Dear Kathi,

I’ve made my list and checked it twice for my upcoming business trip. I travel 3-4 times a year and always find that I’ve forgotten something important. Do you have running list of “must have” items for travelers?

Mary > Carlsbad


It is a good idea to create a permanent travel kit that is filled and waiting for your upcoming trips. Travel cases that can be opened and hung are worth the investment. They won’t take up counter space and you can see at a glance what you have on hand. Fill your travel kit with these essentials and replenish as needed after each trip.

Buy sample sizes or small travel bottles to refill for shampoo, deodorant, shave crème, crème rinse, lotion, baby oil, powder and so forth. If you prefer using your own soap to the many hotel varieties, pack it as well. I find that a small refillable bottle of my favorite liquid soap and a loofah sponge makes me feel more comfortable when traveling. Include shaving equipment and shave crème, tweezers and small scissors. Folding embroidery scissors work well because they won’t poke holes.

Additionally, remember toothbrush, toothpaste, cotton balls/ swabs and safety pins. A small medical kit should include aspirin, allergy pills, eye drops, bandaids, triple antibiotic and any other medicine you use on a regular basis. Your make-up kit along with eyeglasses or contacts and related supplies will complete your essentials.

Add-ons can include a small notebook and pen for phone numbers, expenses etc. A travel alarm, unless you are extremely optimistic about the wake-up call service, soft earplugs and something to read. Don’t forget your tip change – single dollars and loose change for the vending machines at the end of the hall. If you plan to shop, tuck a marker, string, packing tape and return address labels into your suitcase pocket. These items will come in very handy for shipping or creating quick carry-on bags.

You can download a printable checklist from my website

Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

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San Diego Professional Organizer