Whether you’re the kind of person who packs days before your trip or the one who gets it together hours before, it’s sometimes tricky to know what to put in that suitcase. Especially when it comes to your toiletry bag. You want to make sure you have everything you need, but who wants to pay for those extra fees when your bag weighs too much?
To get some advice on the best things to pack, we spoke with Rashmi Hudson. She retired after a successful 22-year career with a Fortune 200 company as a marketing executive. Her first flight was at the beginning of her career and she’s never stopped! Having retired at 44, she launched Alltimate Luggage to keep her mind active and to keep out of the kids’ hair. Needless to say, she has plenty of packing experience.
Here’s what she told us are her must-have personal items.
Must-Have Personal Items
1. Medicine/First Aid
You truly never know what’s going to happen on a trip, so it’s best to be prepared. For those unknown situations, Rashmi likes to take Band-Aids, tweezers (think splinters), prescribed meds, over-the-counter pain medication, a sleep aid, a digestive aid, vitamins, and immunity boosters.
“Pack enough medicine plus a few days extra to allow for changes in plans. If they’re life-critical meds, take the whole bottle with the actual pharmacy information on it for safer travel through customs if you’re traveling internationally. Include immunity boosters like Airborne and allergy meds since every ecosystem is different. I like to pack my daily meds in small jewelry bags I buy from a local hobby store. That way, I can easily carry them to meals if any need to be taken with food.”
Rashmi’s Pro Tip: CVS has a program to package up to four pills per sealed plastic bag which makes travel so much easier.
While this seems like an obvious thing to pack, Rashmi says to put your toothbrush and toothpaste in your carry-on with you on the plane. This way, when you take that red eye or long flight, you have it with you so you can refresh when you land. Definitely, a way to feel better after traveling.
The same goes for deodorant. A travel size will fit in your bag and can help you feel good once you arrive.
This is another good one to have in your carry-on, but make sure they’re three ounces or smaller so they get through security. Planes are typically dry, so some moisturizer and lip balm can go a long way. “Many department stores include free travel sizes. A little boost from a moisturizing mask (for men and women) will help replenish skin and give you at least 20-30 minutes to relax and enjoy. Sometimes it’s nice to do this on the plane itself once all the lights are out! It’s important to feel your best and always be ready to capture the moment on camera! A little eyeliner and lipstick go a long way!”
4. Eyeglass Repair Kit
If you’ve ever had readers break or a screw come loose, this is a fantastic idea to have in your toiletry bag. An extra pair and/or the repair kit are worth it just in case. Rashmi has never had an issue taking it on the plane. We looked it up and they are allowed.
5. Jewelry For Fashion
Rashmi never packs more than two pairs of earrings. “If you carry more, it’s hard to keep track of them, and all of a sudden you panic when you can’t find something you packed or thought you packed.”
She suggests only taking jewelry for daily wear or a special occasion, but not all of your favorites. She plans her wardrobe around her jewelry to keep it simple and get the most use of what she brings.
6. Safety Pins, A Tide Stick, And A Dryer Sheet
Seems like an odd pairing doesn’t it? If you haven’t picked up on it by now, Rashmi likes to be prepared. “Why? Because you never know when you’ll need your safety pin to replace a broken zipper pull or clothing malfunction; a Tide stick to save your clothes (check periodically to make sure it hasn’t dried up), and a dryer sheet rubbed on clothing can help keep some bugs away.”
What To Leave At Home
It’s always those last-minute items we throw in our suitcase that we’re sure we’re going to need and then never use. So Rashmi gave us a list of things she does not pack to keep her toiletry bag light and travel easy.
1. Real Jewelry
You likely have a few pieces of jewelry that are worth money and more importantly, mean a lot to you. Rashmi says to leave your real jewelry at home. “This way you don’t advertise your valuables or lose them in the chaos that invariably happens when you’re in a hurry to get somewhere.”
2. Hair Dryer
Rashmi says this is just a waste of valuable packing space, so she chooses to go natural. Although, if that’s a style that doesn’t work for you, she recommends packing a travel-size flat iron. Remember, hotels usually have a hair dryer in the room or you can ask the front desk if one is available.
If you’re going on a week or longer vacation, buy your sunscreen or similar items when you arrive. You can buy these at the airport or other shops. It might be a good idea to buy once you get there anyway because some locations have restrictions on which kinds of sunscreen you can use to protect the environment.
Spritzing yourself with your favorite perfume or cologne may be part of your routine, but Rashmi says to leave it behind. “It can cause allergic reactions for your companions or others around you. I never want to be the person you can still smell at the other end of the plane.”
5. Skincare Routine
While this is an important part of our daily routine, Rashmi says to leave the skin toners and full beauty regimens in your powder room. She says she doesn’t have time for all that on vacation and after all, isn’t that part of the everyday routine you’re leaving behind?
The No-Brainer List
There are some things that you don’t necessarily need to pack, but they certainly make life more convenient when you’re on the road. Perhaps they’re needed sometimes and not others.
We’re talking about the old-fashioned ones with wires and a jack adapter so you can watch movies on planes or use exercise equipment.
Hair Scrunchie/Bobby Pins
This will come in handy for those times you want to quickly throw your hair up to go on a hike or to keep it out of your face if you’re on a boat.
Rashmi Pro Tip: A small ribbon-style scrunchy will also help tie your scarf around your neck in a fun way to change your look!
Take these with you to stay fresh in case your luggage doesn’t make it to your destination or you can’t find a particular kind you like once you arrive.
Book Of Matches
You know, if you’re sharing a bathroom with someone.
Hopefully, as you’re packing for your next trip this helps you decide what items are worth the space in your suitcase. Making sure we have the comforts of home with us on a trip is important, but escaping reality for a little while is also the fun of taking that vacation.
Here are some other helpful articles to make packing easier: