Having trouble packing everything you need for your trip? We’re here to help. Whether you’re planning to hit the road, take a cruise, go abroad or embrace the outdoors, it’s important to pack what’s necessary as well as useful. And that doesn’t mean you have to pack everything—putting together a mix of things you use on a regular basis and what you may use when the unexpected happens is a more practical approach to packing for a trip. For instance, do you really need five pairs of shoes for a four-day trip? Are you ever going to use a hair straightener while you’re camping? Here are some suggestions:
Emergency kit. Small accidents, sickness and fatigue can happen at any time, so packing a small emergency kit could come in handy. Take along small packets of medication for headaches, seasickness, allergies, indigestion and fever. Be sure to also pack some bandaids with rubbing alcohol towelettes for disinfecting small cuts. Keep in mind that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows you to carry medications on flights, but they have to be in their original containers. As an extra precaution, you can ask your doctor to write up a note to explain why you need those medications.
Antibacterial/moist towelettes. When traveling, washing your hands frequently is important in preventing sickness, but you may not always have access to soap and a sink. A small bottle of antibacterial sanitizer or moist towelettes will do the trick. Be sure to use these if you can’t wash your hands before eating and after using the bathroom.
Sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen can minimize harm to your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Even if you don’t burn easily, you should still wear sunscreen. Purchase a waterproof sunscreen lotion if you’re planning to be out on the water, and re-apply every two to three hours. The sun’s rays are the strongest during the afternoon, so take extra precaution when you’re outside during those hours. Don’t forget to protect your eyes and pack a pair of sunglasses as well. Another option is to use self-tanners or bronzers instead of actually tanning to get the sun-kissed look.
Makeup. Summer is all about the natural look when it comes to makeup. Maintaining a full face of makeup can be challenging with the humidity. To keep things light, take a powder foundation with a built-in sunscreen instead of a liquid one. Enhance your eyes with waterproof mascara and eyeliner, and keep lips moisturized with chapstick. Remember, you can only check in liquids that are no larger than three ounces in a single quart-sized bag onboard.
Toothpaste and toothbrush. You can’t go wrong with packing a spare toothbrush and tube of toothpaste since it’s easy to forget your regular toothbrush at a hotel or on a plane.
Dried foods. Food can become expensive at travel hot spots like airports or train stations. To save money, pack snacks to curb your hunger such as dried fruits, nuts and whole wheat crackers. Try wasabi peas for a quick, savory and filling treat.
Cell phone, camera, laptop and iPod chargers. Unless you’re going off the grid, you’ll always need your cell phone to contact people, especially in cases of emergency. Be sure to pack chargers for cameras, laptops and mp3 players if you bring them as well.
Calling card. Calling cards are not only helpful in case something happens to your cell phone, but also for making international calls.
Last modified: June 2, 2010