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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FIT chapter.

It’s that time of year where everyone is off to party on a beach, wander around historic towns, or even go backpacking around the world for a week. Spring break is approaching for many people and it can get chaotic figuring out what to pack when all you can think about is paradise. We all know we worry the most about the clothes and shoes we’re going to wear, and in the process, we end up forgetting the small items that are usually the most important. So here are 10 essential items that you must pack in your bag before you head on vacation!

  1. Hand Sanitizer

You’re going to the airport and you’ll be in a new place. You’re probably going to go out and meet new people, or you might just chill at your hotel, but either way it’s best to not catch any germs. Carry at least 1-2 mini bottles of hand sanitizer to prevent any bacteria from the things you touch. You do not want to end up getting some sort of infection while you are vacationing. That would not be ideal. 

2. Portable charger

This is an item that almost everybody always forgets to pack. You’re going to have that one friend that will remember their portable charger, and then you’re going to ask to borrow it and use up their battery because you forgot yours. If you’re in a new place, it’s so important to have a charged phone in case of emergencies, so don’t forget to bring your portable charger and its designated usb cable(s). 

3. Medicine

Bring those painkillers, prescriptions, and whatever else you think you’ll need in case you get sick or hurt. Yes, every single place has a pharmacy you can purchase medicine at, but why bother going to one when you can go prepared? What if you get sick in the middle of the night, and the pharmacy is a 45 minute drive away or worse, closed? It is so much easier to have your medicine on you rather than having to go through the trouble of buying them. 

4. Sunscreen

I cannot explain to you how many times I have forgotten to pack sunscreen whenever I go on vacation. You’re going to need some, especially when you’re tanning on the beach in some tropical area. Your skin is a gift, and sunscreen will help prevent sunburns, skin cancer, and even slow down your aging. You don’t want to look 50 at the age of 21, do you? Didn’t think so. So make sure you’ve got sunscreen with you at all times, and wear it EVERYDAY!

5. Adapters

If you’re going abroad, then most likely you are going to run into outlets that do not fit your charger. Most airports abroad also have the outlets that are catered to their country, so remember to keep the adapter in your carry-on. 

6. Tote bag/ Small purse

You do not want to be stuck carrying around a heavy backpack while you walk around or lay on the beach. Your shoulders and back are going to need a long massage when you realize how badly they’ve been hurting from carrying a big bag. When packing, people tend to forget a smaller bag or a lightweight tote bag they can use when they reach their destination. All you really need to pack in it is a water bottle, sunglasses, hand sanitizer, lip balm, sunscreen, your chargers, and your wallet. Since they’re all small items, they can easily fit into a much smaller bag than your backpack. So save yourself the pain and remember to pack an extra bag!

7. Feminine Products

For my ladies out there, it is key to bring extra tampons and pads. You might not get your period, but you never know. Always keep a few on you because it might happen when you least expect it to. Even if you track your period, it is still never 100% certain, so save yourself the trouble and carry some!

8. Shampoo and Conditioner

Do all hotels have shampoo and conditioner? Yes. But most of the time, they end up damaging your hair more than you think. You’re not used to switching to a different brand of hair products so why switch now? Buy those travel-size bottles from Target, and just fill them up with your favorite shampoo and conditioner. You can keep it in your carry-on or personal bag, and you’ll probably even have extra left for your next vacation. 

9. Laundry bag

Stuck in a situation where you have a lot of dirty clothes and you don’t want to just throw them in your suitcase? Well, fear not! If you pack a small laundry bag, you won’t have to worry about having your dirty clothes touching your clean ones. Laundry bags don’t even take up a lot of space, you can easily shove it in the corner of your suitcase or even your carry-on. You won’t even realize it’s there. Then, when you don’t have a place to keep your dirty clothes, your magical laundry bag appears!

10. Band-Aids + Neosporin 

Band-aids take up the least amount of space if you just take it out of the packaging and store some in your wallet/ purse. It’s something so small, but so important to keep in case you get hurt. It also helps to make sure your cuts get healed quicker (especially with neosporin) and protects your skin from getting infected. Imagine getting sand stuck in your finger right after you cut it…ouch. Pack those band-aids babe!

These 10 essential items are definitely necessary to add to your vacation list. We all know how to pack when it comes to traveling, but often forget the most useful things that will help us. Of course, don’t forget hygiene products and extra undergarments, socks, and some sweatshirts in case it’s cold. And always remember to bring a pair of headphones because listening to music is not only important when you’re stuck in an airplane or car, but also good for health. Stay safe and enjoy your next adventure!

Aneesha is a senior at the Fashion Institute of Technology studying Advertising and Marketing Communications focusing on journalism.