When I travel, I naturally take a lot of my photo gear with me. It has to travel with me as my carry-on. I would never recommend checking any type of valuable electronics. Unfortunately I am also a terrible packer and take more gear than I need, so I have to cut back on some of the other things that I typically take. Over the years, I think I've whittled it down to my essentials.
I just picked this up today ($177 including taxes on Amazon). I lent mine to my friend for his 2 week Asia trip and it ended up breaking, so I had to get a new one. I'm a big fan of these. They are extremely cheap, light, and serve my internet needs when traveling. I bought one initially for the purpose of connecting an external USB hard drive to clear my camera's memory cards too, as well as backing up photos to Google Drive when I could connect to the internet. However after using it more and more, I realized it served as the perfect travel laptop: Google Voice and video calling, email and internet access, Google Drive to write up offline blog posts, and 9+ hours of battery life to watch movies on the 15 hour direct flight to Hong Kong in coach. This thing is much easier to sneak into my photo backpack than my 17 inch laptop.
So because I have a ton of movies that I put on my Chromebook for the plane rides, I naturally end up just reading instead. One of the best purchases I've ever made. I'm talking about Kindles in general here. I had the original Kindle keyboard edition for years and finally last year, the blotches on the screen got too big and I ended up splurging for a Paperwhite. Why lug around a ton of books for reading on the beach when you can just bring this thing.
Molskine and Pen
This is one thing I never travel without. I always find myself needing to write something down. I've had this thing for years. It came in handy in Japan when I became obsessed with getting all the stamps at the temples and castles that I visited. I'm actually 12 years old. I also got fed up with pens going bad so I splurged and got myself one of those Fisher space pens to keep in my passport wallet (of course I own one of those). That pen always works.
Anything you think I'm missing, let me know.
That's all I've got for now. Finally finished my taxes, and I'm still dealing with the aftermath of too many half price German beer and mussels. I'm eating soup for dinner and calling it an early night.