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Anticipating All the Things: The Contents of an Anxious Overpacker's Bug Out Bag

If I had $1 for every time my husband wore a pair of slip-on Vans, fresh out of the box, sans socks, on a damp, sweltering summer day, which also happened to be our first day on vacation... well, I'd have about $8. Such experiences have reinforced my propensity for overpacking. "Always come prepared," I whisper to myself as I struggle with the zipper on my suitcase, praying it doesn't exceed the 50 lb weight limit.

I've long emptied the contents of my entire medicine cabinet into my carry-on. There is nothing worse than waking up in a hotel, mid-holiday, with a violent case of the stomach flu; except having to leave said hotel to find the closest pharmacy. I'd much rather have Pepto Bismol on hand and not end up needing it, than to need it desperately and have to travel further than 10 feet to procure it.

After many inconveniences, injuries, and illnesses away from home, and much trial and error, I consider myself an authority on packing for every possible scenario. I want to share some of my favorite products with you, so that your escape doesn't include a spontaneous trip to the hotel gift shop where you're sure to pay luxury prices for generic remedies.

We tend to take short trips throughout the year, and a longer trip in August. No matter where you travel in North America during the month of August, it's going to be hot, and probably also humid. We've been to Las Vegas at 115 degrees, New Orleans in the high 90's at damn near 100% humidity, even Montreal was mildly uncomfortable during the daytime hours. Such conditions come with an array of physical discomforts. Friction can lead to the aforementioned blisters, for which we recommend All-Health brand Advanced Fast-Healing hydrocolloid gel bandages. They are waterproof, last up to 7 days, and help with both healing and pain relief.

Friction can also cause chafing, especially if you're exploring your destination on foot. Body Glide is an anti-chafing balm that looks like a stick deodorant. You can apply it anywhere that you're prone to rubbing. It is long-lasting, but small enough to carry with you, should you need to reapply.

While we all know that the summer sun can inflict a nasty sunburn, I'd venture to guess that you don't wear SPF lip balm, in addition to sunscreen. Someone recommended Sun Bum SPF 30 Sunscreen lip balm to us before our last trip to Vegas, and we're so grateful that they did. The sun in the desert is no joke, and you should take every precaution you can to protect your skin, lest you ruin the remainder of your trip with a record-setting burn. Sun Bum comes in a variety of fruit flavors, and is as light and comfortable as it is effective.

Dehydration is yet another heat-induced malady, but it can occur in any climate, if you drink too much alcohol and not enough water. We don't even take a half-day trip to the Jersey Shore without a 6 pack of Glaceau SmartWater. It has added electrolytes which make it more palatable than other bottled waters, and, therefore easier to meet your hydration requirements. If you still find yourself dehydrated, or hungover, we swear by Waterboy hangover recovery powder packets. They're very convenient, as they can easily fit in your pocket until you're ready to mix it into 16 oz of water. It contains more than 3x the electrolytes than competing products, 20% of the calories, twice the vitamins, no sugar, and the added benefit of L-theanine for "hangxiety" and ginger for nausea.

We've noticed a lot of hotels don't have refrigerators in the rooms. You'll need something to keep your SmartWater cold, and we recommend the TOURIT cooler backpack. It's lightweight and collapsible, with padded shoulder straps, so you won't mind carrying it around on your trip. It keeps its contents cool for 16 hours, even at the pool or beach, sitting directly in the sun.

Now that you'll have the best portable cooler for a day at the beach, how about the best chair? The Tommy Bahama 5-position chair can be worn as a backpack or hand-carried, if you're already wearing your TOURIT cooler. It differs from your standard beach chair with its lay-flat option, towel bar, mesh storage pocket, cupholder, bottle opener, and 250 lb weight capacity: all at a very light 7.5 lbs.

Links to all of these outstanding products can be found on Our Favorite Travel Supplies page. Check back for updates, as we discover more solutions for potential travel disasters. We hope your next escape is a healthy one. Subscribe to our mailing list and follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more expert tips.

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