What Do I Take With When I Travel?

I’m still working on my next National Geographic post, but I need something for December 22, so here’s something short to use as a filler until I get the next post made (December 24, looks like).

So what do I take with me when I travel? I am only 5 feet 2 inches tall, and I generally book the cheap seats. This means that the overhead bins are generally filled by the time I get there and generally no one helps put my bag up. So I just check a bag. It costs a bit more, but compared to fighting over bin space (and having to drag the damn thing out of the bin when we land), a few dollars isn’t going to hurt.

This means that I need a smallish suitcase (since I may be willing to pay to check a bag, but I’m not willing to pay for an oversized bag) and a “personal item,” which is generally a backpack.

I used to travel with my laptop, and then with my tablet, but nowadays my phone is pretty much my only electronic item. Alex and I bought those lithium batteries that you can use to charge your phone when you’re away while we were in Idaho this year, so I take that as well.

Since I’m checking a bag, I bring whole containers of toiletries. My routine is pretty simple: shampoo, soap, the face cream with sunblock that I use instead of makeup, my leg razor, anti-perspirant and toothbrush, and toothpaste are pretty much it.

Then I bring enough shirts to change every day, plus one extra just in case. I bring two pairs of shoes (sandals and walking shoes) and a pair of socks for each day. I also bring two more pairs of underpants than the number of days I’ll be gone, in case of emergencies. I also have several of those broomstick skirts and generally bring at least one on each trip because they are very comfortable for traveling in. If I’m feeling particularly girly on one of my travel days, I may wear a skirt on that day as well. I prefer knit pants to jeans and have a couple of capri-length ones and some full-length ones, I’ll bring at least one pair of each and also a pair of shorts. If we’ll have access to a swimming pool, I’ll bring my bathing suit, but I haven’t used it since 2013. I wonder if it still fits. And, of course, a clean set of pajamas. I finally broke down and bought new pajama bottoms this year. Still using the same tops, though.

If I’m sure that I’m going to have access to a laundry room, I bring a few of those Tide Pods (I’m still working on the bag of them that I got in 2013 or so) and can cut down on the clothing that I bring with by a bit. I’ll bring only 2/3 as many shirts as I’ll need and maybe half as many pairs of socks and take out two pairs of underpants, so I’m down to one per day. That way if the washer is out of service and I end up doing laundry with shampoo in my hotel sink (and, yes, I have done that) I’ll still be able to make it through the trip.

Pretty much all that’s left is entertainment. If we’ll be gone a long time I’ll sometimes bring my portable DVD player with, but I’ve only done that once or twice. I do, however, always bring several books and at least one National Geographic issue. I generally have one hard copy book and put at least two books on my phone. That way my entertainment needs are covered whether I can use my phone or not.

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