When it’s time for me to pack a bag I think a lot about the big bag and the carry on. I am totally focused on answering the big questions. You know the ones.
“What do I need to wear while I am there?”
“What do I need to keep me from being bored while I travel?”
“What can I actually take on this plane without having to check a bag?”
You have to answer those or you really are going to be in trouble when you get to where you are getting to. But there is another set of questions to ask. These questions prepare you to make the moments, not just the days, smooth and easy. Plus, the answers to these questions should all fit into your daily bag, purse, or fanny pack if you are that type of girl. So ask these questions when it comes time to back all of your bags.
What do I need to feel safe?
I consider my husband the number one thing that makes me feel safe in a place but there are certainly a few others that come in handy. People aren’t always sweet and friendly.
What do I need to be clean?
- A phone that works – Make sure you can use your phone when you travel or buy a burner when you get to your destination. Lots of places you can get a burner phone with plenty of minutes for around $20 – totally worth it.
Separate container for credit cards/cash and paper work – It’s age old advice because it’s good advice. Don’t keep all your stuff in one place.
Whistle or noise maker – If you are traveling alone bring something just incase you get in a precarious situation and need to get a bad guy away. You can’t carry pepper spray on a plane and they say a whistle works great for drawing attention.
A hike in the Amazon or Hollywood is an okay time to feel dirty, but when you walk to your dinner reservation on a balmy night in Morocco, it isn’t the time to embrace the granola part of your personality. And a nasty bathroom can make you feel dirtier after you wash your hands.
What do I need to stay healthy and happy?
Baby wipes – This is one of the best tips I’ve ever been given for traveling. Bring baby wipes everywhere you go. Everywhere. Really. My husband made fun of me the first time I packed them and when we ran out on the third day we made a special trip to refill them. Try it once and it will be a travel staple for every trip you make.
Hand Sanitizer – Since I am a mom now I have been using this one from Jessica Alba’s organic baby care line. You might not want to make that jump yet but if you have a little one I would say try it out.
Blotting Linens – Keep your make up in place but keep the shine and general nasty feeling of being oily away. I like this version from Sophora.
Headaches come out of nowhere. A place may be lots drier than you think and all you brought were contacts. That Indian restaurant might be a little too authentic for your tummy.
What do I need to keep calm?
- Tums – I go classic with my antacids. Fruity flavors.
- Advil – My pain reliever of choice.
Melatonin – Sleep doesn’t always come easy when the time changes or your adrenaline is pumping. And this all natural sleep aid will get you rest when you need it.
- Visine – When your eyes are dry or if you get sand or dirt in them it’s miserable. Don’t be miserable.
Expect a few things not to go your way. Things like transportation, sickness, and language barriers can all get you stressed in a hurry. I don’t know what you need exactly but there’s always something that can help you keep from getting to a ten.
What if I need food on the go?
Aveda roll on oil – From mint to lavender these little essential oils can calm you down and help with small headaches.
- Emergency Numbers list – if you lose your phone it’s a good idea to have a good old fashioned paper list of numbers handy that includes things like your hotel phone number and the emergency number of the country you are in
Commutes take longer than you think sometimes. If you’ve never had “sweet breads” before you might not want to start now. Maybe your credit card was flagged for fraud because you are traveling internationally and you can’t purchase anything. Or you are running late for your next train out of town and you don’t have time to stop at that amazing Patisserie like you planned. You never know when you are going to be stuck without something of sustenance to fill your belly.
Luna Bar – Good for you, easy to carry, doesn’t take up lots of room plus they are delicious.
Bear Yo Yo – It’s a grown up fruit roll up. Thank you Bear for making it ok for me to have fruit by the foot.
Pringles – I have yet to visit a country that doesn’t sell Pringles. Its international junk food and these fun to eat chips that don’t leave you hands greasy saved hubs and I from certain starvation at least 15 times in Turkey.
The answers to these questions are really my own. You may answer them differently. Regardless of how you answer them – like me or totally different – ask them. It’ll be worth it every time.