20 Products I Never Leave Home Without
20 Products I Never Leave Home Without

I was recently asked in an interview what 10 products I never leave home without. I decided to open up my carry-on bag to see what’s actually in there and discovered there are really 20 products I just can’t leave home without! Here they are. Let me know if you carry some of the same or what’s on your must-have list.
iPhone 6 Plus
1. iPhone 6 Plus
I think many of us would say that our smartphone is one of our top travel essentials. Since I made the switch to an iPhone 6 Plus recently, I’ve realized just how amazing it is. I love that it takes amazing photos but more importantly, that I can download any app I want. When I was using an android, I found that a lot of apps weren’t available. But the best feature of all: When I’m flying, I can connect to the in-flight Wi-Fi and use iMessage to “text” with my wife, my family and my friends. That’s a big plus in my books!

lifeproof-image-2-1030x2282. LifeProof protective phone case
I’m often presented with the opportunity to test new camera products, travel gadgets or various phone accessories. Unfortunately, many of them come up short when put to the test. The LifeProof protective phone case is a product I not only endorse but actually go out of my way to turn people onto. One of my writers recently spent a couple of days in the British Virgin Islands with the LifeProof team, and came to the conclusion that hands down, the must-have tech gadget of the summer is the LifeProof protective phone case. It’s waterproof, dirt-proof, snow-proof, and shock-proof. During his time in the BVIs, Tim Gaylord put his case to the test against most of these elements—and it didn’t fail. So whether it’s for you or for your kids or a gift for someone else, I recommend looking into the product.

Aspire3. Aspire S7 Series Ultrabook
Although I love my iPhone, I’m not a Mac computer kind of guy. I love my Windows and my Aspire S7 Series Ultrabook. It’s incredibly thin and light. It has a full HD display that is touchscreen. The keyboard auto-illuminates so I can type on a plane in a dark cabin without disturbing my seatmates. It doesn’t make any loud fan noises, has decent battery life and has an SD card slot so I can quickly download my photos from my big Nikon camera.

4. Nikon D1700 with a zoom lens
Although my iPhone takes great photos, you can’t get a shot like the one above while on safari in Africa. These days, I don’t lug my big camera everywhere but I do take it out when there’s something really special to capture or when I need a serious zoom lens.

5. GoPro
A GoPro is an expensive camera but it’s totally worth it if you’re an adventure traveler, are into any heavy duty action sports or do a lot of water activities. The GoPro can easily be mounted to a helmet, a bike, a surfboard (to name a few!) and will give you amazing video footage of your adventure. I particularly love that it takes up next to no room in your suitcase.

Scottevest-610x4056. Scottevest
I’m a huge fan of Scottevest products because they’ve really helped to streamline the way I travel. I originally learned about the company when one of our writers got mugged in Barcelona. If she and her husband had only had their passports, money and other valuables in one of Scottevest’s 20+ hidden jacket pockets, they would have only lost their luggage and (other) clothes that day. I recommend Scottevest jackets and vests for hiding your valuables and keeping them on your person—as well as for practical travel. The classic Scottevest jacket has so many hidden pockets that it basically serves as a piece of carry-on luggage. Brilliant! Check out the latest in the Scottevest line here.

American Express Centurion Lounge at LAS Vegas
American Express Centurion Lounge at LAS Vegas

7. Credit cards to get into the clubs
I carry a number of credit cards when I travel but the two that get me into the clubs are the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® since it gets me into all the Admirals Club lounges and is great for American Airlines fliers. The Platinum Card® from American Express is another card with lounge access and plenty of other benefits.

Bose-QuietComfort-20i-Acoustic-Noise-Cancelling-Headphones_edited8. Noise-cancelling earphones/Headphones/Earbuds
This is a simple one. These days, most airlines are offering either free or paid in-flight entertainment. To save a few dollars (usually $2-$5), bring your own earphones/headsets/earbuds so you aren’t forced to buy the airline’s cheap plastic pair. Looking for a good option? Check out these earbuds from Amazon.com. If you travel a lot, then you might want to splurge, like many business travelers do, for the Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones or Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones.

PicForNewsletterLAAPril200818_edited9. Lug Buddy
The simplest invention of them all, the Lug Buddy is essentially a bungee cord that makes toting a duffle bag on top of your roller a cinch. I don’t check bags so this is perfect for cruising through airports without having to juggle or balance bags. With the $15 Lug Buddy I never have to let my duffle bag touch the wet and filthy men’s room floor. The only bummer is they no longer sell the exact one. However, Amazon has one that’s similar and cheaper.

IMG_7348_edited10. Maui Jim sunglasses
I used to be a big fan of Ray Ban—but after a few bad experiences (broken lenses and bad customer service), I switched to Maui Jim. And I’m a huge fan! Their sunglasses look great and I love their patented polarized lens technology, which makes everything look amazing and minimizes the glare, while protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays. But what I love most and what really turned me into a fan is their customer service. If you have any problems with the glasses, just send them back and they’ll take care of you in a timely and inexpensive fashion for a reasonable price.
11/12. Hat/Sunscreen/Lip balm
When I opened my mail in LA recently, I found the nicest present and note from an executive at Tilley Endurables named David. David told me that he was a longtime subscriber of my newsletter and was sorry to read that I’d had squamous cell carcinoma on my lower lip. The note continued to say that he thought I would like the included Tilley Hat (style LTM6) since it has UPF 50+ built into it, and that if it’s good enough for the Mayo Clinic to sell as a form of sun protection then it should “cover” me as well. Thank you, David! I loved it and will be bringing it along on future travels (along with SPF 50 sunscreen and lip balm). I also carry a Wallaroo hat as well.

13. Travel Journal
The moment I take my seat, I open up my black leather Travel Journal and write down my destination, the date, the airline, the type of plane, seat number, the listed departure time, the actual departure time, flight time, and miles. I know it’s kind of Rainman-esque of me, but I used to do it back when I was afraid to fly, to focus my mind on something else. And now it helps me with my story details. I also jot down what I did, where I ate, how much I spent, transportation modes, weather and so on. And on the last page, I put stamps of all the countries I visit. You can get it online at Graphic Image or Barney’s New York ($55).

Belkin Plug_edited14. Mini Surge Protector
I bring Belkin’s Mini Surge Protector whenever I travel overseas or go on a cruise since most of those rooms don’t have multiple outlets and this way I don’t have to bring a pocket of electrical adapters, just one universal (see next item). With Belkin’s three-outlet surge protector and a built-in two-port USB charger it allows me to power up and/or charge my laptop, camera, cell phone… all at one time. It weighs under seven ounces and is about five inches long. Not only is this much smaller than the power strips you normally find in stores, but it doesn’t come with a clumsy cord. It’s available for $24.99 at Belkin.com.

Satechi15. International Electrical Adapter
With an international electrical adapter, you won’t need to travel with a bag full of adaptors for every country. The International Electrical Adapter has four different electrical adapters built into the surge protector and it works almost everywhere. It’s also small and lightweight. I bought mine at Radio Shack (now out of business) for around $24 but I see on Amazon.com they are going for under $4.

3M Privacy Filter16. 3M Privacy Shield
I can’t believe more business travelers don’t use 3Ms Privacy Shields ($55) as they allow me to work on my laptop on planes, trains, and buses, and in airports and cafés, without having to worry about seatmates or passersby peeking over my shoulder to read my emails or see my bank statements.

WD hard drive_edited17. External Hard Drive
I have a ton of external hard drives all around the country since most of my life is documented digitally. I always carry a lightweight one in my bag so I can download the photos and videos from my trip while I’m still away and keep it in a separate location, so if—God forbid—my computer gets stolen, I still have my pics, emails, and banking backed up. Seagate’s 1TB costs $59.
mask18. Ear Plugs / Eye Mask
I never, ever leave home without ear plugs and an eye mask. I can’t sleep on planes without either and sometimes they come in handy if my hotel room is loud or if it doesn’t have blackout curtains. I don’t like the cheap scratchy eye masks that the airlines tend to pass out; I’d recommend spending $10 or less to buy a fluffy Lewis N. Clark one that will make you look silly but feel fresh. They’re available on Amazon.com and in most travel stores.
PicForNewsletter-AA-to-Brazil-Jan-2009-1319. Antibacterial Wipes
I have a bag full of individual packets of antibacterial wipes ($3) that I get from Target, CVS or Amazon. They are the best way to prevent getting sick besides washing your hands often and keeping your fingers away from your face. It takes less than a minute to use antibacterial wipes to disinfect your airline seat, hotel room, rental car, etc. Just wipe down everything you’re going to touch: seatbelt, tray table, remote controls, steering wheel, handles, light switches….

Chocolates-610x20. A Box of Chocolates
You should always be nice to everyone, but especially when you’re flying. Trip after trip, I see how poorly many passengers treat gate agents and flight attendants, so I’m always extra nice. In fact, I almost always bring three boxes of chocolates – one for the gate agents, one for the flight attendants and one for me. When you hand the chocolates over, do it with a big smile, be genuine and don’t look for anything in return. If there is a chance they can give you a better seat or service, they will. And if you don’t know what to say, just tell them Johnny Jet recommended it! It will make someone’s day and that is always a good thing! BTW: You don’t have to spend a fortune on gourmet chocolates: I usually bring Hershey Kisses.

Let me know what’s on your must-have list!

31 Comments On "20 Products I Never Leave Home Without"
  1. Thomas Hill|

    Don’t forget to encrypt your files and use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

    While I try to use my own service, when I have to use Wi-Fi, a VPN gives me a little more privacy by protecting all my incoming and out-going data on my phone, tablet, computer, etc.

    While encrypted files can be decrypted, eventually, depending on how strong it is, if my items get lost or stolen I have time to freeze change my accounts before anything serious can happen.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Good one! I do use Private WiFi

  2. Gert C.|

    For many years (25), I traveled on business 48 weeks/year. I had meetings and presentations and was always worried about sleeping late or arriving late for other reasons. Consequently, I always carry a $10 manual alarm clock – just 1’1/2″ square (Casio has great ones – dozens more on Amazon.com). I always keep it in my line of sight. Pure confidence with no reliance on a dead phone battery, power surge, etc.

    I also carry a very small, fluffy throw (about $20 online) for the plane and room. Rolled up or folded, it’s also a great little bolster for a sore “plane back” or a prop behind the neck. It’s a nice makeshift “shawl” on a frigid plane or even in a frigid play. Comfort can often be everything.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Good tips! Thanks!!

  3. Paddy|

    Great list.

    The one thing I’d change is I’d recommend a Silicon Power waterproof/shockproof drive or the Western Digital one you show–for just a few bucks more ($65 for 1Tb on Amazon today) you get the added assurance of the drive being waterproof & shockproof, and a handy short USB cord tucked into the side. (http://www.amazon.com/Silicon-Power-Shockproof-Waterproof-SP010TBPHDA80S3B/dp/B005GHTEV8) Check YouTube for videos of people actually testing (successfully) the waterproof & shockproof claims. I’d also recommend you encrypt that drive, as it may be the thing stolen, and unlike your laptop, if it’s unencrypted everything’s there for the asking. Encrypting your laptop drive’s also a good idea btw, but at least if that’s unencrypted the thief will need at least a moderate level of technical expertise & time to hack into it.

    On the Acer Aspire S7, I’m generally happy with mine too, but wouldn’t recommend it or buy it again for a number of minor but very annoying issues (backlit characters on the keys rather than backlit keys are often unreadable, the power connection isn’t tight & falls out or becomes too loose easily, the power connection gets in the way of the power on/off button, etc etc).

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Thanks for the feedback!

  4. Scott McMurren|

    JOHNNY! Great list. I’m with you on the iPhone 6+. I carry a macbook, but I’m weird (an Apple fanboy!). I prefer Bose over-the-ear headphones. My camera? A Costco special (Panasonic w/Leica glass)…altho’ tomorrow I’m also taking my FAT Sony videocam to do some aerial shooting up in Fairbanks. They’re gonna take the door off of the chopper for me! Yup, I always carry external hard drive…in fact, I’ve got the SAME ONE!! I’m gonna get a logbook right away!! Keep up the great work…hope to see you soon in L.A.! s

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Saw your video and it was AWESOME!

  5. Nancy Reid|

    My list includes Coolibar sun protective clothing! Love to have a scottvest!

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Good to know! Thanks!

  6. Jeff F.|

    For sunglasses, I have a pair from Del Sol. The rims change color in the sun and they have a lifetime warranty. If they are lost, stolen or broken, you can pick a new pair from their website [paying for shipping] and you have a new pair. I returned a broken pair directly to one of their stores and left with a new pair without any hassles.
    In regards to the belkin surge protector, I have one and it has worked great. There are 2 versions for sale and they look identical. The 1 amp version [mine] has worked fine charging phones and tablets. It runs about $15.99. The higher amp version [2?] would be a better choice, if you are going to be charging a laptop.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Thanks for the info!

  7. Sam|

    The Lug Buddy (#9) is no longer available under that brand. But it is available on Amazon under a different name. search for the Travelon Bag Bungee. Love mine.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Awesome! Thanks for sharing! I found it and will update the story

  8. Robert|

    This isn’t an addition, rather a story about two of the products listed here.

    I had a Universal adapter I bought at Frys and a mini surge protector. I was staying in the UK. Plugged in the adapter, then plugged in the surge protector. Then I plugged my laptop into the surge protector. The weight of all these combined caused the adapter to flip out of the wall, at the same time there was a loud zapping sound and the lamp on that side of the room went out.

    Short story, the surge protector fried and the breaker blew on that side of the room. So, be careful when stacking these electrical devices on one outlet.

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Good advice!

  9. John|

    Great List Johnny,

    I am a tech nerd and travel a lot for work, so on top of the items you have these are my must have items I take;

    6 outlet USA power strip and a single plug converter for abroad this way I get six USA outlets for the one converter to power the following;

    Travel router/wifi hotspot like this one http://goo.gl/5AcI93 this makes my own WiFI hot spot in hotel room soo all my devices use this and I do not have to change any settings on them .

    Chromecast; when used with the Travel router and connected to the TV I can watch my stuff, this was a life saver on a three week trip to Japan.

    T-mobile Nexus 6 phone; In the USA & Canada I use this rather than hotel wifi and on my travels in Europe and Japan I had enough free data for google maps to get around and e-mail, with Google voice I was able to make free calls back home, also free text messages on GoGo flights.

    Hi capacity USB power pack (http://goo.gl/zeXL8V) with this I can charge my phone many times so no to play the hunt the power outlet game at airports.

    For Work I use a windows laptop I also take a backup HP Stream http://goo.gl/YwJgX2 i find I use this more on trips as the battery life is great and its light.

    For data storage I now use 64GB USB3 thumb drives (http://goo.gl/L6tVyw) rather than spinning drives, they are smaller and I can make more than one copy of the backup.


    1. Johnny Jet|

      Thanks for the feedback!!

  10. Travis Longmore|

    I agree mostly with the Scottevest suggestion but the last batch I got from them didn’t last as long as I’d hoped. It’s fantastic for travel but I need my stuff to put up with a little while I’m doing it.

    The noise cancelling headphones is a godsend! I LOVE them on flights.

  11. Jane Long|

    I take along a small plug-in night light which illuminates only when it is dark. It is great for seeing my way when I have to get up at night in a strange hotel room.

  12. Samantha Jones|

    Excellent post very useful. Thank you!

  13. James|

    Pink Bismuth. There’s nothing like trying to mime explosive diarrhea to a bemused pharmacist in a foreign country.

  14. Steve Romeo|

    I always carry an Airstash+ (https://plus.google.com/+StephanRomeo/posts/ctapUpTuKtz)
    to back up pictures to and from iPad from SD cards. Makes any IOS or Android device have unlimited storage!

  15. Christophe Touchard|

    I never travel without my Bago bags!
    The easiest way to unpack your suitcase and put in a drawer at hotel!
    $24.94 on Amazon or bago site!
    Comes in 8 colors and with many plastic pouches free as well!

  16. Chaplain Bob|

    Hey Johnny,
    Am disabled vet with Service dog and cane.
    Any special advice for me ?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Hi Bob,

      Thank you for your service! I would check out the website Accomable.com

  17. Tom|

    I take most of these items with me when I go travelling. Phone, Laptop and hard drive are essential items for me, so I can’t leave them behind.

    You have some other good suggestions as well, I would have never of thought about taking antibacterial wipes, but that’s a great idea. They would come in handy in a lot of places that I’ve travelled!

    A few items that are not on your list, that I also take are a pack of cards and a portable charger. The charger comes in handy when you’re stuck on a long bus or train journey and you need to charge your phone. The pack of cards is great if you’re travelling with friends and need something to do to pass the time!

    Great list, thanks for sharing!

  18. Stefan|

    Hey Johnny! It’s great to see you recommending the Scottevest Jacket here. I have a few of their jackets and underwear and I’m a huge fan of how Practical they are the traveling with. My jacket has a bunch of different pockets and hidden compartments so I always use it for stashing my wallet and keeping everything organized when I’m out and about. Thanks for sharing Johnny! There are few things here that I’m going to have to look into picking up to use for my future travels.

  19. Richard Kampas|

    Great newsletter Johnny and I love your updates on the Tech Guy show that I listen to on Saturdays.

    A word of caution on Disinfecting Wipes! NOBODY ever reads the directions and you can cause more trouble by using them then not! Watch my SafeScience TV YouTube video to see why.
    So for now, add a hand sanitizer to your travel kits. (I have just sold my company and alternative (better) products are not yet back on the market.)

    1. Johnny Jet|

      Thanks for sharing. Will share

  20. eporner|

    According to Birchbox, this was one of the products Meghan fell in love with while curating her own box of beauty items for the site. Just as she likes to keep her body hydrated, which is especially important in pregnancy— Drink lots of water, as we all know, she told Beauty Banter —she keeps her skin hydrated throughout the day with this portable pump mist. Find out the workout that keeps Meghan Markle looking like royalty .

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