I absolutely love getting away, be it a day trip or an overseas adventure. As an avid traveler, I’ve picked up a few tricks to eliminate the stress of getting out the door and onto the road in a timely manner. One of my favorites is to keep items in luggage that I never unpack. It’s always ready and saves me a lot of time. Plus, it keeps me from having to store my travel items in other locations when they’re not in use — the luggage is a great place to store my travel gear. The following are items I keep bagged, even when I’m at home.
Since I’m lazy, I’ve often avoided packing toiletries, figuring I’d buy a little toothpaste, a toothbrush and a mini deodorant at the hotel. I’ve also depended on the soaps and shampoos that they provide. But in the past few years, I’ve learned the hard way: that’s a bad idea. “What ever can go wrong, will go wrong,” Murphy says, and I’ve found myself scrambling for a drug store in the middle of who-knows-where one too many times.
Today, I keep a travel toiletries bag packed and ready at all times:
- A travel toothbrush. I love this one from Colgate because it folds in on itself, saving space and keeping the bristles away from everything else in the bag.
- Listerine. The 3.2 oz bottle is TSA approved, as it says on the label. So you can carry it on the plane.
- Deodorant. The TSA is pretty lenient here. Stick deodorant is not restricted to 3.4 ounces. However, gel and aerosol deodorants are.
- Travel toothpaste. Again, stick with the 3.2 or 3.4 ounce tubes. You may get these free when you visit your dentist for your annual checkup.
- Pain reliever. A small plastic container of 4–6 pills of Advil, Tylenol, or whatever is your pain reliever of choice, just in case.
Your needs my vary (contact lens solution, hair gel, etc.), but the practice still applies. Keep this bag packed, do not touch the contents and you’re good to go. Of course, you can extend this beyond toiletries.
A small bag for on the plane
If you’ll be flying or traveling by bus or train, it’s helpful to pre-pack a small bag of things you might want to keep under the seat in front of you. It might include extra chargers for your electronic devices (many bus and train seats have outlets), copies of prescriptions for active medicines, a little cash (you may want to buy on-board food), and your own empty water bottle.
I recommend buying an extra charger for your phone and keeping it stashed in this bag. Yes, it’s an additional cost but forgetting it at home or worse, at your destination, is a major hassle. Put it in your bag and forget about it.
Also consider bringing your own earphones if you want to watch TV without using airline freebies, a neck pillow and something light to throw over yourself in case it is chilly. Finally, don’t forget ear plugs, gum or an eye mask/sunglasses for sleeping. Again, these can be purchased and packed well ahead of time.
This and that
Finally, there are some additional items you might want to pack now, even if you won’t be going anywhere for months:
- An umbrella or disposable rain poncho
- A hat
- Charging cords and international charger converters
- Portable iPad/iPod/iPhone speakers
- Extra zip-lock bags for liquids or damp items
Of course, never forget the golden rule of packing: Anything you bring can be lost or stolen. Remember this when pre-packing your bags.