Over the past few years I’ve managed to pare down my luggage requirements to a single carry-on bag and a briefcase. (Rick Steves offers some useful advice in this area.) My present trip has seen a similar reduction in the amount of stuff I carry with me on a daily basis. To select a particularly appalling example, I climbed the Great Wall carrying both a bag (containing lunch items, water, and other “essentials”), Nikon D40, and a generously-sized umbrella from the Beijing Intercontinental. To be fair, the umbrella doubled as a walking-stick and there was a decent chance of rain, but the combined weight in the face of oppressive humidity suggested I seek alternatives.
I have since traded my passport for a photocopy, the Nikon for an ultra-compact Canon IXUS 100IS, and left the bag at home. The IXUS 100IS (the SD780in the U.S.) is the smallest of Canon’s current line, can hide behind a credit card, and easily disappears into a pocket thanks to its rounded corners. While I still bring the Nikon when the situation demands, the Canon has become my daily carry.