If you’ve done a fair amount of traveling, you probably have your standard list of things to take, modifying it as needed depending on your method of travel or destination. Now that there are fees for checking bags, an efficient packing system is a must, too. I admit to going to great lengths to pare down my wardrobe to get everything into a carry-on bag. Sandra Brown, AARP.org’s “travel ambassador” has a list of her own travel essentials. I doubt you’ve thought of some of the must-have items on her list.
- Earplugs – Not an unusual item, especially for air travel, but Brown suggests you leave the expensive sets at home – hers were stolen.
- Eye mask – Personally, I’d be too self-conscious to don an eye mask – it’s a bit too “Hollywood Actress” glamor for me. But if you need total darkness to sleep, it’s a helpful tool. Brown cautions to get one that’s loose enough to avoid tell-tale mask imprints on your face.
- Melatonin – An over-the-counter sleep aid which is a natural hormone we have in our bodies, melatonin is helpful particularly for seniors who have difficulty sleeping, even at home. Be sure to ask your doctor if it’s safe for you to take.
- Comfortable socks – If you’re on a long plane ride or a passenger on a road trip, slip off your shoes and put on some comfy thick socks. Athletic socks with padded soles work well as do “slipper feet” socks.
- Peanut butter – You may have to put your jar of peanut butter into a checked bag, but at least you’ll have it for the hotel room. Brown advises many countries don’t have our ubiquitous peanut butter supply and it’s great for late arrivals when restaurants are closed. It will keep you out of the hotel’s expensive mini-bar, too.
- A gift – We often take a hostess gift when visiting someone, but Brown suggests having several small gifts in case you want to thank someone. She suggests a T-shirt, something from an airport gift shop or regional candy. You’ll want to keep the size and weight in mind.