When Q and I travel regardless of the mode of transportation, we have a list of essentials that are a “must” to bring. There are the staples of snacks, drinks, earbuds and magazines, all are universally accepted and thought of as carry-on items. The “essentials” I’m talking about are those items you rarely think you may need, and always regret not having when such a need arises. These items are the difference between a relaxed, pleasant travel experience or a downright, praying to God it ends soon nightmare.
Counting down from the much-needed to the absolute must-haves, here are the top 10 travelling essentials you never thought of or often forget!
Those fluffy, cotton tipped sticks can be a lifesaver in so many situations. Itchy, annoyed ears? Scratch the hell out of them with a Q-tip. Have medicine you need to apply without transferring germs to your fingertips? Yep, Q-tips are good there too. Q-tips are small, you don’t need many and can be used for a myriad of applications.
9. Hand Cream/Lip Chap
I hate sitting at 30,000 feet in the air and realize my lips are on fire from my previous day’s outing, sitting in the sun. Or having the dried, cracked areas of my hands catch on every fabric that comes in contact with them. To remain soft, plump, irritant and pain-free, both these items are a must-have have in your carry on bag!
8. Eye Mask
Those pads of cotton that cover your eyes and stay secured by an elastic band that fits around your head, surely can’t be an essential while travelling? Right? I know, you’re thinking I can’t be serious. But I am. It never fails in a plane, that the seat and subsequent window my face is naturally turned towards while trying to nap, is always inhabited by someone who must keep the shade open, letting the sun burn my retinas right through my eyelids. It also surprises me while in a car, how bright those street lights can get even in the middle of night, burning down on my face, waking me with every passing flash. The great thing about the eye mask is that they are lightweight and easily stored. Ya, you may look like a twit on a plane or in a car, but hey, at least you’ll be a well-rested twit!
7. Ear Plugs
Not to be confused with earbuds for listening to music. I’m talking about those ear plugs used to prevent deafness for those who work in occupations where loudness is an issue. Just like the eye mask, these little suckers prevent you from hearing everything from the roaring of the jets, or honking of the horns to that screaming little brat pulling a tantrum in the middle of the aisle.
6. Emery Board/Nail Clippers
Nail clippers may be forbidden on a plane (check the carry-on policy of the airline) but are a must-have in other modes of transportation. Both the emery board and clipper can file/remove those jagged, broken, hang nails from your fingers and keep your tips from not only getting caught on everything and hurting like hell but from also annoying the crap out of you with every snag.
5. Allergy Medicine
For those of us who suffer through spring, summer and fall with wheezing lungs and puffy, red eyes, Benadryl may be a staple in our purse. But I’ve come across many unprepared individuals who’ve just recently acquired a new allergy (like recent in that it just occurred during transportation) or felt their allergy to mould surely wouldn’t be bothersome on a train! Who wants to be sneezing, wheezing and gasping for air in public making every other passenger head for the nearest exit because they are convinced you are spewing some fatal, airborne disease. On another plus side, Benadryl can knock you out and have you snoozing like a baby.
4. Wet Wipes
Q loves disgusting, smelly food combinations (Montreal smoked-meat, garlic, roast beef topped with horseradish, mustard and blue cheese), that not only fills a small space with the aromas of the offending foods, but also with the lingering odour long after digestion has taken place because the smell has permeated the skin on his hands. Just lovely! You can spend your travels reliving the disgust your better half ate three hours ago or pull some wet wipes out of your pocket and give them (your companion) a good cleaning over! And unlike hand sanitizer which has restrictions on how much you can bring on a plane, wet wipes are allowed in most sizes in your carry on.
This is a huge pet peeve of mine. I’m stuck somewhere and without antacids and the worst heartburn of my life strikes having me burp the remnants of a repeating lunch or sipping milk continuously for relief. I never, repeat NEVER go anywhere without antacids. I may never use them on a trip, but they are always with me. Which, by the way, my brother knows and which I’m glad to supply him with, almost every time we go out together! 😜
2. Dental Floss
This is my greatest pet peeve when I travel. Getting something stuck between my teeth, which are packed tightly, and being annoyed at best or in debilitating pain at worse. I never go on a trip without my dental floss. It is a staple in my luggage, purse and even glove compartment of my vehicle. Good oral hygiene aside, there is nothing more frustrating than a popcorn skin stuck between your teeth that will just not budge!
And the number #1 item, often overlooked but is an absolute MUST when travelling is:
1. Anti-Diarrhea/Laxative Medicines
For those with bowels of steel, you may not even know about this dynamic duo! But for those of us with delicate digestive systems, Imodium and Ex-Lax are household names like June & Ward Cleaver. There is nothing worse than getting a bad case of the trots, just as the plane is taxiing for takeoff, leaving you praying to God for mercy while you convulse and tense every muscle so nothing involuntarily escapes! Imodium can ease those cramps and wiggle in no time.
On the flip side, there is nothing more irritating than getting to your epic vacay destination and you end up grumpy, lumpy and bloated because you are bound so tight you’re puffing up like the Pillsbury Doughboy! A gentle laxative will have you deflated, with an airy spring in your step come morning, right after that first cup of coffee or two.
~ True North Nomad
What are your “essential,” must-have items when you travel?
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