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15 Things I Never Travel Without

I am getting ready to go on a trip I’ve been looking forward to for sometime in a few days. As I’ve been thinking about the things I need to pack (which I will undoubtedly ignore my own advice and pack the night before), I thought you might be interested to hear what I hope and pray I will not forget on my packing list.

These things are all so important to me that I put them in my carryon. I don’t risk losing them in checked luggage.

  1. Phone + Charger + Back-up Battery + Headphones – I think we can all agree. What would we do without our phones? I make sure to bring a back-up battery because you never know when you’re going to be without an outlet to recharge.

  2. Wallet + Cash – Probably not a surprise, but I have to remind myself to get cash, because I am an avid debit card user. This is especially important to remember before traveling internationally so that you can exchange your currencies and avoid foreign ATM transaction fees. Also, you want to have cash right away when you get to your destination to be able to pay for cash-only services like taxis and to tip drivers, bellhops, etc. Many countries still operate on a cash-only basis, so be sure to research beforehand how much you should bring.

  3. Water Bottle – Before you get upset… I go through security checks with an EMPTY water bottle and then I fill it up in the secure terminal. My bottle of choice is a Nalgene bottle because of its near indestructibility and because it’s BPA free, dishwasher safe, and made in the USA. You really need to stay hydrated when you travel! Bringing your own bottle allows you to fill up when water is available and have it with you wherever you go.

  4. Comfortable Shoes – Whether you plan on walking much at your destination or not, you will need to walk in the airport. Some connections are literally miles apart at airports. I am always dumbfounded by the women I see wearing stilettos at airports. I can’t imagine walking leisurely across a terminal with my suitcase and stilettos, let alone running to catch my connecting flight.

  5. Passport/ ID/ Visa – Another no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people forget these important things on their trips. You should know well in advance what kind of documentation you need to be able to travel to your destination. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply for a tourism visa. Also, some states’ driver’s licenses are not compliant with TSA’s travel requirements. Make sure you are not depending on using an ID that will not allow you to travel.

  6. A Pen – You are going to need a pen when you travel internationally to fill out a customs declaration form. Don’t be that person that has to ask the person sitting next you to borrow their pen. There are enough germs on airplanes as it is!

  7. Hand sanitizer – Speaking of germs…you get exposed to a lot of them when you travel! You can’t always wash your hands regularly or conveniently when you travel, so it’s good to have a back up plan.

  8. E-Reader – I need to stay occupied on a plane, because I usually can’t sleep, so I bring my Kindle. I love how I can read tons of books while I travel and just carry a lightweight device that fits in my purse. I personally prefer the Kindle Paperwhite because there is no glare in bright sunlight (perfect for beach-side reading), it has a built in screen light (so your bed companion doesn’t have to try to sleep with your lamp light on), and Amazon has the largest collection of e-books out there.

  9. Cross-body purse – Whenever I fly, I pretty much always bring a backpack and a cross-body purse onboard. I put the backpack in the overhead bin and the cross-body purse under the seat in front of me. I keep the most important stuff in my purse such as my wallet, passport, and phone. I also put whatever I want immediate access to during the flight in the purse, such as, headphones, kindle, pen, water bottle, pillow, and scarf. I usually prefer a window seat, so having ready access to these things prevents me from needing to get anything out of the overhead bin and bothering my airplane neighbors. Why a cross-body though? Cross-body purses are more secure on your body, making it harder to be snatched. Also, they allow you to have hands free, which is important when you’re traveling.

  10. Airplane pillow – For long flights that I want to attempt to sleep, I have to bring something to rest my head on. I have tried many travel pillows, but my favorite for airplane travel is the Trtl Pillow. My husband tried it and said it was the closest to a good sleep on a plane he’s ever gotten!

  11. Scarf – I learned this reading a magazine years ago. If you bring a large scarf with you on the plane it can double as a blanket for when it gets cold up at 10,000+ feet. Not only do you have a handy clothing accessory for your travel wardrobe, but an instant airplane blanket! I have a lot of Pashmina scarves that I acquired in Afghanistan and they work perfect!

  12. Power adapter – If you are traveling internationally, you’ll probably need a power adapter. You don’t want to destroy any of your beloved electronics by plugging them into the wrong voltage! I like the Travel Inspira Universal Adapter because it includes USB charging ports, so you can plug in multiple devices at once.

  13. Packable lightweight rain jacket – One of the worst things is to get rained on and have no way to dry off. If there’s any chance it’ll rain where you’re going, invest in a packable lightweight rain jacket and throw it in your carryon. You won’t regret it.

  14. Extra pair of underwear & socks + Deodorant + Toothbrush/paste + medications – For anyone that has been stranded in an airport or at a stopover location overnight, you know why I say this! Put these items in your carryon so that you are a little less grumpy when you miss your connection or your flight gets cancelled, leaving you without your checked luggage.

  15. Itinerary Info (preferably printed in case of tech failure) – We are human and usually can’t keep track of all the details. It's good to keep hotel phone numbers and confirmations available in case of any issues that come up. I always provide this electronically and in a very organized printout for my clients.

Well, there you have it. I better get packing! In the meantime….

Happy Wanderlusting!


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Originally published on on Juy 8, 2017 -

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