Whether you are a backpacker or a business-class jet-setter, everyone needs to know packing essentials. That’s why I have asked peer travel writer, Brianna Townsend, to give us her tried and true packing tips. Enjoy!
Take it away Brianna!
If you look like you’re relocating for the month on every weekend trip you take, this article is for you. There are a lot of benefits to traveling light, but it’s not an easy feat for all of us. Many of us fall victim to the “What ifs”, as in “What if I get asked to a fancy dinner at the last second?” Whether it’s an absolute necessity to pack light for the purpose of traveling or you’re simply tired of lugging giant bags for short trips, you could benefit from some travel packing tips. Stop the scourge that is over-packing—read on for more on the absolute essentials for short trips.
If It Fits, It Goes
The first rule of essentials is to pack small things! Everything should fit into a weekender bag. You can find such bags at bestlyproducts.com. What this means if you’re a regular weekend warrior or you’re about to become one, you need to invest in travel-sized everything. From travel-sized hair dryers and deodorant to toothpaste and soap, it all helps. And if you know there’s going to be a hair dryer where you’re going, you can even skip out on that! Do your research and find out what the hotel, motel, etc. you’re staying at offers so you don’t pack anything you don’t need. Form a “maybe” pile for all the items that go in your bag. If you’re getting full, it’s decision time.
Toiletries Are a Must
You definitely don’t want to get somewhere and find out you’re sans toothbrush and/or deodorant, for your sake and for the sake of those around you! Have a travel toiletry bag packed and ready to go at all times for maximum convenience. Remember those travel-sized items! The toiletry bags that you can hang on the bathroom hook while you shower are great, as they also have transparent pockets so you can see everything you brought. A facial moisturizer is a must but every hotel offers body lotion, so you can skip out on that. And if you’re not picky about your shampoo and conditioner, you can save on space by using what the hotel offers. If you’ve run into the worst-case scenario and you’ve arrived at your destination without a toothbrush and/or toothpaste, most hotels will provide you with a tiny toothbrush and enough toothpaste for a day.
ID and/or Passport
If it’s a short trip, you won’t need a passport. However, whether you are flying or driving to your destination, you never want to leave home without your ID. On the off chance you get pulled over, you definitely want to have this with you or risk a steep fine. You’ll also need your ID to make any purchases during your trip. Keep a copy of your ID in a file back home in case you lose it—that way you’ll know your driver’s license ID number for getting a new one.
Packing light is particularly hard for many of us when it comes to clothing. Remember those “what ifs”! Alternatively, you want to err on the side of caution. By this, we mean that even if you’re going somewhere in the midst of summer, you want to pack at least one sweater or sweatshirt for nighttime and/or heavily air conditioned rooms. If there is a washer and dryer where you are, you can pack even lighter. If not, Febreze will be your best friend. And try to pack clothes that can be rolled without wrinkling to maximize space in your bag.
Don’t Forget Your Electronics
There may have been a time in which electronics were not a must but that time is long gone. For better or worse, we now need our phones and tablets to survive. And if you’ve ever gone on a weekend trip with kids and without a tablet, you know that this goes under the “necessities” column. The nice thing about your phone is you can often use it in lieu of cameras and travel resources. Of course, don’t forget your chargers and, if you’re going to be out on hikes or other excursions where you won’t be able to plug in, you might also consider bringing a mobile charger (and the charger for that, too!).
As Eric Clapton would say, “Travelin light is the only way to fly,” and we couldn’t agree more. It’s not easy to become a low maintenance packer but, with practice, everyone can do it.
**Guest post contributed by Brianna Townsend a wanderluster from New England, currently in Alaska for the summer.**