Travel Tips - What to Pack

luggage pack travel Mar 15, 2023

I love to travel! But, what I don't love is packing and organizing and fretting over whether I have everything I need. I've put together a list to help me stay calmer in the midst of the Getting Ready Chaos and I hope it helps you too. (BTW, this is a work in progress!)

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What I pack in my carry-on backpack

I almost always check my bag and have a carry-on. I treat my carry-on as if it's a tiny, emergency suitcase. If something happens, and my bag is lost, or I'm separated from it, it holds everything I need to stay comfortable for a night or two at a hotel. Real life example: When I was flying home from Costa Rica in 2022, a cargo plane crashed on the runway (nobody was hurt) and all flights were cancelled. Delta took great care of me but I was very grateful I had my backpack with me with everything I needed to be comfortable.

  • My Backpack:
  • USB Wall Charger: (this one has USB-C ports)
  • Portable Charger: (This works great but it's heavy! I'd recommend searching for something smaller and lighter because 99% of the time you won't need it and, if you do need it, it will only be for a couple of hours.)
  • 3 in 1 charging cable: *This one is 6' long. When I replace it, a 4' one would be better.
  • Electronics/cords organizer:
  • Portable sound machine:
  • Empty generic plastic water bottle (carry it through TSA empty and then fill it up. Plus, if you forget and they make you throw it away, it's no big deal because it's just a generic water bottle. Yep, speaking from experience.)
  • TSA travel containers: At first, I used these but I have switched to using sample packs instead. The one thing I do still take is my face lotion and I put it in a .5 oz airless pump jar (link will take you to product). I'm not picky about shampoo/lotion/conditioner so I just use whatever the hotel offers.
  • Quart sized clear bag for liquids (3-1-1 rule: Can carry on any liquid that fits in a 3.4 oz container or less and into a 1 quart sized bag - you are only allowed 1 bag of liquids.
  • Pill organizer: (I love this so much! If I'm taking medicine that I need to stay alive, I will take the whole prescription bottle. But, if I'm taking medicine that just makes life a little better (like dayquil pills or reflux pills) I pack it all in this little case. I love it so much I give them out as gifts! I also use one of the slots for hair ties and bobby pins.)
  • 2-3 protein bars (and usually a box of protein bars in my luggage)
  • For overnight flights:
  • For overseas flights
    • European Travel Adapter: (not voltage adapter) Need 2
    • Passport
    • Trusted Traveler Card
    • $50 - $60 local currency / $20 - $40 US money / credit cards (take pictures of cards and leave at home)

Travel Tricks

  • Put a strip of brightly colored duct tape on the outside of your checked baggage.
  • Get sample packs of your favorite toiletries and pack those in your carry-on.
  • Long flight or drive? Compression socks are a good idea:
  • *I have changed from using the 3oz containers to using sample packs instead. They take up way less space and I get to throw them away as I use them. 

 Health Supplies

Bathroom Supplies

 Electronics (all this needs to go in carryon because of the rechargeable batteries)

  • Go Pro as well as batteries, memory cards, battery charger, selfie stick
  • Canon camera as well as batteries, memory cards, battery charger, selfie stick, harness
  • Ipad
  • Iphone with charging base 
  • Bose earbuds (charges on iPhone base or with USB C cord)
  • Laptop with charging cord
  • Kindle

(If the place I’m staying at has a washing machine, I will pack about half of what I need)

  • Some underwear. I can always go without or buy more (travel tip: take old undies and just throw them away as you use them. Or, wear light flow pads, put in a new one twice a day, and then you can wear the same pair of undies for multiple days.)
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • 2 Bras (I wear one bra and pack the other)
  • PJ's
  • Yoga pants
  • 2 pairs of jeans or shorts
  • 3 shirts
  • A nice dress, maybe, usually not
  • Swimsuit and coverup (if I’m going to a beach)
  • Sandals
  • Washing machine sheets:
  • Luggage cubes: (these seem dumb but they are extremely helpful!)

In my suitcase

Wear on the plane

  • Yoga pants or Trekkie pants from Athleta. They have pockets in front and back and are soooo comfortable.
  • Pacifica Illume UPF Relaxed Jacket from Athleta (it’s just enough to keep me warm on the plane and has a hood if I’m trying to nap. It’s great at blocking light wind as well but not be too hot and weighs almost nothing)
  • Tunic shirt
  • Tennis shoes w/socks, Bra (I ditch the bra if I can get away with it)

Resources to make travel more enjoyable

  • Trip It app (keeps track of everything)
  • Live the Daydream Travel Planner/Assistant
  • for translating

Did I miss anything that you consider an essential? Let me know!

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