If you’ve ever been a victim of lost luggage, delayed luggage, flight cancelations mid-route or you’re simply an unorganized packer, then you’ll agree that one major inconvenience is enough to kick-start strategic packing. I’m not referring to your ability to remember to pack the main essentials, like headphones or your cell phone charger. Strategic, organized packing is about packing smart essentials and multipurpose items that can help you feel comfortable if you’re ever stuck. Before you say you’ve never experienced a delay or a change of route, let me tell you that your time is coming. Soon. You’re not invincible to the law of average – nobody is.

It’s daunting when you’re left with nothing for even 12 hours, let alone a few days – or more! These items that you packed in your carry-on bag will be your savior when your luggage is lost, your flight is canceled or you’ve found yourself stranded. A volleyball named Wilson won’t help you, but here are 5 things that definitely will:

1. Baby Wipes

Baby wipes are a must-have staple in my everyday life; I love these miracle-workers simply because they’re so multi-functional. Having them in your carry-on is beneficial for many reasons, and it’s not just in case something spills. Here’s why they’re an absolute must:

They can work as face wipes (most baby wipes have bit of baby oil in them and baby oil is a great way to take off makeup, so most of them can also work as a makeup remover.) You can use them as hand wipes, and they’re a non-drying alternative to hand-sanitizer as well (we all know how traveling dries out our skin.) What else can they be used for, you ask? If I’m feeling hot or uncomfortable, I’ll use a trusty baby wipe to soothe my neck and chest, making me feel cooler and more relaxed in a sometimes hot and stuffy environment. I’ve used them to do a quick wipe-down of the washroom countertops and toilet seat if it’s not up to my hygienic standards. If you spill something on yourself, they work great for releasing potential stains right away. Do you smell unpleasant from traveling? No problem, the wipes have your back. Seriously, your pitties are one wipe away from you smelling dateable. Don’t forget about the other areas, too – there’s nothing wrong with keeping it fresh everywhere! Speaking of keeping it fresh, that brings me to my next carry-on essential:

2. Fresh Panties & Socks

Always keep it fresh people, no matter what. (You never know who you’ll run into – and airports can be quite romantic. Think of every movie ever.) Baby wipes can only do so much, so keeping your undergarments pure will add to your overall comfort while traveling. Not to mention, if you’re stuck without your bag for a few days, it’s kind of essential to have extra panties. I also really like at least two pairs of extra socks (preferably one pair being roomy socks for in-flight comfort.) I really enjoy kicking my feet up with fresh, laundered and cozy socks. I wear them around the plane, and if stuck at the airport, I’ll do the same. No shame in my game, at all.

If I’m stranded somewhere for a long period of time, that area has now become my temporary home, and b*tch you better believe I’m getting comfy – just as I would at my crib. As for lost luggage, if I have fresh socks and underwear, I feel like everything else in life will be kosher.

3. Big Comfy Sweater

Ah, the big comfy sweater. Need it. Love it. Gotta have it. It serves at least two vital purposes: warmth and comfort. In fact, better pack two. Airplanes and airports can get quite cold, so it’s nice to have a big sweater to wear or drape over yourself as a blanket. Don’t make the mistake of only packing summer clothes because you’re headed somewhere hot. Air conditioning can be a real b*tch and it’s cranked even colder when you’re in a tropical location. You can also use a big sweater as a pillow by bunching it up – talk about comfort on the fly. An oversized cotton sweater would be best, as opposed to a jacket which would be too bulky and potentially too heavy to lug around. Sweaters are lighter, and a more comfortable material to nestle your pretty little jetlagged head. Most jackets have zippers and a zipper in the eye when you’re trying to sleep isn’t cool. Just saying.

4. Deodorant

After you’ve wiped yourself down with your trusty baby wipes, you can go ahead and glide your deodorant over those fresh armpits for constant and effective freshness. It’s amazing to me how many people pack cologne or perfume in their carry-on, but forget to pack deodorant, which is much more effective and more important. Knowing you smell nice and knowing the people next to you feel the same is a nice thought, especially since you never know who you might be sitting next to – wink wink.

5. Mini Amenity Kit

Essentially, cleanliness and comfort go hand-in-hand. Can you really have one without the other? That’s why mini amenity kits that come with travel-sized mouthwash, floss, toothpaste and a toothbrush should definitely be in your carry-on. The cleaner and the more hygienic you are while traveling, the more comfortable you’ll be. In the words of N Sync, This I Promise You.

There’s nothing fabulous about being greasy with fuzzy teeth while simultaneously being overtired and jetlagged. I’ve been there, and I do not like being there, so I avoid it at all costs. Having a mini amenity kit is crucial. You can buy them at drug stores or supercenters. Having a fresh mouth is certainly important, especially when sharing space in close proximity, with others – even more so when potential courtship or potential business networking opportunities are lurking in the air. Traveling can be stressful when there are unexpected changes and nothing seems to go your way. However, by ensuring all these essentials are taken care of, you’re creating less opportunity for stressful situations.  Do this and you’ll fly through your travel experience in a much less stressful manner. Pun Intended.

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