Reasons I Keep A Small Suitcase Packed at all times.
The phone rang, waking me from a deep sleep. Three hours away, my college-aged daughter was calling from the emergency room with severe abdominal pains. As I rushed to dress, I threw some items into a carry-on bag, just in case I had to stay overnight. I’m so glad I did. It was four days until I was back home. Since that time, I have kept a small suitcase packed and ready for a number of reasons.
Having a carry-on bag already packed makes good sense. Here’s why:
Emergencies – Emergencies can occur at any given moment — family illness, death, or an unexpected hospital stay. Having my suitcase packed saves me the time, hassle, and stress of trying to figure out what I need to take. It ensures I won’t spend days without something I need because I didn’t have time to pack.
We read all the time about the need to have an emergency preparedness kit. My suitcase already contains most of the personal essentials needed in case of an emergency. If my house caught on fire or if there were some natural disaster, I could grab my suitcase and have a portion of what I need. This wasn’t my reason for keeping a suitcase packed but it is an extra benefit of having one ready.
It Saves Time – It’s a pain to have to pack and unpack. Even with my packing list, packing still seems to take too much time. And I am always worried I will forget something. By having most of my things already packed, I can just grab the few remaining items I need and go.
Travel More Often – Because it takes less time to get ready for a trip, I can take advantage of last-minute weekend getaways. Now that we are empty nesters, my husband and I are traveling more. Not having to pack each time makes these trips easier and more enjoyable.
Added Assurance – With aging parents in two different states and adult children living in other parts of the country, I want to be ready to be there if they need me. Having my suitcase ready gives me the assurance that I can do that.
What I Keep Packed in My Suitcase
I always keep enough packed in my bag for a
Cosmetics & Toiletries – I keep travel size bottles of all my skin care products. My small cosmetic bag contains a compact with neutral eye-shadows and blush, eyeliner, mascara, and lipstick. My toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, and deodorant are also in there.
Underwear & socks.
Pajamas, Light-weight robe, & Slippers.
One pair of exercise pants & t-shirt.
A small notebook and pen.
What’s Not in My Suitcase
These are the items I add to my carry-on bag before each trip:
Vitamins & Medicines – I don’t pack my vitamins or medications ahead of time. Since I have these already sorted into small daily dose plastic bags, I can grab the number I need on the day I leave.
Clothes – I don’t pre-pack any other clothes than the ones listed above. They wrinkle when left in the suitcase too long. Besides, different trips require different clothing. It doesn’t take a lot of time prior to each trip to choose my outfits and add them to the suitcase.
Miscellaneous items I need for a trip – These items change depending on the kind of trip I am taking.
I find I can pack everything I need for four days in my Travel Pro Lite 21” Carry-on bag. I like that it even has a place for my laptop and writing supplies. It’s lightweight, and even when it’s filled, I can lift it easily. I have tried many bags over the years, and this is my favorite by far.
When I return from a trip I check the travel bottles and make sure they are filled for the next trip. I wash the clothes that I keep packed and return them to my bag. I double check to make sure everything is in the suitcase, ready for my next adventure.
Looking for more travel tips? Check out my Must-Have Travel Prep Guide for a Perfect Vacation.