Throughout my travels, I’ve adjusted my routines and packing lists as I discover new products or realize I don’t use things I pack. While I’m still changing habits at the drop of a hat, lately, these 10 have consistently been on my list, and have all become powerful tools in my bags. Aside from the typical items like a travel pillow and umbrella, in no particular order:
1. REI MultiTowel Lite Towel:
As my friend Jenny says, “this is a highly effective towel.” It’s extremely absorbent, both drying the skin with a single stroke, and drying itself within an hour. Best yet, when it’s wet, it’s still extremely light-weight and doesn’t get stinky, meaning you can use it, pack it away, and pull it out clean and dry at your next location.
2. Google Maps Offline:
When traveling abroad, I don’t have the money to pay high rates to use my phone across boarders, even just to use the internet and maps. Luckily, Google had people like me in mind, and added a feature to the GoogleMaps app which allows me to download an area on my phone, so I can still search and navigate (except get step-by-step directions) while still in airplane mode and without wifi or data.
3. Any luggage with wheels:
Unfortunately, I committed a major faux pas and bought a small weekender duffel bag without wheels. Carrying this around for two weeks on planes and trains, or just to the airport (three hours away by train), is a pain because it’s always heavy and never only for a weekend. Running after trains with a heavy bag is the last thing you want… trust me, I have ample experience.
4. Sleep emergency kit
This consists of an eye mask, headphones and a travel playlist. I’ve downloaded an about five-hour-long playlist on my iPhone of music that could keep me entertained on a train, but also help me sleep at night. If you end up sharing a hostel room with someone who stays up late, or snores all night long, you’ll need this kit. I’ve had both happen, and there’s nothing like drowning out loud snoring with louder Ed Sheeran and Mumford and Sons.
My backpack has become my iconic travel companion (if not my heavy coat that I’m wearing in every picture). I use it for work, travel and an evening at the local wine bar. It’s adjustable, making it idyll for my work folder and planner, up to a weekend with friends. It’s convenient and stylish, and wildly more practical than any tote or purse.
6. LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics:
I can’t ever get my travel-sized conditioner to last two weeks. Or the toothpaste, or anything else travel-sized. LUSH has the answer. They sell solid shampoo, conditioner and toothpaste. They’re not only the perfect size and weight for traveling, but they’re also natural and environmentally friendly.
7. Pouches for everything:
When I say “everything,” I just about mean it. Cosmetics in a pouch, small freshening-up items in a pouch, a pouch for jewelry, a pouch for first aid, you name it. It’s a great way to keep your life somewhat organized when living out of a suitcase for two weeks and a different hostel almost every night.
8. An external charger
My mom bought me this external charger several years ago for Christmas, and I’m so glad she did. I get multiple phone lives with every charge, plus one can’t deny the useful nature of a flashlight.
9. Braided clothes line
I don’t remember where I got my clothes line, but REI sells a similar product. Maybe you’re someone who does laundry while on vacation. I bought mine summer 2015 when I went to the South Pacific and used it often for drying my beach towel, laundry and more. I still use it in my apartment in Saumur to dry my laundry I don’t want to shrink in the dryer. Overall, it’s a great, inexpensive investment.
I’ve said it before, but Keds really are the best shoe I’ve ever found for traveling. They’re durable, lightweight, low-profile, stylish, easy-to-clean and comfortable without any inserts. I’ll usually bring a sandal or booties if I’ll be gone for an extended period, but I end up wearing my Keds a happy majority of the time. I just love them.
Have anything to add? I’d love to know, so don’t hesitate to comment below!