My Father use to pack his briefcase, and that was it to board an airplane. He was a minimalist at heart, but I learned a heck of a lot about packing and traveling from him.
1. He always seemed to have allergy medicine, Gravol, and Advil. He spent most of his years traveling, so naturally, when I started traveling for work, I also carried these 3 items. Allergy medicine is actually difficult to find in most countries, at least, over the counter. You never know when you will be faced with someone’s cat you are allergic to, or mold, or heck, food you knew nothing about. Advil is great for swelling, and ailments that you need fixing right away. Motion sickness pills, well my colleagues will remember me getting violently ill from food poisoning on one trip. I was so grateful to have Gravol with me.
2. black shawl, I am not exactly sure how many times I have been saved by my trusted wool shawl. I have used it as a blanket on the plane, fashioned it around my gaping shirt after 2 buttons popped off right before a meeting.
3. A stash of food. Having been stuck in airports in the middle of the night, without anything open, or stuck having to get off an airplane and go right to a meeting. The best snack, M&M peanuts. Yeah, not so healthy, but great in a jam.
4. Baby wipes, not just for babies! Having a package of these on hand while traveling is genius. Not only can you clean your face with them, but in some cases in a jam, to freshen up when you can’t have a shower. Doesn’t sound glamorous, but don’t leave home without them, you will thank me later.
5. Extra t-shirt or shirt, my Father once transferred from one terminal to another, but had to go outside, he fell, and cut his elbow. He boarded the plane and realized his shirt was blood soaked. He had to wash his shirt out in the tiny sink, bandage up his elbow, and wear his undershirt under his suit jacket the whole trip. He said it was a little embarrassing. Now I bring a t-shirt everywhere.