I kind of hate the “how to pack a bag” type of travel articles, which begs the question why I wrote this post today. Well, I think this is a little different – it’s more about my travel style than it is a prescription on how to travel better. Of course you could certainly adapt these tips and dramatically improve your travel experience, but I still maintain that this is not a how to pack post. Make sense? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Anyway, without further ado here are a few things I always pack when I travel.
1. Ziploc bags – These little modern miracles are truly the traveler’s best friend. The variety of sizes in which they are available also means that they are useful for a wide variety of travel purposes. I use the large bags to pack socks and underwear and then use them again to segregate and store dirty clothes as I’m traipsing around the planet. It makes it easier to see what you have to wear and limits any potential of smelly clothes contaminating the rest of your bag. The small Ziplocs are also incredibly useful of course, namely in my carry-on bag. A quick peek will show them used as medicine storage, ring and watch storage and a catchall for small odds and ends I don’t want lost in the abyss of my bag. I’m sure there are a million other uses for these wonderful plastic bags and I’d love to hear some of yours. (So I can steal the ideas and claim them as my own of course)
2. Power Strip – The technology of the 21st century is amazing and has changed our lives forever. However, traveling with our modern conveniences can be difficult given how many things we all have to charge. When I travel I have to charge my: laptop, DSLR camera, pocket camera, waterproof camera, iPad and my iPhone. While I don’t mind lugging around all the wires necessary to power up my devices, it can be challenging in hotel rooms with just one or two outlets – especially if I’m traveling with my partner. That’s why I always carry a power strip when I travel. Not only does it make living in a hotel room much easier, but it’s also easier to power up several devices anywhere. It also makes you incredibly popular in airports.
3. No more than two pairs of shoes – I know, I know, I’m a guy so this may be easier for me than others, but I think it’s doable for everyone. Shoes can take up a lot of room and depending on the style can also be fairly heavy. In general, they’re a total pain. Whenever I travel I never, ever take more than two pairs of shoes, but I choose them carefully so that they can be used in a variety of situations. Tennis shoes are a must of course, I always do a ton of walking around when I travel and I’d be lost without them. But if you choose wisely, they can also be used in a variety of different circumstances, even in more dressy settings. The second pair of shoes I bring are usually docksiders or similar. They’re comfortable shoes for low-key walking but they are also perfect for dressy occasions that may pop up on the road. That way I get the look of a nicer looking shoe, but the same shoe can also be used in a more casual setting.
4. My own amenity kit – I love luxury travel, especially when flying. However, I sadly can’t always afford Business or First class and so I travel with my own, do-it-yourself amenity kit. More than just a vain way to pretend I’m traveling in style, it’s actually a very useful little packet. In it I always include: eye masks, ear plugs, lip balm, a pen, deodorant and waterless disposable tooth brushes. It’s not much but these little comforts can transform a long haul flight into a much more bearable experience.
5. Poncho – I have a stack of disposable ponchos that I always tuck away in a side pocket of my suitcase when I’m on the road. It’s not really for me, not unless I’m stuck in an absolute torrential downpour, the ponchos are really for my electronics. My carryon bag is somewhat water resistant but not totally and given the amount of expensive electronics I carry with me, I need to make sure I can keep everything safe. The poncho is perfect to wrap around the bag to form a truly waterproof barrier. If I’m out and about then I use it to protect my all-important camera. It may not be pretty, but it’s incredibly useful.
What are some things you always pack when you travel?