We’ve all been there. We’re traveling, we arrive at our destination or the airport, only to realize we have forgotten one or more essential items. Sometimes these items (like travel documents) are immediately apparent, other times we don’t realize we need them until it’s too late. (You know, AFTER you’ve been attacked by a swarm of mosquitos and realize you REALLY needed to have the bug repellent on hand.) As a frequent traveler, I have forgotten almost every single one of these items. Not only is it inconvenient, but costly. Especially if you’re traveling overseas and the products are difficult to find and expensive. Really, have you ever tried to trek across Spain/France/Italy in search of a charger cord for your American Hewlett Packard laptop? Let me tell you, it is not fun! This happened to me last summer and after my laptop battery died, I had to resort to internet cafes. Do not be me. Use this list to check off all your essentials BEFORE you head to the airport. Learn from me, friends!
In case you didn’t know, many foreign countries have different plugs than America, so you will need a plug converter to avoid blowing up your electronics. Never, ever try to plug an American plug into foreign plugs without a converter; it will destroy your electronics.
A Rewards Credit Card with No Foreign Fees
Always make sure you have a credit card when you travel, preferably one with rewards and NO foreign transaction fees. First, carrying currency is risky and non-replaceable. So, if you lose your cash, you’re out of luck. Second, because having a rewards card with no foreign transaction fees saves you money AND you can get credit back on your expenses. Many credit cards also offer sweet incentives like redeeming miles for cash, or as a statement credit toward travel purchases, including commercial airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, commuter transportation and taxis. And unlike other cards (including your debit card) many credit cards offer no foreign transaction fees -which can add up to a lot by the end of your trip! So really, there is no reason NOT to get a rewards card when you travel. It’s the safest, most beneficial way to travel.
While you may not forget your phone or laptop, forgetting charger cords for said devices is all too common. Always double check that you have packed all charger cords, so that you don’t end up on a wild goose chase like me.
Health Aids: Pain Relievers, Cold Medicine, Bug Repellent, Bandages etc.
I assure you, you’re going need one of these at some point. Make sure to pack pain relievers, cold medicine, bug repellent, cough drops, bandages, anti-nausea medicine etc. Trust me, when you’re on that long flight with a stomach ache and/or splitting headache or trekking through a bug-infested countryside, you’ll be glad you did.
Captain Obvious reporting here, but yes, some of us do forget our travel documents and it can be a disaster. Avoid the stress and missing your flight by having your travel documents prepared and neatly tucked away in one place. This includes your license, insurance cards, state ID, passport, work visa, birth certificate etc. Always double check that you have EVERYTHING you need to travel and work in other countries.
Because you know that hang nail or jagged broken finger nail is beyond annoying! It’s also gross to chomp it off with your teeth and it can be a bloody disaster to try to peel it off. Always be sure to pack and nail clipper and nail file. Your hands will thank you.
Yes, my dear sun-bather, we all need sunscreen! 1 in 5 people will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime, so wearing sunscreen is nothing to balk about. Also, have you ever tried purchasing sunscreen in a foreign country? So. Expensive. One time we paid $28 for a can of spray-on sunscreen. Highway robbery. Bring your own sunscreen!
Always bring a baseball cap, sun visor or sun hat to stay cool and keep the sun off your face. When the blistering sun is shining on you, you’ll be so happy you have some protection from those harmful UV rays that cause skin cancer and premature aging.
Whether you’re a workout junky or not, you will need sneakers when you get tired of those nasty blisters your sandals gave you from walking around too much. It’s at that pivotal moment you are no longer willing to suffer for fashion and you will be thankful for your sturdy, comfortable sneakers! Bring ’em.
Of course you’re going to need headphones and ear plugs on your flight. Whether you want to snooze, watch a movie or drown out the excessive talking or a crying baby, ear plugs and headphones will be your saving grace.
Because we all know what happens when we start and we’re unprepared: disaster. Even when you think you know your cycle, bodies are weird. Sometimes they do things that you don’t expect. Always have tampons on hand!
Everything Smaller Than 4 oz.
This is just a friendly reminder that you can’t pack anything in a carry-on that is over 4 oz. Save yourself the devastation of tossing your favorite cosmetics at the airport by making sure everything in your carry-on is 4 oz. or less.
I’ve forgotten my swimsuit more times than I can count. And no, your bra and underwear does not work and it’s painfully obvious when people try to pull this off. Add a swimsuit to your travel check list. Forgetting one can be inconvenient and costly.
It’s likely you’ll be doing some swimming and sweating while on vacation, so be sure to pack waterproof cosmetics. That is, unless you love hashtagging #raccoonlife on your Instagram pics.
Yes, exactly what it says. Double your underwear. So, if you’re going on a 7 day vacation, pack 14 pairs of underwear. You may think I’m crazy, but between pool time, multiple outfit changes, sweaty activities and what not, you will probably be showering and changing more often than you realize. You’ll obviously want fresh underwear every time you shower and change. Pack ’em.