Don’t leave these essentials off your packing list. I’m not referring to your passport and phone charger. I hope you will remember to pack the basics like underwear and pants. No, these are the items that aren’t on your list but might end up saving the day!
1. Tide to Go Hopefully you’re a smart packer and didn’t bring your entire wardrobe. So when you spill delicious authentic bolognese on your versatile white skirt, you’re screwed. The answer: tide-to-go. Be a girl scout; be prepared.
(P.S. I found this website. It carries travel size of anything and everything, including Tide to Go minis. A traveler’s treasure-trove! )
2. Back-up Credit Card I’ve seen it happen. You leave your credit card at the store; you’re pick-pocketed at the Louvre. Either way, it’s disastrous for your vacation. Therefore, I always bring a second CC and leave it in the hotel safe. Hopefully this is just a precaution, but if you need it, you’ll be so grateful you planned ahead.
3. Lotion Travel is drying. There’s no way around it. And hotel lotion is crap. True fact. So bring your own. I usually carry a small travel-size in my carry-on and keep an extra bottle in my suitcase, as a backup.
4. Kleenex No toilet paper? No problem. Let me grab my handy dandy travel tissues! Whether you have a vomitus incident while zip lining in the Dominican Republic (true story) or just a bad cold, you will need a pack or two of tissues. I suppose you could always bring a roll of TP from the hotel, or wad up a few sheets and keep them in your back pocket. But aren’t these more fun?
5. Laundry Bag It’s gross to mix the used undies with the fresh. I always throw in a small, lightweight bag to separate the clean from the dirty. If you don’t own one, a couple of plastic grocery bags would be just as effective, though far less stylish.
6. Extension Cord We live in the digital age. Everything we need requires electricity. Phone, laptop, camera, kindle, iPad, iPod, wireless headphones… shall I go on? Suffice to say, hotels are not equipped with 15 power outlets to charge your countless contraptions. So bring your own. Grab an extra from your garage or, if you’re searching for the perfect Father’s Day gift, look into something like this. It’s inexpensive and extravagantly techy.
7. Foldable Duffel Let’s say you packed beautifully. One small bag, exactly 49lbs, and a compact carry-on. My father would be proud. But then you buy a few souvenirs (nothing too excessive); a new pair of killer shoes; two books to adorn your coffee table and show off your travels; and a stuffed animal for your niece. Now you have a problem: overweight and lack of space. Thus, the foldable duffel. It weighs a mere 8 oz, fits inside a shoe, and is now the solution to all your problems. Unfold it and check a second bag. Or use it as a carry-on and stuff your purse inside as you walk through the gate. It’s saved me on numerous occasions.
8. Medications Not only your daily pills, but also a small pharmacy, just in case. Advil, Sudafed, Tums. Maybe even some anti-diarrheal or eye drops. My go-to: moleskin, for the inevitable blisters that come with new shoes. There’s nothing worse than wounded feet or an upset stomach as you explore new lands. Best to bring your own medicine kit, especially if you don’t speak the language.
9. Dry Shampoo After paying thousands of dollars to see the sights, a long morning routine is a drag. So skip the lather – but not the shower – and use dry shampoo (or baby powder if you prefer). It’ll keep your hair looking fresh and clean for pictures, but will save you valuable time. Because no one wants to be tired while they’re on vacation, and everyone wants good photos to exploit on Facebook afterward.
10. Breakfast Bars Your resort is gorgeous. You splurged and stayed at a lavish hotel with four swimming pools and stunning vistas. Only problem: you can’t afford the $70 breakfast. For lunch and dinner you can venture out and find local fare at a third the cost. But breakfast is always easier (and nicer) in bed. So pack your own. Bring a few cereal bars, kind bars, quest bars. Whatever suits your fancy. Pick up a few bananas from a local grocery. (Often resorts offer them in the gym or lobby for free). Now you have a nice, healthy repast that you can enjoy from the comfort of your hotel boudoir. (While not as luxurious, they also come in handy when you can’t find something edible whilst you’re out hiking or if the local cuisine doesn’t appeal to you. Food for thought…)