Helpful packing Tips



Arguably the most important part of any trip is also the most boring, least anticipated, and most often procrastinated aspect. Packing. Everyone hates it, but if you’re not careful you can end up on a week long vacation with two pair of underwear and three socks.


I have a couple useful tips that can help you pack at the drop of a hat for nearly any excursion. These are stolen from my mom, who is an experienced traveler capable of packing for a three-week trip to Europe in a couple hours.


We will start with some ways to permanently pack some things. You will need a part of a drawer or a box in your closet to designate as your travel box. Also a box of (1) quart and (2) gallon zip lock bags (those with the pleated bottom so they are a little bigger and stand up better), (3) few index cards and (4) a permanent marker.


Today lets start with non-prescription meds and other first aid supplies. This will take you through most any minor medical emergency with no need to find a pharmacy in the middle of the night. Who wants or needs to interrupt your vacation for a Tylenol or a band-aide?


We will pack a quart zip lock and you will never have to unpack it again – Pick it up, drop it in your carry on and you are ready to go. Remember to check the suggested list of items for any allergies you might have and substitute accordingly.


Buy or lay on your counter the following- try to buy your pills in blister packages not bottles

  1. Box of different size band-aides
  2. Tylenol
  3. Advil or similar drug of your choice
  4. Throat lozenges
  5. Your favorite cold pills (Claritin plus is what I use)
  6. Imodium or other antidiarreheal
  7. Ranitidine (zantac) or similar
  8. Pepto-Bismol tablets
  9. Benadryl capsules
  10. Small ace bandage
  11. Small cortisone cream
  12. Small Benadryl cream
  13. Gauze squares – 10-15 small
  14. Cohesive wrap- one package
  15. Alcohol pads 5-6
  16. Tooth adhesive- 1 kit (only if you have any dental crowns!)



Take your index card and write down the dose of each med from the box – for example

Advil 2 tablets every 4 hours for pain.

Also write the date of expiration of each med from the package.

Now take one blister pack of each med out of the package (if you can’t find blister packs put a few of each pill in a sandwich bag and label the bag with the name of the pill using your marker or a file folder label and fasten the bag with a twist tie) Remember you just need enough of each med for 2-3 days. If you still need it after that you are probably going to need to find medical care.


Put in your bag at least 2-4 of each size band-aides, a few gauze squares held together with a rubber band, your cohesive wrap and alcohol wipes then your card of med instructions, then a few throat lozenges to fill the corners. Put in your meds. Add the tube of Benadryl/cortisone at the very top so you can easily remove it. When you throw your meds in your carry on- drop those tubes in your liquids container so you don’t get in trouble with security. Date the bag with the month and year you pack it. Replace expired meds once a year (you already listed these on your index card). I usually attach the ace bandage with a big rubber band around my zip lock.


Throw this in your drawer/box of travel items and you never have to pack this again. Also next trip when you turn your ankle you have everything to clean the scrape (gauze pads and alcohol wipes) apply band-aide and use ace bandage. Replace any items used as soon as you get home and you are good to go.


Check in next week for how to manage any prescription meds you have to take.

I have added links for some recommended items.


I would love to hear responses and additional items you use.

Happy travels and remember All Access Travel can arrange any and all of your travel in the most convenient and safe manner available. Just contact me at


The Importance of Being Prepared


Back in March of 2013 I traveled to Australia for three weeks. The trip was amazing. I saw a great deal and had some wonderful experiences. I can’t wait for the opportunity to return. Getting there, however was something of an ordeal, and I learned a valuable lesson as well as discovered a piece of equipment that no traveler should be without…


We left for the airport early in the morning, arriving at the terminal three hours before our scheduled departure. The initial flight from Charlotte to LA was without incident. After an eleven hour layover in LA (our flight was booked using long hoarded miles so we were at the whim of the airline), we boarded the sixteen hour flight to Sydney. The length of this flight alone caused problems with my time sensitive medicine, but this was an issue I had dealt with before. Regardless, it complicated getting onto the plane and the inevitable trip to the bathroom.


The real fun began when we touched down in Sydney, a mere 35 hours since waking up the previous morning 18 time zones away. My mom and I were both exhausted, not even sure what day it was, and not done with our journey yet. We still had a three hour flight to the north shore before we could spend a few days recovering and unwinding. Complicating matters, we were not meeting up with our travel group until we reached Cairns. So we were left to navigate the Sydney airport on our own. The airport provided a pusher as far as baggage claim, but we were left to navigate the bus between the international and domestic terminals ourselves.


This left my poor mother with two large suitcases, a bookbag, her carry-on, and me to negotiate on board a crowded bus. Oh yeah, and it was raining. As she was hoisting the suitcases up the wet and slippery ramp her ankle turned badly and she nearly went down in pain.


This is the point in the story where some kind gentleman normally comes to our rescue and helps my mom with the rest of the luggage, but on this day there was no such savior, just a line of people staring dumbly and looking agitated at the holdup. My mom is normally the self-reliant type who hesitates to ask for help, but on this occasion she had to turn and ask a young man who was just standing and watching her struggle to ask for assistance.


When we got to the domestic terminal the comedy of errors continued. We were told the airline did not have anyone to assist us to the gate, even after I complained personally and showed them my mom’s black and blue, swollen ankle. They also insisted we check my wheelchair and use one of theirs which was much harder to push. We took the long journey to the gate and then after about an hour in the terminal reaching our gate we were told that our flight had been canceled. Finally we were able to locate someone helpful who had to rebook us through Brisbane to go to Cairns.


Eventually we made it to Cairns and, after a good sleep, enjoyed our time there immensely, but we learned some valuable lessons in the process. None of this would have been possible if my mother had not had anti-inflammatory meds in her purse (she had both ibuprofen and prednisone). Most importantly, however, she had an ace bandage in her carry on and was wearing athletic shoes. Without these we would have had to interrupt our trip and would have probably missed Cairns which turned out to be a highlight of the trip.


My next couple of posts are going to give you some tips on what and how to pack for unexpected events.


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