The Consummate Traveler: Putting Together Your List of Must-Pack Items

By Michele Goncalves
Michele Goncalves
Michele Goncalves
September 26, 2013 Updated: September 26, 2013

Despite the fact that I travel very frequently around the world for my job, I still find myself occasionally getting caught off guard by forgetting to pack things that I need. One week into my current business trip in Budapest, I have managed to identify a few key items that have turned out to be essential for this trip. I hope my experiences can inspire you to think out of the box and develop your own “must pack” items for your next adventure.

1. Nylon shopping bag: A colleague and I headed out to the supermarket after having dinner in downtown Budapest, and bought several large bottles of water, cookies, and other snacks. After paying at the register, we awkwardly stared at the cashier and each other. She proceeded to ignore the fact that there were no shopping bags being offered to us to pack up our purchases. Then we began to notice that this was a BYOB (bring your own bags) kind of establishment. Who knew? Luckily, I always keep a nylon shopping bag in my purse just in case. Well, this time it was a lifesaver and all our goods fit perfectly!

2. Nylon jacket with lining: Okay, repeat after me, “I will not pack for trips according to the long term weather forecasts online.” No matter what your computer tells you, always be sure to pack long pants, at least one sweater, and some type of easy-to-fold-up-nylon jacket with warm lining. Since the projected temperature was estimated to be warm for the month of September here in Budapest, I didn’t bring any jacket with me. Let’s just say the evenings have been quite chilly and a cold spell has hit us—so regrettably I had to spend half of my Saturday shopping for a suitable jacket.

3. Snacks/Water: It is important to always keep a few snacks and water with you at all times, especially if you are taking sightseeing tours by boat or bus. I know it is a pain to drag around these kinds of items with you but they can really come in handy. My colleague and I took a bus tour last Sunday into the countryside of Hungary, and it turns out a really bad car accident shut down the small road we needed to take for over 1 hour. This accident delayed our arrival to our lunch destination by quite a bit. While I didn’t need to eat, there were others (including elderly passengers) on our tour that were feeling the effects and were not prepared.

As always, I wish you all the happiest of travels!