This is my emergency travel kit.

Some days, you have to leave the house on short notice, and you’re going to stay somewhere overnight, because there is a game jam in the city, or you’re going to the ER, or an earthquake rocks your continental shelf. Other days, you have to take a flight to Europe that ends up taking 3 days, during which all you have is your carry-on luggage. For those days, I have this kit. It’s ready-packed in my bathroom, and I can grab it and just go, or drop it in my carry-on bag, and my worst-case experience just got so much better. An inventory, from left to right, top to bottom::

  • Q-Tips (instructions say not to stick them in ears, but I’m a rebel)
  • Small hotel bottle of shampoo
  • Hand sanitizer, because other people are also at this convention.
  • band-aids, especially compeed against blisters.
  • medication against sore throats, headaches, allergies and colds.
  • hotel-sized bottle of moisturizer, and a stick of lip balm.
  • dentist-giftbag versions of toothbrush, toothpaste, floss pick and mouthwash.
  • emery board, because I tear nails and the TSA are afraid of clippers.
  • an IKEA pencil, for writing things down.
  • contact lenses, because I always forget to pack them.
  • A deodorant towelette for an emergency cat-wash.
  • sleep mask, because I like to take naps at odd hours, especially on intercontinental flights.
  • earplugs, because babies fly on planes, too, some people snore, and some co-working spaces are just too damn loud to get anything done.
  • shaving kit, complete with tiny re-sealable tube of shaving cream

The key is size. The whole ensemble fits into a pocket of my hoodie, because every item in there is tiny, and is probably only good for one-time use. The idea isn’t to replace my usual toiletry kit, but to tide me over an unexpected day when I can’t get at it, because my luggage got lost, my bags are in the bowels of the plane, or I didn’t actually plan to stay a night. Many of the items are scrounged from hotels, or bought as a result of a specific inconvenience.

Do you have an emergency kit like this? Did I forget something? What are your essential travel items?

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