Any backpacker will tell you to leave the just-in-case stuff at home. They’re right. Don’t carry those fancy shoes and tailored suit for months on the off chance you might get invited to a wedding. The toy, the book, the extra pair of pants, even the extra socks can be left behind.
You can get by. Or you can buy.
I make an exception for three small, but oh-so-handy items.
A sarong or light scarf
With their light, flowing material, sarongs are pretty and oh, so versatile.
- Cover shoulders in a chilly airplane, or on a cool morning in a hot climate.
Pretty up your travel clothes by wearing it as a scarf.
Set it down as an impromptu picnic blanket.
- Use it as a nursing cover on buses, planes, or a park bench.
- It’s a beach wrap, among other things.
- You’re applying for a travel visa to a Muslim country and realize you forgot to wear a skirt. Voila! You are saved when your sarong becomes a long skirt. (A friend was in this exact situation!)
Freezer bags with a seal
I know cloth, reusable bags are environmentally friendly, but a bag with a seal can save you some major awkwardness.
- Package a few diapers, wipes, and a change of little-person clothing.
- Put away half-eaten snacks so your purse isn’t full of crumbs
- A mini first aid kit can travel this way. Band-aids, Polysporin, something for nausea, allergy medication. (This is for the city bus tour, not a real trek. Pack a proper emergency kit for that.)
- Containment is the true magic of the zip locking bag. Perfect for that nasty diaper when you’re on a tour bus.
- In a pinch, you have an impromptu barf bag. Yes, this is experience talking. I know, yugh.
Not all restrooms are stocked – or cleaned – to the standard to which you are accustomed. Don’t let this keep you from seeing the world! Just hold your breath, and travel with your own TP. And hand sanitizer. Bring that, too.
That’s it. A sarong, a couple of freezer bags, and a little TP. On road trips, bus and boat tours, and airplanes, these just-in-case items have saved me in a pinch. And I miss them when they’re gone.
What is in your just-in-case kit?