by Karen Phillips



It’s pretty obvious that you need this to get in and out of the country, but this is also your “license” overseas. Many hotels require your passport when checking into your room. It’s also your get-out-of-jailfree card. Without it, you really have no protection should something go wrong. Just make sure you keep it in a safe place — passports sell for good money on the black market.


Smartphones, MP3 players, e-readers, laptops, battery chargers, blow driers, hair straighteners, etc. In an electonicdependent society, if you forget you’re SOL. Make sure to bring a couple so you can multi-charge, and bring one that will fit your plugs with dual-sized prongs, otherwise attempting to do your hair will be futile.


I just bought myself a Kindle Fire. Now I’m not lugging around two or three 300page books that I might or might not read. Plus, I have the added luxury of checking my Facebook and my e-mail when I’m in a wifi zone. If you like to read and you travel, I would highly suggest you spring for a Kindle Fire or a Nook tablet. Or, if you’re really good this year, Santa might bring you the latest iPad, which trumps all other tablets, hands down.


You’re in for a long trip, and airlines are getting tight with the freebies these days, so bring some of your favorite shacks with you. I always go for a variety of healthy, sweet and salty. My carry-on might contain a Ziplock of homemade trail-mix, a bag of kettle chips and some chocolate-covered raisins. I usually try to have enough for the round-trip flight.


Take the time to write down the highlights of your day. You’ll be surprised what you can recall at the end of your trip, and you’ll have a lot more stories to tell when you get home. Plus, you’ll have better captions to.add to your scrapbook.

Camera/extra battery

Pictures help make a vacation memorable, so don’t forget your camera. Pose for pics, set up family portraits, snap some unexpected candids and make sure to bring an extra battery so you don’t get stuck with that blinking red light on your screen halfway through the day. Just try not to get too wrapped up in the picturetaking process that you miss out on the actual vacation, Mom.


Make sure you bring all your necessary meds. There are a lot of explanations I could give here as to why this is so important — I could get into my ER experience the time I forgot my inhaler — but just bring them to avoid unnecessary hassles.

MP3 player

Music is food for the soul, right? Sure. But it also drowns out loud talkers, crying babies and chatty spouses. Make sure to download your latest faves before your scheduled vacation and double-check to see your MP3 player is fully charged so it’s ready to go for a long plane ride, a relaxing day at the beach or a tour you were signed up for that you might not be interested in.


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten my headphones and couldn’t listen to the music on my iPhone. The worst part? Those little earbuds fall right out of my ears. Make sure you bring your own, favorite headphones so that you’re comfortable and happy.

Walking shoes

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a shoe fanatic. With the amount of sightseeing you’ll be doing, comfy treads are a must. But they have to be fashionable. One of my life missions is to find cute shoes that feel great all day. If you’re lucky enough to find that great pair, don’t give them up. And make sure they match your outfit. Be sure to bring sandals and sneakers when you travel; , be ready for all of life’s occassions.