Master Packing List, Part 1

Thursday, November 4, 2010

For me, holiday time equals travel time. Over the years I’ve learned a lot about the benefits of packing tightly and lightly.  After getting 54 lbs. of Mel stolen 4 years ago via the curb-side check-in at Continental, I prefer to carry on now. 

I’m sure a lot of you out there are last minute packers, but from a few bizarre experiences (ie. a trip to the emergency room in Buenos Aires) made me realize the importance of taking a couple of extra days to really think about what you MAY need (especially when traveling to a foreign country). 

That is the trick; not necessarily packing what you anticipate you will need due to your daily routine, but to really think about the inconvenient circumstances that may occur during your voyage.  Being prepared is not being negative either.  I am a completely optimistic person, but when it comes to traveling, the trip is so much EASIER when you travel smart.

Here are some travel tips that I’ve come up with through my own experiences:

  • Umbrella! It is not always easy to find umbrellas that are durable.  My boyfriend Zach and I bought about 5 umbrellas while we were in Spain because they kept breaking.  Needless to say, just take a couple with you.  Totes makes a super tiny one that weighs practically nothing. 
  • Plastic bags! I forgot rain boots in London during a torrential downpour and the exchange rate was absurd (and I’d much rather spend that money towards sightseeing, food & drinks!), so I wrapped plastic bags over my socks and put them in my shoes.  My feet managed to stay dry the entire day and I had the plastic bags to put my wet umbrella and clothes in when we were off to the next city!
  • Water. If you are traveling abroad and are unsure of the water quality, pick up some bottles of water before you get to your hotel.  You don’t want to be stuck in the hotel parched without anything to drink but sink water.  You can probably order room service, but depending on the exchange rate, you can end up paying a lot once you calculate the service charge and tip into the cost.
  • Snacks. Bring some sort of granola bar or an easy snack with you at all times.  If you party hard the night before and wake up hungover in the morning, or feel nauseous during the day, a familiar snack can usually help.  Also, you don’t want to take a pill on an empty stomach and sometimes it’s very difficult to get out of bed to buy a snack at a local convenience store.

  • Mini flashlight. You never know when you might need this, and you can buy one so tiny (there are ones that fit on a keychain) that you won’t even notice you packed it.  A mini flashlight has come in VERY handy during our trips.
  • Anti-bacterial wipes. Using public transportation and facilities ANYWHERE will require you to wash your hands immediately! Obviously it is always better to wash thoroughly once you reach your destination, but in the meantime, you can take care of a significant amount of the germs.
  • Passport. It is always helpful to carry a copy of your passport, along with sending/scanning a copy to your family or friends as well.  Just in case – you might as well be prepared.
  • Envelope.  If you are like me and save little items throughout your trip to create scrapbooks, it is helpful to carry around an envelope to safely store these special keepsakes (ie. tickets to a show, plane ticket, ferry ticket, etc.)
  • Itinerary.  It is always helpful to carry around a printed copy of your itinerary (where you are staying, address, phone number, where to catch the next flight, ferry or train ride).  Although technology today (ie. all Apple products) are changing the responsibilities of traveling, you never know what may happen, and a printed copy can be your saving grace.  Also, send it over to your family or friends so just in case, you can always email for assistance.
  • Lotion. Although most hotels offer lotion in the bathroom, you never know what fragrances are used, or how different the water quality is.  I absolutely hate walking around with dry skin all day and have super sensitive skin, so I always pack 2 travel sized fragrance free lotions.
  • Cortisone/antibiotic cream/bandages/pain reliever/anti-diarrheal. I carry a tiny plastic bag that I refer to as my first aid kit.  It is barely the size of my palm, but I take it everywhere.  This little kit has proved to be magical on many trips!
  • Hat. Some days or nights you may not want to spend the time to wash your hair, or the weather may not be conducive to wearing your hair down (ie. “Friends” episode when Monica is in Mexico).  So it can always help to throw in a hat that can easily roll up in your suitcase. 

Obviously there are many more items to pack, and I will continue this post once I begin packing for my trip to Copenhagen & Berlin (we are leaving in 2 weeks!)....Just thought I'd begin with these.  :)

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