Eight must-packs for any vacation

August 3, 2014


Whether it’s a road trip or a vacation across the world, there are a few things you might not think of packing  that will absolutely come in handy when you’re away from home.

Here’s my list:

  1. Safety pins in several sizes and a nail file. Remember those? Safety pins are handy for anything from minor luggage repair to hemline fixes. And if I had a nickel for every time I broke a nail moving a suitcase around I could buy a latte, maybe two. Even if you get a shellac or gel manicure, a small nail file could be useful.
  2. Moist towelettes are a must, and I bring the antibacterial kind. Research shows that airport tray tables and hotel remotes are big bacteria colonies. I make liberal use of my wipes on vacation.

  3. Do you bring copies of your passport? You should—it makes replacement much smoother if yours gets lost. Or stolen. I photograph my passport with my phone AND bring a hard copy.

  4. A portable navigation app on your phone. I can’t tell you how often this has helped us when we’re walking a city and don’t know where we are. Or how often people forget they can use an app for pedestrian routes.

  5. A travel medicine kit with common over-the-counter remedies for headache, intestinal distress and the like, even for domestic travel. Yes, these things are available in any U.S. city but when distress hits, the last thing you want to do is go looking for a drug store. I use a small zip-lock bag and bring a couple of doses of each OTC remedy.

  6. A shower cap. Hotels no longer automatically provide shower caps and after one hotel stay in which I had to wrap a towel around my head when I showered (which got sopping wet), I learned to always pack one. Fortunately, I have quite a collection of disposable caps from previous trips that take up no space at all.

  7. Glasses. That would be prescription, reading and sun. Until I started a category called “Glasses” on my packing list, I’d forget one or more of these. And with my vision, I can’t afford to go without glasses or contact lenses. Now, I never forget. Even if your vision is great, you’d be surprised at how reading glasses help when trying to read tiny print on a map.

  8. And use a packing list. Before mine, the things I’d be most likely to forget were pajamas and glasses. With my list, I’m always covered.

These handful of tips can help ensure that your vacation is smooth and hassle-free.

I was compensated for this post by Readers.com. There was no requirement for me to mention reading glasses, I did so because I pack them. Always.

45 comments on “Eight must-packs for any vacation
  1. I pack all of these myself. I even make sure I have safety pins in my purse at all times.
    I got into the habit of carrying moist towelettes all the time when the kids were little and you’re right there always seems to be a need for them when away.

  2. D. A. Wolf says:

    These are great tips. (I usually remember extra glasses but forget safety pins! I do travel with beige and black thread (and needle) tucked in the corner of my bag, however…)

    The towelettes? Good one. (I’m making a note.)

  3. All great advice. I travel with my nails pared down, so I could probably skip the nail file, but nothing else. With my boomeresque brain, the packing list is vital. Things I’ve forgotten: a night gown, bras, toothbrush. If you travel fairly frequently, keep a last your can print out in your computer. If you’re a Millennial and probably totally digital, you can just use one on your phone, tablet or laptop. Speaking of those things, make sure the proper adapters are on you’re packing list.

  4. Kymberly says:

    What a great list! I travel a lot and still had not thought of safety pins. I do, however, now bring a back up pair of my glasses everywhere I go, with a pair always in my car as well After attending a play in LA one night,coming out of the theater, I broke my glasses right in the middle above the nose piece . My vision is so bad that I could not have driven home the two hours with no glasses. So I had to hold them in place with one hand, drive with the other to a drugstore at midnight to buy tape just to get home. The store had closed one minute before I arrived, but I pounded on the door in desperation as I could see one worker. She had pity on me, let me buy the tape, and home I went. All askew, taped up nosepiece, and anxious, but I made it

  5. PatU says:

    What? No single cup drip coffee maker? 😉

  6. Kathy says:

    Great list especially the safety pins and medicine kit. I am going on vacation soon so this was a great list of things to remember. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Great tips Carol especially the copy of your passport…so important.

  8. Thanks Carol! I’m adding these items to my list for the upcoming trip.

  9. kim tackett says:

    I pack glasses, and a spare pair. And I never go anywhere without a list. Or coffee.

    • Going to Europe twice in the next few months. They have coffee in Sicily and Germany and Vienna. I know this for a fact, having drunk it. Due cappucini per piaciare!

  10. I will definitely use the list Carol. Heading (I hope) to Europe late Fall and I tend to be a last minute packer in a small suitcase,then to go with the flow. It would be nice to be more prepared especially since the small things matter more to me now.

    • I pack about a week in advance, or at least start loading a suitcase. I do use a hard list I cross off then I circle the last minute things–or highlight them–electrical cords, chargers,etc- so I don’t forget them. 😉 Have fun. We are heading for Sicily in Sept and the Danube Christmas markets in Dec. I’m just going to keep the suitcase out and half packed.

  11. Kat Meller says:

    your are right, some of these I have already packed all the time … others will be in a bag in my bag so I always have them. Thanks for the reminders.

  12. Great list, and I can’t believe I forgot to bring a copy of my passport with me when I went to London recently. Thankfully I didn’t need it but I always bring a copy!

  13. Ruth Curran says:

    Safety pins…. I can’t tell you how many times I wish I had one while on vacation and, never fails, I forget them. The traveling first aide kit though, we have down to a science! Great suggestions Carol!

  14. Great ideas, Carol. And you’re right about the passport! It’s been such a long time since I’ve traveled abroad that we misplaced ours, so we’ll have to start all over again! BTW, I LOVE my readers from Readers.com~

  15. The copy of your passport is brilliant. Never have done it, but sure will in future. I forgot my glasses once on a two week trip..it was horrible.

  16. A great list. I once heard a fireman speak, and he recommended bringing a roll of duct tape when you travel! If there is a fire in the hotel, using it to seal vents and doorway to keep out smoke until help arrives could save your life. I can’t say it is something I routinely pack – but it probably would be helpful in that sort of emergency!

  17. One thing I noticed on the Readers.com site, and at Costco, recently, is that they now make sunglasses that are reading glasses. I always wear contact lenses to the beach, but when I sit down to read – at this age – I still need reading glasses. I think making readers that are sunglasses is genius, for those of us who have hit that age where we kind of need them!
    Good list.
    Next time I travel internationally, I think a copy of my passport is a genius idea!

  18. Hi Carol…I just followed this post over from the readers.com page….not sure why I missed it but glad to have found it…and yes I just discovered that I can download all my maps for our up-coming trip to Mexico on to my iphone and I will be able to use them “off-line” regardless of whether there is wi-fi or I’m plugged into Verizon. Technology can be so amazing. Thanks for your other tips too! ~Kathy

  19. Great list, Carol! I’ve used a packing list for years, but until now it’s lacked copies of our passports and moist towelettes! AWESOME tips!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  20. Kay Lynn says:

    My family makes fun of me because I have a packing list for every type/duration of vacation. I make an easy target, but I don’t forget anything.

  21. Azlin Bloor says:

    Brilliant, especially the passport copy, I never thought of that! And the navigation app, oh yes! We went travelling for 4 months last year and Google Maps was indispensable!

  22. Momina Arif says:

    Such a lovely post. *Making this into a checklist*

  23. Elizabeth O. says:

    I can never leave home without wet wipes! And you’re absolutely right about everything else, like the copies of your passport and the safety pins! Having a packing list definitely makes everything easier.

  24. Vyjay says:

    Sensible tips these so that you do not suddenly realize that what you desperately need at the moment is sitting quietly miles away in your living room! The bit about having a packing list is very important as this way you can cross out the items you have packed and will not miss anything.

  25. Just about everything that you have here, except what might be the most important – copies of my passport! Will make sure to do that next time.

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Eight must-packs for any vacation"
  1. […] by Carol of Carol Cassara […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.