Over the past two weeks, I’ve covered some packing tips and tricks of mine – we’ve gone over how to pack a backpack for extended travel, and what to bring in your carry on. Today, we’re looking at what my “must-haves” are – those essentials I can’t leave home without.
Packing Guide Part 3: The Essential “Must-Haves”
An over-prepared (and often overpacked!) traveller is a happy traveller – I know I suggested taking away five items (or more, if you’re like me) when packing your luggage, but I will say that being over-prepared isn’t necessarily a bad thing! I may take away a few luxury clothing items (I’m certainly a culprit of bringing along clothes I only wear once, or not at all – I’ve gotten better, I promise!), but some items are non-negotiable.
Here’s what I recommend bringing every time you travel – you never know when these items may come in handy!
- International travel adapter for electronics – even if you’re just road-trippin’ through your province or state, it’s handy to have one along. Adapters often have extra USB outlets, allowing you to plug in multiple iThings, even if you’ve forgotten the correct adapters. If you’re travelling internationally, you’ll need one of these so that you don’t fry your electronic devices. Make sure you check that you have the correct converters along before you head out (for example, my adapter doesn’t have the correct outlet for South Africa, so I had to take a separate adapter along). That being said, you can always pick up additional adapters in airports or electronics stores once you arrive at your destination.
- A fast-drying towel – my favourite brand is PackTowel but Norwex also has a similar product that works super well. It’s so worth it to have one of these along! They pack flat, don’t take up a lot of space, and dry quickly so that you don’t have to worry about damp and musty yuckiness.
- A raincoat – again, worth it! Even if the forecast is predicting sunny skies and balmy temps, things can change on a dime. I always have one rolled up at the bottom of my bag, just in case – I have a model from MEC that rolls up into its hood for a nice, compact fit and it’s been a lifesaver.
- A small cross-body/clutch purse – I always pack a little purse for those days that I don’t want to lug around my backpack or giant purse. I like a bag that can be converted from clutch/wristlet to cross-body because they’re super versatile and great for going out.
- Comfortable walking shoes – so necessary. Whether you’re on business travel or a casual getaway, it’s important to have shoes you can last in for an extended amount of time. My advice: don’t travel with brand new shoes – allow for time to wear shoes in advance to swear off blisters and ensure that the shoes you’re bringing along are, in fact, comfortable. Otherwise, you’re wasting valuable space in your bag AND hurting your feet – no fun!
- Laundry detergent and stain remover – I always have travel-sized laundry soap (I’m obsessed with CampSuds – biodegradable, gentle, super concentrated, and environmentally friendly, you can use this stuff anywhere and it lasts forever) and stain-remover (Tide to go is perfect) along to wash delicates and anything that may need immediate cleaning. All you need is a sink, water, and some soap to keep your clothing clean and fresh.
- Pouches – I like to separate groups of items by packing them in different pouches. This ensures that I can find things quickly when I’m in a rush and it keeps things neat and tidy in my bag. I also pack along Ziploc bags to separate my liquids (keeps messes to a minimum if there are accidental spills) and garbage bags for dirty shoes, laundry, and wet items.
- A first-aid kit – You never know when a blister might pop up or when clumsy feet might cause a tumble – when it comes to your health, you can’t be over prepared. I always pack a little travel-sized first-aid kit in my bag. Pro tip: stick a few safety pins in one of these babies and you’ll be prepared for anything.
- Disinfectant – I typically pack a travel-sized Lysol spray (AMAZING for dirty public toilets that freak you out – so reassuring to know you’ve sanitized!) and a small bottle of hand sanitizer.
- Makeup Remover Wipes – these are made for travelling and being on the go. They’re great for flying and for camping – Wet Ones are a great substitute and I also have friends who rely on baby wipes.
- Toilet Paper and Tissues – at the minimum, never leave home without some tissue!!!! I can’t stress this enough – you never know when some toilet paper may come in handy. You will NOT regret being prepared. I came across travel-sized toilet paper rolls from Charmin and I always pack a roll.
- A journal – Not only can you store important info like medical numbers, international consulates, maps, hotel/train/flight info, a photocopy of your passport, and emergency contact numbers in your journal to have with you at all times (especially if something gets lost or technology fails you), but you can also write down your memories! I am not the journaling type – the only time I actually “journaled” on a trip was for a class assignment when I was in South Africa (more on this in a future post!) but I can’t tell you how much I value having those experiences and memories written down. I recommend that everyone take a journal along and jot things down!
- Multipurpose makeup – save space and take all you need in a compact travel palette! So many brands have come out with amazing travel-sized palettes (many available at Sephora). One of the most versatile value sets on the market right now is Urban Decay’s Naked On The Run set – it includes mascara, eyeliner, bronzer, blush, highlighter, lipgloss, and eye shadow – everything you need for day-to-night looks in a super tiny package. Convenient and pretty!
These items are necessities in my books – some of you may have more items on your list and some of you may have less, but it’s a good idea to write down your must-haves and make sure you have them on hand for you next big adventure. What’s on your must-have list? Post a comment, send me a tweet, or hit me up on Facebook – I love hearing from you!
Until next week, stay well!