OK, so this is off topic, but hey! It’s my website. I can post what I want, right?
I have often thought I could grab my smart phone and a change of underwear and be fine for any emergency or a trip. Truth be known, I’d grab this bag too. If there was an earthquake, fire, or even a run to the ER, I would have the essentials. It’s already packed and waiting. We just returned from a two week trip where we stayed in everything from a back-packing tent to a condo with our timeshare. I felt very prepared. And best of all, I can find what I need. It’s pretty organized.
Smart Phone: Keeps my agenda, destination addresses, and contacts. It provides a GPS, alarm clock, flashlight, book, store locator, campground and gas station finder… oh, and telephone! That’s just to name a few. It even has my credit card numbers (encrypted). I also take a photo of my suitcase, if flying in case it gets lost.
My bag is about 9″ x 6″ x 4 1/2″ high. I would probably fill any size to its capacity, so having a smaller bag is probably a good thing. It forces me to keep the contents to the fewest and smallest essentials.
Notice the carabiner on the handle. If I remove my ring or other small essentials, I’ll clip them on this ring so there’s no way to lose them.
If traveling by air, this bag must be packed in your checked luggage. When flying, I carry with me: medications, shampoo, brush, toothbrush, and toothpaste. I’d also want the change of underwear and a t-shirt. I had my luggage get lost once and I was miserable wearing the clothes I flew in for 2 days. I won’t make that mistake again!
My bag is pretty stuffed. Most items are in separate sturdy see-through bags, but there are some loose items too. The loose items are items I use often. Some also allow me to fill in the nooks and crannies. The individual bags are important so I can find what I need.
I stay on the lookout for smaller containers. Smaller is almost always better!
Hair products: Travel-size mousse and small brush for my hair. I don’t pack a blow dryer. Most hotels have them. On our recent trip we stayed at a few campgrounds with showers. I used the blowers for drying hands to dry my hair. There was just one place I wasn’t able to dry my hair quickly. Hair spray is next to the body wash. I don’t use it often, but it’s nice for dress occasions. The small spray bottle came with a set of travel bottles and I poured in some from a larger pump spray bottle. Next to the hair spray is shampoo.
Teeth: I refill my sample-size toothpaste by pushing the openings together and squeezing the full size tube. Works great! I keep my tooth brush in a holder that just covers the brush end to keep it as small as possible.
Knife: I have a folding knife that I can use for preparing food, It also has a phillips screwdriver, toothpick, and tweezers. I have several pocket knives and carry 2 in my little bag. I haven’t found the perfect pocket knife. Leatherman tools also have pliers which would be nice.
Body Wash: Bar soap can be messy once it’s used.
Baking Soda: I love a tiny bit of baking soda with soap to scrub my face! Baking soda also comes in handy for lots of things.
Silverware: We often just stop at the grocery store for food. The fork, spoon, and pocket knife have come in handy many times! I have a can opener on my other pocket knife.
Flashlight and whistle: Honestly, I usually use my phone for light, but it’s nice to have a flashlight. The whistle gives me some extra confidence when camping and walking to the bathroom in bear country. There are spare batteries for the flashlight. This flashlight has room for a spare bulb as well.
Small corkscrew: Some knives have one. Mine doesn’t.
Dish Soap: For dishes of course, but also can be used for washing clothes in a sink. I will keep an eye out for an even smaller bottle.
Deodorant: I don’t have travel size, but this brand is fairly small. I guess I could use these wipes.
Scrubby: For washing dishes, but could also be cut in half to use as a scrubby when showering.
Bandana: Can be used for many, many things: wash cloth, dish towel, and hand towel, just to name a few. I found this list of 180 Uses for a Bandana.
Medication: I have a week’s supply, all separated into little bags for each day. I have also printed a copy of the prescription numbers. When I get a new 90 day supply, I’ll use these and replace them with fresh. I could also add a reminder on my calendar to swap them out. The medication includes all my usual vitamins and supplements. Travel and emergencies can both add stress to the body. Stay healthy!
Nightlight: Great to use to find the way in a strange bedroom, whether it’s a friend’s house or motel room.
Cord: Can be used as a clothesline or tying up anything.
Clothespins: Hanging hand-washed clothes. Also, may motel curtains don’t quite close. Clothespins fix that problem!
Spare underwear: I wish I had room for an extra t-shirt, but at lease I can change into fresh underwear. Everything else can be worn again or washed and hung to dry overnight.
I love using this scrubby for a washrag. It takes a bit extra space in my bag, but it’s worth it to me.
Make-up: I use pencils for concealer and eye brows. When my pencils get short, they go in my travel bag. I include a sharpener. I mix sunscreen, moisturizer, and foundation and keep that in a small plastic bottle. I can’t seem to find small lipstick, but it doesn’t take too much room.
Travel-size tooth floss
Consider a small bottle of nasal spray
Nail File and Clippers
Skin cream (I use Bag Balm)
Hollywood Fashion Tape to mend a hem, keep my bra straps in place, hold a gap between buttons, keep a scarf in place, or any other clothing emergency. Can also be used to tape gift wrap, hold a note to a door, or any other time you need a bit of tape.
Matches Lighting fires or sterilizing needle for removing splinters.
Playing cards can entertain a group during a stopover or emergency.
Cash In an emergency, credit cards may be of no use. Cash is a very good thing. Throughout the year, I try to spend only bills and save my coins. I cash the coins in for bills and keep them here.
Sewing Kit with pins, buttons, thread, and needle. It would be easy to make.
Pencil with extra lead and eraser. A small permanent marker would be good too. I keep one in my purse.
Small chamois for cleaning glasses
Sunscreen I picked up these little packets at the fair.
Lip balm for lips, of course. But it can also be spread on bits of paper to help start a fire. Here’s a few more emergency uses.
Pocket knife and sharpener This knife has a nail file, small blade, scissors, small flat blade screwdriver, can opener, and awl. This sharpener looks similar to mine. Here’s another.
Bandaids of several sizes
Blister Treatments go on like a bandaid to protect and minimize blisters
Plastic bags: Not sure why they are in this bag. They’re useful for a lot of things. Keeping an area somewhat clean or cleaning up messes would be a few.
Eye wash: Just sterile saline in little applicators.
Saline Solution: I tend to get allergies. Saline solution is my first line of defense. I have carried a 3 oz bottle, but just found a .76 oz bottle. Perfect! That’s now in my bag.
Matches I already have some in another bag. A needle and small scissors could be kept in this bag too.
Alcohol Wipes do not appear in this photo.
Digestion Help This falls into the category of TMI, but some people get diarrhea and others get constipation. Pack some treatment for this. You don’t want to be trying to find a store when you need help with this!
Other items that could be added.
Stored in my suit case
Spare glasses/ sunglasses
Extension cord with 3 outlets
Thin robe and slippers
Pop up laundry bag
Kept in my purse
3 days of medication, but no vitamins and supplements
Bandaids and blister treatments
Lens wipes for my glasses and phone
Permanent Marker (small) and sticky notes
Folding fan. Helpful for those hot flashes.
Spare batteries for my phone. I love having a phone that I can swap out batteries! I now have 5 batteries that lasted me for a week away from electricity. That gives me confidence I’ll have access to my phone in case of earthquake or other large-scale emergency too.
Kept in my car trunk
Change of clothes, including tennis shoes, socks, and wind breaker
Picnic supplies: small cutting board, plastic plates and bowls, can opener, plastic bags
Larger emergency first aid kit
Ideally, pack clothes that coordinate. Pick one or two neutral base color(s), prints that go with the neutral, and then solids that go with them. This list will take you just about anywhere, hot or cold, rain or dry, dress up or rustic.
This recent trip included many nights on the road. It was nice to pack just one outfit, pajamas, and my travel bag in my day pack so I didn’t have to haul my whole suitcase into a motel or to the campsite. It worked great!
I’ve been reading about rolling clothes, not fold them. Here’s one video about that. I tried rolling this time and I really liked it!
Here’s what I try to pack.
Pants and perhaps a skirt. Three pairs of pants can be washed and dried to last for even a long trip. I’ve recently bought “travel” pants that are lightweight woven nylon with a bit of spandex. They are very comfortable. They are light weight for easy packing and toting. They are easy to wash and dry quickly. They were comfortable in hot weather. I thought they wouldn’t be warm enough, but I was wearing them in 20 degree F on my recent trip and felt comfortable.
Shorts? Usually one pair will be enough.
Tops: (best if they can be layered, like a turtle neck or plain t-shirt, printed top, coordinating sweater or jacket) Again, 3 tops can be washed and last for a long trip. Three t-shirts, 3 printed tops, and 2 jackets or sweaters can be mixed and matched at least 24 different ways and that’s not counting the variations with the pants!
Sweater or light jacket.
Underwear and bras for 3 days
Shoes: a pair that could be worn for dressing up a bit, a pair for walking a lot, and flip flops for the pool, beach, or shower.
Socks: You will want to have socks for your walking shoes.
Pajamas: I like to pack pajamas rather than flimsy nightgowns. I may have to walk in front of strangers, especially camping, traveling with others, or in emergency situations.
Gloves: a pair of lightweight knit
Hat: knit for warmth. Visor or a hat with a brim that can be rolled up in a suitcase.
Rain jacket (plus rain pants if camping for both rain and warmth).
Swim suit and thin beach towel. I usually pack a beach cover-up too. Beach towel can be used to wrap up after a shower.
Perhaps add sweats to work out. A jump rope or resistance band can add to your workout without taking up much space or adding weight.
Day pack and/or folding cloth bag with handles
Don’t Leave for Home Without It
Don’t scatter your stuff all over a room or you’ll leave without it. If you unpack, try to use only one drawer. If you keep to the same supplies, you can keep inventory when packing up to leave. It’s especially easy to forget the nightlight and phone charger. If you need it, print out your lists and check them again when you head for home. Better yet, take a photo of everything you packed.