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My Packing Essentials

November 25, 2013

While every trip naturally entails a different packing list, there are a few items that I find myself bringing almost every time I pack a bag.  I enjoy reading these sorts of lists from other frequent travelers, so I thought it would be fun to share mine.  I hardly ever leave for a trip without…

1. My iPhone.  I’ve read plenty lately about how smart phones can act as a barrier between ourselves and the places we  visit, some advocating that we leave the darn thing at home, or else!  I definitely agree that it’s easy to miss things when hiding behind that 4-inch screen.  But the fact of the matter is that my iPhone is just so handy for so many things.  I use it as a back-up camera, GPS and for apps like Yelp.  I definitely try to temper my phone use when I’m on the road, but I just don’t want to leave it at home.  Sorry I’m not sorry.

2. A pashmina.  It’s a scarf. It’s a shawl.  It’s a head scarf.  It’s a blanket. It’s cushioning to wrap around fragile souvenirs for the plane trip home.  Versatility is king.

My pashmina helped keep me warm and stylish on Lake Michigan.

My pashmina helped keep me warm and stylish on Lake Michigan.

3. My grey shawl sweater.  My mom gave me this as a gift this summer, and it’s quickly become my go-to traveling layer.  Nothing is cozier for a chilly flight, overly air-conditioned restaurant or, apparently, a cold Red Sox game in August.  It comes in a few colors but I’ve found the grey very versatile.

Not my best look, I'll admit, but my shawl sweater kept me cozy at a chilly Red Sox game this summer.

Not my best look, I’ll admit, but my shawl sweater kept me cozy at a chilly Red Sox game this summer.

4. My Vera Bradley Hanging Organizer.  I didn’t jump on the Vera Bradley train when the brand’s tote bags were all the rage in college, honestly finding them kind of ugly.  But I did happily accept this hanging makeup bag as a gift (from my mom again I think - she gives me the best stuff!).  I’ve used it ever since for trips of any length.  I love the separate pockets that can be used for makeup, medication, etc.  Plus, the design is super-practical between the plastic pockets, easy hanging handle and soft construction that can be rolled or folded into a suitcase.

5. A water bottle.  I drink a ton of water and I refuse to pay airport prices for bottled water, so I simply bring my own empty bottle through security and refill it for the rest of my trip.

6. My Kindle Paperwhite I fought the e-reader craze for a long time.  “But I love books!” I cried.  “There’s just something about holding one in your hands and turning the pages!”  That’s all still true, but I’m mostly a Kindle convert.  I’m a pretty speedy reader, so I love the ability to download a half-dozen books before I leave on a trip.  I haven’t had to lug around a heavy carry-on or buy an airport paperback since I converted.

7. Maxi Dresses.  They’re my travel uniform, allowing me to go from comfy on a plane to looking polished once I land instantly.

My favorite maxi dresses go just about everywhere with me in the warmer months.

My favorite maxi dresses go just about everywhere with me in the warmer months.

8. My Cannon Powershot s110.  I know that most bloggers favor fancier DSLR cameras, and perhaps I could take better pictures if I mastered one.  But now that I have my s110, I just can’t be bothered to try upgrading.  This little guy takes excellent photos in my opinion.  Plus, I love the compact size of the s110.  I can slip it in my back pocket, a small purse, or pretty much anywhere I could otherwise fit my iPhone.  Portability is key for me.

My Powershot S110 captures some images that my iPhone just can't.

My Powershot S110 captures some images that my iPhone just can’t.

9. Snacks.  I’m hungry all the time, and food isn’t always easily accessible when traveling.  My go-to options are Lara Bars, trail mix and nuts.

10. A cross-body purse.  I tend to lug around a lot of stuff in my purse while on vacation, so a good, roomy bag is a must.  I also love the cross-body style for convenience and the ability to keep my hands free.  The bag you see me carrying in almost every post on this blog is by The Sak (yes, the brand that makes those bags made out of ropy material that were big in the 90s) and sadly I can’t find it online, but it’s similar to the Silverlake Flap Crossbody.

Here are a few of my go-to's in action:  Wearing a maxi dress, a pasmina as a headscarf and my cross-body bag while taking a photo with my iPhone in Istanbul.

In case you wanted proof, here are a few of my go-to’s in action: I’m wearing a maxi dress, a pashmina as a headscarf and my cross-body bag while taking a photo with my iPhone in Istanbul.

So those are my packing essentials – what are yours? I’d love to hear!

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