If you’re gearing up for your next getaway, the last thing you want to worry about is leaving something behind. There’s nothing quite like remembering your makeup bag is sitting on your bed while you’re waiting to board your flight or realizing you left your new swimsuit behind.
No matter where you are headed, it’s important to make a list beforehand to be certain you won’t leave anything behind. This is as much for your comfort and security as your peace of mind. Maybe you can’t fall asleep without a travel pillow on the plane or train, or you need to take medication daily, or you expect it to rain while you’re at your destination. Checking items off the list as you pack is a surefire guarantee you don’t miss a thing. Here are a few things to make sure you include.
Even if you’re headed to the tropics, it’s a good idea to bring some light layer in the unlikely event that the winds pick up. A lightweight cardigan is a great choice for something you can easily throw on over a summer dress. For a colder climate, bring something like a packable jacket along. It won’t occupy much room in your suitcase, and you’ll feel much better knowing you have a trusty jacket available, whether there’s a drizzle or a downpour.
Always bring at least one pair of comfortable shoes along with you on your trip. Sneakers or walking shoes are usually suitable, and they’re easy to pair with almost anything you pack, from leggings and tunics to dresses. Slip-on shoes are also a good option if you don’t want to worry about fiddling with laces while you’re exploring new ground on foot. Just make sure they have durable outsoles and that they fit properly. Don’t swap comfortable shoes for lightweight sandals you would typically reserve for the boardwalk or the pool. Those are more casual and not really meant to provide hours of support while you’re sightseeing.
If you’re headed to your destination by plane, train, or bus, make sure you’re prepared for the journey—especially if it’s a lengthy one. You don’t want to arrive at your destination ready to tumble into your hotel bed and sleep the following day away. Instead, allow yourself to get some quality rest by packing a travel pillow and a light throw blanket that easily folds up into your carry-on bag or backpack. Add a pair of fuzzy socks for extra comfort, and don’t forget other elements that might help you relax, like earplugs and an eye mask.
If you’re flying, make sure everything you tuck inside your toiletry bag is TSA-compliant; your bag should be quart-sized, and each container must be 3.4 ounces or smaller. You can simplify this process by buying travel-sized toiletries, like small bottles of sunscreen, facial cleanser, moisturizer, and contact lens solution. For items usually provided by hotels, like shampoo, conditioner, soap, and shower gel, consider leaving those items behind to free up space inside your bag.
Of course, you’re going to bring clothes with you on your trip—but put some energy into curating a bag full of items that will serve you well for the duration of your trip. The basics are all essential: a few moisture-wicking T-shirts you can wear with skirts, capri pants, and jeans, a handful of breezy dresses that will help you stay cool if you’re traveling during spring or summer, a cozy sweater or two to see you through a cold-weather vacation, and bottoms of different types, from pants to skirts, depending on the environment and weather.
Consider buying a small travel-size pillbox you can fill with the medications and supplements you need to take while you’re away. It will save plenty of room and also serve as a reminder to take them on time. Don’t forget other items that might be essential, like bandages, pain relievers, allergy medication, eye drops, and motion sickness medication. If you have children, you may also want to include a small first-aid kit along with anything else the little ones might need.
Sun protection is vital to everyone’s safety. So make sure you have enough sunscreen for everyone in the family, and don’t forget other extras that will safeguard skin from potent ultraviolet rays. This may include wide-brimmed sun hats, visors, and sun protective swimwear. These have Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) ratings, which refer to how well they combat the sun’s damaging rays. With styles available for women, men, and kids, you’ll find practical styles ranging from rash guards and one-piece swimsuits to shorts and tops for everyone in the family.
With everything checked off your list, you’ll feel far more prepared for your trip—and you won’t have to spend even a moment of your valuable vacation time worrying about something you left behind. That sort of peace of mind is priceless.