Whenever and wherever you travel there are always the same essentials you have to pack and bring with you. And as is often the case, it’s so easy to forget a few such essentials leaving you having to scramble for a pharmacy or store on your travels to pick up what you forgot. This can be a colossal waste of time when you are on a tight schedule. Making a Permanent Travel List of the times you always have to bring with you will save you so much time and grief later on.So you don’t lose your Permanent Travel List, keep copies in your suit cases and carry ons that you travel with.
Choose a suitcase that stands out, or make YOURS stand out from the masses
Choose a suitcase that is a bright color so it stands out on the airport luggage carousel. Go for almost anything other than the standard black. If the best and most affordable suitcase you find comes only in black, then make yours stand out from sea of other black suitcases.
* Use red nail polish to write your name on the handle of your suitcase. This is another way to make your luggage visibly stand out from the others, as well as permanently attach your name to it.
* Attach stickers, ribbons or tassels to your luggage to make it easier and quicker to identify.
When packing your suitcase and carry on cases keep in mind the position your luggage will be when it’s laid down as well as being carried or rolled about.
The heaviest objects are best placed on the bottom of the suitcase. This way, when the suitcase is standing up and rolled, the heaviest items will not squish the lighter items beneath them. The lightest and most sensitive items should always sit on the “top” of the heavy ones – whether it’s laid down or carried.
To make more room, I place my clothes that can withstand wrinkling such as sweaters, socks, pajamas scarves, robes, undergarments, etc., in space saver travel bags that you can just roll the air out of. I take these items out of the space saver bags upon arrival at the hotel so they can re-shape themselves or spray wrinkle releaser on them if needed. Then I repack them when I move on to my next travel destination. It’s a small effort that’s worth a lot in extra luggage space.
Often luggage gets lost at the airport because the flimsy tags the airlines provide fall off making your luggage unidentifiable. Aside from the airline issued tags, tag your luggage with a sturdy tag and clearly print your Name, Destination Address and contact Telephone Number.
For extra measure, tuck into each of your suitcases and carryons a large sheet of paper and repeat the information in big bold letters. If you are traveling to multiple places and you don’t expect to stay long at your first destination, include an Itinerary of your travels so if your luggage does get lost it can be tracked to wherever you are going (hopefully your airline will care enough to get your luggage to you)
Stick identifying labels onto some of your more important possessions as well (such as camera bags). If you leave something behind in a hotel room, restaurant, train or taxi, it increases the chance it will be returned to you if there is a tag with contact information attached to it.
Whether packing small jewelry in snack size ziploc bags, or toiletries in gallon size ziploc bags, it helps identify the times you need in a jiffy without having to search for them. Small jewelry size baggies are perfect for your daily medicine and/or vitamins, coins, small souvenirs, earrings and small jewelry. I even use sandwich size ziploc bags as a makeup case – I don’t even have to search for that small eyeliner that always gets lost in the bottom of the makeup case.
Large ziploc bags are also great to stow laundry to be washed.
Usually travellers bring with them names and addresses of friends and family they wish to send postcards to. But there are other important contact information that is important to bring with you:
All the hotels you are staying at: Hotel Names, Addresses and telephone numbers. (it is not unheard of for tourists to leave their hotels to go sightseeing and then forget the name and address of their hotels and have no idea how to get back!)
On a side note…have a list of alternative hotel names, addresses and numbers in case your chosen hotel doesn’t meet your expectations and you need to make a quick change. It helps to have a back up plan.
* CAR SERVICE and TOURING COMPANIES
If you book private car service for tours or transfers to/from the airport or cruise port, have handy the company name and their telephone contact number in case you are experiencing delays or you are unable to spot your driver at the designated meeting place.
* YOUR DOCTOR
You may come across situations where you need some medical advice. Calling your doctor may be an option if it’s not an absolute emergency.
In case you lose your passport or have any emergencies, have the telephone number of your embassy in the cities and countries you visit.
* YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY
Pickpocketing does happen whether you travel within your own country or abroad. In case your credit cards get lost or stolen, have your credit card company number handy (as well as a copy of your credit card information to provide to your company)
* RESTAURANTS and EATERIES
You might come across recommendations for great restaurants, cafes, and gelato in the cities you are visiting. Keep a list of these eateries (as well as their address and telephone number if available) handy in case you wish to try them out.
Pack emergency food that you are accustomed to at home, such as your favorite snack bars and treats that might be handy on long train rides and day trips where you don’t readily find a place to eat. You’ll find some variety of snack bars at markets abroad, but they may not be the kind that you normally prefer.
Part of the fun of traveling is bringing home favorite souvenirs and have some fun shopping!
The only problem is if you leave with full suitcases you won’t have enough space in your luggage for the items you wish to bring back. To remedy this, here are my 3 favorite options:
- Pack light when you leave on your travels and leave extra space and weight in your luggage for anything you wish to bring back.
- Pack disposable items such as clothing that you don’t parting with along the way to make room in your luggage. Undergarments, bum around clothes and pajamas are the usual times that most people can just part ways with.
- Bring an extra duffel bag. Duffel bags are inexpensive and light to carry, and if you don’t mind airline fees for an additional piece of luggage you can fill them up with the excess stuff you will be bringing home.
Below is my handy list of the most useful items for packing that I use on most occasions.
- Ziplock bags of all sizes- makes finding items from toiletries and make up to jewerly and camera equipment (batteries, memory card cases, etc) easier to find. It helps keep spillable items sealed away from the rest of your stuff. It keeps dirty laundry away from your clean laundry. Small ziploc bags are great to carry your daily medicine and supplements, small change, paper clips, hair clips, and any other small items. The use for these handy resealable bags are endless!
- Rubber bands - sturdy rubber bands are some of the items useful for packing that I never leave without. I use them to hold extension cords together, wrap things together such as cushioning around wine bottles, and basically help hold many things in place.
- Duct tape or electrical tape - there are times when luggage pieces get torn and ripped, and tape always comes in handy!
- Garbage bags - don’t laugh. I have used black sturdy garbage bags not only for laundry as it’s often the case, but to protect my luggage from rain on a few occassions.
- Bubble wrap - I always bring a few sheets of bubble wrap while traveling as they are perfect cushion elements. Whether I wrap them around cameras and laptops or bottles of wine or olive oil, they are also great to protect fragile souvenirs you may collect along the way.
- Envelopes- A variety of envelopes (thick paper or plastic, various sizes if needed) are great for storing important copies of your documents, brochures, vouchers, receipts and any other paperwork you need to have with you on your travels. Postcards and photos you collect on your travels can also be stored in envelopes.
Do YOU have any great tips for packing? We’d love to hear from you and your ideas.
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Thank you very much and I look forward to seeing you again on A Road Retraveled!