Travel is expensive enough without having to go out and buy a bunch of replacement items for your travel kit. Save yourself time and money by packing the right stuff the first time around. Here are some essentials that every traveler should have:
1. Essential toiletries. Invest in the small reusable bottles sold at every drugstore and grocery and bring your shampoo and conditioner. You could use the products provided by the hotel, but there is no guarantee of quality.
Why risk going to that crucial business meeting or your high school reunion with your hair plastered to your head due to cheap shampoo? Also bring the following: a small toothpaste (you will never use a large one unless you plan to travel for months); a dedicated travel toothbrush; miniature versions of any eye care products you may use; a full-size deodorant (the minis are too little and dry out between trips); feminine hygiene products if you’re a lady and still use them; a mini hairbrush; and a mini-shaving cream and disposable razors.
Use the soap provided by the hotel. All of this will allow you to get your carry on through security without a hitch.
2. Safety. Pack a small first aid kit that contains a few different sizes of bandages, some gauze pads, and a small tube of antibiotic ointment. Also, pack a small sewing kit because the needle in it can be indispensable for removing splinters. Be sure to bring any medications or vitamins you need, ideally pre-dispensed in a pillbox.
3. Technology. These are the items that can be especially expensive and inconvenient to replace. You can now buy small bags made to pack your various chargers. Invest in one of these, and keep it in your carry on so you can charge items while you’re at the airport as needed. Besides all your chargers for your various devices (some of which may use the same charger), bring any necessary accessories.
If you travel enough for business, it will be worth investing in a travel-size mouse and keyboard. Instead of scanning your receipts to turn in at the office, take pictures of them with your smartphone. Also, anticipate in advance what connectivity you will have at your destination (as well as during flights). If you expect not to have full-time internet access, pre-load your laptop, phone, and e-reader with apps, movies, and books before you leave. And because these first devices all have batteries that die the minute you want to use them, buy a travel extension cord so that you’re still able to read your Kindle while lying in your hotel bed.
4. Plastic, not paper. Pack a handful of spare plastic bags–a large ziplock, a few small ones, and a couple of garden-variety plastic grocery store bags. The zip locks help pack toiletries or any liquid souvenirs you may acquire along the way, and the grocery bags are ideal for isolating dirty shoes and laundry from the clean.
5. Layers. Even if you’re headed to the tropics for a week on the beach, always pack at least a lightweight jacket (the kind that folds up into its pouch) and a large scarf or sarong, and keep both in your carry on. These items will not only keep you warm if you experience a change in the weather, they also double as blanket and pillow if your flight gets delayed in Boise for six hours. Your cheap private medical insurance will often not cover you for any injuries that are your fault.
Whether traveling for business or pleasure, a well-equipped travel kit will ensure that you spend your time doing the things you want to do and not scrambling to replace an essential item on a deadline.