Sometimes I wish I could just bring my whole closet or medicine cabinet when going away – just in case – however I know this is not feasible nor possible (unless you are willing to pay a LOT of extra baggage fees). I have compiled a list of my top ten essentials that are must-haves while vacationing away from home to make your trip a delightful breeze.
Even if you are planning on going somewhere a little chilly try to pack mostly lightweight clothing and dress in layers. This will make the overall weight of the luggage lighter and will also give you more outfit options! For a seven day trip I typically pack 6-7 t-shirts or tops, a few tanks/cami’s, and one sweater or cardigan. I also like to wear leggings/shorts which weigh a lot less than jeans and take up much less space!
Self Promo: We recently opened a t-shirt line for our #HashtagTourists brand. It is a simple black t-shirt with white writing that reads #Tourist for you to wear on your adventures, snap some pics and share with the #HashtagTourists community – you can buy yours HERE. If you like them, don’t like them or have any suggestions or requests drop us a comment!
My Own Shampoo/Conditioner
Who honestly LIKES the hotel shampoos and conditioners? Other than the fact that they are free they are usually pretty small and cheap products. I personally dye (bleach the crap out of) my hair so I need to pack my own “blonde” shampoo anyways, but I am sure others out there are with me when I say I would much rather bring along my own, trusted shampoo and conditioner products. I actually purchased some little clear plastic containers made specifically for travelling. They were really cheap and useful, you can find them almost anywhere. I would suggest doing it this way rather than going to the drug store and buying “travel-sized” products – I find they are way over priced.
Seriously – even if you aren’t expecting your monthly gift bring some along anyways. They are super lightweight and you can easily slip a few in your bag. Better safe than need-to-buy-feminine-hygiene-products-abroad, sorry.
Different Pairs of Shoes
This will depend on the type of trip you’re taking, however I found it very useful to bring a pair of flip flops, runners, flats and heels. It seems like a lot but I’ll tell you why. When we went to Mexico we needed regular walking around shoes for when we were hanging around Playa Del Carmen, flip flops for the beach, runners for our excursions and heels for nights out. All of our activities required different types of footwear to maximize our comfort and ensure we were having the best time – imagine trekking through a jungle with flats or going to the club with runners?
Waterproof Pouch/Phone Case
You can find these online for really cheap depending on the brand and they make a huge difference. We were able to put our phones, room cards, credit cards and cash in the pouches and hang them around our necks ensuring there would be no theft and our stuff would remain dry and all in one spot. We didn’t have to worry about things falling out of our pockets or misplacing anything. They barely weigh anything and you can bring it with you in your carry-on.
Hair Straightener or Curling Iron
Whichever way you like to style your hair, bring it! This one obviously has some weight to it, but the worst thing (in my opinion) is taking amazing holiday photos and your hair is not looking amazing. I usually like to straighten my hair and I actually FORGOT my straightener back home when we went to Mexico. My hair is naturally a mess and is neither straight, wavy or curly but rather a combination of the three. I tried to braid my hair or tuck it behind my ears in pictures because I had no way of really styling it otherwise.
Tylenol, Gravol, whatever you think will help. Medication may be more expensive at your destination and it would really put a dent in your vacay if you had to endure a painful headache, nausea or other inconveniences without proper remedies.
Smart Phone & Digital Camera
Yes, I bring both! While my phone takes alright photos and is easy to carry around I love the quality of the shots I can take with my DSLR camera. Try to get one with a neck or wrist strap (most of them come with one anyways) so you don’t need to be holding onto it all the time. My phone is also great for taking selfies or self-videos (is there a term for this yet?) while my DSLR is best for taking shots of scenery, landscape or subjects. I usually bring two lenses with me so I can switch it up depending on the shot and then later transfer the photos from the camera to the laptop for backup and editing.
I honestly was reluctant at first to buy a hat because honestly I just don’t really think I look that great in them – but it made a huge difference when I was out and about in the heat. I purchased a cheap sunhat that had a large enough rim to cover my face from the sun and it was amazing. It didn’t even look that bad either! These are lightweight but awkward to pack. I ended up just carrying it and putting it on top of my carry-on bag.
Another item I never thought I would need and don’t wear regularly because I just don’t like ’em – sunglasses! I actually love the look of sunglasses but not necessarily on me (everyone has their style, right?). I was so glad I brought them because they saved my poor eyes while at the beach. I didn’t realize how bright the sun can be coming up off the sand and the water. Again, these are super lightweight, barely take up any room and can easily be placed in your carry-on bag.
Do you bring the same stuff? Think differently about my packing choices? Drop us a comment, we would love to hear from you!