6 Practical Travel Tips

My hope when going on vacation is to have a relaxing and stress free trip. But as the saying goes, “Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be”. Wise words, since we can never predict what is around the corner. Coping with each situation that arises is best done in a calm manner.

Here are my six practical holiday tips to make things a little easier for me so that I can deal with anything unexpected and enjoy my holiday more.

  1. Pack an empty water bottle that does not LEAK

It takes forever to get a drink on an airplane when travelling in economy. I fill it up after clearing customs and every time before leaving my room. Being hydrated makes everything easier to handle.

  1. Large scarf

The thickness of the scarf will ultimately be determined by the holiday destination. I am one of those travelers who are always cold in the plane. When travelling economy, there usually are no blankets in sight. In addition to its original purpose, a scarf can also be used as a wrap or a picnic blanket in a pinch.

  1. Food container/ sandwich bags

I always need a snack even when I am out for a short while. There is something decadent about having a snack that I like in close proximity. Containers or sandwich bags allow easy transportation of these snacks. If I pick up something from a grocery store while on vacation, I do not have to lug the whole package of whatever was purchased. Fruit can also be cut up and taken along easily in a container.

  1. First aid kit

In addition to a couple of plasters and the usual pain medications, I include in my first aid kit things that I personally may need based on my unique requirements. My throat can get sore when I indulge on too many goodies, so for me it makes sense to have a couple of lozenges, and for some reason, mosquitoes like me, so some cream to help me stop itching makes the kit. Pack what makes sense to you. You don’t need to take a ton of stuff just stuff that can tide you over until you can get to a drug store.

  1. Portable phone charger

I use my phone for many things including taking pictures on vacation and for navigation. When I am out for the day, my phone battery usually does not last. My small portable phone charger allows me to keep snapping away until I get back to my accommodations.

  1. Eye mask and ear plugs

I have been in rooms that are close to main roads, and instead of using my phone to play me heaving rain sounds, I find having ear plugs really help. I usually find that I notice how noisy the room is only when I am going to sleep. So having the ear plugs with me means I can get that good night of sleep. In addition the earplugs and eye mask are very handy to have when flying in a plane as well when I am trying to sleep. A restful night sleep, makes every holiday more enjoyable and equips me to deal with anything that may arise.


Emergency kits for the car

I have put together an emergency kit for the car, and fortunately, we have not had any real emergencies. However, I have found that, having the kit in the car has been really useful in other situations as well. We have used the water  from the kit, when the kids were thirsty and snacks when they were hungry. I have also used the cash from the kit, when I accidentally found a whole bunch of garage sales. I hardly ever have any cash on me, so the money in the kit was a “lifesaver”. The important thing to remember is to replace all items that have been used.

This is what I have in my car for a family of four:

  • whistles x2
  • flashlights
  • paper towel
  • toilet paper
  • work gloves x2
  • water bottels x5
  • snacks
  • garbage bags x4
  • latex gloves x 4 pairs
  • emergency blanket x 4
  • emergency vest x 1
  • rain poncho x 4
  • face towel
  • hand sanitizer
  • heat pack
  • cold pack
  • wet wipes
  • tea light candles x 4
  • pen and paper
  • lighter
  • some cash
  • safety pins
  • sewing kit
  • plastic bags x 4
  • the fabric from a broken umbrella (it is waterproof)*
  • first aid kit
  • extra clothing for the kids (also has come in handy, when we are out and about)
  • emergency contact numbers
  • scissors and army knife
  • duct tape
  • toiletries

It is also good to have the items below in your trunk:

  • windshield washer fluid
  • small shovel, scrapper, snowbrush
  • tow rope
  • jumper cables
  • fire extinguisher

* I thought  the umbrella fabric might come in handy, incase we need to sit on a wet surface or need a place to put supplies on to keep them dry. It is light weight and does not take up much space.

Emergency Car Kit

 A really great site for information is getprepared.ca

Grab and Go bag

A grab and go bag has to be placed in an accessible location and should be easy enough to carry.  The purpose of a grab and go bag is to have all your essential items in one place, so that these items can be snatched immediately when you need to leave your home.

We have a primary bags (that will be carried by my husband and myself), in addition to bags for each member of the family. Our kids bags are smaller, but still holds many essential items.

We used backpacks that we had in our house and assembled kits for each person. You do not have to spend a lot of money on the bags, just get one that is not going to fall apart in an emergency.


Different sized bags for the different sized family members


These are the items in our bags:

  • crank radio*
  • whistle
  • dust mask
  • paper and pen
  • emergency blanket
  • face towel
  • toilet paper
  • hand sanitizer
  • candles and lighter
  • ice pack*
  • heat pack*
  • torchlight and extra batteries
  • first aid kit* (with medication for fever, allergies and other common ailments etc)
  • duct tape*
  • work gloves and latex gloves
  • candy, snacks
  • water
  • gloves
  • money (include change for making calls)
  • garbage bag
  • emergency contact numbers (family, doctor, dentist etc)
  • copy of important documents (bank cards, driver’s licence, medical card, insurance policy numbers)
  • extra pair of glasses
  • change of clothes
  • toiletries
  • Card game

In the kids bags, we also included something to keep them occupied (a game, book)

Our primary bag

Our primary bag

If you have family members with special needs or pets, make sure that you have necessary supplies for them as well.

A lot of these items can probably found in your home. A good place to get the other items are from a dollar store. Set aside one day per year to go through the bags and replace things that expire and to remind family members about your emergency plan.

* In primary bags

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency preparedness has been on my radar for a while, but only recently did I make it a priority to complete the kits that I have and to make my family READY.

Here are some things to think about:

Where do I need an emergency kit? I would suggest:

  • A grab and go bag for each member of your household. (Weight of bag should be suitable for the person who is carrying it)
  • An emergency kit for your house. (To avoid needing to prepare duplicates, I store my grab and go bags with the emergency kit. I now keep my first aid kit in the primary grab bag. We can get to it easily when we need something from the first aid and it is always stored in the grab bag, incase we need to leave in a hurry)
  • A grab and go bag for the car.
  • A grab and go bag for the office.

Another important part of  being prepared is:

  • Having an emergency plan
  • Having all important documentation stored in a safe place
  • A will

See following posts for information on grab and go bags.