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My Best Travel Tips, Tricks and Must-Haves

Since starting One Good Thing By Jillee seven years ago the amount of traveling I do has skyrocketed! I’m not a globe-trotter by any means, but I went from rarely traveling to hopping on a plane every 6 to 8 weeks. That’s a lot for me! I honestly don’t know if I would want to do much more than that! I enjoy traveling…but only to a certain extent. I’m guessing most people feel that way. My husband also travels a lot for business, but his travel is mostly international and he has to travel with a whole lot of video equipment, so his traveling needs are a lot different than mine.

There are a lot of universal travel tips that you can find online that are very useful….ie. Take half as much clothing as you think you will need and twice as much money; take pictures of all your important travel documents with your phone; never check your bag! Today I thought I would share with you my personal travel tips, tricks, and must-haves that make time “on the road” a little less irksome, and a lot more enjoyable overall

Travel Tips I Live By:

Snacks, lots of snacks

More snacks than you think you will need. My snack of choice…almonds. You can get through anything and go anywhere with this snack. An apple, banana, or dried fruit will do in a pinch as well.

Water

I never get on a flight without a bottle of water (or your bottled beverage of choice.) I often sleep through the beverage service and wake up parched. Also, keeping hydrated on a plane is very important! It’s pretty much the Sahara desert up there!

Sunglasses

Don’t forget your sunglasses! I finally dedicated a spare pair to my suitcase because I kept forgetting them. I normally leave early in the AM before it’s even light outside, not thinking about sun, and then arrive in a sunny place without shades! Maddening!

Tablet (or Laptop)

Buy a tablet and load it up with videos and ebooks. This is my most essential travel companion. Not only does it help pass the time on long flights but it helps entertain you when the TV in your hotel room refuses to work and you can’t seem to get anyone at the front desk to respond to your urgent pleas for help. Been there, done that.

Headphones or earbuds

Headphones or earbuds are a must if you’re going to watch those movies on the plane. Nice noise-canceling headphones or earbuds are even better.

Journal/Sketchbook

Bring a journal/sketchbook for when you get sick of your tablet or laptop and/or you run out of battery power (the horror!)

Car Service

Use Uber or Lyft for car service where available. I love it because it’s so easy! You order the car from your smartphone, and it shows up minutes later! You enter the car, exchange pleasantries, check your email, and before you know it, you wish each other well and part ways. No fumbling with credit or debit cards, the money gets taken out of a credit card account and that’s it!

Ear plugs

Earplugs are great for on the plane if you plan on getting some shuteye or just to drown out unfortunate noise (ie. the lady laughing hysterically in the row in front of you from takeoff to touchdown!) They really help in hotel rooms too.

Never pass a restroom without using it

Always do your business before leaving, and at any stops along the way, even if you don’t have to. It will save you time and, more importantly, the uncomfortable feeling of having to hold it! I really, really, really dislike using the airplane lavatories!

Chargers and cords

When packing, remember your chargers. It seems obvious, but I can’t tell you the number of times I have had to hunt down the nearest Apple store because I have forgotten one! It’s very easy to miss. It IS! :-)

Power adapter

Bring a power strip or plug wherever you go. I bought this Belkin USB Surge Protector and Charger and love it. I think I’ve only been to ONE hotel that actually was smart enough to provide multiple, easily accessible, power outlets/USB ports for devices or simple appliances.

Screenshot your boarding pass

If you’re using an e-boarding pass on your phone (I really like using these!) take a screenshot of the barcode image. It will keep you from holding up the line when you’re trying to scan your boarding pass at the gate and your phone is loading the app. Some people even set it as the Lock/Home Screen on their phone. Having it front and center on your home screen means no need to enter the phone and fish around for it.

Small bills

Bring a good amount of $1 and $5 bills, for tips and such.

A big scarf

Something I’ve recently started doing that has really been a game-changer for me is always bringing a scarf! Not just any scarf, a big scarf! Something like this oversized plaid blanket scarf is perfect! (You could also make one yourself with just a little bit of sewing skill!) There are multiple uses for this thing:

  • If you’re freezing cold on the airplane you can wrap yourself up in it.
  • If you’re hot, it’s lightweight enough to squish up into a ball in your purse or carry-on.
  • Ball it up and use it as a pillow.
  • Use it as a blanket if you get stranded at the airport or want to take a catnap.

A scarf is my travel buddy for life.

Online photo storage app

Get something like the Dropbox app on your phone and sync your photos every few days. You’ll run out of space in no time and need to clear your phone. Also if you lose your phone, break it or have it stolen you’ll still have all your treasured pictures.

First aid & sewing kit

Always take a small first aid kit and a mini sewing kit with you. They hardly take up any room and can really make or break a trip. I take my essential oils, also some pain medication, some cold/cough meds, an anti-diarrheal of some kind, and a multivitamin.   And last but not least…..

Double and triple check your alarms!

If you have to be up early, make sure the alarm clock is set to the correct time including the AM/PM setting. Additionally, have a backup alarm like a wake up call or cell phone alarm. Nothing like over-sleeping because you didn’t get the call or the phone was turned off (or dead) and starting the day in a blind panic! Trust me on this one. :-/

There is definitely an art to traveling well and most of it is learned through trial and error (mostly error in my case.) Hopefully some of my little “secrets” will help you in your travels!

What do YOU bring with you when you travel?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Bright Ideas

  • Empty water bottle and powdered drink mix. Prunes to stay regular – travelling wreaks havoc on my system. ChapStick is a must for the dry plane air. Melatonin.

  • I never leave without a magazine. It’s great for when you just can’t drum up the concentration to read a book, and when you leave the plane, you can leave it behind in the seat pocket for the next traveler who didn’t think of packing one.

  • I’m somewhat of a minimalist when traveling. I limit my clothing because I am usually visiting family; likewise access to outlets is pretty easy. The most important extras I bring are my laptop, kindle, and several books.

  • I always take shampoo/conditioner because some hotels provide products that don’t do well for my hair. Love your ideas — good thing you check your bag or those scissors in your sewing & 1st Aid kits wouldn’t make it:-)

  • I am a low maintenance type of girl. I don’t wear makeup and own three pairs of pants and three tops. LOL So I pack very light. Just my clothing, essential toiletries that hubby and I share for the most part, and my iPad. That’s it!

  • I like to travel light, we always end up buying clothes on our trips and by the time we are going home we have no space left. One thing we cannot forget is a busy bag for the kids and snacks

  • I try not to take too many things but my flat iron is a must and I always check to make sure the hotel has a hair dryer because if they don’t I have to bring my travel size one along!

  • I always put my toiletries in a gallon size ziplock baggy just in case something gets squeezed a little too much. Also, I pack a spare shirt, undies, and meds in my carry-on if traveling internationally. If I’m traveling to a tropical location, I pack each days outfit in a gallon baggy in case my suitcase gets rained during the trip.

  • I don’t like to carry a lot of bulk, so instead of a tablet I load my MP3 player up with music and several audiobooks for the flight. You have posted a lot of good tips that I will be using also, thanks!

  • I’m an insulin dependent diabetic and always travel with a safe-needle clipper since most airports don’t have medical waste/syringe disposal containers. I also carry detailed notes on the person I spoke with at the hotel confirming the availability of a medical fridge (for hotels that charge for a mini fridge they’ll usually waive the fee for diabetics) and syringe disposal.

    And of course I carry lots of snacks and my personal sized water bottle with built in filter. So long as the water bottle is empty when you go through security, you can carry it on board. Great for those times when you get stuck on a layover and don’t want to pay gobs o’ money for a little bottle of water from the airport stores.

    I put everything in clear zippy bags to expedite security screening. It keeps the line moving since I have my medical supplies/TSA exempt items segregated and ready for easy scanning.

  • If traveling on a long plane ride, be sure to get up and walk around every couple of hours. This helps with circulation and may help prevent blood clots. Jillee, I love your blog!

  • I pack light… REALLY light. It has to fit in a bag that fits in the overhead bin n the plane so I never have lost luggage or have to wait for my luggage at the luggage carousel. Everything I pack is in neutrals so they all mix and nothing wrinkles.

    The big scarf tip is my main essential. I’ve used mine as a scarf, a pillow, a head wrap in a church, a bathing suit cover up, a skirt, a wrapped top, and a makeshift towel. I’d never travel without one :)

  • I take my Klean Kanteen stainless steel bottle everywhere. When I travel, I can go through airplane security with it empty and fill the container with coffee or water on the other side. It’s a must have for staying hydrated!

  • I have all the things on your travel list with me but instead of a throwaway water bottle, I bring my reusable water bottle and fill it up on the other side of security. I always do carry on with my carry-on spinner suitcase and a messenger bag for my electronics. I can fit a purse inside my messenger bag if they get picky about how many carry on bags.

  • I got stranded overnight with my power cords in my checked bag once, now I always keep them in my carry-on!

    Thanks for the cool giveaway and helpful post!

  • I always bring healthy snacks, an empty water bottle to fill up after going through security and a sweatshirt. I can wear it if it’s chilly and use it as a pillow if it’s not. Also, magazines and a good book.

  • I save perfume ad inserts from magazines and use for scent – no liquid required! Bring an empty water bottle through security and fill it at the fountain. A portable recharger for your phone and tablet – especially for long flights!

  • A small container of hand sanitizer, a travel package of “baby” wipes, disposable toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste and a container of airborne (if I were flying). I am not a germaphobe, but, I know that the alcohol in the sanitizer can clean just about anything sticky, and the baby wipes are always great to have in your purse. Toothbrush and paste are just for a boost in confidence (knowing that your seat mate won’t be put off from bad breath when you tell them you just want to watch your movie). XD

  • Much better, and cheaper to get a refillable water bottle or pouch and fill it past security at a water fountain. Bottled water and all the wasted energy associated with obtaining, bottling, transporting and disposing of it might be the death of us all.

  • I always bring a cardigan sweater because you never know if it will be too cold, or warm while getting to your destination. Cardigans are easy to take off, or put on as needed.

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 at gmail dot com

  • We just got back from a two week vacation and I can’t agree enough with your idea to pack a power strip. I also love your new outfit you put together at JC Pennys! Very practical, comfortable and fashionable

  • Don’t forget hand sanitizer. I also take disinfecting wipes to wipe down door handles, the TV remote, and other potentially germy surfaces in my hotel room. Nothing to ruin a trip like returning home with an illness.

  • I make sure my purse has a zipper to close the top. Had it dump out everything on a plane once :( Not a good thing to happen.
    Love your site. Great advice for travel!
    Love JC Penneys!

  • I always take a light weight jacket/ sweatshirt, even when traveling to a hot or humid place. You just never know…plus I often get cold on the air plane, and can put it on. Or use as a pillow for a short nap.

  • When traveling internationally I always pack a spare pair of underwear, socks, and a shirt in my carry on. Plus deodorant, toothbrush and face wipe. Nothing is worse than getting off a long flight to find your luggage took it’s own trip somewhere else. These items will keep you feeling fresh and more human like until you can get your luggage or find replacement items.

    My husband and I are leaving for Europe in 15 days, I hadn’t thought about all the extra uses for a scarf! I need to go shopping now.

  • Great ideas, i’m pinning this to “travel”. I alwys bring safety pins. They keep my pillow from falling behind my seat. Also good for temporary cloyhing repairs.

  • i bring many of the things you mentioned above. In addition, I always bring my travel cup w/lid and tea bags, a small lightweight throw ( I always get cold & it doubles as a pillow).

  • Great list, Jillie! I like to put a couple reusable nylon shopping bags and one for the farmers market because I love to go to them in different cities for fresh and homemade items.

  • Great tips, Jillee! I always bring a scarf or pashmina, it’s saved me many times! Also bring a portable external battery charger for the phone and tablet, in case of power outage. Sudoku or puzzle books are great if you don’t have a tablet.

  • The Tablet is a must for us. We travel with our daughter who is not great when unexpected things come up. Downloading movies has helped keep her busy when a plane is delayed. Loved the other hints for traveling, the scarf one is great, I will need to remember that one.

  • Lip balm
    Contact case with pills
    Headlight
    Inflatable travel pillow (put on tray table and put face down to sleep)
    Scan proof wallet
    Kindle or iPad
    Eye shades
    Ear plugs
    Snacks
    Reusable water container
    Roll-up hat (San Diego Hat Company)
    Dress in layers (so you are never too hot or cold)
    Mints
    Correct money for your destination (pesos for me)
    Business cards
    Folding cane/seat (for those with bad backs, balance)

  • I always bring a travel toothbrush and small toothpaste in my carry-on! You can get so worn out by a long day of travel and nothing makes me feel human again like brushing my teeth! Weird? :-)

  • An eyeshade! Don’t buy the kind that’s a flat satin pad — get a shaped ones that curves outward. This will avoid placing pressure on your eyeballs and lets you blink while wearing the mask.

  • I love the power strip idea! Since we usually check our luggage, I make sure everyone packs a spare change of clothes in their carry-on…just in case. We haven’t had to worry about lost luggage (thankfully), but you never know! By having a lightweight change of clothes in our carry-on, we are guaranteed at least one change of clothes!

  • I carry a lot of the things mentioned. In addition I carry socks because I always tend to have cold feet in the airplane and don’t wear shoes that need to be strapped or laced up as they are inconvenient during security and during flight.

  • I never fly without my u-shaped neck pillow! A little bulky, but totally worth it when I want to take a nap without waking up on the shoulder of a stranger

  • I can definitely second the rule to pack half of what you think you need. I used to travel with a huge suitcase! I think back to hauling that thing around airports and shudder. Now I use one that could be carried on, but I usually do check it. I carry “just in case” essentials in my carry-on. I would love a gift card!

  • I always take flip flops and a very small fan – choose the smallest that has the best (loudest, but in a good way) sound! Flip flops for walking around the hotel room and bathroom and the fan will help you sleep by masking those little odd noises you aren’t accustomed to.

  • Liked all your suggestion and love the dress.
    my travel tip are q-tips they come in handy and a charger that works for both my phone and e-reader.

  • I always bring an empty water bottle. I have to have water and it can be very hard or very expensive to buy enough in airports. It’s so much easier to fill it after I have been through security, and keep refilling it as much as I need to.

  • Luggage is not waterproof and mine sat out on the tarmac in the rain (missed connecting flight) and everything was wet – so if you have a special dress – you might consider packing it in a dry cleaner bags to help protect from a disaster.

  • Type our dates of travel – when and where you are traveling to and your cell number and name then place copies inside your bags (out side pocket and inside on top) If your luggage tag comes off and they do more often than not – your luggage will be able to find you!

  • Zip lock bags! I put underwear in a zip lock and if they aren’t too big sets of clothes in zip lock bags – remove all the air and zip up and they stay unwrinkled and easy to pull out what you want without messing up your clothes. Also, if you bags get inspected – it is easier to inspect and your clothes stay folded and underwear does not get man handled.

  • Those ear plugs do more than block the noise. I use them every time I fly to avoid severe earaches. My ears bother me when I fly, but after learning about the plugs, I have been able to fly pain-free. I put them on before take-off and leave them on until we land.

  • Love the idea of taking a screenshot of your boarding pass. This could work for coupons as well. Also think the scarf idea is excellent. Love your blog! :)

  • Snacks. Especially important when travelling with my kids, but even when I travel alone, I refuse to pay airport prices for food. If only I could get around paying $3 a bottle for water once I am through security…

  • We seldom travel, and when we do, it’s by car. I’ve only flown once and it was 40 years ago. I do make sure we have water and snacks. have a power inverter, so I can plug in my laptop or Kindle. And, car charger for my phone.

  • I don’t know if you have ever lost your suitcase as I have but I always make sure that I carry extra underwear with me just in case .You can always wear your outer cloths another day but always remember what your Mother told you !

  • I use a “what to pack” list before I pack but I bring it along as well. I often find other things that I could pack to help the trip go smoother and I’ll write the ideas down on my list. This list also helps that I do not leave anything behind.
    I bring all the catalogs and less urgent mail that I’ve been meaning to read and go through them before I settle in with a book or movie. I bring a list of all my passwords (in cryptic of course!) and all the free toiletry items from magazines and hotels I think I’d need.

  • I always take a scarf on a plane and have used it every time. It really comes in handy when your seats are close to the airplane bathroom… makes it easy to discreetly cover your nose! :-)

  • I always travel with a finger light. It’s a tiny flashlight that has a loop for around your finger. You can find them at the dollar store or a party store. They take up hardly any space are are great for navigating a hotel room in the middle of the night without having to turn on an overhead light and wake yourself or your sleeping buddy up.

  • Wonderful advice and much to my dismay, I forgot my ear plugs on my last trip. I love the dress and many choose a similar one for me. Great style and I do love black!

  • I don’t travel as much now as I did 10 yrs ago. However, my MUST pack items also include ginger gum, pepto & imodium. There is nothing less comfortable than getting tummy troubles while you travel. My youngest son battles altitude sickness & my “tummy pack” has saved my sanity many times.

  • Shower shoes–don’t even think about it about using the shower without them. Also, you really don’t want to walk around the room barefoot either. You would be horrified to learn what lurks in carpets & bath tubs/floors.

  • I really like your idea about taking a scarf! Some of the things that I never travel without are a surge protector/charging unit that has both usb ports and outlets, a Gatekeeper door alarm (less than $10), my Kindle and yummy Kind bars (my favorites Dark Chocolate, Nuts & Sea Salt and Almond, Caramel & Sea Salt)!

  • I always bring a small square (about 3″ x 3″) of chamois that I cut from a larger piece. It weighs almost nothing & takes up almost no space, but it’s perfect for blotting up wetness from spills or rain/snow & wiping off sweat. I’ve even used it as an emergency body towel! I had to wring it out a few times, but it did the job (it’s also great for drying feet if they’ve gotten wet.

  • Great tips! I also don’t travel that much, but do like to be prepared. Taking pictures of my mobile boarding pass has bed the best tip for me! One other thing I bring along is a mobile charger…that way when my tablet or phone is running low, I have a way to get them going without having a plug! Thanks for the chance!!

  • When travelling to Europe in winter, I drape a shawl over my coat. It acts as a muffler, but can also be used on it’s own indoors. Similar to the scarf idea, it can double as a blanket or pillow, but with more coverage than a scarf. One particularly brutal winter it added another layer of warmth that was badly needed, especially in places without central heating.

  • I always take more than I need. Your suggestions
    are great. Thank You! My daughter is taking
    me to Amsterdam in Oct. I have to start thinking
    about what to take!

  • I also plan to take a scarf with me the next time I fly anywhere. I hate to use the blankets offered on the plane. I read somewhere that they are not washed between flights. Uck!

  • My husband, sister, and her husband will be going on a trip soon. Some of these tips I had not thought of such of the extra power strip. One suggestion I have is if you are going out of the country, make sure you get plugs that fit into that country’s power. Also take more snacks for when in the hotel room. We always want a little snack after the days trip. Penny’s is my go to store!

  • My husband, sister, and her husband will be going on a trip soon. Some of these tips I had not thought of such of the extra power strip. One suggestion I have is if you are going out of the country, make sure you get plugs that fit into that country’s power. Also take more snacks for when in the hotel room. We always want a little snack after the days trip.

  • Love the ideas. If dressing up requires hose for ladies, bring an extra pair to your event or appointment, nothing says “tacky” like hose with a run in them.

  • I used to travel weekly. The only way I kept my sanity was by keeping pack lists. One that permanently stayed on my computer and one that I kept in my bag. My pack list had everything that I normally take in the order that it should go into the suitcase so it comes out in the right order. I also kept in baggies, my toiletries. One each for bathtub essentials, makeup and face lotions, toothpaste (to go by the sink), and one kept by the bed for my bedtime rituals. These were never unpacked, just refilled. As long as I stuck with the list all went well. Allergy sufferers take note, a crucial item was a box of tissues, budget hotels don’t always provide them.

  • I bring a small spray bottle with Jillee’s homemade wrinkle release. Clothes get wrinkled during travel and a quick spritzer moves wrinkles and freshens up clothes! I made small bottles for each of us when we went on our cruise!

  • I am a relatively new smartphone user & recently had to take a trip by myself & I took a picture of the area where I parked so I could find it when I came back (history of not remembering where I parked, lol).

  • I also take a small accordian wallet to butt all of my business related receipts in. Beats scrambling for them when it’s time to turn in your expenses.

  • Crocheting. I always bring a small or a beginning project to help keep my sanity in case of delays. Even a single skein of yarn and one hook is enough to get a healthy start on a baby afghan.

  • Well when I travel, it’s usually with my kids…. So that means extra changes of clothes (shirts, pants/shorts, underwear, socks), first aid kit, plenty of water and snacks. I always make sure they are well occupied in the car. I recently made a binder with a notebook and a clear pencil pouch full of crayons and markers as well. Travel games. Chargers, yes, chargers! Sunglasses as well. Oh yeah, stuff for me?! Whatever else I can remember by the time I have all of that and more packed :)

  • I always take a small travel size lint roller and a small hair dryer on my trips. Hotel hair dryers seem to stop working at the most inconvenient times. The lint roller is a must for my basic black pants and skirt. Don’t forget the 10x magnification mirror for applying your makeup.

  • After traveling with kids so much, I always have a good book I can read to them while waiting at the airport. Another must for us is decks of cards. We’ve been none to sit around on the floor of the airport playing quadruple solitaire. Cards are small and lightweight, and it’s good clean fun. :)

  • Good ideas. I love the power strip idea. I also always bring flip flops for security lines and if I am wearing them or sandals I always carry socks and I put them on during the flight so my feet don’t get cold.

  • I try to bring some melantonin for those longer trips, with fuzzy socks and small blanket. I recently enjoyed doing arm knitting on the shorter flights and have a scarf done by the time we landed.

  • I use a lot of these tips already but packing the power strip is a TERRIFIC idea! I’ll start doing that on my next trip. Thanks for all the wonderful tips.

  • I always take my small wrap-a-round my neck pillow. It’s light weight and comes in handy on plane, in the car, or an extra little height for the hotel pillow. I sprintz it with a little lavender and that is so relaxing. I also always take wintergreen mints they help with the air pressure, keeping my mouth moist and fresh, as well as help prevent motion sickness. I love to travel.

  • I’m going on a cruise in a few weeks. I always bring a pair of those really soft socks to wear on the plane. My own headphones to listen to music or to use when watching movies. Sanitizer of some kind to wipe down the remote control, door handles, etc. in the hotel rooms. Plastic bags in case bathing suits are wet when it’s time to pack. And always, a duffle bag that packs very small for all those extra purchases that don’t fit back in the suitcase when it’s time to go home!

  • I always bring things I can’t survive a trip without on board with me just in case my luggage gets lost. Contacts, eyeglasses, medications, camera, phone charger, swim suit!

  • I always carry mints and hard candies when I travel. Sucking a hard candy helps keep my ears from popping during landing and the mints help refresh my breath .

  • I love traveling. A couple of things I always do. Tuck a couple of plastic bags in the toes of my shoes. They come in so handy for dirty laundry, etc. Always take medicine, toothbrush, pair of undies in your carryon incase they lose your suitcase. Use disposable underwear! Toss them and that leaves room for more purchases along the way. Also, even nice hotel rooms have odors so take a small candle helps the ambience and makes it smell better.

  • Great tip about the scarf!

    I always take moisturizer with me, ever since getting painfully dry skin while waiting to board – so much so that I had to buy moisturizer at the airport!

  • I always have something to do on the plane. I don’t like to just sit and have nothing to do. I usually have my Ipod or a magazine or book to read. I also like the tip on the scarf. Great idea!!

  • Wow thanks for some really great tips! Love the Dress, purse and jewelry you picked up I bet you look like a million buck in that out fit. I love JC Pennys as a plus size girl they have the best selection from work out wear, causal and dress clothes. since i shop there a lot i could use the gift card! LOL thanks for the chance and keep the advice coming!

  • I only travel with a carry on and take a recycle bag with me for presents or sourveniers if they don’t fit in the carry on. That way I don’t have to check any luggage. Ear plugs is a must! JCPenney is my favorite store here in Puerto Rico!!

  • I always bring flip flops cause you never know when your feet might need a break from those dress shoes and I always bring a book to read when I get bored with my phone to pass the time.

  • Most important, I bring along someone who is good company :)

    Also, for the plane my comfy slippers and a good neck pillow.

    PS. I really need this prize!!!!!

  • Thanks for all the great tips, especially the scarf! What a great idea! The power strips are a definite necessity! We always have a sewing kit and first aid kit with us. I always shop at Penney’s, so would love the card!

  • I pack by one rule, concentrate on what you can not easily replace, such as prescriptions, eyeglasses, camera, etc., when the essentials are packed, then pack the rest. If you forget something, it is easily replaced

  • Since I have celiac disease flying can be a nightmare if I am unprepared. I carry my food in a soft insulated bag that when empty can be folded flat. I buy the cheap plastic containers that I do dispose if when empty. I don’t use plastic except when I fly. Yes lots of water and I love the idea of the scarf. Thanks for all the great ideas.

  • I travel for work semi often and always treat myself to one of those giant blueberry muffins from the coffee shop. It gives me something to look forward to once I clear security.

  • Would love to win the gift card! With a teenage daughter and young son starting school soon, it would really come in handy. Also, my travel tip which I’ve yet to use, that most hotels have a supply of phone chargers and such on hand. It’s the most common item people leave behind in hotels and inexpensive enough that they don’t return for them.

  • I like your ideas. I also bring along one pair of universal dress up shoes as well as one pair of very comfortable shoes, you never know when you might decide to do a little shopping at the local JC Penny or go site seeing.

  • Wonderful site. A lot of helpful info here. I am sending it to some friends ans additionally sharing in delicious.
    And naturally, thank you on your sweat!

  • If flying I make sure to bring sugar-free gum, and I never leave home without my slippers on an overnight trip…it feels so good to put them on after a long day of traveling :)

  • I bring socks for two reasons–the security walk through thing when thousands of people walk through with bare feet it grosses me out and I refuse to walk bare feet through the electronic/X-ray machines. And to keep my feet warm on the plane.

    The other thing I always bring is a blanket–for similar reasons you do with the scarf. I get cold easily and those cheap cheap cheap square pieces of fabric airlines give you if you request a blanket does nothing for you. And, the blanket is not considered a “carry-on item”.

  • I always bring my husband. Okay, aside from that.. I MUST have my charger!! :) My phone dies very quickly. Cannot have that.
    Thanks for the chance to spread the love! I’d love to spend this gift card on others and myself !

  • Since I use a CPAP machine, I always bring my own contour memory foam pillow. I fold the pillow in half and put it in a travel space bag, close it up and squash the air out of it. I usually end up holding the ‘zip’ part of the space bag and slowly sitting on it to get as much air out as I can. I’ve put the pillow in my carryon, my tote bag and checked bag depending on the length of the trip and whether or not I’m going or coming. My space bag is an essential part of my travel now.

  • I never check my bag because I have a Rick Steve’s expandable backpack. It fits in the overhead bin & holds everything one needs – even for an 8 or 9 day trip. I also have a smaller backpack that I carry things I want easy access to. I even put my (full) purse in it. I also take a light jacket that I can put in my backpack if needed & I wear comfortable, but still stylish clothes & shoes. My Kindle is a must, but I also take a couple of magazines that I want to catch up on.
    J.C. Penney’s is my favorite place to shop!!

  • I never go anywhere without a (paperback) book. I love being able to escape the confines of the plane or terminal in the pages of a great story. Makes the time pass more quickly too.

  • We usually travel by car. I alway have GPS, printed directions (just in case), phone, tablet, camera and chargers. Snack and drinks. Busy bags for kids. Dvds. Clothes that are comfortable and easy to clean.

  • I put my prescription drugs and vitamin supplements in one if those 7-day plastic organizers, and use a 2nd one to store earrings, small necklaces, coins, etc.!

  • I always travel with a lip balm, Basel I need and sample hygiene products in case I have to freshen up before I head to the hotel or relatives house.

  • I bring an inflatable lumbar support pillow to help make the seat more comfortable. I also bring antibacterial wipes for the tray table and armrests. I do not want to get sick on my trip!

  • Gum for the air plane and something to read. I pick either a black, blue, or tan and then have all items coordinate with this so I take a pair of dress shoes and a tennis shoes and goes with everything I bring. You can go from very casual to dressy with little effort and take smaller amount of items. I wear flip flops to airport for quicker security checks.

  • At least a few good magazines. This is important when you need to pass time and you don’t want to break out the tablet or drain your phone battery. After you’re done reading them, leave them behind for the next passerby.

  • I had the same experience with too much color when I went to NYC! So I love the black dress you selected. Bringing a scarf is a really great idea too- thanks!

  • I wear black most of the time. It’s refreshing that you wear colorful clothing. Love the dress you chose – flattering style. I def. need a tablet.

  • After several years of frequent cross country travel by plane and frequent short 2 hr overnight trips, I bit the bullet and did 2 things that really helped. One, I finally broke down and made a simple, large print, check list. It includes many of the things you have listed, Jillee. Secondly, I broke down and bought seconds of the most critical items – power strip that includes plug-ins and usb ports, extra ear phones, extra charging cords & plugins for all my “electronics” and store them in the bag I always use. While I have an excellent computer bag, I store all my “extras” in the suitcase I always use … just in case. I also include a tiny but powerful led flashlight in my purse and in my suitcase.

    Thank you for this opportunity to win!

  • Great ideas, Jillee. When I check my bags on a plane, I make sure I have in my purse my thyroid meds, toothbrush, mascara, and clean underwear. My bags have been lost (temporarily, thank goodness) more times than I’d think possible. I can face just about anything with these items if it happens again. ;-)

  • These are some really great tips. I would def need socks, some flip flops and my tablet. The headphones are a great idea and prob one of those backup instant recharge things for your phone. Thanks for the tips! :)

  • I leave my portable travel steamer in my suitcase even when in the closet. Great to freshen up cclothes after unpacking and steam hotel pillow. Pack a handful of alcohol wipes to disinfect hotel tv remote (germ Disneyland). And squirt a couple of days use of face cream, eye cream, tooth paste, whatever into spare contact lenses cases! So much less bulk!

  • I have a medium sized cosmetic carry-all bag and I have all my necessities and then some in there!! I goes with me any time I have to spend the night anywhere but home. I just grab it & go. They are mostly trial sizes, and small bottles & jars. I just refill at home and I’m always ready for the next trip!

  • My husband and I try to always do “carry-on” so we don’t have to wait at the luggage carousel. Instead of taking a purse, last year I got a great little backpack — grey with hot pink from REI. I put the bare minimum of items I would need if I were somehow separated from my rolly — including my medications for the week (or however long I’m gone for). The other thing that I found invaluable for a long air-flight (anything over an hour:)), was a set of noise-cancelling earphones. Yes, they’re pricey — but if you do any amount of travel, I think they’re indispensible. Those planes can be very noisy! They make watching a movie on my iPad or listening to music or podcasts sooooo much more enjoyable!

  • Make a list of the days you’ll be on vacation and the activities on those days that you will be doing so that you won’t forget important items or you can plan the appropriate outfits