Must-haves on my packing list

September 18, 2015

packing-listIt’s no secret that we travel a whole lot. It’s one of our greatest pleasures.  You might think that by now I’ve got packing down to a science and in a way, I do. but I always use a packing list and my list always includes these travel essentials. I don’t leave home without them.

Lightweight luggage that rolls.

The best investment we ever made was in the lightest weight carryons we could find–and light weight larger bags, too.  The carry-ons weigh about five pounds, which is light.  In some foreign countries we’ve had to lug our bags up long staircases or move them from one place or another. Even though I think I pack pretty lightly, the fact is that if I’m headed to a cold climate or a place with variable climates, my needs always weigh more than I want to haul around. So lightweight luggage is a must.  And all our bags roll.

Have you noticed the ease with which characters in old movies carry their bags? It’s clear the actor is carrying an empty bag, because we never, EVER haul our bags with such ease. Not to mention how small those old bags were. How did they possibly fit half a dozen outfits in such a small bag?

Reality bites and it bites especially if your luggage is heavy. We once had to pay $300 in excess baggage fees in Ireland. That won’t happen again.

Miniature everything.

I have a small cosmetics brush, tiny lipsticks, travel-sized toiletries and cosmetics–the weight these tiny items add is negligible and they are so convenient.  I don’t always like the soaps and shampoos hotels carry, especially in Europe, where they tend to be obnoxiously perfumed, so I carry small sizes of those, too. I have a friend who carries her full sized shampoo and conditioner everywhere, even for just a few days. It’s inexplicable; she could just repackage them in a tiny portable bottle. I am not willing to add all that weight.

Tiny pad and lightweight pen.

When I’m out and about in a new city I often want to take notes about things I see in my travels. Yes, regular notes that don’t involve talking into my phone, although I do that, too. A tiny pad and pen are always in my purse.

Meds in my carryon.

It’s shocking how many people send their meds off in checked bags.  They have far more faith in the airlines than I do–or far less experience with them than I do. I always carry my meds with me at all times, at least the important ones.  Things like pain relievers and over-the-counter drugs usually do go in my carry-on, and are sized to how long I’ll be gone.

Chargers like crazy. And small, portable battery packs.

We are a device-heavy family, with two Kindles, two smart-phones and a laptop. Some are Apple products but not all.  Plus, I love to take photos with my phone. Chargers are  MUST and we carry several, as well as those small, portable battery packs that allow us to charge anywhere.

Two different credit cards

I carry two different cards and my husband carries two others when we go overseas. You never know if a card is going to be usable. In our family, we leave prepared for any eventuality.

What about you? What are YOUR must-haves when you travel?


30 comments on “Must-haves on my packing list
  1. Kimba says:

    Recently invested in the portable charger and it’s been a life saver! No more stalking the airport walls for outlets.

  2. Linda Hobden says:

    I love my kindle! I download all my books on there so I’ve always got something to read! ????

  3. we’re due for new luggage soon so I’m going to take your advice and go the light weight route. I’m also a big fan of travel sized shampoo etc because it takes up a lot less space – and hotel bathrooms have very small sinks so there’s not much room for the toiletries.

  4. ryder ziebarth says:

    I pack zip- front, lightweight sneakers for workouts, an extra large tee shirt for lounging in the hotel room.I also pack a collapsible cup for using in the room–I don’t trust the hotel staff washes the glasses in even the best hotels.I also travel with a soft, large pashmina, which can serve as a blanket up around my face if I don’t like the hotel blankets. And plenty of zip lock bags for just about everything.

  5. Carol I travel the world and only bring a carry on suitcase and backpack. I never ship my luggage through. The key for my packing, choose mostly black and white clothes and sprinkle in a little color with a scarf or sweater. To make more room in the suitcase, I roll all my shirts. You can easily get more in.

  6. Kim Tackett says:

    Ah, I am looking at our bags right now, packed up and ready for Spain! I always take a swiss army knife and usually a portable, collapsible coffee filter (I spend plenty of time in cafes, but I like to have my own coffee too). I often take two pretty cloth napkins and a tiny cutting board too. We are picnic folks at heart. And I do take a glue stick for my travel journals!

  7. PatU says:

    Echoing the credit card advice. In southern Italy we could not use any of our credit cards and luckily we had bought some Euro before we left. home. When we paid our bill in Altamura, the manager fronted us $200 euro and charged us more on our bill. Thank the Lord!

    Once we got a little further north, my card worked because it was a newer one with a fresher strip. Rich’s card doesn’t work worth a damn.

  8. LOL, perfect travel list! Chargers, multi usb, etc. And batteries, too!

  9. I could never trust the airline with my medication I would be scared that they would lose it! My packing essentials depend on my destination but generally my meds, a book, money and makeup to freshen up especially if it is a long haul flight!

  10. Carol, I thought I could get away with fewer chargers when I travel. But then I bought an iPhone6 which changed that charger. So now I still need my other chargers for my Mophie and my old iPad! I can’t win.

  11. Patty Gale says:

    Great post! I’m a light travel packer, too. My must-haves are healthy snacks for the flight or drive, coconut oil (I carry in a small glass container that used to be a spice jar), a travel journal and chargers.

  12. I very rarely check any luggage and if I do it is only on non-stop flights. I am always the one who has there luggage lost.
    Both of my parents were airline employees and we travelled so much. We were given one carry-on and had to learn to fit everything we wanted in there. It was good training.
    Absolutely light weight luggage and I bring mix and match wardrobe pieces and as much as I hate it I limit myself to only a comfy and a dressier shoe.
    I always make sure I have fresh dollar-bills for vending machines in airports in case I need a quick snack or drink in between flights.

  13. Carol, this is an excellent post with great examples. You nailed it.

  14. Mary says:

    Great tips, Carol. We have a ton of chargers, too! I color coordinate with a tad of nail polish on the device and the identical color on the charger, so I know who goes to what!

  15. Ruth says:

    I have a couple dresses — pretty ones — that roll up in a little ball and then come out wrinkle free! You will no doubt see them soon :)! I am going out to buy a new travel pad and pen today! Thanks for the reminder!

  16. Donna Hanton says:

    I hear you Carol, about the medications, having had checked luggage left behind due to weight constrictions. That same trip also involved walking around San Fran in damp underwear, so my carry-on now always includes several essentials (to me at least).
    I would also agree with the credit card plan. We forgot to notify our bank of a trip to Hawaii, and our card was refused while trying to pay for an excursion. With no other cards, we fortunately were able to borrow the money from my brother.
    Travel teaches us so many things, doesn’t it – not least of which is to be prepared!!

  17. Roz Warren says:

    Great post. And you inspired some terrific comments too. I never travel without my Rick Steves portable clothesline. It enables me to travel very light, since I can wash everything out in the bathroom sink and then put it on the line to dry.

  18. Faye says:

    Chargers like crazy – YES! I always am missing one charger or another in some inconvenient overseas location.

  19. Anna Palmer says:

    Nothing more important than meds in the carry on! Just said this on the luggage post but I will use ALL of these. Sorry to be redundant but totally true!

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