Ten Surprising Things You
Should Never Leave Home Without
by Jessica Kimble, PassPorter Guest Columnist
I know you. You're the prepared one, ready for
everything on this vacation. You planned, you packed, and you've checked and
rechecked all the details. I also know that once you're there, there's always
that one thing that makes you smack yourself on the forehead and exclaim "Why
didn't I pack that?"
I've had those moments on more than one vacation. I didn't
forget my bathing suit, I didn't leave my driver's license at home, but I did
always think of some little thing that would have made the trip just that little
Here's a list of ten things I never thought I'd need until I got
to my destination:
the medications for my son for all his "just in case" scenarios. Who
knew I would be the one to slip on a freshly washed sidewalk at Port Orleans
French Quarter and sprain my ankle? I cringed handing out $15 for 50 name
brand acetaminophen at the gift shop. Mental note to self: Next time, pack
drugs for Mommy.
- One of
the best investments I've made is in a small six compartment screw/nail
organizer I purchased from the hardware section at Target. In each
little slot we pack a different kid-friendly, non-melting, snack. I chose
dried fruits and cereals. It's really handy in the parks, especially when
your little one bellows an "I'm hungry," and you're just about to the front
of the line for Haunted Mansion. You can keep refilling this throughout your
trip, saving you time from standing in food lines and saving you money.
- One word
... Ziploc. Those fabulous little baggies have so many uses when you
travel. First use them to pack any liquids in; shampoo, body wash,
toothpaste, contact lens solutions, perfumes, etc. I once had a shampoo leak
into my luggage. While I was holding my suitcase under the shower head
wondering how many times I would have to rinse this thing, I had my Ziploc
bag moment. I also use Ziplocs to hold a wet wash cloth in my fanny pack. I
use it to wipe sticky hands and faces and it comes in handy when you need a
nice cool down. Store your souvenirs, the golf balls you've collected at the
parks, or the pins you've purchased that day to keep them from rolling or
falling out of your bags. Use a sandwich sized bag for, well, a sandwich.
Take your restaurant leftovers to snack on later. We've also used Ziplocs
for wet pants caused by those "oops" moments when my son was too excited to
get to the bathroom quick enough. And of course you'll need a gallon sized
bag to keep your PassPorter dry on rides like Kali River Rapids at Animal
- I always
pack a small package of laundry soap and a stain stick. The stain
stick is stored in a small snack sized Ziploc and carried with us
everywhere. Treat the stain, then hand wash the item in the sink. I purchase
single-load size powdered laundry soap from my local Laundromat. It saves me
from having to worry about running to the laundry during our trip or
worrying about ruining that favorite shirt. I also like to wash out our
bathing suits after a few swims.
with children knows that accidents happen. Kids get overtired or overexcited
and can accidentally wet the bed or get sick in bed. My son chose Christmas
Eve to throw up in bed. I waited five hours for someone to be available in
housekeeping to bring us clean bedding. To prevent this from happening
again, we've purchased a waterproof mattress pad. The pad folds-up
small and can be easily packed and placed under hotel sheets. We also
request upon check in an extra set of bedding. That way, for the middle of
night accidents, we are already prepared. No waiting up for housekeeping, no
wet mattress, just a quick change of the sheets and we're back to bed!
- I think
most people bring along anti-bacterial foam or gel to clean dirty
hands when you can't get to the bathroom to wash them. It's also a good idea
to use a little after you've been riding rides to eliminate cold germs. I
also bring along antibacterial wipes. Call me obsessive, but I have used
them to wipe down our rented strollers, the port-a-crib the resorts provide,
the TV remote and the clothing bars in our room. The only thing I want to
bring back from vacation is a tan and some awesome souvenirs!
- This may
sound silly, but I will never go to Walt Disney World without bringing along
an empty suitcase. Of course I don't plan to go overboard and buy a
t-shirt from every park, and that cute Tigger plush, and the new mouse ear
wine topper, and the Buzz Lightyear Laser Gun ... but I do. I learned the
last trip that if your suitcase is over the airlines weight limit you have
to pay extra, $50 extra, in order to check your luggage. Avoid paying, pack
an empty suitcase, then you won't be like me, dumping your suitcase out on
the airport floor trying to make things weigh less.
along a list of your current medications and copies of your prescriptions.
If something is lost or misplaced, you won't have to worry about a 24-hour
turn-around time at your doctor's office. Also do a bit of research on what
your insurance will cover locally. It doesn't hurt to know what physicians
or dentists are covered by your insurance policy so you don't have to go to
the trouble of submitting claims later or paying the cash up front.
organizers are great for things other than coupons. I've purchased one
from the local dollar store that I use and reuse for our trips. The plastic
organizer has six different slots with tabs, one I use for traveler's checks
and cash, one for our Disney tickets and room key (including Fast Passes),
one to hold receipts of purchases and meals, one for the papers that show my
items being sent back to the resort, one pocket for important information
(driver's license, what my son was wearing that day, in case he got lost)
and the last pocket for priority seating information. It helps me keep
organized, with all the essentials in the right place, and my receipts handy
so I don't go over budget on our trip.
- Last but
not least bring along your PassPorter book(s). Just because you've
done your research, made your advanced dining reservations, and packed all
you think you'll need, doesn't mean that plans won't change. You'll need it
if you decide that you'd rather eat some sushi tomorrow instead of lasagna,
or to make sure you didn't miss out on a show or attraction you forgot about
last visit. Or maybe you didn't like taking the taxi from the airport and
would like to find another option; it's all there in your PassPorter!
So these are
ten of my forehead smacking moments. The important thing is that I learn from
these mishaps, having snacks on hand, protecting my PassPorter from the sudden
downpours with a Ziploc, and packing the easiest of all suitcases, an empty one,
to tote my treasures home. Saving money, saving time, preventing or at least
being able to handle those minor mishaps, makes it that much easier to relax and
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