Packing- Boxing Up Some Awesome and Being Prepared for Anything 4


I’ve been watching James Bond movies with my kids this summer, and my favorite part is always when he pulls out some sort of gadget that is perfectly suited to save the day. I’d like to think I’ve got a little bit of James Bond in me, even if I encounter few car chases or assassins. In my my line of work, I need to be prepared for almost anything. I could start a blog simply recounting crazy problems, disasters and near-misses from these last 15 years and I’d never lack for material. As any travel professional can tell you, EVERYTHING happens on tour, and I mean everything. Don’t even get me started. So I’ve learned to be prepared for the issues that come up on the road.

I’m required to carry a first aid kit in my work, which is necessary and used steadily. Bumps, bruises and minor injuries are common and easily fixed. But there are often other little annoyances that can bog down travels, ones that can be pretty easily taken care of with a little thought ahead of time.

This is where my little box comes in. I like to call it the “Box of Awesome”, a name  which should be heard in a voice like a wrestling announcer. My little first aid kit packs a good punch against travel inconvenience, and here’s the recipe to assembling your own.

 Start with a small, basic first aid kit with a hard case. I have one from Johnson and Johnson, for sale at Target for about $.99. It has a variety band-aids, ointment and sterile cleaning wipes. To that I have added a few extra first aid items, butterfly bandages, sting relief pads and a few more band-aids in unusual sizes. For foot ailments, I have a patch of moleskin and blister bandages.

I keep a tube of pills of commonly needed medications. Tylenol, Ibuprophen, Aleve, Tylenol PM, Migrane aspirin, and, most importantly, Benadryl. A miracle drug in my opinion, Benydryl works on allergic reactions, bug bites or stings, stuffy noses and sleeplessness. I also carry a liquid Benydryl pen in my bag for mosquito bites as I’m terribly allergic.

Dental woes are common with travelers, so I try and keep something in my bag for emergencies. An amount of floss or toothpicks for stuck food. For crowns or veneers that have fallen off, I asked my dentist for small packets of emergency adhesive. I’ve also carried tubes of Fixodent for this reason. Occasionally I have tour members with fillings that have fallen out, and for this reason I carry Temparin, a tooth filling material that can patch a tooth for a few days until a dentist can be found.

To this I add my fix-it supplies. I have tweezers, small nail files, a screwdriver for glasses with extra screws, sewing kit, buttons, safety pins, tiny super glue packs, small scissors, nail clippers, bobby pins, twist ties and glue dots. At the travel supply store I recently found bug repellent wipes that fit nicely in the kit, as well as a stain removing pen for messy travelers like myself.

If assembling a travel emergency box seems like a bit of a hassle to you, Rick Steves has one that’s already put together and comes in a nice little pouch. It’s got a sewing kit, moleskin, compass and a few other travel aids that can be handy. You can pick one up at https://store.ricksteves.com/shop/p/travel-first-aid-kit, $20.

It may not be a pen that shoots tranquilizer darts or a Porsche with an ejector seat, but my little kit can often save the day, if maybe not save the world.

Have some ideas for adding to the Box of Awesome? This box has been a work in progress for some time with other travelers and I’d like to hear if there’s something I’m missing. Please leave comments and I’ll add ideas to the list.


About sarahinitalia@yahoo.com

Sarah Murdoch is a tour guide and guidebook writer for Rick Steves Europe. Her blog, Adventures with Sarah, focuses on packing tips, travel stories and advice for planning the best trip possible.


4 thoughts on “Packing- Boxing Up Some Awesome and Being Prepared for Anything

  • Pam

    Hi what do you use the glue dots for?
    I would add a length of string, small roll of duct tape, assorted zip ties, a W-D-40 mini stick, a couple binder clips, paper clips and a sharpie.

    • sarahinitalia@yahoo.com Post author

      Great ideas! I use the glue dots to stick receipts or ticket stubs into my journal.

  • gooddayrome

    Love the “Box of Awesome!” I also carry WetOnes in individual packets, a few each in purse, medical kit (an Eagle zip pouch with many of the items you describe — MY “box od awesome”), and stuffed in crevices here-and-there. WetOnes are a miracle treatment. You can use the to clean face and hands, tray tables and other unsightly public germ-carrying surfaces, for “hygienic purposes” as well as to remove stains from clothing. I have removed red wine and coffee from white shirts and saved a mom with a gelato-dripping child from certain hysteria.

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