A few travel essentials

Posted on November 5, 2007 by Aun

As I said in my last post, I travel a lot, mostly because of work. Over the past year, I think I was away from home an average of 10-12 days each month. I’ve already started planning next year’s business trips and it looks like that average might even increase. Because I’m away so often, I’ve taken to packing certain items on each and every trip — what I consider travel essentials. Some of you might consider some of these items frivolous or self-indulgent, but when you’re on the road a lot, you start to develop certain needs.

I’ve decided to share a few of my favourite travel essentials with you. Of course, just because they’re things that I feel the need to tote doesn’t mean they’re right for you. In fact, I’d be extremely keen to know what some of your own must-bring-on-a-trip items are. I’d like to invite all of you to leave a comment and tell the world what your own travel essentials are. And, when you do, you’ll qualify for a little lucky draw I’ve decided to run. Because I’m actually very interested in what you feel the need to pack on each trip, I’m giving away two (one red and one black) X-Mini speakers to one of you. Just leave a somewhat articulate comment by 12 November 2007 to qualify. I’ll pick a name at random and email you if you win.

So, here’s a list of just a few of my favourite essentials, as pictured and numbered above:

1. A great shoulder bag. I have a small weakness for slightly old-fashioned bags. One of my favourites is an old camera case that my sister-in-law picked up for me at a flea market in Australia. I don’t like carrying my computer around when I’m out (I’d rather lock it up in my hotel room), so I don’t need or like my bags too big. If it can fit a camera, a notebook, a map and maybe my guidebook, then I’m thrilled. I picked up this very cool Japanese case from Actually on Seah Street in Singapore.

2. Snacks that you can bring on-board. In the good old days, you could take any kind of food on your flight. But today, travel and safety regulations require us to find foods packaged in quantities of less than 3 ounces, or roughly 90 ml/grams. I recently discovered Kojima Mentai Sakiika, sold in 20g packets. I’ve always liked dried cuttlefish; it has a wonderful umaminess that makes it quite addictive. This version is spiked with mentaiko, spicy cod roe, which makes it even more delicious. Amazingly, I found this at OG, a rather large and ghastly department store that is inexplicably always crowded. And while I once shunned the place, I now make regular visits in order to stock up on this savoury snack.

3. Canned goose meat. Okay, the name sounds a lot better in French. I love rillettes d’oie. And before those previously-mentioned pesky airline rules came into being, this was my preferred in-flight snack. I would never board a plane without a can of this delicious, rich pate made with slow cooked and shredded goose meat. With a hunk of bread (or a few standard-issue bread rolls), it makes a wonderful substitute for the crap most airlines pass off as food. Now, I pack it along in my check-in luggage. You never know when you might get peckish and, to me at least, there’s nothing more satisfying than a can of rillettes d’oie.

4. Good quality tea. My darling and finicky wife S loves tea. More specifically, she loves really good tea. I have to agree with her that there’s something really soothing about ending one’s day, especially a hectic day abroad, with a cup of your favourite brew. S’s current favourite is an amazing blend called Polo Club Tea, created by a relatively new (and soon to be huge) tea company called TWG Tea. The man behind TWG Tea was previously responsible for making some of Mariage Freres’ best known and most interesting teas. Polo Club is a green tea with vanilla, fruits, flowers and, amazingly, little chunks of caramel. TWG Tea is just starting up, and their website isn’t ready, but if you want to know more about them and their many fantastic blends, you can email Ada at Ada.Zee@TheWellnessGroup.com.

5. A small but really (REALLY) good camera. When I went searching for a good, small camera to throw in my carry-on, I drew up a list of must-have functions. It had to had manual aperture controls. It had to be able to open to as wide an aperture setting as possible. It had to have a great lens. It needed to have a custom white balance setting. I had to be able to shoot at a pretty high ISO without too much noise. And it had to look great. At the time of purchasing, the camera that I felt best fit the bill was the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2. The camera is almost identical to the Leica D-Lux 3 but with a more reasonable price tag. I’ve been using the LX2 for months with some pretty fantastic results. And while it will never replace my DSLRs, it’s a great option when I don’t want to lug heavy gear around. Another camera you might want to consider and that I’ve been hearing great things about is the Canon G9. I fully intend to go play with one soon!

6. Wireless stereo headphones. My Capdase HSDG01 headphones are totally an indulgence but I love them anyway. I can plug the dongle into any audio output, including airline seats (using an adapter, which I also always carry), sync the headphones and I’ve got great sound without being tethered to anything, which I really can’t stand.

7. X-Mini speaker. I just wrote about these last week. Click here if you missed it.

8. A good guidebook that suits your needs. I own a lot of travel guides. And I help, on occasion, write them. When I’m actually on the road, I hate carrying anything that adds extra weight to my luggage. So, I really value short, compact but informative guides that are tailored to specific tastes. These days, I tend to be less driven by culture and more by what great shops and restaurants are in any given destination. My favourite guides that specialize in this kind of information are the Louis Vuitton European City Guides and the Luxe Guides. The Wallpaper City Guides aren’t bad, depending on the city you’re interested in visiting (i.e. some are pretty good, while others are awful). My best advice is to do all your research before you go anywhere. Take down any and all info that you think you’ll need. Then pack just one guide to bring along; pack the lightest and/or the one you feel will be the most useful for you.

9. The ultimate white balance tool. My ExpoDisc is one of my most valuable and important photographic tools, whether on the road or shooting at home. Setting a proper white balance is vital when shooting. But setting it properly can also be an annoying and inconsistent process. The ExpoDisc makes this process ultra-simple and amazingly accurate. While I was at first a little hesitant about picking one of these up (especially given the costs) and a little skeptical, after a few uses, I’ve become a believer and huge advocate. With this tool, shooting in any location becomes easy. And for anyone out there who has ever tried to set their white balance discretely in a crowded restaurant, this tool will change your life. Any and every photographer out there should carry one of these around with her.

10. A portable DVD player. This really gorgeous DVD player has been a life saver. Not every airline is like Singapore Airlines, with video-on-demand, and not every hotel has a TV. And some that do, don’t have any channels worth watching. My Philips PET830 has kept me from going crazy from boredom on planes, ferries, in hotels, and in airport waiting rooms. It’s small, easy to carry, has amazing clarity, and a nice, long battery life — I can easily watch 2-3 movies when fully charged.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his bouncing baby boy!

What Others Are Saying

  1. keropokman November 5, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    I certainly do not bring most of the things you mention when I travel.

    I have to pack the following when I travel, everything else I buy when I reach where I am going.

    - my Philips Sonic toothbrush and my favourite toothpaste. tried normal toothbrush when I travel, and my mornings just isn’t the same!

    - my compact Sony camera with 4-5 memory cards that adds up to a few GB of storage space.

    - vitamin C and chlorophyll pills. The later will ensure that I do not get any stomach problems from the food I will simply try wherever I go. (yes, it works for me!)

  2. w. November 5, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    Wow, I never thought to bring rillettes d’oie overseas! Now you’ve got me thinking. :P

    My travel essentials include a camera (whether its a film/digital/compact/SLR really depends on where I’m going/my mood), a couple of good books to read on the plane and in the hotel room, my moleskine notebook – which usually has my travel notes/research penned into it, and most importantly a really good pair of earplugs for when I just want to sleep in silence on a plane and there are crying babies around!

    By the way, I love your wireless headphones.. Where’d you get them from and – if you don’t mind me asking – how much did they cost?

  3. sharon November 5, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    For long haul flights, I bring an empty water bottle for the stewardess to fill up once we’ve taken off. Because of the new security restrictions, we can no longer take a bottle of mineral water and I hate to drink from those little plastic cups. Not environmental.

    A shawl is useful because sometimes the airline blankets can be scratchy.

    My iPod and for my hubby, he usually brings extra memory cards along with the camera and laptop.

    A good guidebook is a must. (I love LUXE guides too)

    A small bag of toiletries to freshen up on arrival – toothpaste, toothbrush, small facial wash and makeup. Again, it’s because I don’t like disposables that airlines give.

    Never thought of bringing snacks on board tho. Thanks for the tip!

  4. CT November 5, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    I don’t travel, in the go-somewhere-glam sense; rather, I spend every three nights in the hospital on call. It’s not very fun. (But an X-mini speaker should make things more fun. Hint.)

    Things I need to get through 36 hour call:

    1. LeSportSac Large Weekender
    Never mind the loud prints. The best thing about this bag is that it locks. This way, my kleptomaniac co-intern can’t rifle through my stuff when I’m not around.

    2. Fruit
    For those days when the ER is fantastically hectic and I don’t feel like McDonalds.

    3. My Sony NW-A1000
    Avoiding the bandwagon here. The ipod is lovely, but I love my sony.

    4. Banana Peel Flip Flops in Happy Dots
    We share showers, and you never know where other feet have gone.

    5. Sony PCG-U3
    It’s either a tiny laptop or a huge pocket PC. I love that it has massive functionality yet is small enough to not literally break my back.

    6. Any quality tea
    Tea is a lovely indulgence when you’re still up at 2:00 am. Good quality tea is fantastic, but also wasted when there’s no freshly boiled water to go with it. So. Hot water from a dispenser, any quality tea.

    7. My medical bag.
    Can’t leave home without it! It’s why I’m away.

  5. Michelle Lim November 5, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    Great preparation for my coming trip to Hong Kong! Here goes my travel pack…

    1. Socks – i bring an extra pair just to wear them on the plane (not to the loo of cos!)
    2. Bak Kwa – to me, this is as good as wagyu beef.
    3. Bunny soft toy – I’m all grown up, but I can’t leave home it. It’s of sentimental value.
    4. Menthol cone – prone to migraine, need this to apply on my forehead/temple.
    5. Casio camera – not the best camera out there, but an essential for my travel trips.
    6. Ipod Nano – music is food to the soul. Keeps me calm and cool.
    7. Mobile Phone – guess this is everyone’s essential!

  6. Cecilia November 5, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    Wow, you’re so VERY lucky to have so many cool gadgets to bring along with you in your travels! I only wish that I can have all those cool stuff! I’ve been eyeing on those speakers ever since you posted about them! so ….let me try out my luck to win one of those cute mini speakers today!

    My travel essentials are…
    L’occitane lavender hand cream

    Palmers Cocoa Butter Lotion ( I LOVE IT-smells like chocolate custard!)

    My iPod

    camera

    Notes on places to EAT+SHOP till i drop (from blogs)

    universal plug

    last but not least … my b-loved soft toy

    Thanks for even reading this

    Cheers,
    Cecilia

  7. Christine November 5, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    - I always photocopy pages out of guidebooks if I don’t feel like lugging a multi-city guide around. Then you can just throw it out along the way!
    - A bar of high-quality chocolate.
    - Extra ziploc bags- it doesn’t take up any room at all and bringing open bags of food home is much simpler!
    - An empty water battle can be filled up in the terminal before boarding. You never know when you will be served!
    - Tylenol PM is wonderful to get you (and keep you) asleep on flights, as well as if you’re rolling through multiple time zones.

  8. Sui Lin November 5, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    the followings are the must brings:

    Ipod – Music is most of people’s life therefore it’s essential to have an Ipod with you these days. It is not only something that is able to play music but you can also reminisce pictures that you have taken if you’re bored or play videos or even movies.

    Camera – I love camwhoring so I guess the camera allows you to take pictures of anything that allows some form of memories that you would want to remember.

    Mobile Phone – One of the must haves just in case of emergency. I don’t know about you but I definitely would feel insecure without my mobile by my side.

    Hand Cream – No matter what climate the place may be, whether it being a hot or a cold country, always have it with you… smoother hands! =)

    Panadol – I guess always be prepared just in case you get sick. Panadol cures most of the common sickness.

    Wallet – Who can forget this. No money no fun!

    Maps – If you’re going anywhere foreign, it’s always good to have a copy of the map with you. There’s always the internet, so it’s definitely not hard to get your own copy of it these days.

  9. Courtney November 7, 2007 at 1:20 am

    Great post! My carry on essentials include hand lotion and eye drops to counteract the dryness on the plane. Also essential, my jewelry, because that should never be packed in your check in bags!!

  10. Aimee November 7, 2007 at 1:53 am

    Well, this is what I carry everyday in my purse, all of which are good for travel I think.

    Point a shoot camera – You never know when you will need one. Course I don’t have to tell you. Aside from artistic endeavors, events such as car accidents are made much less complicated.

    A cosmetic bag – I don’t wear much make up, but having all the tiny things you need in one place makes for a lot less rummaging through your bag (also keeps things neater). No struggling when I want my chap stick or floss.

    My Phone – I have a pocket pc phone and it covers all manner of sins. I can load music onto the storage card and listen to that, I can play games on it, I can use it to take notes…it’s really just great.

    A good book – I never know when I’ll be kept waiting and having a good (and light weight) book always pays off to have. When it comes to traveling I find this especially true, particularly if you don’t have much time to read in your daily life, but enjoy it.

    List of things to do – Of course things happen and you can’t plan your entire trip down to every last detail, but I’d hate to forget something really important (like maybe promising my niece I’d get her something pretty).

  11. Margaret November 7, 2007 at 2:20 am

    IPOD – good for hiding from talkative seat mates

    Neutral lip balm – good for lips, hands, even eyes

    Shawl – cozy on a cold plane, or a cool hotel room, and makes a great topper out in the evening

    Flat iron – if my hair is smooth I feel sleek and ready

    Tea – a soothing end to a rough travel day, and a nice start as well

    Husband/best friend – one in the same, he is a great travel companion, unflappable great sense of direction

    Maps – for me only obviously!

    List of Foodie places – restaurants, shops and even street food (I am a food whore!)

  12. Afton November 7, 2007 at 2:27 am

    my TOP TEN travelling essentials:

    #1: BOYFRIEND !!!
    #2: passport/ money
    #3: handphone
    #4: iTouch
    #5: toothbrush
    #6: BodyShop shampoo[my hair is picky!!]
    #7: my beloved Hair Dryer[2500w]
    #8: camera
    #9: traveller’s mints
    #10: my favourit-est comme des garcon jacket

  13. P November 7, 2007 at 3:18 am

    Platypus foldable water bladder – definite must have, I drink a ton of water. And this one folds up into almost nothing when empty! Now I just bring it on board empty and have the flight attendants fill it.

    Lip balm / Moisturiser – what can I say? I’m a big fan of hydration.

    Tiny first aid kit – Panadol, Panadol Cold, plasters

    Mints – airplane food breath…

    Camera – I usually bring my Canon Ixus with me on short trips because it’s tiny and easy to carry around

    Lightweight jacket

    Snacks – usually nuts and chocolate, but sometimes I bring packets of Mamee because I have apparently still not yet outgrown it…

    Mosquito patches / repellent – because I smell like mozzie catnip to mosquitoes all over the globe

    A good book – I don’t usually gamble on this with an untried book, I normally bring one I’ve read before and loved.

    Small vial of perfume – smelling nice cheers me up.

  14. Kitty November 7, 2007 at 6:33 am

    I wish my business trips can be like yours, CH! Mines always consist of meetings with sandwich lunches, visiting plants till late in the day. By the time I can call it a day, all I want to do is kick off my shoes and crawl in bed. So my must pack items include: grapefruit scented lotion, white peach tea and my ipod. The scent of grapefruit and a warm cup of tea with great music in the background always help turn a business trip into a little get away.

  15. Maxine Meinecke November 7, 2007 at 7:38 am

    1. Ipod/mp3 player – OF COURSE. An essential EVERYWHERE, not just on the road.

    2. Chocolate – for consoling oneself over bad plane food. Big bar. Eat half on way over and the rest on the way back. Doesn’t go off (much) , so if you find a half-eaten relic when packing for your next trip, at least it’s something to make that part easier too.

    3. Lightweight Fleece extra-length blanket. Sometimes the only thing between you and sleep is WARMTH. Don’t get me started on where those airline blankets have been.

    4. Own toiletries. Hotels are really skimping on the product these days so don’t chance it.

    5. Ear plugs. See point 3; more sleep insurance on the plane and in the hotel. Trial different ones at home before you go to find a brand you like.

    6. Dental floss. If those tiny toilets are full or you are otherwise imprisoned by your own clip-on meal tray and your teeth are furry, you can at least floss in your seat. I don’t care if it looks funny/disgusting to others, we’re talking COMFORT here people.

    7. Sense of humour. Seriously – travel can mean delays, invasive security checks, sleep deprivation, pushing, shoving and that’s before you even get on a plane. Expect it, deal with it, and find a way to enjoy yourself.

  16. RJ November 7, 2007 at 8:28 am

    my travel essentials are v basic.
    no1. wet wipes
    no2. tiger balm
    no3. insect repellent
    no4. a good book
    no5. a happy disposition

  17. Katherine November 7, 2007 at 10:07 am

    Sigh! Gone are the days of solo travel when I could escape away with non-stop inflight movies and a stack of obscure magazines. Unlike most of the posts above, my travel essentials have been honed to manage the little beasties.

    1. Pampers wet wipes – works not just on sticky fingers, but greasy stains on fave white shirt.

    2. Shahtoosh shawl – no longer ethical to own these things and even on endangered species list but I’ve had mine for over 10 years now and it’s the most amazing piece of fabric – feather-light but warm. Oh and no more airline blankets either after I broke out in bedbug-like rashes from an Air France flight.

    3. Mystery gift – age-appropriate shut-up present/toy wrapped 10 times over to earn some peace and quiet from the little beasties esp. in the last 2 hours of a long haul flight when they start to get fractious.

    4. Pocket sized scented candle – to light in hotel room and mask any hint of mustiness or previous occupant.

    5. A4 paper listing all essential passport, credit card, emergency info. I’ve never had to use this so I think it’s more like a placebo to reduce my anxiety.

  18. Grace November 7, 2007 at 10:26 am

    Quite embarrassingly, my must tote alongs are EVEN more frivolous-

    1. Lip Balm
    I use Burt’s Bees Honey Lip Balm which is all-natural etc ever since I learned from a decidedly untrustworthy source that the cholesterol/lipid content and brew of chemicals are actually the no. 1 contributor to obesity and toxicity in women. Yah I know, right? But it haunts me.

    2. Sun Block
    Everybody use sunscreen. (Or you will look like you’re 80 when you’re 40) Nuff said. I never liked it much before because it makes me feel like I have grease on my face but lately I’ve been using Malin & Goetz sunscreen and I like how it smells- like you’re at the beach. And my hypersensitive skin is happily, still placid. –sniffs- mm.

    3. Water
    What’s the antonym for camel? Because I’m that- I require constant hydration…water water WATER! Not having a bottle of water or a water source nearby makes me panicky.

    4. Perfume
    Aeroplanes have a distinct smell that makes me queasy and uncomfortable so I always bring some perfume to rub on my wrists and sniff from time to time. I have a tiny vial of L’Occitane’s Cassisier that I always toss in my carry-on bag. It’s been discontinued, sadly, but still it’s one of my favourites- reminds me of the words to a poem- of musk, blackberries and rain.

    5. Sunnies
    So essential. I visited Greece a few months back and wore them everywhere- the sun just seemed so much closer. Oooh my favourites are some cheapo faux tortoiseshell ones that I’m hoping channels Jackie O.

    6. Guides
    I’m constantly compiling lists of places to go, things to do, eat, shop, see and saving them on my laptop or bookmarking websites. So when I travel, I’m well-armed. My favourite go-to sources are Wallpaper, Luxe, eat.shop.____ (for American cities), Superfuture Superguides (fabulous especially for Tokyo!), design*sponge guides, Where to Wear, Lucky/Domino and of course CH for food!! Heheh.

    7. Books
    a. Yes in the plural. I bring a veritable library with me when I travel- not very economical at all space wise! But travel involves so much waiting. Currently I would pack: Playing with the Grown Ups by Sophie Dahl and Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje.

    8. The Usual Gadgetry
    The trusty (rather battered) Canon digicam and yummy red ipod nano always go in the bag. The latter is especially handy for staving off crying baby syndrome in planes et al.

    9. Visa
    All it takes

    10. Me, myself and I
    I ran out of ideas

  19. tim November 7, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    My travel essential is: grace

    As seen above, she seems to have packed everything with the exception of the kitchen sink (only because it cannot fit into her vintage suitcase)

    Other than that:

    1) Cash
    2) Cash
    3) More cash.

    It has been pointed out to me that money can’t buy everything you need. Notwithstanding that, I have alternatives:

    4) Mastercard

    Because for everything else, there’s Mastercard.

    Travelling light is most important to me because it’s impractical to lug around a house on my shoulders. Just a pen and a notebook to pen down any thoughts and a book to relieve boredom whenever. On top of that, I already have to carry grace’s essentials, I don’t think I can carry much more anyway!

  20. L November 7, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    I’m a little embarrassed to be admitting this on such a widely read site but i always take along a shirt my boyfriend gave me when we first started going out. When you’re miles away from home, there’s quite nothing like something dear and familiar to make it a little less lonely.

    That aside, a good book, the camera and a notebook along with a pen just so i can write whenever i feel like it are always a fixture in my travel bag.

    The tea is a really good suggestion though- i’ve never thought about it but it’ll probably now be added to my list.

  21. YM November 7, 2007 at 7:34 pm

    These are a-must-have-lists for my next travel to Japan :

    Mine:
    1. Schedule – My hubby is details freak, so he already made 2 full weeks schedule complete with what-to-do hours. It’s full of nice places to see, good foods to eat and many items to shop. I’ve done a homework too by browsing and summarizing Lonely Planet : Japan, researched on internet about tourism information and guide, email some of my friends in Japan. We’re more than ready to go.

    2. JR pass – it will be useful and good value for money, since it’s one full week free pass. You can go anywhere in Japan with this pass.

    2. One big luggage and one small luggage with 2 medium-size folded bag – I’m a woman, and I will need SOME-thing to buy. So I better prepare myself. ^ ^

    3. Digital Video Camera and Digital Camera with extra video cassettes and memory cards- I don’t have to say more about these! A must!

    4. Fancy bag, nice coat, cute shawl, classy boots and leather gloves (also with some earrings and make-up kits of course) – well, it will be autumn there and I don’t like to look like a sloopy backpacker when it comes to style in front of camera. In term of style, I don’t mind having a loaded travel.

    5. Crabtree & Evelyn bath&shower gel, hand cream and lotion, L’Occitane shampoo, feminine wash, toothpaste & toothbrush – even I will stay at Hyatt, I just love my own toiletries.

    6. Panty liners, wet tissues and regular tissues – you know what these all for. ^ ^

    7. Books, notes and pocket-size holy bible – I can’t live without books! I love self-motivation and christian books. I will bring “Talent is Never Enough” by John C.Maxwell and “Raising Great Kids” by Dr.Henry Cloud and Dr.John Townsend. Being on a plane for hours means read at least one good book for me.

    8. All in one Universal Adapter with safety shutter and surge protector – your perfect travel companion. This is what you need to re-charge the batteries.

    9. Spicy Chilli sauce – I have stayed in Japan before and felt so suffered without my favorite chilli sauce. Still remember I have to survive with shichimi (7 ingredients chilli pepper) and ichimi (ground red chilli pepper) togarashi everytime I want to add spiciness to my food. *sigh* I’ve learnt from my mistake about this! ^ ^Ganbatte!

    10. First Aid Kits – You’ll never know when different wheater will shock you.

    My hubby:

    1. Ipod loaded with all his favorite songs, PSP and his Nokia 8800. Those things will make him happy and enjoy his holiday.

    Well, now you know how complicated woman is and how simple man is. At least it’s happen to me. ^ ^

  22. tokyoastrogirl November 8, 2007 at 12:51 am

    1) photo of hubby and cat

    2) rewetting eye drops!!

    3) bottle of water

    4) Ambien- nothing ruins a trip more than jetlag so it’s nice to have a small guarentee of SLEEP!

    5) Travel size of Shiseido face products- wash, toner and lotion.

    6) Ditto for Shiseido Super Mild conditioner. A lot of hotels only offer the rinse-in-shampoo combo and a girl knows that won’t detangle her hair!

    7) Small bag of Sun Chips. I know- it’s junk food but I always crave something crunchy and salty so this does the trick….

    8) iPod with noise-reducing speakers

    9) 3 to 4 unread, brand spankin’ new magazines of either the entertainment, fashion or food variety.

    10) My blackberry. I hate to admit it but I need to keep in touch with the rest of the world while I travel:)

  23. Valerie November 8, 2007 at 4:56 am

    my top 10!

    1. Lonely Planet Guide Book: Great for independent travel! And they really take you off the beaten track in some iteneraries. Food recommendations are not totally reliable though..

    2. iPod: great when you are on the move!

    3. Backpack: not really a sling bag kinda person cos i feel that it gets in the way, especially so since i love getting around on public transport and participate in outdoor activities in my travels.

    4. Nalgene bottle: never a big fan of buying mineral water bottles and throwing them away at the end of the day. if my travel companions have their bottles with them, would much prefer to fill my Nalgene up with those 1 gallon bottled water. (save the Earth!)

    5. A good book: remembered Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential and A Cook’s Tour accompanying me on my last few journeys…

    6. Oakleys: never will I leave home without them. Great as a hairband, or when its sunny (duh).haha.

    7. Bedroom slippers: been trained since young that the hotel carpet floors are filled with 23094398938321 bugs, so, wear ur slippers!

    8. Ziplock or plastic bags: you never know when they might come in handyy..

    9. Vitamin C pills: to maintain your immune system!

    10. An open mind and heart: to take in everything there is to offer (and eat! =)

  24. Michele November 8, 2007 at 5:24 am

    I don’t travel so often, but when I do the following are necessary:
    A good book (something light and easy to read)
    My ipod
    A light jacket (airline blankets scare me)
    Good dark chocolate (for my sanity)
    Hand sanitizer (3 oz. or less)
    Lip balm

  25. The Guvnor November 8, 2007 at 6:01 am

    the only thing i love about flights (other than the fact that blackberrys don’t work on airplanes) is getting myself a tonne of magazines at heathrow which lasts me through the flight (and a large bottle of water at an inflated price because of the pesky security rules) – i get olive, delicious, elle decoration and living etc. sometimes i get a trashy celeb news mag – but obviously only for their insightful intelligent articles about current world affairs.

  26. Michelle November 8, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    Most things on my list have been mentioned, but here are a couple more:

    1) Freshener spray for clothes – in case you go to a smoky bar or korean bbq and want to wear those jeans for an extra day!

    2) photocopies of passport, id, credit cards, etc – in case they get stolen or lost

  27. Little Mint November 8, 2007 at 9:34 pm

    My mobile phone, a credit card, and a passport. Everything else can be bought! :D

  28. joop November 8, 2007 at 11:18 pm

    my top 10 travel essentials are mostly similar to those mentioned by the ladies so far:
    1. books esp chick lit to keep my mood up (or a few trashy gossip magazines will do for a short trip)
    2. lip balm (kiehl’s lip balm #1)
    3. hand cream (la source hand therapy)
    4. ipod and good earphones to block out some noise while i try to snooze
    5. light cardigan or shawl for warmth
    6. compact camera (minolta x50)
    7. travel sized toiletries
    8. small first aid and medicine kit (e.g. poh chai and panadol)
    9. extra bags for the shopping that WILL be done
    10. my soft-toy “freddie”. just makes the hotel room more like home

  29. Grace November 9, 2007 at 9:09 am

    1. Hon Yan Hor Chinese herbal tea- a heal all kind of tea. Great for stomach aches, onset of a cold, and greasy foods.

    2. Multi-Vitamin

    3. For the plane: Face cream, hand lotion, lip balm, eye drops, gum, sweat pants and hoody, and uggs.

    4. Dried fruit/Trail mix

    5. Camera and ipod

    6. Travel book on point of destination

    7. Pillow case

    Other then that I travel light because a wise friend once told me, “travel light and you will travel far”. Also that way I can fit more souvenirs in my luggage

    I love reading your blog! Keep up the great work!
    Sincerely,
    Grace

  30. Doreen November 9, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    My only travel indulgence: peel-off facial masks – one for the plane ride and the rest, just before I sleep at night, wherever I am, be it in a hotel room or a house in a village. (Kind of lazy when it comes to applying moisturiser).

    My travel necessities?
    Tiny bottles and jars of toiletries, and a tiny Samsung mp3 player for a petite person like me! A mini speaker would be lovely to add on to my ‘tiny’ collection! :)

  31. Janice November 9, 2007 at 7:13 pm

    Well I definitely need my MacBook with me whenever i go.

  32. Em Dy November 9, 2007 at 8:11 pm

    What do I pack? I usually bring 1 set of clothes for each day I’m travelling. I don’t want to be photographed wearing the same item all the time. To sleep in, I pack scrubs. I bring at least 2 shoes, both of which should be comfortable for long walks. And of course, the other essentials, mobile phone, camera and chargers. Not to be left behind is a universal adaptor. I bring toiletries too but remember to put them in my checked baggage. I have to have something to munch in case I miss some meals. When travelling, I am very wary of getting a migraine attack so I avoid all the possible triggers. Medicine for pain, diarrhea and allergy are also regulars in my travel kit to avoid the hassle of getting a prescription in a foreign country.

    On short trips, I manage with a small luggage. I usually carry a messenger bag because the compartments are great for storing documents for easy presentation and because the bag can easily be strapped to the body for security purposes unlike ladies’ bags. I also bring with me a collapsible bag in case I shop more than my luggage can accomodate.

    It helps if you have a checklist so you don’t forget something and to pack them all back once you’re ready to go home.

  33. Marie November 10, 2007 at 4:08 am

    What I take . . .

    1. Notebook & pen
    2. Novel
    3. Toothbrush
    4. Lip balm
    5. Chewing gum/mints
    6. Ipod
    7. Camera

    . . . and perhaps a speaker in the near future!

  34. eu November 10, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    maybe all we need is ourselves and our 5 senses. ok and money. hah

  35. David Koh November 12, 2007 at 4:02 am

    Stuff I bring on a plane:

    Ipod

    Toothbrush and toothpaste, it always makes you feel fresher after a long flight.

    A good book.

    Magazines: usually Bon Appetite and Gourmet, Saveur if it’s a long flight .

    Camera.

    One set of clothes just in case my check-ins somehow don’t checkout with me from the airport.

    I don’t usually bring food because I fly Singapore Airlines most of the time and they actually have decent food for an airline. (Anthony Bourdain said it here too on his blog for Top Chef! Sorry a little Singaporean pride…)

    Used to bring cologne and hair gel to cure pillow hair but don’t anymore because of the security checks. I just put them in a really accessible place in my check-ins.

  36. zee November 12, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    It’s really interesting reading about everyone’s travel essentials – tells you so much about the traveler, that it’s almost a little voyeuristic. :)

    My travel essentials are : a lightweight knit cardi that can be easily stashed into a tote and be pulled out to keep me warm on the plane/in airconditioned environs.

    a pair of waterproof footwear – my choice are the Novo rubber pumps that are so travel-friendly.

    Also, my beloved 3-year-old ‘dinosaur’ of an iPod mini follows me on all trips to provide me with ‘mood music’ wherever I go.

    Not forgetting – disposable underwear! So convenient and I find them quite comfortable too.

    And lastly I always bring something nice-smelling with me on airplanes because I hate the stale smell they have : a pot of Mentholatum balm calms me right down, and it makes for a good chest rub for when you can’t fall asleep in a strange hotel room. :)

    -Z

  37. Shan November 12, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    My essentials are:

    1. Passport and Identification Card – anything else can always be bought overseas but identification papers are a MUST have.

    2. Different Credits card – usually brings at least one of each Visa, Amex, mastercard.

    3. essential toiletries like toothbrush, facial wash, handcream, lip palm and face moisturiser

    4. Sunglasses – I usually try to catch a nap during flight. Thus, shade helps to block out light for day flights.

    5 Ipod – Music is a MUST have.

    6. Perfume – Important to smell good and look good at touch down.

    7. Vitamin C

    8. Mobile phone – normally bring 2 sets. One for standby as I’ve lost my phone before and left stranded without any contact no.

    -SL

  38. Vivian
    Vivilcious November 12, 2007 at 8:38 pm

    Travel must-haves, what a great idea! I have already picked up some good ideas from all the comments here. Well here goes my list:
    Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream – works on dry anything
    Pashmina – because those airline blankets can be so icky and scratchy
    A little vial of White Flower Oil (Bai Hua You) – because you never know when you might get a headache or be sat next to someone stinky!
    Flight socks – ah yes, those attractive things. Supposed to prevent DVT though and having travelled long haul so much, just a bit of insurance.
    Custom made ear plugs – though I am thinking of some noise reducing earphones. I like the sound of your wireless ones CH
    Gum/boiled sweets/homemade snack – I too am not a fan of airline food, even in biz class. I have done the canned rillettes/pâté before, though I bring my own crackers. Even the airline bread doesn’t do it for me.
    Eyedrops – for those dry contact lenses
    Ipod – for games and music of course
    Book or two – usually a foodie read of course
    Digital camera – because you never know when you might have a Kodak moment
    Airborne – those fizzy tablets that are supposed to prevent you from catching cooties, like Berocca on speed
    I could go on, but these are the essentials ;-)

  39. David November 13, 2007 at 2:54 am

    I picked up a Canon G9 last month in NYC and although it’s not bad, everytime I use it, I wish to myself I had my DSLR.

    And you don’t take along Tempur-pedic eye shades? They’re the best!

  40. elarael November 13, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    Hello! I agree with David, in fact he’s the one who turned me on to them – Tempur-pedic eye shades are the best! I also always bring my own large, cozy wrap , a neck pillow and special warm socks for the plane, which is always much too chilled for me. Water, my own food and lots of indulgent snacks. A good book, a few magazines and I’m good to go. I just found out about SeatGuru.com, also, which is going to be a big help!

    Thanks for the speaker contest, too, how fun! They look cute, I hope I win!

  41. Paula from Only Cookware November 14, 2007 at 12:11 pm

    The only thing I can’t live without when I am travelling is my O2 XDA. It is essentially a mini computer that is the size of a mobile phone so it fits neatly into my handbag. I can make phone calls, access the internet and read emails. I can update my blog (http://www.only-cookware.com/blog/) while I am away. It has Microsoft Office so I can write articles and use a spreadsheet. It also has a video camera, voice recorder and camera. And a few games to keep me occupied while I am waiting for the next flight. I just love it.

  42. ian December 6, 2007 at 1:22 am

    Where would one be able to purchase these “rillettes”? The description makes it seem as though they would be wonderfully delicious and convenient!

  43. Catherine August 27, 2010 at 10:47 am

    I only packed the most essential and must have stuff i need when i travel.

  44. maisie mitchell November 5, 2010 at 8:14 am

    you cant beat a good book and a bottle of spring water

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