There are a few things I make sure to bring with me on every trip. The items below have proven to be particularly handy on short weekend getaways and long vacations alike:
- Running shoes: One of the best ways to explore a new city is by foot. I try to fit in at least one 5+ mile run each trip. It provides a great opportunity to explore a new locale while offsetting the massive food intake to follow. Before any trip, I search for good running paths on MapMyRun and pick out a scenic, pedestrian-friendly route.
- Smythson pocket travel notebook: I purchased one of these before my last vacation. I frequently forget the places I've just visited. With all the gadgets in our lives, I seldom take anytime to reflect much less actually write with a pen.
- Leatherology card pouch: Yes, you can pay for almost anything with a credit card nowadays. However, I've found that it's always helpful to have some cash on hand. This sounds ignorant, but Europeans love coins. They are widely used, oddly heavy and typically come in rather large denominations. I never know where to stash them, so having a small pouch on hand is convenient.
- Nexus 7 tablet: In full disclosure, I work at Google. That aside, I would still recommend the Nexus 7 to any frequent traveler. It's the perfect size for a long plane ride. Before boarding my flight, I download as many books, magazines, TV episodes and movies as possible to view offline. Try to check the in-flight entertainment before hand so you avoid doubling-up on Frozen or Mindy Project episodes...
- Nexus 5 smartphone: About that Google thing... I've learned to love my Nexus 5. Even without an international data plan, I enjoy having Google Maps with me at all time. The GPS feature still works when your data roaming is disabled. Additionally, one of the biggest areas of improvement from previous iterations is the camera and photo editing features. Make sure to download Snapseed (also available on iOS).
- Anker portable charger: I like to keep a fully juiced portable charger on me at all times. I'm a heavy gadget user, and I hate the feeling of seeing my battery icon turn red. I particularly like the Anker Slim3 for it's flat form factor. It's easy to pack without adding too much bulk or weight.
- Burt's Bees lip balm: No matter the climate, my lips seem to always get really chapped. If my hands are dry, I've been known to apply a little to my finger tips from time to time as well...
- Neosporin: I have no idea why I bring this with me everywhere. I think my mother ingrained this habit in me from a young age. Whenever I tell her I'm traveling, she's always under the impression I'm going camping or visiting a desolate island with no pharmacy.
- The North Face Purple Label travel pack: In addition to the items above, having a small travel pack like this is convenient for storing your passport, extra cash, credit cards, receipts, etc.