Packing can be a challenge, especially if you’re traveling internationally. You always seem to forget something. If you travel a lot, it’s a great idea to put together some specialized kits to keep ready for that next trip. They’ll contain the little things you always need, the things that are easy to forget when you’re hurrying to pack those big items in your suitcase.
For my electronics peripherals, I use a couple of clear pouches, so I can identify what’s inside without having to open them. Clear vinyl cosmetics bags are ideal for this. You can find inexpensive ones at almost any drugstore or department store.
Here’s what I include in my ready-to-travel electronics kit:
Cables/chargers for electronics (laptop, phone, camera, iPad, GPS). When I’m sailing, I also include a Powermonkey or two, as there is not always a place to charge electronics on tall ships.
Adaptors: I keep all of my adaptors in one bag. Once I know what country or countries I’m going to be visiting next, I identify which adaptors I’ll need and put them into my clear pouch. Be sure to include both grounded and non-grounded adaptor plugs. Note: When I was sailing in the Canary Islands, I brought adaptors for both Spain and the UK. The Islands are a Spanish territory, so the hotels I stayed in used Spanish electrical outlets. However, the ship I sailed on was British and had outlets typical in the UK.
Transformer/Converter: Since space is at a premium, I use devices that serve multiple purposes. I love this one: Travelon Universal-3-in-1 Converter, Adapter, USB Charger. It’s compact, easy to set up and can plug into standard American outlets, which are used in some parts of South America. It comes with the grounded and non-grounded adaptor plugs that are commonly used throughout Europe and parts of South America, but you can use any international adaptor with it.
Surge Protector: This may seem like overkill, but electrical current in other countries can vary and spike. Don’t risk ruining your expensive electronic devices; use a surge protector. The Belkin 3-Outlet Mini Travel Swivel Charger Surge Protector with Dual USB Ports is compact and will allow you to charge up to five devices at one time. This is NOT a transformer. If you’re traveling internationally, you’ll need to plug your surge protector into a transformer with an adaptor that fits the electrical outlet. I use this surge protector in combination with the Travelon Universal-3-in-1 Converter, Adapter, USB Charger when traveling abroad. It’s worked very well for me.
TSA Liquids Kit:
It’s such a nuisance to have to separate out all your liquids, creams and pastes to take them through airport security, and it’s easy to forget to pack something you need. Why not keep a TSA-approved kit ready to go (Check the TSA website for their 3-1-1 for Carry-ons rules)?
Many drugstores have sections where you can find sample-size products that are the perfect size for travel. As you use up an item, just put a new one in your clear plastic zip-top bag. Here are some suggestions on what to pack.
Eye drops – Since your eyes often get dry during long flights, sooth them with eye drops. I like Refresh Plus, 100 Single Use Containers. They’re preservative-free and their compact size is perfect for travel.
Hand cream – Hotels abroad often do not supply this.
Shampoo – Some hotels abroad don’t supply shampoo or skimp on it. If you have long hair, this can be a problem.
Conditioner – Hotels outside of the US don’t supply this. If you color your hair, bring along a leftover tube of conditioner from your hair color kit.
Contact lens solution – If you wear contact lenses, be sure to pack the solutions you’ll need, as well as a lens case (put the case in your health kit). Optometrists often give their patients sample size solutions, which are ideal for travel.
Pack these items in your purse or in a pouch in your carryon luggage for ready access when flying.
Ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin
Dental floss/inter-dental brushes
Travel toothbrush or toothbrush with travel case