What Can't You Leave Home Without?

"Now what did I forget...?" (Joe Raedle - Getty Images)
Sunday, November 5, 2006

As much as we want the world to pack lighter, and better, and smarter, even we can't resist packing items that may seem just a little frivolous or unnecessary to the rest of the traveling public. And, admit it, you're the same way.

Here's what members of the Travel staff absolutely must lug along on the road (besides clothes and toiletries, of course), from candy bars to neck pillows. We want to know the one or two things you can't leave home without as well. Add them to the forum below, and we'll compile a list for a future issue of our print edition.

K.C. Summers, editor: I can't travel without baby carrots, trail mix, a can of roasted salted almonds, at least five books (to cover all possible moods) and a portable book light. And okay, I know it's weird, but I like to pack my own washcloths -- I buy cheap ones at Safeway and cut them in quarters and throw them away as I go.

John Deiner, deputy editor: I pack a pair of soft flannel pillowcases wherever I go, because they make every bed (no matter how skanky) feel like home. And if I leave my sound machine home by mistake, I can forget about getting a good night's sleep.

Steve Hendrix, Escapes editor: I need plenty to read. I'd rather walk across the country than fly across it without enough newspaper or novel pages to last from takeoff to landing. So what if there are 90 seconds before they close the door and I'm sprinting down the concourse? I'll still stop by the newsstand.

Cindy Loose, staff writer: I can't get on a plane without my neck pillow and at least two books, in case one is a quick read, and a king-size chocolate bar, preferably Peanut Butter Twix.

Anne McDonough, editorial aide and photo researcher: I always travel with my camera and all its gear (a digital SLR, at least three lenses, an external flash, chargers, adapters and a backup digital point-and-shoot). Who needs a change of clothes when there are photos to be shot? I also travel with two (sometimes three) journals: one to wax on about whatever; another to save ticket stubs, train schedules, etc.; and a third to record every cent I spend.

Andrea Sachs, contributing writer: I can't stand plastic spoons, Lipton tea or small hotel coffee mugs, so I always travel with a small mobile kitchen, including a metal spoon, a large coffee mug and gourmet tea bags. If I have room I bring along white linen napkins -- just kidding.

Carol Sottili, What's the Deal? columnist: I always bring my running shoes and gym clothes, in case I can get in a quick workout.

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