Be prepared – some must-take item suggestions for the extended-stay traveller

When Robert Baden-Powell ran a camp on Brownsea Island for boys in 1907, at the same time,  starting the Boy Scout Movement and coining the phrase “be prepared”, never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined the gadgets we can now take with us when travelling away from home in the cause of being ‘21st Century’ prepared!

Perhaps the most vital piece of gadgetry has to be the travel adapter. Mobile phones, MP3 music players, laptops and/or tablet computer have become de rigeur in daily life, and the travelling executive is no exception – possibly even bringing all four items with them at once. But they need power!

It is vitally important to be able to charge the battery of these items, so a mains adapter is crucial. For the UK, electricity is rated at 230 V (50Hz) through Type ‘G’ (three pin ‘square’) plugs, although some very ‘adaptable’ adapters can cater for a variety of plugs and voltages. While most serviced apartments will be within easy reach of a supermarket or shop selling adapters, it is better to be prepared so you can plug in and charge up the moment you arrive!

With all the horror stories abounding about luggage security and items being surreptitiously placed in the unwary traveller’s luggage – sometimes with terrible consequences – the importance of luggage being locked at all times is paramount. However, locks generally mean small keys, which, when mobile, can so easily be lost in transit. Therefore, a combination lock for each lockable flap (bear in mind some trolley suitcases can have several zip sections) is the best solution, both for security and if the authorities need to do a quick spot check. This can be taken a step further with the availability of ‘wordlocks’, using letters rather than numbers, making the combination far easier to remember.

An often derided, but sometimes very useful item, this one from Paddywax, is the scented travel candle people. It helps with something that has probably happened to everyone. You’ve prepared a wonderful curry for dinner, but can’t quite rid the odour from the dining room prior to your round-table business meeting. Not only does lighting a scented candle get rid of the odour, but adds a touch of home to your apartment.

For the real “gadgetholic”, the rather futuristic, yet altogether serious i’M Watch could be the gadget you’ve been patiently waiting for! Fitting on your wrist – admittedly looking somewhat like the original LED watch unveiled by inventor Sir Clive Sinclair some four decades ago – it connects wirelessly to your smartphone, displaying your texts, emails and phone calls on its discrete colour screen, enabling you to keep in touch at the ‘flick of the wrist’. Be advised that it’s not the cheapest gadget on the market!

The LaCie corporation, never one to hide well-designed, practical gadgets under the corporate bushel, have a range of USB memory sticks that look good and perform well. Whether you need to carry around your PowerPoint presentation, or a range of portable PC applications, these sturdy and thin-profiled USB ‘thumb drives’, designed to resemble flat door keys, fit well on a keychain with other keys and are great value for money.

Cocoon, well known for their range of functional travel accessories have some fantastic bag-organisers under their Grid-It brand. These products are in essence a woven grid of quality elastic bands that let you organise and hold anything from phones to pens to pretty much anything else that would otherwise “fall down the cracks”. They are available in different shapes and sizes, some of which even include a little sleeve for your tablet or netbook. And, as pockets aren’t designed for any one product in particular, you can organise a layout that works best for all your unique bits and pieces.

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