- Medicine chest. This is what I call the small zippered pouch that is our travel dispensary. Because, do you really want to be staggering around Rome looking for the only 24 hour pharmacy when you've got the runs? No, you really don't. It's surprising how small all of this stuff packs. The pouch is only a little larger than a pencil case and I bought from MEC a couple years ago for less than $5. Here's what it usually has in it;
- bandaids - various sizes and types including silver, water proof and elastoplast;
- blister bandaids - Chris has funny shaped feet and tends to get blisters when we do lots of walking;
- liquid bandaid - comes in a little bottle and it's great for strange cuts and snags;
- ibuprofen - the adult vitamin;
- acetaminophen - to alternate with ibu;
- Imodium for the runs;
- Peptobismol chewable tablets - my preferred treatment for what ails in the stomach and intestines - do remember you've taken it and that your black tongue isn't a sign of the plague;
- butterfly strips a.k.a. steri-strips for those larger wounds;
- crazy glue - same as above - hospitals use it now instead of stitches if the wound is not very long;
- alcohol swabs;
- foot fungus cream;
- benedryl for allergic reactions;
- polysporin cream;
- throat lozenges;
- lip balm;
- vitamins like Airborne or just zinc.
3. 4-5 bras of different types in my size - fun, sports and suitable for wearing under white. It is next to impossible to find bras in my size, and lets just say I don't leave home without them.
4.Cash. Cash is king. There is nothing else like it. When you need a doctor to come to your hotel, he only takes cash. I always try and have currency of the country I am travelling to secreted in various places on my body and in my luggage. I am not a fan of the around your neck or waist pouch because I don't need to look fat and dumpy when I travel. Cash is pretty compressible, use your imagination;
5. A long paper back novel. Nothing alleviates boredom and travel anxiety like an old fashioned book. Plus, they can't tell you to turn it off while your flight lingers on the tarmac as they diagnose the latest problem with the airplane.
6. Credit and debit cards. While cash is king, it runs out quickly and the best way to replenish is to try out the local ATMs.
7. Small digital camera with spare battery and charger. You may need a converter depending on your travel destination.
8. Hardcopy of your itinerary and any booking confirmations. This I usually keep in a plastic sleeve along with copies of my passport. Sometimes the confirmation number alone is not enough, hard evidence is demanded.
9. Oracle of your choice. Mine is Lonely Planet. I feel naked travelling without some sort of guidebook. Lonely Planet seems to be just the ticket for me because it includes the peaks and nadirs of each locale and common opening times and costs. I've tried other guides, but their are either too heavy (Insight guides are all lovely colour photos and illustrations and weigh at least 6lbs) or oddly organized (Rough Guide). Pick your own poison.
10. Wet wipes - handy for everything from spilled milk to bum wiping.
11. Metal water bottle - because hydration is key to enjoying your trip and plastic water bottles are a scourge on this earth.
Those are the essentials. The rest is gravy. Yes, clothing, shoes, hats, mitts, over coats etc. are all important, but they are all dependant on your destination, time of year and travel style. The list for an all inclusive resort holiday in Cancun has different additions from the list for the self supported bicycle holiday in Italy. The stuff on the list above goes every time.
What is on your essential packing list?