I love traveling. I enjoy seeing new places and doing new things. From the time I was a kid I would look forward to vacations weeks in advance. I would think through what we would be doing and where we would be going. I would make lists of lists I needed to make. I would even organize my packing lists by what would be packed in which bag.

However, I was the chronic overpacker. Beach vacations for instance, I would have an outfit for every possible situation yet I rotated between swimsuits and shorts and a t-shirt. Everything I didn’t wear became disorganized and annoying. Needless to say I could have gotten by with a much smaller suitcase.

Now that I have done my fair share of traveling I am getting pretty good at knowing what to pack and what to leave at home. Not only is there less for me to keep track of but I don’t have to go rummaging through multiple bags just to find the one item I need. There is a place for everything and everything is in it’s place.

There are some things I absolutely never leave home without. They make my trip so much more pleasant and help me settle in just a little bit quicker. This is not your typical list of travel must-haves but they will make a world of difference.

  • Dirty laundry bag- Not a trash bag. We have a washable cloth laundry bag that folds up nicely so it doesn’t take up a lot of space but is a huge benefit. Just toss your dirty laundry in as you go and dump it in the washer when you get home. Voila!
  • Extension cord– This has come in handy so many times. Hotels never have enough outlets and if they do they are hardly close enough to be convenient. I have one that stays in our luggage all the time for hairdryers, phone chargers, etc.
  • Lotion– This one is true especially if I am flying. I have terribly dry skin and traveling seems to zap the little moisture I do have right out. I keep a travel size in my purse and full size in my luggage.
  • Reusable water bottle- Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Traveling can be rough but if I’m able to sip on something throughout the day it makes it much more manageable. There isn’t always a place to buy water but if I top it off every time I get the chance it is generally enough to keep me satisfied.
  • Empty soft bag- Just any sort of large-ish floppy bag that can be stuffed in your luggage until it’s time to come home. I always end up coming home with more than I came with and I am usually ready to just get home. I don’t want to meticulously repack everything exactly how we brought it. Just do the best you can and anything leftover goes in this bag. It’s always a lifesaver.
  • Wet/Dry Bag- wet swimsuits, runny noses, spilt drinks. You never know when you’ll have a mess on your hands. This makes cleaning up a snap. Just stuff the mess in the bag and deal with it later.
  • Q-tips- Now this one is just a personal preference so take it or leave it. Both my sister and I have a thing for cleaning our ears ALL the time. I know you’re not supposed to use Q-tips but you do you, boo! They’re not something a hotel just has there for you but it is not worth a trip to the store either. I just bring my own.

A little bit of preparation to set yourself up for a peaceful and successful trip is so worth it in my opinion. It is so nice to feel prepared and confident. It makes being away from the comforts of home just a little bit easier. Where do you plan on going next? Be sure to add these to your packing list for a simpler and smoother vacation.

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