Thursday, October 22, 2015

My top 10 travel essentials.

 I am not the world's biggest traveler, but lately I have taken quite a few trips! Fairmont Hotels and Resorts was wondering what the most essential things are that I pack for a trip, and what things I think a hotel should supply. I have some strong opinions, so I was happy to share. First my packing strategy, then the top ten --five things I bring, and five things I think a hotel should have.
When I pack, I only travel with carry on luggage, so I pack light. I never want the hassle of the baggage claim or lost luggage. When we went to Nicaragua for a month, I still only brought a carry on bag and a backpack. This means streamlining is my first priority. I first count out how many days I will be there. I start with underthings, shirts and jewelry to match, for each day or event, then pick the bottom half of my outfit. Hopefully one or two of those bottom pieces will multitask for multiple events or days.

I also try to bring only one pair of athletic shoes, one casual pair of shoes, and one dressy pair (if necessary). Sometimes this means dropping an outfit I wanted to wear, and changing to a different color, but it is worth it for me to have a little extra space in my bag for gifts to take home with me.

Toiletries are next. It's best if I go through a day of getting ready in my mind, and grab things as I run through it. That way I don't forget anything. If I'm packing the night before, I leave the toiletries bag out on the counter, and grab things out of it to get ready morning of, so I remember to put them right back into it. Chargers are the same story. I leave out a bag for them to go into on the counter, and morning of they are dumped in!

Now here are my essentials:
1. I'm a very light sleeper, so ear plugs are a must for me. Great for sleeping in a hotel you are sharing with a snorer, on a plane, or a shopping cart.
2. I must bring one print book with me on each trip, because a lot of the places we go to have spotty cell or wifi coverage. That print book is a lifesaver (at least a brain saver) with plane delays, and a dying cell phone battery.

3.I have a lightweight, single layer windbreaker/rain jacket with a hood. If I could say that one piece of  my clothing is the most valuable thing to bring it would be this. Here is a link to a similar jacket . This windbreaker crushes down to take up almost no room or weight in my suitcase, and easily fits in my purse. It's a great layer to get warm with on a suddenly chilly plane, to add when you are out sightseeing and clouds cover the sun, etc., then to pack away in a small corner of your purse or luggage. It was invaluable on my 100 mile ride last month. I took it off, put it on many times.

4.Comfortable shoes are what I need the bulk of the time on a trip. When I go somewhere I want to go SEE things. If I'm bringing only one pair of casual shoes, they need to be comfy. The last 6 months I have been relying on Sanuks, usually the sidewalk surfers. These are made to be comfortable, and are even roomy enough to add in arch supports if you need them. On the other hand, I haven't had them stretch out too far so that they don't stay on my feet. Just great shoes.

5. The purse I bring along is another essential. I like a medium size purse with a cross body strap that will go with everything. I don't want something too bulky so it's hard to manage in an airplane seat, but I want one big enough to hold a book, water bottle, some almonds, cell phone, etc. The long strap means I don't have to think about it as I walk around. Search with "cross body purse" for a ton of great similar options to mine in the picture above.

Now for what I wish every hotel would supply:
1. A light blanket. I love the feel of the down filled comforters in nice hotels, but often they are just too warm! The sheet is sometimes too light. I need a Goldilocks option, preferably in the room with me. Calling the front desk in the middle of the night usually feels like too much trouble, and I have had quite a few uncomfortable nights as a result.
2. A variety of pillows that are labeled somewhere. I like a firm pillow, my husband likes a really squishy one, but once in a while I guess wrong based on my hand squishing test, and we both toss and turn all night. Yeah, we're not too bright sometimes! Label the dang pillows for us.
3. Water in the room. I don't count the 3.00-6.00 dollar bottles on the desk. A bottle of water costs maybe ten cents a piece, and I like to think a bottle or two a day could be squeaked into my room fee.

4. We rely on the room's microwave and mini fridge. We like to try out new restaurants wherever we go, but sometimes, after a long day of sight seeing, we just want to curl up in bed, watch the TV, share a half gallon of frozen yogurt, and pop some popcorn. We may or may not have done this one night for dinner in Puerto Rico. No judging! We probably walked 10 miles that day.

5. Convenient outlets, many of them, and perhaps a spare charger? Is a charger borrowed from the front desk an impossible option? I've never seen it as an amenity, but one trip Jeff forgot his charger, and we shared mine for the whole week. That was rotten.

Thanks for listening to me rant! What do you find essential on a trip?


belann said...

I have kind of a similar list. I also have my bag by the counter as I get ready in the morning, so that I pack everything in there after I use it; that way I don't forget anything that is part of my routine. I must get a windbreaker though. I can't tell you how many times that would come in handy.

Meeshab said...

I agree about the water. It is so important and you can't bring your own on a plane! Also, hotels have boxes of "left behind" chargers. I am betting you could always ask the front desk for a spare!

CowanTravels said...

I agree with Meesha on the chargers. I've forgotten a few different occasions, and the front desk always had one to loan.
We pack extremely light, even if I'm going to the States for a few weeks. One small suitcase and a purse, that's it. I pack very little and have found that the hotel has most small amenities these days, even toothbrushes.
Pillows are always a struggle, as is even sleeping a family of 4 in Asia. You would be surprised at how rare finding a room with even 2 double beds is.
But, travel has enriched our lives so much, we are truly thankful for the unique opportunity we have been blessed with here.