Whether you are traveling for work or for pleasure, in order to make sure your next trip goes as smoothly as possible, you are going to want to make sure you take all of the essentials with you. There is nothing worse than arriving at your destination, ready to relax or to get accomplish work-related tasks, only to find out that you forgot to bring something that you really need.
While yes, most locations do have stores where you can pick up some necessities that you may have left behind, such as toothpaste or soap, there are some things that you aren’t going to be able to easily acquire when you are traveling – and there are definitely things that you aren’t going to be able to get at all.
In order to avoid being miserable on your next trip because you forgot something that’s super important, here are my tips for packing – including five of my favorite things that I suggest bringing with you.
My Packing Tips
Next to purchasing travel insurance, packing is one of the most important things that you can do to ensure that your trip is as successful and enjoyable as possible. What you pack will really have an impact on your entire trip experience. You don’t want to pack too much, otherwise you will end up having to tote around unnecessary weight – and pay unnecessary baggage fees; but, you also don’t want to pack to lightly and forget something that is extremely important.
To make sure you pack as efficiently as possible, I suggest starting at least a week before your departure. This should give you enough time to make sure that you have everything you need, and to get everything neatly and securely stored away in your luggage. Before you start packing, I also suggest that you make a list. Write down all of the things that you absolutely need – prescription eye glasses, medications, toiletries and essential clothing, as well as things that you would like to bring, but aren’t an absolute necessity. When you are making up your list, keep your destination and your reason for traveling in mind. Are you traveling to a tropical location for leisure, or are you going to a cooler climate for work-related purposes? Your destination and your reason for traveling will determine the type of clothing that you should bring with you.
Once you have created your list, lay out all of the items you have included. Doing so will give you an idea of how much you will be taking with you. If it seems like you have too much, try to scale it down by eliminating items that you don’t absolutely need. For example, while it might be nice to have three different dresses to choose from for an evening out, if you are only traveling for a few days, you likely won’t have a need for all three dresses.
Once you have determined that what you have approved what you have chosen to bring with you, start packing!
My Five Favorite Items
Whenever I go on a trip, whenever it is for a business function or for a relaxing vacation, these are the five things that I always bring with me:
- A Camera. In the age of smartphones that are equipped with high-resolution cameras, you may be thinking that a camera is unnecessary; however, the truth is, a real camera will take much better pictures than your phone.
- A Travel Guide. Sure, you can find out information about your destination by doing a quick search on the Internet; however, a travel guide will offer you a much more comprehensive look at your destination, including must see sites, restaurants and tips about the culture.
- Debit and credit cards do make it a lot easier to purchase items because you don’t have to carry cash around with you. However, if you are visiting another country, such as Cuba, your debit or credit card may not work. The last thing you want to do is end up not having money, so make sure you bring some cash along with you. If your destination doesn’t use US dollars, you can exchange your cash prior to your departure or once you arrive (many hotels change currency.)
- Comfortable Shoes. You definitely want to take a good pair of comfortable shoes with you, especially if your trip will involve a good bit of walking. Make sure that the shoes are supportive and broken in before you go so that you don’t end up with painful blisters.
- Sunglasses. I never leave for a trip without sunglasses. They are an absolute must. There’s nothing worse than being blinded by the sun. Even if you are traveling to a cool climate and you don’t anticipate being outside a lot, sunglasses can really come in handy.