Travel Essentials: Things You Need. And One Thing You Don’t. 2011

by Jules Older

For travelers, some things are essential. Others should be left at home or not acquired in the first place. Here’s this year’s compilation of things you need and one thing you don’t.

The outdoors maxim, “Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints,” is where we’ll start.


If you're gonna take pictures, I've got a camera for you. It’s small enough to stick in your pocket, light enough to take on a mountain climb, cheap enough to let you pay your mortgage … and powerful enough to blow you away. It blew me away, and I'm used to great cameras in small packages.

The camera in question is the Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS. It weighs less than five ounces, fits in a shirt pocket, and costs less than $200. But its real strength lies in what it can do.

Video? Full hi-def. Sound? Impossibly good — doubly so for a camera with such a tiny microphone. Low-light capability? Still can't believe what I've captured in gloomy rooms. Zoom lens? Big zoom but loses sharpness when you really pull in that distant egret. Viewfinder? No, but you'd better get used to that. Like the typewriter or phonograph, the viewfinder is a dying species.

After testing the 100 HS on snow and off, in two hemispheres, I pronounce it the best small camera I've ever tried. And the best buy.


From pictures to footprints. I've been testing two shoes — one made for walking and one for running. My first question: Does that designation really make a difference?

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The Things You Need And The Thing You Don’t

by Jules Older

I'm a travel writer and videographer. I fly to New Zealand, drive to San Jose, train to Banff, ferry San Francisco Bay. I've come to know what travelers need and what they're better off without.

So here's my list: what to buy and one thing to avoid. Here we go…

Clic reading glasses. They've gone up in price from about $30 to just under $80 (or $24.99 at The Trip Shop), but they're still savers of time and space. One pair of Clics replaces, in my case, a dozen reading glasses, one in every room of the house, one in the car and one in the place I put them where I'd never forget them and then forgot them. Clics, which you can buy online, just hang around your neck waiting to be magnetically clicked into action. I never travel without ‘em. And I no longer use strong language when searching for my accursed glasses.


High Sierra luggage. First rule of suitcase: It’s gotta have sturdy wheels. Second: Must be as light as possible. Third: Has to hold everything you need. If, like me, you're a skier, that means a lot of holding. Between boots, helmet, gloves, parka and ski pants, we don’t travel light.

One bag that meets all these requirements is the High Sierra 32” A.T.GO expandable, wheeled duffel. It’s big enough to hold everything, thus avoiding airline extra-bag charges. It’s light enough to save your back and avoid airline extra-weight charges. Sturdy zipper, strong wheels, good balance. If you pack big, you'll be glad you got it. And though it retails for $340, The Trip Shop (powered by Amazon) has it at $126. 



Salomon shoes. Start with this: For any footwear — hiking boots, running shoes, ski boots, sandals — fit is 10 times more important than brand. If they don’t fit in the store, when you get to the trail, the track, the mountain or the beach, expect a world of pain.

That said, if they do fit (and they fit me better than any other brand) Salomon athletic shoes are your best bet. That’s because Salomon came up with QUICKLACE — where one pull replaces tying and retying laces. It’s Lacing for the Lazy. Like me.

Ah, but which model: the XA Comp 3 or Wings? The XA Comp 3 is a bit lighter, 350 grams, and somewhat cheaper, about $100. Wings has more padding, which means more protection from pavement. It also means more weight, 390 grams, and more moolah, $130-160. 


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