Packing the Essentials

Although there are differing opinions on the most traveled time of the year, it is undeniable that the holiday season brings more people onto the road and into the air. Not only are the roadways and airways busy, our lives seem to fill up as well, making it easy to forget things as we get ready to hit the road. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, we could all use a check list of those items that are easy to forget.

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Here are a few things I always make sure I have in my carry-on bag. Packing these small modern-day necessities will save you a few dollars at the airport or on the plane, and make your travel a little more enjoyable.

1. Headphones and earplugs – cruise in peace.
2. An empty water bottle – use a water fountain. Reduce, reuse and recycle.
3. Portable charger – keep the entertainment coming.
4. Neck pillow – international flights will never be the same.
5. Tissues and wet wipes – germs; avoid others’ and keep yours to yourself.
6. Travel toiletries – toothbrush – as close to a shower as you’re going get after your red-eye.
7. Reusable extra bag – you always leave with more than you came with. I always carry my Vita bag.

Once I jotted down this list of my own, I did a little research and found there are many resources online for those who are looking to pack better, lighter, faster and stronger. Here are a few that I found to be the most helpful and comprehensive:

The Family Packing List – this article reminds you of the essentials for every age and member of the family.

It may not be the prettiest site, but this interactive online packing list from The Independent Traveler may include a few items you would have otherwise forgotten. If you prefer pen and paper you can personalize the list with your items, download it and print!

While Eagle Creek is clearly interested in persuading you to purchase its items, their packing lists can be customized based on your type of trip, activity or destination, and therefore help you pack the essentials.

If you like to make your own lists but are looking for an upgrade from your pen and paper (though I must say there’s nothing quite as satisfying as checking off an item on your to-do list… can you tell I’m Type A?) there are a number of great and free iphone or android applications that will make your packing list process a bit easier, and if not faster, as least a little prettier. My number one choice is Wunderlist. Free and easy to use, this app allows you to update your lists from anywhere, as well as share them with family, friends or coworkers. For more applications, check out Fast Company’s recommendations, or if you’re willing to pay a little to get your lists in shape, take a look at imore’s article here.

Finally, it never hurts to check for travel advisories especially before extended travel or travel to a new destination. Visit these two government websites for resources and updates: U.S. Department of State and U.S. Passports & International Travel.

Do you have helpful travel hints of your own? Share them with us!

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