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Misc stuff I packed vs. what I used

We’re just finishing up 3 weeks in Europe, and I’m tracking what I brought vs what I used of all the misc stuff that seems to take up so much space. We stayed in apartments with washers and planned to cook a little. Ha! Didn’t happen. We did make a few sandwiches, but no real cooked meals.

This is what we used:

Electronics: various charging cables (lightning to usb a; lightning to usb c; USB’s to micro usb); EU adaptors, Swiss adaptors. Some EU adaptors fell out of the sockets in Italy. Set all your electronics out and think about what you need to charge at the same time. Bring an adaptor for each brick you have. We were short a few. Portable power bank. Necessary when using train apps and maps to navigate. I loved this one: amelema Small Portable Charger for iPhone, 5000mAh Mini Power Bank with Built-in Cable/Metal Stand, Cute Battery Pack Compatible with iPhone 14/14 Plus/Pro Max/13/12/11/XS/XR/X/8/7/Airpods (White) https://a.co/d/dL1cp9I

Household misc: ziplock bags of various sizes, clothes line and a few clothes pins (to keep clothes attached to drying racks outside), small scissors, foldable grocery bag, mini binder clips (to keep blackout curtains closed), pillow packed in a vacuum seal bag (along with tiny pump), bandana, wine stopper, eyeglass wipes, sunglasses case (bright color), blackout stickers for LED lights in rooms

Tiny pop up fan. I will never travel without these again: KINBOM 4pcs Folding Round Hand... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BBMD9X6J?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

Toiletries: aside from the normal toothbrush/toothpaste, etc, these are items we were glad to have brought: wash cloth, daily facial cloths, small bar soap from hotels, shampoo & conditioner (some apartments didn’t provide it), lotion, melatonin lotion, micro fiber hair wrap

Emergency kit in the day bag: Tylenol, Pepto, Tums, eye drops, nail file, allergy pills, nail clippers, hard candies, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, sunscreen in contact lense case. We used each of these items.

Other items I packed but we didn’t use/need:
Misc cold meds (thankfully), thermometer, face masks, paring knife with cover.

Next trip I vow to bring fewer “what if” items. We had fun visiting the grocery stores. Between the grocery and the pharmacy, you can find just about anything you might need.

Posted by
444 posts

“Beween the grocery and the pharmacy, you can find just about anything you might need.“
True dat

Posted by
8590 posts

Yes, its sometimes hard to get across that you can actually find things you need over there, and it might even be an interesting experience.

Posted by
15551 posts

Yes, its sometimes hard to get across that you can actually find things you need over there, and it might even be an interesting experience.

Except for Pepto. Only available in the UK.

Posted by
23427 posts

"The just in case" or "what if" can kill you. For years we carried a five pound travel iron -- just in case but never used. Then one year it just disappeared. Over 30 years later, the question still gets raise-- Where did we leave that iron??? I am not telling.

Posted by
458 posts

Yes--in the long hiking/long walking community it is called "packing your fears"--thinking of the worst case scenarios and packing for them, "just in case" this happens or that happens. It can increase your packing substantially. Over the years my backpacks have become significantly lighter as I have tried to pack less "fears"--maybe not totally ultralight, but much fewer items. I have tried to carry that over into packing for vacation trips as well.

Posted by
1854 posts

"Packing your fears" - great assessment. The thing in that category lightweight backpackers have to get over is the knife. There's basically no need for a pocket knife to through hike the Pacific Crest Trail. Nowadays thousands of people do it and you can count the knife carriers on one hand.

But it's so seems like you're going to need a knife in the back country. I mean what if ... (long list of things that never happen)

Traveling to Europe is the same (and by the way, I love the title of this post). So easy to pack for all the what ifs. So easy to forget that you can just buy things if you need them.

Posted by
33125 posts

noting your glasses items you did bring - I'm surprised that you didn't take a teeny tiny mini screwdriver and teeny tiny screws for when the teeny tiny screw(s) come loose on your glasses. I always do.

Posted by
98 posts

Great list - thank you for sharing.

I agree a fan is critical. I have been carrying a foldable fan like this everywhere. Great for metros, cafes, museums, parks.
https://dapperday.com/collections/shop-all/products/tangerine-sharkstooth-fan

I'm thinking of purchasing a portable fan like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-HTF090B-Turbo-Personal-Filter/dp/B00YU0W3CY/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3C21K4PVU198R&keywords=honeywell+turbo+on+the+go+fan&qid=1688672261&sprefix=honeywell+turbo+on%2Caps%2C149&sr=8-1

Last November in Paris the heating in the hotel room was way too warm for me at night and the street noise prevented me from keeping the windows open. I'm a very light sleeper.
I walked for miles trying unsuccessfully to locate a Darty to purchase a fan, any fan to help me sleep, (my attempt to use Google maps was not great). The hotel informed me that they didn't have a fan. My French is poor and it was only four nights so I toughed it out. Sorry for TMI.

Anyone travel with a portable fan?

Posted by
2354 posts

I used this fan, which doubles as a power bank, on our Secret Itineraries tour at the Doge’s Palace: You can probably have it plugged in all night and set up on your nightstand if needed.

Gaiatop Portable Handheld Fan, Foldable Small Fan, Mini Hand Held Fan with USB Rechargeable 2000mAh Battery, Eyelash Fan for Girls, Travel For Women, Outdoor, Black https://a.co/d/cCRWuct

I also bought this one, but ended up not bringing it. It looks thinner than the one you show:
FARADAY Small Table Fans Rechargeable Portable 180°Tilt Folding Desk Fans Battery Operated Personal Fan Ultra Quiet For Home Bedroom Office Desktop, 3 Speeds (Black) https://a.co/d/2JT8cEE

Posted by
98 posts

Thank you!
I had no idea there were so many good options.

Posted by
15551 posts

I also travel with a small usb fan. The model I have is no longer available. If you look on Amazon, there are plenty

Posted by
195 posts

I like your comprehensive list. I haven’t traveled with a fan because I’m usually cold. But I really appreciate having my ear plugs handy and packing the cute clothes line from the RS store.

Posted by
233 posts

I love this list too. I travel solo so my “what if” list can become quite lengthy. I have really worked on this over the years. I know have my packing list down to the bare essentials (ok with some indulgences). I am also looking for a portable fan. I think that is the one thing that I might add.

One of the most annoying additions has been the multitudes of electronic devices to keep my phone charged. Plugs, wires, power banks! This will age me but I remember how I used to use a map or better…just wander. Somehow I made it to my destination, or not. It didn’t matter and I had a great time.

Posted by
202 posts

Thanks for all this, t4f, enjoyable and informative read. My travel packing philosophy is based in 'expect the best, prepare for the worst' and balancing preparedness with the ability to be nimble and adaptable to circumstances. I value being self-sufficiently well-supplied and, savor the serendipity of seeking a necessity of some sort while traveling. Time considerations are important but experiences reign supreme. Meaning, when I might need to schedule searching for something I need that is interrupting my travels, I want to treat the detour as an intended journey of discovery.

Posted by
33125 posts

or a bear charges across St Mark's Square and clamps on to my leg and I have to cut it off.

a Gummi Bear?

Posted by
23427 posts

Interesting what people consider critical "what iffs?" We view a folding knife as critical. Actually we pack what we call, "The picnic kit." It is a about an 18" sq of a tough plastic material that can be rolled into a two inch tube. In the tube is some paper napkins, salt and pepper containers, hand cleaners, folding cork screw, and a folding knife shaped more like a table knife -- wide blade, rounded tip, no point. The blade part - not the end - is very sharp. It easily cuts breads, meats, cheeses, etc. and the wide blade easily spread sauces, etc. Very handy when lunch or dinner is a picnic or a snack.