Travel Essentials from a Tried and True Traveler

Going on vacations means fun and relaxation, but it can also bring you out of your comfort zone. I am working out of town this week and since most of the people I work with travel for their profession, I asked around to compile a list of what is most important to bring or have on a trip (aside from your usual toiletries). What are necessities your hotel can supply, and if you are traveling with friends, what are things to ask your friend for? Here’s what we came up with:

Things to bring:

  • Q-tips, the real ones! These come in handy for a variety of reasons, from the obvious—cleaning ears (even though nowhere on the package does it say to use them in your ears)—to the practical: makeup applicators/removers.
  • Razor. Let’s be honest, the one they give out at hotels suck!
  • Makeup wipes. Pick up a small travel size of the Up & Up brand at Target. The small package makes them convenient to take on a trip and ensures they don’t dry up too quickly. Plus, you can use these to do a quick spot removal on clothes.
  • moisturizerMoisturizer. Besides the usual, you can also use it on a Q-Tip to remove makeup from around the eyes. Keep it with you so you can moisturize on the plane. I like Boots Expert Sensitive Hydrating Moisturizer.
  • Cortizone-10 Maximum Strength Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream. Especially in the summer; bug bites can be nasty, plus you can use a little if you get a pimple or any kind of skin rash.
  • Hair pins. You can use them to secure your hair when exercising or for a quick updo in the evening.  I get these at Sally’s Beauty.  They are usually a better quality than the ones you get at drug stores.
  • Hair products that work for your hair in smaller containers. (I love these containers). Sephora has a nice selection of travel-size products, including Bumble & Bumble if you left yours at home.
  • Proper foot and outer wear including a small umbrella. Seriously; check ahead for weather, I am sure there is an app on your phone for this!
  • Bathing suit. Even if you’re going to a cooler climate, it’s nice to be prepared for the hotel pool or jacuzzi.
  • Special treat if you have extra room: Sake yeast mask. Individually packaged wet fiber mask with eye and mouth holes. Brightens and hydrates the skin. Great spa-like treat for a fraction of the price. Order on Amazon.

Things you can ask a hotel for:

  • Band-Aids. Especially if you decided to wear shoes you just bought—not that I would know about this!
  • Sewing kit. If you lose a button or split a seam there’s also a small nail file and a tiny safety pin if you need those. If the hotel doesn’t have a sewing kit, ask for double stick tape and that should do the trick.
  • Toothpaste and mouthwash.
  • Shaving cream (although it may not be the best quality).
  • Blow dryer.
  • Umbrella—but you may have to put up with a crazy color! The hotel I am staying at has fuchsia umbrellas that I LOVE, but if you don’t want to take the chance…go back to my “what to bring” section.

Things you can ask a friend for:

  • Curling iron or flat iron. Girls that use these won’t leave home without them.
  • Perfume. Or stop by a department store and try out a new scent. Nordstrom carries Joe Malone London, an exceptional line of scents, and you may even find a scent you can’t live without.

flowerThings to Buy:

  • Fresh fruit. I always pick up a banana or apple to keep in my room. It’s important to have antioxidants every day and it prevents you from breaking into the mini bar offerings!
  • A flower or flowers for your room. I am in Seattle this week and there are beautiful flowers at Pikes market. It’s amazing how such a little thing can make the place you are staying so much more homey.
  • A votive or travel candle. Whole Foods has a really great selection.


  • Use your map or gps app to help navigate a new city. You can search for whatever you need: drug store, yoga studio, etc. I cannot tell you how helpful this is!
  • Instagram. Take super cool pics and instantly share them with your friends.
  • Starbucks app. Especially in Seattle…this one is indispensable!

Have a great vacation!