What travel must-haves do you absolutely need? Keep reading to see my go-to items.
Knowing what to pack for a lengthy trip overseas is challenging to say the least, especially with all the safety restrictions these days. Even more so for an active outdoorsy traveler who has a tendency to overpack, like myself.
MUST-HAVE #1: TOILETRIES
Obviously, this is a no-brainer, right? However, if you’re anything like me, finding brands that are not tested on animals, have organic or natural ingredients, are actually good for the planet AND are available in travel-size is a tough find. But not for me! Below are my absolute favorites:
Love beauty and planet Shampoo & conditioner
Like it says on the back of the bottles—organic coconut oil, vegan, plant based, not tested on animals, no silicones, no parabens, no dyes and NO GUILT. Another reason to love this brand is that the bottle is made out of 100% recycled plastic and most importantly the brand is committed to “acts of love that make the planet more beautiful.” PS – how many travel sized haircare products have an incredibly unique and aphrodisiac-like smell of coconut water and mimosa flower?
Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap
It’s been a trusted household brand for years, it is certified organic and now available in travel size. Oh, and there’s a perk—not only is it a fantastic body wash, but it boasts 18 other uses!
Honest Hand Sanitizer Spray
Hand sanitizer is a must for self proclaimed germaphobes. Think about it—airports, airplanes, cars, hostels/hotels, etc.—these are places where everyone touches everything whether or not their hands are clean or dirty. I’ll take the sanitizer and pass up the opportunity for a full-on bacteria bath everywhere I go. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest… I typically look for a non-toxic sanitizer. The Honest Co makes a spray version without synthetic fragrances, parabens, triclosan, or benzalkonium chloride—it’s also not tested on animals. That heavenly Coastal Surf scent helps me dream away all the germs or at least 99.9% of them.
WHERE TO GET IT?
These items where found at my local Target in the travel isle. Here’s a link to their online travel size section (it’s generic, I’m not getting paid to promote these items, although it would be nice!)
MUST-HAVE #2: COLLAPSIBLE WATER BOTTLE
Ever since my flight to Malaysia where I woke up with severe dry mouth and had to wait for what seemed like forever to get the tiniest cup of water—not a complaint, I understand it’s a huge flight with a limited number of attendants & tiny cups—I promised myself I’d never let it happen again.
But you can’t take water on a plane! Yes! I know. That’s why I recommend getting a collapsible water bottle like this one from Kemier.
You head through security with a collapsed/empty bottle, then undo the clever latch, press a cute little button that allows air in the bottle, then fill with water and sip. Such a great invention. It’s also great to have on-hand if you’re active and like to go hiking for example. I like this one because you can add a carabiner and clip it onto your carry-on and when filled with air, water or water with a bit of air it will stand on its own.
MUST-HAVE #3: FIRST AID KIT
Of course you never plan on going to the hospital during your travels, but I like to prepare for the unexpected. Insert every “better safe than sorry-esque” cliche here. Johnson & Johnson makes a compact first aid kit with most of the essentials. I add in a few commodities.
The kit comes with pre-packed bandaids, gauze bandages and cleansing wipes—which is wonderful and the case is pretty durable too. Due to my dislike for any sort of pain, I added in the pain relief balm for aches and pains caused by any strenuous outdoor activities. Additionally, extra strength Tylenol (give me the good stuff!), Dramamine, Pepto tablets and a generic version of Neosporin were added by yours truly in order to steer clear of any thinkable unwanted pain or illness. Hopefully things don’t get more serious than this since I’m leaving all surgery tools and antibiotics at home.
WHERE TO GET IT?
All these goodies can be found at Target, Target equivalent or even a drugstore.
MUST-HAVE #4: ADAPTER
For international travel, don’t get on that plane with things that plug in walls and expect not to need one of these, mmm k? US outlets are NOT universal.
This Delicacy adapter is particularly amazing because there are 3 switches labeled by country for intuitive use. Add in the 4 usb ports for ultra fast charging, a type C port and the actual plug itself and you’ve got one powerful adapter to use anywhere in the world.
MUST-HAVE #5: SOLAR POWER BANK
Folks, this is more than just a solar power bank for your phone or anything that gets charged by way of usb ports (there’s 2 ports btw), it is a flash light, a strobe light AND it has a SOS light signal if you’re in serious trouble. Who doesn’t want endless power?
Check out how this Hiluckey power filled lifesaver unfolds.
Isn’t it the magical unicorn of power banks? PS – it’s waterproof.
MUST-HAVE #6: WATERPROOF PHONE CASE
I’m always protecting my precious iPhone X that Apple so kindly let me have in exchange for my left arm. These things are getting so expensive, amirite? I was always taught to protect my assets, so buying a Singdo waterproof case is just part of the process.
My love for kayaking mixed with my tragic clumsiness means vying for a fool proof (and also waterproof) option to guard my phone from the elements. This case doesn’t let a drop of water in, including the time I didn’t close it all the way. It’s a literal phone life-preserver.
MUST-HAVE #6: HIKING BOOTS
I want hiking boots that don’t look like hiking boots—was the first thought that entered my mind after realizing this was a definite need of mine if I plan on hiking various terrains. I went to a store (don’t ever do that) to buy some and was underwhelmed by the lack of options available for women’s hiking shoes. I peaked over at the men’s section and it appears men are far more encouraged to hike than women. The salesman recommended a pair of Keens that were pleasing to the eye, but of course, they were no longer in stock and couldn’t be special ordered. This is my life.
Like every time, Amazon saved the day with the perfect, most comfortable, waterproof, durable pair of black Keens with rose gold accents. They have great grip and I feel safe using them for hiking on nearly any terrain (not that I dare to tread any terrain, but a girl can dream.)
MUST-HAVE #7: QUICK DRY TRAVEL TOWEL
Towel shortages happen. Especially at hostels where I tend to stay from time to time (because it’s any easier way of meeting new people—plus, I somehow feel far more adventurous and spontaneous). Some hostels may not even provide you with one because it might not be part of their amenity offering. Hence the very reason I bring my own.
Rainleaf has a quick drying towel that is small enough to fit in my luggage without compromising any extra room and large enough to wrap around me with out revealing any of Victoria’s secrets if you pick up what I’m laying down.
MUST-HAVE #8: FLAT IRON
As one of those people who 100% care what they look like, a really good flat iron is something I’m willing to splurge on. Frizzy, wavy tresses are what I’ve been combatting since the 8th grade when my hair went from straight to total disaster.
I’ve depended on Chi styling products since discovering them in high school and haven’t looked back since. Once I knew there’s a Chi mini flat iron out there, I quickly teleported to the store and am now a proud owner of one.
WHERE TO GET IT?
T.J. Maxxinistas know where to get theirs, but if you can’t find one at T.J. Maxx, I hear my trusty Target has a clever Chi Travel pack for fellow die hard hair loving travelers.
MUST-HAVE #9: PACKING CUBES
If none of these travel necessities have led you to a “Yes! That belongs in my luggage!” moment, then behold packing cubes. Staying organized and keeping things compact is key for anyone that wants to optimize luggage space.
Gonex packing cubes aren’t like your normal cubes with the one zipper and two inches of height. No, no, no. These are compression packing cubes with double zippers. It allows you to stuff them to your hearts desire and then compress it down with one fell zip. All the things, half the size.
Hope this helps you on your next adventure. Tell us what your favorite travel necessities are in the comments!
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