Is there something fun or indulgent that you won't leave home without? Whether you think it will be available at your destination or not? Some people bring travel packets of instant coffee, coffee creamer, sweetener packets. For me, it's usually something with dark chocolate. How about you?
Nope, I bring nothing like that with me when I travel, though I guess I use a very specific deodorant due to rashes, so maybe that counts.
However, among the many expenses you have while traveling, I will allow many indulgences for food. I don't do Michelin star places, but will seek out recognized establishments, street food, and just local great food. Food is just one thing that I am willing to blow my budget on.
Nothing for me either. I look forward to purchasing items I could bring from home, but love the toothpaste I purchased in Italy. Any sweets are better in Europe, at least in my opinion. It's part of the experience.
I think part of travel to enjoy the indulgences you can't get at home.
And agree with Paul. We'll totally blow any budget we have on food and wine! That's part of the reason we travel.
Doesn't have to be food. I've heard of some people bringing a tiny scented candle or even dryer sheets for their suitcase/backpack.
@Paul: Totally agree with indulging/splurging on food during travel--that's the best part!
For the record, I didn't bring my own chocolate when I went to Belgium last year ;-)
I bring my Lipton tea bags. Don’t like flavored, green, earl grey, etc. tea. Just Lipton. Also I don’t drink coffee so I need my caffeine.
Not all that indulgent, but I always have a ziploc bag of various flavors of Crystal Light with me when I travel. I can always get a bottle of water, and with those, I can have tea or lemonade or orange or whatever.
Killer Coffee. When I’m traveling in the States, I take my Nespresso Road Kit, packed in a Pelican hard shell camera case. If I can’t or won’t check the Road Kit, I take a handful of superb instants, Mount Hagen, Starbies, Waka.
Here’s another vote for Crystal Light flavor packets! I usually have a water bottle with me and it’s nice to mix things up a bit with have a few different flavors to add. I pretty much love any and all coffee and teas but have a hard time drinking plain water so the packets help.
portable speaker blue tooth so I can listen to jazz or salsa without head phones outside on the beach or in the hotel;
sometimes we dance on the beach and in the hotel room
Gotta bring Bob’s mints. They are red & white peppermints, but are porous and fast dissolving. They come individually wrapped. Perfect after coffee or aromatic lunches :D
I indulge in electronics. I take a smartphone, an iPad, and a small laptop (a Surface for those interested). This may seem like a lot, but I upload my pictures (oh, yes, point -and-shoot camera too) daily, and I blog, so I want the laptop. All of my trip plans (in Excel) and confirmations are there, too. iPad for entertainment, phone for convenience. But I do manage to pack in a 21-inch roll-aboard and a daypack so I am still a light packer!
My tablet loaded with downloaded movies or TV shows for relaxing at night before bed or long train rides. And my noise cancelling headphones so I don't annoy the snot out of DH if he's trying to sleep. And my sour lemon drops. They're the only hard candy I like, and I can't count on finding them everywhere.
Slippers. I love having my comfy slippers to wear in the hotel.
Almost all of the above, and a few not not mentioned . . . except edibles, food and drink are great in Europe. If I'm going to be away for 2-1/2 to 3 1/2 weeks, living out of a suitcase, I want some of the comforts of home. I'd rather check a bag than live a spartan life.
After 5 decades of carry-on, we now for our next trip have to check at least one bag due to medical devices, medications, folding cane, etc. It was upsetting me to look at the "giant" new 25" suitcase, but then visions of "fun/luxury/indulgent" items started dancing in my head. I could pack a big tea mug! I could pack FOUR pairs of pants and do less washing! I could pack a real book! Maybe two! I could pack a small, squishy pillow! A thirty day supply of my homemade muesli for breakfasts! A travel umbrella! Etc.
I have no idea what will win out and be packed. Maybe none of them. But I'm having fun thinking about it. There's got to be something on the plus side of checking a bag!
Immersion heater and cup--allows me to have a cup of tea or coffee as I wake up.
Fan--small, palm size, USB fan--to help me sleep in those warm, non air-conditioned hotel rooms.
Noise canceling earbuds--makes air, train travel less stressful.
Kindle--I'm a voracious reader.
I bring my Kindle, loaded up with a lot of extra books. At home, I usually try and wait until an ebook is available to download from the library. (Sometimes that can be awhile!) When I travel, my treat is to buy a few books that I have been really wanting to read and have them downloaded before I leave. It gives me something to look forward to on the plane.
It frustrates me hearing everyone say, "Oh, I just take a carry on!" We need a "RS-sized carry on" for our medical supplies -- prescriptions, diabetic equipment, hearing aids, spare glasses, Rx sunglasses (macular degeneration makes seeing outside tough sometimes), two canes, special shoes...." It's a total drag, but at least we can still travel... Yes, I do indulge in my carry on--an iPad and a camera along with my phone, and my Tom's shoes I wear as slippers (hotel floors are yucky!) I love taking photos, and I feel I get better results with my camera than I do with my phone. But that's it. I'm happy to eat and drink whatever's put in front of me.
My down filled pillow which only has about 20 feathers left so it squishes up to the size of a tennis ball.
Fun post! I bring a small baggie of Goldfish (crackers!) to eat on the plane and, like Claudia, my small down travel pillow. Jill, one of my travel 'missions' is to try dark chocolate everywhere I am. Need to do comparisons, right?
Sugar-free Jolly Ranchers!
Oh, i have to add, indivually wrapped prunes. I throw a few in my day bag. If we are feeling really hungry and can’t get to food, two of them will hold you another hour. On Quite a few trips, others in our group say no, then get desperate and eat one or two. Next day, they are asking for them, especially the ones who skip breakfast. I carry a few in my bag even when i am at hime. Better then buying a candy bar.
I agree with you Frank II.......noise canceling headphones for the plane, my Kindle loaded up with good books and ALWAYS a small WalMart fan.......that fan has gotten us through some really miserable rooms with no AC......and makes enough white noise to mask any distractions while we try to sleep.
@Andi. I'm a sucker for any salty and cheesy snack, and I love your chocolate idea. One thing I'm looking forward to in Germany is the candy. I lived there as a kid in the 70s and miss the fun stuff we used to sell that we would get at the shops. I'm not even a big sweets person, but it's all about the nostalgia.
For week long + stays it usually means a villa, cottage etc and self catering. I've learned over the years what to expect and what not to expect with such stays. What is guaranteed is blunt knives. Knives so blunt they just squash whatever you're trying to cut so I now take a set of Wursthoff knives with me along with a travel pack containing a number of useful cooking utensils. I also have a travel pouch containing test tube style containers full of various spices and herbs and another one containing small amounts of vinegars, oils, sauces, cornflour, salt etc. It saves buying full sized packages of which only a small amount will be required.
Of course, this is all checked, I have no reason to restrict myself to carry on only.
@Laurel, I also indulge in electronics. Smartphone, iPad mini (aka my Kindle reader among other functions), camera gear, and usually my trusty little old (now discontinued) 11" MacBook Air. Sometimes also my Bose noise cancelling headphones. Nothing is huge and it all fits, manageably, even for carry-on only trips. ("Camera gear" doesn't mean huge DSLRs - usually there's a tiny Sony RX100iii point and shoot, and a Sony mirrorless camera + a versatile lens, maybe two lenses.) When I come home and review the trip, the only things I took that I didn't use at all, or used rarely: once it was a camera that was too new for easy use, and a couple of times an extra lens.
Over on the "what clothes do you pack?" topic, I just now replied - whatever clothing fits into the bag after my electronics are packed. There are hotel laundry services and launderettes where I'm headed, anyway.
I just packed last night, so I’ll scan through my packing list.
I pack one of these collapsible cups and bring a couple of instant Vias. I use the cup, so I’m not using the hotel plastic or glass cups, and I also can make a cup of somewhat hot coffee if I need a caffeine pick up before breakfast time.
Also, I bring a small pair of binoculars which are great for mosaics, stained glass, etc. They were my mom’s. It makes me happy that something of hers could go to Europe since she was the inspiration for my first trip, and she never was able to see it herself.
Our 'emergency yums' bag includes enough PG Tips for my husband to make it through the trip, a bunch of Clif bars, a jar of almond butter and some sturdy reusable plastic cutlery. Grab a loaf of bread from a nearby store and we can handle a situation where nearby restaurants either aren't there or don't suit our dietary needs and requirements.
Mine is nonfood related. I bring a small (a little bit bigger than a quarter) plastic jar of peppermint-scented foot cream. Completely non-necessary but after a long day of walking, I love rubbing this on my feet and calves before bed! Helps to ease any soreness that first couple of days and smells really nice! As to my electronics (Kindle, iPad, noise-canceling headphones), I think of those as necessities - LOL!!
Car service to and from the airport. We treat ourselves to door-to-door transportation. This is especially appreciated when we return home. Packed items would be my iPad mini and good headphones.
@Nancy thanks for the tip about the peppermint foot cream, I am looking for some on Amazon right now to find a good travel size version.
@Sandy good call on the transportation. I will never use Uber at Heathrow ever again, though I had no issues with the Uber in other cities in Europe last year. They make the drivers go into a certain spot in the parking structure and some of them don't want to do it. I had five or six rides cancel just because they did not want to go through the hassle. It was freezing cold and I was exhausted from a long day. I will pay extra for a black cab this time!
I will pay extra for a black cab this time!
No need for an expensive black cab, a pre-booked minicab will be cheaper and will meet you on arrival. It's not as if your flight is a spur of the moment thing so there's no reason not to pre-book. They'll monitor your flight so if it's delayed they'll know about it.
Silk eye mask. Perfect on the plane and great in hotels.
Jill, we always use one of two drivers. One has a limo parking pass and can park and meet us in baggage claim. The other is an Uber driver that we hire independently. She has to wait in passenger pickup lane like anyone else. They track our return flight so as not to waste time. It is money well spent.
@JC Thank you for the Minicab tip! Just booked--will be nice to have someone meet me!
Not really a luxury item, but I always bring the nice hair products that I use at home. It’s likely that I’m going out every single night, so I want to look good.
Many of the items already listed like Kindle, noise canceling headphones for long flights, etc. Snacks are usually Kind bars and beef jerky. My favorite instant coffee is Traded Joe's instant packets that have sugar and creamer added. No substitute for a really good latte or cappuccino but it'll do to get me going. NYT crossword puzzle book or printouts. Yes I know I can do it on my tablet but it just isn't the same.
Best quality and best sound deadening earplugs. Don't need them always, but when I do I am glad I have them.
It's not quite taking it with me in the literal sense, but I gotta admit I'll almost always venture in to a Starbucks at least once when traveling.
My bathrobe, my slippers and sometimes my pillow. A set of silverware and a few take n’ toss containers.
A tube of electrolyte powder tablets (NUUM brand) that I dissolve in my water bottle. Make up and small travel eye shadow palette. The RS phrase books as well as a Kindle.
I don’t need any luxury items and can live without for a trip.
Great post! I've got a few questions re: instant coffee and collapsible cups. Do the silicone cups really hold up with hot coffee? Could you use an immersion coil in one? And does anyone have a cup with a true 8 oz or greater capacity, that they brew instant coffee in with a coil?
Plus I second luxurious foot cream! The product I swear by (but it is difficult to buy in the US, even online) is Le Couvent des Minimes Hikers Foot Balm. About $29 for 30 oz, but it is the best foot cream I've ever used (and I've tried many, many). During my trips I've been known to hop across the border from Germany to France just to buy it in Marionaud shops!
Still laughing from the down pillow tennis ball post :)
Packy, I definitely would not place an immersion heater into the silicone collapsible cup. And, I drink mine carefully holding the metal rim, so I won't get burned. Previously, I would buy a cheap coffee mug at a local European store to use during the three weeks. You might want to just do that, too.
Buying one there!?! You are a Jean-ius!
L'Occitane Verbena Towelettes - luckily, most European cities/towns have a L'Occitane store so I can replenish along the way. I usually check the locations out online as part of my travel prep, and not just for the towelettes, but nice to get travel size refills of hand lotion, etc. if needed.
Debbie, are those for facial cleansing/ make-up remover, or for body/ underarm refreshing?
I use them for everything, wiping my hands, cleaning my face. It is a small pack of wipes that I like the fragrance of. Admittedly, I could buy some generic wipes in a travel size for 99 cents at Rite-aid, but I like these for travel.
I don't bring any food or indulgent toiletries.
I do bring way too many electronics, most especially a small laptop for processing and cataloging my images each night. (Once when I went to New Orleans, the electronics weighed more than my main suitcase. Eek! I am not quite that bad on European trips, but you get the idea.)
Also, I have a big cashmere shawl that I can't leave home without -- even when traveling to warmer destinations. It's my blanket on the plane, and it keeps me cozy when the AC on the bus is too much.
Indulgent luxury - that would be my Bose noise-cancelling headphones! And my custom made ear plugs.
Need my sleep, otherwise I'm a grumpy traveler, lol.
Hand fan and cooling scarf -- I am highly sensitive to heat.
For those of you who like peppermint foot cream, Body Shop sells it in 100 ml containers. I use the hemp foot cream (same size) and the last few I bought was in a lightweight container. It's a convenient size, 1.5" high and 2.5" diameter. A new one weighs 120 gr. Body Shop is everywhere in Europe
Immersion heaters and collapsible silicone cups work fine together. I used that combination for months. However, I switched to a hard plastic cup because the silicone took on the smell and taste of coffee so I couldn't use it for anything else.
Always remember that the immersion heater must be in water when plugged in. If you take it out of the water while it is plugged in it will short itself out and will no longer work.
There are now collapsible kettles made of silicone.
Bamboo reusable cutlery rolled up with two bandannas and a fold up blanket given to me by my daughter that folds up into a 3' x 2" attached bag for picnics anywhere. A lightweight Turkish towel that folds up very small and can be used as a pillow, blanket or towel. Bose bluetooth portable speaker and bluetooth headphones for my DH. My IPad for email, books, trip tickets and confirmations etc. and my camera with an extra lens.
I bring packets of Starbucks Via that someone else mentioned. While they definitely don't replace a really good cup of coffee, it will do the trick while I wake up and get ready to go down to breakfast. I can usually make the tap water hot enough w/o bothering with the immersion heater. I try and borrow a cup from the hotel dining room, or buy a souvenir coffee cup for this same purpose. Tactfully hidden so the maid doesn't return it to the kitchen when cleaning the room.
I also bring a portable speaker, which plays music from my I-tunes library and does double duty as a white noise machine with many different sounds. It was a joy to have this last trip. I find it difficult to sleep with dead silence and of course it masks outdoor and indoor sounds as well.
My pillow and my own tea bags
My Japanese sunscreen. And that's not negotiable.
I have read that European sunscreens are better than the ones sold in Asia, but I finally found a formula that works for me, so I take it with me on trips. I wouldn't like to buy a sunscreen I've never used before in Europe and get a reaction. And it's not even an expensive sunscreen (the one I use) but I won't leave my house with it, it's always on my face and on my liquids bag. Everything else is replaceable.
I realize this might set off several alarms but one indulgence I enjoy is making a donation for votive candles in the basilica/church/cathedral/whatever and instead of lighting the candles there, taking them back to the hotel room and lighting them in the evening on the table or the balcony/terrace.
Just have to remember to extinguish them if housekeeping is going to be coming...
My (small) hair towel. Great for hotels that don't provide enough towels.
Smaller version of my home sleeping pillow, electrolyte sachets and Starbucks iced coffee sachets. Morning caffeine fix when kettle not available and too impatient for an immersion heater.
Good old Red Rose or Tetley, English breakfast type tea.
Enough for a cuppa every night.
I always have my Bose noise-cancelling earphones and an MP3 player fully loaded with music alternating between relaxation-inducing and attention-demanding (i.e. the complete Peter, Paul & Mary discography, "Tales from Topographic Oceans" by Yes, Staple Singers gospel from the '50's, a complete Everly Brothers collection, Bruckner & Brahms Symphonies....). This is essential for masking my life partner's snoring and for entertaining myself during frequent insomnia.
I can't do without my Sonicare either but we bring a very lightweight model and 2 brush heads to share it.
Great thread. Hubby and I always travel with a fan for air circulation, but mostly for the noise. Folds up and fits in our suitcase. Our friends we sometimes travel with think we're crazy, but we never go without it.
Go Sue.......we love our travel fan too!!!
I bring my Kindle Paperwhite with me, better than I did before which is to bring a couple of books which are often not very thin. I also download travel guides in there, better than my phone for me at least because the Kindle's battery lasts way longer. Not entirely sure it falls under the category, but I also began bringing my Dot this year with me, even on weekend/short trips. I have the 2nd gen, which is slightly smaller than the 3rd (difference explained here: https://www.meccanohome.com/amazon-echo-dot-gen-2-vs-gen-3/). Compact all the same so it doesn't take that much space, and can be used as long as I have Wi-Fi connection. Very convenient for weather reports, travel suggestions, and even as simple as playing music.
Sing -- SING! -- the praises of the glorious Nexus 9 tablet with a foldable Blue-Tooth keyboard!
It's my writing desk, my library, my photo lab, my map box, my trip planner, my music collection, my password minder, my entertainment center, my email reader and communications center -- all in a package smaller than a trade paperback book and as thick as a cellphone. We live in truly amazing times my friends! Ten hours to Europe, and every one of those hours packed with fun and productivity and . . . are we there yet?
-- Mike Beebe
CWSocial, may I ask which hair towel you use? I travel with one too that got at Wal-Mart years ago and needs to be replaced.
Another Luxury item is my cat necklace. My husband gave it to me for my birthday years ago and it has 2 cats, which to me they represent my kitty cats that are back at home waiting for me. To me that's the only downside of traveling, leaving those 2 buggers behind.
L'Occitane Verbena Towelettes - luckily, most European cities/towns have a L'Occitane store so I can replenish along the way.
@Debbie - I love these too. I haven’t been able to find any this summer, but it’s true I only looked a couple of times. I hope they haven’t stopped carrying them!!
My luxury item that I can’t go without are my Fortnum & Mason and Mariages Frères teas, either in small tins or already spooned out into individual tea bags (or into small ziplocs with tea bags in another ziploc) and cane sugar. I am with my tea like some are with their coffee — I need one in my room before I can go anywhere and face anyone!!!
I take my immersion coil heater and a handle-less ceramic mug on some trips depending on what I know about the in-room kettle situation at my lodging. And have been known to buy a new mug on a trip when I could no longer stand the small size of the ones offered by the hotel!!
I forgot yes I bring my sonicare but I don't consider that a fun/luxury/indulgent item. I've tried the smaller version but wasn't in love with it. I put my sonicare case in my carry on backpack
For me it's a small pair of tweezers and a tiny pair of sewing scissors. Before 9/11 a swiss army knife was always part of the pack list. I packed one that included tweezers, scissors, cork screw, bottle opener and file. The blade came in handy for slicing meat, bread, cheese for a picnic but was secondary to it's usefulness in a variety of situations.
Now we can't pack a knife so I've added the tweezers and scissors to my bag. They're the ones I use the most and the hardest to substitute for.
I want to escape the everyday when I travel, I don’t want familiar things from home. I like to buy snack and hand lotion at my location so I can try new things, plus I love going to supermarkets in different countries. If I watch TV at night, I like to watch the local stuff, but I’d rather be outside strolling around. I like to visit bookshops, so I don’t bring my own book even though I’m a huge reader. Having said that, I probably will invest in good noise cancelling earbuds soon.
for those who bring immersion heaters, I never thought of that but I have one. I'm guessing that you have to have one that works with European voltage, though, right? You can't just bring your usual one and plug it to an outlet adaptor, can you?
Just make sure it is dual voltage like this one.
Remember, it must be in immersed in water when plugged in or it will short out and be unusable. If it is out of water and still plugged in you might as well throw it out.
I have to bring a knitting project for the flight. I rarely knit during the rest of the trip (unless I’m seriously chillaxing) but it keeps me sane on the flight!
A small, lightweight electric kettle and instant coffee for accommodations which don't provide them. We're VERY early risers and utterly useless without a cuppa joe or two (or 3) first thing in the A.M. I bought our latest model out of an appliances shop in Germany.
Re something knife-y that gets thru TSA in carry-on, we've cut sausage, fruit, cheese, more, with a standard metal nail file.
On a trip I make sure I bring tea bags, Tetley mostly, or other common English brand black teas. The one "indulgent" item is the small transistor AM-FM radio with two fresh AA batteries.
I try to remember to keep the plasticware, from the in-flight meal for this reason, or at least the knife. Its not even close to ideal, and not for everyone, but a teabag and hot water from the bathroom sink can help ease that morning caffeine deficit.
I pick up a couple of individually wrapped plastic knives from my favorite fast food establishment and take these with me; safe, sanitary and disposable!
Some people would consider my camera - a DSLR an indulgent item (it's heavy and technically my iphone could replace it). But photography is a hobby, an important part of my trip, and a source of souvenirs so I will bring it until I either can afford a smaller camera or learn how to make the shots I want on an iphone camera.
Foodwise, I usually stay in apartments so don't need to worry about a way to heat water for coffee. There's also always a coffee maker of some sort...but I bring a few packs of Starbucks Via anyway because I never know if there will be filters, coffee, pods, whatever is needed for that particular machine in the apartment. I can buy it if I see it's not there - but maybe not before the first morning.
I also bring a very small jar of some sort of spice mix. I like to save money and calories by cooking an easy meal every couple days. Something like penzey's mural of flavor or other spice blend can liven up a very simple baked chicken breast, or eggs or other basic foods.
I never would have thought this years ago but my Philips Sonicare Diamond electronic toothbrush. I tried leaving it home a couple of trip but I just feel so much better using it. It’s like going camping but being able to take a hot shower in a clean restroom at the campsite.
jehb2, you made me remember a laugh-out-loud travel moment - camping in the Sahara one Dec., COLD starry silent night, & from the sinks tent comes that unmistakeable bzzzz!
We're converts now, too: it feels luxurious to have teeth that clean when the rest of your body feels used.
We travelled with a king size sheet in the US when our dogs were with us to put on top of hotel bedding. Now that we are traveling a fair amount in Europe, we always take a sheet with, more for us than our dog. Very few hotels we’ve stayed at have a top sheet. So it’s no top sheet and a big, heavy comforter, regardless of temperature or time of year.