Why do people dislike packing. Hello! You. Are. Going. On.Vacation!!!!!!
OK, I get it. Fitting all of your favorite clothes in a stupid little carry-on is not easy. I sometimes fantasize about what air travel was like prior to baggage fees. Damn those fees; I’d be able to take extra clothes with me and not have to plan what I pack down to a T.
(Side bar: I just read this to Michael and he starting shaking his head and said “No, it means I would just have to carry more!” He has a point!)
Anywho, every vacation requires a different packing list. Seasons, destination, activities, culture, yada, yada yada. There are lots of reasons to have to plan what you are taking with you. Besides, you have to look your best in all of the pictures since those babies will be all over social media! #selfie
But, are there packing essentials? Are their items that no matter the weather, destination or agenda, you should always pack? I think so. I, personally, have 6 packing essentials that I NEVER travel without. Ever. Period. They are packing essentials for every kind of traveler too- the backpacker to the all-inclusive resort lounger; the buffet eater to the fine diner; this list has you covered. Consider adding these packing essentials to your suitcase or backpack.
That is, if it fits into your 22″ x 14″ x 9″ suitcase of course.
Packing Cubes Want to pack more? Want to organize what you pack? Run, don’t walk, to your computer and order packing cubes. Or, if you are one those weirdos who likes to shop, you can buy them at your local big box store or camping/outdoors store. We have Eagle Creek packing cubes, but that was only because they had lots of sizing options. These little guys are worth it. I love being able to pack workout clothes in one packing cube, shirts and dresses in another and pants in the other. It is like having drawers in your suitcase.
Camera While I have forgotten our camera’s battery charger, I have yet to forget the actual camera. Our travel photos are my single most prized possession. OK, my wedding rings actually top the list, but I am not kidding you when I say our photos are a close second! Forgetting our camera would break me. I would probably buy another one! I know a lot of people who take these amazing vacations and capture it all on their cell phones. I shouldn’t be a hater, but I’m going to be: Don’t do that!!! Invest in a decent camera and capture those beautiful moments and make them frameworthy to decorate your house. End Rant.
Sunscreen Always. Everywhere. Even when it is cold. I am fair-skinned, Michael shaves his head and sunburns hurt. That is all the reason we need. Be smart and sun safe and pack sunscreen. Your skin and dermatologist will thank you. If we are not checking a bag, we squeeze sunscreen from a larger bottle into one of those travel size containers because those travel sizes can get pricey sometimes.
Athletic Clothes Yoga pants. Spandex. Sweats. Whatever you want to call them; you know what I’m talking about. Maybe dropping in at CrossFit box when you travel is not on your list (but maybe it should be!?). Maybe you will not be utilizing your hotel’s gym. But do you plan to go hiking? Do you plan on riding in the car for extended periods of time? Do you plan on lounging in your luxurious hotel room? Stretchy pants are perfect for all of those activities. Plus, with those packing cubes we talked about earlier, they take up very little space in your luggage!
Re-Usable Water Bottle I hate buying bottles of water. It is absolutely amazing how much you can spend on water during a one week vacation. (Because I’ve done the math before: it is as much as $100 USD in some places.) In order to combat that, I carry my water bottle with me. I also do not like the fact that all of that plastic finds its way to our rivers and forests and oceans. It is disgusting that we humans are so careless with our planet. When we travel internationally we also (always!) pack our Steripen. I actually wrote an entire post for The Travel Accessory Store if you would like more information on this ingenious little contraption. Our Steripen has single highhandedly saved us thousands of dollars and hundreds of plastic bottles from entering the world. I wanted to add the Steripen to this list, but we only pack it when we travel internationally so it is not its own item, but it is definitely worth mentioning!
Over-the-Shoulder Purse OK, women, this one is mostly for you. Do you not get bugged when your purse grows and grows and grows (and gets heavier) throughout your day of window shopping, eating at cafes and sight-seeing? I cannot be alone on this one. My solution: pack a small over-the-shoulder purse. They are hands-free and I find that I forgo schlepping around unneeded items like make-up bags, sunglasses cases, three tubes of lip gloss, dental floss … you get the picture … all day. Smaller is better in this case, I think.
I know that every vacation requires a unique packing list. I am not that naive to think that I know the secrets to packing or that one size fits all. But we’ve traveled pretty extensively in a variety of places. These 6 items are essential to us and I am confident in saying I think most people would agree!
Should I add anything to the list?