Knowing what to bring with you on vacation is probably one of the hardest things to resolve as you get ready for your next grand adventure. You’re constantly balancing what you really need to bring with what you really want to bring and all of that has to be boiled down to fit in the right amount of luggage. This tug of war is so difficult because there’s just nothing worse than running into an issue, and the one item that could help you out of the jam is the thing that got left behind.
It’s no secret that I’m a less is more kind of packer, but I believe in being as prepared as possible. To that end, there are a few items I don’t leave home without. Check out my list below and let me know if you have any items I should try on my next journey.
- First Aid Kit. When I first started traveling a lot, I bought a small travel-sized first aid kit and stashed it in my bag. After about 5 trips, it was still unopened, and I considered ditching the idea. I realized though, it wasn’t that I didn’t need a first aid kit, I just needed one with the right stuff in it. 😊 So, I found a spare bag with a zipper and filled it with things that I was buying while traveling. Here’s my list of items: Pain relievers, anti-histamine, band-aids, moleskin, Q-tips, cotton balls and a travel size container of hydrogen peroxide. If I can’t solve the problem with these items, we should probably be seeking out professional medical attention anyway (which is a whole other topic). For life’s little emergencies, I added a pair of child’s scissors (blunt end), a few safety pins and one of those tiny sewing kits. You can find this entire list in travel-sized options. Customize your own kit for your next trip.
- Plastic baggies. Baggies are my unsung heroes of travel. They are flat and lightweight and fit in even the smallest nook of your suitcase, but the fact that they have so many uses is the reason I bring a handful along on every trip. What do I do with baggies while traveling? 1) keep my camera or phone dry; 2) keep wet clothes away from dry clothes; 3) keep toiletries that have a tendency to explode from destroying my clothes; 4) add ice and soothe a hurt knee or ankle; 5) make my own washing machine; 6) keep small souvenirs like match books or ticket stubs safe; and 7) put shoes in them to keep my clothes from getting dirty. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Bring some baggies!
- Food. I’m going to break this one down into two categories: 1) Airplane food and 2) staving off starvation. Let’s start with the airplane. We all know the food they serve on the plane is pretty much a disgusting blob of chemicals and preservatives. However, when you’re starving, anything sounds great. What to do? Make yourself an airplane picnic! The night before your flight, freeze your favorite yogurt or apple sauce in a BPA-free container (3 oz or less so you’ll make it through TSA). Make a sandwich, grab a piece of fruit, a little something sweet (because what is life without dessert), a plastic spoon and a napkin and put them in a gallon-size freezer bag in the fridge. Right before you leave for the airport, add the frozen items to the freezer bag to keep your other items cold and put it all in your carry-on luggage. Once you’re on the plane, everything has thawed and is ready for you to eat at your leisure. So we’ve got the airplane food handled, but what do you do when you’re seeing the most amazing sunset from the top of a mountain and starvation is imminent? You just dip into your plastic baggie (see what I did there?) of non-perishable food you were smart enough to bring along. My favorite? KIND bars! Any granola bar or trail mix will solve your problem though and keep you among the living until you can get a real meal. They are small, light, can take a beating in your backpack and (shhhh!) good for you, so stock up before you head out on your next adventure.
- A small change purse. Having a small change purse or additional wallet with you while traveling is a great way to not put all your eggs in one basket. Each morning, I take the amount of money I think I’ll need for the day and one credit or debit card and put it in my change purse which I put in a really accessible place (front pants pocket or top pocket of backpack). I then tuck my regular wallet with all the rest of my money and cards away in a safe place – either in my pack or in a safe if one is available. Then I use my change purse to purchase anything I need during the day. This serves three purposes. 1) It’s easy to access it quickly; 2) I’m not advertising to anyone who might be looking how much cash I actually have; and 3) If it does get stolen or lost, I’m only out a small amount of cash and one credit card.
- Travel wipes. People can say Americans are much too fastidious about being clean, but it’s not going to change the fact that I like to stay well while I’m traveling. We all know that the best way to do this is to wash your hands a lot. However, sometimes there’s no convenient place to wash up, so I bring travel wipes with me to do the job. LA FRESH (http://lafreshgroup.com/travel-lite-amenities) sells travel wipes for everything from cleaning your hands to applying sunscreen in nice convenient travel packets. Check them out.