Given that I travel a lot, I have spent a considerable amount of time figuring out what is an absolute must-bring item vs. a “nice to have.” As such, this post will center on what I bring on every trip that usually comes in super handy – although I won’t bring up obvious items like my cell phone, passport, credit cards, or clothes. 🙂
You might have heard of the concept of “Everyday Carry” (EDC), but if you have not, it is built upon the mantra of “Every day, your EDC essentials prepare you for the worst and empower you to do your best.” If you’d like to read more, go read this post on everydaycarry.com, which does a nice job of summarizing what EDC is and the whole community of folks who capture the essential gear they use.
If you’ve ever flown across an ocean, you might know that these come in handy in passing the type. They’re also especially useful when taking a museum tour or listening to an audio guide of Rome, and bluetooth hasn’t yet hit some of the world’s best museums (the Vatican or the Anne Frank museum, to name a couple).
I am a big fan of Bose products and I’ve used the wireless soundsports for workouts and music alike. If you’ve got the money, I would also spring for a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, and the QuietComfort 20i’s are the updated version of the ones I have. Together this will give you calm and comfort, distraction where needed, and a great way to learn about foreign cities as you walk – just make sure you’re not the clueless tourist wandering into traffic with your headphones on!
2.) An international power adapter
In an age of unending technology, this is a must-have. Phones, iPads, laptops, cameras, etc. all demand power and you’ll be kicking yourself if you don’t bring at least one of these.
3.) Power Strip
One outlet for your wife’s cell phone, your camera, and your mother-in-law’s iPad? I don’t think so. Spring for a portable power strip and get both convenience and energy. The model I use is no longer for sale but there are plenty of alternatives to this in the $15-20 USD range.
Honestly, the brand doesn’t matter – but a pair of shades will save your vision and a lot of hell. Cheap, expensive, or anywhere in between – so long as it protects your eyes!
5.) An external battery pack: If you’re on a long train ride or flight, there might be a power outlet. Thankfully there was one on our four-hour train ride from La Spezia to Rome, so I plugged my aforementioned international power adapter into the socket and then plugged my laptop in (which allowed me to write a great deal of this post!). But if you don’t have this luxury, your PC or other device might die by the time you reach your destination. I recommend the Omnicharge AC/DC Portable Power Bank – Omni 20 – Battery Pack for Laptops, Cameras, & More as it provides a three-pronged lifeline for my laptop and other electronics.
6.) Card case and money clip: If you haven’t traveled to Europe before, you’ll discover that Euros and dollars are substantially different sizes. This means that Euros will likely stick out of your wallet and will make you look like a.) an idiot and b.) a target for thieves who see a wad of bills sticking out. Do yourself a favor and pick up a card case for your essentials (a driver’s license, a credit card with no foreign fees, a debit card, and a local transit card) and a basic money clip.
7.) A water bottle: My wife gave me a Tervis a couple months ago and I love it to death. It’s good to store your water and easy to refill (with the clean and pure tasting Roman water, if you’re reading this before my Rome article!)