Packing: Travel Essentials & Must-Haves

Often, I am asked about my packing essentials when I travel abroad.  Here are some of my favorite things to bring on a trip and my reasoning behind each one.

  1. Bose Noise Canceling Headphones
    • These are hands down my number one, can't-live-without travel essential. Great for blocking the sound of crying babies and loud passengers when flying. They make your music sound better, and even block the monontinous hum of the airplane. Accept no substitute, Bose has been the leading provider of noise canceling headphones for years.
  2. Eagle Creek Packing Cubes
    • At first glance you might think, "whats the point?" But these zip-up cubes, by Eagle Creek make staying organized easy. They will help you keep your clothes wrinkle free and believe it or not, you can actually fit more into your luggage. Also, a great way to separate dirty and clean clothes. It's amazing how something so simple can be so useful.
  3. Luggage with 4 wheels
    • This makes getting through airports and hotel lobbies so much easier and less exhausting.
  4. A Good Journal
    • "I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train." - Oscar Wilde
    • This will help you remember your trip in detail many years later. Who doesn't want to revisit old memories? That little cafe you found in Paris 10 years ago that you can't find... I'm sure you wrote the name down in your journal.
  5. Universal Travel Adapter
    • Why not carry just one that does it all?
  6. Eye Mask/Ear Plugs
    • Red eye flights to Europe, overnight trains to Beijing, bright or loud hotel rooms... all of these things can put a damper on your trip. You don't want sleep deprivation on top of jet lag. Between these two things and your Bose noise canceling headphones, you will be a well rested happy travler.
  7. Shoe Bags
    • Have you ever been to China? Babies go to the bathroom in the middle of the street. After walking around in that all day, I doubt you want your dirty smelly shoes anywhere near your clean clothes or toothbrush.
  8. Rain Jacket
    • Because sometimes it will rain on your parade... and umbrellas are useless.
  9. Go Toob - Refillable Bottles
    • Easy way to transport your own shower/hair products. They are practically indestructible and the perfect size for carry on luggage.
  10. A Flashlight that can Clip Anywhere
    • You never know when you might lose something important (like your passport or travel documents) on the plane, train, in the hotel, under the bed or at the bottom of your backpack.
  11. 'Bottle Bubble' Wine Bag
    • Traveling to Italy, France or Napa Valley? You will 100% want to bring some of that wine back in your suitcase. Chances are you don't want to bring home that Bordeaux spilled all over your clothes. I have always had great luck with these wine transporters. They protect the bottle and seal up tight incase it did break.
  12. Creative Luggage Tag
    • If you're me, by the time you stumble off the plane you will be half out of your mind from your xanex nap. Prevent taking someone else's bag by mistake. You really don't want to be that person.
  13. Healthy Granola Bars
    • Do you really want to eat that sodium infused airplane food? Didn't think so. I'll never understand why people accept every single meal & snack on the plane. It's never a good idea. It breaks up the boredom for all of 15 minutes (Usually, I will order the vegetarian meal, eat the vegetables and toss the rest). Granola bars are the answer if you really do get hungry. They are also great if you don't have time to grab a meal before catching a long train, or just great snacks for long days sight seeing. They are even more important if you have special dietary needs. Right now I'm really into 'Perfect Bars' made here in sunny California. 'Kind' bars are great as well. Both will not suit you if you have nut allergies.
  14. Ziplock Bags
    • You never know what you may be using these for but they are certainly always a good idea. Great for separating wet bathing suits, dirty socks, underwear or stinky shoes. Excellent for broken cosmetics, or to prevent your face wash from exploding all over everything else. Also, great for any impromptu organization along the way.

Other tips:

Remember, anything you really need you can buy where you are going. As long as you pack some cash, bring your passport/travel documents and let your credit card companies know that you will be traveling, you will be fine. I always relax when I tell myself that. Inevitably, you will forget something that you meant to bring. It's all going to be okay.

Form your own checklist. Start an excel spreadsheet checklist now. Start thinking about all of the things you need on a daily basis, and go from there. Don't forget to add everything from toothbrushes & hairbrushes to passports and daily medications.

Know how to pack a carry on bag. In a backpack, I always have my iPad (rarely do I travel abroad with my laptop) my Bose headphones, any medications I may need (If I am taking a long flight, I am always take something to help get precious sleep) and an extra set of clothes incase my luggage were go to missing. Additionally, medications need to be in your carry-on as well as any valuables, jewelry, a very expensive dress... whatever it may be. Anything that absolutly will ruin my trip if lost, stays with me. Speaking of lost items, this brings me to my next point...

GET TRAVEL INSURANCE!!! I can not emphasize this enough. I reccomend Travel Guard, they will become your best friend if anything goes wrong. The people that work there are amazingly helpful as well. Visiting Egypt while an uprising is going on? They've got you back. Lost luggage? They'll cover that. Items stolen out of your hotel room? They cover that too, as long as you file a police report. Trip disruption... you're covered. Break your leg a week before the big trip because you tried to take up wake-boarding? You're covered. Accidentally drive your rental car into Lake Como on your Italian Holiday? Don't worry, you're still covered. In fact, if you have that big of a disaster, you may also win their 'World's Unluckiest Traveler' contest.

Lastly, get that world traveler plan for your cell phone and buy a small data plan ahead of time. If you are only in a new or exotic place for a short amount of time, you don't want to waste time getting lost or eating at all of the wrong places. Get a data plan. This way, you can turn on your map, or google any impromptu thing you may want to do, check TripAdvisor, etc... Just turn your emails off. Trust me, the data plan is worth it. 

Anything I missed? Comment below.

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