Even if you’re a perfectionist and the biggest list maker in history, chances are strong that you’ve forgotten to pack certain items from time to time. Whether it’s because you had it set out and forgot to throw it in your bag last minute, or whether it just didn’t cross your mind in the hustle and bustle of departure, you try to make these little blunders not set the tone for your vacation.
Don’t worry: You don’t have to make it a habit. Here’s a handy list of those commonly forgotten or misplaced items for you to hold onto and use for that last-minute bag check.
- A Bag for Your Wet or Laundry Items
You don’t really think about needing this item — until you actually need it. Having a laundry bag that can serve the purpose of carrying your wet swim suits or towels is extremely helpful to keep anything wet, smelly and dirty contained. There is nothing worse than opening up your suitcase to put on a fresh outfit for the day and finding everything smells like you washed it in a Jacuzzi. A bag takes up zero space empty, and will save you stress later.
- Sunscreen — Is It in Your Checked Bag?
You may not forget to pack the SPF, but you might forget that it needs to go in your checked luggage and not your carry-on. The same can be said for other liquid and cream items you want to bring with you on your vacation. Be sure you’re familiar with the TSA’s regulations on liquid requirements so you don’t arrive at security only to find you have to throw your brand new purchases in the trash.
- Chargers and a Converter/Adapter (If You’re Headed Out of the Country)
Especially if you’re headed out of the country, make sure you have the proper chargers, voltage converters and adapters. This might sound complicated, but luckily, most major electronic devices now are dual voltage — you’ll just need outlet adapters to use your normal charger and device.
Keep in mind that even if you use a voltage converter for small appliances like a hair dryer or curling iron, use them sparingly. Even with the converter, they don’t operate very well. If you’re a bit confused on what all of that means, this helpful guide to adapters and voltage will be useful for planning your next vacation.
- Certain Bath/Toiletry Items
Your best bet to keep from forgetting any of these items in your suitcase (because no doubt, the list can start to get long) is to make sure you know what items are absolutely necessary. Write each of them down separately and put your list somewhere obvious that you’ll see before you head out the door.
Maybe this seems a little over the top, but keep in mind all the options might be included: a razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, moisturizer/lotion, deodorant, contact solution/glasses, a small travel towel and more. It’s enough to make your head spin! However, if you take some time to carefully consider what you will want to bring, it will help you feel more relaxed and prepared!
Keep in mind that your space is limited, so remind yourself to look for easier options! For instance, you may want to bring personal items along with you, just like you would use at home. If you are considering bringing a towel along, look for smaller, easy-to-pack towels for your suitcase – such as a fingertip towel, which is actually smaller than your normal washcloth, but rectangular in shape and has the ability to be very versatile! If you are an avid traveler, take the time to look for these specific towels, especially because they can come in two different textures or “weaves” which can make them suitable for a variety of different tasks along your journey!
- Healthy and Filling Snacks
There’s nothing less satisfying in the culinary world than airplane food. Including snacks in your packing list might be the last thing on your mind, but that granola bar or trail mix sure beats heading to the airport vending machine for a mystery meat sandwich or year-old candy bar.
An easy way to keep those snacks ready to go and handy? Keep a Ziploc baggie of them in your pantry specifically for trips that you refill and change out periodically. When it comes time to leave for your trip, you can just pop the baggie into your carry-on. Your stomach will thank you.
- Smaller Bag/Backpack
This might seem a little redundant — packing a bag in a bag — but keep in mind that you’ll leave your larger luggage where you’re staying while you go out and sightsee. You may want a smaller bag to keep your daily essentials like a camera, wallet, phone, ID (not your passport, though: leave that in the safe) and snacks. You’ll have all the things you need with you without lugging around an uncomfortable bag.
- An Umbrella or Raincoat (Just in Case)
You may be going to the sunniest place on earth and it may never rain one drop if you have the trusty umbrella, but I guarantee, if you don’t bring it, the universe will make it rain. Be overly cautious just this once and put that umbrella or raincoat in your suitcase. If you don’t use it, great, but if it does happen to rain you won’t end up wet and miserable while you’re out and about.
Yes, bring cash — especially if you’re headed to a destination that has a foreign currency. This might seem like a no brainer, but how often do you actually carry cash with you during your day-to-day activities anymore? Probably not often. Keep in mind that when you arrive in a destination, an ATM may not be automatically accessible and establishments might not accept credit or debit cards.
Be prepared for this and any emergency situation by carrying cash with you. Nothing too large or small — around $100-$200 of local currency, if you can. It’ll give you a peace of mind should something out of the ordinary arise, but it won’t be too huge an amount if you happen to have the misfortune of losing your wallet.
You’ve surely got some other must-have items on your own personal list, but these eight will help keep you prepared no matter where you head to next.