No matter the variety of trip, there are always a few travel essentials that go with me on every adventure.
1. The Suitcase/Backpack
We have been happily using these ebags for years now, and have suggested them to friends that were thrilled with their purchase as well. I haven’t packed in another bag since picking this up. I won’t lie, I was a bit intimidated at first; how can I pack for 3 weeks in this small space?!?, but I find it to be a decent amount of room now. The backpack can be traveled with in different strap arrangements but I now only use it in it’s backpack setting. These make great international bags, as rolling a suitcase through ancient cobblestone roads can be tricky and hard on suitcase wheels. (I once had to drag around a suitcase with a broken wheel while in New Orleans – not an experience I would want again). Once this bag is packed full it can become heavy on your back and not the most ergonomic; so while navigating airports or a short walk from the train station to the hotel/Airbnb is bearable, I wouldn’t want to walk miles with this on my back.
2. Packing Cubes
I am not sure how I packed (and more importantly knew where anything was in my bag) before owning a set of these packing cubes. I originally bought this three piece set, but the more I travel, I find myself wishing for more of the small bags rather than the large one. The smaller ones keep things more compacted and your clothes don’t seem to unfold and move around as much. The smaller ones also come in handy when you are trying to puzzle piece everything into your suitcase. I love this brand because of the mesh top. I can see whats in it before opening them up, and it also gives my dirty clothes some breathing room in the bag.
3. Valpur Water Bottle
The Valpur water bottle was one of my first purchases my first time going to Europe. I hated the idea of carrying around an empty hard shell water bottle when it wasn’t in use. It would take up so much packing space! I love to pack these when I know I won’t be doing extensive hiking (where I might need my Camelback) but more short hikes or a day walk around town. These have also became useful in airports. Save money by filling it at the water fountain instead of purchasing bottles which will just get thrown away.
I’m a big fan of these GoToobs. While they’re more expensive than I would normally spend on a travel accessory, I appreciate several of the features you don’t get out of a typical travel toiletries container. These are made of a flexible silicone that not only makes them easy to squeeze but also helps prevent busting due to airplane pressure changes. The cap has a select-able indicator to show what each contains. The suction cup on the back comes in handy when there’s not a ledge or good space to put down your soap and lather up.
5. Small Towel
We have often used Airbnbs and hostels when traveling in the US and abroad. Each one differs in what they might provide. I always throw a small towel in my bag just in case as I don’t want to be in a situation that I can’t dry off after a shower. My husband bought me this Turkish Towel to try out. I can’t wait to see how as works, as this can double as a towel, sheet, blanket, etc. and the fast drying is perfect for the traveler on the move. I am expecting to love this one.
6. Ziploc and Trash Bags
Another situation I try to avoid is mixing my wet clothes or dirty shoes into my bag when it is time to pack-up for the next destination or head home. Throwing in a trash bag and a few different sizes of Ziploc bags is a simple solution that doesn’t take up any space. Getting water and mud on your clothes is often a part of the experience, but when moving around fast there is not always time to appropriately let things dry. Tossing a wet swimsuit or muddy hiking shoes into a sealed bag has helped save the rest of my luggage more than once. Just remember to take them out of the bags at each destination to let them finish drying out! We learned that lesson once after forgetting some wet shoes in a bag a few weeks after the trip…