Depending on your travel style, packing your suitcase can be a routine activity or a source of great stress. Being well-prepared with the right travel essentials can make all the difference, no matter if you are a solo-traveler or going away with your family or friends; going on a business trip or on vacation; planning a short weekend get-away or a long stay abroad.
From efficient packing to staying comfortable and connected, we will discuss all the essential travel items that you might need. Let’s see what you should put on your packing list for a fun and hassle-free trip.
Efficient packing is the key to stress-free travel. Packing cubes are a traveler's best friend! They will help you organize your clothing and accessories neatly and compactly within your checked bags. These cubes not only save space but also make it easy to locate items without rummaging through your luggage.
To maximize space further, you can roll your clothes instead of folding them. This method is easier and faster, minimizes wrinkles and allows you to fit more items into your suitcase.
When it comes to clothing, focus on versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched. That way, you won’t need multiple outfits and will be prepared for whatever comes your way. Additionally, choose fabrics that are quick-dry, water-resistant and odor-resistant, especially for longer trips. If there is no washing machine at your accommodation, you can rewear some of your clothes without worry.
Shoes are a bit more difficult to pack but there are still some hacks you can use. First of all, the best way to pack shoes is when their soles are facing each other and the toe of one shoe is aligned with the heel of the other. You can then put every pair in a resealable plastic bag or a special shoe pouch. Here is another smart hack: to optimize the space in your luggage, you can stuff your shoes with socks or electronic chargers.
Depending on how long your trip will be and what the weather forecast is, you can take as many pairs of shoes as you deem necessary. We recommend a minimum of 2, plus a pair of flip flops for your hotel room or the pool.
One last shoe tip: wear the heaviest and bulkiest pair while traveling to spare some space and weight in your luggage. Similarly, if you pack more than one jacket, wear the thickest one for the trip. It might get a little hot at the airport, but on the other hand, it can also save you from the sometimes brutal air conditioning on the plane.
And last but not least, if you travel by plane and you have checked luggage, we highly recommend putting a pair (or two) of underwear and socks and a set of clean clothes in your cabin baggage. The airline or the airport could lose your suitcase and sometimes it might take weeks until you get it back. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a back-up and to have everything necessary for a sleepover in your hand luggage.
If you follow our tips for efficient packing techniques, you'll be amazed at how much you can fit into your luggage! All while staying organized and ready for any adventure that comes your way.
Sure, having enough clothes and shoes for your trip is important. But if you are traveling abroad, you will not get far if you don’t have the necessary travel documents. When booking your journey, make sure your ID or passport is up to date and check the visa requirements for your destination. Sometimes even passing through a country on the way to another might require a specific travel document, so we recommend doing a thorough research beforehand to avoid trouble on your trip.
You should keep your passport, tickets and boarding passes, visas, travel insurance, and any other necessary paperwork organized and readily accessible. We advise you to keep them in a waist bag or a small over-the-shoulder purse which you will not take off and can always see and feel.
It's also wise to keep both digital and hard copies of all documents where possible as a back-up. Keeping digital copies of these documents on your smartphone or in cloud storage can be a lifesaver in case of loss or theft. So before you even step out the door, make sure you have your passport, visa, boarding pass, and phone. Everything else you can buy at the airport or once you arrive at your final destination.
Long-haul flights can sure be exhausting but having the right personal items in your carry-on can make a world of difference. What are the essentials for a comfortable trip, you might wonder. Our top three: a neck pillow, an eye mask, and noise-canceling headphones.
Neck pillows will provide much-needed comfort during flights and can spare you from neck and back pain after the long hours on board. Eye masks and noise-canceling headphones are also a must if you are planning to get some sleep while up in the air. A good headset could also be of great help if your fellow passengers are not the most considerate.
Personal health kit
Your health should always be a top priority, especially when traveling. A well-stocked health kit can save the day in case of unexpected illnesses or injuries. Here is what you can include:
- necessary medications for your specific health problems;
- first aid supplies;
- hand sanitizer;
- any personal essentials like prescription glasses or contact lenses with all their accessories (solution, case, etc.).
It would also be wise to check local regulations for carrying medications, especially if you take prescription drugs.
We strongly advise getting travel insurance for your entire trip, especially if you plan to do risky activities like hiking, skiing, diving, and more. Even if you are just going to explore a foreign city, you never know what can happen and the insurance can save you lots of trouble and money. Better safe than sorry.
Snacks and hydration
Nobody enjoys being hungry or thirsty during a long trip. It's the type of discomfort that can make even the most exciting journey feel tiresome. If you thoughtfully plan your snacks and hydration, you can keep your energy levels up and your spirits high during the whole trip. Here is what you can take into account to ensure you're well-prepared for the road ahead.
Packing the right snacks for your journey can make all the difference in your travel experience. The key is to select items that are light and easy to pack, won't make a mess in your bag, and provide sustained energy. Here are some ideas: trail mix, granola bars, cheese and crackers, fresh fruit in a small tupperware box.
Keep in mind that there are some restrictions when it comes to taking food through security checks at airports. Read our article v to get some more tips and ideas for your travel snacks.
One of the most important items you can pack for your journey is a reusable water bottle. Carrying your own water container is not just about staying hydrated. You will also contribute to reducing single-use plastic waste and save money in the long run, especially as bottled water at airports is sometimes more expensive than other beverages.
Just remember to empty your reusable water bottle before going through security, and you can refill it on the other side. Many airports have designated water fountains near the gates but if you can’t find them, make sure to ask the airport staff if you can drink the tap water in the restrooms.
Long flights or layovers can be boring, so it's wise to plan your entertainment options. You can bring an e-reader (or just a good old-fashioned book), tablet, or laptop and have a multiple choice of activities, including some work if needed. Downloading your favorite movies, series or books before the trip is also a smart move as you will be able to access them even without an internet connection. If you have travel companions, you can even bring some travel-sized board games to pass the time.
Tech travel gear
Phones, e-readers, tablets and laptops can surely provide you with many fun activities while you are traveling but unfortunately, they still need to be charged. A good power bank (or a portable charger) is a game changer: you will stay connected while on the go and your devices will never run out of battery. If you won’t disturb anyone, you can even bring Bluetooth speakers along.
If you are traveling abroad, it is a good idea to research the plug types in your destination country and bring a universal power adapter and all the cables you might need.
Local currency and payment
Handling local currency and payments while abroad can be a bit tricky. It’s definitely a good idea to carry a small amount of local currency for immediate expenses, like transportation from the airport. Make sure to research your destination's currency exchange options and trusted ATMs: countless scams lurk, ready to spoil your vacation.
However, relying on credit or debit cards with no foreign transaction fees is often the most convenient and secure way to pay. And luckily, contactless payment is now widely accepted worldwide, so it’s highly unlikely that you would have any problems. You can also research the different types of travel credit cards. They come with numerous perks, such as cashback or reward points, travel insurance, and low annual fees and will be your best friend!
Security and safety
Now that we mentioned money, we should also discuss how to keep it safe. Keeping your belongings secure during your travels is extremely important: losing your money, bank cards, phone or documents, or worse, all at once, can completely ruin your trip and create a lot of trouble for you. That is why our first and most important advice is, do not keep all your belongings in one place. If you are carrying a lot of cash, distribute it between at least a couple of different bags, pockets, etc.
Additionally, you can use TSA-approved locks to secure your luggage at airports, and anti-theft bags with hidden compartments and cut-resistant straps to scare off potential thieves. And last but not least, a money belt worn under your clothes is an excellent way to keep important documents and cash safe. If you follow these tips, you can have some peace of mind in unfamiliar areas with a lot of people.
Some extra comfort for your journey
In addition to the essentials we mentioned above, here are a few other travel accessories to enhance your journey:
- A travel-sized toiletry bag with your favorite personal care products can help you feel fresh and comfortable throughout your trip. A small deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrush, and moisturizer can come in handy while you are on a long-haul flight or if you have to wait a long time at an airport (for a layover or if your flight is delayed).
- If your feet tend to swell on long flights, you can invest in a pair of travel compression socks. They will improve your circulation and reduce the discomfort of sitting in one place for hours.
Travel apps and guides
In the digital age we live in, there's an ocean of information available at your fingertips. Download travel apps and guides specific to your destination to access maps, restaurant recommendations, and local insights. These resources can help you make the most of your trip and discover hidden gems you might not have found otherwise.
Having a well-thought-out packing list is a game changer when you get ready for traveling. It does not matter what kind of trip you’re going on. With these travel essentials in your luggage, you'll be ready for anything that comes your way.
We hope our tips will be helpful and will relieve you of the packing stress before your trips. So, pack wisely, stay comfortable, and embrace any adventure that awaits you!