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The 15 Must Have Items for Your Summer Travel Survival Kit

The price of gas may have changed your summer travel plans, but whether you’re flying or driving (long or short distances), riding your bike to the beach for the day, there is no doubt that you need to be prepared.


As a former Girl Scout (and Boy Scout), there is not a trip I pack for - in fact I don’t even leave the house – without my gold makeup bag full of potentially helpful and lifesaving goodies. Not only has it come to my rescue over the years, but my gold bag has also received gratitude from others, and I am the first at to be asked for something at the soccer field.



These are the 15 items, outside lipstick and hand lotion, that I carry around with me regularly – purse or backpack permitting. Trust me, you just never know when you will need them, but you will.


1. Stain remover stick – a godsend, stain sticks come in super small sizes or wipes. Both are easy to pack and be the difference between saving light colored clothing from mud, chocolate or ketchup.

2. Band aids – cuts and scrapes happen, and they’re usually signs of a good time and blisters that pop during a hike can be painful. Band aids have a number of safely uses too – MacGyver-style – plus they come in small travel size holders that remove the bulk of a box.

3. Metal Nail file – yep, you read that right. Not an emery board, which tends to be more effective but a metal nail file. It has so many uses outside of trimming a broken nail. The best part is that these last longer reducing waste and need to continue buying emery boards.

4. Metal nail clippers – last we heard you can now take small, metal nail clippers through security – comment if we’re wrong. They can act as scissors or a “knife” to cut small objects as well as hand nails. The cuticle clippers are actually more faceted and faster.

5. Hand sanitizer – whether you’re preparing something to eat, addressing a wound or using safe practices, hand sanitizer is something you will use and reuse. You can even make your own and refill the bottle.

6. Dental floss – need we say more? Don’t neglect your gums and you just might need to replace a shoelace, make a rope or start a fire.

7. Ibuprofen – a necessity. I carry some kind of OTC pain killer in a small snack bag – along with extra allergy medication. It comes in handy almost always after a rough night in a hotel bed or after driving all day, among other obvious needs.

8. Antibiotic cream – this one is so important and even more important than a band aid. At least if the wound is cleaned and treated, you don’t need to cover it, but both is best. No survival kit – rural, urban, ocean or mountain – is complete without it.

9. Toothpaste – the miracle of toothpaste. Event without a toothbrush, you can use a finger to clean your teeth and treat nasty mosquito bites. A dab of toothpaste on the bite will act as an astringent, drawing itchy venom from the wound as it dries. Menthol in the toothpaste will also provide a “cooling” sensation that will occupy the nerves in the same way ice does, relieving discomfort.

10. Spare key – how many times have you accidentally locked your keys in the car? If you’re smart enough to grab your purse first, this spare will come in handy.

11. Kleenex – beyond just catching a running nose, Kleenex can be used to clean a wound or stop bleeding.

12. Hair band – if you have long hair, then you know that there are times when you just want your hair out of your face. Addressing something as simple as this can make stressful moments that much easier to deal with.

13. Reusable cloth paper towels – the brilliance of even just one sheet of reusable cloth paper towels, like Rakot75, is that it rinses and dries quickly and has endless uses. It could be one of the most important things in your survival kit, car, RV, boat, backpack….

14. Pen and paper – where is a pen and paper when you need it? Always on you.

15. $20 bucks – this is my “emergency” emergency cash, and it has rescued me more times than I can remember.


Add your own: we all have different requirements for our survival kit. For some of you, it might be insulin or an EpiPen. Creating your own kit is easy with some thought and a visit the closet store with a good selection of travel sized items – my Target and Walgreens have great selections.


Others: micro flashlight, a mask, lighter, knife or multi-purpose tool (driving or hiking)…what would you add?

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