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Have Essentials, Will Travel

Travel Essentials | CosmosMariners.com

There are trip basics (you know, your toothbrush and clean underwear and the like), and there are the things that absolutely cannot leave home without.

If I got in a bind and forgot my toothbrush, I can usually locate one fairly easily no matter where I am in the world (you know, unless I'm doing my monthly climb on Everest or my weekly jaunt through the wilds of Antarctica--the usual places). But there are those other things that I can't just run to the closest store and find.

And that's what we'll focus on today.


Here are the things that have to make it on my list first, no matter if I've going overseas for three weeks or if I'm headed to my sister's house for the weekend.

My stuff

A camera


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I've used many cameras over the years, as I'm always looking to improve my photography skills. I started with a Nikon D90 (which was funded by my tutoring work while I was still in college), which I adored.

When the lens and flash casing met a terrible end at the teeth of my then-puppy, I cried and replaced my first DSLR with a Panasonic point and shoot. I nearly immediately decided I hated that one and had started saving for a new DSLR when, through a series of unexpected and strange events, that camera suffered death by salt water when a rogue wave took out my backpack in early summer 2014.

Since then, I've fallen head over heels with my mirrorless DSLR camera, and it goes everywhere with me. I love a great camera that still fits in my purse!

A laptop


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When I buy electronics, I get them for the long haul. The Macbook I bought my senior year of college lasted for eight glorious years before I finally had to put it into retirement due to the fact that Apple stopped making updates for the thing. 

Post-Macbook, I got a budget PC laptop which caused us problems from the start. So, Landon and I combined our gift money for our birthdays, Christmas, Valentine's Day, and Easter, and bought one another a new Macbook, which, hopefully, will still be going strong by the time Britton hits the first grade. I'm pretty sure that I spend more time with that thing than I do my own husband.

A notebook
It doesn't matter if it's a Moleskin or something from the $1 bin at Target: I don't go anywhere without a pen and some paper. I use it to jot down notes, phone numbers, fun facts I learn, or things to post on the blog.

My business cards
I'm not a shy person, and I love meeting new people. Whenever I mentioned that I run a travel blog, I like to have a business card ready to share. I highly doubt that people run home to check out CosmosMariners.com, but you've got to be your own biggest cheerleader. Right?!

Extra contacts
I'm pretty much blind without my glasses or contacts, so I like to hedge my bets and pack extra ways to see the world. I have no clue what I'd do on a trip if I lost my contacts and didn't have backups or my glasses: I'd probably have to call my parents and have them pick me up, since no one wants me driving without some vision aids. I had a brief teaser of what that would be like when I lost one of my contacts during a particularly stressful go on the now-defunct "Twister" ride at Universal Studios Orlando.

My daughter's stuff

So, clearly, not everyone in this world is crazy enough to travel with an 18-month-old. But I'm not everyone. (And aren't you happy for that?!)

For all of those people out there who can't wait to get started on showing their children the wonders of the world, this half of the post goes out to you. Cue cheesy lounge music.

Beloved blanket
Hell hath no fury like a toddler without her favorite blanket. Since Thanksgiving, Britton has decided that there are four acceptable blankets that must go with her everywhere. She even likes eating with one of them on the back of her chair. Since holding one of those anointed blankets is how she goes to sleep, I'd better remember it, or I'm going to be up all night trying to convince her to go to bed.

A favorite toy or book 
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For long car rides, visits to relatives' houses, or trips to quiet activities, I try to toss at least one of her favorite things into a bag. Britton's not too choosy about her toys (at least, not to the level of her blanket yet), so she might get the Baby Lit Alice in Wonderland board book or she might get her Winnie the Pooh Itty Bitty. It's basically whatever's closest to me as we walk out the door. 

Snacks. Lots and lots of snacks.
Oh, I learned this one the hard way when we were hiking in Lake Lure earlier this year. Britton's usually pretty laid back, but you'd better have a snack when she gets hungry. Because she will let you KNOW about how hungry she is in very loud, very frequent ways if I'm not Mommy Quickdraw. Never again will I make the rookie mistake of traveling without crackers!

A pack and play
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Unlike some babies, who are happy to co-sleep, my daughter has been fiercely protective of her own sleeping space since she was a wee one. When she was 11 days old, she refused to go to sleep in the bassinet in our room, so we put her in her own crib and she proceeded to sleep for seven hours straight. Go figure. co

While this arraignment worked out for all of us sleep-deprived people when she was little, it certainly makes this more complicated now that she's older and travels a lot. If I leave the pack and play at home and let her sleep in the bed with me, she takes twice as long to fall asleep...and then, I'm sure to get a 3 AM wake up call when Britton decides its hilarious to smack me in the face repeatedly. If I'm within arm's reach of her and she wakes up, she feels the need to wake me up, too. I'm there, she's there--guess it must be party time!

So, for that reason, I have to make sure that she has a separate space to sleep. While it's bulky, I'm happy to haul it around if we all get a good night's right because of it. Thankfully, many hotels are wising up to the necessity of pack and plays and provide them at no charge to patrons. In that case, I just have to pack a sheet for the portable crib, and I'm on my way!

What are your essentials when travel? What are the things you cannot leave home without? If you have kids, what do you make sure to pack them?