Indispensable Overseas Travel Supplies


I'm getting ready for another eight months abroad after recently logging 20 months between 2011 and 2012. I got quite used to living out of a suitcase and have been through enough travel ringers to know some key supplies that make a huge difference, and that can't be easily found overseas.


For me, having some movies is a nice reminder of home.

For 20 months, I had less than 5 movies to choose from—I ended up watching Swingers and Life Aquatic over and over again mostly. This year, I'm bringing a much larger selection, which I definitely think is worth the extra bit of travel space.

My packing solution was to remove each DVD from the original packaging and place inside an old school Case Logic CD binder. Using Handbrake to rip a DVD and then store on an external drive is a good solution too.


You'll get headaches or have other issues from time-to-time where Advil does a superb job. I don't recall ever coming across it overseas.

Travel Mirror

You'd be surprised, in some places throughout the world, it's not a custom to use a mirror and you might not find them in the places you'll be staying.

If you don't have a travel mirror handy, how are you going to shave? How are you going to know what you look like?

The one I use is from REI, costs less than $5, and is more or less indestructible. Check it out:

Sharpie Pens

I can't tell you how many times I ran into situations where I wanted to use a Sharpie and didn't have one and couldn't find a worthy equivalent.

Rubber Bands

Use of these, also, pops up from time-to-time. Great way to organize electronic cables to keep things organized and neat in your luggage.


There are overseas equivalents but nothing like the original.

Good Floss

There are overseas versions of floss (call it "dental tape" in India), but nothing, I've seen, that works like my favorite Glide. I remember buying some floss in Kenya and it almost cut my fingers, and got stuck in my teeth frequently.

Pocket Knife

I'd say you could avoid costly Leathermans with all the bells and whistles, I never ran into a situation where I said, "I wish I had a nail file."

I use the Leatherman Crater c33Tx knife, also available from REI. Extremely sharp blade, pretty durable, and less than $50. You'd also be OK with the C33x for $18.95.

iPad Mini

I'd rank this beautiful gizmo as totally essential, especially on long haul trips.

Not only is it a back up computer should you run into issues with your laptop, it will also give you access to endless books. Reading on smaller devices works — I did it — but reading on the iPad is worth the additional investment, especially if you like to read, as I do.

Plus, I like to present my work with photos. The iPad's display and design is an elegant and impactful way to do so.

Extra Power Cords

In the places I visited, surprisingly, you could always find a store that sold Apple products, but they're on UK pricing, which is around 2x more expensive than US.

In case you are going to more remote places, it's a must to have back ups of your essential power cords. I have two power adapters for my laptop, 3 power adapters for the iPod/iPad, and two cable connectors. Losing one of those guys is not something I'd want to have to think about while traveling.

Fabric for Sitting

It's always good to have some piece of cloth large enough to sit on. It adds dignity when you are in places without furniture and have to sit on the floor frequently. I use what's in the photo, primarily during meals. You'll probably find other uses for it as well.

Fujitsu Mobile ScanSnap Scanner

Not pictured, link to view is here.

I use this in combination with Evernote to stay paperless. This is particularly useful for receipts, as everything I purchase overseas counts as a business expense.

It's expensive but a worthy investment to save yourself from having to hold on to important paper documents while on the road, which can be easily lost or damaged.