I have a reoccurring dream the months leading up to a big trip. I wake up and realize that I have to leave for my trip now. I quickly pack as fast as I can and rush to the airport. After arriving I realize that I don’t have anything! No shampoo, no books to read, and worst of all, no underwear.

I do not know a lot about dreams, but I do know that dreams are your subconscious telling you something. And mine is obviously telling me not to forget my underwear.

On a more serious note, packing for a trip can be exhausting, but it is not completely doomed. If you want to avoid arriving in your locale without things you need, you must research your location, make a packing list and start early. If not, you will risk leaving behind what you truly need.

The basics are generally easy to remember: clothes, soap, deodorant. But some other things that you might not think of to bring. Here are some suggestions to add to your packing list.

  • Sunscreen. If you spend anytime outdoors on your trip, you should pack along some sunscreen. Even if it is not a beachy locale, you can still get burnt. You can get sunburned when skiing, so be on the offensive against the sun. And a sunburn is the easiest way to ruin your trip. In most cases you could purchase sunscreen on your trip, but you will have the greatest selection and price if you purchase at home.
  • Grocery bags. Grocery bags are my traveling secret weapon. These plastic bags can easily separate clean and dirty clothes, keep bottoms of shoes from touching other items, and surrounding liquid bottles in case of a spill. A grocery bag is the perfect way to transport a wet swimsuit or swim shoes. Also consider bringing a reusable grocery bag to use if you go grocery shopping. Some grocery stores in Europe will not give you a plastic bag so you must bring your own.
  • Podcasts. This seems like a funny thing to bring, but the right podcasts can be the best addition to a trip. I recently discovered a podcast called “Stuff You Missed in History Class.” This gem gives a quick and thorough update on history lessons from what really happened in Pompeii to the truth behind Versailles. Knowing the background information on what you are traveling to see will not only make it mean more while you are there, but it will help you remember the trip.
  • Snacks. Bringing food from home might seem dumb if you are trying to immerse yourself into a different country, but it could save you a bundle. Eating the food of a specific region is a great way to learn about the culture, but eating out meal after meal can be very costly. Consider bringing a few snacks from home like crackers or Cliff bars to offset the frequency of your meals. Bringing from home will give you more selection in price and product.
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