This year has been filled with plenty of travel, both near and far; and, with much more on the agenda: Palm Springs; Asheville, North Carolina; Washington DC; New York; and Costa Rica. I am thinking about the different travel essentials I will most likely need, because sometimes there are hiccups along the road. And, since you can't avoid the inevitable, one can certainly be well prepared. There are probably a few items that you have laying around at home that you should pack but probably never do. Safety pins, duct tape and a bandanna can be worth their weight in gold. These items take up little space and can be oh-so useful. No matter where you're traveling next, there are a few things you can add to your grab-and-go bag that will make everything run a little more smoothly. I may be far from being MacGyver, but there are seven items that I pack for every travel adventure.
1. Power strip. Outlet shortage at the airport? We've all have been there before. Both iPhone and iPad at 10% in the red. A multi-socket power striphelps share the juice from a single public outlet. Forgot your charging iPod in your hotel room? By plugging all of your electronics into the same place, you'll be less likely to leave one behind. The great thing about this one is that when you are traveling abroad, you'll only need to use one adapter for all your devices.
2. Bandanna The list of obvious uses for a bandanna is long — hand towel, lens cleaner, eye mask, hair tie, headband, scarf, cooling device (when dampened) — but this versatile carry-on can also work in a pinch as a pillow when you tie it around a bundled-up sweater, as a sling for a sprained arm, and even as a hobo handbag to tote your belongings.
3. Duct tape From bandaging up exploded luggage to removing lint from clothing, duct tape earns its all-purpose reputation. Carry a small roll (about $6)) with you to patch tears in shoes, bags or clothing; baby-proof your hotel room by covering outlets and securing drawers shut; hold together a well-worn guidebook when the spine gives out; and more.