Pack It Up
Stay prepared for your next visit with the doc with these 10 must-have hospital bag items that’ll keep you comfortably content.

When heading to the hospital for a long day or overnight stay, plan ahead by packing items to help you stay comfortable and entertained. Keep your self care routines intact, your mind active and your body restful through treatments, recovery and the many waiting periods. Here are 10 items we recommend to keep in your bag for an easy and soothing appointment.

Toiletries: Maintain your most important daily routines. Keeping simple luxuries like your own toothbrush and toothpaste can help you feel good. Bring along your skincare routine, lip balm and beauty products, too. To save space in your bag, stock up on travel and trial sizes or use reusable travel bottles. Kitsch has a BPA-free, non-toxic and dishwasher safe kit ($12).

Warm, soft socks: Sometimes, the simplest things make us feel the most comforted. A good pair of socks can really change your mood. You’ll want a pair that keeps your piggies toasty and provides a little grip when walking along the hospital’s linoleum floors. Shearling lined slipper socks from Pudus ($15–$30) are stylish and cozy while fuzzy slipper socks from Pembrook ($24) are specifically designed for hospital use.

Moisturizing hand mask: Since you’ll have time to fill, this is a good opportunity to indulge in self-care that requires sitting in place. Take 20 minutes to treat yourself to soft hands. Tony Moly hand masks ($5.50) are sweet smelling and touchscreen friendly, so you can still use your phone while waiting for the cream to thoroughly absorb into your skin.

Water bottle and snacks: Rather than relying on whatever is in the vending machine, plan to stay hydrated and keep your energy up with drinks and healthy nibbles packed from home. Stainless steel S’well reusable bottles ($25–$45) come in fun colors and keep cold drinks cold for 48 hours and hot drinks hot for 24 hours. For a meal or snack that is easily stowed in your bag, a bento-style lunch box like insulated ones from Yumbox ($20–$32) keeps foods separate and organized until you are ready to dig in. Maybe add some ginger chews to settle an upset stomach.

Head Wrap: Comfort is key for a stressless hospital stay. The stylish caps, wraps and hats by Grace Eleyae are lined with satin to minimize friction on your strands or scalp and help keep moisture locked in. Wear to sleep or throughout the day and protect your skin and hair from the rough pillowcase fabric of a chilly hospital room.

Something to read: When preparing for extended time with your medical team, bring that novel you’ve wanted to finish or those magazines (like Cancer Wellness) that fuel your joyful imagination. We recommend downloading the Libby app onto your smartphone or tablet. Libby is a free app providing ebooks, audiobooks and digital magazines from your local library, delivering them directly to your device.

Portable power bank: Spending more time on your phone playing games, reading ebooks or streaming a show means that your phone’s battery will drain quicker, so keep a fully charged power bank in your bag. A power bank is like a portable generator for your phone. By charging the power bank ahead of time at home, you can tap into it when your cell battery gets low on the go. The Fast Charge Qi Wireless Power Bank ($50) can charge by plugging in or simply laying your phone on top. We recommend carrying more than one, so that you are never caught without a little extra juice when you need it.

Headphones: Headphones are a game changer when you want to escape for a little bit. When you put your headphones on, you’re suddenly in a whole new world. Make a playlist ahead of time, catch up on a podcast or get lost in an audiobook. To take your listening experience to the next level, try out an 8D version of your favorite song, a production technique that pans audio from side to side, for a music-led brain massage, or listen to a guided meditation on the Insight Timer app.

Adult coloring book/activity book: Sometimes, we want to take a break from all the screens in our lives and create something tangible. This is where a coloring or activity book comes in. They are pretty distractions with very low stakes. Color outside the lines? Fine. You’re a grown up! You get to decide! Let yourself escape into a fantasy world of your own design. The Secret Garden coloring book ($10) combines coloring with mazes and puzzles to engage both sides of your brain in a fun treasure hunt through the pages. Or try the Adult Coloring Book for Breast Cancer Patients ($11.11) with 50+ images to keep those wait times a little more stress-free.

A sample size of your favorite scent: You likely can’t wear perfumes, colognes or scented lotions right now, but sniffing a small vial of your favorite scent can do wonders to alter your mood. Take a little whiff from the bottle when you want a mood boost or comfort. We like ginger and peppermint essential oils from Now® Essential Oils, which can help soothe both your mind and stomach. Be sure to avoid lavender, which is included in many anti-nausea blends, as it is a hormone disruptor.

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