Pack a light backpack but don't get caught short.

Pack a light backpack but don't get caught short.

Modern travel is no easy feat.

Whether you’re going by plane, train, or automobile, there is a lot to remember when it comes to packing for even a short trip. Of course, the worst is airline travel with so many restrictions on what you can and cannot bring aboard a plane. But even road trips can be a bummer if you forget your tunes.

If you’re not sure what to bring or you just need a check-list to keep you on track, then here are a few items that no traveller should go without.

1. Extra underwear

Your mom was right! Traveling is grimy business. With fluctuating temperatures between terminals, hallways, and cabins and long hours spent in cramped seating, rubbing elbows with your neighbor, you’re going to want to freshen up by the end of the day, so make sure you pack enough extra skivvies to get you through the trip with a pair to spare.

2. The Scottevest

This handy jacket is essential to the technology-laden traveller. Not only lightweight, wrinkle-free, and easy to store, it also sports up to twenty- eight pockets of various sizes to store all of your gadgets from cell phones to iPads. Some interior pockets even have clear touch windows so you don’t have to remove your MP3 player to switch songs. They come with or without sleeves in a variety of fabrics for summer or winter travel.

3. An iPhone

Instead of bringing a phone, an MP3 player, a video player, a camera, a camcorder, a handheld gaming platform, and a PDA, get everything you need in one handy device. You can even download your favorite travel games from Mad Libs to Battleship.

4. A solar-powered battery

Once you get one, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. Clip it to your bag or belt for outdoor charging, or suction-cup it to the window when you’re stuck inside. Then plug in your devices (cell phone, MP3 player) to charge them on the go. Most can be utilized through a USB cable.

5. Earplugs

There’s nothing worse than the aural assault of a screaming baby when you’re trapped on a long flight. So block out the noise and catch some zzzs while everyone else suffers. If you’d rather drown it out with some music, opt for noise-cancelling headphones instead.

6. An empty water bottle

If you’re one of the many people irked by the fact that you have to pay a ridiculous sum for water at the airport because they won’t let you through the security screening with more than three ounces, solve the problem by bringing an empty bottle and filling it at the water fountain. It will save you a couple bucks and help you stay hydrated.

7. Protein bars

They’ll fill you up without the energy boost and crash of sugary snacks, and they taste a heck of a lot better than most of the crap the airlines now charge you an arm and a leg for.

8. A toiletry travel kit

This will do the hard work for you. All the bottles are the right size to make it through security, so fill them up with your various bathroom liquids and gels to breeze through check-in. Many kits also have space for toothbrushes and other items you tend to forget, so install a dedicated set.

9. Travel pillow

If you’re reticent to use the pillows aboard an aircraft (whether because of their frequent usage or due to the fact that your jacket makes a better headrest) you should consider toting a small u-shaped pillow that will support your head and neck while you sit upright.

10. A flash drive

Even if you’re not travelling for business, consider bringing along a storage device for photos (so your camera doesn’t get full) or extras music and videos for the trip.

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  • Nice list. Not entirely sure about this, but I believe that all containers >100mL, full or empty are not allowed past the security check point. Also, a travel pillow is a great idea. I don't know how many times I had a sore neck from long bus trips because I decided to leave my small pillow behind when I stripped back my gear to half the size. I had a small self-inflating camping style pillow that was inflatable but combined with a compressable and slightly moldable foam; more comfy and durable than a cheap blow up one and packed smaller than a normal neck pillow.

  • Jakub

    A solar-powered battery: wow, I didn't know a travel-sized device like this even exists! Thanks, on my shopping list 🙂 I generally try to take devices (mobile phone, mp3 player, etc) all powered by USB, so I can take only 1 charger for all of them, but you still need a power supply at some point.

  • Jakub

    To avoid jetlag I usually try to adjust to new timezone: for example if landing in the middle of the day even though it's middle of the night back home, I'm trying to stay awake and go to bed using local clock. That way I'm having just 1 zombie day instead of 3, I'm waking up pretty fresh and jetlag-free the next day. For that it helps to have a quick disco nap on the plane to let your eyes rest, so they won't close themselves later during extra long day.