When it comes to travel, a little bit of preparation goes a long way. It’s well-worth investing in the best, most streamlined products designed specifically for travel.
I learned this the hard way. For our honeymoon to New Zealand, my husband and I were so unorganized (having focused all of our time and energy on wedding planning) that we ended up overpacking and yet not packing much at all of what we really needed. We had to buy an extra suitcase at the airport before even departing, but didn’t have things like travel pillows or sleeping aids to help make our seventeen hour flight more comfortable. We also had so many bags to keep track of that we ended up losing our camera in a rental car.
When getting ready for our latest international trip, I vowed to be different. I researched and tested the best of the best travel essentials and rounded up my favorites below!
This is hands down my favorite travel accessory ever. It is truly the take anywhere bag – great for a carry-on, a weekend road trip, the daily commute, gym, beach, you name it! The bottom zipper pocket is perfect for keeping things like shoes separate, and the handle sleeve easily slips over your roller bag. It’s roomy enough to hold all of your essentials for a weekend trip, but compact enough to fit under the seat (and count as a personal item) when flying. It comes in many different colors and materials, but I prefer the poly fabric because it’s durable, water-resistant, and maintains its shape. Plus, you can feel better about your impact knowing that it’s made from recycled plastic bottles!
Lately, my goal has been to pack as light as possible, forgoing extra changes of clothes to allow more room to bring back souvenirs. That means if spills or stains cause an outfit to be taken out of commission, it can be detrimental. (I once made the mistake of packing a pair of white jeans as my only pair of bottoms for a wine weekend….) Hotel laundry is expensive, so I often find myself doing a makeshift load in the bathroom sink. The On the Spot Kit by The Laundress is a lifesaver. With fabric deodorizer, crease release, static guard, and stain solution all within TSA regulation size, it has everything you need to keep clean on the go.
A sturdy water bottle is one of the most important things to pack when traveling. As soon as I get through airport security, I make a dash to fill up my bottle – it’s essential to stay hydrated on a long flight! S’well is my go-to brand because it’s durable and great at keeping liquids both hot and cold.
Packing cubes are a game changer for staying organized on the go and maximizing space in a suitcase. I use them to organize my clothes by category or outfit, and save one for dirty laundry, so I never have to dig through crumpled clothes to find something at the bottom of my bag again. This set by Calpak comes with two small, one medium, one large, and one water-resistant pouch in a stylish design.
A scarf is one of the most versatile items you can pack, and this one by Cuyana is lightweight, soft, and stylish. Be sure to stash it in your carry on for when the cabin temperature inevitably reaches arctic climate mid-flight. Layer it with any outfit for a little extra warmth, or tie it around your waist for a quick and easy swim coverup.
Don’t make the mistake of traveling internationally without a travel adapter. This SublimeWare one will serve you well in over 150 countries and has multiple USB ports for simultaneously charging up to five devices. Its high-quality, heavy-duty design is guaranteed to outlast the wears and tears of travel, plus it comes with a handy case for added protection.
I can’t believe I resisted getting one of these for so long. I was hesitant about taking up precious packing space, but it really does make such a huge difference for longer flights and red-eyes. This memory foam one is-oh-so-comfy, as stylish as a travel pillow gets, and includes ear plugs, an eye mask, and a storage bag.
I first encountered one of these at a resourceful hotel towards the end of a trip to Italy, when I was worried about the weight of all the wine I was bringing home. Now I’ve invested in one of my own, so I never have to panic about redistributing weight or adding a last-minute checked bag while standing at the ticketing desk of the airport again.
The struggle is real when it comes to packing shoes. You need so many different pairs depending on weather, activities, etc, and yet they take up so much precious space in a suitcase. Vessi has designed the perfect pair for travel. For my last trip, these were just one of two pairs that I packed, and I didn’t find myself needing anything more. They’re perfect for a morning jog or hitting up a hotel gym, trekking around the city, and even for hiking. The breathable, waterproof technology keeps you cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and dry in the rain. Plus, they’re lightweight and super comfy – you’ll feel like you’re walking on a cloud!
For too long, I lugged around my DSLR and camera equipment in a bulky backpack. It was great for things like car trips, plane travel, and hikes, but for sightseeing, I wanted something that stylishly blended in (there is nothing worse than sticking out like a cliched tourist). This Lo & Sons purse is gorgeous, roomy, and features a quilted, padded interior to protect the camera. The exterior zip pocket is perfect for stashing cash, cards, and phone for easy access. It even has hidden pockets for memory cards, so you’ll never have to hunt at the bottom of your bag for an extra (or worse – go through your photos on the spot deciding which to delete) when you run out of space.
What are some essential items you can’t travel without? Share in the comments below!
Disclosure: some of the links in this post are affiliate, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.