- My passport and/or government ID at the ready: While we all know that we need to carry these to travel, have them ready. Nothing is worse than waiting in line behind someone who has to rifle and unload their entire bag to find their ID. You did know you were traveling today, right?
- Carry on bag essentials: You probably already know that all of your most important items should never go in your checked bag. Pack them to go along with you in your carry on bag. I'm talking about cameras, laptop, iPad, and other tech gear.
- Extra clothes: I always pack what I'm wearing the next day in my carry on bag. This way I don't have to rifle through my checked bag to find clothing, but also to cover me in case my checked bag is delayed or worse, lost.
- Ibuprofen/Tylenol: Sometimes traveling means headaches, colds, or even injuries. I always pack pain reliever and carry it with me in case I need it.
- Good pair of headphones: Although the airlines regularly have headphones for sale, they tend to be on the cheap side. Invest in a good pair that you can use exclusively for travel, especially one with noise reduction capabilities.
- Hair bands: While I really like the Emi-Jay brand because it doesn't leave a telltale dent in your hair, if your hair is long, pack a few of these in your carry on bag. You never know when you will need them and nothing is worse than realizing you forgot to pack a few.
- Lip balm or moisturizer: My go to is Nivea as it goes on smoothly and is clear unless you get one of the tinted ones. Great for cold weather areas or the dry air on an airplane.
- Makeup wipes, moisturizer, makeup: Ladies there's no reason not to look good while traveling. Makeup wipes are a great way to clean up on the go and you can easily reapply your makeup in a flash.
- Food for special diets or those that are plain hungry: It's often difficult for me to find healthy, high protein meals at the airport. That means I generally do better if I pack my own food. Some tempeh strips, veggie burgers, Gardein, etc. cooked and placed in sandwich bags certainly do the job. Whether vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, or on a restricted or special diet, plan ahead and it will save you considerable angst. Or if you like to eat, pack lots of snacks to avoid a rumbling tummy during your travels.
- Mints or gum: Inevitably you will probably get bad breath. Save us all the hassle and chew on something… please.
In my checked bag:
- Sample size health and beauty products: This is so important! Instead of carrying full size bottles of products I use, I instead try to get as many sample sizes as possible. A great place to do this is when shopping at Sephora. I will get small sample sizes of moisturizer, makeup, perfume, hair products, and so on. I pack them in my bag and it not only cuts down on needing so much space for big bottles, but when I'm done, there's no need to bring it back with me, which means more space in my bag.
- A business card or my name and address on a slip of paper: Yes, that's right. I put my name and address inside my bag just in case for some odd reason my luggage tag should fall off and the airlines need to reunite me with my bag.
- Small tote or shopping bag that rolls or folds up: Instead of relying on carrying multiple plastic shopping bags when you shop while traveling, consider bringing a small bag that you can use on your travels. Many roll or fold up and take little room and this can be an invaluable lifesaver.
- Extra of the "important" things you need: I always pack extra contact lenses, an extra pair of eyeglasses, medication, and yes, even underwear. I will put half in my checked luggage and the other half in my carry on bag. This is so just in case my checked bag and I should get separated, I won't be completely lost (or blind!).