Swiss Army Knife
Number one on our list is something we carry with us every day. Yep, a Swiss Army Knife. There are a zillion models but we like the Voyager Lite Ruby which includes all the standard blades and saws PLUS some you’ll never guess: digital clock, alarm. Toothpick, nail file, scissors, Phillips screw driver, LED white light, and the most valuable item, the corkscrew for that bottle of wine. $115 at Swiss Army.
The first thing you need if you’re going further than your backyard is a water purifier. Our favorite is the SteriPEN Traveler Handheld Water Purifier because it’s compact, easy to use and fast. Traveler is proven effective against risks like Cryptosporidium and Giardia, which even sound nasty. Traveler ships with 2 non-rechargeable (disposable) batteries, a nylon case and user’s guide. Suggested retail price: $99.95 .
Traveling through Europe? Lucky you. Now make sure you can power all your electronics. With the Kensington 33117 you get slide-out power plugs (so you won't lose any vital pieces) in a compact, self-contained unit that eliminates any hassles. This all-in-one plug adapts power outlets for laptops, chargers, and similar devices, and features a safety release button and built-in fuse to ensure safe operation. Figure it can handle most consumer electronics ranging from 110-volts to Mac 275-watts, to 220-volts to Mac 550-watts. Warning: this is not made for high-watt devices such as a hairdryer, but frankly, your laptop is more important than any silly dryer, right? The unit weighs only .05 and you can pick one up at Amazon for around $20.
Don’t laugh…you’ll be thanking us for suggesting this travel pillow when you’re on that non-stop flight to Dubai. The wedge-shaped pillow is inflatable so you can lean forward and hit the snooze button. $29.95 at Sky Mall.
Get yourself an unlocked GPS phone. We don’t care which one – just get one. If you need a suggestion, we like the Pharos PTL600 GPS Phone, an unlocked quad band GSM/GPRS/EDGE cell phone with wireless LAN connectivity. It’s a bit pricey at $411 but a steal if you’re lost in the Amazon rainforest. Available at Amazon, the website, not the rainforest.