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What is the *ONE* "unusual" item you always travel with?

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  • Samonid
    replied
    A Harbor Seal vertebrae, found on Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island. Sort of a good luck charm I guess.

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  • dang
    replied
    In a small pouch with electronics (chargers, etc) I carry a couple items that have really come in handy:

    1. A small 1 to 3 outlet multiplier (those things you plug into an outlet and gives you 3 outlets). This comes in handy often as in hotels the outlet near a nightstand is often full from the hotel's lamp, clock etc. Also great at airports where outlets are hard to come by. When an outlet is taken by someone just be nice and ask if they don't mind you plugging in the multiplier and sharing the outlet.

    2. A small 6 foot extension cord (sometimes outlets are not close enough to where you are).

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  • lonestar6
    replied
    I have not been around in awhile, the tristar and I have been off adventuring, but I just had to respond to this post. I carry two spare AA batteries in case the remote at the hotel needs fresh batteries (some day I will wish they were AAA but so far I have been lucky. I like to attach a carabineer or two to the outside of my bag to clip things on when not in use (recent examples: Hat, hairband, LED light). I also travel with either generic scotch and or JD in the flight/minibar size in my 3-1-1 for medicinal purposes. Makes for a nice night-cap after a long day followed by a long flight.

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  • Tzporah
    replied
    I always travel with a headlamp and earplugs (actually, I always carry earplugs). Can't beat the headlamp for looking at those tiny sock stitches when you're flying at night.

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  • Eire
    replied
    Maybe it's not an "unusual" item but I always travel with a small shortwave radio. Not many travel with a radio anymore in the internet age but I find it invaluable. Take for example, the recent uprisings in Egypt. Imagine if you were there. The government shut down the internet and cell service with the flick of a switch. How would one know what was happening? Inspired by the writings of Paul Theroux, I never travel without my trusty radio. I can always be connected to local events and even events in surrounding countries or from home.

    -Eire

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  • Lani
    replied
    Originally posted by snowbot View Post
    Lani and this thread made me a Salux wash cloth convert. I plan on taking mine with me on my next long trip.
    Salux is THE BEST, I tell you. I particularly like that I can hold both ends and scrub my back back and forth and get rid of all the itchiness. It's awesome!!!

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  • snowbot
    replied
    Lani and this thread made me a Salux wash cloth convert. I plan on taking mine with me on my next long trip.

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  • darbs
    replied
    If traveling by car, I always take diet cokes with me. I am not a coffee drinker and this is how I get my daily intake of caffeine. It is easier just to pick up a 12-pack at the store before I hit the road and much cheaper than vending machines and gas stations. I also always take my pillow with me, but I think a lot of people do that when travelling by car. I don't really take anything unusual when flying. I'm always trying to get down the the bare minimum essentials so my bag isn't too heavy for me to haul all over the Atlanta airport.

    @bchaplin - I think it is a little funny/ironic that you opt out of the advanced imaging scanning. Mostly so because I am never forced to go through it and all of my frequent travelling companions hate me for it. It is seriously the running joke between me and the BF and my boss. I don't know if I just don't look threatening or I look like an old pro flyer, but when the line for the advanced imaging starts to get backed up, I am always waved through the regular metal detector while everybody else with me has to wait. *knocks on wood* The last time I went through the big machine, it said I had something on my ankle...but then it also said the same of the person before me and 2 people after me. Crazy machines.

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  • dorayme
    replied
    My knitting or crochet, and if it's a car trip, my espinner.

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  • bchaplin
    replied
    Sorry for the awful TSA experience, marbenais. I have had plenty of issues with them, despite never carrying anything 'illegal', because I opt-out of the advanced imaging equipment, and so am routinely pulled aside for the pat-down. I have to exert some polite but insistent pressure to stay in a position where I can keep an eye on my belongings, while they find a female agent to do the pat-down. I've found the best approach is to treat them like the under-educated and often power-hungry people that they seem to be. I use simple words, am polite, but don't let them bully me either. If I feel I've been mistreated I follow up with their on-line complaint form, and the last time I did so, I got a call back by a supervisor who took detailed notes. I follow the rules about what I can carry-on assiduously, but they are changing all the time, but if someone deliberately tried to humiliate me as a result there would be real pushback.

    There are a ton of ways I could smuggle a weapon aboard, were I so inclined, while still following every silly TSA regulation. It's a circus designed to assuage the fears of the public and line the pockets of certain vested interests, not make us safer.

    Oh, and the topic of this thread: my personal indulgence? I take instant coffee (Starbucks VIA packs), an insulated thermos, and a 220V instant water heater. No caffeine withdrawal for me when traveling in one of those places where they serve coffee by the thimbleful.

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  • Lani
    replied
    Oh moriond! How did I not notice you live in Honolulu! I used to live there (I wen' grad Pearl City High, li'dat).

    Foodland. Ahhh the memories!

    /wave

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  • moriond
    replied
    Originally posted by marbenais View Post
    Well, I was upset because the peanut butter was to be my sustenance for the flight & following train ride (I have intolerances & allergies, it isn't easy to just buy the overpriced fast food in the airports), as well as being publicly screamed at and shamed. But the reason they took it was that it wasn't small enough to fit in the 3-1-1 bag. If it had been the same exact product, in a tiny Tupperware or something, they told me it wouldn't have been confiscated, and that would've been much easier in which to mask something bad. Like Lani said, it's easy enough to spread a viral agent if that's what someone wants to do. On all the TSA signs, they go into exhaustive detail about the toiletries one can't take, but nowhere did it say "peanut butter, hummus, Vegemite, Power Bar / Gatorade gel, etc" is forbidden. Maybe they've updated their paraphernalia (I hope so!), but, at the time, I had no idea.
    Just reviving this thread, which was active during a period when I didn't have time to post (although I was reading). I usually carry some Lärabars with me when I travel, but I put them into the 3-1-1 bag. The moisture content is high enough that it it will usually flag a more detailed search. (I always assumed that this could be confused with plastic explosives based on the X-Ray scans, rather than a food product where a viral agent could be introduced, according to Frank's explanation.) I think that I could just as easily put them into bags that I place in bins for electronics (e.g. Clear Quarter Packing Cubes or 3D Clear Organizer pouches for hard drives -- again, usually not necessary, but I'll sometimes do this on interisland flights), as long as they can identify the product, but it's simpler to keep this in the 3-1-1 bag.

    I suppose that one "advantage" to having to go through TSA screening on all interisland flights is that you become more habituated (I won't say inured) to the practices, and when you encounter these incidents the circumstances are less traumatic than the situation marbenais described. The week before this thread started I was traveling interisland with someone who had an unopened package of cheese in his carry-on -- a sealed wedge of Cran-Wenesleydale from the local Foodland. That's high enough moisture content to set off the detectors. They let him through after a search of his bags (he was going home, and the item would have fit in his 3-1-1 bag). We have to fly to travel interisland in Hawaii. There are also stricter agricultural quarantines about what can be brought into the state. Still, you develop habits that don't necessarily apply outside of the US -- like taking your shoes off as part of the screening.

    moriond

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  • darbs
    replied
    marbenais, I always carry peanut butter with me! I buy the JIF to go packs, you get 6 or 8 in the box. I usually stick a couple in my 3-1-1 bag and then move them once I get through security. I have issues with food as well, especially breakfast so I eat a lot of peanut butter.

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  • marbenais
    replied
    Well, I was upset because the peanut butter was to be my sustenance for the flight & following train ride (I have intolerances & allergies, it isn't easy to just buy the overpriced fast food in the airports), as well as being publicly screamed at and shamed. But the reason they took it was that it wasn't small enough to fit in the 3-1-1 bag. If it had been the same exact product, in a tiny Tupperware or something, they told me it wouldn't have been confiscated, and that would've been much easier in which to mask something bad. Like Lani said, it's easy enough to spread a viral agent if that's what someone wants to do. On all the TSA signs, they go into exhaustive detail about the toiletries one can't take, but nowhere did it say "peanut butter, hummus, Vegemite, Power Bar / Gatorade gel, etc" is forbidden. Maybe they've updated their paraphernalia (I hope so!), but, at the time, I had no idea.

    The only thing that I can think of that's unusual that I carry with me . . . still isn't coming to mind! I mean, I always have one of the smallest GoToobs with Dr Bronner's soap, but that lives in the Side Effect which goes EVERYWHERE with me, because I'm allergic to most available soaps, so it doesn't seem unusual.

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  • Lani
    replied
    Originally posted by Frank II View Post
    Now, if you're a terrorist, you could have access to some type of biological agent like, say, smallpox. Put it in a syringe and inject it into the peanut butter. Once on the plane, you break out the crackers and become the favorite passenger in your area because you're sharing the peanut butter and crackers.
    The problem is, one can make the same argument for just about everything. If a terrorist were truly intent on wreaking havoc on an airplane, I would hire a nursing mother to carry all of the virus/agent in the bottles of baby formula--which you are allowed to carry on. And if I were intent on spreading something so lethal, I could easily pack a concentrated batch in my 3-ounce shampoo bottle, 3-ounce conditioner bottle, 3-ounce body wash, 3-ounce hair spray bottle, 3-ounce body lotion, 3-ounce body spray... you get the idea.

    The question becomes, at what level does it becomes so absurd that it's just dog-and-pony security theater?

    As for being upset at having your peanut butter confiscated, you obviously have never tried Dark Chocolate Dreams !! :-) Mmmmmm!!

    Leave a comment:

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