Here are some small things that you should think about including on your packing list for your next international trip.
Calculator, Jodie Fosters character in Contact talks about numbers being the universal language that will probably be used to communicate with extra terrestrials, let me tell you it works great on this planet as well, from Bangkok to Beijing it is understood, say Casio in a market anywhere in the world, and the trader will know what you mean if you forget to bring yours. Recommended that you get the solar power ones so that you will never run out of batteries and they are more eco friendly as well.
Alarm clock, been to many times that the morning call was missed in small hotels & guesthouses, also you can sleep in airports, train stations and bus stations and you will never miss your connection. If you bring an air mattress and beach ball (I bet you though I carry them for the pool) for the occasions of late flights and cancelled trains. Yes everyone else will be jealous of you especially if you snore like a bear!
Compass, walking around town it will get you headed back in the right direction if you get spun around. Can be used to watch that the driver is not taking you in circles, amazing the amount of travel time you can save in Manila with one.
Multi use electric plug adapters, there are many on the market they make some that you can change to many different pin & plug configurations I carry 7 different ones for all the different countries I have the pleasure to explore. The round 2 prong for 220 KV is the most universal in my opinion. A common adapter will take the American 110 KV without ground as well as 3 pin rounds and 3 blade large 220 KV. If you have all American plugs make sure to get the grounded 2 blade plug adaptor in the states, or you will have a real hard time everywhere, as most countries in Asia are not grounded, and the adaptors are not set up for the 2 pin one blade American grounded plugs.
Camera seems like a natural, but not for this reason. Security if you have a butt head taxi driver take his picture, you will be amazed at the transformation in their manner, also works as a tout warding tool for when you are being harassed by street touts after you have used the 3 No, Thank You, Buzz Off rule.
Immersion Heater amazing all the things that you can make to eat and drink once you have one of these. I always double check that this is in my bag. I bring two on long trips just in case. I use it mainly for coffee in the morning and sometimes for noodles as a late night snack. Most airports have places that you can find a plug, sure beats paying 3 bucks for coffee, or 6 bucks for a sandwich. If you are on a real back packer budget traveler use it to heat the cold water in a splash bathroom to cut the cold a bit. Adventurous Try the handmade Tuna Ala King Veggie Surprise, you’ll love it, I promise!
Super Glue I don’t know what will break on your trip but from my experience they have fixed shoes, sun glasses, BCD’s and held a friends filling in place until we could get him to a dentist, which I might add is not a recommended use, but for him any thing was preferred to the pain. One of Super Glues first uses I’ve been told, was as a combat medic and M.A.S.H. surgery tool for holding wounds together until they could close them correctly in the rear.
Paper clips, rubber bands and safety pins, OK I cheated they are more than one thing, but they are really small and weigh nothing. Rubber bands for holding wads of money together after the stop at the foreign currency exchange. 100 USD = 766 Yuan, which = 4000 Baht which = 400,000 Riel gets to be a lot of money to hold together, especially if it is big money like Thai 1000 baht notes, or 100 Yuan notes. Paper clips for holding tickets and receipts together in your note book, also for extra passport photos attached to your passport, where they are easy to find. Safety pins for broken zippers and for wounds if you run out of super glue.
Note book and pens for writing down stuff that you are going to need to remember like flight times, phone numbers and words you want to learn like thank you, hello and how much, which I usually don’t write down anymore, as I just whip out my calculator. The idea is too have all your data in one place. In China they want the receipts back for everything; you can store them in there as well. I buy the little black books that fit in a shirt pocket and then keep them for after the trips as mementoes.
A sense of humor you will be surprised at the many and varied uses you will get from this magical tool in your travels. Hope to see you using it soon!