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January 31, 2018 5:57 AM   Subscribe

What are essentials or little luxuries that are great to bring with you on a vacation?

I am terrific at packing light for on-the-go vacations. For the first time, I'm taking a vacation where I'll be staying in the same apartment for a week. Looking for suggestions on what to bring along to make the vacation extra great. I am flying but could check a bag if needed. I'll be in Arizona and mostly planning to hike and eat.

I'm looking for suggestions like:
- a few of your favorite herbal tea bags
- a hot water bottle, in case it gets too cold
- string lights for instant romantic lighting
posted by neematoad to Travel & Transportation (31 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
If you've got room in the suitcase and if you're not in a hotel that provides it - an extra fluffy, warm, long robe for lounging around in. Divine after a hot luxurious shower after a day of hiking.
posted by HeyAllie at 6:01 AM on January 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

Cooking basics, if you're planning on cooking at all and the apartment doesn't provide them: salt, pepper, oil
Something like the Amazon Fire stick (if you have one) that you could connect to the TV to watch TV/films.
Books, to catch up on all that reading you don't have time for normally.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:02 AM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have a pair of travel slippers that live permanently in the pocket of my suitcase so I never forget them.
posted by aimedwander at 6:03 AM on January 31, 2018 [3 favorites]

Full size toiletries. Bubble bath or bath bombs if that’s your thing.
posted by cabingirl at 6:11 AM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

An aromatherapy diffuser or scented candle.

Fluffy robes are nice but even a thin cotton or silk one is great and easy to pack-- I have one specifically for travel that is stored with my travel kit, which have contents that never leave and is ready to go at a moments notice. Also, thin slippers are a must so I don't have to walk barefoot in the room. I keep travel-sized toiletry products from my favorite brand, which happens to be Aveda: shampoo, conditioner, body butter at the very least.

I also have a travel snack kit read to go with small dark chocolate bars, mini liquors, tea bags, and extra-fine ground coffee in a ziplock bag for making turkish/cowboy coffee, almonds and dried fruit.
posted by waving at 6:22 AM on January 31, 2018

If we know we're going to be someplace with adequate internet, we like to bring an Amazon Echo to stream music.
posted by neilbert at 6:36 AM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

Sheet masks! The ones for hands, feet, and lips (all separate products, obv) can be fun and nice to use too.

Not to bring with, but one of the first things I do when travelling to a place I'll be staying a while is go to the grocery store and get some healthy snacks, and a six-pack of local beer to keep in the fridge.
posted by Fig at 6:41 AM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

From now on I'm bringing my pillow with me to vacation rentals. I'm fussy about pillows.

High quality chocolate is a very nice thing to have around on vacation.

Flip flops!! These are key. Sometimes you want to be able to walk around a little without dealing with putting on shoes and socks.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:52 AM on January 31, 2018

  • A photograph, in a small frame, of loved ones (including pets)
  • A Bluetooth speaker, so you can play tunes from your devices

  • posted by carmicha at 7:00 AM on January 31, 2018

    Earplugs - I never travel without them
    Sleep mask
    Photo of favorite person/animal/place/event
    Ms Matter likes to webstream the NPR station from back home
    A favorite mug
    Make favorite snacks to bring: cheese straws*, cookies

    *I really make cheese coins, or mini-crackers, using a small-mouth beverage bottle as a cookie cutter. I love a handful of these with that first adult bev of the afternoon. That's living.
    posted by conscious matter at 7:04 AM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

    A corkscrew/wine opener. They can be annoyingly hard to find even in hotel rooms in the moment, let alone a quiet beach or a sunny park bench. The waiters style is compact and works well, but it needs to go in checked luggage. Though, I often bring the Laguiole instead, as that helps with the accompanying cheese or sausages as well. To match, a nice pair of travel-safe glasses (silicone, metal, plastic).
    posted by bonehead at 7:05 AM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

    I usually pack my good knives, a good frying pan, salt, pepper, sugar, flour, olive oil, white wine vinegar and Tabasco.
    posted by sagwalla at 7:10 AM on January 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

    A couple of small battery-powered motion sensor lights to set out where they will help you get find your way around in the middle of the night.

    A heating pad, in case the place is chilly.

    A few quart and gallon-size ziploc bags. Handy for storing food during the stay, holding dirty laundry or potentially leaky items for the trip home.

    Trader Joes sells a bottle of whole peppercorns with a built-in grinder for a very reasonable price; I always bring one to use on my vacation trips and leave it in the unit for the next renters to enjoy, too.
    posted by Lunaloon at 7:12 AM on January 31, 2018 [4 favorites]

    My little TENS unit w/fresh pads and 2-3 books I'll never get tired of.
    posted by headnsouth at 7:18 AM on January 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

    I bring a travel white noise machine (I know this will seem insane to some) - it's great, every place sounds the same with the white noise machine.

    I also like to bring a small plastic plate - makes a quick picnic easier and more comfortable.
    posted by mskyle at 7:29 AM on January 31, 2018

    your own eating utensils and mug. A jewelry roll with some accessories. coins for vending machines. extra eyeglasss and or sunglasses. an extra bag to use while hiking.
    posted by WeekendJen at 7:34 AM on January 31, 2018

    If you like to read at night, a portable booklight. You don’t know how far you’ll be from the lamp, and getting out of bed to turn a light off is not compatible with reading myself to sleep.

    I also suggest bringing a 9volt battery in case the smoke detector bites it in the middle of the night. It’s very unlikely, but the annoyance is disproportionate.

    A sponge or dish scrubber for the kitchen. Sometimes places have good ones. Sometimes.

    Coffee/tea mug if you’ll be drinking hot beverages every morning. I’m kinda picky about mugs.

    Seconding slippers.

    Foldable re-useable shopping bag. Any spice blends that you really want to cook with.
    posted by bilabial at 8:17 AM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

    Good coffee and a way to prepare it. I do not care for most of the hotel provided coffee or for percolator coffee in general.
    posted by koahiatamadl at 8:30 AM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

    If I'm doing a lot of walking/sightseeing on vacation, I bring a fancy bath bomb for each night of my trip. Soaking out all city dust and my sore feet and muscles at the end of the day is a true delight.
    posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 8:35 AM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

    nth'ing your preferred cuddly loungewear or robe, and a lightweight folding shopping bag.

    If you plan to do laundry, bring your usual laundry detergent. (Smelling like someone else's clothes is weird and disorienting!)
    posted by esoterrica at 9:19 AM on January 31, 2018

    Our Chromecast and little Bluetooth speaker
    My loose tea, strainer and travel mug
    posted by soren_lorensen at 9:54 AM on January 31, 2018

    Extension lead so you can plug multiple things in. I take a light up mirror on trips in case the lighting isn't good for make up. And nthing slippers!
    posted by ellieBOA at 10:06 AM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

    Things I need/enjoy and don't want to shop for:
    Coffee, filter holder & filters.
    My preferred decaffeinated tea.
    Maybe some oatmeal.
    My favorite lotion.
    If there's wifi, Laptop for watching movies and uploading pictures, etc.
    When I pack light, I bring only the basics for clothing, so an extra outfit is nice.
    I like the idea of string lights; that might be my packing splurge.
    Otherwise, you still have to manage luggage, so packing very light is still my preference, and I'd save the weight to bring home shopping finds.
    posted by theora55 at 10:14 AM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

    When flying, I like to bring disposable slippers for the plane, the place I'm staying, the plane home, and then I throw them out because they've been in a plane bathroom. I bring a little plastic bag to pack them in.
    posted by dame at 10:43 AM on January 31, 2018

    Packable shawl or lap blanket
    Blue Tooth speakers
    Extension Cord
    Warm socks
    posted by IndigoOnTheGo at 11:34 AM on January 31, 2018

    Thanks everyone for all of these answers. Each was helpful and gave me a lot of packing ideas!
    posted by neematoad at 11:34 AM on January 31, 2018

    Your preferred laundry soap, so you can return home with clean clothes.

    I cook and always take my favorite chef's knife. This one item can make or break a vacation, since I'd never purchase such an expensive item for a week-long stay.
    posted by citygirl at 3:27 PM on January 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

    Extra socks, for if the nights are cold, and to put on after lotioning your tired tootsies.
    posted by Enid Lareg at 4:54 PM on January 31, 2018

    A pack of cards!
    posted by likeatoaster at 6:34 PM on January 31, 2018

    Packable day packs are a wonderful thing to travel with if you are going on a hike, even if you already have a backpack you use as on-plane carry on luggage. It's great to not have to unpack your main bag.

    If you are planning romantic lighting, it sounds like you might have a special someone along on this trip? If that's the case, pack a few little nice surprises for them. If you are going to give them a larger gift like a robe, it's better to do that before leaving so they don't pack their own bulky robe.

    If I'm bringing an extra bag, one of my top things to add is an extra pair of comfortable walking shoes. If you've hiked in one pair, it's nice to be able to put on a fresh pair for walking through a museum or going to the airport. For Arizona you might also want some hiking sandals, such as Chacos. Do wear them a few times before the trip, as many hiking sandals have a rather... shall we say, aggressive fit. It can take a few days for them to become something you'll look forward to wearing.

    A good sun hat.
    posted by yohko at 12:35 PM on February 1, 2018

    Nthing a good knife. We have a small one that we bring on vacation with us and it totally beats all the crap knives typical AirBnBs have in their kitchens (oh the terrible, terrible knives).
    posted by urbanlenny at 12:42 PM on February 5, 2018

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