Travel Essentials Packing List
So you’re getting ready for a trip. You have a general idea of what to bring but maybe there are things that you didn’t think about that might be super helpful. Or maybe there are essential items that you know you should buy, but aren’t sure which brand to go with. I get asked “What are essential items on your pacing list?” a lot. Whether by friends who are getting ready to travel or by those who would like to buy a gift for someone that enjoys travel. I had to think about it at first, but now that I have been asked enough times I have a small, but definite list that I can share. I would consider the items below to be essential for both backpacking trips or more leisurely vacation-like trips. I’ve purchased most of them through Amazon and have linked them directly on the page so you can easily check them out!
Travel Essentials Packing List
In my opinion, your travel bag is going to be the one thing you want to get right. Especially if you are traveling for an extended period of time, you want to have a bag that’s comfortable and easy to move around with. This is the backpack I personally use. I love it because it was big enough to carry everything I brought with me backpacking for six months (I travel light), but also small enough to fit into the overhead bin as a carry on (no extra fees to check a bag, yes please). There are tons of adjustable straps to get the perfect fit and the mesh on the back support means it feels airy and not sweaty on your back. Another great thing about this pack is the brand. Osprey is awesome about fixing your pack. If your pack ensues any damage on the road, you can send it back to Osprey and they will repair it for life. Believe me, with the amount of buses, planes, and random people throwing your bag around, its bound to get a little beat up.
Carry On Suitcase
Now if I am going on a shorter trip or not doing the intense backpacker thing, I go for a carry on suitcase. Just think about the tip of trip you’re planning and what bag would be most comfortable. Again, I like to keep my luggage to carry on size. I’ve traveled with massive suitcases in the past, and after a while it’s a real hassle, especially the more you move around. I like packing light because I save money by not checking a bag (budget and even some non-budget airlines charge you to check a bag) and it’s a lot more comfortable and hassle-free to travel with a light bag.
Packing cubes! I have these and they are AWESOME. I had a friend in college who used them to pack and organize when backpacking and once I saw them I was sold. I use them in my backpack and my suitcase. They keep me organized and sane while living out of a backpack/suitcase for months at a time. This brand even comes with a great little laundry bag to store your dirty laundry until the next wash, a great plus because I would have totally forgotten to add that to my list. You can not travel without these!
A travel towel is a must if you’re backpacking and staying in hostels. An even if you’re just going on vacation, I’ve used my travel towel for plenty of things besides drying off after a shower. Since it’s microfiber, it drys super quick and doesn’t smell. I take it to the beach to sit on and the sand shakes right off afterwards. I have this exact brand and it’s super durable and lightweight. I don’t go on a trip without it.
A compact daypack is super convenient to have with you while traveling. I couldn’t find the exact one I bought off Amazon a few years ago, but this one is basically the same thing and it’s great. I like it because when it’s empty, it folds into itself and you can easily stuff it anywhere in your larger bag. It’s really light and perfect for putting essentials in like wallet, phone, and camera to tote around with you while you’re out exploring. It’s not the most stylish, but I ditched esthetics for practicality a while ago.
Okay, so I’m really excited about this one. My Mountain Hardwear down jacket must be one of my favorite possessions (sounds weird, I know), but it’s so true. Anyone that knows me knows that I am ALWAYS cold. And when it’s actually cold outside, I’m dying. This jacket has kept me warm for like the past 8 years. I love it so much. Unless I am going to just one destination that I know will for sure be hot, I take it with me on EVERY trip. I took to Latin America, India, and always wear it in the winter in Mexico City. It’s honestly perfect for all colder weather. To stay warm, I’ll bring a light fleece, this down jacket, and that’s it. If it’s not freezing cold but still cold enough where you need a jacket, wearing this, unzipped will keep you cozy and comfortable. Do be aware that this is not the exact model jacket I bought 8+ years ago, but I would buy another Mountain Hardwear jacket in a heartbeat because mine is so great.
Slip On Shoes
It may sound like a minor detail, but slip on shoes when traveling are SO convenient. Think of all the times you’ll be going through airport security and need to quickly slip on and off your shoes. Or the amount of times you’ll be coming and going in your hostel during the day. Believe me, you’ll get tired of tying and untying those shoelaces. I love Vans, they’re all I wear, traveling and at home. They are my go to because they are comfortable. I walk a lot when I travel so that’s super important. Also they are good quality and not expensive so when they get ruined from my time on the road, which they inevitably will, I can easily afford to buy new ones.
Having an external battery with you when traveling can be a huge lifesaver. There have been times where my phone was almost dead but I needed it to contact the Airbnb I was staying at or I was lost and wasn’t sure if it’d be able to find where I was going in time. To avoid those nail biting situations abroad, I make sure to always have my external battery with me.