Everyone loves to travel but no one likes to pack. If you’re anything like me, you might even put it off until the last second. When that happens, things are usually forgotten. A good friend of mine shared a master packing list with me that includes everything you could possibly take with you. While it’s made my packing nightmare much more bearable, there are always certain items I never forget to bring with me. These aren’t your typical things to pack like clothes, shoes and medicine. They’re a handful of essentials that are important for their own reasons. Take a look at tell me what you think in the comments below:
1 - Travel Documentation
This may seem like an obvious one but it wasn’t always something I thought about. Travel documentation can vary depending on the destination you visit and what country (and even state) you live in. For example, there are a few states that no longer have TSA compliant driver’s licenses and can’t fly domestically without one. While this isn’t supposed to effect fliers before 2020, it might be safer to take a passport along. And before you argue that a passport is too much money, it’s $110 for adults over the age of 16 and only needs to be renewed every 10 years. That’s $11 per year, not a huge mark on the wallet by any means. Travel documentation also includes any flight or train information. It includes travel insurance, copies of your identification, and copies of your health insurance. All this documentation should be kept on your person, not in checked bags. At the hotel when you reach your destination, make sure to put a copy (or the real thing if you prefer) in the safe.
2 - First-Aid/Emergency Travel Kit
I have mini kits for everything. It’s better to be prepared than to face an emergency and not be able to help yourself or someone else! I’ll actually be sharing what’s in this emergency kit soon so you can see exactly what I’m talking about. As someone who also likes to pack light, we’re not talking anything crazy here. An emergency travel kit should have enough items to get you through an emergency situation. A few things to include are: band-aids, alcohol pads, Benadryl/Antihistamine medication, ibuprofen, an energy/candy bar, and a few others things. It should be able to fit easily in your regular bag or purse. We don’t need full bottles of rubbing alcohol here or a 12-pack of bottled water to make it through apocalyptic events. Just enough odds and ends to help with injuries, allergic reactions, upset stomach and other things.
3 - Multi-Purpose Bag
I don’t own purses. I have one clutch that my friends gave me for a birthday and I can count the number of times I use it in a year on one hand. I own messenger bags, overnight bags and backpacks. Why? Because I’m usually carrying my portable office or a small version of it and I like the bag to live a good life. There are two bags that always come with me when I travel: a giant textbook-sized messenger bag and a backpack. The backpack is good when I need to lug the computer around and the messenger bag is good when I’m just lugging the camera around. I know people who pack several purses and clutches to match all the possible outfits they’re taking on vacation. That’s such a waste of space though! Bring something that can easily collapse and that will serve a better purpose than a fashion statement.
4 - Hand Wipes
I always have a travel-size package of hand sanitizer wipes when I travel. Let’s start with trains and planes. They’re FULL of germs and bacteria. I wipe down the trays when I sit down on the plane to make sure it’s as clean as I can get it with the resources that I have. They also come in handy if any public bathroom you need to use is out of soap. We’ve all been there before! Hand wipes also come into handy if you’re a mom or traveling with kids. Anyone who’s done that before understands me on a real deep level. The best part about hand wipes? You don’t have to worry about it being another liquid in a bottle when going through security. If you can’t find hand wipes on your way out or you have tons of sanitizer on hand, just bring a bottle of that. It works as good.
5 - A Large Scarf
I got this super cute, soft scarf from one of my past Stitch Fix boxes that is enormous. I wear it more often as a wrap than a scarf because it’s so huge. Traveling will come with its share of surprises and one of them is that you’ll find yourself cold even if you’re on the way to a tropical getaway. Planes, trains, buses and cars can often be cooler than we prefer. Hotels can also get chilly. A large scarf is versatile and travels easy. It also lets you enjoy that small seat on the plane without having to share it with your over-sized puffy coat. It will even come in handy if one of the days has an uncharacteristic drop in temperature.
Before you go...I want to talk toiletries for a minute. Bottles of things can take up a lot of space in your suitcase and carry-on. See below for my list of Do’s and Don’ts on what to pack and what to buy. For the things not on the list, bring what might be hard to find if you need it and leave what you can do without or find in a pinch. A few other toiletries I never travel without are my hair gel for curly days (I have a very specific one that I use), face moisturizer because my skin can be annoying and a travel size bottle of dry shampoo. If I'm going somewhere I know will be very humid or warm, I'll also take Urban Decay's Makeup Setting Spray to keep my face in place.