rfmcuThe great thing about traveling these days is that our gadgets have become so much smaller and more powerful. On a trip to the Caribbean in 2001 we had to take a suitcase for our laptop and accessories and a suitcase for the satellite phone. Now I can tuck an iPad and my cellphone into my regular purse and use my carry on luggage just for clothes.

Last summer I traveled with my friend Carissa Rogers to the Blogher conference in San Diego. This is where I learned exactly what is on my new essential list of the top 14 things I never leave home without:

1) Wallet

2) Sunglasses

3) Cell phone

4) Keys – I have the keys on a lanyard which makes them easier to grab when they are loose in my purse. It also makes it easy to hang them around my neck when I am just running into the store quickly and don’t want to take my entire purse in with me. Wearing your keys around your neck sort of is a Grandma move – the equivalent of wearing socks with sandals – but I am finding the efficiency is worth the looks from much younger people.

5) Passport – I usually carry this with me as my form of identification.  It is government issued but doesn’t display my home address.  Besides that, you never know when you might have the chance to dash off to some exotic foreign destination.

6) Reading glasses – once you need them you really need them and now I don’t travel anywhere without them.

7) A great red lipstick and some waterproof mascara – This was really the main thing I learned at the conference.  A girl should really not go anywhere without a great lipstick and her mascara.

8) Watch – yes, your cellphone displays the time but I absolutely adore my watch (also waterproof). It’s important to be on time and a great looking watch is a good way to make sure you do that.

9) Skanz bracelet –  a square code on the bracelet can be scanned by other smart phones and will load all of my contact information on to that phone. Love this. Thanks Zebra Partners  – more on this later.

10) Business cards – in case I run into someone who doesn’t have a smart phone OR if someone needs a note about something I will write it down on my business card and then that reminds them of my conversation along with giving them the information they wanted.

11) Black Sharpie and Silver Sharpie (Not pictured but critical) – you should never leave home without one of each in your purse. You never know when you might have the opportunity to have Jane Lynch sign the Glee Tshirt you just happen to be carrying with you at the time. Also, if you are at a Broadway show the playbills are often dark and if you happen to run into a former Miss America who is playing the lead you can have her sign your playbill with the silver Sharpie (that shows up much better on black).

12) Earrings – I make sure to have a great pair of earrings with me. The pair in this picture was a gift from my mother after a trip she took to India. They are my Default Earrings. I wear them everywhere.  Yes, the watch is gold and the earrings are silver. It might be like wearing white after Labor day but I’m OK with that. The watch and the earrings both have sentimental meaning to me and so make me feel more confident when I’m wearing them.

13) Blue Tooth

14) Lucky nickel – Several years back they started making nickels with an ocean scene on one side with the immortal words of Lewis and Clark “Ocean in view, Oh the joy!”. My youngest brother had been saying this phrase for years every time he returned home from one of his great adventures and it had become a symbol to me too. I love traveling but there is also a great joy that comes when I finally return home. In my case this does happen to be very close to that same point where Lewis and Clark penned those famous words. So, I carry my lucky nickel with me to remind me about the way home.

What are the items you can’t leave home without?

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Disclosure: HTC, LG, and Skanz did give me these products while I was at Blogher.  They did not ask me to write this follow up post. The opinions and the fact that these products ended up in my top list of can’t leave home without them items are all my own.   I am an affiliate with Amazon and links from this article serve to provide more information about the items on my list but also link to my affiliate pages.