The Things They Carried: What Travelers Take on The Road
Experts and travel sources repeatedly recommend an endless array of travel gadgets and gear to bring on your next trip. Often, it’s the latest, greatest development that makes the list of must-haves for travel in a given season.
But do frequent journeyers listen to the recommendations? Though travelers like to try new things, when it comes to what they take with them on trips, many stick with what they know.
Frequent flyer Cheryl Foster makes sure she’s prepared from top to bottom when she travels. For the top, she brings her Kindle to stimulate her literary side, and for the bottom, she totes a type of reusable underwear she developed herself called SPairz. The idea is to use them in case you’re stuck overnight somewhere you didn’t plan for or just want to feel fresh during or after a long plane ride. The cotton panties come shrink-wrapped for easy packing.
To scrub his pearly whites more easily, writer Daniel Dern packs an electric toothbrush that takes two AA batteries so he needn’t worry about taking a charger.
Some travelers prefer taking names and addresses on the road in the traditional, tangible way. Christine Amorose, a Californian who’s lived in the French Riviera and will soon travel to Australia for a year, says she always takes her “little black address book.”
“Even though I could store all my addresses more efficiently in my iPhone or iPod, I don’t think its nearly as fun to address snail-mail postcards without my old-fashioned address book. My little black book has gone around the world with me–and all my friends know to check the mailbox for postcards while I’m gone!”
Peter Grubb, president of River Dance Lodge in Coeur d’Alene, ID, and his wife also bring their address book so they can mail postcards “that still bring 10 times more joy than an email.” He still enjoys the more modern approach to sharing pictures they take on their trips; Grubb brings a Netbook so he can download photos each day and post them to Facebook.
On the other end of this realm of “staying connected,” Dern brings his NEC MobilePro 780 “sub computer,” which he describes as “a 2-lb. WinCE machine that has a great keyboard, fits in a large shirt pocket, and is great for lots of keyboarding.” Comedian Dan Nainan won’t leave home without an outlet converter to make one plug turn into three.
What may be the item most forgotten by travelers? It’s not an iPod, camera or other high-tech device–it’s a pillow, claims Donna Bailey-Taylor, executive director of the Smithfield/Johnston County Visitors Bureau in North Carolina.
“After more than 30 years of hospitality experience, the most sentimental items travelers take [are] pillows. And for some reason, the one they forget to pack–we have mailed many pillows back home for travelers.”
Lynette Kittle of Colorado Springs, Colorado says this may be true–her son-in-law and daughter’s fiancé always pack their pillows when they travel. No more pain in the neck on long flights.
Let’s not forget it can also get mighty hot in some locations at night. It’s for this reason the Grubb family brings a small fan on their vacations.
Barbara Wirth, creative director of TravelLegacy.net is “convinced that any traveler who doesn’t take a travel journal with them is crazy!” More than Facebook photos or a blog post, written recordings of moments and memories along with ticket scraps and tour brochures taped in photo albums stand the test of time.
In addition to his numerous pieces of tech gear, Nainan used to bring his cat along with him on his tours. Since the beloved pet passed away, the funny man now brings a clay paw print on the road to keep him near.