8 Items I Would Never Travel Without

Everyone has those go to items when they’re traveling – their little pieces of home filling up their suitcase, their favorite outfit, or a delicious snack. It’s important to know what’s important to you when you travel. For me photos of home and little snacks are more important than bringing a lot of clothes. You can always do laundry and no one, let me repeat that NO ONE, is going to care if you repeat outfits. But you know that :).

It’s true what they say – after you pack your suitcase the first time go back through and unpack half of it because you really don’t need it. Tip: Try to bring clothes/towels (etc) that you can throw away or donate near the end of your trip to make room of souvenirs in your suitcase.

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Here is my list of 8 things I would never travel without..

1. Travel sized game – A couple of my favorites are Farkle or Cards Against Humanity. Games are perfect for traveling, especially pocket sized ones because they’re easy to play with people of different languages (at least Farkle is) and something to do when you may not have electricity or a TV. Games build a great community feeling and may help you get to know the people you’re traveling with without much effort. With Cards Against Humanity I like to take just some of the cards with me on a trip (depending on how long I’m traveling for).

2. Gloves – No matter where you’re traveling to, always pack gloves. You may never need to use them, but they take up almost no space and if you do get cold they will signficantly warm your body. Gloves (and hats too) can be easily packed and can really come in handy for many purposes. Say your airplane is absolutely freezing (it happens a lot), but you’re flying to Jamaica so all you have on is shorts and a tank top. Those gloves will really help keep you at least moderately warm. In the worst of circumstances you can always put them on to protect your hands from germs – you really never know when you’re traveling. I recommend these gloves because they come in fun colors and you can use your touch screen while wearing them.

3. The Office – I am a huge Office nerd; I’ve watched every episode at least five times, if not more. I never travel without a few discs of my favorite show and depending on the length of the trip I sometimes bring a whole season. I like to put one disc in the DVD drive of my laptop before I even leave – that way during the flight I don’t have hunt through my bag for the discs; I know I already have 3 hours of entertainment loaded up and ready to go. In addition to The Office, which obviously I recommend highly, I also really like Scandal and New Girl. Always bring a TV show that you will never get tired of.

4. My laptop – Um duh. I used to not need it as much, but now I feel like it’s pretty necessary. I’m looking into getting a tablet – any recommendations?

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Notice movie and little kid in the background – Benadryl is definitely necessary in this situation…

5. Benadryl –  I have mentioned the importance of Benadryl in a previous post, but I just want to reiterate here. Benadryl is not something scary – it’s your best friend on long flights. My recipe for avoiding jet-lag (especially going to somewhere) is to get on their time schedule before the flight lands. When up in the air time is almost non-existent because of all the different time zones you’re flying through so I recommend setting your clock on your phone and following that as your sleep schedule. Say you’re going to Albania and your clock says 10:00pm Albanian time, go to sleep! Skip the airplane movies – I know it’s fun to have your own personal TV right in front of your face, but just go to sleep. It’s more important. Need help? Take a Benadryl when the clock says 9:30pm :). Problem solved.

6. At least one book – I read so much more whenever I travel, probably because I forget about the other things I have to do back home and just enjoy myself. Reading a book related to your destination is always fun and gives you a better sense of where you’re traveling to before you even arrive. I also love the Lonely Planet travel book series because they take you off the beaten path and I think it ends up saving me money in the long run. It also gives my mind something to read in preparation for my trip or else I’d non-stop try to plan it out in my head without really much grasp on what to do. Lonely Planet travel guides gives restless me something to do before I depart. I loved their Tanzania Guide Book and I’m currently reading their one on Italy and their city guide book for Cape Town.

7. Photos of friends & family – Especially when I’m traveling for a while it’s great to have a few pictures to tape on my wall wherever I am as a little reminder. If not physical photos put a few of your favorites onto your laptop of phone instead.

8. Granola Bars – I am known to snack when I get bored and then completely fill up on junk food. With granola bars it’s a win win because if you chose your granola bar right it can serve as the perfect meal if you’re feeling particularly poor on that day of travel or not quite hungry. They also serve as the perfect recovery food if you got sick and need to work you way back into eating a full meal again. Just take little nibbles of a granola bar like this one and you’ll be back to normal in no time.

Case in point...

Case in point…

9. An Extra Bag – Bringing along an extra bag is always a good idea – one that can fit into your current suitcase is always a great idea. You may come home with more souvenirs that you thought or your bag may fall apart…. (see above).

I’m sure I forgot something very important (aside for the obvious like passport, money, etc) so let me know! What is something you never travel without?

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Eight Tips for a Successful Suitcase

Image1. I know its overplayed but its seriously true!… After you’re done packing go through your suitcase again and take half out. Trust me you won’t need it.

2. To add on to #1, after you take half out and you suddenly have extra space pack things that remind you of home or “comfort” items especially for long trips! Bring pictures and box mac and cheese! That is probably the best advice I could give anyone. As silly as it made sound when you suddenly feel home sick and you are very very far away from home you are going to so grateful to curl up with some great pictures of home and a bowl of artificial cheese with some macaroni on the side. Seriously.

3. Categorize your suitcase with ziploc bags. Put all your health care stuff (advil, aleve, immodium, BENEDRYL) all in one bag. Put all your makeup in one bag. Put all you jewelry in one bag. You get the picture… It will really help you be able to find stuff after you finally arrive at your destination and you just want to change out of your smelly, sweaty “I’ve been on an airplane all day” clothes. For realzzzz.

4. Benedryl. One of the most vital things for any frequent traveler to pack. With so many changing time zones and strage exotic animals which can sometimes be heard from a hotel room benedryl is a life saver. Whenever I was having trouble sleeping (like for example when I found four lizards in my hotel room) I would just pop in a benedryl and sleep great! It is especially important on flights when there’s that crying baby in front of you… trust me on this. The only catch is don’t take it too too often or else your body becomes increasingly more immune to it and you won’t get as tired!

5. Along the same line as comfort items, bring some DVDs that you will never get tired of because you’ll be watching them a lot. When I went to Tanzania I only brought season 6 of The Office. I can honestly say I have memorized every episode in that entire box set and I’m proud of it.

6. Carry on at least one complete outfit. Although I have been lucky enough to never lose a bag (knock on wood!) I certainly know people who have and sometimes they don’t even have a change of underwear! It is not fun trying to purchase underwear in the middle of nowhere Africa!

7. Use a reliable AND easy to carry suitcase! Pick carefully! My dependable best friend aka suitcase is an awesome rolly suitcase made by the brand Ricardo (whatever that means)… you can purchase one here: (Ricardo Beverly Hills Luggage Roxbury 21-Inch Expandable Freewheel Wheelaboard, Brushed Silver, Small).

8. Also think about where you are traveling. Don’t bring those new booty shorts to Saudi Arabia. Do some research before you leave to find out vital info about whatever country you are visiting. Don’t forget to check weather too!

Remember traveling doesn’t have to be perfect to still be a great trip and packing is a skill. It does take time to master the art.