Packing Checklist

Clothes
The articles will suggest you take clothes in two complementary colors and it’s certainly a good idea – you don’t need as many shoes or accessories. The key issues with clothing, as I see it, it that they work for a variety of situations, are easy to clean,  dry quickly, and don’t take too much space. (see Travel Clothes)

Everything Else
I devote a fair amount of space to non-clothing items when I will be living in hotels

or the like for extended periods. Below are a few of my favorites:shutterstock_113008318

  1. Universal sink plug (those flat rubber items at the hardware store). I do some laundry by hand and the preponderance of hotel sinks do not have working plugs. This will facilitate the process. Don’t bother with soap. That you can get anywhere or hand soap and shampoo work just fine.
  2. Waiter’s cork screw, knife, fork and spoon, and a bottle stopper are useful if you bring food back to the room. I steal the salt & pepper from the airplane. They’re just going to throw it away.
  3. A clutch of plastic zipper bags in both sizes are terrific for all sorts of uses from wet clothing to leaky bottles. And, of course, storing food.
  4. One or two very cheap, very thin face cloths will serve a whole variety of purposes from wiping up spills to cleaning your luggage. They can also be used as face cloths as many countries do not supply same. Take a bright color or they’ll be swept up with the towels and disappear. Buy thin ones so they dry fast.
  5. I don’t like to provide advertising but will say that Lush Cosmetics makes a variety of items in solid bar form: shampoo and conditioner being my favorite. They are lighter, can’t spill, last a long time and can be carried on board. Bypass the cute little tins. They are badly designed, have no air holes and are too small (allowing the damp bar to get stuck and melt).
  6. Mending kits. I save the tiny kits provided in hotel rooms and I have been packing some of them for many years as I am rarely inclined to sew anything except in an emergency.  I do take a variety of safety pins.
  7. Things may have changed, but we have sometimes found it difficult to buy antiperspirant in some overseas locations. Deodorant, however, is widely available.
  8. Travel is rife with minor disasters which result in the traveler going hungry. I pack a couple of boxes of granola bars (minus the boxes) for such emergencies. Also useful for midnight snacks. Put some in your carry on.
  9. The articles do get one thing right – if you are going shopping you need an extra bag.  I have taken inexpensive nylon bags which fold very flat .  Depending on where you are going you may be able to pick up the zippered bags which serve as luggage in developing countries.  At one time they were all plaid, now they come in a variety of prints. They are very cheap, sturdy and fold flat.

The reality is that you can replace almost anything.  In any town, anywhere the locals wash their bodies, clothes and hair and do all of the other grooming you do. If you are going to any populated location you can likely buy whatever you require, perhaps not in your usual brand, but trying new things is the very essence of travel.

If you will be far from civilization for an extended time I suggest you talk to some folks who’ve done that journey.