What’s in My Bag?

October 21, 2007

in Packing, Travel

I’m back from my travels, so this week has exciting updates from Stockholm and London in store, along with the regular mix of no-budget travel topics.

While smart travelers don’t necessarily carry a lot of luggage, they know what to carry along with them to be prepared for a number of situations which could arise. I’m no Crazy Eric or Dennis Kucinich, but these recent trips have got me thinking of all the useful little additions to my pockets I’ve honed over the years. Take a peek inside.


Toiletries Kit:

Besides my 100 ml-or-less plastic bottles full of shampoo and whatnot in my regulation baggie, I’m always toting:

+ an old toothbrush. This way I never forget to pack one.

+ hotel sewing kit with additional spool of dark thread, for sewing emergencies and quick repairs

+ Immodium (anti-diarrheal), over-the-counter cold/allergy meds, and ibuprofen (pain reliever)

+ snack-size Ziplocs of band-aids, anti-bacterial ointment, q-tips, cotton balls and tea bags

+ two $50 travelers cheques, in case all other forms of money fail, are lost or are stolen

+ a couple pantiliners

+ neutral barrettes or hair rubber bands, which can be used in a pinch in a number of non-hairstyling ways

+ small mirror

+ travel flashlight

+ matches

+ ballpoint pen, in case you lose the others

+ mini Sharpie marker, for making hitchhiking signs and addressing packages and mailing envelopes

+ an extra roll of film and 4 AA batteries

+ sleeping mask

+ safety pins, for pinning ripped clothing, shutting crummy hotel drapes, securing luggage, holding your money pouch secure, a million other uses

+ granola bar, as emergency rations

+ travel bar of soap, just in case

+ a small baggie of powder laundry soap

No matter how long I’m traveling, I have no problem fitting everything I need in this medium toiletries kit.


In my purse, I’m prepared with:

+ 2 ballpoint pens

+ 2 plastic spoons (for ice cream or yogurt from the store, for you and your travel partner)

+ hand lotion, lip balm, hand sanitizer, mini deodorant, travel kleenex

+ sudokos or other puzzles, small novel (for commuting and waiting)

+ iPod (for commuting and for traveling with necessary computer files)

+ travel guidebook

+ little notebook, for jotting down train/bus/whatever information and purchases

+ regular wallet

+ another wallet if the country I’m visiting uses different currency

+ digital camera

+ mobile phone

+ 500 ml water bottle

Really, all of that fits into this little Eastpak Cube purse.


I generally also have a reusable canvas tote that carries:

+ the guidebook when I’m using it and don’t want it in my purse

+ the thermos and umbrella (if I’m carrying one)

+ lunch and snacks

+ maps and brochures

+ extra clothes (long-sleeved shirt, scarf, hat, etc.)

This is totally handy for shopping, groceries, and whatever additions you need to make during the day. I take one with straps long enough to carry over the shoulder. If I empty it out, I can fold it up and store it in my purse till the need arises.


The following things can be added as the trip demands.

+ a small dishwashing kit, with a travel bottle of dishsoap and a sponge

+ a small laundry kit, with a sink plug, travel bottle of laundry soap and stain remover/bleach


If you’re going to check your luggage, you might consider:

+ a small kitchen/picnic kit, with a vegetable peeler, Swiss Army knife and plastic cutlery

+ a small pair of scissors


Other handy additions include cable ties, twist ties and plastic bags. What are your mini travel essentials?

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11.05.07 at 7:00 pm

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sweet 10.22.07 at 3:21 am

wow! you have a lot of things in your bag!

2 poetloverrebelspy 11.05.07 at 12:30 am

See this post and lots of interesting others at the All Women Blogging Carnival, hosted this week at Semantically Driven.

3 jen 11.05.07 at 11:56 am

Wow – that’s organised. For the amount of times I travel I wouldn’t have these on hand all the time, but it’s a good list. Thanks for participating in the All women blogging carnival this week.

4 johnsonireland 11.06.07 at 2:27 am

very prolific. my rotating cycle of life goes back and forth between week 1 : carry very organized bag with everything you could possibly need ; and
week 2 : carry canvas bag with wallet.

5 poetloverrebelspy 11.06.07 at 11:30 am

johnsonireland, you’ll note that I’m simply working your entire cycle simultaneously :) Ying and Yang, I suppose.

6 Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker 11.17.07 at 1:21 am

When I travel with friends, they always depend upon me to have any necessities that we might need. My friend and I just got back from 3 weeks in southern India. Something told me to take a roll of duct tape with me this trip. I have never done that before. My friend borrowed it when she tore a hole in the leg of her pants. She put duct tape on the hole on the inside of the pants. You couldn’t see the hole.

7 poetloverrebelspy 11.17.07 at 12:15 pm

Thanks for your comment, Patricia! Duct tape is a wonderful addition to the emergency kit for any and all MacGyver moments. Instead of packing an entire roll, however (those suckers are heavy!), you can wrap a desired length around (and around) a pen — takes up far less space and still peels off itself like off a roll. Another easier but heavier suggestion is to save dwindling rolls of tape for travel use.

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