For Newbies: Going Out of Town? What to Bring, What Not to Bring, & Tricks of the Trade

suitcaseHi everyone! While Joe is in NYC, I’m taking over the blog for the day. For those of you who may not know me yet, I’m Sharon, a.k.a. Mrs. Joe. Joe is definitely the points and miles person in our family. Me, I enjoy the benefits of his hobby but really don’t care about which plane is newer, bigger and better, how many cents a point is worth at any given moment, or what hotel gives you feather pillows and a personal concierge. As long as we get from Point A to Point B in a reasonable amount of time, and as long as our room is clean and relatively quiet, I’m good.

However if there’s one thing I’ve gotten really good at for all these trips to all these different places, it’s how and what to pack. For those of you who travel a lot, you probably already know all the ins and outs of this stuff. But for those of you who only go out of town here and there, here are some things to consider:

What Not To Bring With You

  • hairdryerHairdryer. I’ve been to 2-star hotels and I’ve been to fancy shmancy ones. I’ve been to places around the world. Nowadays just about every hotel has a hair dryer in the room (if you want to double check, you can always call or email the hotel before you go). Hair dryers can take up a lot of space and weight in your luggage – why bring one if you don’t have to?
  • Workout clothes. I’ll be perfectly honest…I’ve brought ‘em with me many times and I have yet to ever use ‘em on vacation. Now granted, your mileage may vary, but I bet you won’t use ‘em either, so just don’t bring ‘em ;-).

What To Bring In Your Carry On

  • All of your prescription medication (and if you’re going out of the country, all of your over-the-counter stuff, too, cuz they may not carry your Advil or Imodium where you’re going, or the box may be written in a language you don’t understand). This goes for any medical devices you use, as well. The last thing you want is to not have your meds or CPAP machine because they’re in your checked luggage that mistakenly got sent to the Congo (EWO) while you and your carry on arrived as scheduled at Newark (EWR).
  • A full day’s worth of clothing & supplies. Again, if your luggage gets lost, you want to have everything you’ll need for the next 24 hours. Your mileage may vary but for me that means PJs, a full set of clothes (including a coat or jacket if I’m going to  different climate), a bathing suit if I’m planning to go in the pool or to the beach the next day, my toiletries, chargers for my phone, iPad (with current converters if I’m going out of the country), etc. And yep, I’m saying this from personal experience.

Tricks of The Trade (things to consider bringing that you may not think of)

nightlight
My travel night light, which allows me to choose green or blue light, has an on/off switch so I don’t have to rely on available light.
  • Night light for the bathroom (I have a small LED one so I don’t have to worry about a glass lightbulb breaking).
  • Chip clip to keep the window curtains together so morning light doesn’t peek through.
  • Portable scale so you can ensure your suitcase weight doesn’t go over (and if you’re going overseas, make sure you know what the limitations are – it’s not always 50 pounds).
  • Use an electric toothbrush? Pack it well, so something doesn’t hit it in your suitcase and turn it on. Happened in my carry-on once; I was rearranging my bags at the hotel’s check in desk, when all of a sudden there was this BUZZZZZZZZ sound coming from one of my bags. You could tell what the guy thought it was just by looking at his face, so I actually TOOK IT OUT OF MY SUITCASE so he could see that it really was just an electric toothbrush and not…something else. True story!
  • Small bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer (or as my friend’s 3-year-old calls it, “hanitizer”). When you get to the room, wipe off the telephone and the remote control for the TV. Housekeeping rarely does and they’re excellent places for germs to hang out.
  • powerqubePower strip (some hotels are awesome at giving you enough plugs. Some not so much. Bring a power strip and you should have as many outlets as you need from only 1 plug. Bonus points if you use one that has both plug and USB inputs). The one in the pic has 6 outlets and 3 USB inputs in a cube that’s about 4″ x 4″ x 1″. Wouldn’t hurt to bring a short extension cord, as well.
  • Stuff rolled socks into your packed shoes to save space and stop your shoes from getting squished
  • Tide pen or other portable stain fighter (it’s your first day and you got tomato sauce on your white shirt. It will set in BADLY by the time you get home. Pre-treat it and it might help get the stain out).
  • Small flashlight (you’re in a room that’s unfamiliar to you. If there is a power outage or any sort of emergency where you need to evacuate, a small flashlight on your nightstand can turn into your best friend).
  • Washcloth (if you use one). It could be that housekeeping ran out of them. Or maybe you’re in a place where social norms suggest they just don’t use them. But if you’re used to using a washcloth and suddenly don’t have access to one, well, better to bring you own because using a face towel as a washcloth is a pretty big substitute (and yep, I’ve done it). I bring a bright pink washcloth so housekeeping knows it’s not theirs and so I don’t forget it when I’m packing to leave. Bring its own quart-sized ziplock bag so it doesn’t get other stuff damp if it hasn’t dried yet when you’re ready to go back on the road.
  • Going somewhere where you may bring home a lot of souvenirs? Either intentionally leave room in your suitcase, bring a small, closable, collapsable bag as a piece of secondary luggage on your way home (stuff it with your dirty clothes so there’s more room for the souvenirs in your suitcase, which will be sturdier) or go to the nearest post office and ship stuff home (NOTE: Shipping can become expensive. Look at 4th class mail, UPS Ground, etc).
  • Laundry. If you’re just going away for a weekend, you won’t have to do laundry. But if you’re out of town for a week or more, consider either giving up half a day to do laundry (see if your hotel has a washer/dryer, or look up where/email ahead of time to see where there’s a self-service laundry place nearby – that’s the cheapest way to do it) or have it done for you (it costs more but it saves you time to have a laundromat just wash/dry everything for you. Or you can use the hotel’s service…expect to pay an arm and a leg for that one) so you can re-wear stuff during your trip and save room/weight in your suitcase.

Your turn. What did I miss? What works best for you? Reply here and let me know!

7 thoughts on “For Newbies: Going Out of Town? What to Bring, What Not to Bring, & Tricks of the Trade”

  1. One trick I have used in the past – instead of a small bottle of alcohol based hand wash, packets of individually wrapped sanitizing wipes. Unlikely to pop open in transit and leak all over, with the added benefit of not requiring you to find the tissue dispenser in the bathroom. I wipe the door handles, phone, light switches and commode handle.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s good, too! For me, I always have a small bottle of hand sanitizer (or as my friend’s daughter calls it, “hanitizer” – she’s 3) in my pocket anyway (I throw it into my liquids bag when going through TSA, then back into my pocket it goes) so the bottle works for me. But if I didn’t always do that, I think the individual packets would be awesome! Thanks Marie!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great tips! Power strip is a great idea. I agree about the workout clothes, but now I pack light sweatpants and soft T-shirts as pajamas – these can double as workout clothes or just quick duds to throw on to go down to the lobby for a cup of coffee before dressing for the day (plus you are sort of dressed if you do have to evacuate). I wear sneakers on the plane – Yes, they take the extra 30 seconds to do up the laces if I must take them off, but comfy for travel and worth saving room in my suitcase since they are bulky. Toiletries still vex me, despite lots of travel. Any tips for those is greatly appreciated!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so lazy that most of my shoes are slip-ons anyway…even my lace-up sneakers, LOL! So I just make sure I’m wear comfortable shoes.

      As for toiletries – I cheat and have a folding carryall that is affectionately known as “The Wall of Toiletries.” I keep 95% of what I would usually bring on a trip in there all the time. That includes deodorant, shampoo, nail clipper, Q-Tips, etc. that I only use for travel. That works if I’m traveling with checked luggage. If it’s only carry-on, I use sample/travel-sized liquids in my quart-sized bag.

      I’ll take a pic of TWOT (as it’s called) and post it on FB in a few minutes (can’t add photos in comments). I’ll tag you, OK?

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Sharon here (even though it says Joe) – I am most definitely not the person to ask – I am SOOO anti-fan! I hate the feeling of the air moving on my skin when I’m trying to get to sleep, LOLOL! But for those who prefer one, they do make small, portable mini fans that fit in a suitcase or carry-on. Some even work via USB. I just did a search for PORTABLE SMALL FAN and saw a bunch of options. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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