Every frequent traveler has a list of favorite items to bring along . I don’t mean your favorite chocolate bar (that’s a given!) or favorite book to read on long flights. I mean things that can come in handy and can be used for different purposes. Once you have a favorite, it will surely be included in your packing list!
Here I will share with you some of the things that always go in my suitcase when I am away from home. Although the photos show full sized products, I only pour the amount I need (and that is allowed through security since this is in my carry on) in small plastic bottles.
Most of this knowledge comes from tried and experience after years of travel, instances where I wished I had packed this from home. These are a few of my favorite…..Travel things!
- Plastic quart sized bags. I can’t even start to tell you how many times I have used these gems. For safe storage of liquid or gel containers before you pack them in your checked baggage (no accidental spills all over your clothes upon arrival!); a great document saver, security checkpoint liquids holder, snack organizer, souvenir wrapper (blow air into the bag before closing if your souvenir is fragile and it will be protected).
- Vaseline. Yes, good old Vaseline is a traveler’s best friend. I use it on my lips and hands during the flight to fight dryness, on my heels to avoid calluses after all the sightseeing and walking, a sunburn/small cut balm or as an emergency hair balm to keep your flyaway strands in check. Be careful using it as a moisturizer on your face, Vaseline is a sealant and your pores need to breathe!
- Fabric softener sheets. Tuck a sheet of fabric softener (yes, the one you use in the dryer) in your suitcase. Not only will your clothes smell fresh and clean after a few days of travel but you can lightly rub it on your hair to fight static. If you travel in winter and wear hose or pants that have static cling, rub the sheet right on it and static is magically gone! After a day of sightseeing, you can use the sheet to polish your shoes or boots to a sparkling shine!
- Febreze fabric deodorizer. Once this made it to my first trip, I was convinced. You do not always have the time to stop and wash but it’s nice to spray your clothes after you get to your room and take out any lingering odor, especially smoke! This magic spray will keep your clothes fresh smelling. And if you check into a room that does not meet your standards for fresh air, well, you are prepared! This product comes in a travel size.
- A “Genie” in a bottle. OK, so this is the name brand of a hand wash product for clothes that I find in France and if you are lucky enough to get there, you should buy the tube and invest in the company. Genie is a liquid that contains enzymes, you fill your sink with warm water, pour a cap full of the product and soak your dirty laundry for 30 minutes. Rinse, and your clothes are clean and fresh smelling. A true find for travelers who do not want to spend precious sightseeing time in the laundromat. Baby shampoo can also be substituted in a pinch although it does not work as thoroughly.
- Hair conditioner. Yes, you use it on your hair but it can also do wonders for your skin. Use it to replace shaving cream as you will be moisturized at the same time. Of course I bring this in travel sizes, a few smaller bottles that I can discard as I use so as not to weigh me down.
- A portable flashlight. This is a lifesaver and safety device. Most of us rely too much on our smart phone flashlight but if your battery runs down and you are in a hotel, rain forest or any other place that provides an unexpected blackout, your little flashlight will come in handy.
- Bubble wrap. Yes, you can aggravate your fellow travelers by popping it if you are anxious, but it’s a weightless tool you will use over and over. I cut several pieces about 12 inches by 30 inches and place it flat in the bottom of my carry on. It will cushion whatever you are placing in your suitcase and keep it protected. Invaluable to wrap delicate souvenirs or the great bottles of wine you are bringing back in your packed luggage. No one knows more than I that bubble wrap is hard to find in tourist spots or if you do find it, it will only come in enormous rolls, not just the small piece you need.
- My own supply of coffee/tea/sugar/salt packets. A plastic bag (or you can use the aforementioned zip lock bags) always travels with me. Inside I carry instant coffee packets, sugar and cream powder packets, salt and pepper (save the packets from your take out places) and tea bags. I use this on every trip. I don’t have to wait for my morning coffee if my hotel does not supply a coffee machine and I don’t have to buy a full size salt dispensed if I decide to have a picnic. It weighs basically nothing and makes my travels so much easier.
So now you know what makes my travel life easier, you will soon have your own favorites and perhaps will share with our readers what helps you most!
By Marie Kaposchyn, www.simplytravelabroad.com