Summer vacation is upon us and there are a lot of traveling excursions that will be taking place in the next couple months. Here are 9 TRAVEL MUST HAVES I don’t leave home without when traveling:

1. SUITCASE: Sounds obvious but a lightweight, good quality suitcase complete with 4 wheels is worth every penny.  I never knew how different suitcases were until I started shopping for them.  Good suitcases maximize space and organize you when traveling.  Getting around is so much easier when traveling with a smaller suitcase as well.

2. PASSPORT & COPY OF PASSPORT: Sometimes packing and last minute errands get the best of us before a big trip.  Be sure to swing by a copy machine on your way out of town and get a copy of your passport.  Every single page of your passport.  Most suitcases have a zipper in the lining — put it in your carry on or a bag that will be with you.  Even better — scan it and email it to yourself.  You may never need this HOWEVER if you loose your passport, you will be so very happy to have the copy!

3. ZIP-LOCK BAG: Airport security is best when it is quick.  Have your liquids (under 3oz) put into a sandwich sized zip locked bag. (I have been reprimanded for trying to bring a freezer bag size.)  I have seen many airports now that are charging to purchase them if you don’t have one.

4. CURRENCY: Hoping that everywhere accepts credit cards at your destination is not a good plan.  Get some currency exchanged before you leave so you get a better exchange rate as well as have cash on hand as soon as you get off the plane.

5. CAMERA: In the age of smartphones, we all have camera’s with us now.  But I still take my SLR with me.  No matter what the hassle, I always thank myself when I get home, look back at my photos and have that perfect photo I can blow up to a 16×20 (or bigger) to hang on the wall. If you do have a smartphone, make sure you have an Instagram account.  I love Instagraming when I am en route without my bigger camera. #youwontregretit

6. TRAVEL ITINERARY: Being an organized traveler is a huge stress reliever.  I used to be the most unorganized traveler. I would be on my way to the airport before I would even look up my flight itinerary or hotel confirmation. Having a smartphone made me lazy.  I now print off a copy of everything or save screen prints on my phone just in case I don’t have access to my travel apps. It is just a good idea to have the hotel address in hand as soon as you get into the chaotic airport or train station.

7. ENTERTAINMENT: A book for down time or something that helps you enjoyably pass the time.  While hopefully you will be reading a book with your toes in the sand somewhere, there is always the unexpected flight delay where you might wish you had a good book to read. Headphones are invaluable — load audio books onto your phone to save the luggage space.

8. SPECIFIC TOILETRIES: To me there has to be some normalcy when I travel. The normalcy I take with me is my morning routine. I don’t even need a hot shower.  However, if I do not have MY face moisturizer with me when I travel, my world is off a bit.

9. LAYERED CLOTHING: You can check the weather all you want, but be prepared for 10 degrees in either direction.  See the beautiful sights on a vacation you spent a lot to go on is best when comfortable. And don’t forget your comfortable shoes!  Vacation isn’t the time to break in new shoes.