July 23 2009 by Bryson Forbes
People ask me all the time, what should I pack when travelling?
Here are my top five must haves that will make your life a lot easier just about anywhere.
1) Your credit card. Ten years ago, traveller's cheques were the best form of payment internationally outside of cold hard cash, but not anymore. These days you'll have an easier time with a debit card than travellers cheques, but the best and safest method is by far a credit card. It can get you access to cash, is insured if someone swipes it and is accepted just about everywhere - even in some areas you probably think it won't be.
2) Swiss Army Knife. This little beauty has been helping people for 125 years now. It is the definite must have travel gadget (although a warning, if you are flying, make sure you check this item or you'll be handing it over at security). The one time I didn't bring my Swiss army knife with me, I spent 45 minutes trying to open a bottle of wine without a corkscrew. That was 11 years ago and I think I still have bits of cork stuck in my teeth.
3) Dental floss. Comes in handy if you forget your corkscrew! No really, my dentist and I promote good dental hygiene, but this little number is packed for multi- purposes. If you need to dry your clothes you can double it up to make a clothesline. It is a perfect temporary solution as thread for minor rips and tears, and your friends will have you pegged for MacGyver when you use your floss as a knife. It may not cut through a pork chop but you'd be surprised how well you can put together a nice plate of crackers of cheese!
4) Shampoo. Yes, your Best Western will have some when you check in, but in a pinch it's always good to have something to clean with. Shampoo can be used as dish and laundry detergent or as a nice body wash - and let's face it, it's nice to use your own shampoo.
5) A rain poncho. If you dig around at your local dollar store you'll surely find a rain poncho that is wrapped up so small you won't even notice it in your suitcase or backpack. They are obviously perfect if you get caught in the rain, but you can also use them to wrap up wet clothes (your bathing suit or towel) without soaking the rest of your stuff. Another good use is to keep your back side dry if you're sitting on wet grass or a bench.
What makes it on your top five must pack list?