The 10 Carry-On Must-Haves. Every Time. No Matter Where.
Nothing works better than an old-fashioned eye mask and foam ear plugs. They usually don’t last too long before the elastic wears out, so buy a few cheap sets like these. Optional: Add a shot of Johnny Walker on the rocks just before you’re ready for dreamland.
Photocopy of your passport
Never lose your passport, especially in a foreign country. However, if you ever lose your it you will vastly improve your chances of getting a quick replacement your local embassy or consulate if you have a color photocopy of the first two pages—the ones with your personal details and photo—and another piece of government-issued ID, like a state driver’s license.
Universal Adapter Plug
When you travel you often find yourself asking why can’t even agree on standardized electrical outlets? The solution? The Compact Universal All-in-One Travel Power Adapter Plug—a single, compact unit with a USB adapter that you can use almost anywhere in the world. And it’s under $20.
Eminently packable and practical, a rain poncho, unlike an umbrella, leaves both of your hands free to do whatever it is you were doing before the skies let loose and the local fauna started marching down the autobahn in pairs.
Too much sun at the beach. Too much wine with dinner. Too much stress from rushing to the airport. Whatever the cause, a headache can be misery—especially if you’re on a plane, in a hotel room at night, or otherwise far from a pharmacy. Always pack a bottle of 500mg aspirin.
This might sound like a no-brainer, but after exhaustive research we’ve concluded that toothpaste is the single most forgotten item to pack. And most hotel amenity baskets don’t have toothpaste, for some reason. Exotic hand lotion, tiny little soap bars, but no toothpaste.
According to studies you can find E. coli on the remote control, rhinoviruses on the light switch, things you don’t even want to know about on the thing you’re probably thinking about. Antibacterial wipes, to the rescue! Clorox and other companies make convenient travel packs.
Take sewing kits from hotel bathroom amenity baskets. There’s no better way to carry around emergency needle and thread than these nifty mending sets with a variety of colored threads, several buttons, and, oftentimes, a safety pin.
Imagine, if you will, being in a far and distant land, one in which locals don’t understand a word you’re saying and your stomach clenches and your intestines start to tingle, thanks to last night’s “lamb” stew. If you bring your own medicine with you in your carry-on, you won’t have to use tragically embarrassing gestures to tell a non-English-speaking assistant pharmacist what you’re searching for.
Always have a calling card in a pocket of your carry-on and in your checked luggage, in case your outer baggage tag is torn off and the airline tries to reunite you with your lost luggage. Also, handing someone a business card before making a complaint or a request puts you one leg up in the negotiation game. It makes you look smart, professional, like someone who knows what’s what. And don’t forget to practice saying this, with authority: “Sir, my card.”