The summer after my senior year of high school, my best friend and I traveled around Ireland for six weeks. As a send off, our other best friend made travel kits for us: plastic travel cases filled with toiletries, cosmetics, and first aid products. She even wrote us sweet notes to wish us well. Her generous, thoughtful gift idea has never left me, and now I finally have the chance to pay it forward to my little sister.
My little sister will be traveling Europe for three full months this spring, and I am excited to give her my own version of the mini, organized travel kit. I am so excited for her to go off on an adventure, explore new lands, meet new people, and challenge herself. Traveling is the best way to grow as an individual, acquire wisdom, and live life to the fullest. I encourage every person—young or old, single or married—to travel (backpack) for at least a full month at some point in his/her life. Even if you’re married, have children, or settled in a job, you still can travel for weeks at a time. Do it. And do it often.
Back to the travel kit!
Here’s what I included in the mini travel kit and why:
- Toothbrush & toothpaste: a travel toothbrush and toothpaste is a must! Brush your teeth with ease in train station bathrooms in between extended trips. Colgate’s mini travel toothpaste includes a travel toothbrush. Bonus!
- Shampoo & conditioner: I love Organix shampoo and conditioner, and I was lucky enough to find mini travel Organix in coconut milk—my favorite!
- Body lotion: I swear by Aveeno, and thankfully, Aveeno makes mini travel sized lotions.
- Deodorant: Because sometimes your hostel or campground won’t include a shower. Dove is my favorite.
- Face wash: If you can’t shower, at least wash your face! My sister and I have sensitive skin, but Cetaphil is one of our few approved face washes.
- Disposable razors: Adopting a traveling lifestyle might include some boho vibes, like not shaving, but I threw in some disposable razors just in case!
- Antibacterial hand wipes: When you’re traveling you’re not always near a sink and soap. Hand wipes are a must.
- Travel tissues: These travel tissues packs can be found in many different cute designs and colors, and come in slim packs so that you don’t have to carry around a bulky bunch of loose tissues.
- Advil: Headaches are inevitable when you’re traveling. This mini tube of Advil is useful and storable.
- Bandages: Always important to have on hand.
- Cotton swabs: Even if you don’t use cotton swabs to clean out your ears, they are mighty useful for a variety of reasons (e.g. eye makeup, phone).
- Note card: Your traveling friend or family member will appreciate a caring note from you. Remind her how much you love her, and leave her with some words of wisdom. Life is unpredictable. Take the time to write down words that she can carry near her heart as she travels.
And don’t forget: A clear plastic bag. It makes life easier at airports.
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When I was 19, I packed up everything I owned into two suitcases, booked a one-way ticket to Cork, Ireland, and left my life in Chicago behind….