Friday, September 28, 2012

How I Pack: Personal Care Products

My "non-liquids" and their container.

This is ALWAYS packed, and usually lives in the bottom of my briefcase.  

  • Prescription drugs are "refreshed" every month when I get my refills; I always make sure to have 2 weeks worth of each prescription packed, so that I can hit the road in a hurry if an emergency arises. 
  • I also always carry about 12 doses of Tylenol, and of Tylenol PM - which is the answer to that jet-lag question of waking up at 2 a.m. and being awake 'til 5.
  • The weird gizmo on my toothbrush has suction cups on the back of it, so that I can hang it from a mirror or tiled wall.
  • Small roll of duct tape - you'll never know you need it 'til the hinges on your suitcase blow out.  Or the hinges of the suitcase of a total stranger - you suddenly become the airport heroine.
  • Nail buffer - no toxic chemicals get packed if I can avoid it.
  • Birthday candles - I've lived through hotel power outages - these wee babies will at least get your teeth brushed, face washed, and into bed without mishap.
  • Super Glue.  You just never know...
  • Adhesive bandages, spot remover wipes, hand-warmers - all are flat, all can be invaluable.


  1. I liked the idea about the duct tape. I was on a tour with a lady who had her suitcase zipper break. Duct tape would have been very helpful.

    One question - if you had to tape a suitcase up, how does it get through security?

  2. I pack with binder clips as well! Great minds.... :-)

  3. Having extra meds with you at all times is a very good idea. You never know when you'll be stranded in a blizzard, or forget to designate a driver and have a dinner party turn into a sleepover, or... well, any number of reasons you may not make it home.

  4. I giggled about the pink birthday candles; why not just a little portable flashlight for urban power failures? Certainly would be more help at a keyhole.

    1. You're entirely right - I have a wee bitty flashlight on my keyring! But the candles are handy in the bathroom - the light is more diffuse, and you can just anchor the candle to the ceramic counter pretty easily. And the wax has been used at least once a squeaking window hinge that was driving me to drink...

  5. Great idea! I have a little tea light/candle in a mini ziplock, too and yes, these things can be very helpful.
    Love the idea of the mini duct tape. I also have 1 or 2 teabags and instant coffee portions with me. When I travel with the Mr - he insists on taking a small water cooker for two cups/1mug of water with us (no joke!) and it has been most helpful over the years. But of course that goes into the suitcase and not into the hand luggage.
    The most important item when I travel is a baby pillow and a couple of extra slip covers for it. On long haul trips I have gotten some real yucky dirty pillows. And then there are the stories where people have gotten head lice... no way. With my own little pillow I feel safe and I know there will be only my "germs" in there ;-)
    Oops, I think I got carried away... ;-)

  6. Bon voyage, Janice!

  7. Janice some great tips I had not thought of...duct tape candles, super glue. Oh I take a small roll and hem tape as well.

    2012 Artist Series
    Art by Karena

  8. Melatonin has (rightly) been discredited as a fountain of eternal youth. However, it remains as the best thing ever found for jet lag. In time-release form, it takes care of the awake at 2am problem. And it's a lot safer..

  9. Great post! i have been working pretty intensely off of the annotated packing list on the website the past two months, so i am officially obsessed with this topic :) The one bag site is full of excellent info and recommends duct tape along with much else in your photo.

    I find Benadryl is a great med to take along. Of course it's great for allergies, bothersome stings or plant rashes. But it also works for sleep, many headaches, and (apparently) as a 'chemical straightjacket' - that would be SOME travel story!!! :)

    re: taking meds with at all times. we live in the sf bay area, and it's quite possible to get 'stuck' away from home a day or three due to earthquake or firestorm. I have nerve damage and so make certain to have enough pain meds with me for a few days of standing, hoofing it, sleeping rough, etc. Many people take meds that would make life pretty miserable if stopped suddenly - steroids come to mind.

    I like my headlamp for illumination. It's a bit bulky, but i can wear it on my head and have both hands free for tasks. It easily wraps around a wrist as well.

    Most of my travels are of the no notice, "honey, let's run down to carmel today for a couple of nites" species. Keeping essentials packed and ready to go, plus having a list to refer to, makes spontaneity possible (?).

    Thank you for all of your helpful, anti-crazy-making ideas!!!! steph

  10. My husband--lover of duct tape--says: wrap some around a pencil for travel. I had no idea we had been traveling with it for all these years! Luckily, we've never needed it--and we haven't seen a traveler in distress.

  11. I always have the following during travel:

    Double-sided tape, since you can pin hems with it and turn any piece of paper into a Post-It, and safety pins, for the obvious. I like the duct tape on a pencil idea.

    An empty small spray bottle - filled with water, it's a poor woman's iron, hair gel rejuvenator and general coolant. Doubles as a (small) water bottle if you're desperate.

    Benadryl, ibuprofen, Pepto-Bismol tablets, and aspirin. Those four will get you through virtually anything.

    Here's a tip if you like to carry eye shadow with you when you travel but your favorite shades are in big palettes - scrape off some of the powder into the sections of a contact lens case. Two of those and you have four eyeshadows with you, and those cases seal pretty tightly. Also good for small amounts of cream makeup or lipstick.

    My splurge this year was the Brookstone travel-sized foam pillow with washable cover. Big enough to sleep on in bed, small enough to use as lumbar support, and soft yet very firm.

    My travel lesson learned this year was that name-brand medications in other countries do not necessarily contain the same ingredients as the same medication does in the US. Extra-strength Midol in the US has caffeine; in Canada, it has a sedative. BIG difference.