I Don’t Leave Home Without | 20 March 2012
Packing up to hit the road…destination, Italy. I go through the familiar checklist in my head, because there are certain things I just can’t leave home without.
Check it out. (No pun intended.)
You can substitute your own version or brand of each item, but these are my personal favorites.
Moleskine notebooks. There’s just no electronic substitute for these little black notebooks. I can’t live without them. The bonus is the pocket at the back for holding receipts and business cards.
Kindle. Not only is it lightweight and the perfect size to tuck into a bag, but I can always start a new book when I finish one on the road. Keep it safe with Amazon’s leather case that comes in an array of colors.
Digital camera. Mine is a Canon PowerShot G12. All of the pictures (unless otherwise indicated) on this blog were taken with this or my old Canon Elph. I don’t go anywhere without it.
Mac Book Air laptop, 11 inch. Lighten your load. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no reason to have a laptop that’s bigger than this. It’s one of many Steve Jobs masterpieces.
Power cords and chargers. Seems obvious, but I’ve left more than once with my power cord still in the wall at home. Don’t forget a camera battery charger (and it’s a good idea to have a back-up camera battery) and USB cords. FYI, Apple has a USB/ethernet cable for places that don’t have wifi.
Power adaptors. If you have a Mac, I highly recommend the Apple World Travel Adapter Kit. It has six interchangeable AC adapter plugs that slide right into the power cord plug, and eliminates the need for separate adapters for the computer.
For all other electronics, I love the Kikkerland adaptor because it’s streamlined. If you’ve seen some of the clunky “old school” adaptors, you’ll know what I mean.
Travel alarm clock. I use my iPhone…it switches automatically to the local time of each location, makes an efficient alarm clock, and I need my phone anyway, so it’s one less thing to pack. If you don’t have an iPhone, there are inexpensive small travel alarms available pretty much everywhere.
Membership cards and mileage club numbers. Carry membership cards for any airline lounges you belong to. With free drinks, snacks, and wifi, they are a great place to wait on a long layover. I keep the membership numbers for mileage clubs stored in my iPhone.
Raincoat. I found this “weightless” travel raincoat online at Aqua O. It fits into a slim nylon envelope and is so light you can put it in your bag and carry it around during the day if rain is predicted. You’re probably wondering how good a raincoat in an envelope can look, but it actually looks perfectly presentable. It comes in red, blue, yellow, khaki, and black.
Umbrella: Just get the smallest one you can find. Totes makes a good little one.
Rain hat: For when you don’t want to carry an umbrella. Ideally, it should be one you can roll up and stick in your bag, like this one from Totes.
Sunglasses. I love my classic Ray Ban Wayfarers…sturdy and compact.
Socks for the plane. The first thing I do on a transatlantic flight is take off my shoes and put on a warm pair of socks. Tuck a pair into your carry-on bag…your feet will thank you. (Of course, if you’re flying first class, they’ll be provided for you on board.)
Pashmina. This is an absolute must-have…to wrap up in on chilly flights, drafty trains, and in a cold snap. (Pashmina refers to a type of fine cashmere wool that comes from the pashmina goat in northern India and Pakistan.)
Cross-body handbag. Mandatory handbag criteria: Hands-free, in order to take pictures and examine flea market treasures, and, by all means, lightweight. Outside pockets for metro tickets and sunglasses are always a bonus. This one is Longchamps, but there are many similar options.
Fold-up shopping bags. Number one is the famous Longchamps “Le Pliage” foldable tote. It folds up into a compact, easily packable package. Women all over Europe carry this bag, for that extra sweater, or purchases on the road. It comes in several different sizes, a rainbow of colors, and it will last forever. Use it as a carry on, or fold it up in your luggage.
Second, and especially useful to have on hand for flea market shopping, are nylon shopping bags that roll up into a tiny bundle. A lot of companies make them, but my personal favorite is the Mini Maxi Shopper made by Reisenthel.
Travel-size toiletries. Dispense your toiletries into travel containers that hold a maximum of three ounces. My personal favorites are Humangear Go Toobs. They’re squeezable and have a secure “no drip” cap.
Clear pouch for toiletries. You can use a quart zip-loc bag, but these clear vinyl pouches from Muji are more durable.
For all TSA regulations, check the website.
Mini disposable toothbrushes. These Colgate Wisp mini toothbrushes can’t be beat for after an overnight flight, or where the water is undrinkable. Needing no water, it’s a tiny single-use toothbrush with built-in toothpaste, and a toothpick on the end. It’s not a substitute for your regular toothbrush and toothpaste, but it’s great to have on the go. Available at any pharmacy, they come in inexpensive, easy-to-carry, packs of four.
Heys Luggage Micro Scale. I usually carry on my luggage, but there have been times when I’ve had to bring suitcases full of flea market finds back with me. Avoid extra luggage charges by weighing your suitcase before you go to the airport. (Bags cannot exceed 50 lbs. or 23 kilograms.) This scale is (you guessed it) small and lightweight, and easily switches back and forth between pounds and kilograms.
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