5 things I leave in my suitcase

umbrellaDuring my really busy travel periods (like right now!) managing my packing list is so much easier if I leave a few things in my suitcase or travel purse all the time. While it does mean I have duplicates of some items the convenience is well worth it. Another reason–I have forgotten things too often, and it is worth the peace of mind to know I never have to worry about packing things like chargers.

  1. Electronics. There are a few small electronics, mostly power devices, that I never ever take out of my travel purse. This includes my laptop and phone chargers, portable charger, and flash drive. Also, after an unfortunate incident where I lost my teeny tiny flash drive (that contained my presentation, of course) in the depths of my cavernous purse I decided to put them all together in a pouch.
  2. Hair tools. Back in my college days I could just spritz some water on my hair, shake it, and be good to go. Alas, times have changed, and my hair with it. If I don’t have any of my styling tools my hair basically turns into a frizzed puffball. So professional! After I forgot my brush and curling iron one too many times I started keeping a set in my suitcase. I also always have hair bands and bobby pins in my toiletry bag, just in case. Which leads me to….
  3. Toiletry case. When I first started traveling for work there were a few things-like my razor and deodorant- that I would re-pack for every trip. It only took one trip of forgetting these critical grooming items before I wised  up and bought a set just for traveling. Now my entire toiletry kit lives in my suitcase. No need to put it in the bathroom cabinet between trips! Too much risk of forgetting it.
  4. Umbrella. Yes, I could just look at the forecast and only pack it when it’s needed. But y’all, I am so busy these days I barely have time to shower, much less remember to check the weather. A travel umbrella is small enough that it fits into a small corner of my travel purse, so I am always covered just in case.
  5. Comfort and medicine bag. My comfort bag is another one that I used to only pack when going on longer trips. Honestly, though, I found myself wishing for my eye mask even on shorter trips (like at the random motel that had a bright red flashing light on the ceiling. Who does that??) After several years I just combined my comfort bag (eye mask, Emergency-c, lip balm, tissues) with my medicine bag (ibuprofen, pepto bismol, tums, Claritin). It doesn’t take up that much room but can make such a difference in my trip experience!

Bonus: packing cubes. I used to put these up after every trip but could never find them after a travel break. Now I leave them in my suitcase and just get them out for packing.

Readers, what do you keep packed in your bag all the time?


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  1. Bedroom slippers – they only come out when I need to wash them.
    My inhaler so I don’t have to remember to pack it.
    Everything else you listed.

  2. Sadly, my husband and I share suitcases, so I don’t leave anything in any of them, but I do have travel duplicates of pretty much everything you have mentioned, plus travel slippers like Ms. M. The one exception: packing cubes. I have tried many times to use them, and I always end up pulling everything out of them and shoving them back in the closet. I actually think they take up more room than just efficiently packing clothes directly in the suitcase. The cubes are never the right size for the suitcase space, and so I end up trying to shove things in the “dead” space around them. Nope, they just don’t work for me.

  3. Thanks for the reminder! I’ve not done much travelling in the last couple of months, but I have 3 or 4 trips coming up in the next 2 months, so this is a useful thing to keep in mind. I usually only keep a separate set of travel toiletries pre-packed.

    Because of a difficult situation in my family recently, I was just thinking yesterday I maybe ought to put together a small overnight bag in case I get called away for an emergency trip and I don’t have much time to pack anything. Any advice on what might be useful to pre-pack in this situation? I’m thinking: toiletries, comb and hair bands, a spare phone charger, emergency medications pouch, underwear/socks, a t-shirt/shirt, small notebook and pen, maybe some of my favourite herbal tea bags? Any other ideas on the essentials you might want for a short-notice trip, but might not already be in your handbag? Thanks!

  4. My list is similar to yours. I add in a travel towel for laundry or for staying in others homes. My toiletry kit is in two parts with the liquids in one bag and solids in the main toiletry kit. My toiletry kit also holds my sewing kit etc. These things, combined with what I have in my purse, are the critical items.
    My suggestion to @Zoe : pack the bag with everything but your clothes. Have a capsule in your mind for what you want to pack. You can even take the clothes dirty and wash them at your destination if it is an emergency. If you don’t want to do that then set aside a capsule now. A packing list is critical in these times as you are distracted. If you don’t have a packing list then make one now. I’ve been able to “go” in under an hour using this technique.

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