In the past year, I’ve done a lot more traveling than I had ever done before. Since starting college, I’ve been on trips to Boston, Montreal, Minneapolis, and soon I will be going on a trip, destination TBA. In preparation for these trips I’ve read countless blog posts and Pins on Pinterest saying these are things you need to travel with or your trip will be ruined, which has resulted in me overpacking time and time again, so here is a short and sweet list of the ten things that I recommend bringing with you when you travel, besides the basics.
1. Laundry bag/Pop Up Laundry Hamper – I’m not suggesting you do laundry on your trip, but having a mesh laundry bag (mine is a huge purple bag from the Dollar Tree) can never hurt. Hotel rooms are small, and being organized can be difficult, so having a bag where all of your dirty clothes can go, will at least keep what are clean clothes versus what are dirty clothes a bit easier. (And I mean, a small sample size/travel sized container of laundry detergent and a roll of quarters couldn’t hurt either. Bathing suits get gross, sports uniforms get stinky, and sometimes it’s just better to throw in a little load before you leave anyway to lessen the amount of laundry to do when you get home).
2. Power Strip – I bought mine at a 5 Below for $5 and it’s proven to be the best $5 I’ve ever spent. This absolutely wonderful little strip made our three hour sit in the Baltimore airport, two hour sit in the Atlanta airport, and four hour sit in the Chicago airport a lot more comfortable. My trips to Boston two years ago, and to Minneapolis this year was for NACA Nationals, and I was traveling with 7 other college students, so of course we each had at least two devices that needed to be charged. In the hotel room, everything was in one location, and we weren’t running around the room every morning looking for who’s phone was where and which plug failed half way through the night.
3. First Aid Kit – This might sound silly, but you never know what could happen. When I was 7, and my sister was 4, 5 minutes into our trip to Disney, she stubbed her toe on the hotel room door.
4. A small container of dish soap – This really helped us on my trips to Boston and Minneapolis, because we wanted to use the tons of reusable water bottles we had been collecting through the trip, and needed to wash them. Instead of buying a big thing of it, I bought a pack of empty TSA approved containers (5 for $1 at the Dollar Tree), and filled the one with a pump up with whatever my mom had under the sink.
5. Snacks – I’ve told so many people this and no one ever believes that my family doesn’t eat every meal out on a vacation. My mom ALWAYS brings snacks, no matter where we’re going. Sometimes we wait until we get to our destination, but typically we do a small food shopping a head of time, and make at least two meals per day in our hotel room/cabin/campground/whatever. Usually we bring breakfast bars, poptarts, or something small for breakfast, unless the hotel offers complimentary breakfast. For lunch, we bring a loaf of bread, PB&J, lunch meats, and sometimes the makings for salad for me. Eating out every meal adds up, why not make it yourself for a fraction of the cost? When we travel to New Hampshire, we always stay in a cabin with a complete kitchen, so we usually eat big meals the entire trip, completely homemade, and much cheaper. This leads me to my next point…
6. Sandwich Bags – not super friendly to the environment, but if you do pack snacks/make lunches in the hotel room, if you have no place to store them, why bother?
7. Reusable Shopping Bags – What can’t these be used for? Shopping, lunches, just an extra bag for laundry, where to keep all the snacks, the possibilities are endless. Plus, if you decide that you are going to do a small food shopping when you get there, you have a reusable bag and A) don’t have to pay for the plastic bag that so many stores charge for now, and B) the food stays in a easy to find bag, and C) you’re not creating waste by using plastic!
8. Reusable Water Bottles – Buying them as souvenirs is great, but then your drinks taste like plastic, and you’re out up to $20 (I’m looking at you Six Flags). TSA allows an empty water bottle through security, and then you can simply fill it up when you pass them, and don’t have to pay ridiculous airport prices. Same goes for when you arrive at your destination. Restaurants are obligated to give you tap water, and you can just ask them to fill up your bottle for free. I recommend the Brita Bottles, because then no matter where you are, you can drink the water worry-free! Yes, it’s a little pricy, but so is buying a 24-pack of plastic water bottles every week.
9. Emergency Weather Gear – Dollar store ponchos/cheap umbrellas can save a trip from disaster by just remembering that weathermen are not good at their jobs.
10. Sharpies – I find myself needing a sharpie every day, and when I don’t have one on a trip, I kind of lose my mind.
Did I miss anything? Comment below your travel must-haves!