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The Go-Bag: For Easy Travel

07/31/2014

The first time I’d ever heard of a Go-Bag was when I was in Junior College and I was watching an episode of CSI. The guy who used to always be in the lab was having his first emergency call to a crime scene, and he wasn’t ready so the other agent told him what to have prepared and sitting out ready for him if he got an emergency call in the middle of the night.

What nobody knew at the time, though, was that I had already created my own Go-Bag. At the time I was dog sitting for a woman in the Air Force Reserve, so once a month she would be gone overnight for a Guard Weekend. It’s been crazy helpful since my dog sitting business has been legitimized (please go to Pet Adventures from a Dog Sitter for my blog of funny doggy stories) and for vacations.


Here is what you’ll need:

Emergency Toilet Kit:

Bags: A bag will carry the things in which you put it. I got mine (pictured above) from my parents because it was their toilet kit for travel. Most of my Go-Bag is actually just an emergency toilet kit, but you will also need a bigger bag to put in some of the bigger items (not the hair brush). For the emergency toilet kit, though, Rite Aid and other such pharmacies has some convenient little bags that come with empty bottles for shampoos and hair spray, but they do cost around $15.

Shampoo and Conditioner: These you can easily get travel-sized. I like going to a Dollar Store or a Dollar Tree to see what they have available, but really quality is important with these. In my normal shampoo I like to buy cheap, but since I use so much more of that than a good quality brand I may as well fork out for a little more on the sample sized bottle (because with poor quality you can wind up using the whole bottle in one shower, so it isn’t so good for a longer trip). When in doubt, Target has a bunch of samples, as does a larger chain of grocery stores.

Tooth brush, Toothpaste, and Floss: The easiest, and cheapest, way to get these is to go to the dentist for a semi-annual cleaning. The toothpaste and dental floss they tend to give out are perfectly sized for a travel kit! For a tooth brush, you can get special carry cases from Target or a Dollar Store – they even come in multi-packs!

Q-Tips: Q-tips are good for many things, the least of which is cleaning out your ears. They do come in travel packs now, but I use something else. When I was a teenager my mom got me some Dove facial wipes, and they came with these little travel packs that you could refill. I don’t use the travel pack, but I still have it! So I simply refill that with Q-tips instead of face wipes!

Face Wash and Lotion: Because I’m gone a lot I carry these in big sizes, but Neutrogena has small face bars that travel well, and many lotions also come in travel sizes. However, here is a different idea: Get a Birchbox. Birchbox is a company where you can opt to pay $10/month and get a pack of five samples. The samples are high quality and they range from makeup to shampoo to lotions and face wash. The thing is, these samples are the perfect size to fill your Go-Bag and are an easy way to refresh your depleted items. And, no, Birchbox hasn’t paid me anything to promote them (though I kind of wish they would).

Shaving: Shaving lotions and things are harder to find in smaller sizes, so it will take some looking. I found some at a Dollar Tree once, but they didn’t have any the next time I went, but such is the product line at a dollar discount place! If you need a shaving lotion, though, you can put some into a separate bottle, it just won’t stay foamy. Or, since most emergencies are just for a couple days, a simple straight razor you buy in bulk will work. However, if you are traveling by plane, don’t be surprised if your razor gets confiscated, they’re still being a little ridiculous on these things. If you really need a shave gel, like guys tend to, some full-sized brands come in relatively smaller bottles.

Feminine Hygene: Sorry, gentlemen, but this is necessary for women. Always keep 3 pads or tampons in the bag. Sometimes you’ll have a bloody surprise after the time that most stores close, so you’ll need the buffer for overnight.

Medicine: I recommend getting travel sized bottles of pain reliever and antacids. You never know when you’re going to trip on a stair and bonk your head on the wall or when you’re going to eat too many cookies and have an upset tummy. Further, have an emergency inhaler in the kit if you need one, and 2-3 days of any other medications you take regularly. Vitamins are also necessary. The cool thing is that tiny Tupperware or even small zippy bags are easy to find (I get tiny zippy bags from bead stores) and you can label them with the pill names for good measure.

The Go-Bag:

Bag: Into this bag everything goes. It should be cloth-based and easy to carry. I have a hand bag that a client brought back from Paris, but a backpack works really well, too. Or a small suitcase. Put your emergency toilet kit into it first.

Pajamas: The unsung hero of an emergency over-night trip is the pajamas, and they are the most-oft forgotten item. They give you the comfort of not being in a strange place naked, unless you want to be nude. These should be a set of PJs that can stay in the bag at all times, because the point is that the bag is always set up and ready to go with a minimum of fidgeting.

Undies: Your mom had a point – always bring a spare pair of underwear. And a bra, if you need one. And always have three days worth of socks, just in case.

Shoes: Theoretically you’ll be wearing shoes when you leave, but a spare pair of cheap water shoes or loafers or sensible heals or running shoes – whatever you are most likely to need but aren’t likely to wear on a regular day – would be very beneficial. So the soles of the shoes don’t make everything else in the bag dirty, place them soles-to-the-side of the bag.

Change of Clothes: Put a simple change of clothes – perhaps something that would match your spare pair of shoes. You can alternate between what you are wearing and your packed set if you need to, or you can mix and match to create new outfits without washing.


And there you go! Put together your Emergency Toilet Kit first, and then put together your whole Go-Bag! Leave it in your closet in a convenient place and keep it up to date so you aren’t taking expired pills, but it will be easy enough to go on an emergency trip, or a surprise business conference, or just a romantic liaison!

 

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