I’m not going to tell you to pack your under-roos, if you don’t have that down by now, you are in more trouble than this post can help you with.
What I am going to tell you is a wonderful list of items and helpful things to do that have helped me along the way through all my travels. Being busy, hard working people often leaves a lot of room to be forgetful of even some of the most simple items when getting ready for a trip.
You already know you need your I.D. or a Passport if traveling internationally and your credit cards, cash and various other forms of payment but some less obvious items include the items below that should be packed easily and accessibly in your carry on bag or personal item.
Top 5 items for your carry-on:
Extra charging cable for your phone that is 6ft or longer. You never know if you will need to charge your phone in an inconvenient location like a support beam at the aiport that has 10 other people doing the same thing. Also, sometimes the airlines tuck the outlet under your seat, or even worse, when you get to your hotel room and there is no outlet near the bedside table, hello extra long cord!
Extra battery pack for your phone. For those instances when your phone is dying and there is no outlet around. I don’t know about you but when I travel to a new city I am constantly mapping or using apps to help me find places and sights I am interested in seeing. It can be a real drain on the battery and often there isn’t an outlet around and who wants to stop and waste time charging their phone when you can plug it right in, in your hand and keep on going.
Advil. You never know when a headache or a random pain is going to creep up on you and sometimes the airlines and hotels don’t have what you need or they have off-beat brands that don’t work quite as well. Good to carry Advil or your go-to pain killer. Just remember to have the prescription with the pills at all times if packing anything that is not over-the-counter.
Hand Sanitizer. Traveling means touching some of the most germ infested things from the bathroom faucet to check in counters, escalator hand rails and all that money you’re forking over for a cup of joe at the airport. You certainly don’t want to get sick before ever even arriving to your vacation destination and you really can’t afford to get home from taking time off just to take more time off. Keep it under 3.5oz and carry it on.
Headphones. Ahhh the magic of headphones, they help with so many things. Annoying person next to you that won’t shut up, check. Crying babies, check. Watching movies in flight, check. Music while working out at the hotel gym, check.
Other great things to pack that you may not have at the top of your list:
Ear Plugs – might need these for sleeping on the plane or in case your hotel is noisy.
Umbrella – great for tropical and winter weather. Maybe you even fancy it for sunny weather. It’s a bummer thing to have to buy when you have 3 at home.
Dirty laundry bag – I don’t know what’s with hotels not always having a plastic bag for your dirty skivvy’s but now-a-days they don’t always have one so best to pack your own.
Tablet with movies – the best thing I ever did was download some movies ahead of departure that I have been dying to watch but haven’t had the time for. Or a bring a book, whatever your forte is.
Neck pillow – sucks falling asleep and drooling down your own shoulder just to wake with a crick in your neck that lasts your entire vacation.
Light weight blanket – they have these great little blankets that are light weight and fold up really tiny for sale at travel stores and airport shops. They may even have them on Amazon. Worth it if you are going to take a snooze on the plane.
Sunglasses, reading glasses/contacts – unless you are going to the most dreary place at the most dreary time of year sunglasses are a must. Also, if you need them, don’t forget your reading glasses and/or contacts as well. Seeing is important when traveling. Blurry pics a no go.
A cross body 5 inch bag – now this little bag is a huge deal! Why you ask? A cross body bag is harder to steal for one. Second, this size bag can hold your room key, identification, credit cards, cash, charger, phone and extra battery. Trust me I know I have one I travel with. Curious where to find this animal? Absolutely every major city gift shop that I have been to carries them. I got mine in New York and so of course it says New York, which is fine by me. I’ve seen them in LA, Chicago, Miami and even in London. They zip on the top and are made of a very thick canvas so it’s nice and light weight.
Luggage tags – make sure they are affixed to your checked luggage and have your updated information on them. In the event your bags get lost this will greatly help the airlines to determine whose bag it is when they do find it.
Top 5 Things to do before traveling:
Charge up all of your electronics – camera, phone, tablet, laptop, extra battery, all of it.
Download apps – there are apps that have subway maps or less expensive car services like Uber and Lyft to help you get around. Having yelp and other destination apps can also help you find the things you want to see.
Leave your contact information – leaving information on where you’re staying and your flight information with a friend or relative is just a good habit to get into. You never know what can happen or who at home may be worried about you.
Contact your hotel concierge or the official city website of your destination – to find out the current happenings at your destination. It could be Restaurant Week or Broadway Week or Oktoberfest there and how fun would that be? I once happened upon a free Jazz concert at Millennium Park in Chicago and had I known it was there, we could have planned to spend more time enjoying it. I don’t like to miss out on anything and I’d be willing to bet you don’t either.
Check in and download your boarding pass – for most flights these days you can check in on your airlines website within 24 hours of departure and you can download your boarding pass to your phone. This greatly cuts the time you spend waiting in lines at the airport and having the app on your phone is much easier than fumbling around for a paper ticket at baggage check in, entry to the TSA line, again passing through TSA and again to board your plane. BOOM it’s on your phone which is fully charged and conveniently located in a light weight bag across your body.
Other than telling you it’s a good idea to wear socks because you will have to take off your shoes in the TSA line and you don’t want your bare feet where everyone else’s bare feet were, I think we about covered it. Don’t you think?
If you have some great travel tips you would like to share with us, please feel free to comment below.