7 Items Every Traveler Should Pack

As the song says, it’s summertime and the livin’ is easy – unless you’re the one who has to pack for the big trip. But we can help!

LISTEN: And the help begins with these tips from travel (and packing) expert Rick Seaney.

What Bag to Bring

Here at FareCompare, we always recommend a carry-on. If you think it won’t hold enough, take a look at this video (which includes a step-by-step primer on how to pack). The two best reasons to bring a carry-on:

  • It can’t get lost, the way a checked-bag can
  • No need to stop at the baggage carousel so your vacation begins upon landing

“They said my carry-on was too big. It wasn’t.”

What to Not to Forget

Clothes, of course. Beyond that, we suggest you bring these items.

Electronics: You still hear people say, “Leave the phone/iPod/tablet at home because you’re on vacation” but that’s not how the real world works. Bring them but prevent loss or theft by carrying these items or putting them in your pockets or carry-on; do not pack electronics in a checked-bag which is out of your control.

Charger cords: If you’re bringing electronics, you’ll need the charger cords. We also suggest a portable battery charger (especially if traveling with the family and you’re fighting over a single outlet). We don’t recommend any particular brand but notice that ComputerWorld has a nice selection with prices starting at $15.

Plastic bags: Grocery bags or plastic zip bags – just to keep things separated like shoes, dirty laundry, or anything potentially gloppy or easy-to-spill.

Food: Some snacks or stuff for the flight like crackers, cheese, raisins, apple slices, nuts or jerky. A supply of granola bars can work for lunch too, especially if you overdo it at the hotel’s free breakfast buffet.

Modest amount of toiletries: Most hotels provide shampoo, conditioner and body lotion; if staying with family, they’ll have supplies too and what is family for?

Hard copy of itinerary/documents: Just in case, put a copy of your itinerary in your bag or pocket and do that same for passports and even a list of consulates (which is where you’d go if a passport is lost or stolen). You never know when your phone might give out – especially if you forget the charger cord.

Anti-bacterial wipes: Some people swear by these. According to reports, the area on planes with the most germs is the seatback tray table and if you’re concerned, wipe it down.

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Published: June 26, 2014