Traveling can be fun, but also a little chaotic. I travel a decent amount during the year and always pack carry-on only because of all the hassles of checked luggage. Honestly, packing light makes my life easier. However, not everyone can do carry-on only or sometimes airlines run out of overhead space and make people check their bags. When packing for a trip, you should be thoughtful as to where you put your items. If something does happen to your bag, you're prepared for the situation.
1. An extra pair of clothes in your tote or backpack.
Even if you're luggage is only delayed, it can sometimes be until the next day or two. Have some clean clothes on hand so you aren't stuck in the same ones from traveling the day before. Go for lightweight items and they won't take up much room!
2. All important documents and items.
It seems like common sense, but don't put important documents or items in a bag that could be separated from you. If anything, you should have copies of these documents that you can access in case something does happen while you're traveling (hard and digital copies). My friend who travels often recommended having two hard copies (one for your tote and the other for your luggage) and two ways of accessing digital copies (a flash drive and a cloud-based system that someone else could also access just in case). This is best for international travel, but always have a backup for all trips anyways.
3. A portable battery and any technology.
Technology is awesome, but it's useless when it's dead! Portable batteries are a complete lifesaver from traveling to long days out and about. Plus, having an airline's app on your phone to keep you updated on your flight can be helpful for when there are delays or cancellations. This way, you aren't running all over the airport or wondering when you'll be boarding. Also, keep any kind of technology you travel with inside your tote bag and not in your checked luggage.
4. Baby wipes (trust me).
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Don't want to bring hand sanitizer because it's a liquid? Anti-bacterial baby wipes are even better than hand sanitizer! My mom got these for me on my first international trip and they're amazing. Whether you want to clean your hands, face, or wipe down something around you on the plane, these Johnson's Hand & Face Wipes work for everything. I'm pretty sensitive to products, so to have something that works so well for multiple situations is a must-have item.
5. Extra headphones.
Everything's going well until you lose or break your headphones. No one wants to sit through a flight without music or access to a movie. Bring an extra set in case something happens to yours, or if your traveling friend needs a pair.
6. An empty water bottle.
Don't waste your money paying for water in the airport. Bring an empty water bottle (or even a collapsable one) to fill from a water fountain or fill station. You'll save money and stay hydrated during your entire trip.
7. A tracker for your checked bag.
It's 2017 and you finally don't have to worry if your bag made it to your destination with you. Bag trackers are seriously worth it if you want to keep tabs on your bag during your travels to make sure it didn't get re-routed or lost. This Dynotag is affordable and can be easily used for items other than luggage.