I’m packing for a trip to Dubai and Thailand (stay tuned for the blog posts to come!) and as I was gathering all my essentials, I thought it might be a good time to share my checklist.
Here are my must-haves – they make the journey a lot easier, and a lot more organized.
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 less expensive covers, but if you can get a special someone to give you one as a gift, go for the LV.) www.louisvuitton.com/passport-cover
There’s just no electronic substitute for these notebooks. I can’t live without them. I love the pocket at the back for holding receipts and business cards. I use different color notebooks for each trip.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
Mine is a Canon G15. I don’t go anywhere without it. 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 is the closest you can get to the quality of SLR pix, and it 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. Don’t forget battery chargers (and it’s a good idea to have a back-up camera battery) and USB cords.
My new favorite cord organizer is from Los Angeles company, This is Ground, who makes the Cord Taco, a leather disc that snaps over cords to keep them separated and organized. Genius in simplicity.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.
Even if you think you’re not going to need one, bring it anyway. This “weightless” travel raincoat is a no-brainer for travel. It comes in several colors, and fits into a slim nylon envelope. This raincoat is so lightweight, 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. http://www.aqua0.net
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
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. These cashmere-blend socks from German company, Falke, fit the bill to perfection, and can multi-task as slippers in your hotel room. www.neimanmarcus.com
PASHMINA OR PONCHO.
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. My current favorite is the Lizzy satchel from MZ Wallace. Let me count the ways… Three zippered pockets on the outside and another three pockets AND detachable little zippered pouch inside. In addition to the (detachable) nylon cross-body strap, there’s a (detachable) leather handle, which dresses it up for evening. www.mzwallace.com/lizzy
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 mornings 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
I almost always carry on my luggage, but there have been a couple times when I’ve brought suitcases full of flea market finds back with me. (I also understand that not everyone can survive with just a carry-on.) 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. http://www.amazon.com/Heys
[Some photos taken from product websites.]