Having traveled to all seven continents, I’ve spent a fair amount of time on trains, planes, ferries and other modes of transportation. I don’t always take the same items with me; it all depends where and how I’m going. But for the most part, I pack along my favorites, which I list here in no particular order:
Cashmere Poncho | Polar Fleece Shawl – I purchased a cashmere poncho about a decade ago. It was online and on sale, and no matter what the reason or season, it goes into my bag. It’s a putty-wheat color, fairly thin and takes up very little room. Not only is it perfect for trains or planes (especially if they charge for blankets), if you spill on it, just turn it around and the spot magically disappears.. It’s great for going out in the evenings and looks equally fine with jeans. While in Montreal several autumns ago, I picked up a terrific looking polar fleece shawl in hot orange at Simon’s. The flight attendants on board Air Canada were quite taken with it, and now I wish I’d purchased several more. They came in a rainbow of colors and were priced under $30.
Tumi Voyageur – My son and his fiance bought this great bag for me. It’s TSA approved, and my MacBook Air fits into it perfectly. If you don’t put anything else in the bag, it can go through security without the computer having to be removed. But it works so well as my second carry-on, I cram it with reading material, all my electrical chargers, umbrella, etc. Love the bright blue color and handsome leather trim.
Able Planet Headphones – My hubby has gone through several pair of Bose noise cancelling headphones, but I’ve never felt the need. That’s until I tried a pair of headphones by Able Planet, which made my recent trip to Singapore and North Vietnam much more enjoyable. I have the pink plaid EXTREME Foldable Active Noise Canceling model, with 10% of the sales donated to breast cancer agencies. I compared them with my husband’s Bose, and thought mine were better.
Slip-on Shoes – I had a favorite pair of travel shoes that I bought at J. Gilbert Footwear in Seattle several years ago. They were a black woven fabric slip-on type shoe with rubber soles from Portugal, traditionally worn by fishermen. The problem is, I left them at a hotel in Vancouver, BC and didn’t contact them until months after my stay. Too late, the hotel only keeps items for 90 days, and then they’re given the heave-ho. During summer months, I wear my flip-flops, and in colder weather a pair of clogs. But I did find a website that is geared toward airport shoes that are labeled Airport Safe Steel Free. That simply means they won’t set off any metal detectors. But I’m still looking for the ultimate pair of slip-ons that I can wear year-round, rain or shine.
Tools of the Trade – Being a travel writer, I don’t leave home without my MacBook Air, Canon PowerShot G11, Android, iPod and far too many electrical chargers. I also carry a low-tech Moleskine notebook and pen in my bag, as I still take notes the old-fashioned way. My biggest “forget” is a card reader for my camera, so I can download photos onto my laptop and post them on my various blogs and Facebook. I now have card readers that I’ve purchased in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Powell River and Whistler, BC. When traveling internationally, I always toss in electrical adapters … along with my passport, of course.