With a lot of travel coming up this summer, here’s my list of ten silly things every traveler should pack. Why silly? I guess because they aren’t really necessary, but sure are handy when you need them.
- Duct tape. Not the whole roll, but just a yard or two. Duct tape fixes everything: broken suitcases, cracked smartphones, even reading glasses (though you look a bit dorky, but hey, it’s better than being blind).
- Lots of ziplock plastic bags. Not just for TSA security reasons, but for wet clothes, dirty clothes, and that last minute impulse purchase of Ouzo that might bust open in your suitcase.
- Portable battery charger. We use our smartphones for everything — flashlight, camera, email, GPS, phone, web browser, travel alarm, calendar, etc. — and the battery is sure to run low by mid-afternoon. You’ll be the most popular person on the tour bus.
- Nylon zip ties. This is D’Aun’s idea. Like duct tape, zip ties can fix all kinds of things. I’ve seen them used them on camera straps, name tag lanyards, shoes, even once a fault taxi door that wouldn’t close! The reusable kind are especially handy.
- Pocket knife. Obviously it has to be checked, but it can be invaluable when traveling. Bonus: get one with a corkscrew.
- At least two credit cards. Nothing worse than having your credit card compromised while traveling. Or finding out the store/hotel/whoever only takes one type. You should always have a backup from a different company.
- Flash drive. You never know when you’ll need to grab (or share) data, such as photographs or business documents. Plus they weigh nothing and take almost no room.
- Journal and a pen. Not just for keeping a journal (which I rarely do), but for capturing thoughts and things you hear or see. Even if you never use the journal, the pen is great for filling out immigration forms.
- Earplugs. You just never know if the room next door is going to throw a party at 1 AM.
- Eyeglass repair kit. For when the duct tape isn’t a good look. Like a lot of things on this list, it’s small and light.
So maybe they aren’t so silly — you probably already have them on your packing list. But consider this a public service announcement that it’s perfectly cool to pack them!