These are my travel essentials, in no particular order.
You might think it goes without saying, but it’s worth having on the checklist. Make sure your passport is up to date (some countries require at least six-months to expiration date), has enough blank pages (some countries require at least two), and that you have any necessary visas. I like to put mine in a cover that can also be used as a wallet.
There’s just no electronic substitute for these little black notebooks. I can’t live without them. I love the pocket at the back for holding receipts and business cards. www.moleskine.com
Get the best of both worlds with the Moleskine Smart notebook, which transfers your notes from paper to digital with the use of the Creative Cloud app, free on iTunes. www.moleskine.com/smart-notebook
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. The Kindle Voyage from Amazon has a high-resolution paperwhite display, and is the lightest weight of the Kindle family. www.amazon.com
Yes, you can use your smartphone, but I also carry my Canon G15 with me everywhere I go. I’d love to be able to take photographs with an SLR, but it’s just too big to carry around on the road. The G15 fits easily into a pocket or purse. www.usa.canon.com/where_to_buy
POWER CORDS AND CHARGERS.
Seems obvious, but I’ve left more than once with my power cord still in the wall at home, and they are not always easy to find overseas. Take a back-up camera battery (and the charger) with you and don’t forget USB cords that go with everything.
Los Angeles company, This is Ground makes the Cord Taco, a small leather disc that snaps over cords to keep them separated and organized. Love it. www.thisisground.com/cord-taco
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. http://store.apple.com/world-adaptor-kit
For all other electronics, I love the Kikkerland universal travel adapter because it’s streamlined. If you’ve seen some of the clunky “old school” adaptors, you’ll know what I mean. www.kikkerland.com/universal-travel-adapter
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.
Yes, you’ll be prepared, come rain or come shine. I love my classic Ray Ban Wayfarers…sturdy and compact. http://www.ray-ban.com
SLIPPERS FOR THE PLANE.
The first thing I do on a transatlantic flight is take off my shoes and put on a pair of lightweight leather slippers or shoes. There’s several fantastic versions of foldable shoes that fit easily into your carry-on tote and are comfier than the boots or shoes you wore onto the plane.
These are Tieks—all have a signature turquoise sole.
These foldable flats from Yosi Samra are a celebrity fave, and you can’t beat them for plane travel.
Another version, from Spain (I found them in Barcelona), Swaps by Audley. They come with their own chic little leather bag.
PASHMINA OR PONCHO.
This is an absolute must-have…to wrap up in on chilly flights, drafty trains, and in a cold snap.
Factoid: Pashmina refers to a type of fine cashmere wool that comes from the pashmina goat in northern India and Pakistan. http://www.thepashminastore.com
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.
FOLD UP SHOPPING BAG.
The famous Longchamps “Le Pliage” foldable tote is invaluable. For the past twenty years, women all over Europe have carried 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. (They can even be personalized now, à la Goyard and Louis Vuitton.) http://www.longchamp.com
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. http://humangear.com
FIRST AID KIT.
Nothing fancy, just a ziploc bag with the basics. Take foil-wrapped over-the-counter meds out of the boxes and just carry one or two sheets. If necessary, write the dosage onto the back with a permanent marker.
MINI DISPOSABLE TOOTHBRUSHES.
These Colgate Wisp mini toothbrushes can’t be beat for morning 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. http://www.colgatewisp.com
[Some photos taken from product websites.]