Luggage and accessories.

Getting a decent night's sleep on the road is often a challenge.

Having a Cocoon bedsack or sleeping bag liner is essential for those cheaper, not so tidy, hotels...The Cocoon brand silk one is what I have. It's comfortable and is the smallest and lightest (3" x 6" and about 6 oz.) I could find. Other manufacturers make them and if you are in Hanoi, they sell "knock offs" for $7.00 if you bargain hard or about $10 if you don't like haggling. I suspect there are other places that sell them in places like Bangkok, Hong Kong and Jakarta where silk is plentiful and cheap.

They run about $50 and are available at places like REI

UPDATE May 2007:

After a few years of use, my Cocoon bedsack started wearing out...the seams were splitting and it had a few tears. When I went to replace it, I found that a "Ripstop Silk" version had been developed (obviously due to the problems I was seeing with my original non-ripstop version). The new Ripstop Silk Cocoon is not cheap; I paid nearly $75.00 for it, but, it is a bit more compact, and so far it seems a bit more sturdy than the old one.

Here's the link to the Cocoon website (which is difficult to navigate) and below, more details about the new Ripstop Silk Cocoon product

Ripstop Silk is the optimum fabric for minimizing packing size and weight. Silk is soft against your skin and responds well to changing temperatures - it feels cool in the summer and is warm in the winter. TravelSheets made of silk are easy to hand or machine wash and dry quickly. Woven with a grid-like structure of strong silk threads, Ripstop Silk is more durable and resistant to tearing than regular silk - an innovative fabric developed by COCOON. Size: 210 x 88 cm Weight: 170 g

I always carry a supply of Benadryl Allergy medicine with me. Benadryl (diphenhydramine) makes most people sleepy. If I am keyed up or my sleep patterns are messed up from being in a different time zone, sometime a Benadryl really helps.

I carry a small inflatable travel pillow (the ones you see around people's necks on airplanes) in my day-pack. If the hotel I am staying in has bad pillows, I underinflate my travel pillow and wrap it in the hotel towel and then put it inside a t-shirt. This combination makes a fairly comfortable pillow.

Many international airlines provide those "sleep masks" or "blinders" on long flights....sometimes in coach class, but almost always in First Class. You can either purchase one at home, or better yet, while you are exiting the plane upon arrival, grab a pair that a first class passenger has left behind. If you don't see any laying around, ask the flight attendant for one.. These "sleep masks" come in handy if you end up staying in a hotel where outside lights cannot be blocked out, or when you need to sleep during daylight hours. Earplugs might also a good idea.

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