1. A flash drive
This is for all the "what if" eventualities that arise on the road. What if plans change and you need to print new confirmations or tickets? What if your smartphone memory maxes out, but you're unwilling to delete photos and don't feel confident keeping them on just your laptop? What if you want to easily copy a bunch of photos taken by a new traveling friend? That's where a thumb drive comes in handy. We won't settle for less than 3GB.
2. Fancy bath salts
Several luxury hotel chains (like Langham and Okura) are catching on that guests may appreciate more than just a large, comfortable bed; a well-stocked bathroom with a deep and spotless bathtub is another form of luxury, and bath salts aid in the enjoyment of it. Thus, they've begun providing salts next to the bar soaps. We simply always have a packet or two of salts on hand, just in case a surprise upgrade includes an irresistible tub. After a long travel day, sometimes the only thing that sounds nice is to have a soak and go to bed smelling like fresh-cut roses.
3. Small lock
There's a certain level of trust travelers are expected to have in order to deal with certain risks that arise. Think of the times you've left luggage with porters, stashed your bag in a hostel locker, or traveled by packed transportation. At these moments, even a cheap lock provides an extra boost of security. We purchased our panda-print one from a stationery store in Seoul for $2.50, and it's paid for itself like a hundred times over.
Nothing sharp, as a simple spork tool would work for what we have in mind. A multi-tool specifically comes in handy for impromptu picnics (brie, bread, chocolate in a French field!), snacking on local delicacies in the comfort of your hotel room (without having to call room service), or eating on the run (when you forgot to grab the plastic utensil to go with a meal). Our spork of choice is the Light My Fire original.
5. Tea/coffee/creamer/sugar packets
Can't always guarantee a hotel room with a well-stocked tea and coffee caddy. Hot water isn't hard to come by, but your preferred tea/coffee/sugar/creamer may be, or perhaps house keeping forget to refill it. For this reason, a baggie with a couple beverage packets ensures mornings and evenings can always be complimented by a hot beverage. We especially recommend keeping ginger tea on hand for days when your stomach just isn't sitting right.
6. Shower cap
We can think of at least 20 uses for a shower cap other than in the shower, and actually we've already made that lengthy list. Simply throw one (or two) of the caps from your hotel room's toiletry kit into your carry-on, and find how handy it is in a pinch. Rent a bike? Cover the seat after a rainfall. Bought snacks and want to share? A shower cap is a great makeshift bowl. Shopped for new shoes on your trip and worn them? Wrap the shoes in the cap to keep the dirt off your clothes. The ideas are pretty endless.
Anything we've missed? Share your travel packing tips in the comments
[Photos: Jaunted, Amazon.com]