The last time I went book shopping at BAM I also found an odd little survival kit:
How many items useful for survival purposes could you fit in a sardine can, anyway? To find out I brought it home and popped it open:
It's cute, but from my ex-military POV it's not really practical. The matches, compass, razor blade and the can itself are okay, but I'd probably dump the rest and replace them with a decent Swiss Army knife, water purification tablets and as many high-calorie food bars as I could fit in the can. Or I'd give up all of it for a knife, a comprehensive medical kit and a functioning personal locator beacon.
When I travel I always take the things I can't live without while I'm away from home in my own personal sanity survival kit: my camera, a journal, a notebook, a variety of pens, a paperback to read, a small sewing or quilting project, music CDs or an audio book for the car, a partial manuscript to edit and a smart keyboard. I can usually fit all that into a small tote bag, but if I have to sacrifice anything I'll give up the paperback (as long as I know I can get to a book store at my destination.) If I have extra room, I'll add a research book or a new magazine.
What do you need to survive when you travel? Let us know in comments.