3 Things People Would Take to a Desert Island

13 Feb 2013 by Olga Brighton

Travel Information

If you were stranded alone on a desert island, what 3 things would you take with you and why?

1. Things to keep us updated
2. Things to help us survive
3. Things to help us feel comfortable

Around 500 people entered our competition to share their ideas about what 3 things to bring on a deserted island and why. The answers we got back show how similar we are - and yet how very different, too. On a desert island, we're all faced with the same conditions, but the things we choose are not the same.

Desert island

Read on to find out what we really want if we find ourselves in strange and unusual circumstances.

1. Things to keep us updated

Our subconsciousness works in such a way that even on a desert island we are still hooked on the news. Indeed, more than 1.9 billion people in the world start the morning by reading newspapers or magazines, or by checking newsfeeds on Facebook and Twitter. These different types of modern media occupy a big chunk of our lives, and it makes these things vital and desirable even on a desert island.

Morning paper

2. Things to help us survive

We're also tuned into our mental well-being, self-preservation and survival instincts. The natural will to survive and be rescued feature strongly among the answers you gave us. We'd like to have: things to survive

  • an endless supply of drinking water because it is essential for survival
  • a magnifying glass or a mirror to start a fire, feel warm and be able to cook
  • a Swiss army knife to prepare food, protect ourselves, and build a shelter
  • a first aid kit in case of injury
  • a solar powered torch to be able to see at night
  • travel insurance to feel protected

3. Things to help us feel comfortable

We're so accustomed to our civilised existence that most of us struggle to even imagine life without the internet or television. But that doesn't mean we can't take comfort in secondary objects.

Some of the creature comforts you chose included:

  • duvet
  • hair conditioner
  • comfy reclining chair for sleeping and relaxing
  • sun shelter and sun cream
  • sleeping bag
  • kettle to cook with
  • favourite pair of shoes

Oh, and lipstick, of course ("because a girl needs glamour even if she's on her own"). Others plumped for luxuries, such as a good malt whisky, some exquisite wine, a generous supply of chocolate or vanilla cheesecakes... We approve! It is a desert island, after all - what else are you going to do with yourself?

What we'd like to do on a desert island


Surprised? So were we! In a world where so much of our lives are devoted to online activities, 80% of our respondents said they'd like to choose to have books with them as their source of diversion. Even on a desert island. Few people can cope with boredom. Reading old-fashioned books and encyclopaedia is how many of us would choose to while away our time.

Island reading

Being entertained

Laptops, cds, radios, phones... these days, technology is about more than just communication. We depend on it for entertainment. How much time do you spend listening to music, watching pictures and videos? There. See what we mean?

Even so, some of you did still favour more traditional pursuits - like taking a guitar, so you can stay up all night playing the blues on your island retreat. Great choice! Life's for enjoying (and if you can perfect your technique while you're at it, so much the better!)

Read also: The Most Beautiful Summer Cruise Destinations


Devices were among the items that people cited most as desirables on a desert island. Satellite phones, solar chargers, phone masts, iPhones, laptops, smart phones etc were chosen by one in three respondents. It shows how dependent we are on the internet and how determined we are to stay in touch with the outside world! However, for some of us, virtual communication is no substitute for live company. So some of you said you wanted to bring your husband/wife/partner, or a good friend.

Read also: Top 20 Islands for Couples

If you do end up stranded on a desert island, we can offer a couple of tips:
1) Don't sit around waiting for someone to arrive and save you. Get moving and thinking about how you're going to survive.
2) Take it easy, enjoy your time. Where else are you likely to get so much free time to yourself?

Read also: 20 Most Scenic Places in the World to Photograph

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