No matter the destination, every traveller has some essentials for travel that they can’t live (or leave) without. You’ll be happy to have some of these essential travel items in your carry-on or luggage to help your trip go as smoothly as possible.
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Travel Essentials List
Thinking through all the things you could possibly need while travelling can get overwhelming. If you’re going on a trip soon and need a quick reference for the most important essentials for travel to keep in your bag, this list is for you. Whether you’re planning a day trip or a longer vacation, the travel items listed below are ones that you’ll likely want to keep handy.
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Travel Essentials for Carry-On or Backpack
Besides the clothes you’ll wear during your trip, there are some really important items to make sure you bring in your purse or carry-on bag. Here are some of the major items you’ll likely be reaching for the most on the way to your destination.
Wallet or Passport Organizer
No matter where you’re travelling, it’s always a good idea to keep your important documents and ID together for easy access. Between checking in at the airport, customs, and the hotel, you’ll likely need to pull out these documents throughout your travel day.
Keep these important papers together in a neat and organized way using a passport organizer or wallet. Here are some documents to include in your organizer:
- Driver’s license
- Flight ticket confirmation
- Hotel reservation confirmation
- Customs forms (if travelling internationally)
- Travel insurance information
- Emergency cash
Compact Medication Bag
If you’re travelling with over-the-counter allergy meds or prescription medicine, make sure to keep it with you in your carry-on or daily travel bag. It’s not uncommon for checked luggage to get delayed or lost, so it’s a good idea to keep important medicine with you at all times.
Bonus Travel Tip: you can also print up a copy of your prescription from your doctor in case of emergency, and you need to refill the prescription while travelling.
No matter where you’re travelling to, keeping your eyes protected from harmful sun rays is very important. Make sure your sunglasses fit well, so they’re not loose around your face. You want to opt for sunglasses that fit your destination and personality.
If you’re lounging on the beach, a cute pair of aviators is great. But if you’re hitting the slopes on a sunny day, a sportier pair might work better.
Especially if you’re travelling on a plane, extra lip balm is a must-have. The high altitude can dry out your skin and irritate your lips. A moisturizing lip balm with SPF is essential while travelling.
Sunscreen and Bug Repellent
Even if you’re spending your trip inside, dermatologists and estheticians say that sunscreen is a daily necessity. Bug repellent is also a must-have no matter where you’re travelling. Your skin will thank you for protecting it from the sun and insects around you.
Keep your skin hydrated and refreshed with a travel-sized facial spray. Long plane or car rides can be quite exhausting and irritating to the skin.
Especially if you have plans immediately when you reach your destination, a good facial spray is essential to help freshen up the skin and even prime it for a little touch-up of your makeup.
We’ve all gotten a bit hungry during a long trip. With the occasional plane delay or travel hiccup, sometimes it can be a while before you’re able to catch a bite. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a few granola bars or trail mix in your bag to help tide you over.
Carrying some extra snacks is also a good way to avoid paying for overpriced food at an airport or kiosk.
Essential Things to Pack for Travelling
For a longer trip, you’ll likely be bringing a medium to a larger-sized suitcase for your trip. Here are some essentials for travel for your luggage to help you stay prepared and organized.
Easy-to-Spot Luggage Tags
No matter how you’re travelling, luggage tags are a must-have for identifying your suitcase and making sure someone can contact you if it gets lost. To make your luggage even easier to spot, it’s recommended to use tags that are unique and easy to see from far away.
You’ll also want to use luggage tags that are durable so that it stays secure during the rough journey through airport security.
Travel Cubes for Luggage
Packing bags/cube organizers are every traveller’s essential for their suitcase. No matter how neatly you fold your clothes, using luggage organizers are the best way to keep all of your clothes and other travel essentials as easy to find as possible.
Some more pros of packing cubes are:
- Maximize available space in the suitcase
- Affordable and easy to use
- You can group your suitcase items however you like
- Prevents items from moving around too much
Thin Sweater or Jacket
Even if you’re travelling to a warmer climate, you’re likely to get a little chilly inside the hotel, restaurants, or museums. Travelling anywhere with a thin sweater or light rain jacket is always a good idea to keep warm and also to protect your skin if you’re planning to spend your vacation exploring outdoors.
Comfy Walking Shoes
Comfort is key while travelling, making a good pair of walking shoes an essential item to bring on your trip. Everyone is comfortable in different shoes and depending on your destination you’ll want to bring appropriate shoes for hiking or a lot of walking. Tennis shoes are classic, but even a good pair of flats can be ideal if you’re trying to stay cool and cute.
Socks are a must-have item while travelling to keep your feet protected and comfortable. Compression socks, in particular, have quickly become an essential item for many travellers, as they help the blood circulation in your feet and legs, a perfect travel item to ward off pain and fatigue on a busy travel day.
Did you know you can get a sunburn on your scalp? Many travellers forget about the importance of protecting their heads from sun rays. Make sure to pack a good hat or cap with you while travelling to protect your head and face from the sun. There are plenty of stylish and versatile hats that will do with any travel outfit.
Umbrella or Poncho
Umbrellas are easy to bring along, but a large poncho is really great because it allows you to protect your backpack or purse more easily, and they allow you to stay hands-free. Don’t let a bit of rain get in the way of your vacation. Not to mention, umbrellas are great ways to give yourself some shade from the sun as well.
Separate Laundry Bag
The best way to keep your travel clothes as fresh and organized as possible is to bring along an empty laundry bag to put your dirty clothes in throughout your trip. This makes it also way easier to get laundry done when you arrive back home.
Small Sewing Kit
You never know when a wardrobe malfunction will happen. Keep a small sewing kit with you for the occasional button or zipper mishap. Some items to have in your sewing kit include:
- Small fabric scissors
- Extra black and white thread
All of these items are easy enough to pack in a small pouch and keep in your luggage, but there are also plenty of small sewing kits on Amazon you can shop pre-made.
Mini Stain Remover
That baking soda trick we all know and love works great, but it isn’t always the most travel-friendly option. Small spills happen all the time, but with a mini stain remover pen or drops, you can keep your clothes looking sharp while travelling.
No one wants to get that bit of coffee on their shirt and have to spend the rest of the day (and photos) with it. Keep a stain remover pen handy, and you’ll easily be able to take care of any spills along your trip.
Travel Essentials for Woman – Self-care and Toiletry Essentials
You’ll have everything you need to stay fresh and clean through your whole trip with these self-care and toiletry essentials. You’ll likely be taking plenty of photos or if you have an important work meeting and you want to make sure you look your best. These bathroom essentials should be in your bag at all times.
Toiletry Bag Basic Essentials List
Even for the occasional overnight trip, there are bathroom necessities everyone needs. There are plenty of spacious toiletry bags that also have organization compartments to help keep everything within hands’ reach. Here are the top essentials you’ll need in your toiletry bag:
- Body wash
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Makeup essentials
- Contacts and contact solution
- Hairstyling products
Bonus Travel Tip: Travelers often keep a ready-to-go toiletry bag in their empty suitcases at all times. When the occasional last-minute trip comes up, all the toiletries they need are ready to go without even having to think about it.
Reusable Water bottle
While you can’t bring a full water bottle through airport security with you, a reusable water bottle is essential. Stay hydrated and eco-friendly by packing a small reusable canteen with you. You can easily fill it up after making it through security at the airport and stay hydrated throughout your travels.
Long plane rides can be a drag, and there’s always that one person next to you who chooses to keep their overhead light on. Bring a good eye mask with you to help block out the light, grab some shut-eye, and you’ll be well-rested and ready for your trip the moment you step off that plane.
Travelling is often a bit irritating to the skin, with different climates and altitudes causing the occasional dry patch or pimple. Bring a face mask for your trip to keep your skin healthy and looking fresh.
Disinfecting Wipes and Sanitizer
Protect yourself and those around you from germs and bacteria with disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer. Here are some surfaces you should make sure to wipe down for good measure:
- Plane tray table
- Airport food court table
- Hotel room phone and doorknob
You want to make sure you stay safe and healthy on your trip, and that usually starts with your travel and accommodation spots.
Staying well-rested and comfortable throughout your trip is important to get the most out of your vacation. A good travel pillow is compact and supportive for your neck. Not only are they great for planes but also for long car rides and even in hotels for some more support while sleeping.
Hair Dryer and Styler
Rather than bring a hairdryer and a styling tool, try bringing a 2-in-1 styling tool. Not only does it take up less space in your luggage, but it can also cut back on the time it takes to do your hair in the morning. This means less time getting ready and more time exploring and making the most of your trip.
Laundry Detergent Packets
Laundry detergent packets are especially useful if you plan to travel for a longer amount of time and aren’t sure if you’ll have access to laundry facilities. These easy detergent packets are great for washing a few items in the sink when you need to.
Electronic Essentials for Travel
Besides clothes and toiletries, there are also some electronic essentials to keep in your travel bag. Stay charged up and ready to go all day with the items listed below.
Portable Phone Charger
Between taking photos, using navigation apps, and communicating with others, you’re likely to run through your phone battery quicker than you think. Portable phone chargers are small and easy to carry around for those times when you’re running low on battery.
They’re also a bit more reliable than just carrying around an extra plug-in charger because you never know if there will be a plug nearby.
Camera with Extra Battery or Charger
A portable and durable camera with a battery is absolutely essential for any traveller’s bag. And don’t forget to bring an extra battery or charging cord, so you’re never unprepared for the picture-perfect memory moment.
Chronicle those amazing views and travel moments with a quality camera. Your Instagram will thank you for those incredible photos and amazing memories.
Tripod or Selfie Stick
Travelling is the perfect opportunity to step up your photography game with a compact and portable tripod or selfie stick. This camera and phone accessory is easy to carry with you and set up easily whenever you want to take a good photo but also want to capture an amazing background or angle.
Whether you prefer wireless or traditional headphones, they are an essential item for every traveller. Music and podcasts are some of the best ways to pass the time on a plane, car, or train ride. While wireless noise-cancelling headphones are more popular these days, it’s always a good idea to have an extra pair of headphones to plug into your phone when needed.
Clip-on Lens for Phone
A small fish lens or multi-angle clip-on lens for the camera on your phone is a great way to snap a variety of pictures without having to carry around a whole other camera.
Phones are getting better- and better-quality cameras each year, and a good lens for your phone only helps boost the type of photos you’re able to take on your trip. Here’s a lens kit with multiple options to try out which ones fit your style the best.
Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot
Internet access is always a bit up in the air while travelling, especially while travelling internationally. That means a small portable Wi-Fi hotspot is a great way to bring reliable internet with you on your travels.
Mini Portable Speaker
A portable speaker should be on every traveller’s essentials list. A high-quality speaker can make your whole trip even more fun. A waterproof one is best, especially for those trips to the beach or river. Put that amazing travel playlist to use. You won’t be sorry.
Entertainment Essentials for Travel
Last but not least are a few things to keep your mind occupied while travelling. Especially with the occasional delay or longer travel days, it’s good to keep a few entertainment essentials to make your travels that much more fun.
Book or eReader
E-readers are particularly useful to have plenty of options for reading materials without carrying around a ton of different books. But no matter your preference, a good book or magazine is at the top of many traveller’s essentials list as a compact and fun form of entertainment.
A plane or car ride is the perfect place to finally finish that book you’ve meant to complete. Not to mention, they’re great for hanging out at the pool or on the beach.
Deck of Cards
A deck of cards is about as versatile as you can get when it comes to travel-friendly games. From Go Fish to poker, there’s a fun game you and your travel companions can play without getting bored.
Even if you’re not a daily journal user by habit, travelling is the best time to chronicle your days. You’ll have fun logging your experiences, what you see, and even new friends you meet. It’s also common to print out some good photos and tape them into your journal at the end of the trip to mark the memories with.
Final Thoughts for Your Essentials for Travel
If you’re embarking on a luxury travel vacation such as Hawaii, you might enjoy this packing list to help with your travel packing.