Tierney James, Author

Lipstick & Danger

Backpack Travel Tips

Posted on Apr 7, 2018 by   8 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Ocean breezes. Mountain views. Famous monuments. Quaint shopping villages. Road trips. Yes. It is time to start thinking about vacations. Although it is April, most of us need to make plans concerning our work schedules, reservations, pet arrangements and of course, the cost.
But packing for yourself or a family can be overwhelming at best. How do you pack efficiently without hiring a trainer to be a weight lifter for the trip? I collect travel tips and ideas to make my trips easier. Years ago, I traveled to England and Scotland with a group made up of people mostly over fifty. I already had traveled with kids and gone on safari in Africa so I had a pretty good idea luggage could be a nightmare.

My mother-in-law was the only one I knew on this particular trip. Thank goodness she wasn’t a clothes hound or one who needed Macy’s cosmetic counter packed inside her luggage. But the rest of the group could have been moving into Buckingham Palace with the equipment they carried. Their mistake was soon discovered after piling up too much luggage and started to drag it through the airport. By the time they reached our bus, most of those women looked like they’d experienced part of the Death March of Bataan.
When they turned to drop a helpless gaze on me (I looked like a spring chick to them!) in hopes I’d relieve them, I turned to my sweet mother-in-law who also noticed the problem and said sweetly, “Oh look, isn’t that a bobbie standing across the street? How cool is that?” I rushed to snap a quick picture. Whew. That was a close one.

My little bag wasn’t much bigger than a carry-on, plus I took a decent backpack filled with essentials in case my luggage got sent to Iceland. I have a whole Pinterest board on travel tips you’re going to love. Check it out.
https://www.pinterest.com/ptierneyjames/travel-tips/ But first I’m going to give you a list for just your carry-on or backpack. Next time I’ll help you with your luggage.

Backpack Love

This is a short list. There is more on my Pinterest board. Do check it out. Remember Ziploc Bags are your friends! Travel size items can be found at Target, Walmart, Walgreens and CVS. Use them.

1. Medication
2. Passport and other identification information. Do have copies of everything if you’re traveling internationally.
3. A change of clothes in case you and your luggage take different paths. Roll everything together and shove to the bottom of your backpack. You aren’t going to need it right away so keep it out of the way.
4. Camera, regular phone charger (portable one too), e-reader (if needed). I usually just take a book then leave it at the hotel. If I need another one on the way home I’ll get it at the airport. When I travel I’m too busy to read most of the time. E-readers just add to the backpack weight for me.

5. Basic cosmetics (moisturizer, mascara, lipstick, couple of moist toilettes, one or two applications of foundation, and cleanser.) Several companies sell travel kits for this. Mary Kay is who I use. Since I also sell MK I can purchase samples for potential customers when I do a show. They are awesome.
6. First aid kit. Another way to use a Ziploc bag. Snack size should do it. A couple of Band-Aids, Tylenol, eye drops (planes, hotel rooms, climate, can all do a number on your eyes) antibiotic cream packs, cleanse packs. Check my Pinterest board for more tips on this. https://www.pinterest.com/ptierneyjames/travel-tips/
7. Lip balm, sunscreen, sunglasses, glasses, contacts
8. Travel size toothpaste and tooth brush (Flying all night can make your mouth feel like a camel stomped through it so freshen up in the morning before you land.)
9. Rubber band to pull up your hair when you sleep. My hair is wild and crazy so doing this little thing keeps my curls from looking like I sat on the wing all night. I do this at home too, so it makes me feel like I’m ready for bed on a plane. Then I use the rubber band for other things as I go along.
10. Warm fluffy socks. I also use these on a plane or just traveling near bedtime. It signals my brain it’s time to sleep. Off with the shoes!
11. I’m not a good sleeper on a plane. I’m too curious as to what everyone else is doing so I also pack in my medication or first aide kit a Tylenol PM which I break into thirds. Takes the edge off enough for me to fall asleep. Then I can use the other two as I get use to the time zone differences. I take it with me anytime I travel because the first night or two I’m usually pretty keyed up and won’t sleep. The imagination of a writer doesn’t turn off all that easily.
12. Hand cream is great for dry hands, smells refreshing and holds you over until you can take a shower at your exotic locale. Okay, maybe it is just a discounted motel a block from the beach, but it works for that too.
13. Small tablet and pen
14. Gum or hard candy for your dry mouth and breath.
15. Small snacks like granola, protein bar, nuts, or dried fruit. You might even pick these up at one of the airport shops after you go through security. If you’re traveling in the US you may have more choices.
16. Pantyliners are great because sitting in one spot for hours on end will make you feel nasty. Go to the restroom once or twice and freshen up your panties. And they’re disposable. (Not your panties.)
17. Small flashlight. It’s my Navy Seal go-to item. (I’m not going to explain that here. Lol.) But in this case, I was thinking about an emergency where you might be in the dark. I’m not going to elaborate because as I’ve said many times, I have WAY too much imagination.

18. Finally, I also pack a couple of tea bags and a few packets of instant coffee. You know, in case I get stranded on some deserted island with Mark Wahlberg and I need to look prepared. Come on! A girl can dream.

This should get you started with room to spare. Stay tuned for more tips. Now get packing!


  1. Comment by Carolyn Paul Branch
    April 7, 2018 3:45 pm

    Love your list! Printing it out. Thanks!

    • Comment by Tierney James
      April 9, 2018 7:26 pm

      I’m glad it helped. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Comment by Normagene L Reid
    April 7, 2018 4:48 pm

    Brilliant ideas, great writing!

    • Comment by Tierney James
      April 9, 2018 7:25 pm

      Thank you! I appreciate your kind words.

  3. Comment by Shirley McCann
    April 9, 2018 7:31 pm

    I love your travel lists on here and Pinterest. So glad you included tea bags. I never leave home without them.

    • Comment by Tierney James
      April 10, 2018 2:12 pm

      What’s life without our tea?

  4. Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
    April 10, 2018 1:13 pm

    We don’t travel much, first because of kids and now because of pets. The result is that when I do travel, I always over pack “just in case” items—but I’m learning not to be ridiculous about it, and I CAN be taught. Which is why I loved this post. Thanks for the tips!

    • Comment by Tierney James
      April 10, 2018 1:28 pm

      I’m so glad it found it useful! Travel can be tricky. I’ve learned less is best if possible. I’ll continue posting some tips through the spring. Get ready to travel.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© Tierney James, Author ~ Lipstick & Danger
%d bloggers like this: