Embarking on a vacation is often a fun experience, but planning your vacation can take a lot of work. With The Vacation Exchange, your needs for accommodation are met when you participate in a home swap, leveraging your home for a stay in another’s home – whether it’s at the same time or not. However, once you’ve decided where you’re going to stay then comes the part of packing, which is a task in itself. It helps to make a packing list, but sometimes you just forget something, and only remember when you need it! Save yourself the trouble of having to make unnecessary purchases by adding these items

1. Chargers – We’re all guilty of forgetting a phone or tablet charger at some point on vacation. Either it was plugged in, and you didn’t remember to take the charger, or you simply forgot to pack it all together. When you need to get a charger, it involves going to a store. If you’re participating in a holiday exchange on vacation, you may pay $12-20 per charger you purchase in an airport, convenience store or drugstore. Save yourself the money, and pack your charger.  A good way to keep it from getting tangled in your luggage or purse is to keep it in a hard sunglasses case.

2. Ponchos – Rain happens, and when it occurs on vacation, we don’t want our clothes to get soaked, especially if we’re outside on an adventure.  Last time I went to a theme park, it poured and I was considering shelling out $12.oo for a bright yellow Disney poncho. Save yourself the trouble, and head to the local discount center, look on Ebay, or visit a dollar store to get ponchos for everyone in the family. They’re often packaged in their own resealable bags and don’t take up much room. You’ll appreciate not having to spend $12.00 and up for your child next rainstorm – keep this in mind for a home exchange in Florida, which is known for its random patches of rain.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Flickr user hansel5569

Photo used under Creative Commons from Flickr user hansel5569

3. Umbrellas – On the topic of rain, how many times have you forgotten an umbrella on vacation? The forecasts for your vacation while on a holiday exchange can change from day to day, and you don’t want to get caught in a storm without an umbrella. You’ll soon find that if you’re in a popular vacation spot that items like umbrellas can cost around $10 and up, and who wants to pay that? Buy a small “mini” size umbrella, pack it in your bags, and you’ll be prepared.

4. Bandages and First Aid Needs – Have you ever cut yourself on vacation? Trying to find a band-aid in a public place is sometimes a hassle. You should pack a simple first aid kit to have in case of a minor cut, scrape, or bruise. Having several sizes of bandages is a good start, then consider aloe for sunburn and burns. When you need a first aid kit, why waste time scrambling to find one when you can tote along your own? If you want to save space in your suitcase or purse, try packing the bandages, aloe, and anything else in an Altoids tin. Many blogs online recommend including alcohol wipes, q-tips, a couple of a strips of waterproof tape, and cotton balls.

5. Bathing Suits – Sometimes we think that we won’t have time to swim on vacation, because we have too much planned during the home swap vacation, and then the water looks so inviting that we just have to jump in. Only what if you didn’t bring a bathing suit? Well, you can purchase a fairly unattractive one at the local WalMart if you’re lucky, or you can just go out in a t-shirt or shorts. Sometimes in all of the flurry of packing, we simply forget the bathing suit altogether. Don’t forget the bathing suit for! Roll it inside one of your shoes right away so you know it’s packed. Try packing a beach towel too, in case there aren’t any at your accommodations.

6.Over-the-Counter Medicine -Having a headache on a vacation is no fun. You can be on the best holiday exchange ever and if you need to grab a bit of Aleve or aspirin, it may entail driving to the drugstore. I can’t count how many times a flight or jet lag gave me a headache, and I ended up having to pay for $3.99 for a tiny pack of aspirin at the gas station. If you don’t want to take a full bottle of medicine, grab a trial size bottle from your local Target or drugstore.

7. Makeup and Other Beauty Products – We ladies want to look good on vacation, don’t we? What happens if you forget your mascara or even your powder? You might want to buy a replacement, but some cosmetics cost big bucks even at home. Be sure you take care to pack your make up bag. Also important? Makeup removal wipes or creams. You can buy them in a small size that’s perfect for travel, but if you have to buy a jar of say, Noxema, at the local store, you might be stuck with a cumbersome thing to jam into your suitcase later.

8. Socks – We can never pack enough socks! Roll them up and put them into your shoes, even if you plan on wearing sandals the entire trip. Tennis shoes and socks are a must for vacations, especially if it rains. Be sure to pack enough socks at least a pair for each day of your vacation, plus one more pair!

9. Hairbrush  – A grooming essential for men, women and children is the hairbrush. They’re small but sometimes don’t make it into our bags. No one wants to go around on a vacation with tangled hair. A hairbrush is a must especially for parents of young children, who may need it to put children’s hair into ponytails or pigtails. This is just another item you’ll have to buy at a steep price possibly if you forget it while on a vacation home swap.

10. A light jacket  – We all know that forecasts aren’t exactly right. One day the weather app says 76 and sunny, and then the next, the nights are dipping into the 30’s. I’ve had to buy a few sweatshirts on vacation just because the weather changed dramatically, and my bank account suffered. You can pack a light cardigan or hooded sweatshirt to grab it needed. If you’re doing anything that’s outside, having a cover-up handy is always good for your next home exchange trip.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Flickr user gazeronly

Photo used under Creative Commons from Flickr user gazeronly

11. Sunglasses  – Sunglasses are probably one of the most common items we have to buy on vacation. Often the sunglasses for sale at the souvenir store are cheaply-made, tacky, and expensive. That’s not to say they’re aren’t some cute ones, but growing up in a tourist destination, I know firsthand that sunglasses are expensive on vacation!

12. Sunscreen  – What can ruin a vacation faster than anything? Sunburn! Keep away sunburn by packing sunscreen. If you get sunburned, you may feel too sick to continue having fun, at least for a while. If you happen to be overseas, it could be harder to find sunscreen if you don’t know where to look, so pack it with your clothes in a baggie, and relax, because you’ll be prepared.

13. ID  – No one wants to be turned away at the airport because they failed to pack an ID. If you don’t drive, you may not think about having your ID on you at all times, but you need it. Be sure it’s safely in your wallet or purse so you can get your vacation started right away without any hiccups.

14. Camera Accessories – Taking pictures of everything on vacation can take up a lot of space on your camera, and you may not have any time to transfer the photos to a computer. Don’t risk deleting some of your favorite pictures accidentally in an effort to free up space. Bring along a spare memory card so you have plenty of space. Don’t forget the charger and batteries for the camera too. Some camera batteries are so specialized, you won’t find them at a typical store.

15. Slippers – While on a home exchange, your feet may get cold, especially if the home has hardwood floors. You might also not want to put your feet on a clean floor of someone’s home. Whatever the reason, slippers are always a good idea, especially in the winter!

One last thing I’ll add to this list for you to consider: Reading material! Grab a book or magazine for your flip, car trip or waiting around the airport. While tablets and iPads are plenty entertaining, it never hurts to have a backup, especially if you drain your battery life while in-flight. You don’t want to be bored, do you?








What are some items you’ve forgotten on vacation? Do you have any suggestions I missed?