Millions of us are going somewhere in the next several weeks and we’re taking our stuff with us! We will experience the thrill of travel and the agony of packing. What to take?!
When American Express told us “don’t leave home without it”, they weren’t talking about sunscreen, hand sanitizer or Emergen-C. Packing is a very personal endeavor. Some travelers begin packing days in advance to ensure that their bag contains exactly what they’ll need so they won’t be caught without that essential item.
Others take a more haphazard approach and start the selection process at the stroke of midnight before departure. Whatever your style of packing might be, here are a few suggestions for you to consider before the trip:
Take a look at your itinerary and make an informal list of what you imagine yourself wearing each day depending on your anticipated activities. Determine what items will be able to be worn more than once. Try to choose colors that can be mixed and matched well so that you can reduce the number of items that you need to take. This is especially important for women in order to reduce the number of shoes needed. The day before departure, absolutely do not forget to check the weather forecast for your destination. Although we usually equate vacation with relaxation, don’t sacrifice style just because you are leaving town. You just might see someone you know in the buffet line on your Caribbean cruise! Also, you want to look your best in case your spouse tags you in a photo and posts it on Facebook.
Remember to take your essential toiletries by physically packing as you go through your morning and evening routine. This way you won’t forget that eye cream, razor or daily medicine. Several hotel chains have stopped stocking some toiletry items such as body lotion and conditioner so stock up on your sample size items in advance and bring them with you.
Make a list of all the chargers that will be needed to keep your phones, laptops, iPods, cameras, and eReaders humming along for the duration of your trip. What happens if you forget a charger at the hotel in Kissimmee, Florida and now you’re in Boca Raton? Not to worry, chances are you aren’t alone. This disconcerting dilemma once happened to a friend of mine. When checking into the new hotel she mentioned her loss to the hotel desk clerk who proceeded to open a drawer full of chargers that had been left behind too. A match was found and she had a replacement charger. Talk about a recycling program! If you have more than two chargers and more than one teenager in your family consider bringing a power strip with you, since most hotels have limited outlets available in the guest rooms.
Carry-ons are a whole category unto themselves because they serve as our travel life-preservers should our checked bags get lost or if delays and cancellations leave you stranded at the airport for an extended time.
I tend to subscribe to the “Let’s Make a Deal” school of carry-on packing. I pack everything that I can imagine needing in any emergency. I suspect this is a remnant from packing a diaper bag for so many years or just from the fact that I’m a product of the 60’s and always wanted to be on “Let’s Make a Deal”.The list of items I deem essential for my carry-on is endless but I must say my new favorite item is a Wisp. Some genius at Colgate created a disposable mini-brush with a mouth-freshening bead in the center. It's what you'll need in the event that your breath is less than minty fresh after breathng airplane air for several hours. It's also the solution to damp toothbrushes and leaking travel size toothpaste in your bag.
Now that I’ve shared just a small fraction of my packing recommendations… I’d love to hear from my fellow travelers. Tell me about your favorite carry-on item or packing tips in the comment section below. You might just make someone else’s trip just a little bit easier.
And remember, plan ahead, expect the unexpected, have an adventure and carry on with the carry-ons!