When we travel, “traveling” is always the easy part. It is exhilarating to visit museums, eat delicious meals, and experience cultural differences while having a break from the humdrum of everyday life. But the preparation is not quite as fun. Packing is not very glamorous or exciting. To make things easier, I have pulled together a list of my favorite must have travel items. Whether you are flying or in need of road trip essentials, use these small conveniences to help guide your packing checklist.
First things first: you are going to need a good carry-on suitcase. As travel returned post-pandemic, I invested in a Monos carry-on and I love it. If is only a short trip, it is spacious enough for both my husband and me. For longer trips, and international trips in particular, it is small enough to be a carry-on. But it is also rugged enough to be checked, as I did on a recent trip to Germany. The built-in lock means you will not be searching for a travel lock and the smooth roll and telescoping handle means you have less to stress about. It is also light enough that I can manage it easily by myself.
BYOB – Bring Your Own (Hot) Beverages
For me, tea is not just one of my must have travel items, it is a must have item period. These days, an electric tea kettle or Keurig machine are not uncommon amenities to find in your hotel room. But sometimes the free coffee and tea options provided leave something to be desired. That is why I always BYOT — bring your own tea. Some of one of my favorite teas, like Kusmi, in bag-form can be tucked in a bag and into your suitcase or purse. For my coffee-drinking husband, I bring a few Japanese instant drip coffees. These incredibly convenient pour-over single-serve coffees sit on top of your mug: all you have to do is add hot water.
Buy UCC Mild Blend Single Serve Hand Drip Coffee or Kusmi Tea Anastasia on Amazon
Universal Travel Adapter
A universal travel adapter is on any knowledgeable jet setter’s travel essentials list. These little devices allow you to use your plugs on devices from home even when the wall outlet is different. It is always worth packing one of these handy devices when traveling abroad. Just be sure to note the voltages that your devices need and the adapter can handle. I recommend getting one with USB ports.
Buy EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter from Amazon
USB Fast Charger
When you are on the go, having fully charged mobile devices are a must. Whether you forgot to plug your device in overnight or want to take advantage of an available outlet for a quick charge, I always pack a wall charger that promises to top up my battery fast. And as compact and light as chargers are, it is a real must!
Buy USB C Anker 32W 2 Port Charger from Amazon
Reusable Toiletry Bottles
Will your hotel or rental have toiletries? Better yet, will they be of good quality? Eliminate the guesswork and make yourself comfortable by taking your own soaps, lotions, shampoos, and more with reusable bottles. These bottles are also eco-friendly.
Buy LiquiSnugs Premium Silicone Travel Bottles For Toiletries
Hand Wash In Sink Laundry Detergent
If you are trying to pack light, then laundry detergent for hand washing is a must. It will save you from hours in a laundromat (not to mention the financial benefits) and keep you comfortable. For delicate and woolen items you just want to freshen up, I recommend Eucalan. It is no rinse and contains lanolin. For other items, try Tide Travel Sink Packets.
Buy Eucalan Delicate Wash and Tide Travel Sink Packets from Amazon
I learned years ago EarPlanes are one of my absolute must have travel items. I can not fly without them. The earplug-like devices help to alleviate the cabin pressure that can cause pain for some. Without these devices, I find myself in rather significant pain during the flight, especially during take-off and landing. The congestion usually continues once the plane lands. But with a pair of EarPlanes, I am comfortable both during and after the flight. They also offer some sound protection as an added bonus.
The right raincoat can serve many roles. It can be a lightweight jacket for chilly mornings or windy days and, obviously, it can protect against rain. When you do not need it, it can be folded up and stored in your luggage. My raincoat is always on my packing checklist!
Buy Calvin Klein Women’s Long Packable Anorak Jacket from Amazon
Water Bottle and Thermos with Tea Infuser
Traveling with a water bottle is a no-brainer. But to travel light, it is important to bring items that function in multiple ways. For example, do not bring a basic water bottle when you could bring a bottle that is also a Thermos and has a tea infuser. Keep your beverage cold or hot and make yourself some tea while you are at it!
Buy Pure Zen Tea Thermos with Infuser from Amazon
At the time of writing, most mask mandates have fallen by the wayside. But, personally, I still keep masks close by — just in case. Just in case you are not feeling your best or are visiting somewhere that requests masks be worn, you can be prepared.
All of the USB charging protection and devices I recommend are great…if you have access to an electrical outlet or a USB port. But what about when you are on a hike and want to use a map and your phone battery is dying? A lightweight and ultra-slim power bank can be tucked in a backpack, purse, or even your pocket.
Ultra Slim Built in Cables Power Bank
From low-humidity flights to winter travel, a little self-care can go a long way when you are on the go. With the travel-sized body lotion, hand salve, foot cream, and lip balm from Burt’s Bees, you can indulge without breaking the bank or taking up too much space in your suitcase.
Buy Essential Burt’s Bees Kit from Amazon
First Aid Kit
Always be prepared, as the motto goes. Hopefully, everything goes smoothly when you travel, but with a small first aid kit, you can be prepared if something does go amiss. With this compact kit that easily attaches to backpacks or can be stowed in luggage, you can quickly address any concerns. If nothing else, a first aid kit should be stowed away in your car all the time and not just as part of your road trip essentials. A small first aid kit is the one thing among your must have travel items that you will, fingers crossed, never have to use.
Buy Mini First Aid Kit from Amazon
PortaPow USB Data Blocker
With all the conveniences available to use with mobile devices, there is, unfortunately, always someone looking to take advantage. So before you blindly plug in your USB charger at the airport, coffee shop, or hotel room, take precautions against potential malware. Using a USB data blocker protects your mobile device (or whatever you have plugged into a public USB port).
Buy PortaPow USB Data Blocker from Amazon
What are your must have travel items? Let me know in the comments below!
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