What to pack…
This question seems to plague many even when taking a trip as short as two days. Imagine a month or even a semester in Italy! I, on the other hand, love to pack. If you don’t believe me, see my Top Ten Tips for Packing Luggage or my Favorite Things series. At the end of my last vacation, I spent the evening with a friend packing her suitcases.
One of my very favorite things is the PACK THIS Packing List (see image below). It really is the ultimate travel and packing list, leaving nothing out. Well, okay, I think it leaves a few important things out. There are some items that are rarely included on standard packing lists and that I believe can make all of the difference. The good news is that you likely have all of these items at home already and they are all also light as a feather (AKA won’t contribute to that critical weight limit).
Plastic wrap = a life saver when traveling!Plastic wrap – my very best travel tip is to use plastic wrap on anything (especially a toiletry bottle) that is at risk for leaking. The toiletries that I make the effort to pack are my favorites and there is nothing I dread more than opening up a suitcase to find my clothes stained by a broken bottle of perfume or shoes covered in face wash. Tightening all of your toiletry lids just isn’t enough. Unscrew the lids and cover each opening with a small piece of plastic wrap and then screw the lids back on.
Tissues/ Toilet paper – tissues or even toilet paper are not a given in many parts of the world. Why take your chances in that train station bathroom, when you can simply pack an extra pack of tissues or a small roll of toilet paper. Many stores, like Target, Wal-Mart, or even grocery stores sell these in their sample/travel size section, along with other toiletries. Those little packs of tissues can be a godsend when you’re on-the-go.
One free shower cap from the hotel is all you need for a stain-free suitcaseShower cap – shower caps are great for putting your (dirty and dusty) shoes in. They will cleverly help to protect your clothes and other belongings in your luggage. Also, if you forget to bring plastic wrap (as I mentioned above), just grab one (or more) of the free shower caps in the next hotel bathroom you stay in and use under the lids of your toiletries.
Dryer sheets – these fragrant sheets remove static from your hair and clothing, all while taking up virtually no room. Sticking a dryer sheet in your luggage will help keep your belongings smelling lovely. They are also great to put inside your shoes, especially if you are following my previous advice and shoving other items in there to save space. You’ll thank me after long day of sightseeing. Adding a dryer sheet in each shoe will help to keep them smelling fresh and clean for the rest of your trip. I also throw a dryer sheet in each piece of my luggage even when I am not using them so that they smell fresh when I do need them.
Ziploc bags – these handy little guys are woefully unappreciated here in the good old U.S. of A. I’m pretty sure that the saying “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone” was referencing the regretful lack of ZipLoc bags abroad. They can make the difference between a perfume, wine, or olive oil-soaked suitcase. Going on a business trip and need to save receipts for accounting? Keep those all-important receipts or other important papers dry and protected. Plus, you’re going to need one (quart size) for your toiletries on your return flight. You might as well use a ZipLoc bag for all of the aforementioned items and keep them conveniently together. I always try to pack a few extra bags of varying sizes.
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