3 Essential Travel Items


All too often, people tend to overpack when they travel. We all have come home realizing we didn’t use something we brought with us. I’ve always loved the advice for newbie travelers or overpackers, “Pack what you think you need. Then take half of it.”

But then there are the times when we really wish we would have brought something! It may be something that seems silly to buy a duplicate or something that you just can’t find, making whatever you are trying to do a real hassle.

To minimize this, I highly recommend that you put three essential items in your suitcase or luggage…

But don’t take them out when you come home to unpack.

This way, you will not forget them next time.

Here are my top three items that I leave in my suitcase all year long:

  1. Corkscrew – Of course, if you don’t drink wine, this might not apply to you. But think of something else you always do on vacation. Do you buy local beer at the store? Then a bottle opener would be in order. (Most corkscrews also are also part bottle opener!) Do you like to buy local food or produce or go to the market and have a picnic with all of your findings? Then these Reusable Picnic Utensils are in order. Please Note: If you do not check your luggage, you cannot carry on a corkscrew. Leave it at home.
  2. First Aid Kit – You can buy a Travel First Aid Kit already put together and tightly compacted for you. Or you can put one together yourself. Just make sure you include your most used items that apply to you. If you tend to get blisters or stomach aches while on vacation, be sure to stock your kit with plenty of band-aids and antacids. For a list of what to include in a travel first aid kit, click here.
  3. Umbrella – Our first two days in St. Augustine, Florida, were unseasonably cold and rainy. (I’m not complaining! It was still 60 degrees warmer than Minnesota and beautiful and sunny the following days.) I forgot an umbrella. We ended up doing just fine without one. But it got me thinking… I do have two of them. I might as well just keep one in my suitcase. I often pack it in my carry-on, but this might be a better idea so I don’t forget in the future. I’d recommend a light, compact one. Just search for “travel umbrella” online, purchase and voila! You’ll be prepared every time.

What are your must-have travel items?

Are there any that remain in your suitcase so that you don’t forget to pack them?




8 responses »

  1. Not entirely sure about the corkscrew – for me it’s my international adapter, mostly because my laptop, DSLR camera, and phone chargers all have different plugs as they were all bought in different countries! That’s my can’t-leave-home without item!

  2. And remember your bathing suits! Remember you wished you had them on your last trip? My daughter always packs for me – she is super efficient and never forgets a thing!

  3. There is an umbrella that I found at Kitchen Window that fits into a cover/sleeve shaped like a thin wine bottle. Its perfect for travel, and durable! I struggle to know how to pack jewelry. I don’t wear much of it on vacation, but it’s nice to have a few things. Everything gets tangled.

  4. Carrie…after many trips (some a few days, others a few weeks) I learned many years ago to keep a printed list in the suitcase. This way I can select what I need (depending on the weather destination). Of course, I also know that if I go to a friend’s home, I can always borrow from their goodies.

    • Yes! That’s a great idea. I keep a couple of packing lists in a spreadsheet and print off the one that most resembles my trip beforehand. (I have one for Michigan when we bring the dogs so that I don’t forget their stuff, one for warm weather vacations, another for international…) I don’t know why umbrella isn’t on every list! 😉

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