There are few random items I think are worth packing… but some can really come in handy. As I mentioned in this post, keep your “what if?”s to a minimum, because it probably isn’t going to happen! But let’s talk about a few items that might cover your bases and serve a purpose as well.
I bought this rain jacket about two years ago and it was the best $40 I’ve spent. We found it on SierraTradingPost.com on sale, but I would buy it full price if I had to. This packs up so small in a suitcase, and I’ve used it every time I’ve brought it. Here are a few ways it’s useful:
– Keeps you dry
– Helps keep you warm when you need an extra layer
– Easy way to cover up a wardrobe malfunction (rip or spill)
I bought the uninsulated one so I could use it year round. This has adjustable wrists & hood so it will end up being a perfect fit for everyone! I also chose black because it is the most versatile & doesn’t show dirt!
Tip: Buy one size larger so you can wear OVER layers when it’s cold & rainy!
These take up NO space at all, and the uses are endless. I use almost a whole pack in a week long trip. Here are a few ways:
– Nasty tray table on the plane
– Remove Make Up
– Wipe off face/back of neck after long day of travel
– Wipe off dirty luggage
– Last resort when no soap in bathroom
Seriously. They are so multi functional! I’ve even used them as a tissue in desperate times. For $1 at Target and 1cm in your pack, these are a must have in my book.
I’ve started carrying a small, flat, neutral tote with me on every trip because I’m always in need of a spare bag! Just a few places you might need these:
– Farmer’s Market
– European Market
– Beach Day (on a non beach vacation)
– Eco Friendly City Grocery Stores (they charge you for plastic bags)
– Store dirty clothes away from clean ones
– Gym Bag
– Just because sometimes you need two bags!
On my last trip to Seattle I was able to use my tote as a beach bag at the lake, gym bag, shopping, market & to separate clothes! The ones I’ve featured above are cute, but there are tons of adorable ones on Etsy, too! For bargain options, check H&M or Forever 21. Other stores like Cotton On offer cheap totes as add-on purchase for a couple of bucks. But let’s be honest – you probably have a free one floating around somewhere! I’d go for a canvas style that lays flat (rather than the reusable shopping bag style) and something neutral & cute you wouldn’t mind using as an alternative purse.
This might seem like a no brainer… but most of us rarely cary cash! Here are some of the times I’ve wished I had a few bucks in my bag:
– Tip (Valet, Porter, Barista)
– Cash Only Vendors
– Farmer’s Market
– Metered Parking
– Bus Fare
– Minimum Credit Purchase
– Pay Per Use Bathroom (I’m looking at you, Europe!)
– Pay Phone (ok, so it’s been a few years – but you never know in an emergency!)
Having $20 broken down can get you a long way. Having a couple of dollars in quarters is always helpful for laundry, bus, and meters. Some people are happy to give cash back and break down change… and others aren’t. Save yourself the headache and have a few bucks with you. If you’re traveling internationally, I would have a few bucks/quarters for the trip out but make your change in your destination’s currency.
Pen & Paper
iPhones! Technology! That’s all well and good until your phone dies or you’re out of service area 🙂 I’m a big believer in writing things down. Times I have loved my pen & paper:
– Having someone write directions
– Having someone write name of restaurant or location
– Exchanging phone numbers/email with new friends
– Leaving notes for others you’re traveling with
– Keep score in card games 🙂
– Keep tab if one person is paying & all splitting at end of trip
I use pen & paper soooooo often… I couldn’t imagine traveling without it! Ask my study abroad classmates…. they would find notes from me 24/7 because we didn’t have cell phones. I keep this little Moleskine in my bag with a Sharpie pen (doesn’t smudge) because it’s skinny & easy to rip pages out. Also, there’s this little pocket in the back for keeping any notes organized!
These are some of my MUST HAVE items when I travel… each one serves so many purposes in my opinion! Do you travel with any of these things? Do you think they’re useful?