Wondering what to bring traveling? You are not alone! We’ve been traveling around the world for over five years and now have a huge list of travel essentials that improve our lives when we are away from home.
We recommend thousands of travel must-haves on this site, but I wanted to narrow that list down to the ultimate 50 essential travel accessories. All of these products we have personally tried out and own. Let’s dig in!
The Best Travel Essentials
For an international trip, it’s hard to think of any travel essential more important than a universal adapter. We recommend shopping before you arrive at your destination. It’s a classic move for tourist shops to sell cheap adapters for exorbitant prices.
With the number of travel documents we store these days digitally, you never want to arrive without a way to charge your devices.
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Grayl Ultralight Water Purifier
A water bottle is a travel must-have to save money and cut down on plastic. Most important is that this wide-mouth water bottle system purifies water. The futuristic bottle filters water similar to a french press. It allows sediment to sit at the bottom and filter the water in one press. Since it removes viruses and heavy metals, it almost removes all threats of waterborne illnesses.
It’s the perfect water bottle for those traveling in developing nations with questionable water supplies. As avid travelers who’ve spent more than our fair share of time in developing nations, the Grayl Filtration is an essential travel item every time.
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A travel towel is a great asset when you’re on the road. They are small, antimicrobial, and lightweight, so they’re easy to fit inside luggage. They’re necessary for backpackers who stay in hostels and need their own towel. We’re past those days, but pack a towel as it’s great for a hike to a waterfall or beach hopping.
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GoToob Travel Bottles
These GoToobs are my carry-on packing essentials. It’s best to not pack large cosmetic containers, instead place liquids in spill-proof travel bottles! GoToob bottles are made with durable silicon that is food-safe and airplane carry-on approved. They are 100% BPA-free and also a great eco-friendly gift idea.
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A reusable straw is a great eco-friendly product that easily fits in your purse or daypack when traveling. It’s a great way to cut down on your waste.
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Canvas Tote Bag
Traveling with a canvas tote bag in your luggage is great for shopping around your destination. Now that short-term rentals with kitchens are common for trips around the world, it’s great to visit the local markets with a reusable bag. A canvas bag is versatile and takes up less room than a T-shirt.
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Mobile Phone Case
A great travel accessory is a mobile phone case that makes life easier on the road. Many great cases can protect your phone, but the Peak Design Mobile case is the first to enhance your phone. Its innovative design works with wireless charging and has a suite of extraordinarily useful accessories. It utilizes magnets and a locking ring to connect to a mobile wallet, car mount, desk charging station, or tripod mount
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We don’t need a dozen iterations of products we use in life. For a timeless pair of sunglasses, it’s tough to find a more versatile pair of sunglasses than the Original Wayfarer.
We love to travel and hike around the world. A pair of sunglasses like the Ray-Ban Wayfarers are perfect for mountain summits or new cities. I can wear them in a suit or a mountain summit.
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Travel Insurance is a travel essential you should purchase for any international trip. Many travelers would be shocked to learn their health insurance policy at home does not cover them abroad. However, several companies offer short-term travel insurance plans for emergency medical, trip delay, and theft.
Heymondo is a great place to start shopping for a policy. Sign-up is easy, and rates are competitive. Having the peace of mind that you have a good backup plan helps you sleep at night or enjoy that questionable activity.
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A proper travel pillow is great for long flights, road trips, or train travel. They’re definitely not for everyone as they can be a pain to travel with once you arrive at the destination. However, that pain can definitely be outweighed if a comfy memory foam pillow provides you with some rest.
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A travel passport wallet is an affordable and easy trip essential. Your passport is likely the most important travel document you will need to carry for a decade. Protect your passport in a wallet to ensure its longevity and save the headache of replacing it. Several options can protect the passport or replace your wallet. We recommend a great wallet from Herschel Supply Co.
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Packing cubes are phenomenal for the organization of any backpack or suitcase. They are one of those packing essentials that should be in every bag as they keep all of your clothes and toiletries organized. Cubes also keep clothes folded and protect from wrinkles.
Our favorite packing cubes are currently from Peak Design. It’s a slick design, and each cube has a divider to separate clean from dirty clothes. This saves the need for additional cubes and makes organization easier.
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As a great travel tip, take a small pouch with everything you’ll need for a long flight. Once you board the flight, place it in the seatback pocket. It saves you from having to retrieve your essentials from the overhead bin and saves you the risk of leaving something behind.
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It’s a staple of our everyday life, and they fit seamlessly between exploring a new city, a short hike, or commuting to our favorite coworking space. A daypack is excellent for carrying a camera, laptop, map, headphones, or your favorite water bottle when traveling.
Our favorite daypack is the Peak Design Everyday Bag, but we have some other great recommendations that will fit anyone’s needs.
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Classic Linen shirt
It’s tough to beat a classic shirt from hemp, linen, or rapeseed materials. They look excellent and practical as they have anti-microbial properties and will stay fresh longer when you sweat. Linen is a perfect option as it has a timeless look for your trip.
Pair a linen shirt with sandals, shorts, chinos, jeans, or shoes. It will always work. Linen shirts are versatile clothing that looks good for both sexes and works at the beach, museum, archaeological site, or safari. It’s tough to find decent linen shirts online, but I love the quality of J. Crew’s or Everlane’s linen shirts. You can often score a deal, so it won’t be the world’s end if you stain or snag the shirt.
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A pair of chinos work for both sexes. It’s a classic look combined with a sweater, dress shirt, t-shirt, or blouse. Regarding color choice, try to match the destination—darker colors in cooler climates and lighter colors in warm climates.
For women, Tasha likes a pair by prAna called the Halle. For men, prAna makes the Brion Pant. They are a tremendous pair of comfortable pants that belong on the trail or city streets. However, if you’re after a worthy investment, the BEST travel pants for men are made by Bluffworks.
Check Out Our Recommendations
Women’s prAna Halle
Comfortable Travel Pants
I pretty much live in loose pants when at beach destinations. My favorite pair of loose pants are made by prAna. Their women’s Mantra Pants are made of hemp and recycled polyester while offering 50+ UPF protection. The men’s version is the Vaha Pant, and Cameron also lives in these.
Perfect for beach destinations, these pants are lightweight and super comfortable. They are a wardrobe staple for nighttime as they are appropriate to wear barefoot to a nice resort restaurant.
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There are only a few items we recommend everyone has, and one of them is a down jacket. A down jacket is a staple for travel and outdoor activities as it’s tremendously versatile. They pack up small and come in incredibly handy whenever you find yourself just a wee bit chilly.
We always recommend you bring a great packable down jacket on just about any extended trip. When you’re dealing with the mountains and wide temperature shifts, it’s a great way to keep warm without eating up too much space in your hiking backpack.
Down Jacket Recommendations
A great pair of shoes is one of the most important travel essentials to me. My favorite shoes for their versatility are now Allbirds. Honestly, it all depends on the trip, but the sustainable sneakers are well-loved for their versatility. You can see my all-around favorite travel shoes here for more inspiration.
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Rainbow Sandals are my absolute favorite sandals. No one wants to be someone who shows up to the beach in sneakers. Sandals are a staple of island life worldwide, and we couldn’t imagine a trip without them.
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On every travel packing checklist of mine, there is a Buff. I travel everywhere with a Buff because it pulls my hair back when it looks like crap (often), keeps the sweat out of my face, and protects me from the sun. They are one of the best travel accessories for women and men.
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Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6
We live in a digital world, and it feels like most photos now only exist on our phones, cameras, or the cloud. With a fun camera like the Instax Square SQ6, you can take instant photos as a fun keepsake.
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Almost all international flights have entertainment systems on board, but the headphones are lackluster. Traveling with a decent pair of noise-canceling headphones is best to save your ears. They’re also great for entertainment on long layovers.
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Journal & Pen
Keeping a journal of your travels is timeless. It helps one digest the information they receive daily and has proven mental health benefits. Moleskin’s line of journals is classic, well-made, and stylish. Screen time can be overwhelming when on the plane; sometimes, the flight gives you time to think. For that, we love to have a notebook or journal in our bag.
We carry a moleskin journal and love them for long plane rides, sitting in the back of the bus, or lying on the beach. Most importantly, don’t forget a pen to write in your journal and fill out custom declaration forms before arrival. Even if you don’t have a journal, you should definitely have something to write with on the plane.
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A Kindle is an essential travel gadget for travelers who love reading. As much as I love a real book, they are too heavy and take up too much room in my suitcase. I’ve recently upgraded to the Kindle Paperwhite and absolutely love it. It’s small, has touch screen functions, and a backlight so I can read at night without a harsh glare.
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Just like your skin, it’s easy for your eyes to become dry and irritated on a plane. To make it only worse, you’ll probably arrive a little tired and groggy at your destination. A bottle of eye drops does a great job of keeping your eyes happy and healthy.
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GoPro Hero Camera
This is the perfect camera to bring around the world; you’ll see them everywhere. If you’re embarking on any adventures from surfing to hiking to snowboarding, a GoPro is the travel item you need. Don’t risk bringing a fancy camera to the beach and getting sand in it. Or even worse, water. Just make sure to attach it to a wrist strap so it doesn’t get lost!
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A streaming device is a travel must-have. Don’t count on hotels or vacation rentals to have a smart TV. A streaming device like the Roku Express is great as it comes with a remote and does not require a phone to control like the Google Chromecast. Plug the streaming device into any TV, connect to Wifi, and voila – Netflix!
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I love traveling with a power bank to ensure my phone never dies. Most of the time, I don’t need to use it on long flights as some nicer airlines provide entertainment systems with USB ports!
We also make sure to find a charging point during layovers, but getting to a new city without your hotel reservations and map can be a major pain in the ass. I recommend purchasing this power bank because it’s a great value with solid reviews.
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A staple holiday essential is a travel hammock. There are so many places around the world that are easy places to lounge around and do absolutely nothing. If you are wondering what to pack for an outdoor adventure, consider a travel hammock that you can string up between trees. It’s perfect for those times when you want to relax in nature.
The ENO hammock was the original producer and the first travel hammock we bought. Now, you can find many cheap ones online as they’re easy to manufacture in China, and people love to buy and sell them on Amazon. Personally, I’d still stick with the original.
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After camping in Africa, we learned that a headlamp is never a bad idea. Our headlamp came in handy when we were glamping in Hawaii and walking around at night in Costa Rica. It’s also great for any sunrise or sunset hikes you may plan on the islands. We love to buy outdoor gear like this on REI.
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We always travel with a dry bag, whether or not it is a beach vacation. They come in so handy if you find that you need one on the fly. They have saved our electronics several times. They have easily paid for themselves when we’ve traveled to beach destinations like Seychelles, Cyprus, yachting in the Mediterranean, or white water rafting down the Nile River.
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For backpackers who are on an extended trip, a Scrubba Bag is amazing! It’s a tiny and lightweight mobile laundry machine. Put your dirty clothes in the bag, add water and soap, seal, and scrub away. Now you can literally wash your clothes anywhere there is water.
Although the Scrubba retails for around $50, think about how much money washing your clothes can cost in a hostel, hotel, or laundromat. We usually pay about $5 per load. So you will easily make your money back after just ten loads of wash. Most importantly, this eco-friendly product uses less water than a commercial washing machine and no energy.
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Hydro Flask Insulated Tumbler
The Hydroflask coffee tumbler is one of the best-insulated coffee mugs out there. A reusable coffee mug is an essential travel accessory for coffee lovers.
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We highly recommend getting an eco-friendly sun cream that does not contain harmful chemicals, especially if you are on the beach. Once you go into the ocean, those harmful chemicals from your sunscreen will run off and ruin the coral and marine life, so it’s super important to sunbathe responsibly.
Eco-friendly sunscreen is mineral-based and usually only costs a few dollars more to help protect our natural bodies of water. If you’re not going to swim and only sunbathe, just go with a reliable name brand — granted, runoff often ends in our oceans and lakes.
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All Natural Deodorant
Deodorant is a essential travel kit item. I like to bring my special all-natural deodorant with me when I travel since the all-natural stuff can be really hard to find abroad. If you use specialty products like this, bring them with you when you travel as sometimes they can be very hard to find. However, generic roll-on sticks can be found at pharmacies around the country.
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I love to travel everywhere with my yoga mat. If you are a bit of a yogi, know that often when traveling, yoga studios can be found. We’ve found places to practice, like Costa Rica, Bali, and Hawaii. I love traveling with my Manduka travel mat when I just want to do a couple of quick stretches.
The Manduka travel mat is super light and thin. It can fold into a square and easily be packed in luggage. I bring this in my carry-on so I can stretch at the airport when I’m enduring a long layover. At $42, it won’t break the bank and has super grip technology for those sweaty times. You can also see all our favorite travel yoga mats here!
See Our Recommendations
Portable Jewelry Box
A portable jewelry box is a staple in my packing list. It’s a great travel essential but is something that is easily overlooked until it’s too late. It’s easy to break necklace chains or loose earrings in your suitcase or backpack. Trust me, I’ve done it a few times and lost some precious jewelry to me.
Before I had a travel jewelry box, I stored all my necklaces and earrings in a plastic bag, always untangling them. Thanks to an easy design and a few compartments will keep jewelry organized and stored safely.
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Lastly, a travel bag essential for us is solid shampoo. As we get older, we’re slowly becoming hippies. We love using Ethique products as they do not use hard chemicals, test products on animals, and offer many organic products.
They have an awesome company ethos, and we’ve never walked into one of their stores and been met with a frowning face. Their shampoo bars, face washes, and fragrances are of particular use to travelers.
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Plan For Your Trip
- Protect Your Trip: We don’t travel without travel insurance, nor should you. You never know what can happen while traveling, so it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo provides excellent short-term and long-term travel insurance plans.
- Find Cheap Flights: Sign up for Scotts Cheap Flights to get notified when prices get ultra low.
- Travel Adapter: Make sure you find a good adapter to keep your personal electronics charged. Otherwise, you may be paying for a cheap one once you land. Purchase one here.
- Travel Backpack: We like the Nomatic Travel Backpack for our travels. Check the price here.
- Our Favorite Travel Shoes: Our answer to this question is always ALLBIRDS! Check them out on their site!
- Get a Travel Credit Card: We travel worldwide for free because we have leveraged our spending into points. See why you should get a travel credit card and how you can do the same with our favorite travel credit cards.