After you’ve finished making all your reservations and finalizing your travel itinerary, you still have the task of packing for your trip. With so much else on your mind as you prepare for your visit, it’s easy to forget important items that are often the difference between a wonderful trip and an experience you could have enjoyed more. To save you time when packing for your next trip, consult the following list of five must-have travel items.
This fashion accessory probably isn’t the first packing item that popped in your head. However, frequent travellers understand that it’s a multi-faceted garment. A scarf adds some pizzazz to any outfit, boosting a splash of colour into your otherwise understated fashion sensibilities, particularly if you’re wearing cream or black. A scarf can also bring together otherwise disparate clothing styles, making this accessory an elegant solution when you forget to pack that special something that ordinarily does the trick.
Style is only the ancillary benefit of a scarf, however. For travel purposes, it’s equal parts blanket and pillow, whether you are traveling by plane, train, or automobile. Your scarf will also keep you warm if you get stuck under the air conditioning vent during your journey. This accessory will also work as a cover-up if you wind up with an unfortunate stain during your trip, something that happens a lot, especially for parents.
Finally, if you wind up in a more conservative setting, such as a religious ceremony, your scarf adds a touch of modesty to your look. This accessory makes the difference between feeling under-dressed and modest in such instances.
Speaking of stains, sometimes a scarf won’t do the trick. These pens are like magic wands in such situations. They are roughly the size of a marker, so it takes almost no room in your luggage. You can even throw the pen in your purse or pocket if there isn’t room anywhere else, including your carry-on bags.
If tragedy befalls your outfit during your journey, you simply whip the stain remover out and start marking on the affected area. The cleaning solution attacks the stain, and the micro-fiber pad wipes the garment clean. Just like that, your problematic stain vanishes.
Large-Size Ziploc Bags
A key aspect of travel is packing as much as you can into your suitcase before leaving. However, as you enjoy your trip, you are likely to pick up various items that increase the need for storage space. Ziploc bags are an ideal solution to the problem. You use them during your trip for one purpose, then flip them to storage devices at the end.
If you’re going somewhere that won’t have access to snacks or you don’t want to pay the convenience store prices, put your favourite snacks in the bags. You can feed yourself and your family for hours using snacks stored in only a few Ziploc bags. If you wind up with something wet due to an accident or from swimming, you can even store your garment in the bag if the clothing item is small enough. Similarly, if your boots get covered in dirt or mud, throw your boots in the bag to keep them away from your clean gear.
Empty bags are also great for disposing of trash when there is no receptacle in sight. You can clean them out later when you’re near a garbage can. Finally, when you’re ready to return home, the bags provide a remarkable amount of storage space plus organizational structure during your packing.
Two flashlight options will work here. A pen-size flashlight is small enough to fit in your purse, pocket, or Ziploc bag, but this item has only one function. The better choice, if possible, is a pen that has a flashlight in it, since you will probably want to keep a writing tool handy during your trip anyway.
You’ll want a flashlight because you’ll likely stay out after dark more than normal during your trip. Also, you’ll probably visit some dimly lit areas, especially if you’re spending time outdoors. That reality goes double if you’re somewhere that operates on generator power, since generators may turn off at bedtime each night.
Yes, we live in a digital world now, so you can use your tablet or phone as a reading device. However, you never know when you’re going to get stuck somewhere with no charge on your device or Wi-Fi access to download a book. A paperback novel is a delightful throwback to trips in the past, when picking the perfect book companion for your vacation determined whether you were bored at the beach or not.
Your fellow travellers are also working to keep such memories alive. If you’re lucky, you may discover that you can trade your book at many hotels. Other previous travellers may have left their copies in the same way. So, you can read what they did, and the next person gets your book. Put your name and where you’re from in your paperback if you’re feeling adventurous about leaving a part of yourself behind on your journey.
Cape Town Airport’s Flybrary Book Swap Centre
Packing for your trip involves a lot of common sense items like your clothes and sundries. Once you get past the automatic inclusions, however, there are many items you may either forget or never think about in the first place. The five items listed above are ones that provide utility on almost every trip, so they should become necessities on your trips from now on.