Five Surprising Things You Can Pack to Make Your Next Trip Easier

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Have you honed your packing skills to perfection? Do you prepare for a week-long jaunt to Europe with stylish neutral separates that fit in a carry-on sized wheely bag? Always bring a copy of your passport, a foreign adapter, and ear plugs for tuning out airplane noise? Are your travel-size toiletries at the ready in a zip-lock bag? You’re a pro!

It’s for all you jet-setters out there that we’ve put together this quick list of five easy-to-pack items you might not have thought to bring with you, but whose presence could make your next trip even smoother.

1. Three simple things create a nifty traveler first-aid kit: a small packet of anti-bacterial hand wipes for cleaning minor cuts (and keeping hands clean of germs), a few Band-Aids in the event of scrapes or blisters, and the game-changer: Second Skin. If you know you’ll be doing a lot of walking or hiking, these moist pads are invaluable in maintaining your activity level when blisters threaten to sideline you. (Editor's note: we have no affiliation to Second Skin brand - we just really love the product!)

2. Tokens from your country. We don’t advocate stuffing your suitcase with heavy or bulky trinkets from home, but a few small tokens can act as nice gestures to people who go out of their way to help you on your travels. Travel Channel Host Samantha Brown always brings along a few “I Love New York” t-shirts in her luggage for people who have a positive impact on her travels. I favour small Canada flag pins to hand out to friends I make along the way.

3. Pack a couple of your favourite granola, fruit or protein bars to stave off those “hangry” moments. Trying out local restaurants and new cuisine is one of the great pleasures of traveling. But how often does it happen that hunger drives you to pick the first place you see, rather than taking the time to find the perfect dining spot? Pack a tiny stash of snack bars, and you’ll be far more likely to dine exactly where and when it suits you.

4. For women, a colourful pashmina is worth its weight in gold (not that they weigh much!) They can serve as colourful accessories to brighten neutral travel outfits, cover-ups when entering places of worship, a soft blanket on a plane, or a warm shawl on a cool evening.

5. Contact lens cases are perfect travel containers for a few doses of non-prescription medication (we recommend prescription pills remain in their original labelled containers.) Gravol, Melatonin, and Tylenol fit perfectly inside a contact lens case, making these travel aids easy to store and access on a plane ride. The cases are also great for storing tiny, easy to lose things like earrings and ear-plugs.

Our final suggestion is only for those of you who travel with more than carry-on bags – and that’s to bring along a Swiss army knife. This fabled tool is perfect for the urban adventurer: the small blade and corkscrew become indispensable the moment you’re sitting in a park in Paris with baguette, cheese and wine bottle in hand.
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