Twelve Quarts of Happiness

I started traveling when I was very young. Back then, I had the luxury of having my parents pack my luggage for me. If I didn’t have my toothbrush and toothpaste when I arrived at grandmas house, I let the adults responsible for my missing toiletries work it out.

Ah! Those were carefree days.

Now that I’m grown up and have been traveling consistently for the past decade, I have found that it isn’t packing I dislike, it’s packing the little things. Most resorts and hotels are aware of this, because you can call the front desk and ask for a replacement for the toothbrush you left behind.

I noticed a pattern when it was time to pack my carry-on. I would find myself looking through cupboards and cabinets for products that were the staples of my travels. The items I couldn’t find or didn’t have meant a run to the drugstore or to the travel section of the grocery store. I seek efficiency when I travel, and this time-consuming process was inefficient.

During one search session, I had an “ah-ha” moment.

I remembered that I owned a 12-quart container that would fit neatly under my bathroom cabinet, and it could store the items I needed in one place until I was ready to travel. All I had to do was keep the container stocked.

My thrifty side was very helpful in this quest, and when I found an item on sale, I would stock up and add it to the container. Paying special attention to expiration dates kept everything usable and ready for the friendly skies or a weekend getaway.

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Smart travel preparation

This exclusive box has been opened for you, my faithful readers. I consider a few of the items “specialty travel” products. For example, I’m not always going to need hand warmers, but I keep them handy.

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1. Tissues
I recently discovered this packaging and like it because of the secure attachment it provides. These tissues traveled with me on every excursion we went on in Alaska and I never had to worry about losing the package. If I, or someone else, needed a tissue, I didn’t have to dig around in a backpack to find it.

2. Flushable Wipes
The flexible package can be slipped into a pocket or purse for those times when toilet paper is not available. Need I say more?

3. Glitzy Makeup
This is an item that falls into my “specialty travel” category. I only need this type of makeup when my travel wardrobe consists of formal wear. It has its own bag, so I always know where to find it.

4. Hand Warmers
I vacationed in Lake Louise, Alberta this year and came home with extra hand warmers. I needed them again in Alaska, and will use them for future cold climate travel.

5. Small Suitcase Bag
This soft-sided bag doesn’t take up much room in my suitcase, and I use it to store items that are above the 3.4 ounce carry-on limit. Even though I add tape to the cover of any liquid items, this bag is lined and gives me peace of mind that I won’t find sunscreen slathered all over my clothing.

6. Laundry Detergent
I travel with my husband and kids quite often and our vacations usually last a week. We vacation at resorts that have a washer and dryer in the room. Disney Cruise Line also has washers and dryers on board its ships.
“Who wants to do laundry when they’re on vacation?”, you may ask. I do. I wash a couple of loads on one day near the end of our vacation, and it has two benefits:
a. I pack less and have room for the things I may purchase while on vacation and,
b. I don’t have any laundry to do when I get home.

Win, win.

7. Lint Roller
The lint roller accompanies me on trips where I need to bring formal clothing, and is also one of my “specialty travel” items.

8. Travel Sized Items
Toothpaste, mouth rinse, etc. in a quart sized bag. This one is pretty self-explanatory, and item #15 will explain why they are prepped in the plastic bag.

9 & 10. Change of Clothing/Personal Items
When I cruise, it takes time to have my bags delivered to my stateroom.
I’ve experienced international travel with a 7 hour delay because of mechanical issues. Anything can happen, and these bags fit neatly into my carry on with a change of clothes and any personal items I may need.

11. Perfume
A lightly scented perfume is perfect for those times when I travel and have a dinner date with my husband or a special event to attend during a trip.

12. Scented Toilet Spray
This product really makes a difference in the air when nature calls. I started traveling with it a year ago, and it has never been left behind. 😉

13. Medicine Bottles
These were given to me by a pharmacist at my local drugstore. I haven’t used them, but keep them in the storage box because they will come in handy one day.

14. Q-tips
I found this tiny tin of Q-tips at a dollar store. I bought several of them and they always come in handy.

15. Extra Quart Sized Bags
Somehow, the box of quart-sized bags is always empty when I’m ready to travel. The best way for me to have a few bags handy is to keep them stored here.

These are the twelve quarts of happiness that make packing so much easier for me. My container works for adventures of all sizes and in all places.

Do you have a packing strategy that makes travel easier for you, or is there a carry-on item that you always travel with? I have a couple of empty corners left in my 12-quart container and could always squeeze in a little more happiness.

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