Organizing Life

Part 12: Organizing Chaos – Travel Kits



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During a road trip to Dolgellau, Wales

Good morning! I hope you are well. Today we will be discussing a different aspect of organizing. There are a lot of people who (like me) love taking tours to explore the world. And then there are those who have to go on trips because of work or family. Irrespective of the reasons, most of us wander a lot in our lives.


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I have been a travel enthusiast all my life. My dad was in the air force, we moved cities every year or so. As a family, we went on a number of holidays and loved exploring new places. What I have learned through traveling would not have been taught to me any other way. I have gained so much through it and I feel it has given me just the confidence I needed. I regret buying a lot of things in life, but I have never felt sorry for booking a holiday as it has always been worth it. Traveling is really the best bonding activity that couple, family or friends can do together. I strongly feel we must save up for a long vacation abroad annually and short weekend vacation quarterly.  The truth is that sooner or later, we won’t be together, its these holidays that remain as vivid recollections, when there’s nothing else to hold on to. 

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Foldable items (travel iron with removable handle, scissors, sunglasses and eye shadow palette)

It is vital for a person to travel light. Most of us don’t have porters who carry our suitcases whenever we travel. Even if we do, we have weight restrictions on coaches and airlines. After years of traveling, I have learned some important lessons in life. Liquids are pretty heavy to carry. Its always best to take liquids in small quantity whenever we travel.  Traveling by air restricts liquid containers more than 75 ml in hand carry. Honestly, it is the best rule we should follow, even when we are not traveling by air. The following containers were bought from Poundland in UK but one can look for small sized bottles elsewhere also. If you can’t find them, small containers of cremes, shampoos and body washes are always available and can be refilled.

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My travel toiletries

List of Items in picture above 

  • Foldable comb & brush
  • Mouthwash in travel bottle
  • Travel perfume
  • Heat protector spray (It is applied to hair before straightening)
  • Rosewater spray
  • Shampoo
  • Sanitizer
  • Nail polish remover pads
  • Face wash
  • Vaseline
  • Body Creme
  • Hair Conditioner
  • Body wash


    I also learned to always keep all toiletry items in a sealable plastic bag. The reason is that no matter how careful you are, liquids do tend to leak. I also use a bit of tape on the lids of bottles to ensure tightness. As far as garments are concerned, we should try to take jeans or tights which go with a number of shirts. Mix and match is an excellent way to save space in the suitcase. Mini straighteners and foldable hair dryers are good buys also. Most of the girls I know only straighten their bangs on a regular basis. Therefore mini straighteners are a good investment as they save space.


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      Mini straighteners come in different funky colors
    Following is another picture of some bare necessities while traveling:

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    Travel essentials

    List of items in the picture above:
    • Cosmetics bag
    • Hair pins (kept in Tic Tac fresh mints container)
    • Travel pack tissues
    • inflatable neck pillow (by Samsonite bought from Tk maxx in London)
    • Make up remover wipes/Johnsons baby wipes
    • Hair conditioner sachet
    • Vaseline
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    Bags and containers very useful for traveling

    Small bags as shown in the above picture are perfect for cosmetics, earrings, necklaces and other accessories. Whenever, I find these in a good deal, I save these for traveling. Smaller sized items should only be placed inside these bags before being put in suitcases. This will make sure you don’t lose important items. When I am traveling, I also try to always keep extra shopping bags with me. They can be used for dirty clothes, garbage etc.
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    Sealable sandwich bag and see-through pencil case used for junk jewelry while traveling

    It is vital to invest in good quality suitcases. The best ones to buy come in a set of different sizes with wheels at the bottom. I dislike the old style, typical rectangular shaped suitcases because they tend to lose their balance and are difficult to handle. Tagging your suitcase and locking it up are two most important aspects of traveling.

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    My preference in suitcases

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    You may want to use the typical suitcase tags available as shown on the right.  Or you can do what our dad has been doing for us which is more creative and customized. He bought orange colored A4 sticker and printed (on MS Excel) our luggage tags on them. These were then stuck on all our suitcases. The tags had name of the person, flight nos, departure address, destination address, and contact phone numbers.



    imagesAY1XY8BGAlthough they are easy to use, I haven’t had very good luck with number locks and in remembering the number that had been set on it, so I prefer to use small sized padlocks on my luggage. My dad used to tie up a unique colored ribbon on all our bags so they could easily be recognized at the conveyer belt. It was funny to see the same colored ribbons on another family’s luggage. May be next time, we can choose a more bizarre color like parrot green so it really stands out and is unique.


    We are very vulnerable while traveling so we have to be proactive and keep an eye open around us at all times. A USB with your important documents is also necessary as we may require our personal important information anytime. Important contact details should be with us while traveling. In case we lose our bank cards, cash, mobile phone or luggage itself, we should know what steps to take. Unfortunately, the most beautiful cities in the world are also the most visited ones, and have the highest crime rates. I spent about a day and a half in Paris and had narrow escape from theft about four times from different people. We have to be vigilant when we are traveling, as we are the most exposed then. Robbers realize that we are in a new environment and therefore we are most exposed.

    Paris, August 2012

    If you also love going on road trips, following are some ideas for your next trip:
    • Portable car kettle
    • Canned food (corn, olives, tuna, red beans, chick peas etc)
    • Endless supply of great music
    • Instant noodles & crisps
    • Extra shopping bags
    • Inflatable neck pillows
    • Juices
    • Sanitizer & wipes
    • Beach towels
    • Paper plates, paper glasses & plastic cutlery
    • Fruit (oranges, apples, bananas etc)

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    Portable car kettle is a good buy to make coffee/tea while you are driving. It is advisable to carry FMCGs like crisps, juices, water bottles in your car boot as tourist areas are very expensive. Beach towels are great for picnics also.  

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    Thanks for being an important part of Organizing Chaos. I can’t wait to share my Europe travel journal with you guys. My hectic routine doesn’t allow me to write regularly, but thanks for the patience. Lots of love.
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