Coming from a girl who has mostly lived out of a suitcase for the past six years, I have *most* of my life travel ready. The majority of my travels are taken as long distance road trips in my car, Calliope, or via airplane. No matter where I’m going or my method of travel, these are my top ten must haves for traveling constantly!
1. Packing cubes. My life would be a LOT less organized without my packing cubes- I use them for weekend trips, packing outfits side by side, and my super long trips using them to separate out tops from bottoms, dresses from separates or warm weather from cool weather clothes. Though I can tell you without doubt that they’re usually a *little* overstuffed- the best part is that they keep their shape (generally) no matter how full they are. All three of mine (S, M, L) fit in one half of my suitcase or easily in any of my weekend tote bags. There are a huge variety of quality in bags, but you can grab a decent set from Amazon or Walmart for around $10. Mine are from REI and are pretty dang sturdy!
2. An external battery charger. They’re available pretty much anywhere and everywhere but I definitely recommend any quality one. I have three, but my favorite is the one that came in my Away carry-on (more about that in a minute) and it takes a solid amount of time to charge BUT I can charge my phone at least 4 times fully and at two different speeds. I’m on my phone a LOT- talking, chatting, emailing, all the Instagram, writing this blog post in notes… and my phone pretty much lives on low power mode to make it through half of the day. I consistently give my boyfriend anxiety when my phone is below 60% battery (and even more so when I’m in single digits) so it’s safe to say that carrying a battery pack around is an absolute must for me- and makes it easier during international travel if you can find a close outlet to get free WiFi! Here’s an inexpensive one from Amazon.
3. A solid suitcase. Okay, I know that dropping money on a suitcase seems silly, but I put it off for SO long and hated spending the money- but let me tell you that traveling with a good suitcase is a life changer. My suitcases are from Away, and hands down the best I’ve ever owned. Not only does my carry on have a removable battery charger, I can fit everything I need in it, plus some… and it rolls GORGEOUSLY. I’ve lugged so many suitcases so very many places and having my set from Away has made the biggest difference to how things glide across the pavement (and cobblestones). When traveling for destination boudoir sessions, I can fit the ENTIRE boudoir wardrobe, including hangers AND the rolling rack (broken down) inside my Medium suitcase, and since I’m a bit of a minimalist (and pro packer), I can live for about 3 weeks out of my carry on. I spent a LOT of time doing my research on these suitcases- and they’re where it’s at. The best part is that I’ve teamed up with them to give you $20 off any purchase!
4. Good headphones. I have two sets- earbuds and over the ear headphones, and I tend to travel with both. I’ll use my earbuds for phone conversations, listening to music or watching movies on the plane (in seat entertainment) or on my phone and while I’ve got downtime (aka lying on the beach or at the pool). My main headphones are Bluetooth and I use them a TON on the plane for listening to my own music or watching something on my phone/iPad. They’re comfy to fall asleep in, and- while not quite noise cancelling- are pretty effective for blocking out screaming children and seat neighbors who are loud chewers. Available from Los Cabos.
5. A carabiner. So simple, and always so necessary. When I’m driving, my keys are always clipped to my purse, and can easily be clipped to my camera bag or strap or my belt loop. When I’m traveling and have sets of rental car keys, AirBnb keys, hotel keys, generally I clip it all to my purse or the inside of my travel backpack. Since it’s something I do normally at home I always know where to find my keys!
6. A functional day bag. Ladies, let me tell you that I love cross-body bags, but I refuse to travel with one anymore. My camera bag is cross-body, and the only reason I haven’t bought a new one is because I can rig it to be a backpack and it sits on top of my carry on super easily. Cross-body bags are going to get heavy and dig into your shoulder- no matter the weight. I have a grey canvas backpack that I’ve had for years that has great interior pockets (for when I need things hidden inside), can be tied closed, fits enough in it for the day AND has exterior pockets as well. If I’m traveling somewhere with a high chance of pickpockets, I just wear it on my front because I don’t really care if I look dorky. Having weight on two shoulders instead of one is one of the best things I’ve done for my back and neck!
7. A nano down jacket. Full disclosure, I also have a vest- but having a small, extremely warm, lightweight jacket that can double as a travel pillow is one of my main additions to my travels. I recommend a full zip with a hood, which will easily fit under any rain shell. This one from Patagonia will last you decades.
8. A camera of some variety. I think this one almost goes without saying because I’m a photographer, but I always have at least two cameras with me when I travel: a professional level DSLR and my little dive camera, an Olympus TG-4 that is water and shockproof, and great to just toss in a bag to take anywhere and not worry about. I will most likely NEVER *just* take my iPhone as a travel camera.
9. Benadryl. Of all varieties. Haha! If you’re anything like me (and I hope you don’t suffer the same!)… you’re allergic to all the things. I have Benadryl cream in my purse, as well as at least 5 pills with me at all times.
10. A quality water bottle. This seems like a simple one, but let me tell you that I probably would go crazy without my S’well bottle. I have the 9oz size that I take everywhere, and it can keep your liquids cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12 hours. I love it because being able to have sip of ice cold water when you’ve been out in the sun for hours, or when you’re on a plane and don’t want to bug the flight attendant is so much more amazing than you realize. PSA, it also holds wine….
Are there any amazing travel must haves that you use?! I would LOVE to hear about them, I always love getting to discover new things to make my life easier! Leave a comment below with your favorite travel item!