It's official! Summer is in full swing, and you're ready to go on a vacay. We know the last thing on your mind is what to pack, but the reality is, you should not be deciding what to bring with you an hour before you need to be at the airport. You will definitely miss something while rummaging your house, so being prepared in advance is to your benefit.
Packing mishaps range from inconvenient (heading to Belize without suntan lotion) to disastrous (discovering you left behind your swimsuit). But it's not really your fault. People don't often forget the things they use every day, such as medications, toiletries, and laptops. What we always leave behind are things we don't use every day, or even only use rarely, such as a first-aid kit, spare chargers, and cash. When was the last time you used cash when a debit or credit card is more secure?
And just as frequently as you forget something vital, you'll also remember that specific thing right when there's no turning back. Just made it to the airport? That's the moment you'll think of the books you just bought and left behind and had planned on reading at the beach. No one wants to spend the beginning of their vacation shopping for things they already have at home. And then having to pay a premium because all the stores near your hotel are designed for tourists. So here are 12 things people always take with them on vacay, as well as 12 things they tend to forget.
24 take with them - I.D.
You should always take with you, your identity. Whether that's a passport or a driver's license, it's good to have on an ID with your picture on it. You never know when you'll need it either. Suppose you're in California close to the Mexican border and want to stop for a second, you will definitely need ID. And for those who are still young enough to party at night while in a foreign country and you need to show ID but don't have it, tough luck because you won't be dancing inside to some annoying song you don't even like! And of course, you need your passport if you're traveling over borders.
23 tend to forget - Travel Health
As soon as you decide to travel internationally, check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website for comprehensive travel vaccines, medicines, and travel advice information. Whether you decide to get vaccinated or not is your decision, but many vaccinations require administration 2 months before travel begins. And while we're at it, bring something everyone seems to forget: a first aid kit with bandages, Neosporin, et al. Also, Advil or other pain relievers, a thermometer, cold medicines, laxatives, and Claritin or other allergy meds. Multivitamins, sunburn relief, insect repellent, motion sickness pull and antibacterial ointment round out items you can bring.
22 take with them - Medications
Always pack the whole bottle of that Ativan you use to calm yourself down. Even if your vacay will only last 3 days, it doesn't make sense to bring enough for only those days. You never know what might happen. You may end up staying in that B&B in Amagansett longer than you intended, and then what? Are you going to go nuts? And if you're riding in confinement--planes, trains, and ferries-- the lack of your daily dose may make you start freaking out! If you're a parent and your kids take meds, make sure to pack those too, preferably in the same place with all your family's meds.
21 tend to forget - Extra Contacts
People who wear contacts would never forget to pack saline solution, a contact case, and the eyeglasses that you wear when you're not wearing your contacts. But seldom people only take the contacts they're wearing now. Take your eye care to the next level by carrying a set of new, unopened, lenses in case you drop your contact in the sink while trying to put it on and can't find it. This has happened to all of us, as well as when we put on contacts while the sink is still running. That contact ends up being flushed down the sink.
20 take with them - Pack Smart
If you're planning on a vacay, you know that carrying a lot of luggage is a hassle. If you're going to fly to London, you don't want that large piece of luggage holding you down through customs and then at the baggage claim. And if you're checking your bag because of its weight, there goes $50 for your fee to let the airline handle your luggage. $50 is a huge loss! So pack smart. You want one carry-on bag, a computer bag (it doesn't count for airplanes) and one piece of luggage, preferably one you can take on the flight.
19 tend to forget - Long-Sleeve Clothing
When heading out on your vacay in the summer, every place blasts the A/C. The airport is cold, the plane is cold and your hotel room is cold (because you can't figure out how to turn down the A/C). And every place you go, especially if it's in the tropics, some overhead fan is always on, like at a restaurant. But because you are going somewhere hot, we often forget to pack a long-sleeve shirt, a sweater or a hoodie. Don't forget! Have you ever had goosebumps during the summer because the air conditioning is on full blast? You can thank us now.
18 take with them - Clothes Needed To Pack Smart
If you're going somewhere that's hot and has plenty of beaches, you should always pack at least two bathing suits. Women should stuff away a swim cover-up, underwear, and bras. Men should also pack underwear and socks, but they shouldn't forget to pack enough of each that will last your trip. Add in two T-shirts, one to use outdoors and one to sleep in. You should also bring some kind of sports jacket like a fleece Patagonia if you are staying somewhere hot but gets cold at night. You can wear the fleece at night because hotels often blast the A/C.
17 tend to forget - Books And Magazines
If you're going to the beach always remember to bring along some magazines and a book so you don't get bored while suntanning. That's something almost all of us forget. The problem is, if it's a new book you haven't read yet and then decided while on the beach that the book is not for you, you're screwed. So bring a few books with you; you're bound to fall in love with one. And, so your beach bag doesn't weigh you down, buy paperbacks if they are available. Remember what many don't know: that new Michael Ondaatje that just came out and which you wish to read, will not be in paperback. If it's new it will only be in hardcover. So here's the deal that publishing houses follow: hardcover books come out first and the paperback versions come out a year later.
16 take with them - Clothes That Do Double Duty
If you really want to bring the bare minimum, then you should bring clothes that you can get away wearing twice or more. For men, for example, a long-sleeve button-down dress shirt with a pair of jeans takes you from traveling and getting to your destination. Add on a different tie using the same shirt for around three times looks as if you've changed your wardrobe every day. Especially if you're going to an expensive restaurant in the evening. And ties are light enough to pack. If you want to go further, a basic navy blazer will give you two looks: a casual day ensemble and a nighttime wardrobe perfect for sitting at the hotel bar.
15 tend to forget - Comfort Carry-Ons If You're Flying
If you are flying, the one thing people forget the most is comfort items. A travel pillow will go a long way, and the saliva you're drooling while sleeping will only be seen by you. A neck pillow is nice to bring because then your head is stabilized and you won't be falling asleep on a stranger's shoulder. A lightweight cotton blanket will make you feel toasty, but remember to bring a throw, something smallish that is easily stashable. Earplugs are a must, and eye masks can make you forget you're confined on a plane and will give you shut-eye.
14 take with them - Toiletries
These should be easy to pack and the least to forget since you probably use these items every day. Pack deodorant, a toothpaste, toothbrush, floss and mouthwash for your teeth. For men, don't forget your shave kit set. For women, bring along feminine hygiene products, makeup, moisturizers, makeup removers as well as several women's hair accessories such as hair ties and barrettes, as well as hair brushes or combs. Double bonus if you pack those travel plastic cups that collapse so you can use it to brush your teeth, as hotels, above all motels, do not usually stock that amenity.
13 tend to forget - Phone Chargers
This is the one item you definitely need to pack, but it's also the most forgotten. Especially if you are using your phone while packing and the charger is not with you--if you can't see it, it's easy to forget. Or maybe you charged your phone in an outlet at the airport or on the airplane itself and left them there by accident. You can always buy a new charger, but that's so wasteful. Do you know how expensive phone chargers are at the stores at LAX or JFK? We once saw one for $40, when you can get one for under $10 from Amazon.
12 take with them - Toiletry Bonuses
These are the things you should only bring with you if you have space. Women should bring night creams they regularly use at night, as well as body lotions. Hair products like hairspray can be brought, and so can detergent and some Clorox found in travel bottles in case you spilled wine on your dress. And here are items that are not essential but which you may bring if you have room, stuff like cologne/perfume, and a small mirror. Also, extra razors, scissors, nail clippers, and tweezers, all of which must be in checked luggage.
11 tend to forget - cash
Seldom carry cash. Why would we? Everyone uses credit or debit cards, and there's hardly a need for cash. Besides, credit or debit cards are safer to use. If you lost your wallet and you had some multiple 20s in it, then that's going to suck. If you need cash and see an ATM that's not your bank, you're going to walk away because who wants to pay the $3 fee? But cash is important on vacays. You'll use them everywhere. At the hotel you are staying at, you will need to tip the baggage handlers, the doormen and the concierge, to name a few.
10 take with them - Suntan Lotion
Sunscreen and face lotion with SPF is one of the essentials that many bring if you're heading out to Florida during the hot season in July. If you don't bring sunscreen you will burn at the beach and you may be charged a huge premium if you end up buying sunscreen at the hotel's mini-store. If you rented a car, you can perhaps pick up some sunscreen at a store, but only if it's nearby and you can find it. Also, it can be a hassle if you have no intentions of exploring life outside your hotel.
9 tend to forget - Technology
You're probably going to have to check into the office once or twice while on vacation, so it's good practice to bring along with you your laptop, your laptop power cord, your iPad, and your USB ports. If you're driving, get a USB that can be charged using your car lighter. If you want to read, don't forget to brink your NOOK or your Kindle. If you're on a plane, noise-reducing headphones will be a welcome relief and the one thing you'll be happy you packed, especially if that crying baby sitting with his rents near the bathrooms won't shut the husk the corn off.
8 take with them - Umbrella
For some reason, people going on a vacay always bring umbrellas. That's due to the fact that your umbrella stand is probably right near the entrance of your home. So smart travelers always bring umbrellas, and you'll be lucky if you do. What are you going to do if it rains where you are staying? Do you really want to buy a thirty-dollar umbrella at the airport or concession stand when perfectly good ones back home cost under twenty bucks? And remember to bring a foldable umbrella.
7 tend to forget - Media Carry-Ons
While flying, you need to entertain yourself. You can't rely on the movie playing on your TV. The last time we rode, Failure To Launch was playing. A few months later while riding on the plane, Failure To Launch was still playing. So bring a laptop. You can easily stash a few CDs in your carry-on (they'll take up zero space if you don't bring their containers) and then you can watch a movie on your computer. Just don't forget to bring EARPHONES!!!--which we all forget to do. Finally, download some tunes on your iPhone if you feel like listening to music.
6 take with them - Digital Cameras
People on vacay, especially families with children, never forget their digital camera. Sure, you have a camera on your iPhone, but you probably want your photos to look professional and good-looking, especially when you're relying on them to use as a souvenir, a photo on a holiday card, or something good enough to be framed. Thus, it's the most important thing you pack. Bring along your memory card and chargers so your camera won't die on you mid-picture. A note: if you ask a stranger to take a pic of you and your family, remember that this stranger may just take off with your camera.
5 tend to forget - How Not To Forget Toiletries
We all know to bring toothpaste on our vacay, but sometimes that's overlooked. That and things like a razor and shaving cream, as well as necessities like soap and shampoos and conditioners. But going around the house trying to find toiletries you need, or making pit-stops at the last moment to buy a bar of Ivory will make you annoyed and cause you to spend money. To never forget any toiletry product that is essential for you to use while on vacay, start storing a basket or box in your bathroom or in your closet with all the travel-sized necessities you think you'll need on your next vacay. That way everything is all in one place.
4 take with them - Shoes
We never forget shoes, but we do forget sensible ones. You can't bring a pair for each outfit you're wearing and, besides, all those shoes will take away your luggage space. Maybe bring shoes that are a little dressy but don't look like office-wear. Don't bring high heels--give your feet a rest, and do bring specialty shoes like hiking boots if there are hiking trails near your destination. But above all, bring sneakers. If you're on a vacay with kids, sneakers may just be the only type of shoe you need. But while these we don't forget, flip-flops are always forgotten. Make a note to bring them. They're easy to pack and your feet will thank you if you wear them to the beach where the sand is super-hot
3 tend to forget - Swimwear
It's not hard to forget bringing your swimwear if you are going on a vacay where it's hot and your hotel has a pool and is close to the beach. But say you're attending a business conference in Las Vegas in the dead of winter and, when you get to your hotel, you realize there's a heated pool. And now you want to go swimming! Doesn't that suck? The Las Vegas strip has a lot of bathing suits and trunks for you to buy, but the prices are usually prohibitively expensive, and you'll have to shell out good money for something that you'll want to wear next time.
2 take with them - Toiletries to Pack While Staying In A Hotel
Whether its EconoLodge or the Ritz Carlton, you should always bring with you shampoo, conditioner, soap or body soap to shower with, as well as a bar to wash your hands. Single-serve shampoos and shower gel at hotels are puny and paltry. When was the last time you used the hotel's shower gel and realized you've run out while still taking a shower? And the soap? What is that? The size is two small pieces of flat chocolate on top of each other. Is that supposed to soap up an Olsen twin? Because it certainly can't be used on The Rock.
1 tend to forget - Portable Mini Power Strip
It's the worst feeling. You and your pals or your family get to your hotel, and you can find only one or two electric plugs that are free. Say all of you have six phones to charge and 1 iPad. What are you going to do, take turns charging your phones? It's a waste of time, right? Well, if you had a portable power strip, you can charge everything all at once. It's perhaps the one most common thing people forget to bring while on vacay. Get one that has both AC outlets and USB ports to charge all electronics simultaneously.