Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Expat Diaries: What Makes the Cut?

It's time for Expat Diaries once again! Link up your travel/expat stories below and get to know some of the other lovely bloggers!
I love most aspects of planning for a trip. I love picking the destination, researching where to go and what to see while we're there. I even love budgeting for trips (anyone want to hire me? Dream job, right there). But you know what sucks all the fun out of it? Packing. I always procrastinate and more times than not, I forget something. But there are certain things that I make sure to never forget. No matter what season, what destination (because we know that those two things can drastically alter a packing list) these are some small items that always make it into my bag.

travel essentials

1. Pashmina- these multi-functional scarves always make the cut. These are great on cold airplanes, restaurants and trains to use as an extra layer. They're also great in temples and cathedrals when women need to have their shoulders covered.

2. Medicine bag- the worst thing is being away from home, getting sick and not having medicine handy. I'm especially careful about what I pack when going overseas since it may be more difficult to find medicine or communicate what I need. Here are some things I make sure to stick in there.
.Immodium- traveler's diarrhea is a real thing guys...especially in Thailand.
.Motion Sickness Bands- I don't get motion sick as bad as I used to, but using these really helps! They just work by using pressure points, no popping pills necessary.
.Triple Antibiotic Ointment- with a daredevil husband like mine, I can never be too safe. I sometimes stick butterfly bandages in there as well...just in case. (I know his mom is nodding her head right now)
.Tiger balm- I can't even begin to express how amazing this product is. From burns, bug bites muscle pains and sprains, it's got you covered.

3. SD Card Holder- we always carry multiple SD cards with us when we travel. This is because 1. we're click happy and take way too many photos and 2. if we lose one of the cards, at least we don't lose our photos from the entire trip. We usually use a different card based on the day or location. This also helps in editing when we return home because we know exactly what pictures are on each card. Carrying them in a case like this helps keep them all together and makes for easy access.

4. Eye Mask- the plane has the inside lights left on, the hotel oh so conveniently forgot to mention that there are bright neon lights right outside the window (welcome to Korea), or you're crashing on your grams couch and would really rather not know what she looks like in her pj's. Eye masks are always a good idea.
Ear Buds- I actually never really gave thought to this one...until we were flying back from vacation. I wanted to catch up on some sleep before our full week ahead of us, and what do you know, we get the seats right behind a screaming baby. And I'm not talking about the cute little cooing and squealing. I'm talking about the blood curdling screams that happen right before you're about to fall asleep. Parents, I have so much more respect for you after hearing that. But ear buds are a definite must from here on out.

5. Tripod/Camera Remote- I realy dislike having to ask people to take our photo. I feel like it inconveniences them and half of the time we don't get the shot that we wanted. So instead, we bought a gorilla tripod. It's small and flexible and can be set up in numerous different ways including being able to hang from trees or cliffs (that one really made me nervous when we tried it in Thailand...hanging over the water. But it worked!)

6. Travel Organizer- my husband is known for wearing cargo shorts whenever we travel. Not for the comfort sake but for the fact that he keeps our tickets, passports and any other documents stuffed in every.single.pocket. After one too many times of shuffling through pockets to find what we needed, we bought this travel organizer. Smaller than a book and can hold all of our money, passports, tickets and any other document that we may need. Organization made easy.

7. Travel Clock- we typically don't travel with our cell phones since we would hardly be able to use them anyway. So instead we bring a small travel clock to work as our alarm. We learned the hard way when we traveled to Thailand, booked an early tour, and realized there was not a clock to be found in the entire guesthouse. Actually none of the places we stayed in Thailand had clocks. It's now a must have item in our bag.

8. Entertainment- let's face it, airports and airplanes are not always the most stimulating places to be stuck for hours at a time. Entertainment is huge on my list and a favorite of ours is Skip-bo (ok a favorite of mine and my husband is kind enough to tolerate it).

9. Kindle- ever since I bought my Kindle two years ago, it comes on every trip we take. Vacation is really the only time that I have to sit down and leisurely read so it's great that I can store so many books in such a small space! I also have the water-resistant cover because let's face it, the beach and Kindles just don't mesh well.

10. Flashlight- this may seem like an odd thing to pack but we've used our mini flashlight a ton on trips. Exploring caves, going on walks at night, unexpected power outages. You can never be too prepared and you can find flashlights that fit in the palm of your hand so they don't take up too much room.

What are your travel essentials?