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10 Items You'll Forget to Pack This Holiday Season

12/4/17 by Matt Wastradowski

Heading over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house always *sounds *so much easier—and more fun—than it actually is. From rush-hour traffic to delayed flights plus making sure you didn’t leave anything important at home, holiday travel induces all kinds of stress.

Fortunately, we’re here to help. Whether you’re packing for a family get-together or couples’ getaway this holiday season, we’ve put together this list of 10 essential items so you can worry less about what might have been left on the counter at home and more about what holiday movie you’re going to watch next.

1. Underwear

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Number one thing you don’t want to forget: your ExOfficio underwear. ExOfficio

Is there anything worse than forgetting to pack enough underwear? We think not, which is why we’d recommend a pair (or two) of ExOfficio underwear. Geared toward travelers, ExOfficio’s lineup promises all-day comfort, lightweight materials, Silvadur® odor-resistant technology, hydrophobic fibers that promote faster drying, and more.

Whatever your style, ExOfficio offers underwear suited to your tastes: Men can choose from boxers, boxer briefs, briefs, and T-shirts, and women can choose from full cut, bikini, thongs, and tops.

2. Swimsuit

A swimsuit? Over the holidays? Believe it.

Even if your destination’s climate hovers around freezing, you’ll be glad to have one in your bag—just in case.

For starters, swimsuits take up next to no room in your bag, so there’s little downside to packing one along. After all, you never know when a hotel pool or sauna will call your name after a long day on the slopes.

If you’re heading south for the winter, balmy climates and tropical breezes might just entice you to spend Christmas Eve on the beach.

3. Earplugs

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It’s never a bad idea to stick a pair of earplugs in your suitcase. Quinn Dombrowski

Whether you booked a hotel near the highway or want to drown out your cousin’s snoring in the next room over, earplugs are must-have pieces of the travel experience.

They don’t just come in handy once your head hits the pillow. Drop a pair into your carry-on bags to drown out noisy toddlers and chatty seatmates on the plane, bus, or train for a quieter, more relaxing travel experience.

4. Gift Bags

You never know when inspiration will strike. If you find the perfect present at an airport shop, drop it into a gift bag for effortless, yet thoughtful packaging. Gift bags can be flattened and packed into just about any piece of luggage without taking up much room, so there’s little downside when you’re still searching for that last-minute present (and the recipient will never have to know!).

5. Battery Pack

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Don’t let your phone die mid-flight. rawpixel.com

You already know to stow your cell phone and tablet’s wall charger, but what about a portable battery pack? The handy accessory comes in handy when you’re out about—and can’t plug in for a few precious minutes.

Most battery packs (also called power banks) are roughly the size of a deck of cards, and some of the best can fully charge your phone two or three times before needing more juice themselves. Look for portable batteries with LED light indicators (so you know how much power you have left) and multiple USB ports for charging multiple devices simultaneously.

6. Heartburn Medicine

Not to sound like a grandparent, but heartburn medication *really *helps when that notorious burning feeling starts creeping up your chest after too much food and drink.

Think about it: When on vacation, you generally eat more than usual, eat worse than usual (who among us has ever said "no" to grandma’s baking?), drink a bit more, and work out less. No matter how old you may be, that combination can wreak havoc on your digestion. At some point, heartburn *will *rear its ugly head, and you’ll be happy to have something on hand.

7. Sunscreen

It’s probably been months since you’ve needed a dollop of sunscreen, so you’d be forgiven for leaving it home when you head south for the winter. (Though you should be wearing sunscreen if you’re hitting the slopes, too!) You’ll pay a hefty premium at the airport or at your destination, so stash away one or two small bottles before hitting the road.

If you’re packing sunscreen in with your carry-on luggage, seek out a travel-size bottle that complies with TSA regulations (which only allow for 3.4 ounces of liquid, aerosol material, gel, cream, or paste in a container).

8. Deck of Cards

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A deck of cards is a good backup plan if you run out of other things to do. Jack Hamilton

If your family gathering invariably trends toward politics, cut the tension by cutting a deck of cards. Whatever differences you may have about health care or taxes, everyone can agree on a card game.

Bring a deck to holiday gatherings, and enjoy Slapjack, Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Gin Rummy, and other favorites. And if you’re waiting on a connecting flight, play a few hands in the airport terminal to pass the time.

9. Towel

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy got this one right: Never leave home without your towel. It’s almost certain to come in handy at some point on your travels, and it doesn’t have to be a bulky bath towel - get yourself a travel or camping towel that is super absorbent but dries quickly.

Use your trusty towel to clean up after a shower or swim, sop up spilled liquids, keep yourself warm on chilly airplanes, add a bit of comfort while lounging on a tropical beach, or—in a pinch—roll up as a pillow.

10. Passport and Personal Identification

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Underwear and identification. The two things you don’t want to forget when you travel. J Aaron Farr

It seems blindingly obvious: Who could ever forget something as important as a passport, driver's license, or ID card? Yet sometimes, the most necessary items are the easiest to ignore.

Don’t make that mistake this holiday season. Whether you’re checking in for a flight, grabbing a drink at the airport bar, or hopping in the car for a road trip, make government-issued identification the *first *thing you throw in your bag. It’ll take far less time to pack your ID than to read this article—and it will save innumerable headaches this holiday season.

(Travel Tip: Whether you pack your ID in your bag or tuck it into the security pocket in a pair of Kano pants, make sure to have easy access to it, which will save you time at the airport.)

The less stuff you plan to pack, the less likely you are to forget something. Step up your travel game with these tips on how to travel with just a carry-on.

Originally written by RootsRated for ExOfficio.