A pashmina in my carry on as I always freeze on aircraft. Also makes plain outfits look fashionable.
A flashlight which I place beside my pillow every night. Having been on the 75th floor of a hotel when the power went out, I've decided never to be without it.
I also take one of those super absorbent towels that divers use. It's only about a foot square but it can dry me off if I want an impromptu swim, or get rained on, or even spill water over myself.
Zip lock bags. I keep all my toiletries in several zip locks. Ditto dirty laundry, camera batteries, anything that might get ruined by being left on the tarmac in the rain. They weigh nothing and I can see instantly what's in them. And if anything leaks at 35,000 feet, I'm safe.
Garbage ties to secure my suitcase when I can't use locks. A few teabags for my English cuppa in case the hotel has none. And my Kindle, loaded with books I've been dying to read.
So Reds, which items can you not do without?
LUCY BURDETTE: Rhys, you are an expert--you should teach a class on the Jungle Red method! I thought I was a good packer, but I stumbled over this last trip--twelve days involving family occasions, two days visiting old haunts, and a book tour. I took too much stuff. And picked up extra books along the way, a fatal weakness. By the flight home, I'd broken my own rule: Don't pack more than you can lift into the overhead bin. Because not everyone feels sorry for you if your suitcase is a little oversize and too darn heavy. So now I'm in the market for a smaller bag that I can't possibly overstuff:).
Must haves: tiny purse that I can sling over my chest, books, phone charger, sandwich for the plane...
HALLIE EPHRON: I'm a carry-on only traveler, no matter how long the trip, and I admit I have never packed a towel. I always bring a long colorful scarf to dress up my black sleeveless jersey dress or black jersey pants and cardigan. And lately I've had to carry bungee cords just in case my suitcase dies. I do NOT recommend Ricardo brand luggage, unless you're into harvesting broken zippers and busted handles. Hoping my new TravelPro proves to be sturdier.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Almonds. I am always between food and starving, and almonds are good and healthy any time of day. I've had 'em for breakfast, I've had 'em for dinner.
Definitely tea bags. Phone charger--must have. Internet hotspot. Lucy, a sandwich for the plane--me, too! Just in cases. Rhys, yup, ziplocks.
And I only take a carryon suitcase, no matter for how long. AND, shhhh..I put my Longchamps purse inside a tote bag, so I can have two items in one place.
ROSEMARY HARRIS: I do the purse in tote thing too...so that I can really have 3 carryons. Rhys has got most of my basic items covered. Ziplock baggies, scarf, check. I'd add flipflops. Lord knows when they last cleaned the rugs in your hotel.
RHYS: I'm currently writing about a sea voyage in the 1930s when everyone took several trunks with them as there were porters everywhere. When I was a child there were porters at every local station. And a maid to press the clothes, of course.
And I've just remembered another thing I can't travel without: a tiny international hair dryer. Having been caught twice with a hair dryer that died in my hotel room right before I had an important speaking engagement I'm now covered.
Does anyone else have a brilliant suggestion to share?