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No matter whether you are someone who packs light or who throws everything apart from the kitchen sink into your luggage, we have no doubt that you have a list of essential items that go into the mix. However, we also have no doubt that when you get to your destination, there’s always at least one thing you think of that you definitely should have packed! Read on to hear from members of the FTB Community and find out what their travel essentials are.

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15 Travel Essentials

1. Packing Cubes

I’m going to be honest with you for a second! I’m one of those people who used to dump her suitcase as soon as I get to where I’m going so I can find that one shirt I know I packed but don’t know WHERE it is. Packing cubes made my life so much easier and saved my poor fiance’s sanity. They help me fit more clothes into my bag AND they help me keep all of my types of clothes separated. I know exactly where my tops, dresses, pants, socks, etc. are going to be and can gently look through them to find the piece of clothing I’m looking for. They also fit into my personal item well too so I can put an extra change of clothes or things I need right off the plane into my bag without making a mess. If you don’t have some yet, go get some, they are my number one recommendation for travel essentials!

Jess from Thrifty Traveler Tips

2. Anti Blister Balm

I don’t know about you, but I always get blisters when I travel. No matter what shoes I wear, I still get blisters from walking all day which get worse as my trip progresses. I can’t stress how absolutely AMAZING this anti-blister balm is. I can wear heels or brand new shoes for hours without a single blister.

Jess from Thrifty Traveler Tips

3. Travel Pillow

I’ve always struggled to get shuteye on a plane, it freaks me out that you’re traveling so fast yet can barely feel any movement, however, since trying a memory foam travel pillow I slept for the entirety of an 8-hour flight! No more waking up with a cricked neck or arriving somewhere new grouchy and tired, I’ve taken it everywhere with me since.

This travel pillow even rolls up into a small bag for ease of carrying, which is a lifesaver and comes with a handy pocket at the side to store your phone in. I have to admit I’ve often slept on my pillow instead of hotel pillows when they’ve been an unfortunate pancake shape. Hooray for more sleep and more energy to explore the world!

Laura from The Travelling Stomach

4. External Battery

It’s the twenty-first century, most of us live and die by our phones, computers, or whatever electronic gets us through the day. When I’m traveling, I’m not always exactly sure when I’m going to see my next outlet, and I get paranoid when my phone gets to 50% battery! That being said, my external battery has saved my life and my sanity on many an occasion so is definitely one of my must-have travel essentials.

I found this battery just wandering about on Amazon, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s reasonably priced, holds three to four full extra charges when you plug it in overnight, and it even has two out ports so you can charge a couple devices at a time. BONUS: whether you need to charge the external battery or charge your device, you don’t need to tote any extra cords around (though make sure your device uses the USB!); just flip it around and you’re all set!

Jamie from Crashed Culture

5. SD Cards for Android

Once upon a time, I thought that the internal 10GB of storage on my cell phone would be way more storage than I would ever possibly need for a vacation. But I am a picture-taking machine who has an obsession with documenting everything travel-related on video. And film footage eats up storage space so much faster than photos. It only took one vacation of completely running out of camera space (on a brand new, empty phone), followed by panic and a mad scramble to try to find less important memories that I could maybe stand to delete, for me to acknowledge that I’d screwed up and would never want to deal with that nightmare again.

I bought an SD card for my phone. And then I bought some more. And now I make sure that I never take any trip anywhere without having an SD card for extra storage already inside my phone (and a couple extras in my bag for whatever reason – just in case). You can never have too many memory cards. Lesson learned and never forgotten.

Jillian from Adventure Dragon

6. Travel Purse

International travel can be intimidating for women. I am always concerned with being robbed. I know it isn’t the worst thing that could happen, but it can really mess up a lovely trip. Whether it’s passports, money, cameras, or a phone losing these items when you’re not in a country where you speak that language can be terrible. Finding the right bag to take with me has always been a struggle until I found this purse.

I debated between backpack or purse, but I can easily and nonchalantly put my purse in front of me and have it on me at all times. The most perfect travel purse needs to have plenty of room, be light, stylish, but not too enticing to others.. I absolutely love this travel purse. It has slash resistant straps and body and RFID blocking technology. It has so many compartments to carry my travel essentials and camera in. I felt comfortable and safe during our 8 weeks of travel. If anyone is looking for a better solution to carry essentials when traveling, I definitely recommend this one!

Married with Fernwe

7. AEROPRESS

I am a serious caffeine addict, with some definitive opinions about coffee roasting. I’m basically not functional if I don’t have caffeine within the first few hours I’m awake.  This has put me at a disadvantage when traveling – trying to track down acceptable coffee to maintain my peppy, delightful demeanor.

I contemplated traveling with a pour over or french press, but then I heard about the Aeropress. The Aeropress has a bit of a learning curve, but now I love it and it’s a defintely one of my travel essentials.  It’s light, easy to clean, hard to break, and makes fantastic coffee. I can even stuff my lightweight daypack inside it! More importantly, as long as I can boil water, I can always have a fantastic cup of coffee, anywhere, any time.


BONUS: Be responsible with this re-usable filter too!

Daniele Kohn from DanieAcro

If you’re looking for inspiration of where to explore now that you have a list of travel essentials, check out our destination content here.

8. Hanging Toiletry Bag

Picture this. You arrive at your hotel exhausted and can’t wait to unpack and refresh. The bathroom has a big beautiful tub for that long-awaited soak, but alas, there is no flat surface on which to put your toiletry bag! What’s a girl to do? Well, if you were the owner of a hanging toiletry bag you wouldn’t have this problem.

After traveling for 13 months, I can say the most appreciated item of all my travel essentials was the hanging toiletry bag. You never know what the bathroom in your accommodation is going to offer you in terms of shelves or its tendency to become soaking wet while showering (I’m talking to you, Europe). The hanging toiletry bag solves this problem by – well – hanging! I personally prefer the style of mine, which has a fabric handle with a clasp vs a hook. You can hang it on anything and it’ll stay put. It also has four compartments with different types of pockets which will hold absolutely everything you need. After using it (and overpacking it) every day during my 13 months on the road, I tearfully had to bid it farewell at the end of my trip. But, even though I’m no longer a full-time traveler, I promptly bought a new one because it has become an essential travel item for any trip.

Sarah from Travel Breathe Repeat

9. Lavender Scented Sleep Mask

Always in a desperate search for a good nights’ sleep, the first thing that goes into my bag without hesitation is my Lavender Scented Sleep Mask. Travelling can really mess around with your sleep, whether it is long flights across time zones, rooms with curtains that let in plenty of light or even long bus trips.

One of the best things I have discovered to combat this and assist in getting a few hours kip is the humble old sleep mask! A good sleep mask will help you drop off in complete darkness, and if you have one that is scented with the calming aroma of lavender, then even better. There is no shame in whipping out your sleep mask wherever you need it! For extra sensory deprivation, you can also put your earphones in (or earplugs) and block out the world entirely. Plus, if you want an added touch of luxury or pretend you are at a spa day – you could out some delicious eye cream on and wake up refreshed with no eye bags! (oh how I wish!).

Cath from Red Door Ponderings

10. Reusable & Recyclable BPA-Free Water bottle

Who else always books aisle on long-haul flights because they chug water like there is no tomorrow so they don’t shrivel up into a prune? *Raiseshand. Just me?

Instead of pestering the flight attendants for water and going through lots of plastic cups invest in a great travel water bottle. I love my SIGG water bottle because it easy to travel with BPA free, recyclable, leak proof and easily hooks onto your carry on with a carabiner or is thin enough to stuff in your carry on. Made in Switzerland these bottles are quality products and nearly indestructible. It easily transitions from flight to sightseeing and is my to go bottle to carry around with me to avoid wasting plastic and staying hydrated.

BONUS: To make sure you don’t lose your water bottle, invest in a carabiner so you can clip the bottle to your day bag for hikes and sightseeing.

Susanna from Wandering Chocobo

11. Noise Canceling Headphones

Crying babies, snoring seatmate, sitting above the engine? All these things affect your ability to catch some precious Zzs on a flight. Sleeping on a flight can help you combat jetlag and wake up at your destination feeling refreshed and ready to go! I love my Bose noise canceling headphones. They were worth every penny I spent and quickly became one of my travel essentials. With the flip of a switch, all background noise disappears and I can watch movies without distraction or slip into a quiet slumber with my ambient music lulling me to sleep.

Since I work while I travel I love these headphones even more because if I am at a busy coffee shop trying to make a deadline, I just flip the noise canceling switch and go into work mode. The sound quality is fantastic and with the Bose name on the product, you know you are getting headphones to last. My husband has this version, but they are about 5 years old and they are still going strong. We both highly recommend them.


If you’re on a tighter budget, but still want a noise canceling option, try earbuds that are more compact and easier to travel with. However, with less coverage, the noise canceling quality is not as good as the Bose headphones.

Susanna from Wandering Chocobo

12. Osprey Carry on Backpack

As a lifelong Osprey owner and someone who is still carrying my 80-liter backpack from 2009 on backpacking trips. I recently bought a carry on bag that is suitable for carrying on for all airlines. This bag changed my life and weekend trips and quickly became one of my travel essentials. I can fit 4-5 sets of clothing, an extra pair of shoes, my toiletries, a jacket, all my electronics and I still have some room for souvenirs to bring home. The best part about this bag is that has a safe space for your laptop in an outer compartment which makes getting through security a breeze. It is possibly one of the most comfortable bags and is a breeze to get to and from the airport.

On a recent girls weekend to Croatia, all my friends were envious of my bag as they lugged cumbersome wheeled carry-ons around cobblestone alleys. This bag is perfect for a long weekend, the minimalist packer, or business traveler and digital nomad.

Susanna from Wandering Chocobo

13. Camera Tripod

We’ve all been there, standing still and holding our breath to get the perfect sunset shot or finding THE perfect stone to balance your fancy camera or phone on then running to make sure you get into a natural pose before the timer ends. And, most times, this has to be done several times because the stone/rock/branch/whatever else you have found to balance your camera on isn’t the right height or angle. With one of these portable and adjustable tripods, you can attach your camera or phone to literally anything, giving you perfectly stable, angled and positioned photos no matter where you are! The remote is an added bonus – no more rushing to get in the shot meaning there’s no wonder it’s one of my travel essentials!

Lottie from Princess In A Caravan

14. Journal

Journaling during a journey is one of the oldest traditions around, it’s how we know what Darwin saw and who Marco Polo met. Even astronauts traveling to outer space keep journals of their trips to help them remember everything that happened, but also for scientists and others to study as we learn more about the effects of space travel on the human body.

If you’re not already keeping a journal while you travel, it’s never too late to start describing the many things you saw, how things felt or smelled, and what you ate. And then, of course, you can use it to record more practical information like your itinerary, hotels, and train routes. Don’t be afraid to get creative and bring along watercolors, colorful tape, and stickers to add to your journal.

Sophie from Cosmic Chicago

15. Waterproof camera

I never leave home without my waterproof camera! I love it for a few different reasons:
1) It allows you to take your camera with you to take pictures and leave your phone at home so you don’t have to worry about it getting stolen or getting wet

2) You can take it to the beach, get cool underwater shots, and action shots with ease. You can get a cool floating wristband so it will float alongside you if it falls into the water accidentally.

3) It’s small enough to fit in your purse to take with you.

4) It has wifi on the camera so you can transfer pictures from the camera to your phone on the go. I love that because you don’t have to wait until you get home from your vacation to share your favorite photos on social media!


Jess from Thrifty Traveler Tips

Have we missed something that you think is a travel essential? Let us know in the comments!

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