Packing Like a Pro
Even for the veteran traveler, packing is a challenge. The ratio of what I want to take vs. what I know I can take is probably about 5:1, especially now that airlines are charging premiums for checked baggage. Some general tips: Take about half of what you lay out to take, bring one more pair of underwear than you think you need, and pack without a list at your own peril!
My top 5 travel gear items for the budget traveler…
- Hanging bathroom organizer. I am at the duck-tape stage with the Victoria’s Secret hanging bathroom organizer my mom got for me almost 7 years ago. It has been all over the world with me and I have never found its match. On my flight from Colombia to Washington, DC. it saved my suitcase and wardrobe from an attack of bright red nail polish, which stayed mercifully self-contained in one of the pockets above.
- Backpacker’s backpack. To me, there is simply no contest between suitcase vs. backpack when one or more of the following conditions exits. A. You are on a budget. B. You are moving all of your shtuff at least 3 times a week. C. You plan on taking more than two forms of transportation. D. You are traveling anywhere with cobblestone. What is more, even if you are a super-planner, I guarantee at some point you will need to run to catch a connecting flight, a departing train, or a coveted taxi. Guess who wins when they are hands-free without wheels?
- Water bottle. I’ve always carried a water bottle with me but recently my former housemate in NY gave me one of the savviest of savvy travel gear items…an eco-friendly Hydroflask thermos water bottle that handles heat and cold equally well with an easy grip outside. When I’m on the go (which is always) or want to drink water for free (also, always), it is difficult to go without it!
- Sleep sack. A sleep sack is perfect for those of us who may be slightly germ conscious (ahem) and prefer a thin liner between us and hostel bedsheets or the couch we are crashing on. They come in silk or cotton varieties and also make for a cozy addition inside your regular sleeping bag when camping. Handy.
- A pocket-sized notebook. Yes yes. Our smart phones and tech gear can do anything these days besides procreate (and Apple is probably patenting this at the moment). While I am a strong advocate of using technology that simplifies your life and travels, the little notebook still earns a seat in my pocket every time. When your gadget is out of service or gets lost, stolen, or broken and you are in the middle of a new place with no memory of the address that night but with the most profound epiphany of your life… a simple pen and paper with vital information and blank space for whimsical brilliance will be your best friend.
What can’t you leave home without?