Everyone’s got those “things.” Those essentials that they won’t travel without. Thanks to my husband, I’ve learned the art of traveling light and fitting everything into a carry-on bag (okay, not for our big trip to France), but these essentials always make the cut.

1. My iPad

I read. No, I mean like a lot. And when I travel I have even more time to read. I used to take books (scoff scoff) but now I take my iPad, which doubles as a Kindle with the app. So I have as many books as I can eat — er, read — without the weight of actual books.

Caveat: occasionally I’ll bring a lightweight paperback so I don’t drain my battery and end up bored on the plane. I’ll usually finish that book and leave it in a bed and breakfast for someone else to enjoy.

2. Cash

I don’t care what my husband says; it’s still useful to carry cash when traveling. Yes, I can use a card just about anywhere, but when you end up in backwoods Louisiana and want to buy boudin at the local gas station, guess what? They don’t take cards. So, yea. Cash.

I also recently got a Coin, which is a nifty credit card that you can actually store multiple card info on. So one card can be used with multiple accounts. I tested it out on a recent trip, and it worked pretty well.

3. Nail File

It’s inevitable; whenever I travel, I snag a nail. I started carrying a file so I wouldn’t walk around all snaggle-nailed.

Bonus Tip: I don’t paint my nails with regular polish just before a trip unless my nails are really short. They’ll chip and then they’ll look worse. If I’m going to paint, I do gel, because they’ll endure all kinds of beatings.

4. Extra Underwear

TMI, I know. But whenever I count out how many days’ worth of clothes I need, I always throw in extra underwear. Because people sweat. That’s all I’m saying.

5. Extra Batteries and Chargers

Okay, in full disclosure, I completely forgot my camera on my last trip, but I had plenty of chargers! That’s the one item I end up buying the most: new chargers because I (or someone in my family) forgets one. So now I pack them first.

What’s the one thing you can’t live without when traveling?