Discover my top travel essentials that are must-haves when I am packing for a trip. Whether for a long, international trip or a quick weekend getaway, I never travel without these accessories. Trust me, they will make your life so much easier when you’re packing for your next vacation.
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. We ended up overpacking and yet not packing any travel essentials. 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. Plus, we had so many bags to keep track of that we ended up leaving our camera bag 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! Check out my top ten travel essentials below, and add these to your next packing list.
1. A Do-It-All Travel Bag
The Lo & Sons Catalina Deluxe Tote 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!
2. An On-the-Go Spot Kit
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.
3. A Durable Water Bottle
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! This S’well Water Bottle is my go-to because it’s durable and great at keeping liquids both hot and cold.
4. Packing Cubes
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. I also 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.
5. A Lightweight Scarf
A scarf is one of the most versatile items you can pack. 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.
6. A Reliable Travel Adapter
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.
7. A Comfy Neck Pillow
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.
8. A Portable Luggage Scale
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. This one is highly-rated and easy to use.
9. Waterproof, Comfortable Footwear
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. The Vessi Cityscape Sneakers are 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!
10. A Stylish Camera Bag
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 Claremont Camera Bag 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.
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What are some travel essentials you won’t leave home without? Share in the comments below!
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I keep hearing everyone raving about packing cubes I think I’m going to have to invest. My suitcase is never organized so it can’t get much worse
Mapped by Megan says
They are a game changer! I usually start off with an organized suitcase at the beginning of the trip and then things unravel as the trip goes on, but these help me stay organized the whole time! 🙂
Okay that camera bag looks like a legit gamechanger. I always struggle SO MUCH with a DSLR when i travel because it’s so bulky and heavy on top of everything else I already have to carry 😪 .. Definitely seeking that one out, thanks for the tip! ❤️
Mapped by Megan says
It is such a great bag, and I believe on sale right now! Makes it so much easier to pack light – and access your camera as soon as inspiration strikes!