When you travel frequently, whether it’s full-time or worked into you everyday life, you quickly realize the things you can’t travel without. Most often these things are what make traveling easier or allow you to adjust to the different situations that come up on the road. I’ve got my few items I can’t live without but I know I’m not the only traveler who has built a list of must-haves.
So I went to the experts, travel bloggers who’ve worked their way around the globe with these simple things. For the next time you’re packing up for a trip keep in mind some, or all, of these items that they the experts can’t travel without.
Note: You’ll find affiliate links in this post which allow me to continue to improve Traveling Nine to Fiver. I hope this article is useful for you.
Lipbalm, Sunglasses & a Book – Jeanette of Honey Bird Travel
Past the obvious phone, wallet, passport there are three things I just can’t travel without. Lipbalm, sunglasses and a good book.
Lipbalm cause ain’t nobody got time for burnt lips. Not only is it painful but burnt, swollen lips look ridiculous in photos.
Taking care of yourself when traveling should be number one priority. Again let’s avoid sunburn, squinty eye photos and generally take good care of our eyes. I always have a spare pair in my bag as a just in case.
A good book to read. Travelling involves a lot of patience and waiting. At airports, train stations, bus stops. I’m sure you get the picture. There’s nothing quite as soothing as getting lost in a book on your way to adventure.
Megan’s Note – My kindle is a lifesaver while traveling, don’t know what I’d so without it. A great way to bring more than one book along with you wherever you go.
Skin Care Kit – Shraddha of StreetTrotter
A unique part of being a spontaneous traveler on the road is – you almost always have your bags packed already. For the last two years I have managed to make a mental list of everything I need in my suitcase for a trip, and on the top spot is my skin care list. I hate packing my cosmetics kits every time for a different place and weather, and therefore after a lot of trail and testing, I have carved out a must have kit for me – fit for all seasons, no matter where in the world I roam. My musts haves are – a toner to keep my skin texture sane; a sunscreen; a moisturizing surge gel by Clique to stay hydrated and yet not oily; an exfoliator followed by a face wash; a cleansing lotion; facial cotton and loofa pads, and a pack of facial wet tissues. When it comes to skincare throughout changing weather situations this kit has never let me down!
Packing Cubes – SJ of Chasing the Donkey
I love to travel, and the most unpleasant part is packing and unpacking – that is why now, I simply can’t travel without packing cubes. I resisted them for a long time, but now I shout it from the rooftops.
Packing cubes not only make finding clothes easier to find, clothes do not get as crumpled. Win-win! One of the best sets we own is the ShackePak – the cubes are made of water resistant nylon and each set comes with an extra large cube, large, medium, and small cube and a bonus laundry bag is also included.
Megan’s Note – I entirely agree with SJ! I don’t know what I’d do without my packing cubes, especially for longer trips. My favorites are my eBags, find out why here.
A Top Notch Water Bootle – Patti of The Savvy Globetrotter
My Klean Kanteen insulated water bottle is the one item I can’t travel without. It might look like just a regular water bottle but this thing is leakproof, double-wall vacuum insulated (meaning no condensation) and a trusty travel companion. My Klean Kanteen has never leaked when tossed upside down in my bag and keeps my drink temperature the way I want all day, no matter how hot or cold. Best of all, I’ve had it for years so between not needing a replacement or purchasing drinks along the way, it is environmentally friendly too.
Solid Shampoo & Sunblock – Allison of Eternal Arrival
One thing I can’t travel without is my LUSH solid shampoo (my favorite is the Seanik). Not to be confused with dry shampoo, this is a soap-like bar that turns to shampoo suds as you run it over wet hair. A small bar lasts forever – mine’s 3 months old and still looks almost new – and you can store it in a perfectly sized metal tin. It’s so much smaller than typical shampoos and it doesn’t compete for space in your liquid toiletries bag if you’re flying carry-on only, which I almost always do. I love this shampoo so much I use it even when I’m not traveling!
I am absolutely obsessed with solid sunscreen and I can’t believe I never knew about it earlier! As I freckle and burn in moments in the sun (curse my Scottish and Estonian genes!), having sunscreen on hand is always essential. I like solid sunscreen because it’s less messy, goes on quickly, and doesn’t smell quite as strongly. It also doesn’t leak and hasn’t melted a bit, even as I’ve schlepped it through the hot summers of Spain and Morocco. Plus, since I’m an avowed carry-on only traveler, it doesn’t fight for space in my liquid toiletries bag. Neutrogena makes awesome solid sunscreens in waterproof and high-SPF versions, both of which are essential for me (in fact, I usually carry both!).
Camping Tent – Dani of Like Riding a Bicycle
The one thing I can’t live without is my tent. I’ve been on the road for three and a half years without a break, and no matter what happens, I know that if I have my tent I am safe. I can be in the wilderness surrounded my bears, and will convince myself they can never permeate the tent’s sweet walls. I can be in a city, and find my way to some bushes in front of an apartment building to happily pitch my tent. I feel free and at home no matter where I am with my tent. As long as it’s with me, everything will always work out. So please don’t steal my tent.
A Scarf – Shobha of Just Go Places
I can’t travel without a scarf. I usually scrunch it into a small roll in my carry on so that I know that I always have it. It serves lots of purposes – a blanket to wrap up when it’s too cold, some place to sit on the beach, or merely an article of clothing! I’ve wrapped my kids in it when they got wet and I didn’t have a change of clothing. I don’t have one particular scarf I use, instead the choice of depends on where I am going. If I’m going someplace warmer, my scarf will be more lightweight. It also tends to be a neutral color and pattern so that it can go with most of my outfits. I prefer natural fabrics that I can wash and hang in the hotel bathroom if I get it dirty.
Bose Headphones, Tote Bag & a Maxi Dress – Megan of Traveling Nine to Fiver
With such great recommendations from my fellow bloggers they knocked off many of my must haves from my Kindle to a reusable water bottle. This list got my mind going on what I always make sure to bring along as I travel. A new favorite is my Bose wireless headphones, they block out everything whether it’s the screaming baby on the plane or the noisy coffee shop, plus the wireless makes juggling all your luggage easier.
To help me carry everything, I finally found the perfect tote bag that I use just about every day but is also perfect for traveling. It’s either my carry-on or overnight bag. I can pack my laptop plus everything I need for an overnight or can fit my laptop, book, water bottle, headphones and all the little items I need for a long flight. The Delsey Personal Tote fits everything you can think of, plus slides easily onto your carry-on luggage.
Sorry guys, this one won’t help you out much, but my go-to clothing item when packing is my maxi-dress. It works in weather from the 50s to 100s by just adding a sweater or not. It is something you can be relatively active in or you can go out to a nice dinner, spend an afternoon at the beach or walk into a temple (covering your shoulders, of course). It is the most versatile item of clothes I own and is perfect for packing light.
Focus On Self-Care & Packing Light With Their Can’t Travel Without Items
When asking travel experts what they can’t travel without, many of the items come down to things that help either in easing their ability to pack light or ensuring they are able to provide some self-care. It’s easy to get on the road and let taking care of yourself slide whether it’s your skin care or slowing down to read a book.
On the other hand, I believe the more you travel the more you appreciate the ease of traveling light. Whether it’s versatile items or making packing easier these are items us travel experts can’t travel without.
Are many of these items on your packing lists? If not, what hat are the items you can’t travel without? Leave a comment below.