I’ve been asked a few times about my must-have items while traveling- you know, those items (besides your passport) that you’d consider turning around for on the way to the airport. A lot of what I pack is dependent on the type of trip and destination that I’m heading to, but over the years, I’ve come up with a list that I seriously cannot travel without.
1. Packing Cubes
Once you start traveling with packing cubes, you will never go back to traveling without them. In fact, you may even wonder how you’ve managed to see so much of the world with such a mess in your bag/suitcase. I bought my set in 2013 before the first backpacking experience (16 days in Italy) and I have used them ever since. At the time, I was very new to the idea of living out of a backpack so having my clothing organized was a serious lifesaver.
The exact set that I purchase (with a cute bicycle print) is no longer available for sale but these would be a close second!
2. Noise Cancelling Headphones
Ahhh- that’s what you will say when you pop these on and turn on noise cancelling… Goodbye crying baby and loud jet engines! Noise cancelling headphones are typically not cheap but if you are considering buying them, don’t skimp out- it’s the quality product that you’re after. Over the ear, wireless or earbuds: that’s up to you but if you are a frequent traveler and/or value peace and sanity, just go ahead and splurge. I personally have the earbud version mainly because it’s the most compact and portable solution.
Tip: if you want to catch some zZzZs and have a hard time falling asleep to music, turn on the noise cancelling feature without playing anything on them (or even plugging them into your phone). You’ll be snoozin’ before you know it.
3. Travel Perfume Atomizer
Traveling with a carry-on only is great- your bag never gets lost, you don’t need to wait for hours at baggage claim but you’re limited when it comes to toiletries. If TSA decides to throw away my sunscreen, I’m not happy but I’ll live… a bottle of perfume is not worth risking in my opinion.
This refillable perfume stray bottle is super easy to use and now you can bring your favorite perfume along with you! Boys, no need to worry- this works with cologne just as well!
4. Travel Pack
When I first came across the idea of traveling with a pack instead of a suitcase, I was honestly skeptical. How am I going to fit everything in just a carry-on? Fast-forward 5 years and now I’m the biggest backpack advocate ever! One of the biggest advantages of traveling with a pack is mobility. I love being able to take the stairs without struggling to drag my suitcase or run to catch the train that you are late for. I’ve owned my Kelty Redwing 44 since 2013 and I have taken it from backpacking in Italy, road tripping in Iceland to hiking in the backcountry in Alaska… and I still use it! The Osprey Porter is another good choice- it comes with a daypack attached to the front so once you arrive at your destination, unzip the day pack and you’re ready to go explore!
5. Inflatable Pillow
I invested in a super portable inflatable pillow after too many flights and nights of camping when I resorted to folding my sweatshirt and using it as a pillow instead… let me tell you – this pillow is worth every penny. In fact, it’s so small that I need to either clip it on the outside of my pack or put it in a separate compartment else it’s impossible to find pre-flight. Also this is a MUST have for all of the frugal travelers out there choosing discount airlines (Spirit, Ryanair, Easy Jet etc) that don’t offer pillows on flights.
- Power Bank – Absolutely necessity if you’re using your phone as a camera or GPS when traveling.
- Travel Adapter – Serious must have for international travel and this cube has you covered worldwide.
- Key Ring Corkscrew – If you enjoy wine, buy one of these corkscrews and clip in on your pack. You’ll thank me when you find yourself with a bottle of wine and no way to open it!
- Laundry Bag – This laundry bag has traveled the world with me and still services its purpose. I think the fact that it’s so cute and has a world map on it has prevented me from losing it on multiple occasions.
- Lock – This one is a no-brainer especially if you’re staying at hostels. Some hostels have lockers for luggage that already come with locks and some force you to rent one. This lock is so small and portable that I always have it on me when traveling to avoid those silly fees. Pro tip: utilize this at the gym during the time you’re not on the road!
So there you have it – 5+ items that I cannot travel without! Drop me a comment if you have any other travel items that I should include or if these items are also on your must-have list!
PS. To find all of the items, check out my Amazon List