I love traveling. I love the freedom and the independence to go anywhere I want, whenever I want. Being an online entrepreneur, I am not tied up to one location. So, I can pack my bags and be ready to leave anytime. Such freedom is priceless.
Whether you’re passionate about discovering new places, or if your job requires a lot of traveling, you need to have some skills to organize trips. These range from deciding which country you are going to visit next to finding the best offers for accommodation, flights and being prepared for anything that could happen.
Unless you travel in an RV, then you can’t take with you everything that you want in your holiday. Carrying large luggage with you is difficult and more expensive. Personally, I consider only the hand baggage for which I don’t need to pay an extra fee when flying. I wanted to find out what are the must-have travel items, so I reached out to 63 travel experts and asked them the following question:
What are your top 3 favorite items that you always take with you when traveling abroad?
I received excellent feedback that I would love to share with you. In case you don’t have time to read the full post and you just want to find out the conclusions, here are the top 5 most picked items:
- Clothes (Merino Wool Tees, scarfs, swimsuit etc) – 20 votes
- Chargers and adaptors – 15 votes
- Skincare and makeup products (eye mask, lip balm, face oil) -14 votes
- Camera – 7 votes
- Stomach pills, Refillable Water Bottle, Packing Cubes – 6 votes each
Robert G. Rose – Raw Travel
1. Eye Shades
I’m a light sleeper and my favorite destinations are many time zones away. Like the military, I sleep when I can. Eyeshades help block out the light and I can sleep in airplanes, airports, bus stations and even in a hotel room!
2. White Noise App on my phone
See above. I’m a light sleeper but love the sound of white noise. I have mine set to Airplane Travel mode ironically enough. It blocks crying babies, noisy neighbors, street noise, etc. so I can sleep like a baby!
3. Water Filter Water Bottle
Bottled water cost money and plastic water bottles are polluting the planet. With my portable water filter water bottle, I can filter water from any tap in the world and be confident I won’t get ill. Stay hydrated… 1st rule of travel!
Charles McCool – McCool Travel
On every international trip I bring (besides the obvious):
1. Bose noise-canceling earbuds
They reduce the airplane noise and accentuate the sound for music or television.
2. Two refillable water bottles
After clearing security (hopefully pre-check!), I fill up my empty water bottles for the flight.
Not necessarily for the flight but for the transition to the new destination, I bring snacks. Food choices at 5 am or 11 pm are not wise. I like to bring a box of granola bars, trail mix, wasabi peas, and/or fresh fruit.
Laurie Dickinson Lee – Swift Passport and Visa Services
Probiotics are God’s gift to every traveler! Not only does flying throw off your digestion and hydration, but being exposed to new germs, new foods, and irregular eating patterns can be problematic when you travel. There is nothing worse than having digestive issues on either end of the spectrum when you want to be out and about exploring. Probiotics soften the transition and prepare your body for the changes you will experience when you travel.
2. Complete Itinerary for entire trip including hotels
I always keep a complete Itinerary for entire trip including hotels in my carry-on. That way, when I complete my immigration paperwork on the plane, I have access to answers to the questions that they ask. I’m sorry but unless it’s saved somewhere, I won’t remember a specific address where I am staying! Being unprepared in the custom lines is awkward, and unnecessary. This has also come in handy at border checkpoints where customs agents request proof of onward travel. This is a common request, and having a print out saves a lot of time.
3. Clothes for 1 day
I always 1 day of clothes in my carry-on. A few years back, my husband and I went to a remote island in the Caribbean. We made it there on time, however, our luggage did not! It took 2 extra days for the luggage to arrive at our hotel. There isn’t much you can’t do in the Caribbean as long as you have flip-flops and a bathing suit. We always make sure we have enough to last a day in the weather to where we are traveling.
Matt Guidice – Matt’s Flights
This one might be common sense but the age we live in now with Credit/Debit Cards, cash needs to be on this list. It is very common to forget to call your bank to let them know you are traveling. You could also have issues taking out money or even have the ATM swallow your card. With Cash, you do not face these issues. No matter the country you are in, cash will always be accepted to exchange currencies.
This is a MUST for traveling abroad.
2. Small safe
No matter where I am traveling to it is a must that you have some kind of safe to keep your valuable possessions. Something small but large enough to hold your wallet, passport, jewelry or anything with value to you. I am a pretty trustworthy person but you can never be safe enough when your passport is involved. The last thing you need is to be abroad with no ways to get back. Imagine the stress you would have put on yourself, family, friends, job if you could not get back home in time.
Cash and Safety is definitely important but to me, the next more important item is a camera. I am all for soaking in the experience without technology but come on! You need to be able to capture your trip and be able to look back at the memories to appreciate where you went or who you met. Pictures will tell the story your words can’t.
Kashlee Kucheran – Travel Off Path
I am a full-time travel girl. I sold my house and 95% of my things in order to travel the world for the next 10 years. Instead of a mortgage, I choose to spend my money living in hotels. Instead of paying for a car, I spend my money on flights, trains and boat travel. While I do travel 10 months of the year, I am NOT a backpacker, so staying on budget and finding travel hacks is KEY for me!
My Top 3:
I hate walking around with my phone in the air trying to find a strong enough wifi signal to get my work done. For this reason, I do not leave the country without my TEP Wireless unit. It’s a small blue device that gives me 4g download speed, unlimited data use, and I can connect 5 devices to it.
This means I don’t have to hunt down a SIM car for each new country I visit either, I just have to to turn on TEP and I get internet worldwide. It’s pretty cheap too! $8 a day (only when I use it!) gives me unlimited data.
I can’t even tell you how many times it’s saved my behind when I needed to access maps, google translate, or check an important email.
2. Antibacterial Wipes
Travelling a lot means a million extra chances to catch someone’s nasty cold or weird rash. I keep a small bag of individually wrapped, antibacterial wipes with me at all times.
Did you know you are 100x’s more likely to catch a cold on a plane? The moment I board, I wipe down the seatbelt, the tray table, the entertainment system buttons, even the window shade.
I have also used them to clean a dirty table when there is no waitress in sight, a sticky bench at a bus station, a questionable surface in my hotel room, and even my own hands after touching hundreds of escalator rails and door handles!
As a millennial, I have everything in the cloud. My photos, my work, and now my clothes.
I don’t have room in my suitcase to pack for ANY season, nor do I have time/the budget to fly home to grab different climate clothes all the time. This is why I use DUFL every time I travel. They have my entire wardrobe hanging in their warehouse, which they have photographed and placed in an app for me. I simply tap the items I want, tell them where the heck I am in the world, and viola… my clothes, shoes, and accessories arrive in a few days.
When I am done or want to rotate items, they dry clean and re-store for me.
I get to waste less, consume less, and I never have to pay for checked bags! 🙂
My top 3 essential items are:
1. Packing Cubes
I like to travel light (a mid-sized backpack can last me for weeks) so packing cubes have been the most important discovery of my travel experiences. Without them, your clothes can be disorganized and take up far too much space. I’ve found that packing cubes are extremely cheap, yet compress your clothes into neat boxes that stack nicely into your backpack. They give you so much more room!
2. Power adaptors
I work from the road often, so a universal power adaptor is another important addition. The smaller and lighter the better. You can pair this with one of those lipstick-sized battery banks in order to give your phone an extra charge in case you can’t find an outlet.
3. International SIM card
One of the worst things is to land in a new country without phone data. After a long day of flying, it’s nice to be able to call an Uber, search for your hotel, make a business call, use your phone to translate essential words, or even just search on Google. So I got a T-Mobile cell phone plan which comes with unlimited data, text, and cheap voice anywhere in the world. It’s been invaluable to me. You can find similar SIM cards from other providers.
Dana Zeliff – The Talking Suitcase
When traveling abroad, I always take baby washcloths, Shout wipes and a small reusable shopping bag. Many countries don’t have washcloths in hotels or apartments. They are thin so don’t take up much space in luggage plus they dry quickly.
2. Shout wipes
Shout wipes can save clothing from those inevitable spills while trying new local delicacies. I don’t want a stain setting in for a week before I can do laundry!
3. Small reusable bags
Small reusable bags that can fit into my backpack or purse are also a must. European countries charge for bags in stores, so you can save a bit of money by having your own. They are also perfect for hauling around souvenirs, packing a picnic lunch or carrying towels and sunscreen to the beach.
Emma Pamley-Liddell – Journey of a Nomadic Family
My top three favorite items I’d never leave behind are:
1) My DSLR camera
It comes everywhere with us. It’s pretty big and bulky though (and very heavy) and I have to sneak it into a really old and worn backpack to disguise it. Thankfully the backpack looks so disgusting that nobody has ever bothered me.
2. Fruu lip-balm
Fruu lip-balm is an organic and vegan British company that make fragrant lip-balms. Frequent air travel and being exposed to natural elements like wind and sun mean our lips can get sore easily. Fruu delivers and their ethical policy fits with our values.
3. My phone.
I know this is TERRIBLE but, my phone holds my life in apps. Google maps is my savior for pin dropping and downloading offline maps, Revolut is my banking hero and Android Pay is so easy to use. Plus with apps like TED I’m never bored and apps like ‘map my trek’ mean I know where I’ve been. I can shop, email, book flights and blog from it. Whilst I’d prefer to take a pad of paper and a pencil, I can use ‘WriterP’ app to make notes whilst I’m out.
Jenn Earley – Cultured Vacations
Here are the top 3 things I take when I travel abroad:
1. A copy of my passport!
I definitely learned the hard way. Prior to owning a travel agency, I had traveled to London with a few friends to celebrate the new year. Long story short — we were hanging out at a bar to grab dinner, and a couple we were speaking with stole my friends backpack from underneath our noses. LITERALLY! We spent the next day going down to the Embassy only to learn after our trip that the thoughtful thieves returned our passports to a “pillow box” (what they call a mailbox) in East London but ran off with everything else.
We learned a copy of our passports are essential! Had we locked up our passports in the safe at the hotel, and roamed around town with a copy of our passport, we wouldn’t have had to spend a day of our vacation trying to get this resolved!
2. A small cross body bag!
I love a luxury purse, but when traveling all that goes out the window. I travel with an inexpensive, small cross body purse and wear it under my shirt. From my many European experiences, I’ve learned that pickpockets run rampant and quick! Having this small bag and wearing it under your shirt reduces the chances of someone quickly cutting the strap and running off with your things!
3. Smiphee iPhone case.
I love this case with rechargeable battery as you don’t have to use any special attachments to charge the battery or to use your earphones (some battery cases are so large, you have to use an adaptor to connect your phone to your headphones!) These battery phone cases are essential as they allow you to take videos and pics without the stress of running your batter down in a foreign land. They are available in multiple styles on Amazon.com
Dayvee Sutton – The Daily Affair
When traveling abroad is it essential to take an outlet converter, wifi hotspot, and your swimsuit!
1. Power converter
Unless there are cases for an extreme blackout, you should be able to find a source of power for all of your traveling electronic (mobile device, laptop, etc). But what can trip you up is not having the right converter. Getting one that lets you plug in multiple devices, including direct USB, will make it one of the handiest devices you can have. My recommendation is to just keep it in your travel bag!
2. Wifi hotspot
Whether your travels are for business or pleasure, it is a risk to rely on the hopes that your destination will have sufficient wifi to sustain your needs. I’ve traveled to highly populated metropolitan cities to highly deserted islands, and have found that even if the hotel promises wifi, upon arrival it is not always the case. So having your own wifi hotspot available will ensure that you are covered in that sense. Many devices are less than $100 to own, or can be provided by your mobile company, and are pay-as-you-use – meaning, you are only charged a fee around $10-a-day when you log in.
Finally, you won’t believe how many times I have forgotten my swimsuit even on trips that are clear that I am meant to get into the water (i.e. a beach trip). But, more importantly, many of us don’t consider bringing our swimsuits when we are headed to cold and snowy places. The flaw in that is that you have eliminated the option for you to hop in the hot tub should your destination have the option, or even worse, go to the spa – which after a day in the wretched snow, would be a wonderful treat.
Brian Bultema – Dargui Tours & Destination Management
We travel worldwide to Lions Club conventions and events each year. Of course, in addition to the basics of your passport (and copy), vaccination & travel insurance information, and bringing some spending cash, we also are sure that we think of these three key items when packing –
1. Layered Cloths
Even when doing research on temperature and humidity in a destination, it’s unlikely that how a destination feels upon arrival will match you expectations. It’s easy to forget that in high-altitude environments, even if the sun is intense, that the temperature fluctuates much more once the sun falls. Seasonal rain showers can also rapidly change how comfortable you feel in a destination from minute to minute.
For this reason, we always bring thin layers. This includes at minimum a non-cotton base layer, a long-sleeve button-up, a pullover sweater, and of course a thin rain jacket for when we’re walking around a city or are on a tour and need to be sure we feel comfortable minute to minute.
2. Foreign Country Friendly Credit Card
Like anyone else, we hate being charged unnecessary fees. Though we take cash for those many areas of the world where leaving a tip or paying for a small item is essential or more convenient, we like to continue earning miles and rewards by using our traveler-friendly credit cards wherever we go.
We only carry credit cards that charge us no foreign transaction fees when swiping, and for frequent travelers, it’s always important to understand this stipulation when signing up for a new card. Visa is the predominant card worldwide, simply because it’s accepted more places, but Mastercard and American Express both are getting more popular and have a host of cards with no foreign transaction fees.
3. Mini-Phrase Book
There’s nothing worse than getting in a pinch in a foreign country and not knowing the language. Since our agency is based in Peru and we receive a lot of non-Spanish speaking travelers, we know from experience that a little effort goes a long way.
Everybody appreciates even just the slightest effort a foreign traveler makes and having the smallest of phrase and vocab books of the predominant language of your destination will ingratiate you with the locals. And of course, it could always help you in a jam just spending a few hours learning the most essential of phrases prior to your arrival.
Of course, each traveler has their own packing list. The most important item to keep in mind is – “What items will make me feel most comfortable and secure when navigating a foreign country.”
Jen O’Neal – Tripping
1. Cash in 6 currencies (eg USD, GBP, Euro, Yen, HKD, CNY)
I am constantly circumventing the globe meeting with vacation rental websites and partners. My trips often include multiple stops in several different countries and continents. As a result, I always bring cash in six currencies (eg USD, GBP, Euro, Yen, HKD, CNY). I became a backpacker after college, and learned this lesson the hard way. Trust me, you never want to be stranded in a foreign country without the local currency. I find it’s always good to have cash in case you need to get out of tough situations. Bribes are common in other parts of the world; although I’m opposed to them in principle and do everything to avoid paying them.
2. Forest green cashmere wrap from Bloomingdale’s
I got a green cashmere wrap years ago as a present and have since found so many uses for it! I wear it on long flights and it acts like a cozy blanket when planes get cold. I can also drape it over my head to block out the light, while the material makes it easy to breath underneath. It’s stylish and dresses up my travel outfits. And best of all, it’s lightweight and can be squished down to fit in any size purse or carry-on.
3. Moleskin / Band-aids
Whether I’m running between meetings in London or hiking in the Swiss Alps (or doing both in the same trip), it’s easy to wear down my feet when I’m on the road. Moleskin is a great solution for blisters, since I’ll be back on my feet right away and won’t skip a beat. Extra band-aides add cushion and prevent infection.
Elizabeth Avery – Solo Trekker 4 U
After 5 decades as an “accidental” solo traveler, 68 countries and all 50 US states, I have the following recommendations, Here goes:
1. A “purse within a purse”
For women travelers, there is nothing worse after an all-night overseas flight to be unable to find a comb or even where the key travel documents/cellphone are lurking within your oversized purse. The reason for the latter? The smaller the allowed carry-on the larger the personal item must become! Although there are travel accessories for passports and tickets that can be worn around the neck, they are not necessarily comfortable. A second reason for the smaller purse within the larger tote or purse? Having been robbed in broad daylight in a European train station, I find there is nothing more satisfying than thwarting enterprising muggers on a mission!
2. Referee’s whistle on a wristlet
As a long time woman solo traveler, I have found myself arriving in the middle of the night at foreign airports that are closed or getting lost abroad in questionable locales. Although cries for help in the local language may work, a shrill whistle will annoy throngs of passersby just hoping to make it stop. Any loud whistle works. The good news? They are really cheap!
3. Packets of powdered hot chocolate
For coffee lovers, this is key even in top hotels. Why is that? If you must have your morning coffee, the options for “creamer” can range from non-existent absent a refrigerator to a strange brew. Hot chocolate mixes are perfect for mocha coffee and don’t require refrigeration making morning coffee perfect wherever you are.
Kirsten Maxwell – Kids Are A Trip
Here are the things I typically bring along on a standard trip overseas.
This is non-negotiable, and I usually bring more than one. My favorite it the Anker Power Core Lipstick size because it’s small and fits in my travel purse.
2. A reading light
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve used this to rummage through a bag on the plane when all the lights are out and everyone is asleep. It also helps in a dark hotel room when you don’t want to wake up roommates.
3. A travel clothesline
There’s one made by Kiva that is lightweight and can attach to anything. For a longer trip without the luxury of laundry, this has been a lifesaver.
Anthony Bianco – The Travel Tart
My top favorite 3 items are the following:
1. Digital SLR Camera
You can buy them now for much less than some people spend on a smartphone, but you cannot beat the image quality and speed, especially in low light. I’ll never go back to a point and shoot!
2. Medicine Kit
This and my ‘Travelling Well’ Guide has been invaluable for me and other travelers when I’ve gone on overseas trips. The kit covers the main things travellers face, such as chest infections, stomach complaints, and other ailments
3. Loads of underwear
I don’t want to ever subscribe to the notion that you can wear your underwear 4 times before it needs washing!
Lylie Moolman – Giltedge Ocean Islands
1. Something warm
As I mostly travel to island destinations, I always take something warm – usually a cuddly throw – with for flights and for the rain showers in the Seychelles and Maldives.
Travelling allows me to catch up on work but also to have reflection time. I always carry a small notebook with me to jot down creative thoughts, do some strategic planning or write down creative ideas about the business. The Indian Ocean islands are inspirational places so I am always itching to write.”
While I often use my phone camera to capture images of the luxury properties I visit on the Maldives and Seychelles, I love taking my DSRL camera with too. It allows me to take high-res photos and capture short videos. I also get to take photographs of my kids enjoying their beach getaway without being tempted to check my phone for messages or emails.
Michael Rozenblit – The World Was Here First
Here are my three favorite items that I would never travel without:
For a long time, I refused to let technology influence me and was adamant that I only read physical, ink and paper books. I finally bit the bullet and bought an e-reader before a 2-months backpacking trip through South East Asia and haven’t looked back since. I love to read when traveling and having an e-reader ensures that I don’t have to carry unnecessary weight in my backpack. It also gives me a huge choice of books to read. I still love physical books but these days they are only on the bookshelf back home!
2. Notepad & Pen
Even before I started writing about my travels, I always made sure that I took a notepad and pen with me when I went traveling. There’s something about travel that resets your mind and allows you to come up with new ideas and thoughts that tend to escape you back home. Even if inspiration doesn’t strike, a notepad and pen is still super handy to write down directions, get something translated or keep all those e-mail addresses of new friends you’ve made on the road!
3. Microfibre towel
There’s nothing worse than checking into a room after a long day of traveling to realize that the accommodation you are staying at doesn’t provide a towel! I always travel with a microfibre towel as they’re very light, meaning they don’t add unnecessary weight to your backpack. They are also quick drying to ensure that you don’t need to wait long for the towel to dry before packing it into your bag.
Laurence Norah – Finding the Universe
1. A camera
I have a Canon EOS 6D. As a professional travel photographer, there’s no way I’d go anywhere without a camera, and I love how well the Canon 6D performs in low light. As a travel camera, its built-in GPS is also super helpful for reminding me where I got every shot – useful for when I’m going through all my photos after the trip!
2. A multitool
I always travel with a multitool – in my case a Leatherman. This has come in handy so often for fixing things, or cutting things, or, as a last resort, getting me into a bottle of wine when I can’t find a corkscrew. The only thing is that obviously, I have to check this into my checked luggage so as not to lose it going through security.
3. Packing cubes
I always have an assortment of smaller bags – like packing cubes – that go inside my main checked luggage. These help keep me organised so I know where everything is in my bag, and don’t have to fumble around to find a particular cable or pair of socks.
Lisa Stentvedt – Fjords & Beaches
1. Portable speaker
As someone who travels a lot, I have several staples that never leave my side. One of my favorite items to take with me when I travel is a small, portable speaker. This can truly make a difference when you’re alone in your hotel room, especially since the TV channels often are in languages I don’t understand! With a portable speaker such as a Music Angel or the DALI Katch, I can listen to my favorite tunes wherever I go!
2. eBook Reader
With the long hours spent on airplanes, buses, and trains, and a lot of time spent waiting at airports, I need to keep myself entertained. When I do not have an article to write, I like to read and bring my Kindle with me wherever I go. Having all my books in one place ensures that I am never bored!
3. Collapsible water bottle
I only discovered these a few months ago, and they have been a lifesaver! You can empty them and roll them up when going through airport security, so they take up no space in your luggage, and then easily refill them once you are through. When you’ve finished them, just roll them back up and you won’t even know you have it!
Deborah Regen – EcoTourLinQ
Here are 3 travel items that I take with me.
1) An eye mask
Wearing an eye mask during flights, on train travel, or even just for a quick mid-afternoon nap allows me to rest comfortably and refresh. I would recommend eye masks that are contoured for the face and have cutouts in the rear so that there is no added pressure on your eyes. The brand I like best is Dream Essentials, made in the USA.
2) A collapsible water bottle
As an advocate for eco-friendly travel, I always suggest that travelers bring their own reusable water bottle. Too many plastic water bottles end up in landfills where they do not decompose for upwards of 500 years! If you are concerned about the safety of tap water to fill your bottle, you can use a bacteria-filtering drinking straw, such as LifeStraw. I like the Hydaway collapsible bottle which can be purchased along with a nifty travel case.
3) A lightweight shawl
I am a female traveler, and if I am visiting a country or a holy site where I need to cover my head and/or shoulders and arms, this item becomes absolutely necessary. Pashima shawls are perfect for this purpose, but any shawl that is made with merino wool, cotton blend, or other similar fibers will do.
Sam Ward – Something of Freedom
Along with my partner Natalia, I run the travel blog Something of Freedom. In total, we’ve visited over 50 countries across 6 continents and as a result fully understand the wants and needs of travelers. Having learned from our own mistakes, these are our 3 favorite travel items that we always take with us:
1. Extension Lead
Travel adaptors have long been thought of as a travel essential, and rightly so. Frequent travelers often pack multiple adaptors in order to charge all their gadgets at once. Yet, all you really need is one adaptor and one extension lead – instantly giving you access to 4 or more plugs wherever you go. Frustratingly hotel rooms often only have one plug socket, so even if you do have multiple travel adaptors you can only charge one gadget at a time. This scenario is particularly frustrating when traveling with someone else. By packing an adaptor and an extension lead, you’ll leave nothing to chance meaning you can charge all your essentials at the same time.
2. Power bank
Staying charged on the go is more important than ever when traveling. Battery life on smartphones can be a real issue, and for those of us that are snap happy it’shard to last a day without needing to recharge. Power banks really are a gamechanger. If you’re running low on battery, simply plug in and forget the days where a low battery would mean missing out on capturing memories to share with friends and family. Even for simple things like listening to music or playing games on journeys, you won’t need to worry about running out of battery. Although we’re currently on our first trip with a power bank, we’ll never travel without one again.
3. Eye Mask
Eyemasks are undoubtedly a travel essential if you value a good night’s sleep. As regular travelers, we find ourselves consistently amazed at the poor quality of hotel curtains. Far too often rooms are unbearably bright come sunrise – making it virtually impossible to get a lie in. Fortunately, though, eye masks provide a cheap yet effective solution. They consistently come in handy – even if it’s just for blocking out someone’s reading light on a plane journey. Although eyemasks aren’t considered the most stylish accessory, being well rested is a big reward for a small investment.
Bonnie Truax – 43BlueDoors
I’ve been traveling full-time for almost a year and a half. Before that, I traveled internationally at least once a year.
1. Sawyer Water Filter
The Sawyer water filter can clean over 100,000 gallons of water and can fit in my pocket. When traveling overseas clean water is not always readily available. This filter allows me to drink safely from a mud puddle if I need to. For backpacking, it is a dream as it reduces the amount of water I have to carry. It is also perfect for hotel and city travel. Rather than purchase bottled water, I can simply filter the tap water which is very convenient when I’m thirsty in the middle of the night in a hotel room. It saves money but more importantly it reduces plastic waste.
2. Nalgene Bottle
The Nalgene water bottle is BPA free. It is a perfect combination with a water filter when traveling as it is easy to fill and easy to clean. No straws that get moldy or hard to get to places – I’m a germophobe. It can hold both cold or hot. Instead of using a disposable cup for my coffee in the morning I put it in my Nalgene. Then it can be rinsed later and filled with filtered water.
3. Diva Cup
I can’t imagine traveling as a woman without the Diva Cup. It is small enough to fit in my purse or pocket so that it is always on hand. I’m never caught without. It also saves money. I have not purchased a pad or tampon in over five years. When traveling I don’t have to worry about trying to find products in places where they are not readily available, nor do I have to try to translate to a stranger what I’m looking for – embarrassing. Think about the reduction of disgusting waste in the landfills.
Jordan Piano – Flyer Diaries
My Top Three Items I Always Take With Me
1. Insect Repellent
I know this seems to be an obvious one, but without it, I’m a mess and I know I’m not the only person.
Growing up I had family all over Europe – Italy, Belgium, Holland, so from a young age I was traveling to, and getting bitten in many different places.
Insect repellent became a go-to from a young age and goes with me everywhere.
Aside from the irritation of bites, there are health risks once you start to travel to more exotic locations and protecting yourself against bites becomes a matter of safety than convenience.
Get into the habit of having insect repellent with you wherever you go.
I was always against getting a GoPro because of how expensive they were, but now I’ve got one I wish I’d purchased it years ago and it is with me throughout the entirety of any trip I go on now.
One of my favorite things about the GoPro is the quality of the still images you can lift from the videos via the GoPro app.
It’s a two in one. There’s no need to use your phone or carry around a bulky camera for stills when you can review your footage and lift a better quality still from that.
Of course, having your travels documented in HD from a camera that fits in your pocket is a massive benefit on its own too.
3. Portable Phone/USB Charger
Again, this is one that fits in your pocket and is ridiculously helpful.
You never know when you’re going to find yourself in an emergency situation and need to have your phone to hand. When you’re travelling around for a day or two and don’t have access to a charging point, a portable charger is a big help if your phone is running low on battery power.
My wife and I struggled when in Sri Lanka with converting the currency in our heads, so would use a converter on our phones, the charger came in useful when in the taxi or bus to our next destination so our phone was ready to convert any money or translate any phrases or words that we were struggling with.
Aside from the emergency situation that you’ll probably never find yourself in, a portable charger will come in useful for other items such as a camera or smartwatch.
Annabelle Needles – Evergreen Lane Productions
Here are my top 3 favorite things that I always take when I travel abroad:
1. Accessories for my camera
This is my practical side talking, but I have a small pouch that contains extra batteries, memory cards + charger cables for all my gear. As someone who takes lots of video on my travels (and sometimes on assignment), I need to make sure I have all the extra support I can carry so that I don’t lose my work OR my memories. Backups are especially important when traveling to remote spots like Antarctica that don’t have an electronics store I can visit. I always make sure this bag is with me on every trip.
2. Neck pillow
I always have one with me when I am traveling. This was something I lived without in my 20s (because we’re all incredibly resilient in our youth!) but now a neck pillow is the key to my comfort on those long-haul international flights. I bought a pretty, patterned one from Target because if I’m going to look ridiculous, I might as well also look cute. And now if I have to take a nap in the train station in Italy, it’s much more bearable.
3. Solid perfume
Since travel liquid space is so valuable + I almost always travel with a carry-on only, I’ve switched to some solid toiletries instead. One of my favorites is solid perfume which I blend up with essential oils. I can bring a mixture for helping me sleep when the jetlag struggle is real, or one for helping me feel courageous + confident when I’m feeling overwhelmed by a language barrier or culture shock. Mostly, these perfumes remind me of home and ground me when I’m in a new place.
Jacquie Whitt – Adios Adventure Travel
I have been traveling to South America for 10 years. I’ve trimmed down my packing list with the following 3 items always at the top of my list:
1. Short extension cord
This serves several purposes. Everyone who travels abroad knows to bring a plug adapter. But hotel room outlets are sometimes located behind tables or chairs and may have lamps plugged in, which reduces the number of plugs available for charging your devices. And if you’re sharing a room, the other person may need to use outlets as well.. The extension cord plugs into those hard-to-reach places and makes it easy to reach for charging your devices. The head of the extension cord has multiple plugs if you have more than 1 device that needs charging. It’s also useful in airports or lounges.
2. Black charcoal capsules
One of the highlights of traveling is trying new foods. But one of the most common ailments that strikes travelers is diarrhea. Black charcoal capsules are the perfect remedy for cases of potential abdominal distress. It’s not a medication. It’s more like a sponge that absorbs toxins. I take it if I think I may have eaten something or after it strikes. The best part is that there are no side affects and recovery can be quick and barely noticeable.
3. Spare charge cable for your phone
Ask any hotel what the number 1 item that’s left behind? I’m sure charge cables for devices are going to be near the top. Not to mention that on occasion, after charging my phone in awkward positions in airports, planes, and lounges, the cable gets loose in the phone port and the connection is weak. Having a backup cable is essential.
JB Macatulad – Will Fly for Food
My three favorite things to bring when traveling abroad are the following:
1. CabinZero 44L backpack
I love this backpack. It complies with airline standards and was designed to fit in an airplane’s overhead bin. It’s sturdily built, it has a built-in tracker, and it comes with a 10-year warranty that’s upgradeable to 25 years simply by liking their Facebook page
I have a lot of devices I need to charge every night but some hotels have only one or two outlets. The PowerCube is basically a power strip shaped in a compact cube that contains 4 outlets and 2 USB jacks. It saves a ton of time when charging multiple batteries and devices at the end of the day.
Pokefi is a pocket wifi hotspot device that has a virtual SIM card. It eliminates the hassle of having to but a SIM cards in each country you visit. You just top it up with credits and it works in many countries worldwide.
Jenna Lee – Travels of Jenna
1. Basic Wired Headphones – Yurbuds
While noise-canceling headphones are fantastic on the airplane, they don’t always travel with me. What does travel with me 100% of the time are my Yurbuds. When traveling abroad, my goal is to pack as light as possible and these take up virtually zero space. I choose Yurbuds because they shape to your ear and let’s be honest, uncomfortable earbuds are the worst! Some basic earbuds can also save you some significant cash once you reach your destination.
If you are into learning about the area and it’s history like I am, there are a ton of free self-guided tours that you can download to your phone whether they are city walking tours or tours of popular sites. Guides and audio tours can often be purchased on site for anywhere from a few dollars to several dollars which means a basic set of earbuds are a tiny yet very wise investment.
It wasn’t until I tried to recollect details of a trip to France that I realized a journal was a travel essential and it only took one trip for it to become a favorite. Sometimes my trips can be jam-packed and taking a moment to reflect and record the day is a great way to wind down. If its alow key day, its still a great way to relax and soak in all the amazing things that you are experiencing.
Taking time to soak it up is often forgotten or left behind in haste and at first, it might seem like a chore.However, when you get home and you flip those page, details that would otherwise be long gone bring back beautiful memories. You can’t put a price on that.
3. Tieks Foldable Flats
I do not leave home without these. Ever! Totally versatile and a total space-saver, they can be dressed up or down and be worn with literally anything. Having a goal of packing as lightly as possible, these are a perfect fit (no pun intended)! For me, they’re even comfortable enough to wear all day while I roam the streets of Rome . I’ve literally packed these on every trip from Key West to Disney to Italy and they remain my all-time favorite shoe!
Lina & David Stock – Divergent Travelers
1. Packing Cubes
If there was ever an item to help keep you organized while traveling, then packing cubes is it. There is nothing worse than having your bag a total mess and after 17 years of travel, it’s an item I can’t live without. Packing cubes come in all shapes and sizes so you can configure them to fit perfectly in your luggage. They allow you to separate your items and group things together so going through your bag is simple and easy.
With the dawn of earbuds, and who can deny their easy portability for travel, it’s uncommon for people to carry headphones when they travel. This said I do not travel without a nice pair of them. Unlike earbuds, they are very effective at drowning out the cabin noise when flying. They also allow me to enjoy the in-flight entertainment at a low volume without background noise.
I also really like being able to put my headphones on in busy places or when I’m traveling on buses to listen to music. While an earbud will work, for me it is all about the sound quality and being able to drown out humming back noise.
3. Merino Wool Tees
A lot of people turn their nose up at the thought of wool but let me tell you, I don’t go anywhere without a few of these tees. Merino wool is the ultimate travel fabric because it wicks sweat, blocks odors and helps you maintain an ideal body temperature.
If I have a long day of flying ahead of me the first thing I put on is one of these tees and layer it with coolmax type long sleeve top. This pairing means I don’t have to worry about sweaty armpits with embarrassing wet spots on my shirt or that feeling of being constantly hot or cold.
Besides its benefits when in transit, I also take these tops on multi-day adventures and am able to wear these tees for multiple days off the beaten path without them getting too tired. Simply put, they’re amazing and I don’t leave home without them.
1. Vasque Men’s Snowburban Ultradry Insulated Snow Boot
I think the SnowburbanUltradry Insulated Snow Boot by Vasque is an underrated high-quality boot that has practical use outside the snow. I just used them to hike to Mt. Whitney, and when I was in the Peace Corps in 2014, used the same boots to trek through the jungle in Chitwan National Park. This is a very versatile and comfortable boot that is easy to break in. Did I mention they only weigh 400g each?
- Leather upper
- Rubber sole and a soft Thinsulate Ultra Insulation lining
- Adjustable boot opening to easily fit foot
2. Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System
MySawyer Squeeze Water Filter has saved me more times than I know of. I even take it with me on local trips to the mountains. I’ve used it in third world countries. I’ve used it in first world countries. I’ve never gotten sick, and I’ve never had one break. I’ve pushed hundreds of gallons of water through my filter and as long as I backwash it, the water always tastes good.
- Removes 99.99% of all microorganisms
- Compact and easily storable
- Easy to use
- Can attach it to water bottles in case you lose water reservoir
- Made in the USA
- Capable of filtering 0.45 gal /min
- Weighs 3 oz
3. Hardyale yeast
This is probably one of my more ridicules travel companions. If I will be staying in an area that doesn’t have beer or good beer for more than 3 months, I will brew my own. I actually prefer lager beers but I’ve found ale yeasts are hardier. BRY-97 is a decent yeast. It was isolated from Siebel Institute Culture Collection and is available at homebrew supply stores online. It is popular among breweries and is used to produce a lot of different types of beer.
- Ferments fast and vigorously
- Can complete fermentation in 4 days
- Optimal fermentation temperature is62.6o F
- Has a near neutral aroma
Mina Agnos – Travelive
1. Cross Body Wallet Bag
My favorite is the Gucci Marmont Matalasse Mini Bag, It has ample space for the basics: credit cards, cash, passport, business cards, and lip gloss. It has compartments for each to keep everything organized, which makes it perfect for use when traveling in a new city or navigating a busy airport.
2. Bose Quiet Comfort Noise Cancelling Headphones
I like to time my long-haul flights for maximum use of time and least among of jet lag on arrival. This makes rest really important. Bose Quiet Comfort Noise Cancelling Headphones ensure that I can tune out the background noise and get my rest, or catch up on ebooks.
3. My smartphone
As a travel professional, documenting my travels is good for business. I use my smartphone to photograph and share my adventures on social media. However, it also comes in incredibly handy for translating languages in foreign countries, calculating tipping, determining cultural norms, and staying in touch with home and office.
I am a fan of the larger models so I use the iPhone 7 plus.
Kris – Nomad By Trade
I spend approximately 30 weeks/year on the road for work and vacation, so I’m used to living out of a suitcase. Here are my top three international items.
1. Power strip/Outlet splitter
We’re all traveling with lots of electronic devices these days – I usually need four outlets just to charge everything I’ll need for the next day. However, international convertors aren’t cheap, and purchasing enough to accommodate every electronic I carry would get expensive and bulky very quickly. Plus, most of the older hotels I’ve stayed at in Europe aren’t full of plugs like the remodeled chain hotels I stay at in the US are. Whenever I travel overseas, the first thing I pack is a power strip with 5 outlets in it. This way, I can carry one convertor and plug the power strip into it and charge everything I need all at once. It’s even more valuable when traveling with a larger group because that plug space becomes more precious the more people who are vying for a charge.
2. Google Translate App
I love learning languages and try to pick up at least the basic polite words for wherever I’m traveling, but it’s impossible to learn everything for every country you visit. I downloaded the Google Translate app before my first smartphone-era overseas trip and now it ranks among my essentials. It offers your basic translation functionality, but the best part is that you can download dictionaries for the languages you’ll be needing so that they can be used offline. Anything that keeps me from relying on data or wifi when I’m traveling is a bonus, because neither is guaranteed.
3. Digital and paper passport copies
On the off chance that something bad happens and you lose your passport while traveling, you’ll be glad to have copies of the main info page. It will make getting your emergency replacement passport much easier. I have a scanned copy of mine saved in my Google Drive so I can access it from anywhere with data or wifi, and I also keep a paper copy in my suitcase in case my phone is lost/stolen along with my passport and I can’t access my files easily.
Krista Canfield – Food Water Shoes
1. Dryer sheets
Whether I’m hiking or just taking a long trip, I always bring dryer sheets with me. They’re a great way to keep clothes smelling fresh and they weigh next to nothing.
Just about every time I fly, at least one stewardess compliments me on my tops. I love Wildfox’s super cheeky shirts and, again, since they’re a bit oversize they are easy to snuggle in during overnight flights.
My favorite little in-flight luxury is to spray rose water or a fruit extract mist on my face in the bathroom. I love the Tony Moly Pocket Bunny Spray (because the packaging always makes me smile and it’s in a .20 ounce airline friendly sized container). It keeps my skin hydrated and the light scent is pleasant.
Chris Backe – One Weird Globe
I’ve lived abroad as an expat or nomad for almost 10 years now, and write over at oneweirdglobe.com. Three things I cannot / will not travel without:
1. A smartphone with local SIM card
Forget the roaming options, the ‘e-sim’ cards, and any pre-paid offerings in your home country. Most developed countries have companies offering prepaid SIM cards, and many of them even have ‘tourist SIM’ offerings ideal for a week or so. (Exception: if you’re traveling through Europe, buy one SIM card at the start of your journey and ‘roam like at home’ — just keep it topped up and you should be good to go). These days, the smartphone itself matters less and less. Whatever system you’ve bought into is fine, be it Android or iOS.
2. An external battery / portable charger
Bonus points if it can be solar-powered, but get the biggest size (in milliamp hours, or mAh) you can. 15,000-20,000 mAh is more than enough to keep multiple phones powered for a full day. Get one with two or more USB ports, and check to ensure one of the ports offers 2.4 amps (which will let you charge a tablet at its optimal rate)
3. A solid, sturdy backpack with laptop sleeve
Tons of brands in this space, so I won’t recommend a specific brand. (I’ve personally used and been extremely satisfied with Lowepro bags in the past, and am currently using this backpack on Amazon). I use this bag as my personal item, and because of its slim profile and low perceived weight, it skates right by the gate check.
Kelly Soderlund – Hipmunk
As Hipmunk’s PR lead, I travel quite a bit. Besides the usual (cell phone, laptop, headphones, etc.) here are some items I never leave home without.
1. A quality power bank.
Tere’s nothing worse than realizing your airplane doesn’t offer an in-flight power source—especially if you have work that needs to be done.
2. J. Crew Cape Scarf
This doubles as a blanket, but yet is thin enough to be easily folded up into any carry-on.
This 24-hour French moisturizer is a cult classic—and for good reason! I slather this on my face, lips, and hands before and during flights.
Laura Hall – Kid & Coe
I travel mostly with my kids – so here are my ideas.
Something about setting foot in an airport, on a train or in a car makes me instantly want to snack. I also know that not having snacks readily available causes trouble because of hunger + kids = trouble. So I always make sure I have snacks in my carry on bag to keep our energy levels high during a trip. I’m not a fan of the hiked up prices of airport snacks and I like to be prepared. Preferred choices: grapes, trail mix and pears, but hey, sweets, crisps, and chocolate always get a look in too.
2. A book.
Call me an optimist, but I love the thought of reading a trashy chick-lit book on vacation. It’s shorthand for – mom’s so relaxed that she can spend a few hours immersing herself in another place, rather than tending to her children’s every whim like normal. Sometimes I even pack two. It’s not often that I get the chance to read a full novel, but if I do, that’s a vacation well spent.
3. Swim kit.
When I was a 20-year-old guidebook writer when I was a thirty-something boutique hotel visitor and now, with 2 kids in tow, there’s nothing more essential to pack than a swimsuit. I love to swim! If it’s a rainy day, finding a pool is the perfect way to spend time with the kids. If it’s sunny and I can find a beach, and go surfing or anything else, even better. And if there’s a waterpark nearby, that’s the whole family sorted. Bonus: they don’t take up much space in your case. (always remember to have a plastic bag in there too, so a last-minute swim on the day of departure doesn’t make the rest of your stuff wet too.)
Jill Bowdery – Reading the Book
1. Sleep mask
I find a sleep mask indispensable when I’m traveling. When I’m going from one hotel to the next, often with over-thin curtains, bright TV lights or other distractions, a mask helps me to block out the excess light and get a proper night’s sleep. It’s always harder to sleep in a strange bed, so anything that helps that process has to be a must-have!
2. Portable phone charger
When I’m traveling, I use my phone pretty heavily. It’s my map, navigator, guidebook, research tool and even my camera when I’m traveling light. All of that drains the battery really quickly, and I REALLY don’t want to be caught in a strange city with no means of getting myself from A to B. My portable charger is really essential to me, and I never leave it at home. It’s a high-power charger which will do a couple of full charges of my phone, and it’s a lifeline.
3. Offline mapping
My top must-have travel app is something that I always have ready to go when I’m traveling. Maps.me (https://maps.me/download/) offers offline mapping combined with navigation capabilities that are a godsend when I’m somewhere where I don’t have data roaming. The maps are available for download by country or region, so I always make sure I have the latest map for my destination downloaded to my phone before I leave home. The best thing? Maps.me is totally free to download and use.
Sofie Couwenbergh – Wonderful Wanderings
The three items I always bring with me on my travels – aside from the typical credit card and smartphone – are:
1. Paper tissues
You might catch a cold, you might spill something, you might need to go when the only possible toilet is one without toilet paper. Paper tissues are a very basic item, but they’re super versatile, cheap, light and small enough to fit into any bag or even your pockets. I always bring two packs of them: one in my daypack and one in my suitcase.
When you suffer from unstable blood sugar levels, having food at your disposal when you need it is essential. Not only do I get pretty hangry when I can’t eat, I also start to feel physically unwell. That’s why I always travel with sandwiches, bananas, nuts and/or cookies. Home-packed food also tends to be better than whatever you can get at the airport or on the plane and it’s definitely cheaper. Even when I’m out exploring during the day and I’m not in a big city where I know I can pop into a store or a cafe at any time, I tend to bring a small snack with me just in case.
3. A power pack
In this age of constant connection, we can’t even imagine spending a day without our phones anymore, let alone when we’re traveling. We use our phone to get directions, look up restaurants, book hotels, check train timetables, meet locals and more.. It can’t die, and that’s why having a power pack is crucial to me.. If you get a powerful one that allows you to recharge multiple times, you become truly independent of electricity sockets and don’t need to worry about being cut off from the world when you go hiking, for example.
James – Worldwide Shopping Guide
Whenever I go abroad, my luggage is usually bulging at the seams. What I take depends on where I’m going, but you can almost always guarantee that I’ll have packed a pair of noise-canceling Bose 35 headphones, my Kindle, and a notepad and pen.
The headphones are primarily for the flight, although noise-canceling headphones can come in handy at any time.
The same goes for the Kindle which, as well as having one or two good novels on it, will have a guidebook for the destination that I’m visiting.
3. Notepad and pen
Finally, it’s always good to have a notepad and pen when you travel. You can take notes with a phone, but there’s just something romantic about doing it the old-fashioned way.
Nicolas Brennan – My UK SIM Card
I travel extensively in the USA, Asia, Australia, UK and Europe. As a seasoned global traveler, here are the top 3 items that MUST ALWAYS come with me:
1. A PowerPort with multiple USB charging ports
It’s compact and powerful, and means I can charge all my devices at the same time from just one power outlet. My iPhone, my iPad, my Smartwatch and even my laptop! I’ve attached an image of it for you.
2. A memory foam neck support pillow
Hotel pillows (even in top hotels) sometimes don’t offer great support for your neck, so I always travel with a compact memory foam pillow. It fits easily into my carry-on or suitcase and ensures I wake up every morning feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
3. A local SIM Card for my cell phone
As a global traveler, I have many SIM Cards in my travel wallet, from the different countries I visit. So when I return to a particular country, I can just refill and get 4G LTE data, minutes and texts. The benefits of a local SIM Card including having a local number (I can give to hotels, airlines, Uber and people I meet), access to the fastest 4G LTE data networks in that country, and not having to pay for international roaming on my American phone which can be expensive and often is limited to extremely slow 2G EDGE data speeds.
Maria Angelova – 203 Travel Challenges
Three objects I always bring with me:
1. Postcards from my home city
I always make new friends on the road and I want to give them a small souvenir to remind them of me and my place, with an invitation to come and visit me someday. As I’m a light packer, postcards are perfect to bring.
2. A blanket
I always take a blanket, especially if I’m traveling to a country with an extremely hot climate. I have found out that these countries are most likely to have intercity buses where they keep the temperature under 17 degrees Celsius for the whole 20 hours of your trip and a blanket always comes in handy.
3. My book “203 Travel Challenges”
This book it’s full of fun ideas how to make traveling even more creative and push yourself out of your comfort zone. I just open it on a random page and complete the challenge on it (this could be: Find a waterfall and bathe in it or simply Say “yes” to the first offer you get today).
Christabel – Where’s Bel
1. Menstrual Cup
As a solo female traveler who tends to be minimalistic when traveling, there are a couple of things I refuse to travel without. I spend a fair amount of my year in India and Southeast Asia where access to clean, running water can be an issue, which is why I choose to use a menstrual cup when it’s that time of the month. They’re eco-friendly, reusable, and unlike pads and tampons, only need to be emptied every 9-12 hours!
2. Activated charcoal
Traveling in India means it’s only a matter of time before the dreaded Delhi belly strikes, and to combat that I always make sure that activated charcoal is in my travel kit. Activated charcoal is a microporous carbon that on ingestion absorbs toxins from your digestive tract – perfect for a case of traveler’s diarrhea or stomach bug.
3. Coconut oil
And, finally, my most important travel item is something you probably have in your kitchen but never thought to bring along with you: coconut oil. Coconut oil is an extremely versatile product and can be used as a moisturizer (I swear by it!), leave-in conditioner, teeth cleanser, make-up remover, lip balm, and if mixed with coffee or brown sugar, it also becomes an exfoliant. A true space saver!
Susan Portnoy – The Insatiable Traveler
1. Travel power strip
I don’t go anywhere without my 3-port USB power strip with two outlets. It’s invaluable no matter the destination, but it’s especially useful when traveling abroad because I can charge multiple devices at once, using only one adapter. It’s sleek, small, and compact, and fits easily into any carry-on bag.
2. Makeup remover wipes
I love Garnier makeup remover wipes because they’re super refreshing on long plane flights, and easy to pack in my carry-on without having to worry about bottles of product over 3oz. They’re also great for sponge baths if you’re in an adventure destination that’s hot and sticky, or generally in an area where you don’t have access to showers.
3. DSLR Camera Bag
Whenever I’m exploring a new destination, I always bring my Lowepro Passport Sling DSLR Camera bag. It has an adjustable padded interior section that holds a DSLR with an attached zoom lens, plus an extra lens. It has room for a tablet, smartphone or other gadgets you might want to take with you, as well as pockets for extra batteries and memory cards. The bag is expandable, and on the exterior, you’ll find a water bottle pocket and two slash pockets for easy access.
Alana Tagliabue – Family Bites Travel
My favorite items when traveling abroad are:
1. A large shawl or sarong
I will always have a couple of large shawls made of natural fibers. They are great to mix up an outfit or to cover your body when culturally appropriate: I have used mine as a breastfeeding cover and when entering a temple. I try to have one that is thicker so I can also use it as a blanket on a cold plane, or as a window blackout blind. In a bind, I have used a sarong as a towel!
2. A foldable shopping bags
When you are traveling it is easy to fall into bad habits. I have a few very light-weight useable bags to minimize my plastic bag use.
3. Pens and notepad
With modern life’s reliance on technology, we seem to forget the basics! You often have to fill in departure and arrival cards or visa forms. Also, technology can fail and batteries can die. Writing down things like accommodation details for any forms is also an essential habit to get into.
Kollin Lephart – Every Girl, Everywhere
My top 3 items that I always take with me when I travel abroad are:
1. A portable charger
I work remotely for a marketing agency as well as write and work full-time on EGE so the internet is an important part of my life. If my phone dies or my computer needs charged and I can’t find an outlet, it makes it very hard to answer emails or do any work. The portable charger alleviates any stress of that happening.
2. Facial Serums
While most of the time while traveling I’m working, I find it very important to take care of myself including my skin. Sometimes it can be hard to find good skincare abroad, so bringing the serums with me allow me to keep my skin vibrant and hydrated. No one likes to have dry skin while traveling!
Lastly, I love bringing my GoPro with me while traveling as it allows me to capture images as well as video while on the go. As everyone probably knows, it’s small, easy to carry and the quality of the photos and video are very good. It’s a small electronic that produces big things!
Mickela Mallozzi – Travel Bare Feet
1. Boiron’s Oscillococcinum
I can’t even pronounce it, but I never travel without a few capsules! I fly anywhere from two to six times per month, so I’m exposed to a lot of people and a lot of germs. As soon as I feel any flu or cold-like symptoms, I open a capsule and dissolve the tiny beads under my tongue. It’s truly a lifesaver, especially if you’re traveling and can’t afford to be ill (either for business or to enjoy that long-awaited vacation)!
2. Too Faced Hangover Primer
I don’t wear too much make-up (or sometimes I wear none at all), but travel, including the dry air in an airplane, can really take a toll on your skin, especially your face. I love to use the Hangover Primer by Too Faced to rejuvenate my skin at any moment. And the coconut water really moisturizes and awakens my face – the name is fitting for the product! Not only does it work as a moisturizer but as a primer, it’s great as a base pre-makeup application.
3. The Eyemask by Pacific Outfitters Travel Gear
I’m very sensitive to light, so I never go anywhere without an eyemask. The Eyemask by Pacific Outfitters Travel Gear is soft and comfortable, but it also has contouring around the eyes so there is no pressure on your eyelids for a more natural sleep. You never know when unexpected light may wake you up in the middle of the night or too early in the morning in your hotel room – and it’s a great way to catch up on some shut-eye on any flight, especially when you’re changing time zones!
Shylar Bredewold – Odyssean Travel
1. Dry bag
I have a 30L dry bag that rolls up and clips into its own opening, forming a nice loop/horseshoe shape that fits snugly and securely into the side pouches of almost any daysack. The bag is big enough to fit that entire daysack within. Any time I’ve been up a mountain or at the seaside, it’s there to keep my electricals or documents dry. I also use it in less expected situations, such as heavy rain and the failure of an umbrella, or if in transit and I feel someone may ‘drip’ something on my bag.
2. Mobile phone
This one seems obvious at this point, camera and communication via email/social media etc. but I like to use it for the translation applications or to even use images to help navigate a conversation or interaction with another person when I really need something (food, washroom, medical, etc.) but we don’t speak the same language.
3. Water resistant flashlight
Seems I’ve got a thing about water, right? Travelling in less developed places can sometimes mean power outs, no street lights, wrong plug outlet for the phone, whatever – with a small torch to hand, it takes a step away from stress when needing to find something or just get around in the evening hours.
Remember, the closer you get to the Equator, the longer the average night is during the entire year. As we approach the poles, the seasons will dictate how many hours of darkness you experience, but it can be as much as 18 (or more) even in Scotland or Argentina
Jen Ruiz – Jen on a Jet Plane
1. Backup charger
There’s nothing worse than running out of battery on your phone halfway through the day, especially if that’s your primary means of taking pictures. I always carry a backup charger that is the size of a lipstick tube and can revive my phone from the dead approximately 2 1/2 times.
Headphones are an overlooked travel essential. You can save money if you have your own headphones to listen to in-flight entertainment. You can also use your headphones to listen to free audio guides available on apps through your phone, like Rick Steves Audio Europe and the Rijksmuseum.
Even if you’re going to the tropics, you need a hoodie. It gets cold in airports and planes, not to mention at high elevations and nighttime. A hoodie can be folded to serve as a makeshift travel pillow or utilized in rain you forget your umbrella. It’s a versatile piece that should be on every traveler.
Monica Stefanac – Cluventure Travel
How better to remember your travels than jotting down all your experiences in a small book? Easy to pack and lightweight, I carry my journal on ever vacation. Nothing is more idyllic than sitting in the gardens of the Notre Dame and gazing off thinking and taking note of all you have seen and done.
2. First Aid Kit
I keep a first aid kit with me everywhere I go, but when you are going on any vacation it is an absolute must-have. You never know when or where something can happen and you cannot count on those around you to have what you might need. Preparedness is key!
3. Scarf/Turkish Towel
You would never know how useful a scarf is, especially when traveling abroad until you have to pack all your belongings for 2 months in 1 large backpack. Scarves take up little space, keep you looking fashionable and can be used in more ways than one. Scarves are helpful as a blanket, pillow, protection from the sun, beach cover-up, towel, wrap for a broken arm, or hair accessory. If you plan to travel in Europe, most places of worship require that you cover your shoulders. If it is a warm day and you are unlikely to be wearing a jacket, keep that scarf handy so you can enter and take in the beauty of the Europen churches.
Kelly Hayes-Raitt – House Sit Diva
I’ve been traveling full-time for the past 8 years as a housesitter/pet sitter. These are the weird things I always have with me:
I loved brightly colored shawls and wraps. Besides keeping me warm and fashionable, they make great coverups for piles of unpacked clothes, lightweight covers for sleeping, lounging wraps, beach wraps, head and shoulder covers for entering mosques and other holy places, and “sacks” for hauling clothes to the laundry.
2. Binder Clips
I always carry binder clips, the office supply that is usually used for securing stacks of papers. They: Pinup clothes for drying, pinch bags tight, temporarily (or longer!) repair a torn hem or busted luggage strap, hold electronic cords neatly, tightly close recalcitrant shower curtains, and, of course, keep all my papers organized. They do anything that duct tape, clothespins, those baggie clip thingies, or safety pins do….and more.
3. Qwer (or Tile Mate).
I love these little devices that hook onto my luggage and track them while traveling. Once at my destination, I hook it to my keys. Never lost again!
4. New Sheet or Blanket Plastic Bags.
You know those thick plastic zipped stand-up bags that new sets of sheets or blankets come in? I use them as free packing cubes — and for my toiletries. They wash easily, dry quickly, are thick and are practically tear- and leak-proof.
Lindsey Shianna – Hello Jetlag
I have been traveling heavily for over 18 years and these are top 3 items I never leave my city without:
1. Wide Angle Lens
My DSLR camera is by far my favorite item to travel with. It doesn’t matter where I’m going, it’s attached to my body 24/7. To be more specific, within the past two years I’ve recently started traveling with a wide angle lens and it’s changed my travel photography immensely. Wide angle lenses are perfect for capturing a destination.
As travelers, often we take photos to remember where we’ve been. With a wide-angle lens, you can fit so much inside of the frame and it helps to tell a broader story with your photos. Whether you’re photographing vast open landscapes or narrow streets, the perspective of wide-lens makes for great photos with an interesting touch. For those who don’t carry a DSLR camera, there are versions that clip onto cell phones.
I always pack a lightweight scarf when I’m traveling abroad, and have found it to be one of the most versatile and useful items in my suitcase. A scarf weighs almost nothing and it can be folded down so it’s easy to throw in your purse or backpack. A scarf can be used as an extra blanket or rolled up as a makeshift pillow while you’re on planes, trains, and long road trips. You can use it to cover up if you’re visiting any type of church, temple or mosque.
I’ve used scarfs to tie things together in a pinch, and as a curtain to cut out light hotel rooms. When I was in the Amazon Rainforest, I wrapped it around me to save myself from being eaten alive by mosquitos. It comes in extra handy as a blanket for impromptu picnics or beach trips, and you can even use it in emergencies to wrap a wound or as a sling.
The possibilities are endless! When choosing a scarf for travel I look for lightweight and versatile design or color, and I tend to go for oversized versions so they can work in a wide range of situations.
3. Face Mask
Face masks can be a lifesaver to your skin while traveling and I always make sure to pack one in my carry on for the flight. If you’ve ever gotten off of a plane and felt like you looked 10 years older, it’s because there is little to no humidity in the airplane cabin which leads to dry, dehydrated skin. I keep a hydration mask available for during and after the flight to re-hydrate my skin.
Many people’s skin stars to act up when there’s a change in climate. The most common reactions are either dry, cracked skin or breakouts. Hydration masks are great for cold weather destinations, or if you’re traveling from a humid country to a more dry one and your skin needs some added moisture.
When traveling to hotter, more humid climates, I also pack a clay mask because I find my skin always starts to breakout. A clay mask can help reduce oiliness that occurs in humidity, and it also pulls impurities and dries out breakouts. Many face masks come in travel sized versions and it’s an easy way to balance your skin if it starts to act up.
Andre Arriaza – Barcelona Eat Local
My 3 favorite items that I never leave behind are:
1. Moka pot
As a coffee lover, everywhere I go, I make sure that my caffettiera has a place in my luggage. There is nothing more comforting than waking up abroad and have your favorite coffee at hand. Needless to say that I do grab a bag of coffee with me and that I usually search for the local favorite which I buy to drink once I am back home for a good memory of the place I visited.
2. Music player and Camera
The older I grow the more music I accumulate, and luckily I don’t have to select the music for my travels anymore as I used to do at the time of CD players, as everything fits into my smartphone which at the same time works as my camera. I love photography and to photograph street life while I am listening ¨When the streets have no name (U2)¨
3. Hygienic towels
After being in so many remote places where hygienic conditions aren’t the best ones, or in situations when I just needed to make sure that my hands are clean enough to eat, I ended up bringing this item everywhere, so I can ensure that small freshness that gives the feeling of cleanliness.
Ernest Shahbazian – Trip Astute
Here are my top items that I take with me when traveling abroad:
1. Foreign transaction fee-free credit card & debit card
When traveling abroad, it can be easy (and safer) to use your credit card to pay for purchases. However, be careful of foreign transaction fees imposed by your credit card network and issuer.
Many premium travel credit cards do not charge a foreign transaction fee (e.g., Chase Sapphire Reserve & Preferred, American Express Platinum, Citi Prestige, Barclaycard Arrival Plus), and some issuers (such as Capital One) do not charge them on any of their credit cards.
Also, getting cash from the ATM is a much better option than using the expensive foreign currency exchange booths. However, like credit cards, you can often be left with excessive fees. Luckily, there are several free checking accounts that provide ATM fee rebates.
I personally recommend the Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Account, which is free to open with zero minimum deposit, and features unlimited ATM fee rebates around the world.
2. Google Maps (i.e., downloaded offline maps)
Before traveling abroad, I always download the offline maps for the areas that I will be visiting. Even if I plan to have connectivity while traveling, it’s great peace of mind knowing that the map data is ready for use as soon as I land. Also, using your phone for navigation is much more discreet than whipping out a large paper map to find an attraction, restaurant, or hotel.
Yes, the simple pen is one of my must-have travel items when going abroad. Why? Because you often have to fill out customs and immigration forms when entering another country, and the flight staff never seem to have enough spare pens. In fact, I usually carry two or more pens in my bag, which seems to win me friends, when everyone struggles to find one to fill out their form.
4. BONUS TIP — Sanitizing wipes
I know you asked for only three items, but I have to include this one! Sanitizing wipes are not only great for cleaning your dirty airplane tray table (which is known to be one of the dirtiest parts of the plane), but they come in handy when you just need to wash your hands. I’ve been in numerous situations where water is either inaccessible or unclean, and having wipes made the situation much more comfortable.
Jennifer McDermott – Finder
Below are the top three items I always take with me when I travel abroad:
Almost every traveler has a tale about falling ill while on vacation. While there may be little you can do to prevent it, you can aid a speedy recovery. I swear by Hydralite when I’m traveling, an electrolyte supplement and rehydration solution that helps me bounce back. This is particularly useful when traveling for business and teaming long days of meetings with late nights networking.
2. Apple Airpods
I’m a frequent international traveler but alas, have not yet mastered every language. I’m obsessed with Apple Airpods which wirelessly connect me to my phone and any function I might need, including Siri and her fantastic translation skills, while I’m roaming around a new destination. I’ve also used these for directions, to book a restaurant and for other advice all without missing the scenery while being buried in my phone.
3. Travel debit card
Foreign exchange fees are a real stinger while traveling. A travel debit card helps you access your funds while abroad but minus the high currency conversion costs. It’s also a much safer and practical solution than carrying large sums of cash just to avoid multiple ATMs fees which are also otherwise hiked up for international accounts.
Lisa Niver – We Said Go Travel
When I travel, I have to have:
1. My LG V30 phone for taking video
2. My passport
3. My contact lens
When the airlines lost my luggage between Germany and Italy, I had to buy all new clothes for my next trip to Israel. Luckily I was at my friend, Julie’s home in Genoa and she knew all the best places to shop. I replaced my dresses, bras, underwear, toiletries and even found a bathing suit on sale.
The biggest obstacle for me was my daily contact lenses. For the rest of the trip, we all discussed what we cannot live without. For one woman, it was her make-up. Another thought she would miss her underwear.
I borrowed someone’s dress and hair straightener and luckily was able to have contact lenses brought over by a friend for the rest of the trip.
I now always have two weeks of contact lenses in my day pack and know that no matter what happens I will be okay.
Priyadarshini Rajendran – Glorious Sunrise
Apart from important travel documents like passport, visa and accommodation details printouts, I always carry these three things with me on my travels.
1. First aid kit
My first aid kit always goes with me on all my travels. I am a very active person. So, hiking and climbing is on my agenda on almost all my trips. Some places can be a little remote and if I cut myself up in a fall, my first aid kit comes in very handy. I also carry aspirin with me.
2. Hand sanitizer
You don’t know what you are touching and it is guaranteed to be unclean when you are traveling to famous tourist destinations.
I always have a hard copy in case my electronic devices fail me.
Jessica Norah – Independent Travel Cats
1. Travel Cardigan or Scarf
Bringing along clothing you can layer is essential when traveling with luggage limits. I find layers particularly useful on flights and train journeys where the temperatures vary a lot and it can be difficult to stay comfortable. It is also a good idea to keep a cardigan or scarf in your day bag as you can easily throw it on to cover shoulders, head, or legs when entering a place such as a church or mosque that requires modest coverings.
My laptop comes with me on almost all trips and fits easily into my carry-on backpack. It is a necessary tool for my job as a travel blogger to write stories, answer emails, edit photos, and update my website. It also allows me to look up travel information, communicate, and stay updated while on the road.
I love reading physical books when I travel, and almost always have at least one book in my bag. I love to read books that have some relationship with the place I am visiting. I find books invaluable on long train, plane, or boat rides as they keep my mind active.
Denise Millen – Spencer Paige
1. A curling iron
A straightener or curling iron that is has a dual voltage and converter. A converter is not enough as the curling iron still blows up.
2. Medical kit
It’s best to have all your medicines with you just in case you get sick.
3. An organized travel toiletry bag
A bag that is lightweight which has compact storage compartments for clothing, cosmetics, and intimate apparel delivers a streamlined packing solution. Look for one with built-in hangers for easy hotel storage, a range of compartments for all one’s toiletries, hidden pockets for valuables to expandable pockets and holders for essentials, ensuring one remains organized.
Samantha Scott – Stride Travel
My top three travel items are:
1. Packing cubes
They help tremendously with organization, and I especially like them for keeping dirty clothes separate from clean ones. Eagle Creek has some of the best. But you don’t even need “professional” or fancy ones. I hate overusing plastic, but nothing beats a large ziplock, labeled with a sharpie, to keep things organized. This is also great for toiletries.
2. Sturdy, soft material, open-toed sandals
If I’m planning to travel somewhere with warmer weather and I know I’ll be doing some walking, I find that I prefer sandals to tennis shoes. They’re easier to pack, keep my feet aerated and cool, and my favorite thing about them: they can be mixed and matched with way more outfits than tennis shoes. My favorite brands include Dansko, Clarks, and Ecco.
3. Collapsable, mini day backpack
I almost always travel with 1 suitcase and my trusty medium sized Timbuktu backpack. It’s bulky enough that I don’t want to use it every day on the trip, so I love having a small backpack that will fit a bottled water and wallet. Hiking backpacks are a great option as they often have clips in front, which keeps the pack flush with your back and will help detect pickpockets.
Taryn White – The Trip Wish List
Everyone has their go-to items when they travel, and my go-to travel items are all about keeping things organized. Though they’re not as“sexy” as an Apple Watch, they’re no less functional, and I never leave home without these:
1. Packing cubes
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Shacke Pak packing cubes because they’re ‘TSA-foolproof’ first and foremost. And when my bags need to be searched, it’s super easy to lift the packing cubes and even open them without making a mess of my suitcase. I use them to keep my clothes organized and group different outfits or different types of items like underwear and swimwear in separate cubes. This means I never have to worry about digging through a suitcase packed with all my clothes to find what I was looking for.
2. Hanging toiletry bag
I’ve been a fan of Tumifor many years, and I own several pieces of luggage.
I never travel without my handy toiletry bag, which I use to store all of my cosmetics, deodorant, travel-sized toiletries, lotion, cotton balls, and toothpaste/toothbrush.It folds up neatly and has a hanger so I can access everything without needing counter space or unpack anything. Mine has plastic pouches which protect contents from spills. In my opinion, such a bag is a must, because there are so many small items that can be hard to find when they’re not organized.
3. Food storage bags
Though they’re supposed to be used to store food, I always take both large and small food storage plastic bags (i.e., Ziploc) on every trip. Not only are they good for storing snacks, but I use them for everything but the kitchen sink–hair accessories, even toothbrushes, and anything that can leak while traveling. For large liquids greater than 3 ounces, like sunscreen or insect repellant, I use painters tape around bottle caps and place the liquid item in a large storage bag to prevent leaking inside the suitcase.
Cyril Lemaire – Quest Travel Adventures
1. A printed photocopy of the passport
I always take with me a printed photocopy of my passport along with a picture of my passport in my Smart Phone in case my room/car get broken into, I get robbed, or pickpocketed. Otherwise, you will spend a lot of time and money getting the required paperwork to prove that you are who you say you are to the US passport authorities
2. A transformer
I use a transformer in order to plug in and be able to recharge. Europe, Asia, and Africa all use different plugs and electric voltage so if you want to make sure that you don’t cause your electronic and electric devices to fry, make sure you plug all your devices into the appropriate converter.
I always carry a one week supply of the antibiotic called Ciproflaxin. For the travelers that try new foods and want to experience local flavors, you’ll want to bring preventative antibiotic that will kill any stomach/abdominal/gastro-intestinal bugs out there and Cipro does the job with just about anything.
Peta-Gaye Daniel – My Cruising Family
As a and mom to 2 boys who are frequent travelers, I can share with you a number of items that I find to be essential to family travel in particular.
1. Steri-Bottle Disposable Bottles
These bottles are very convenient for families traveling with a baby who still drinks from a bottle. Steri-Bottle allows parents to keep baby’s regular bottles at home without fear of losing them during travel, and with no need to wash bottles while on vacation. Parents simply discard the Steri-Bottle Disposable Bottles after baby’s feedings. My Cruising Family loves these!
2. Baby Washcloths
Babyganics, Disney, or Johnson’s Disposable Baby Washcloths stay dry until they lather up in the water, and they are very gentle on baby’s skin. These disposable washcloths are very convenient when flying because they can be packed in carry-on bags without having to consider the 3.4-ounce TSA rule. They are also handy to travel within our “to go” bag on our cruises and excursions. Sensitive skin and all, My Cruising Family has had great experiences with these!
3. Mosquito repellent wipes
Cutter All Family mosquito repellant wipes are great for protection against mosquito and other insect bites when traveling to our favorite destination: The Caribbean.
Like the washcloths mentioned above, the mosquito repellant wipes are convenient because they can be put in carry-on bags without having to consider the 3.4-ounce TSA rule because they are not liquid. Also, My Cruising Family finds that the scent of these wipes is more pleasant than other mosquito repellants.
Nick Le – Gridfiti
Three items that I always carry with me when I travel abroad include:
1. A camera
Traveling abroad is something I love doing and it is mandatory for me to bring a camera to document my experience. Having photos and video gives me a way to express my excitement and my emotions during a trip. I always create videos and photos to the overall mood and vibe of the trip. The experience I have on my travels are portrayed in my creative visuals.
2. A Notebook and a Pen
I do write regularly, but I hold a notebook and a pen on my travels for the ideas that I come up with. I run a blog and I’m always creating videos and photos, so it’s necessary for me to think of ideas for content. I find when I’m miles away from my hometown, I come up with my best ideas and my creative instinct is at its sharpest. There is no better feeling than coming home to a notebook full of ideas to execute on.
Whenever I’m at home, I struggle to find the time or the desire to pick up a book. I feel like when I’m at home there’s always so much going and I have higher priorities. When I travel, during my commutes, I always have a book in my hand and I’m using the travel time to read in between destinations. Books always open up new perspectives for me and I find traveling does the same, so the two are just cohesive and work well together.
This was an awesome roundup! Thank you for making it this far! I hope you enjoyed reading this post. If so, please share it on social media. We would love to hear your travel experiences in the comments below.
About the author: Minuca Elena
I am a freelance writer specialized in creating expert roundups. My posts provide quality content, bring huge traffic and get backlinks. I also helps bloggers connect with influencers and I love to travel. You can contact me at my blog, MinucaElena.com.