Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

Tips, stories, and questions about travel-related topics, including restaurants
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Sarah Kirschbaum
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Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#1 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum »

I travel a lot, for business and for pleasure. Over the years, I've accumulated a list of little things, not obvious ones, that improve my travel experience to a disproportionate degree. I'm not talking band-aids and nail scissors, though those things are important, too. I mean the "duh, why didn't I think of that?!" things. Here are a few of mine - I'd love to hear yours!

1) at least one bandanna or cloth napkin. You never know when something will spill, or there won't be any tissues, or you're suddenly dripping sweat. I travel with 2-3 and wash one out almost every night. Yesterday in Hong Kong I used one as a bib when we stopped for noodle soup and I didn't want to splash on my nice top.

2) empty plastic baggies. These have saved me mess and hassle on so many occasions when toiletries have exploded or something gets soaked and there's no time to dry it out.

3) a few sets of plastic utensils or disposable chopsticks. We always end up using these, and sometimes need to reload during a trip.

4) a small pair of binoculars. I was gifted a pair and was astounded how much fun it was to have them along for scenic vistas or hotel room views over a city.

5) a cable to connect the phone to the car stereo. Yes, I'm sure this one is obvious to many younger people, but it was new for me when my husband first did it. It's such a delight to have our own music on long drives. I know it's possible to pair via Bluetooth - this is more reliable.

6) a little bag of good sea salt, like Maldon.

7) (edited to include this) a little notebook. So much easier than jotting things down on the back of receipts or scraps and not knowing which pocket they got stuffed in.

That's a few favorites. We also have kitchen kit we travel with when going to AirBnB's (why is there NEVER a decent vegetable peeler or a rubber spatula?), and of course we bring stems and corkscrews and booze. But those can go in another thread. :)
Sort of ITB - my husband imports a small amount of sake and I help out

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#2 Post by Rajesh P a r i k h »

When I was traveling for work I’d always bring a binder clip to clip together curtains that left a sliver of light through.

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#3 Post by Rob Lynch »

Corkscrew

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#4 Post by Jim Marmion »

An old pair of Church's slippers, for the plane journey if nothing else.

A block of shaving soap and shaving brush which makes the carry-on simpler.

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#5 Post by Mark Y »

1. Multi plug unit - so one converter can equal 3 plugs and 2 usb chargers

2. Zip lock bags - useful in many places. Much like Sarah’s empty plastic bag basically, but with a seal

3. When I used to travel a ton for work but had to fly economic, I had an inflatable seat air mattress which made the seat much more comfortable. But overkill if u aren’t flying all the time ;)
Y.e.

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#6 Post by Steve Gautier »

Rajesh P a r i k h wrote: September 7th, 2019, 8:41 pm When I was traveling for work I’d always bring a binder clip to clip together curtains that left a sliver of light through.
That's a great tip. I always have a binder clip in my toiletries bag to cover my razor so that I don't slice my hand reaching into the bag.
Good wine is a necessity of life. - Thomas Jefferson

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#7 Post by George Hejna »

A luggage scale. They are cheap and light and prevent unwanted charges at check in.

George

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#8 Post by Mike Cohen »

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote: September 7th, 2019, 7:04 pm
6) a little bag of good sea salt, like Maldon.
I'd be careful with this one...

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/lond ... index.html

[rofl.gif]

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#9 Post by Jay $$ Winton »

Rob Lynch wrote: September 8th, 2019, 1:08 am Corkscrew
I've lost a couple via TSA when I wasn't checking bags. Just ordered a luggage scale.
Immaturity-my life, not my wine.

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#10 Post by Chris Oxford »

Steve Gautier wrote: September 8th, 2019, 9:16 am
Rajesh P a r i k h wrote: September 7th, 2019, 8:41 pm When I was traveling for work I’d always bring a binder clip to clip together curtains that left a sliver of light through.
That's a great tip. I always have a binder clip in my toiletries bag to cover my razor so that I don't slice my hand reaching into the bag.
This is a great idea, but when you forget your binder clip, steal your significant others plastic hair thingy....not sure what it's called, but same concept as the binder clip.

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#11 Post by Joe Dulworth »

If possible nothing.
wineismylife

Wine is like potato chips around me...if it's open, it's gone.

MyBlog @ wineismylife net

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#12 Post by Bdklein »

Rob Lynch wrote: September 8th, 2019, 1:08 am Corkscrew
Pocketknife with a corkscrew . Also has knives , screwdriver, scissor , tweezer , toothpick and other little tools. So practical/useful.
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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#13 Post by cjsavino »

Rajesh P a r i k h wrote: September 7th, 2019, 8:41 pm When I was traveling for work I’d always bring a binder clip to clip together curtains that left a sliver of light through.
I would use one of the pants hangers in the closet to solve this.
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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#14 Post by Mark Y »

Jay $$ Winton wrote: September 9th, 2019, 9:13 am
Rob Lynch wrote: September 8th, 2019, 1:08 am Corkscrew
I've lost a couple via TSA when I wasn't checking bags. Just ordered a luggage scale.
Any particular scale u like? I’m looking for one but they are all fairly cheap and so many brands.
Y.e.

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#15 Post by scamhi »

I always travel with a monopole ahso wine opening. it has no knife TSA and screening never stops me.
Large gallon size zip lock bags are great to have.
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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#16 Post by Jay $$ Winton »

Mark Y wrote: September 9th, 2019, 12:29 pm
Jay $$ Winton wrote: September 9th, 2019, 9:13 am
Rob Lynch wrote: September 8th, 2019, 1:08 am Corkscrew
I've lost a couple via TSA when I wasn't checking bags. Just ordered a luggage scale.
Any particular scale u like? I’m looking for one but they are all fairly cheap and so many brands.
this one seemed to be ok. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NW ... UTF8&psc=1
Immaturity-my life, not my wine.

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#17 Post by George Hejna »

Mark Y wrote: September 9th, 2019, 12:29 pm
Jay $$ Winton wrote: September 9th, 2019, 9:13 am
Rob Lynch wrote: September 8th, 2019, 1:08 am Corkscrew
I've lost a couple via TSA when I wasn't checking bags. Just ordered a luggage scale.
Any particular scale u like? I’m looking for one but they are all fairly cheap and so many brands.
I bought a cheap one off Amazon. It has probably lasted me 8 years. I have to replace the battery twice. I do prefer that the handle is a complete loop. Makes it easier to pick up and hold the bag while the scale reads. Something like this.

George

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#18 Post by George Hejna »

I also find when traveling over seas with all the phones/iPads etc we have to charge this is quite convenient.




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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#19 Post by Mark Y »

Jay $$ Winton wrote: September 9th, 2019, 1:34 pm
Mark Y wrote: September 9th, 2019, 12:29 pm
Jay $$ Winton wrote: September 9th, 2019, 9:13 am

I've lost a couple via TSA when I wasn't checking bags. Just ordered a luggage scale.
Any particular scale u like? I’m looking for one but they are all fairly cheap and so many brands.
this one seemed to be ok. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NW ... UTF8&psc=1
cool. ordered one :D
Y.e.

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#20 Post by Marcus Montanile »

I travel intl for business a lot. The best thing has been a multi-plug adapter - 2 outlets and 2 USB - with a set of changeable prongs so I never have to worry about what country takes what plug. Also helps coworkers who forget adapters. Also have taken a few of the amenity kit bags and they are useful for storing cords/toiletries/etc.

Also APEC card and Global Entry make all the difference when traveling to and from Asia when clearing customs in and out of all participating countries. My wait has never been more than 5-10 min. Just need for Europe to get on board with something.

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#21 Post by Sarah Kirschbaum »

scamhi wrote: September 9th, 2019, 12:51 pm I always travel with a monopole ahso wine opening. it has no knife TSA and screening never stops me.
Large gallon size zip lock bags are great to have.
l wouldn't count on that one - I've never had an ahso get through security. Have lost at least 3 between me and Jonathan.
Sort of ITB - my husband imports a small amount of sake and I help out

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#22 Post by Craig G »

George Hejna wrote: September 9th, 2019, 2:24 pm I also find when traveling over seas with all the phones/iPads etc we have to charge this is quite convenient.




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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#23 Post by Ethan Abraham »

Frozen Flannery

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#24 Post by scamhi »

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote: September 9th, 2019, 4:39 pm
scamhi wrote: September 9th, 2019, 12:51 pm I always travel with a monopole ahso wine opening. it has no knife TSA and screening never stops me.
Large gallon size zip lock bags are great to have.
l wouldn't count on that one - I've never had an ahso get through security. Have lost at least 3 between me and Jonathan.
it is always in my bag. While I do not travel as much as you, It has been with
me through Europe many times and almost monthly to Florida. no knife, prongs are not sharp.
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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#25 Post by Dan Hammer »

A flashlight.

Advil or equivalent.

Imodium.

Band aids.

Other health related items.

A shoe polish cloth.
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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#26 Post by M.Kaplan »

So many great suggestions. I'll add my essentials:

Pepto Bismol is not available in many countries; my gastro doc recommends it above all other OTC meds for travelers tummy. It works!

Azithromycin Z-Pack antibiotics

Extra unlocked cell phone. Many destinations sell local cheap voice/data sim cards. Access to local cellular LTE/4G data is essential to me.

small bottle of dishwashing liquid (works on clothes)

gel handwash

Gore-Tex walking shoes
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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#27 Post by Chris Blum »

I never travel without my cyanide capsule fake tooth; just in case I end up stuck on the tarmac in a Spirit Airlines jet.
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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#28 Post by Eric Ifune »

A small microfleece towel.

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#29 Post by Robert Dentice »

Renee always brings incense amongst many other things. The incense always makes us feel right at home and if you happen to be in a stale hotel room/ airbnb it really helps.

And me Zaltos and a portable turntable.
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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#30 Post by T. Melloni »

I enjoyed reading these suggestions - some of which I follow; others I just scratch my head and wonder why.

I often carry in my luggage a small cotton towel (wash cloth size) for spills, drying hands (lots of places do not have hand dryers or towels), or even cleaning a bench, seat, etc. Similar to the bandanna - although I would not use it as a bib. As evidenced by my shirts with small oil stain droplets from splashed slurping soup, I will not wear a bib.

Small packets of tissues - similar purpose - carried on my person.

Snacks - dried fruit, wasabi peas, nuts, salami, etc. Something to eat when you get to your hotel room and everything is closed.

Also, for an extended stay, I have taken a small portable speaker (UE Boom) for music; I much enjoyed having that.
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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#31 Post by Todd Hamina »

A billiard ball, and a sturdy sock with which to swing it.
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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#32 Post by T. Melloni »

Todd Hamina wrote: September 12th, 2019, 3:51 pm A billiard ball, and a sturdy sock with which to swing it.
I thought I was the only one.
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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#33 Post by Victor Hong »

Two plastic hangers. I can wash and dry clothes during the trip. Saves packing weight and laundry costs.
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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#34 Post by DavidFrankil »

Rolaids
Noise canceling earphones
Wine diapers for bringing back a few bottles in checked bags - bought a bunch on Berserker Day 8 or 9
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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#35 Post by Rob Lynch »

Jay $$ Winton wrote: September 9th, 2019, 9:13 am
Rob Lynch wrote: September 8th, 2019, 1:08 am Corkscrew
I've lost a couple via TSA when I wasn't checking bags. Just ordered a luggage scale.
I’ve travelled a dozen times a year for the last 10 years, mostly domestically, and lost exactly one in carry-on. That coming home from Anguilla. This is the cheap plastic variety without a blade. Cost a buck or so.

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#36 Post by Christine Huang »

I'll add:

Tide Pen & Travel-sized bottle of Woolite for any emergency/stain. If it's the whole family, I pack Tide Pods and Bounce Sheets in an empty Talenti Gelato jar so they don't get squished. Nothing is worse than having to buy a whole bottle of detergent on vacation.

Travel-sized Wet Wipe packs in every bag so you don't have to search for them.

Bottle opener keychain. I always end up buying interesting sodas/beers I can't twist open. I bought these because they were attractive and they also tighten screws :)

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#37 Post by Merrill Lindquist »

Sarah Kirschbaum wrote: September 9th, 2019, 4:39 pm
scamhi wrote: September 9th, 2019, 12:51 pm I always travel with a monopole ahso wine opening. it has no knife TSA and screening never stops me.
Large gallon size zip lock bags are great to have.
l wouldn't count on that one - I've never had an ahso get through security. Have lost at least 3 between me and Jonathan.
They took one from me, as well. now the AhSo goes only into checked baggage.
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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#38 Post by Marty L. »

Along with fresh coffee beans, a small digital scale, some paper filters and a Kalita Wave 185 brewer, this:

https://www.amazon.com/Porlex-Mini-Stai ... B0044ZA066

I know it's the opposite of packing light, but I find it's a wonderful thing to be able to make a perfect cup of coffee when travelling.
Martin Lebwohl

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Re: Little Things Mean a Lot - the Travel Version

#39 Post by Eric Michels »

Rob Lynch wrote: September 14th, 2019, 2:07 pm
Jay $$ Winton wrote: September 9th, 2019, 9:13 am
Rob Lynch wrote: September 8th, 2019, 1:08 am Corkscrew
I've lost a couple via TSA when I wasn't checking bags. Just ordered a luggage scale.
I’ve travelled a dozen times a year for the last 10 years, mostly domestically, and lost exactly one in carry-on. That coming home from Anguilla. This is the cheap plastic variety without a blade. Cost a buck or so.
I've given up on carrying any sort of wine bottle opener as I've found that even the "TSA compliant" versions end up causing the bag to be pulled for secondary screening. While the opener ultimately gets through, it can sometimes be a lengthy wait for an agent (usually when your flight is just about to depart). I just drink beer on the road now.

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