We just returned from a week in Orlando, Florida. One of my favorite things about going on vacation, besides the anticipation, is packing. Every time I pack, I try to do it more efficiently than I did the last time.
Here’s my bag. It’s not quite carry-on size, but it’s not a super-size bag, either. It’s a rolling duffel bag, and I like it because it has compartments at each end and on one side. Just perfect for the small things.
I’m just going to list a few things that I just leave in my bag, ready for the next trip. It just makes sense to me to leave them in the bag so I don’t have to look for them next time. About a week before my departure, I pull out my bag and start throwing things into it as I think about the planned activities. I have a basic list of things to pack, and I leave that in the bag as well. I keep mine in a page protector so it doesn’t get torn up.
This site has some great checklists to help you get started, but be sure to customize it for your needs. What To Pack
1. Nylon backpack. I bought this one for just a couple of bucks at Ikea a few years ago. I’m usually the nerd with the fanny pack, but I decided to try something new. It worked out great. Lightweight and not as hot as having stuff packed around my waist.
2. Pass card holder. This was really helpful at Disney because I didn’t have to dig into the backpack for my pass when I entered the property OR when I was getting Fast Passes. This one was roomy enough that it also held my driver’s license, my hotel room pass, and some cash for those yummy Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream on a stick.
I also used it at the airport. It held my photo ID as well as my boarding pass (if I folded it a couple of times).
3. Waterproof cell phone holder. I knew I’d want to be on some of the rides that involve water, but I had no idea I’d be standing in the rain for over an hour waiting for the monorail. I was very glad to have this to protect my phone. I bought this particular one online.
4. An extra bag. I love this little bag that folds up into itself because I can put anything I’ve purchased in it and not worry about hanging on to several different bags. Of course if I’ve got the backpack mentioned in #1, this might be overkill.
5. Water bottle. You can’t get through airport security with liquids, so I always carry an empty water bottle. This time I took this drink thingy because it weighs virtually nothing and can be attached to my backpack or even a belt loop. As soon as I get through security, I fill it with water from the drinking fountain so I have plenty to drink on the plane (and so I don’t have to pay $3 for bottled water!). I also carried it with me to the Magic Kingdom. I didn’t want to get dehydrated by drinking sodas, so I kept it filled up all day there, too. I have seen these containers at CVS with 2 for $3 in the past, or use something you already have. I don’t like carrying disposable plastic bottles because of the waste, but these are washable and can be reused many times.
The little tin contains small containers of flavored stevia. It’s nice for adding some flavor to the water.
I also carried some xylitol-sweetened gum. The other packet is my delicious Omega 3’s in a single serving pack.
6. Windbreaker and cap. I always pack a windbreaker with a hood. It’s good for a cool evening, or just to take into a restaurant. Not as bulky as a sweater. I don’t generally wear a cap, but I wanted to protect my scalp and my face from the sun. It also worked great because I could shove my hair up into it and not have to do anything else. If you know me, you know how important that is
7. Umbrella and poncho. I didn’t use the umbrella, but I definitely used the poncho. I did see people with umbrellas shading themselves from the sun, though. We had rain almost every day. One afternoon we had barely pulled into the $15 parking lot at Magic Kingdom when it started to pour. We waited it out and went inside, wading through ankle-deep water to get to the gate. We were loving our decision to come later in the day until closing time when it started to storm. We headed toward the exit but thousands of others had the same idea. The monorail had stopped running because of the lightning so there we were, just standing in the rain and waiting for over an hour. Fortunately, the Magic Kingdom IS the happiest place on earth and people didn’t get ugly in the face of adversity!
8. Medical supplies. Natural insect repellant, wipes, bandages, first aid tape, and allergy pills. When you’re doing that much walking, there are bound to be blisters, especially if you don’t wear your most comfortable shoes. You’ll be glad if you’ve packed bandages or tape to cover the sore spots. Wipes are important, too, when you’re following the masses on rides.
When packing for vacation, just think of it like you would your “go to” bag. These items are small and won’t take up much room in your bag. Sure, a lot of these things can be purchased when you get there, but do you really want to spend your time shopping for drugstore items when you could be having fun? I’d rather be prepared!
Watch for my next post on How to Pack!