The Other things We Carry Part 2: Electronics, Kitchen Needs, and Miscellaneous

Our Japanese coasters help make any rental feel a little more like home

Beyond health and safety, and personal items and toiletries. we carry several other things, most of them small, that make our stays easier and allow us to settle in and feel “at home.” Many of these things we carry along came about through trial and error, or were things that were missing from the homes we stayed in and were frustrating not to have available.

Electronics: We are fortunate these days that electronics are compact and lightweight, and only a few devices are necessary to cover many functions. Brett usually carries his iPad and my laptop in his backpack, so that only one of us has to empty things out when we go through airport security. The voltage adapter from our last adventure still works well, but we figured a back-up wouldn’t be a bad idea this time. Same for a the wireless chargers, dongles, etc. All of our devices are made by Apple, and one of the tasks we perform soon after arrival is figuring out where the nearest Apple store is (or if there even is one), or where we can get our Apple products repaired, if necessary!

  • Laptop (Laura)
  • Tablet w/keyboard (Brett)
  • 2 phones
  • 2 Kindles
  • 2 wireless chargers
  • 2 voltage adapters
  • 2 laptop to USB dongles
  • 2 electric toothbrushes & chargers
  • Digital fish scale (for weighing luggage)
  • Hearing aid batteries (Brett)
Seems like so much when they’re all together, but each piece is easy to tuck in somewhere on its own

Cooking utensils: The below items are ones that we found to be sometimes either lacking in rentals and that we missed having, or in poor condition and unusable (there was nothing worse than discovering a vegetable peeler that wouldn’t peel!), and as we went along we began to carry a few of our own things. Our little spiralizer will not be traveling with us this time for an obvious reason – no sense tempting fate again.

  • Kitchen shears
  • 2 vegetable peelers (regular & julienne)
  • 2 paring knives
  • bamboo spatula
  • small pair of tongs
  • silicone spatula
  • measuring spoons
  • small whisk
  • wine opener
  • cooking chopsticks
More items that are easy to tuck in among our clothes but make a long stay easier and more comfortable

Kitchen accessories: All of these items are lightweight and can easily tuck into our suitcases and carryons. The soba choko cups are immensely versatile, and are exactly a half cup, so can be used for measuring. Some rentals have a coffee maker; others may only have an electric kettle, and we discovered that coffee filters can be difficult to find at times. We’re taking along two coffee cups out of our former collection, the ones we would miss least if anything happened to them. The small melamine plates are wonderful for corralling items and keeping things organized in both the kitchen and bathroom, especially during long stays; they weigh next to nothing and take up next to no space. The microfiber clothes are indispensable for a variety of tasks in the kitchen and bathroom.

  • 4 soba choko cups
  • 8-ounce plastic pour-through coffee filter basket
  • Size 4 paper coffee filters
  • 2 coffee mugs
  • 2 8″ melamine plates
  • Microfiber cloths

Miscellaneous items: We never used our sewing kit during our last round of travel, but know if we hadn’t carried one we would have needed one. We also accumulated quite a collection of shopping bags during our earlier travels but this time we’re taking along just two large L.L. Bean canvas bags and our beloved Japanese bag for grocery and other shopping. One of the Bean bags will double as my under-the-seat carry-on when we fly. The coasters were ones we bought in Japan during our 2019 stay, and setting them out (along with using our own coffee mugs) helps us personalize our rentals and make it feel like home.

  • Small sewing kit
  • Cloth shopping bags
  • Japanese ceramic coasters

All of these items are again fairly small and can be tucked in amount our clothing, or into our carry-on bags. Put together they seem like a lot of added weight, but we have learned a long stay in one place is a very different beast than a shorter one. What we can go without or muddle through in a couple of weeks is not as much fun during three months. We also did not enjoy having to buy things along the way and we learned to carry things from one location to another.

By the way, we carried more than I’ve listed in Parts 1 and 2 when we carried Christmas gifts back to the mainland during previous travels, so we know we can make all of these things fit and still not be overweight. We did it before and we can do it again!

10 thoughts on “The Other things We Carry Part 2: Electronics, Kitchen Needs, and Miscellaneous

  1. An interesting list. I can see the value in each item, and each would make a place seem more like home for a longer stay. The kitchen items are really all any of us need truth be told. Your microfiber cloths are like the travel washcloths I found before one of our last trips to Europe. They are so handy, easily washable and they dry fast!


    1. The kitchen tools we travel with are the basics and I found it very frustrating when on or more was missing in a kitchen. We started small and slowly assembled what we’ll be taking with us this time around. I’m going to store many of our other kitchen utensils – I know I’ll want them later and don’t want to pay to replace them (again).


  2. My electric toothbrush I think Oral B, came w 4 brushes or heads of different colors, to be used by 4 people! The previous one had little colored clips to mark whose was each person’s brush. Saving a little space and weight- but maybe you prefer different types or brands?


    1. We have Oral B electric brushes – we just bought new ones to take along and will also be taking along 18 of the replaceable heads because we have no idea if they exist overseas or not, or where to find them..


  3. How cute to have those coasters with you! I’ve always thought that small things can have really big impacts. Feeling at home in a foreign place is an art and you’ve mastered it! I’ve never thought to bring along kitchen utensils in my travels, but I will. It’s brilliant.
    You can use the Kindle app instead of your Kindle devices or in addition to them, although probably Kindle is better than your phone because of the larger screen. In my opinion, however, the iPad is a better reader than Kindle.


      1. My phone is too small, my laptop too awkward, and the Kindle is just right! Brett has tried using his iPad, but also found it awkward and likes the size of the Kindle better.


    1. Those coasters were one of the best things we bought during our travels. Small, lightweight, but full of memories and very useful as well. One of the biggest surprises during our previous travels was figuring out how just a couple of items could turn any Airbnb into “home.”

      I have tried the Kindle app on my laptop, Brett has tried his iPad, but we both find the Kindle much easier to hold and use – it’s just the right size. It’s also very easy to carry, small enough to fit into my purse. I’ve been using a Kindle since 2015 (Brett since 2017), and it’s what we’re used to now. It’s also easy platform to use with the library. I need a new Kindle though – mine can barely hold a charge these days.


    1. We have bought and left behind a little hand-held Oxo spiralizer three times, in Hawaii, in France, and in Japan! The spiralizer is difficult to corral with the other utensils because of its shape, so it was put somewhere separate in the kitchen and forgotten when we packed. We bought another one here but we’re planning to put it into storage!


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