Useful Things to Travel with - What are Yours?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by overedge, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking about this while packing for my most recent work trip. What things do you take when you travel to make life on the road a little easier? A few of mine:

    - Dental floss: not only for teeth, but when there is an annoying drip from the faucet in the sink or the tub, I tie a piece of dental floss around the neck of the faucet. So the water runs down the dental floss into the drain, and doesn't go plop....plop...plop...all night long.
    - Covered hair elastics: not only for hair, but if I am in a hotel with those hangers that have the super-tiny hooks (so you won't steal them for home) - I loop a hair elastic over the shower curtain rail and hang the hanger hook from that. So I can put hanging clothes where I want them and not where the hotel orders me to hang them :p

    Please add to this list with your own ideas.
  2. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

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    antibiotics. I had an abscessed tooth at Nationals one year. I always try to have some with me - just in case. I haven't had to take them ever but it comforts me to know I have them handy.
  3. Nan

    Nan Just me

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    Several sizes of empty zip-lock bags. Protects things and helps organize small items.
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  4. Aussie Willy

    Aussie Willy Well-Known Member

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    Is that such a good idea? I thought you only ever got antibiotics for particular conditions and they should be prescribed by a doctor for what the ailment is. Is there such thing as an all purpose antibiotic?

    The thing I have discovered are little containers that you can put small quantities of make up and other items in. Really saves on space in your toilet and make up bag.
  5. Oreo

    Oreo Active Member

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    Ear plugs.
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  6. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    That's a neat trick.

    My must have items include ziploc bags. Soooo many uses! And I always travel with a small package of baking soda -- great for cleaning, insect bites, a soothing bath for sunburn, and lots of other uses.

    I'm also a bit of a collector of travel gadgets -- I rarely travel with all of them, but I always use the ones that I bring. My favourites include:

    ~ a travel clothesline -- 2 cords twisted together (so no pegs are needed, just slip the clothes bw the two twists) and super strong suction cups at each end to hang anywhere
    ~ a padded hanger with a zippered pouch hanging down -- big enough for your passport or a small wallet, hang a shirt over top and voila it's a safe (not the most secure, of course, but better than nothing)
    ~ an inflatable footbath
    ~ USB-rechargable batteries -- since I have a USB wall plug for charging my ereader & cell phone, I can recharge my camera batteries without having to bring an extra charger just for that
    ~ this really cool travel organizer -- insert your clothes in the shelves, collapse to pack into your suitcase, then when you get to your destination just lift out and hang (I just got this one recently and am looking forward to trying it out on my next trip -- got one as a present for my mother too)
  7. KatieC

    KatieC Still jet lagged

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    A washcloth and toilet paper. The first always, as sometimes hotels don't supply them, the second depends on where I'm going. Oh, and I don't travel with it, but I love a scale for suitcases, to weigh things before going to the airport. I'm always under, but it's nice to make sure.

    I like the idea for hair elastics - I always take them for my hair, but I get annoyed when I can't hang things where I want them.
  8. JasperBoy

    JasperBoy Well-Known Member

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    I like to have a paper copy of all e-reservations and tickets. I keep them, in the order in which I will need them, in a thesis folder. I remove them from the folder as I go, so that when the folder is empty, (except for return flight info) it's time to go home!

    Back home I shred all the documents. I never throw them into hotel garbage cans.

    It is surprising how many times hotels have tried to deny a reservation, only to back down when they see a paper copy of the confirmation.
  9. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

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  10. AJ Skatefan

    AJ Skatefan Well-Known Member

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    Earplugs and sleeping pills.
  11. AragornElessar

    AragornElessar New Member

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    Paper Clothing Detergent. My last couple of trips, that little container's saved me more times than I could think of. They're paper slips that all you have to do is fill up the bathtub, put the clothes in, then a couple of those paper slips, swish around and then wring out your clothing *really* well and hang over the shower curtain rod to dry.

    Works like a charm and I would never ever travel w/out from now on.
  12. Spareoom

    Spareoom Well-Known Member

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    There must be. My sister left for a year in Taiwan a few months ago, and before she left our doctor prescribed her a general antibiotic for her to have in case she got sick and couldn't get to a doctor (she's in a small town quite a bit outside of Taipei; not exactly a thriving metropolis). I can't imagine carrying around something like that is a bad thing, as long as you're mindful to make sure it's not in extreme weather conditions and hasn't expired.
  13. pollyanna

    pollyanna Don't blink

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    Money belt - flat, hidden, zippered pouch — straps around and tucked under clothes. Keeps money, passport, etc. safe. (Can also use as eye mask for sleeping.)
    Ziplocs, assorted sizes.
    Photocopies and a couple of passport-type photos can help you get replacements more quickly if the originals are lost or stolen. In your luggage, pack a record of all reservations (print out your hotels' confirmation emails), along with a trip calendar page to keep things up to date as your trip evolves.
    Address list. If you want to mail postcards, consider printing your mailing list onto a sheet of adhesive address labels.
    Duct tape. Fixes everything.
    A universal bath stopper.
    Small packet or individual packets of antibacterial wipes, wet wipes or like.
  14. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

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    Awesome idea about the eye mask!
  15. BittyBug

    BittyBug Quadless

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    Another vote for ziploc bags, duct tape and sanitizing wipes. I also always travel with paper towels. I fold single sheets and put a dozen in a quart-sized ziploc bag. They're useful for spills (drinks, food), wiping hands, can serve as tissues, and they can also sub for toilet paper if needed. And of course, they can just be themselves and serve as paper towels. ;)
  16. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    In the US, a 100-watt/equivilant light buld. Hotel lamps are never bright enough for me.
  17. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train. :hat1:
  18. Aceon6

    Aceon6 Get off my lawn

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    I bring a medium sized microfiber towel. The hotel towels are too big to use after washing my hair and don't suck as much moisture out as the microfiber ones.
  19. skateycat

    skateycat Minecraft Widow

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    a hot pot, a melita, filters, ground coffee and a mug or a pint glass.

    Because I'd rather stick forks in my eyes than start the day without a good cup of coffee.

    And I don't know about the rest of the world, but hotels in the US have gotten rid of their 4-cup coffee makers with these awful single cup things that make brown water.
  20. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    I can never find a comfortable way to wear a money belt on my body. It gets bulky and sweaty underneath the clothing, and I find it to be such a hassle to remove or add money to it. I do use a money belt, but I keep it in the zippered compartment of my over-the-shoulder camera bag. The zippered compartment faces my body, so I don't worry about it being pick-pocketed, and the camera bag's strap, of course, never leave my side while I'm out and about.

    I do this too. Plus I also email myself a copy of my passport and any important contact numbers and even passwords that I might need to access.


    Yes, I much prefer using anti-bacterial wet wipes over those alcohol gel, which I find really drying for my hands.


    Asides from passport and credit and debit cards, the following I can never forget:
    1. Alarm clock. I have a simple, small plastic one running on one AA battery that has yet to fail me in the last 4 years.
    2. Anti-Diarrhea med
    3. Toilet paper
    4. Some U.S. cash for emergency
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2012
  21. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Well....sort of. There are some, usually the old-school ones or the nasty ones (I've had them try Cipro because my respiratory infections seem immune to everything else) that are BROAD-SPECTRUM antibiotics that work on common bacteria. But no antibiotic works on every bacteria, and it's important to remember they ONLY work on bacteria, they will do precisely squat against a viral infection so unless you can tell what you've got, taking them may do nothing, or it may make you sicker by wiping out the gut floral while you're dealing with a viral infection that isn't helped by giving yourself digestive problems. I can see having them if you're going to be in a third-world country or somewhere isolated, but it's not something I would carry around routinely in a situation where a doctor or NP is only an urgent-care clinic away.

    I always have Benadryl (though that's a daily thing), aspirin, ibuprofen, Pamprin (which is not only good from its intended purpose), band-aids, spare soap and shampoo. If it's a sales trip (I do things like steampunk cons, street fairs, etc) pliers, packing tape, a multi-head screwdriver. When I have an active scrip for it, I carry prednisone.
  22. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    I bring a pashmina on a plane - it's often so drafty, and much better than those nasty blankets they give you, if they give you one at all. Bonus, it's stylish wrap if your destination is chilly :)

    Also on the plane, lip balm (I addicted, so I'll have several amid my luggage) and hand cream because it's so dry. Helpful after you wash with whatever industrial soap they have in the bathroom, or if you use wipes/Purell.

    I also have one of those multiplug units, always bring it with me just in case.
  23. Nan

    Nan Just me

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    Unless I'm visiting family, I always make a "travel book." I use a small soft-sided "pocket" photo album, just big enough for about twenty photos or less, but instead of photos, I put all the information I need in the sleeves. Usually there is an itinerary, plane and hotel reservations (I reduce them on a copy machine to save space and bulk), any excursion vouchers or pre-paid transit tickets or receipts, addresses and sometimes maps to sights or restaurants I want to vist. I also include personal information, my name and address, emergency contact information, a list of medications I'm currently on, address and e-mail of people at home, and copies of my passport and credit card (I usually stick these last two behind something else). If I don't speak the language of the country I'm visiting, I include a couple of pages of key phrases. "Wo ist de Toilette?" came in very handy in Munich. :lol:

    It's small enough to fit easily in my purse and all the information I need is in one handy spot. When the trip is over, it makes a cool little memento of the trip, too. ;)
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  24. PRlady

    PRlady aspiring tri-national

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    My own microfleece blanket for the plane -- don't even touch the ones they provide you!

    The world's best travel pants from anthropologie, they're attractive but have a non-mommish-elastic band around the middle for the inevitable bloat on long flights. They're sort of like these but linen, the elastic placket is the same color (grey) and they look elegant but feel like pajamas: http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/product/clothes-loungewear/26316711.jsp

    micro-somethingmiraculous medium sized towel which I use for my hair. Some of my more budget hotels are skimpy on the towels, and this fiber absorbs water fast.

    spray evian water bottle for face and lots of hand cream.

    shoes for the plane that expand -- my feet bloat too.
  25. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    My husband always takes his off - I'd never get them back on! Although he's changed his habit since we had a very skary bout of turbulence over the north Pacific and he decided he didn't want to be a guy on the desert island without shoes :)
  26. Habs

    Habs Well-Known Member

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    Haha! Mr. Habs said the same thing on a flight too.
    Depending on where we're going and how long the flight is, I usually wear flip-flops (or tuck a pair into my carry-on bag) on the plane. I don't like being barefoot or in just socks on a plane, but I hate wearing shoes on a long flight as well.
  27. Jaana

    Jaana Well-Known Member

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    Where ever I travel, these items are always along: Earplugs, sleeping pills, eye mask and a small flashlight.
  28. skatingfan5

    skatingfan5 Well-Known Member

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    Ear plugs and hand lotion!
  29. flyingsit

    flyingsit Well-Known Member

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    Ear plugs.

    iPad. The absolute best travel app is called TripIt. Since I started using it I don't bring paper copies of anything related to the trip. You set up an account at tripit.com and forward all of your confirmation emails, etc. to them... and it gets converted into a detailed itinerary which includes confirmation numbers, phone numbers, addresses, websites, maps, links to local weather forecasts, etc.

    For long flights, this pillow/blanket set: http://www.containerstore.com/shop/travel/travelEssentials?productId=10027914&N=257

    And I scan my passport/credit card info etc. into an encrypted PDF file, and email it to myself so I can access it from anywhere just in case.
  30. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    I pack all of my shoes in zip-lock bags. That way the bottoms don't touch my clothes. I also put delicate things in zip-lock bags, so they don't get snagged. Then I bring extra for dirty clothes, and wet/damp swim suits.

    Love that! But, I can't find anyplace in the US that sells it :(

    I do that too. But I make 3 copies. One for my purse, one for my carry-on, and one that I pack. I know that's overkill, but it's the OCD thing :lol:

    I make copies of my passport and put that in with my travel documents.
    I bring meds I might need (in addition to prescriptions and vitamins) - laxatives/anti-diarrheal, Advil. I bring bandaids and blister pads, and Neosporin.
    I bring Splenda, especially if I'm traveling out of the country. Artificial sweeteners are different in Europe.
  31. Evilynn

    Evilynn ((Swedish skating dudes))

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    I keep a folder with printouts of my reservations too (it also holds passport, money and EU medical insurance card until I get to my destination). Hand sanitizer + earplugs + books/Kindle are all musts and I tend to travel in leggings and dresses rather than pants to accomodate the long flight bloat (forgoing pockets, but I can live with that), as well as bring a thick-ish silk scarf for warmth (it takes up no space at all, but still provides enough warmth to keep me from having to use the airline blankets).
  32. Wiery

    Wiery Well-Known Member

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    Anti-nausea medication, diarrhea medication, tampons.
  33. smurfy

    smurfy Well-Known Member

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    I so agree with what has been posted...
    -extra ziploc bags, and a couple larger plastic bags. I do not want my clean clothes to touch any dirty clothes!
    -emaill all docs to self - also, I travel alone alot, so I provide to a family member - all details with reservations. Also I have paper copies on me.
    -iPad - I so love it. smaller than a laptop, and I have lots of available reading material and internet access. Also I only buy 1 actual travel tour book to write in/rip out pages for the day, and then the rest is on the iPad. I also download all my photos, so have backup.
    -mini packets of woolite
    -mini first aid kit. always seem to need bandaids
    -written out itinerary in a grid, with places in the first column and then 7 column headings for the days - boxes have times open. When you are in one place for a few days, good to know what is closed on a Monday etc, what is open first, closes earliest.
    -duct tape
    -pouch for all the electronic chargers. I am finding the minute I get into a hotel room, I want to be charging stuff and just grab the pouch
    -toiletries - I now have 2 smaller pouches rather than 1 bigger. One with makeup and second one with shampoo, toothpaste etc. Easier to pack the smaller ones and seems more organized.
  34. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    What's with the duct tape that several of you have mentioned? In case your suitcase starts to fall apart?
  35. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    Don't laugh, I've had zippers rip out on bags. Duct tape will also hold together torn straps on shoulder bags, can cover a rip in a raincoat, you can use it as a lint brush...
  36. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    I also tear out all the pages for the city that I'm currently visiting. I do feel bad about ruining my guide book, but a guide book that cover an entire country, ie Lonely Planet, is just too darn big and clumsy to carry around with me all day when all I need to reference are the several pages for my current city.


    - sunblock or moisturizer with sunblock in it.
    -2 or more pairs of sunglasses from home. For some reason I always end up breaking my good pair of sunglass the first couple of days into my trip and then I have to spend money on the plastic, non-uv protected cheapos that are sold on the street.
    - sandal or flip-flops. I simply cannot stand having my feet in closed shoes on long flights.
  37. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

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    A pillowcase.
  38. acraven

    acraven Active Member

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    I carry needles and thread (different weights of both) for the same reason. I once spent a good part of my first day in Europe (on a train) mending umbrella, raincoat, and suitcase. From that I learned to check for split seams, etc., before leaving home. But I still take the little sewing kit, with thread colors keyed to what I'm packing.

    Also (in addition to my beloved Zip Lock bags):

    Saline nasal mist, especially for air-travel days
    Inflatable coat hangers (clothes dry faster and often with fewer wrinkles)
    Small change purse for border-crossing days
    Extra pair of eyeglasses since no one stocks my prescription
    Hiker's eating utensils (heavy plastic or lightweight metal) for on-the-go snacks. Sometimes sturdy, disposable bowls.
    Small fabric measuring tape in case I want to buy something like a T-shirt as a gift (I take measurements with me)
    Local maps with locations of interesting restaurants marked
  39. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    Just remembered another indispensable travel item: my Brita bottle. Doesn't disinfect water for travel to places like India or Africa, but it does get rid of the nasty chlorine/chemical taste when travelling to places where the water is otherwise potable. (I'm talking to you, Toronto and London!)

    BTW, I've had a Brita bottle for about 20 years, but for some bizarre reason they took it off the market about 10 years ago. Luckily I was able to stock up on the filters at the time. But they've recently brought the product back, yay!!, and just in time as I was down to my last filter.
  40. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    Odd, that -- I just assumed that Heys USA would have a similar same product as Heys Canada, but it doesn't look like they do.

    I bought mine from The Shopping Channel in Canada, but I just checked and they don't ship to the US either.

    BTW I filled mine last night in preparation for a weekend trip, and it is just as nifty as can be. My new favourite travel toy!