No matter what type of destination I’m visiting, the below items are the essentials I always pack. Read on to learn what I love most about each product, and let me know if you have tried any of them on your travels!
Comfortable, lightweight walking shoes: Cole Haan 2.Zerogrand Stitchlite Oxford
Walking around a new city is one of the best ways to get to know it, and wearing comfortable shoes is key to enjoying your travels to the fullest. The shoe that I swear by when traveling (and every day that I’m not traveling, too) is the 2.Zerogrand Stitchlite Oxford from Cole Haan. I’ve walked 20,000 steps in mine, day after day, for weeks while traveling, and my feet never ached or hurt. They weigh almost nothing, can be easily cleaned by throwing them in a washing machine, will dry just by being left in the sun for a few hours, and always look great! Compare prices for these shoes on both Zappos and Amazon, because sometimes they go on sale!
Breathable wide-leg pants: Lululemon Noir Pant
These are the best all-around travel pant. They are stretchy, comfortable, breathable and sweat-wicking, making them perfect for the airplane when temperatures in the cabin fluctuate from freezing cold to hot and humid. These pants are great for any destination because they are comfortable in all climates, and are especially ideal in conservative destinations in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East where the weather is hot but you need to keep your skin covered in public. I went a few sizes up when buying mine, so I could go for a more high-waisted, palazzo-pant look (I’m typically a 4 and bought them in size 8). They can hang-dry super fast, and also double as pajama pants in case you forget to pack something to sleep in- something I, somehow, always manage to do! They are available in black year-round, but check for other colors that sometimes go on sale: Lululemon Noir Pant.
Extra-long 10-foot phone charging cable: Amazon Basics
It’s rare that you will ever visit a place and know the exact configuration of the power outlets in your room ahead of time, so to prepare for an awkwardly placed outlet I always bring an extra-long phone charging cable. It’s especially helpful if you like to have your phone by your beside when you use it as an alarm clock, and the only outlet is on the opposite end of the room, or in an airport departure hall where the only power source is more than an arm’s distance from the nearest chair.
Magnetic clip to hold your hat: Toptote
This is the invention that every hat-wearing traveler has been waiting for! A convenient and durable clip that provides easy access and secure storage of your hat while you’re on the go. I personally love my Toptote Hat Clip that doubles as a Luggage Tag, but the brand also offers options to attach to totes and handbags, as well as different leather colors and clip finishes. Gone are the days of squishing your favorite hat, forcing yourself to wear it when you have no where else to put it, or accidentally leaving it behind when your hands are already full.
Power strip to plug into a universal adapter: Belkin and Travel Smart by Conair
Between my laptop, phone, external battery, camera charger, drone charger, and drone remote control charger, it’s easy to use up all the available power outlets in a room. I always travel with my power strip from Belkin to be sure I’ll have enough outlets to charge my electronics all at once. This is especially helpful if I’m out all day and my only opportunity to charge the electronics is overnight. I also swear by my universal adapter from Travel Smart by Conair, I’ve been using the same one for years and it’s still as trusty as ever.
Reusable bag: Baggu
Traveling with your own reusable bag can come in handy when you are shopping in local markets for groceries or souvenirs, and is always appreciated by the shop-owners. Not only does declining single-use plastic bags help protect the environment, you encourage the shop owners to buy less plastic and save on those expenses. Having your own reusable bag is also helpful when you are packing in a rush or need to transport your goods easily and conveniently. I love my bags from Baggu because they are durable, water-resistant, come in fun colors and patterns, and fold up nicely in their pouch for easy storage. Amazon has the biggest selection of colors and options.
Collapsible water bottle: Anntrue 18oz Silicone Water Bottle
If space efficiency is as important to you as it is to me, you will love the Anntrue collapsible and resuable water bottle. Unlike other collapsible bottles I’ve tried (like Que), this brand doesn’t leak, stands upright, is much more durable, and is a few dollars cheaper. It’s also a lot lighter than my Swell bottle. It is 9 inches tall at full size and collapses to 5 inches, saving you precious space when packing a tight bag.
Simple black scarf: Cindy & Wendy
Having a simple scarf with you is the easiest way to be prepared for an unexpected change in temperature either in an airplane, airport, or at your destination. It’s also useful when traveling to places where it’s better to keep your skin covered. Black is a great color choice because it can be appropriate in any destination during the day or night, and doesn’t easily show dirt or marks. A simple scarf is versatile and can be easily folded and put away or wrapped around your purse strap when you’re not using it. Amazon has hundreds of options but this one from Cindy & Wendy has lasted me years.
Resistance bands: Letsfit Exercise Bands
Exercising regularly is important for avoiding jet-lag by helping you maintaining a routine and a consistent sleep schedule. I love to travel with my exercise bands because they fold up into a tiny pouch and I can get a full-body workout literally anywhere. Click here for ideas in this resistance band exercise guide. Considering how light-weight easy they are to stuff in your bag, there’s no excuse not to bring them with you when you travel.
Compact luggage scale: Travel Smart by Conair
I tend to travel only with a carry on, but if I ever check luggage I always bring my own luggage scale. My compact scale from Travel Smart has always been accurate and saved me valuable time and from the inconvenience of having to rearrange my luggage at an airport check-in desk. Having my own scale was especially helpful when I was moving back home after four months of living in Europe, and needed to pack strategically so none of our bags were overweight.
SPF Lip Balm: Neutrogena Norwegian Formula
Not only do I always bring my Norwegian formula SPF lip balm with me on my travels, I literally never leave home without it. This lip balm is soft, moisturizing, and most importantly doesn’t have a bitter SPF taste like other lip balms. Bring this lip balm with you on your next trip and be sure to reapply while in the airplane because cabin air can be especially drying and altitude can increase UV exposure.
Neutrogena Norwegian Formula SPF Lip Balm available on Amazon
What’s something you never leave on a trip without? Let me know in the comments!
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