By Jennifer Stuart
If you are reading this you have probably already looked at all the regular packing lists. The following are things that typically end up in our suitcases that might not be on those typical lists. We pack these things because they make our travel lives so much easier.
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Disney sells a multitude of glow in the dark items - and your kids will want you to buy all those flashing, glowing, spinning items that are all over the park as soon as it gets dark. Save yourself a lot of money by bringing some dollar store glow sticks from home. (Bonus: when the kids glow in the dark it is easier to keep track of them at night). Trust me on this one---your wallet will thank you.
Pop Up Hamper
Corral all those dirty clothes in your hotel room in one place. A cheap dollar store hamper or two can contain the mess. Many hotels in the Disneyland area have laundry facilities. Given the price airlines charge for bags it only makes sense to do some laundry rather than pack an outfit for everyday, especially for longer trips. No one likes to do laundry on vacation but it is easy enough to pop a load on right before you hit the pool - and it is ready by the time you get out.
Powdered Laundry Detergent
We typically stay for 5 days or longer when we are at Disneyland and, as I said, I don’t want to pack a lot so we always end up doing laundry. I will always pack a small bag of powdered laundry detergent. I don’t usually use powder at home but it is much easier to pack in my suitcase on the plane. (I don’t have to worry about it exploding in my bag). Also the hotels don’t usually have the newest model washers. Some hotels will also have dispensers where you can buy detergent, but it is way more expensive than just bringing some from home, and this way I get the brand I like.
Here is another one that I use wherever I travel, not just to Disney. We are a tech family. Between phones and tablets we have a fair few devices. I don’t know who decides where to put the electrical outlets in hotel rooms but they do not have the traveller in mind. There is maybe one plug that is not hidden behind the furniture or in the bathroom. With an extension cord that has multiple plug ins you can get your devices plugged in and off the floor. Still not enough plugs? Smart TV’s usually have a USB port or two in the back that you can charge off of.
Cheap Plastic Pants Hangers
What? Pack hangers? Yes…you will spend time in the pool and if you have kids you will know that there is never enough space to hang all those wet swimsuits. We pack a few hangers and then we can max out our hanging space on the shower curtain rod or the in-bath clothesline. Why pack them? You never know what hangers you are going to get in a hotel room. Some even have the ones that you can't take out of the closet. A few plastic hangers don't take up much suitcase space.
Spare Battery Pack
How do you keep your phone charged? An extra battery can be great when you don’t want to stop to recharge or to make it through a long flight. Several airlines I have flown recently required you to bring your own device if you wanted in-flight entertainment but had nowhere at your seat to plug in for power. (You can now get Fuel Rods and change them for fresh ones at Disneyland but bringing your own is definitely more economical).
Post It Notes
You take your own stationary to Disneyland? You ask…yes I do in the case of post it notes. I carry these handy dandy little pads in my purse for bathroom visits. Disney has mostly auto-flush toilets and my kids are FREAKED out by auto flush toilets. So much that when they were toddlers it was near impossible to get them into a public bathroom that had these toilets. Meet the great post it toilet hack…place square post it over the sensor and the toilet won’t flush until you remove it! Sanity saved! Read our Post about it here.
Swiss Army Knife
Plastic M&M Containers
The perfect thing to store all your coins in to make pressed pennies. (The smallest size is best). And we LOVE pressed pennies! Tip: we like to layer the coins in two quarters and then one penny so that they are ready to go. (Read our post on How to Press Pennies Like a Pro)
I love to collect the little paper things that come with a holiday. Maps, brochures, ticket stubs etc. Maybe it is the scrapbooker in me. I also don’t want them folded or damaged in my suitcase so I pack a plastic folder to hold all my paper souvenirs. I use a second folder to hold any papers that I need for travel - boarding passes, hotel confirmations, photocopies of important documents etc.. I pick these up at the Dollar Store.
If you enjoyed this article you may be interested in some of our other posts.
All photos by Jennifer Stuart
Questions? Thoughts? What do you consider the odd must pack items for you and your family? We would love to hear from you.
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