What’s in my suitcase?

I’m frequently asked what items I have in my suitcase for our travels. We try to travel with a small carry-on bag or a small checked roller bag. If you have too many items, then you have to make decisions on what to wear each day. Fewer items mean less weight and less decisions.

We also believe in layering your clothing items for cooler weather locations. The more you layer the warmer you will be and your suitcase won’t have the bulk from too many heavy clothing pieces.

With the invention of performance fabrics, this has made lightweight traveling a breeze. These fabrics take up less space and they can be washed out in a sink overnight and hung up to dry. Just a reminder to be cautious of red clothing items! After traveling around the world with one backpack, I can assure you that this process works beautifully.

So, here are some of my “never leave home without” items.

1. Sawyer Stay Put Suntan Lotion

For those of us with fair skin, this is the holy grail of sun lotions. You put it on in the morning 30 minutes before you go out and you are set for the entire day. Yes, I said it lasts a full day. I used this when we were in Egypt and SE Asia and I NEVER burned. I always have a tube ready to go. It can be purchased on Amazon for around $14.

2. Pareo

About now you are probably saying “What the heck is a pareo, Denise?” Well, this approximately 3’ x 3’ piece of fabric will be the most convertible travel item in your suitcase. It can be used as a cover up for your swim suit, a beach blanket to sit on and I also use mine as a robe. The possibilities are endless. Once again, they are lightweight and wash out very easily in the sink. They come in all shapes and sizes and you can purchase them on Amazon.

3. Lightweight Gloves

Have you ever been in a freezing airplane? Have you ever wondered how many germs are lurking on escalators and handrails? Well, cheap little “one size fits all” gloves from WalMart are a great answer to these problems. At the end of the day they can be washed or they can be pitched. Either way, you win with warm, germ free hands. In the fall, I always buy a couple pkgs of these and they run about $3 for two pair.

4. LUMIX ZS70 Camera

For years we lugged around our big 35mm Nikon camera and lens. Oh yes, the pictures were great but the weight was awful. A friend shared his LUMIX with us and we were shocked that this little camera took very comparable photos and it only weighs 1 lb. The only camera we now carry in our suitcase is a Panasonic LUMIX ZS70. Plus, with its built in WiFi, you can back your pics up to your iPad.

We found that B & H Photo in New York has the best prices around for camera equipment.

5. Hawaiian RipSkirt

This is a new addition to my wardrobe and I absolutely love them. They wash well, repel stains and are very comfortable. I layer mine with leggings for cooler weather and I have several colors that I can wear with a black or a white Hawaiian RipSkirt shirt. Dress them up or use them as a swim suit cover up. RipSkirt Hawaii comes in three lengths for all shapes and sizes.

6. Ginger

Go to Trader Joe’s and pick up a pkg or two of their candied ginger. Ginger is great for upset stomachs, bad breath or a quick energy fix.

7. Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are a lifesaver for me. If your bag is neat and tidy, you can pack more items into that limited space. Plus, if you fold your clothes neatly, then they arrive at your destination with minimal wrinkles. Always carry a spare to keep your dirties away from your clean items. I use a mixture of small, medium and large bags. We buy the Amazon brand cubes. Measure your suitcase before you purchase so you can buy the perfect sizes to fit inside your bag.

8. Handy Wipes

Handy Wipes are one of the most important items to carry. I’m thoroughly convinced that keeping your hands clean helps ward off colds and other illnesses. So, clean your hands and keep them away from your nose and mouth.

9. Iron Flask Sports Water Bottle

I can’t travel without a water bottle that will keep my water cold all day. The Iron Flask bottles will fit in your car cup holder and they are small enough to slip in your purse and not stick out. Plus, they come with three different kinds of lids and in a million colours. I love the straw lid with the built in carabiner. You can pick these up at Amazon. We prefer the 14 and 18 oz bottles.

10. Electronic Items

My little electronics bag just seems to grow all of the time. I always have my iPhone, iPad and my Kindle. Plus, usb cables for each and one usb wall plug. If we are traveling outside the USA, then we will have a converter usb wall plug for the specified countries. Bestten has the best converter plug set and they also have dual usb plugs built in.

11. Carabiners

S-Biner makes a good double clip carabiner. I always have the S-Biner micro on every zipper on my backpack and a couple extra on my bag. I also have two S-Biner size 4 (50 lb weight) attached to my backpack. These larger ones come in handy for so many things like clipping your wet shoes together, creating a clothesline, hanging your backpack up off the wet ground. They always come in handy and they don’t weigh anything. Of course, Amazon is the place to purchase.

12. Columbia Waterproof Windbreaker

Waterproof, lightweight, fingertip length, zip underarm vents and a hood. Just drive to the closest Columbia Outlet Store and make the purchase. I always have a piece of Velcro with me so I can roll up the jacket and keep it bundled in my bag or backpack. Works great.

13. Powder Laundry Detergent

You can easily wash your performance clothing in the sink at night, drain the excess water out (never ring them or you’ll get wrinkles) and then hang them up to dry. They will be nice and dry in the morning. I also pack a dozen small clothes pins (get these in the crafts department) and a 25’ line. With your carabiners, you can create your own drying line.

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