If you think packing for a trip is a chore, this is for you: A list of essentials – the things you must pack – plus fun destinations where you can use this stuff. See the how-to packing video at the end.
10 Things to Pack
- Electronic accessories: We know you won’t forget your phone because it’s attached to your hand but do NOT forget: Charger cords, ear buds and headphones, maybe a portable charger, whatever you need to stay in touch. Keep this stuff in a carry-on bag or on your person so you can get to it when you need it! Use it on a trip New York City.
- International electronic stuff: Be sure you have the right power adapter plugs so you can use your charger cord (here’s a country guide to adapters). And don’t forget to contact your provider well ahead of your trip so you don’t get slammed by a big bill for international charges. Use all this on a trip to Buenos Aires.
- Entertainment: We love books but they take up a lot of space and weight so download ebooks (and movies and TV) to your favorite device and maybe some games. That’ll keep you sharp on a trip to Las Vegas.
- Cash and cards: If you want to buy a snack or meal on a plane, you’ll need a card. You won’t need much cash, but bring some. Tip: If you’ll be heading to another country, go to the bank and get a couple of hundred dollars’ worth of local currency so you can hit the ground running. Use it on a trip to Sydney.
- Documents and photos: Again, print your boarding pass and save it along with any luggage tags just in case there’s a problem with your flight or bags. If traveling internationally, photocopy your passport, carry a couple of extra passport photos and keep them separate from the original; it will be useful if you have to go to an embassy or consulate for an emergency replacement. Use it on a trip to London.
- Snacks: You may not get hungry on that hour-and-a-half long flight from but short hops have been known to drag on for hours due to weather or mechanical problems so always carry a few granola or power bars or a similar portable snack. Feeling powerful enough to leap tall mountains? Take a trip to Denver.
- Clothes you’ll really wear: The key word is comfort. Only pack clothes you love, that fit, and look good on you; if one of those three ingredients is lacking, you’ll just be wasting space. Follow a similar color scheme so the top from one outfit goes with the pants from another, etc. As for shoes, try to limit yourself to two pairs you know are comfortable; pack one, wear the other. Now that you’re stylish and cozy, head to elegant Boston.
- Bathing suit: Even if you’re not heading to the beach, toss a suit in your bag; there may be a pool at the hotel (or a trip to a lake). A suit takes up almost no room and weighs next to nothing. Put it to good use on a trip to Cancun.
- Eye wear: Sunglasses are not just a fashion accessory; bring them. If you wear regular glasses, pack an extra pair. Contacts? Don’t forget the solution. Use this on a trip to Phoenix (and those glasses will come in handy if you make the three hour drive to the Grand Canyon).
- Health essentials: Pack vitamins, daily medications, maybe some aspirin and upset stomach remedies plus a few Band-Aids. Complete the mini-first aid kit with hand-sanitizer wipes and use them on seatback tray tables (the most germ-ridden part of a plane). Now that you’re feeling good, try a trip to a scintillating city like Bangkok.
A Few Other Things You Might Want to Pack
- Gadgets and selfie sticks: If these videos on the GoPro site are any indication, one of these stick-’em-anywhere cameras might make a good trip even more memorable. Ditto for selfie sticks (maybe – remember, they’re not welcome everywhere including some major theme parks).
- Noise-canceling headphones: I don’t get on a plane without mine and not just for the music; it shuts out screaming babies so I can sleep.
- Rain gear: A very small collapsible umbrella and/or a plastic poncho-in-a-pouch won’t take up much room. You can usually find these items at big box drugstores for less than $20 (and we’ve seen the ponchos for less than $5).
Above all, pack a little patience. You never know when a flight can be delayed or cancelled. But at least you’ll have a charged-up phone to view videos on.
VIDEO: Packing with the Sit & Zip method.