I’ve just come back from a hectic book tour, events every night for 2 weeks, including 9 cities in 9 days. I’m a pretty seasoned traveler, as are my fellow Jungle Red Babes, so I thought I'd learned what to take and what not to take with me.
I made several mistakes this time: I left my tiny backup hairdryer at home, thinking I’d be staying in top of the line hotels. Well, the hotels were top of the line, but I came out of the shower, hair dripping, in one sumptuous bathroom to find no hairdryer.
“It’ s with the towels, madam,” they said when I called the front desk.
“No it’s not,” I replied.
They promised to send one up. I waited and waited while my hair dried going in directions I didn’t want it to go. I called down again and told them that I had a car coming for me in ten minutes and I needed that hairdryer NOW. If I’d had my tiny backup all would have been well.
Mistake two: I did not bring my own tea bags. I presumed that luxury hotels might actually have tea bags. Several had no coffee or tea making equipment. We were supposed to order eight dollar a pot room service. One had a very fancy kettle and a variety of herb teas, but no black tea, which I’m sure you realize all English people must have at four o’clock on the dot. And when I ordered a pot of tea—it came with no milk. What were they thinking?
Oh, and there was another thing I forgot this time—Bandaids. I had one hotel with a platform bed, bigger than the mattress on top of it. In the darkness of the middle of the night I hit my leg on the corner of the platform and it started to bleed like crazy. I thought of calling down to reception, but I was in my skimpy nightgown and I felt like a fool. So I sat with a wet towel pressed to it until the bleeding stopped.
So there are lessons learned for the next trip. Never assume that because the hotel is fancy, it will have what you need.
When I travel I carry certain items I consider indispensable.
1. My pocket pillow. Round inflatable pillow that goes in my back on long plane and car trips. The difference between arriving in pain or not.
2. Miniature flashlight. You never know when a hotel may lose power and it’s not good to be in the dark in a strange place.
3. Ear plugs and eye mask for those too bright and too loud rooms.
4. iPod with soothing music for annoying airport delays, also containing photos of loved ones to remind me what’s really important in life.
5. At least one book to read (to be replaced by Kindle within the next week. Or maybe Nook. I’m still debating.
6. A scarf or pashmina. Planes can be freezing.
7. Flash drive with back ups of all current work.
And if you add the three I left behind this time, that makes ten.
So which items can’t you leave home without?