A small power cord with at least two outlets.
Let's face it, you're always out of power. Carrying an extra laptop battery can be bulky. What I'd really like is a grounded cable that has no more than a six inch cord. It doesn't need any more than two outlets, but three would be nice.
With a diggie such as that, it's easy to get someone let me plug in to an outlet they are already using, or even better, make friends by letting them share my outlet! And if there is nobody to make friends with, I can always charge my phone at the same time as I charge my laptop.
A quick search found this ultra retractable power cord. It only has one outlet, but that's easy to fix with an add-on. Here's a four-in-one splitter that's a little too bulky for my taste. Actually, they've got much more; I'm sure I'll find something I like.
A small wireless hub
I'd love a small wireless hub with one additional network port. This gives me mobility where this is none, or share a network cable already in use (that's what the additional port is for). The only problem is weight. Even if the hub is small and light, it'll almost certainly need a bulky transformer. (Because this is for travel, I have a very low threshold for bulk.)
Throw in an extra, 12" RJ45 cable while we're at it.
I had these for JavaOne, and they turned into a lifesaver -- since all the hotels were booked, there was little flexibility in my choice of rooms, so I was given a room next to the elevator mechanics. Throw two dozen of these puppies into a zip-loc bag and you're a happy sleeper.
In fact, I'm going to buy these in bulk (a hundred, say) and have them pre-packaged for my next several trips.
Of course, these babies are great for flights. Note that noise canceling headphones are not on this list - I have yet to find one I like, and I have yet to find one that doesn't survive my rugged use.
Another item not on this list, but I would recommend is a nice eye mask.
You know, the iPod variety. Not bulky. Functional. But most important, cheap. Ones that I won't feel about if they break, because the lifetime of any set of headphones I own varies independently from the amount of money I spend on them.
Travel size toothpaste
It's not just because of the DHS regulations that I want to bring travel-size toothpaste. They're more compact, and their use tends to be exhausted at the conclusion of my trip. I find that travel size toothpaste tubes last about four days, five if I am conservative. It makes sense to bring two tubes per trip, just to prevent a trip to the pharmacy.
I'm going to purchase three of them, each sized to hold 8 1/2 x 11 inch sheets, each of a different color. I'll keep one reserved for expense receipts, and the other two for anything else I can think of. I want plastic envelopes rather than paper ones because they'll last longer.
These are great for collecting whatever additional material you find: collected business cards, bottles of fancy shampoo (for the wife, I swear!) - I'm sure there's more.
Wow, I finally found a use for conference swag. Sometimes you get extra crap that you just don't want to carry, like Yet Another Brand New Knapsack. Adding a carabeaner to your collection means hooking one to another.
- Create a small set of multiple travel packages with two tubes of toothpaste, zip-lock bags, 24 earplugs, q-tips, and whatever else I need.
- Print out a list of singleton items that I need to include on every trip -- include things like the carabeaner, headphones, hub and power cords./network cable, you name it.