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Useful Things to Travel with - What are Yours?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by overedge, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. Evilynn

    Evilynn ((Swedish skating dudes))

    I keep a folder with printouts of my reservations too (it also holds passport, money and EU medical insurance card until I get to my destination). Hand sanitizer + earplugs + books/Kindle are all musts and I tend to travel in leggings and dresses rather than pants to accomodate the long flight bloat (forgoing pockets, but I can live with that), as well as bring a thick-ish silk scarf for warmth (it takes up no space at all, but still provides enough warmth to keep me from having to use the airline blankets).
  2. Wiery

    Wiery Well-Known Member

    Anti-nausea medication, diarrhea medication, tampons.
  3. smurfy

    smurfy Well-Known Member

    I so agree with what has been posted...
    -extra ziploc bags, and a couple larger plastic bags. I do not want my clean clothes to touch any dirty clothes!
    -emaill all docs to self - also, I travel alone alot, so I provide to a family member - all details with reservations. Also I have paper copies on me.
    -iPad - I so love it. smaller than a laptop, and I have lots of available reading material and internet access. Also I only buy 1 actual travel tour book to write in/rip out pages for the day, and then the rest is on the iPad. I also download all my photos, so have backup.
    -mini packets of woolite
    -mini first aid kit. always seem to need bandaids
    -written out itinerary in a grid, with places in the first column and then 7 column headings for the days - boxes have times open. When you are in one place for a few days, good to know what is closed on a Monday etc, what is open first, closes earliest.
    -duct tape
    -pouch for all the electronic chargers. I am finding the minute I get into a hotel room, I want to be charging stuff and just grab the pouch
    -toiletries - I now have 2 smaller pouches rather than 1 bigger. One with makeup and second one with shampoo, toothpaste etc. Easier to pack the smaller ones and seems more organized.
  4. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

    What's with the duct tape that several of you have mentioned? In case your suitcase starts to fall apart?
  5. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    Don't laugh, I've had zippers rip out on bags. Duct tape will also hold together torn straps on shoulder bags, can cover a rip in a raincoat, you can use it as a lint brush...
  6. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    I also tear out all the pages for the city that I'm currently visiting. I do feel bad about ruining my guide book, but a guide book that cover an entire country, ie Lonely Planet, is just too darn big and clumsy to carry around with me all day when all I need to reference are the several pages for my current city.

    - sunblock or moisturizer with sunblock in it.
    -2 or more pairs of sunglasses from home. For some reason I always end up breaking my good pair of sunglass the first couple of days into my trip and then I have to spend money on the plastic, non-uv protected cheapos that are sold on the street.
    - sandal or flip-flops. I simply cannot stand having my feet in closed shoes on long flights.
  7. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

    A pillowcase.
  8. acraven

    acraven Well-Known Member

    I carry needles and thread (different weights of both) for the same reason. I once spent a good part of my first day in Europe (on a train) mending umbrella, raincoat, and suitcase. From that I learned to check for split seams, etc., before leaving home. But I still take the little sewing kit, with thread colors keyed to what I'm packing.

    Also (in addition to my beloved Zip Lock bags):

    Saline nasal mist, especially for air-travel days
    Inflatable coat hangers (clothes dry faster and often with fewer wrinkles)
    Small change purse for border-crossing days
    Extra pair of eyeglasses since no one stocks my prescription
    Hiker's eating utensils (heavy plastic or lightweight metal) for on-the-go snacks. Sometimes sturdy, disposable bowls.
    Small fabric measuring tape in case I want to buy something like a T-shirt as a gift (I take measurements with me)
    Local maps with locations of interesting restaurants marked
  9. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Just remembered another indispensable travel item: my Brita bottle. Doesn't disinfect water for travel to places like India or Africa, but it does get rid of the nasty chlorine/chemical taste when travelling to places where the water is otherwise potable. (I'm talking to you, Toronto and London!)

    BTW, I've had a Brita bottle for about 20 years, but for some bizarre reason they took it off the market about 10 years ago. Luckily I was able to stock up on the filters at the time. But they've recently brought the product back, yay!!, and just in time as I was down to my last filter.
  10. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Odd, that -- I just assumed that Heys USA would have a similar same product as Heys Canada, but it doesn't look like they do.

    I bought mine from The Shopping Channel in Canada, but I just checked and they don't ship to the US either.

    BTW I filled mine last night in preparation for a weekend trip, and it is just as nifty as can be. My new favourite travel toy!
  11. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

    I find the taste of Brita water yucky.
  12. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    Totally unfair! I'm jealous!

    I also bring needles and different colored threads. The duct tape idea is great! I had a suitcase zipper go and had to run out to buy a cheap suitcase 2 hours before a flight back from AZ.
  13. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    :confused: :confused: :confused:

    Brita doesn't add anything to water, it only subtracts -- chlorine, minerals, etc. The only possible way it could make water "yucky" is if you like the taste of chlorine.

    But each to their own ...
  14. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Do US airlines still have freebie blankets & pillows? I know you can't get them on Air Canada unless you buy them -- and then of course they're new, and you get to keep them. Can't remember about Westjet. And I haven't flown any airline other than those 2 for a long time.

    I do remember when they did give out blankets, though, they were in a bag that looked like it had come straight from some kind of cleaner. But seriously, if you're going to start thinking about that ... think about the seats. How often do you think they're cleaned? :eek:
  15. Erin

    Erin Well-Known Member

    Let us know how you like it, as I very tempted to buy that. I often have travel where I am going to multiple locations and it is such a pain to have to repack over and over again. I have a trip to Europe coming up where I am going to probably have about 10 hotel rooms in 18 days and was not looking forward to repacking every couple of days. This could be the solution.

    I'll post what I travel with in a bit, I really should be working right now :p.
  16. fan

    fan Well-Known Member

    if you use lonely planet guidebooks, you can actually buy just the chapter you need online. i do this, then throw out the pages i've seen as i've visited them, so they're not so heavy.
  17. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Oh that is a good idea. I actually have been using The Rough Guide for the past three years, but maybe I'll get back to using LP again.
  18. JasperBoy

    JasperBoy Aging in a great place

    I use an small film camera case for all my adaptors. It is just the right size and keeps everything right at hand. Yes, when I get to a new hotel room my first move is to find the outlets, then plug in all the chargers. I carry a universal adaptor, as well.
  19. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    A spare wristwatch
    Flashlight and batteries
    A book (just in case I feel like reading, while waiting for a flight)
    Non-perishable food (e.g.cookies, granola bars)
    A copy of my passport
  20. cruisin

    cruisin Banned Member

    Love the neon duct tape for luggage ID. I use scraps of neon lycra. Left over from the skating days. I tie scraps of different colors to both handles - no one else's looks like mine :lol:
  21. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    And don't forget its uses if your plane crashes and you get stranded on a desert island! Jamie & Adam were able to use duct tape to make shoes, carry water, catch food, build a camp, and I can't remember what all else. Of course they had a few hundred rolls to work with ... might put you over the weight limit on your luggage. :D
  22. Moto Guzzi

    Moto Guzzi Well-Known Member

    I always bring allergy pills. I'm allergic to feathers and don't always remember to check the pillows to see if any are feather pillows. Benedryl helps me to sleep on long flights.
  23. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

    All depends on where I'm traveling to - if it's my mother-in-laws I take scotch. ;) Lots and lots of scotch.
  24. madm

    madm Well-Known Member

    If you are going to a remote country, you definitely should take antibiotics with you. When we went to South Africa, per our doctor's advice we took Cipro because it is a pretty broad spectrum drug used to treat many kinds of bacterial infections. When we got to Africa to meet up with our daughter who was doing an internship there, she was very sick with an unknown stomach ailment for days and we gave her the Cipro to take. She had seen a doctor but they couldn't figure out what she had. There are tons of diseases one could get there. In the end she later determined that she and 3 other interns must have eaten some food contaminated with salmonella (their refrigerator had stopped working for 2 days). At any rate, she got better within a week.

    The other drug we took with us was Zolpidem (same as Ambien) for sleeping. I took one pill on the longest flight (11 hours London-to-Capetown) of our two days of flying, and I slept great for 8 hours. It enabled me to be right on track with the time zone changes since we landed in the early morning. No jet lag at all. You have to have a full 8 hours to sleep though since that sleeping medicine knocks you out.

    I also always take ear plugs with me when I travel. It makes it possible to sleep in a noisy airplane, noisy accomodations, and with a snoring partner.

    Other good items to have with you are electrical convertors that fit the plugs in the countries you'll be visiting. I bought a travel hair dryer that runs on different voltages so that I can use it in the U.S as well as other continents.

    And last but not least, take a little of your own laundry supplies so you can get by in a pinch. You can always wash your underwear in a sink with a little powdered soap and hang it up to dry overnight. A small clothes line and clothes pins are handy if you have room for them in your luggage. When we traveled in South Africa, none of the houses we rented had dryers and only a couple had washers. We packed lightly and did not take many changes of clothes, so we had to do laundry every few days.

    I agree with the other posters who suggested taking extra copies of passports and other important travel documents. You never know when your valuables might be stolen or lost, and having those copies will make replacement much easier.

    If you have not done so already, check with your phone carrier about paying for international calling for the time period you'll be gone. It is pretty cheap (e.g. $5/month) and may come in handy if you are in an emergency situation. While we were in Africa, we used our daughter's local phone (similar to a Go Phone) that she bought cheaply in Africa, and it was perfect for making hotel reservations while driving around the country. Also consider getting travel insurance to cover the unexpected.
  25. madm

    madm Well-Known Member

    When traveling to a foreign country, I like to take several forms of currency so that at least one of them will work. I usually take a major credit card (VISA or MasterCard), some US cash, some traveler's checks, and my checkbook. I sometimes exchange a little bit of currency for foreign currency at the airport, so that I can pay for a taxi or food right away when I get to my destination. My preferred method of payment is always a credit card, because they get better exchange rates than you will at a bank while travelling, and there's fraud protection.
  26. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    I think this will depend on the country you're visiting. I just came back from India recently, and all the guide books suggest avoiding using credit card for transactions unless you're using it at very swanky 5 stars hotels.
  27. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Not to mention that so many places in India don't even take credit cards. I don't think I used mine once in the 3 weeks I was there.

    Even more developed countries can prove problematic with credit cards. When I travel in the UK I usually stay in B&Bs, and probably less than half take credit cards. Lots of smaller independent restaurants don't either, esp. when you get away from major centres.
  28. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

    Well, a definite thumbs up on the Hey's Jetpack travel organizer. It works a treat. It does of course add a small amount of weight, and takes up on its own probably about the size of a pair of jeans. But so convenient. I can't wait to use it for a longer trip.

    One caveat though: you do actually need a place to hang it! If you're staying at your cousin's house who has her guest room closet crammed with all her extra clothes ... well, not quite so useful then. :D
  29. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    Agreed with that advice. But FWIW a few years ago my boss at the time was in Colombia with one credit card, and for some reason the hotel she was at couldn't process the transaction. It took a lot of panicky and $$$ phone calls to our workplace to get the hotel paid some other way (I think that the finance dept at work ended up wiring the money to the hotel). Since then she has always travelled with two credit cards, each a different brand, just in case.