A book or two - always non-fiction (definately NOT Lonely Planet or Rough Guide - takes all the fun out of mystery and surprises), a small music recorder (never without it - ever) to save a few choons I've never heard before, pen - paper and envelopes (it's not always emailing for me), jippy tummy powder and brewers yeast tablets. Apart from them, my list is always much the same as everyone elses. Aah.... Not long till the next trip. Will seem like ages though.
I love reading, a few books a week, but nothing gets heavier than lugging a books around, especially when you've finished them, they seem heavier.So Ive started downloading talking books to my ipod before i travel. Now I can take as many books as I want, and my bag never gets heavier. I can generally access the ineternet anywhere and load new ones when Im ready.Its also fun swapping the downloads with likeminded friends.
I also download my important document files to my ipod or phone so that i have a quick reference with me if I need it. Once had to prove i was actually married to my husband, thankfully sent an email from my phone to their account and, voila!, instant copy of marriage cert. Whew.
Large zip lock bag for washing clothes in. Add clothes, water, and powder. Zip closed and shake vigorously.Works wonders.
Travel well .....
I agree with the travelling light idea.
However note that another criteria is whether the person is planning a working holiday or not.
In that case they would need to pack working clothes whether it be a waitering outfit or office clothes.
They would also need their Cv in some form or another, although whether or not they have it on their person would be influenced by whether their job search is 'legitimate' according to Customs or not.
Perhaps knowledge of whether or not your destination country has a poor public transport system can help - in that case you would want comfortable shoes!
If your destination country has a high crime rate items like a money belt become more important.
If you have limited space when packing take a hand towel instead of a full size towel .
digi cam and extra batteries.
Not sure if someone already mentioned this (there's a lot of replies here!), but have you seen the "Universal Packing List"?
Very similar to your idea. It would be cool to see something like this on Travellerspoint, though.