Everyone has a security blanket. No, not some warm piece of fabric that we’ve been carrying around since childhood. In this case, the security blanket is the item(s) that you simply won’t leave behind because they either mean that much to you or they are really that practical. Doesn’t matter if I’m hopping flights, camping out or simply visiting family, there are five items that I won’t travel without. Want to know what they are?
1) Towel. Scoff and mock all you want, but I will always have some form of towel on me when I travel. Doesn’t need to be huge, just a hand towel will do (a washcloth is too small). Why? The best reason is because of a book called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I won’t spoil anything. Other reasons are because it’s great to dry off with, wrap fragile items in, use as an emergency “here I am!” beacon and you never know what kind of scuzzy hotel you could end up in.
2) Harmonica. Small, simple and easy to carry, these little guys have never led me astray. I’ve kept myself occupied during layovers, played for change to get to the next bus station and sat in with incredible musicians all over the world.
3) Swiss army knife. A bit tougher to travel with in recent times, the knife is always in my pocket or in my bag (unless I’m doing carry-on). The reasons are many and range from the ability to open wine and cut cheese on a Paris bound overnight train to fixing a bike that has a few screws loose. If it was good enough for MacGyver, it’s good enough for me.
4) Pad and pen. This one should be fairly obvious. I like making paper airplanes and shooting spit-balls. Clearly.
5) Baby powder. Sure, laugh it up, but I always travel with a small bottle of the stuff. Great for masking the “I’ve been stuck on a plane for hours” stench, for freshening up clothes that may have gone a touch stale and, forgive me, it keeps things from chaffing if you’re walking around for hours or days at a time. You feet will thank you, your traveling companions will thank you and then you’ll thank me. Simple as that.
See? A few simple and relatively cheap things that I won’t walk out the door without. Feel free to steal from this list. Feel even more free to add your own “must haves” in the comments section or on my Twitter. What won’t you leave home without? Watches, wallets, spectacles?
Steve Zimmermann has drank with Aussies in Italy, danced on floating stages in Austria, sailed with dolphins in St. Vincent and pulled boats through creeks in Ireland. He is a Lancaster, PA based writer who worked on the PR side of travel tourism before embarking on a career as a copywriter who happens to do a lot of traveling. Follow him @zedcreative and say hello.