My Travel Essentials
Since space is so limited in carry on packing, compact items are essential for success. Here are some items I always pack that have become my travel essentials!
Regardless of where we travel or for how long, my toiletry bag remains practically unchanged. Having this routine down has made packing a quick and easy process. Read the essentials in my toiletry bag here!
I have two options for rain gear and will pack one over the other depending on the type of trip. When the trip is more active, I pack our trusty Northface rain jacket. It folds up into the pocket and it dries very quickly when it rains. If we are going on a less active trip, I pack a travel size umbrella. While it is small, it gets the job done. What I like most is that it can fit into your pocket and comes with a carrying case so when it is wet, it contains it from getting everything else in your bag or pocket wet
Fleece Lined Leggings
While fleece lined leggings are a season specific recommendation, I never leave without them if we are traveling somewhere cold. Note that I am always cold and finding these has been life changing for our winter getaways. They work on their own with a dress or as a layer underneath a pair of pants. I buy a new pair every season as I wear these non-stop at home in the winter months.
Refillable Water Bottle
I never leave home without my water bottle. In fact, there is a strong argument for taking a refillable water bottle on vacation! It is very easy to dehydrate- weather it is being more active, laying in the sun, or eating foods high in salt (or all three), all of these deplete your body of water. This coupled with the uncertainty of water being available and the distraction of enjoying your trip (“I am not drinking enough water” says no one on vacation), all can lead to dehydration. So bring a refillable water bottle with you and get a size that will keep you thirst quenched. I have routinely gone with a 24 oz water bottle but a recent change to 40 oz water bottle has made we wish I upgraded sooner. I also recently got a handle and strap to make carrying this enormous bottle easier. Going with a stainless steel option over plastic also affords you temperature control for your favorite beverage.
You never know when you may be in a situation that requires a towel. Traditional towels take up so much room whereas microfiber towels are compact. They quickly absorb water and dry just as fast. We have also found them useful for sitting purposes- a spontaneous picnic, surprise beach visit, or viewing a nighttime show. These towels are so small and weigh practically nothing so it is an item I never regretted packing, even if it went unused.
Never leave on a trip without packing a day bag- you never know when it will come in handy! It can be as simple as a drawstring bag or my go-to packable backpack that has been well used. This is also useful in case your carry on bag is over the weight limit- a built in escape plan as this extra bag becomes your personal item alleviating excess wright from your carry on backpack.
Serving as a necessity for long trips to a “just-in-case” item for short trips, these travel detergent strips help turn a sink into a mini manual washer. While this does not replace the effectiveness of a traditional washer, it helps minimize the clothes needed for two week trips.
Do you see how bright it is in this photo? I am completely asleep! An eye mask was something I never thought I would use but it has single handed changed our ability to sleep on the plane. These masks block out all the light creating pitch black. This with some downloaded white noise and I am sound asleep. Sleeping on the plane is often a calculated part of the trip to ensure we can hit the ground running when we land as well as beating jet lag so this eye mask is a travel must.
Comfortable shoes cannot be taken for granted when traveling and we have found those with Xero Shoes. These are lightweight, barefoot style and out of the box comfort- no need to break them in. We have extensively worn the TerraFlex Trail Shoe and Trail Sandal for various trips and Xero also make casual shoes that I look forward to trying out.
While not a “physical item”, downloading Google Maps onto your phone is an invaluable resource for traveling. This enables access to the map, any favorited destinations, and directions without relying on wifi or cell service.
Make sure to check out more DESKRIB packing posts for other useful items! From long weekend wintertime trips (Barcelona and Paris) to two week adventures (Galapagos and New Zealand), we have found great travel essentials for our carry-on style!