While everyone knows to pack clothing and toiletries, here are some items you may not think of and some that you may not pack because you don’t think you will need them.
1. Pillowcase: I have stayed in a lot of hotels, many of which I did not want to touch the bed covers let alone rest my head on their pillow. Packing a pillowcase lets you keep your peace of mind while you sleep in a strange place whether you’re staying in a sketchy hostel or the Four Seasons.
2. Food you can’t get where you are going. One of my travel companions dips everything in ranch dressing before she eats it. She freaked when she realized ranch is almost impossible to find in Europe and what you can get is nothing like what she was used to. If you don’t go a week without it at home, assume you won’t be able to find it in your destination and take some.
3. Adaptors. If you are going to a country where the outlets are different, do not forget to pack an adaptor. While hotels provide most appliances (such as blow dryers) you are still likely to need an adaptor for something. It is almost impossible to find adaptors once you reach your destination since all those sold in local stores are to adapt the local plug to a foreign one instead of the other way around.
4. Space bags. In a previous post, I mentioned that I could not stand travel Space Bags, and that I do not believe they work. While this opinion stands, there is one excellent alternative use for them that everyone should consider. Space Bags are a great option to store smelly, wet, or dirty clothes in when traveling, because they are created to seal in everything and store larger amounts of clothing than a Ziploc bag. Whether your clothing smells like cigarette smoke or is covered in mud from a hike, storing them in a Space Bag keeps them from rubbing off on your other clothing.
5. GPS Tracker. For less than $100, you can buy a GPS tracking unit to store in your checked bag. If your bag gets stolen or never makes it on the plane, you can check where the GPS system is and find your bag once again. For example, the Mini Real Time Tracker, shown below, uses a SIM card to send its current coordinates to your phone.
6. Spare credit card, medicine, and ID. Often travelers are told to keep these items safely in their carry-ons during trips. While this is sound advice, you should keep a spare of everything you can’t live without in your suitcase. This way if your wallet, purse, or bag get stolen on your trip you can have a backup.
7. Spare outfit for the opposite climate you are traveling to. If you are traveling to Sweden, it is safe to bet you will not be needing shorts and a tank top. However, the place you are staying may over-compensate for the cold by turning the heat much higher than comfortable. The same can be said for very warm climates. Pack just one outfit in-case you are stuck in the opposite temperatures you prepared for.
8. Pharmaceutical needs. On a trip to Europe, I had a cold and did not take any medicie with me. I tried to find some Sudafed but could not find anything similar to this common medicine even with the pharmacist’s help. Drug products vary greatly from country to country and even region to region, so bring anything you may need with you.
Though rarely mentioned in travel blogs (probably due to the taboo nature of the topic) the same can be said about products such as tampons and condoms. The U.S. has very different health standards than many other countries, so stick with what you know to be safe and pack safe and reliable drugstore products from home.