Sunday, November 15, 2015

Work travel essentials

I've traveled pretty heavily over the past 10 years. I have gotten better at it over the years and am proud to brag that I packed for a 10 day trip (including 8 days overseas) in a carry on. I'm not always awesome in my packing, but these travel essentials help keep me organized and ready to go.

1. Packing cubes

I'm pretty much addicted to packing cubes. I don't use them for short trips but if I am staying more than two nights I'm probably using them. I got a set for my mom, then one for myself and then a second for myself (and the boys too). I think they are fabulous! They make my bag so much more organized. I find that I forget fewer things if I use cubes because it forces me to organize. I usually make one bag for workout clothes, one for casual and one for business. With the kiddo his cubes are divided tops, bottoms, pj/undies and sometimes a bag of "nice" clothes. AKA ones to hide from Grandma in case we need to be in public at some point. :)

The bags pictured are ebags cubes but there are several other brands. You can buy them directly from ebags or on amazon.  They come in a variety of sizes but I mostly seem to use medium bags. I roll the clothes to fit the bag and then cram the bags into my suitcase. For the kiddo I use medium and the long sized bags. 

*A added my refer a friend link here because it should get you 15% off and I think free shipping. 

2. Reusable grocery bag (that squishes into a small space).

Notice the little red blob in the top right corner of the suitcase? That is a reusable shopping bag. I ALWAYS travel with one. Sometime I use it as a purse cover of sorts. Stick my purse in that bag and then under the seat in front of me. I also use it to have extra room on the trip home or to combine a shopping bag and my purse into one "small" personal item when flying home.

Also, more and more places charge you for grocery bags, so this helps with that issue too when you are away from home.

3. Dry shampoo

This is really targeted to the ladies. I became a dry shampoo believer about 5 years ago. It is a travel staple for me. I can easily get away with second day hair which is a great time saver during travel. Plus if you are only gone one night and don't need to wash your hair you can lighten your load of hair products to travel with you. 

4. Multi plug

Some hotels have one accessible plug near the bed and others hidden behind furniture or in the bathroom. I'm not a fan of charging my electronics on a bathroom counter. So I bring along a multi plug to turn one outlet into three. I used to bring along a power strip but this serves the same purpose and takes up less space. I found my current one from the Dollar Store but you can get them most anywhere.

5. Earplugs

I keep a set of disposable ear plugs in my carry on bag. I don't use them very often but on a late flight these are really awesome. Equally helpful if you happen to have a loud hotel. They hardly take up any space.

6. Oatmeal packet

Another item that takes almost no space but provides a great meal option. Heat water in the coffee pot and pour it into the travel cup usually provided in your room. Cover with the lid and let it cook for a bit. If you don't have a spoon the wooden stir stick provided for the coffee will do the trick. :) Quick, cheap and easy.

7. Tea bags

I have lived most of my life on well water. Chlorinated water tastes awful to me. So having tea bags with me is a great help in disguising the flavor of a bad hotel water. You don't want to get dehydrated on a trip. I've heard others mention this as a way to bring some sense of home with you. That can't hurt either.

8. Landry hamper

This is a fantastic find from the dollar store. It folds flat and takes up almost no space. It isn't the most durable thing ever but mine has lasted a year already. Totally worth the buck! I love having a place to keep dirty clothes away from clean ones. On car trips I have started just keeping the dirty clothes in the hamper and dumping it right in the washer when we get home. This is more essential for travel with the family than work, but sometimes those activities have some crossover.

9. Granola bar
Side story - when I was young some very close family friends got stuck in a snow storm in their car for several days. They lived off ketchup packets and miraculously survived. Since them my Mom has been a little crazy about emergency preparedness (and we keep ketchup packets in the vehicles still). Carrying a granola bar is a bit of that emergency preparedness. But you also might have a hangry mini emergency or get a bit nauseous and need something to calm your stomach. Granola bars last a pretty long time and take up hardly any space. So don't leave home without one. You can also sub a protein bar in here if that is more your thing.

10. Mint or peppermint candy
Peppermint is very soothing to a tummy and helps relieve nausea. Seriously it works for me. Especially on turbulent flights, mints are a must. I specifically prefer Mentos on flights, I swear it helps with ear popping since you kinda chew them.

11. Ready to go toiletries
This set of plastic bottles have been traveling with me since I was a senior in high school. These exact bottles. I try to fill them up when I remember after trips so that they are always ready to go when I leave. I don't have to worry about having to use hotel brand products and I don't have to purchase bunches of disposables. 

So, what do you think? What items are essential for your travel?

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