesome jandals which I got in NZ, so comfy. Have to say, the first time I was in Oz I was somewhat shocked to be offered free thongs with a purchase.. took a while to figure that one out…

    • Cole

      March 22, 2012 at 10:37 AM

      Hahaha yea the Aussies are backwards. Who wears thongs on their feet 😉

    • Ali

      March 22, 2012 at 2:21 PM

      Funny post! I like flip-flops in theory, but I can’t walk around in the for very long. I definitely always have them with me for sketchy hostel showers, but for every day sightseeing, I need my sneakers.

      • Cole

        March 22, 2012 at 4:48 PM

        We live in our jandals (flip flops) back home! They are so easy to walk in but I agree that you need something else for long sightseeing days. I do get really sore feet if I just wear jandals.

    • Sam

      March 22, 2012 at 4:09 PM

      Great points for the jandal! Have to agree with everything including the crocs – who wears those? I recently did a post on shoes for backpacking (http://samsplayground.com/shoes-for-backpacking/) and listed jandals as an essential – for many travellers all you need is one pair of shoes and one pair of jandals. Heck if you’re travelling in the tropics all you need is jandals.

      • Cole

        March 22, 2012 at 4:36 PM

        Croc’s were definitely big a few years ago. I think luckily they have died off now!

    • Laura

      March 22, 2012 at 5:49 PM

      I totally agree with your pros. I like wearing jandals with one exception: when I’m in a hurry, because I always loose them. Ok, this might sound funny, but I can assure you it’s not. Looking for your jandals in the crowds it’s a pain in the arse.

      • Cole

        March 22, 2012 at 6:52 PM

        There are definitely some downsides to always wearing jandals like if you are running or in the wet! They never stay on and are a serious safety risk.

    • Wanderplex

      March 23, 2012 at 5:40 PM

      Great tip. I always pack “jandals” or a similar type of footwear for use in hostel showers. I’m from Australia and I used to wear thongs all the time but these days I find they give me blisters if I try to do any serious walking in them – so they’re definitely not my primary travel shoe anymore.

      • Cole

        March 24, 2012 at 12:21 PM

        We used to live in our jandals as well until we moved to the UK! Now we hardly ever get to wear them 🙁

    • Bobbi Lee Hitchon

      March 26, 2012 at 12:24 AM

      Haha I love the photo of your jandals by the Eiffel Tower!

      • Cole

        March 26, 2012 at 9:56 AM

        Cheers Bobbi 🙂

      • Cole

        March 27, 2012 at 9:43 AM

        Haha I will have to get my Mum to send some over to us 🙂

    • Stephanie - The Travel Chica

      March 29, 2012 at 4:48 AM

      I love, love, love my flip-flops. But I have to admit that they are completely impractical in Buenos Aires where the sidewalk tiles turn super-slick with the slightest bit of precipitation (or when the store/ restaurant people wash them every morning).

      That doesn’t stop me from wearing them of course. I just walk a bit more carefully.

      • Cole

        March 29, 2012 at 4:10 PM

        Haha I have had more than a few close calls on slippery floors with my jandals! A few stretched groins when one jandal takes off haha.

    • Eric @ Trans-Americas Journey

      March 30, 2012 at 11:19 PM

      Wouldn’t and haven’t traveled without flip-flops…except for backpacking when my sock-wearable, lighter than air, cushy Crocs come along

      • Cole

        March 31, 2012 at 4:13 PM

        NOOOOOOO never Crocs! Hahahaha

    • cheryl

      April 26, 2012 at 10:40 PM

      I love my flip flops too! I have a pair that have gone everywhere with me over the past year … my “go to” footwear whenever I’m travelling somewhere hot.

    • Turtle

      May 5, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      True, they are essential. But I refuse to stop calling them ‘thongs’. I don’t care about the strange looks I get from people sometimes… especially the time I went in to a store and said “I broke my mate’s thong last night so I said I would buy him some new ones”. Ooops.

      • Cole Burmester

        May 6, 2012 at 9:19 PM

        Hahahaha classic story! Never could understand why you Aussies like to call them thongs 🙂

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    Meet Cole and Adela

    Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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