Traveling is pure joy and what makes the experience even more enriching is peace of mind and some tools. We have been traveling solo and as a couple for more than a decade – day trip, weekend getaway or a week-long vacation, we have done it all. Over the years, we have realized that we reach out for some items more than the others. And these essential travel items make our journey a little less stressful and more enjoyable.
These items range from clothes to electronics to basic organizing tools. We hope you find our list of 10 essential travel items useful for your trips to come. We have also included a bonus tip at the end. Happy Travels!
10 Essential Travel Items that every traveler must have – Travel Tips
These essential travel items should be the foundation of any destination packing lists and should be included in your luggage. These are the ultimate travel accessories that you will invest in and will appreciate its value year after year.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Leaving for a trip and only have a few days left? Don’t worry many of these items can be purchased online and delivered the next day with Amazon Prime. You can sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime right here!
Travel Back-pack or suitcase + daypack
As a seasoned traveler, we recommend investing in the right backpack(or a suitcase), that you will carry for years. We have our travel backpacks on stand-by and ready to go filled with travel essentials. Carry-on size luggage is what we prefer to travel with (no matter how long the trip is).
Travel Backpack – for those who travel light
A travel backpack is an ESSENTIAL item. You should invest in a sturdy, comfortable backpack which you can carry all day long. An anti-theft backpack is what we recommend. Learn more about selecting the RIGHT antitheft backpack here.
Travel backpacks store your electronics, travel documents (RFID protection) and have comfortable and adjustable straps. Try to stick to a size of 25-35 L size as a daypack or backpack style. With this optimal size, you can use the backpack as a carry-on and as a day pack to carry essentials, when you are out and about exploring. Here is a backpack we recommend and it also has anti-theft properties (slash-proof, water and tear-resistant)
Note: You can up the backpack size to 45 liters to carry a lot of items as a carry-on, however, it may not be ideal as a day-pack. Check out the 45 liters VentureSafe backpack from Pacsafe.
Investing in an anti-theft backpack takes out the guesswork – nothing can be anti-slash-proof than these. These Pacsafe backpacks mentioned here are made up of cut-proof and slash-proof material, so no thief can get access to your belongings.
You can tie and lock it to an immovable object in a restaurant or in overnight trains in Europe, keeping your bag out of reach from bad hands.
Travel Suitcase – to pack a whole LOT!
If you prefer a suitcase and LOVE to pack a punch, choose our favorite AWAY suitcase. This travel suitcase is super versatile and sturdy. It has wheels for easy mobility, inbuilt compartments to separate and organize different items inside.
And it comes in different colors.
Although suitcases can carry a ton, you will still need a handy travel purse or a day pack to carry travel essentials like passport and other in-flight or daily essentials. Here are a few travel day-pack options to consider for him and her.
Travel day pack Options
If you are carrying a backpack as a carry-on, opt for a cross-body purse (her) or a sling bag (for him and her)
Sling bag/backpacks – LOVE this Patagonia sling backpack (him + her), very handy to carry daily essentials and also to use daily while commuting or on sightseeing. Salil loves sling bags for the daily commute.
Tip: Carry it in the front, if you have your 45 Litre backpack carry on, on your back.
Travel Purse – I LOVE my travel purses and keep cosmetics and other travel documents in it, for easy access. It is also handy when I am doing tours and keep my mirror-less camera and cellphone inside as well.
Packing Cubes to organize everything
Packing cubes are a MUST have. Whether its a carry-on or a backpack, we use packing cubes to organize our clothes, cosmetics and other items in our bags. They are really a space saver and helps in staying organized, trust me!
I like to wear dresses and flowy blouses on my travels, and also love being in pictures (and this is how I have always been, not due to the blog). I carry lightweight clothes and organize them using packing cubes.
Packing cubes are super handy, and you shouldn’t underestimate its power! If you are using a “tube-like single hole” backpack, you need a packing cube. If you are carrying multiple occasion outfits, you need to organize them – you need a packing cube.
Need to separate clean and dirty clothes on your trip, carrying a packing cube (that acts as a laundry bag), and I can give you more reasons to convince you! But get one and try it!
Most packing cubes come in 3 different sizes and you can store different clothes in each one and organize them by size or trip destination.
Here is one that we recommend from Eagle Creek. There are cheaper options available on Amazon, but it is worth investing in packing cubes, and you will find that these come in handy year after year.
Packable Jacket – Must have Wrinkle-Free Travel Clothes
We LOVE packable jackets. This personal item is a blessing in disguise. Jackets come in handy in flight, in the evenings when the air is chilly, in rains to cover yourself, to layer up and more. I can give you so many more reasons to INVEST in a good jacket that fits good and looks good and most importantly is PACK-ABLE. Packable jackets occupy a very tiny space in your carry-on and can be a true savior.
Comfortable Walking – Waterproof Shoes
After extensive years of travel, we found that wearing comfortable shoes is important to enjoy a holiday. Of course, sturdy, trendy and sole comfort are essential. But waterproof shoes are a hassle-free companion.
You don’t have to worry if it rains, or if you have to cross/walk on a dirty street – you can easily clean them and stay protected. Whether you hike or not, or traveling in the off-season (fall or spring) or winter, investing in good waterproof shoes is a good idea.
Check out waterproof shoes for HER
- Sneakers – These lightweight waterproof sneakers are PERFECT for walking miles and are very comfortable. Shop these walking shoes here
- Waterproof Booties – LOVE these booties. Great for all year round. Buy waterproof, comfortable booties here
- Tall Boots – Great for winter and fall wear. Buy these black waterproof knee-length boots
Check out waterproof shoes for HIM
- Sneakers – These BackCountry waterproof (hiking) shoes are great for walking distances or hiking. Here are some options
- Boots – These ankle length Timberland leather boots are SOOO rad and are super durable for rough winter terrain. Check out the waterproof durable boots here
Light Weight (Compact) Camera
When you are traveling you are also making memories and adding experiences. A photograph can speak a thousand words – how true is this quote? We carry our cell phone and a mirrorless camera to capture our moments abroad.
We cannot tell you enough how much joy it brings us when we re-live those moments, it definitely enriches our everyday lives. Investing in a good camera is a MUST for travel.
Gone are the days of carrying bulking DLSR with multiple lenses (and not to forget the camera bag in tow). We personally use a mirror-less camera from Sony and love the picture quality. The battery lasts all day and is so COMPACT that it fits in my cross-body purse.
It is super light, so we can carry it all day long on our neck, without the heavyweight. The lenses in the mirrorless camera are powerful and super easy to use. In terms of ease of use, it’s like a point and shoot camera. You can definitely learn complex tricks to maximize the use of the camera, but even with normal (out of the box) settings, it works amazing.
There are many brands of mirrorless cameras – Sony, FujiFilm, Canon. They are all big names, but all of them have certain common features – lightweight and compact, easy to use and great quality pictures. Some of the cameras also have video capabilities.
This recommended model – Sony alpha series is what we use. An upgraded version a6400 is a powerful mirrorless camera and this package comes with storage (memory) card, camera bag and some additional tools for you to use.
We also have a light camera pouch as back up. Here is what we use and it has safeguarded our camera from scratches and occasional bumps. We have never dropped our camera (touch wood), and we use a strap at all times.
Multi-port Cables to charge electronics – compact and versatile
With all the electronic items that you will be carrying on your travels, keeping them charged and up to date is essential. I swear by this multi-port cable. I was given a sample of these cable years ago when I worked in retail and it is an AMAZING item to keep forever. So it is a charging cable, with multiple ports like for your iPhone, Kindle, camera, or battery back-up.
You might be aware each of these devices listed above uses different ports like the micro USB, USB, and lightning cable, etc. Using this cable you can charge all of them. Yes – at the same time if you like.
It uses less space and takes out the hassle (and of forgetting) or leaving any of the important chargers behind. Give this a try, you will be impressed. (and you won’t be breaking the bank either). I love to carry this charger in my purse as well – as Salil and I use different phones (iPhone and Android).
Here is a cable with a battery back up. Battery back up is good to have when you are traveling for long hours (and you see that all ports are taken at the airport!)
Universal Adaptor and converter combo
As a frequent traveler, a universal adaptor is a MUST. You will be carrying some electronic devices (a phone, camera, tablet or laptop) with you on your travels. Universal adaptors will help you to plug in your device in any power outlet across the world to charge its battery for use.
This multi-country adaptor has 4 USB ports to plug in and charge the electronic item in over 150 countries. So definitely a good investment. We bought ours when we first started traveling overseas (in 2011 or so) and it is still in good working condition.
This adaptor is one of the best-rated items and also comes in white and purple.
Please keep in mind, adaptors are different from converters. Converters help in changing the voltage level in different countries and are usually valid for hair dryers or shavers. For regular electronic devices, adaptors are sufficient.
Waterbottle is an essential item on your travels. Whether you are hiking or on a full-day tour and exploring, you SHOULD stay hydrated and carry a water bottle. In countries where water is expensive, fill it up from the hotel. Places where public water is questionable – same thing. Take filtered, clean water in your bottle. You are doing your bit for the environment and staying fit. Oh yes – drink lots of water, in flight, on the road and drink 8 glasses 🙂
We recommend these collapsible water bottles that are travel approved and this brand also sends 10% of sales to dolphin rescue and protection.
Travel Organizer to store passport, IDs, credit cards and more documents
Travel Organizer for documents is so so handy! They are a MUST have to organize and secure your credit cards, printed boarding passes, passport, any quick notes like hotel address, emergency contact information, etc.
I know you might think, in the age of technology why bother with a printed boarding pass? Trust me, not all airports will accept barcode/digital boarding passes and what if your phone is frozen and cannot be scanned.
Also, your passports and credit cards are not digital, you will need a wallet with RFID protection (to protect against identity theft) or a travel organizer like this one. We use a travel organizer for documents even at home and when we are not traveling, to keep all the travel documents in one place. Invest in a piece that is not bulky, yet has enough rooms for passport, credit or ID cards, money, paper, pen, and boarding pass, with RFID protection.
Personal Items for Comfort Kit
Create a little “yours only” comfort travel kit. You can take inspiration from our carry on travel essentials packing list here, but here is what your kit should look like
- Cosmetic Kit – Include your favorite shampoo, lotion in travel size container. Just like this one.
- Add a first aid kit – with band-aids, painkillers, jet lag medications, and other prescriptions.
Any cosmetics, first aid medications or lose items should be stored in a transparent pouch especially if you are keeping it in your carry-on. Makes security check a breeze.
MUST INCLUDE IN YOUR COMFORT KIT: If you have issues sleeping in flight, use the following –
- Sleeping aid – A silky eye mask for long haul flights, along with a travel neck pillow so that you can relax and sleep well. Here is what we recommend
- Noise Cancelling headphones for entertainment (or sleep) – check out our favorite Bose headphones here
Bonus – Travel Insurance
This is our bonus tip and we hope that you already use one. Travel Insurance. We take travel insurance ourselves and recommend everybody take it as well. Travel Insurance covers the regular things like lost and delayed baggage, trip cancellation, including medical insurance like emergency illness, hospitalization, and accidents, repatriations, etc. (transfer of dead bodies).
In the event of a trip delay or cancellation, it also covers meals and hotel stay, should be delayed for a prolonged period of time (which could happen in winters or other issues – without the airline’s fault and are an act of nature/God)
Having travel insurance gives you peace of mind and also helps your family members, in case bad things were to happen while you are traveling. They should not be burdened with unexpected costs.
World Nomad’s Insurance is what we recommend. You can use this link to get a travel quote prior to your trip. Depending on your age, the number of days of travel and the type of coverage you wish to take you will be quoted with an insurance price/package.
We hope you enjoyed this list of 10 Essential Travel Items. If you are looking for an exhaustive list for female travelers, read: 25 Travel Essentials for Women
Additional Resources – Travel Packing List & Tips Travel Guide
- If you are unsure about how to select the BEST travel bag or purse, then read this useful guide – 11 Best Travel Handbags
- Get long haul flight essentials – Carry on essentials packing list here
- Read about our new favorite passport wallet – Pacsafe travel wallet
- Packing List for Mexico here
- Get the ultimate packing list for Europe
- Detailed packing tips for Cuba
- Ultimate Travel gifts for her
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click one of them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.