Packing sucks. You always feel like you’re forgetting something. Or you over-pack and end up using only half of what you brought. Guess what! Packing for your next trip doesn’t have to be this way.
Whether you’re packing for an international trip, a long flight or want to know what you should put in your carry on, there are some things you should never travel without.
Being prepared also means I save money when I travel, since I know I have everything I need and don’t have to worry about buying things on the road.
And to be clear, there are a million websites that will share their must have travel items, but these are always the obvious things like packing cubes or phone chargers.
Or things that seem like a good idea but are actually terrible when you try it for the first time.
I’m still waiting to find a travel pillow that doesn’t suck. You won’t find travel stuff like that in this post.
This list shares my unique items that every traveler should have that aren’t so obvious but make your life so much better and easier when you’re on the move.
TRAVEL PRO TIP: Packing last minute? A lot of the travel items on this list can be found on Amazon. And if you have Amazon prime, most items will arrive the next day.
Let’s get to my list of 17 essential travel items that will make your life way easier.
1. A SCARF WITH HIDDEN POCKETS
This super sneaky scarf is one of my most recommended travel must haves.
There’s a hidden zippered pocket inside the scarf where you can store cash, keys, sunglasses, a passport and even your phone if you want to.
It’s perfect if you’re traveling solo and want to have your valuable items hidden but easily accessible.
Or if you’re worried about pickpockets, this scarf is a stealthy way to hide your things.
It’s probably one of the best travel accessories for women out there.
If you’re browsing a busy farmer’s market or at a crowded festival, it’s perfect for keeping your hands free and not showing off a flashy purse when you want to buy something.
Plus, it’s also the perfect air travel accessory, since it doubles as a small purse which won’t count as a personal item and it will keep you warm and cozy.
2. SOOTHING TEA BAGS FOR THE PLANE
Speaking of air travel accessories that you might not have thought about…I always pack my own tea bags with me when I travel, especially on flights.
Just ask the flight attendant for hot water and brew your own.
My favorite is Eucalyptus tea – it opens up your airways and helps prevent your nose from getting all stuffed up.
It helps soothe your throat too.
My throat always gets scratchy from all the stuffy, recycled air on the plane.
A soothing tea is also one of the most useful things for traveling if you’re prone to getting sick when you travel.
TRAVEL PRO TIP – If you’re an anxious flyer or have trouble sleeping on the plane, you HAVE to try the Valerian Nights tea from Davids Tea. This stuff will put even the most high strung traveler to sleep.
The main ingredient is Valerian root, which is also known as nature’s Valium.
And with some chamomile for calming, your slumber party is only minutes away.
If you can’t find tea bags, you can build your own or just pack loose leaf tea into a travel mug.
This is my favorite travel tea mug which comes with its own diffuser.
So yeah, sleepy time tea is one of the most underrated but essential travel items in my opinion!
3. SOLID LOTION STICK/BODY BUTTER
Another one of my favorite items for travel is a lotion stick (instead of liquid lotion).
It’s one of the best products for travel because it’s not considered a ‘liquid’ when you put it in your carry on.
Plus, there’s no risk of it spilling or exploding in your bag.
Having lotion on you when you travel is always important, because your skin gets so dry from airplane travel or if you’re traveling in a lot of buses with the air conditioning blasting.
As this means one less liquid to pack in your carry on bag, it’s definitely an essential travel item for any trip I take.
4. WHITE NOISE MACHINE
No matter how comfy it is, sleepy in a different bed in a different location is never the same as sleeping in your own bed.
Using a white noise machine can help put you to sleep.
It covers up potentially weird sounds from your hotel room, and the variety of soothing sounds helps keep you asleep.
I like this compact white noise machine, which can also be hung.
I also like this one that changes color and doubles as a night light.
5. A TASSEL USB CHARGER
Ok, this is a cool travel accessory that you will absolutely love. The USB cable and cord is cleverly hidden within the leather tassel.
Just clip it to your purse or your overnight bag and it’s conveniently available whenever you need it.
No messy cords to untangle, this is one of my newest favorite items for travel.
6. MICROFIBER TRAVEL TOWEL
This is another one of those essential travel items that have a dual purpose.
First, being microfiber, this towel will be fast drying, which is important when you’re on the move.
The one I have is barely even damp by the time I’m done drying myself off.
Plus, if you’re traveling on a budget, I find that cheap hotel rooms have the worst towels that don’t really absorb.
And since they’re so compact, they make the perfect air travel accessory since it can double as a blanket when you need it.
7. COMPRESSION BAGS
Wondering how to pack your clothes for travel? Compression bags are the way to go.
Everyone loves travel cubes these days, but compression bags are so much better.
All you do is lay your folded clothes inside, then roll up the bag to push all the air out.
You are then left with super flat clothes that take up 50% less space.
They’re great for saving space and staying organized.
Plus, they’re clear -making your airport security experience go much more smoothly than the cubes which are usually opaque.
Honestly, they’re one of the most useful things for travelling I’ve come across in a long time.
8. LUGGAGE TRACKER
Worried about lost bags? It’s an unfortunate reality that this happens, and when it happens to you it sucks. Especially when you’re starting your vacation.
Attach these smart luggage tags to your bags, and if they get lost, just activate the code on the website to start tracking.
Most bags are recovered within 24 hours.
Plus, you’ve got added security because you don’t have to write your phone number and address on your luggage tags, which is a dead giveaway that you’re not home to potential thieves.
If you’re a bit of an anxious traveler, these are definitely a must have travel item for peace of mind.
9. A LEGIT CARRY ON BAG
Another traveller essential is a high quality and trusty carry on bag.
There are tons of carry on bags out there to choose from, but I have to include the one I use on this list.
I try to fly with only a carry on when possible, and this bag has held up great.
I’ve taken it on several different airlines and have never had a problem.
It’s small enough that I use it for a weekend getaway, and big enough for packing two weeks worth of clothes.
10. TOWEL CLIPS
Towel clips are such a travel hack!
I use these at the beach, at the all-inclusive resort and on cruises!
You can even use them at the local pool or when you’re at the pool in Vegas.
They’re perfect for saving your towel on your lounge chair, so that you don’t have to leave items like sunglasses, books or sunscreen to save your spot.
I like these fun towel clips because they come in all kinds of fun themes – flip flops, pineapples, flamingos, etc!
11. A HANGING TOILETRY BAG
This is one of those travel products that everyone needs, but no one likes to spend the money on a good one.
Well, my life changed forever when I found this bag on Amazon that hangs from a hook or a towel rack.
It’s roomy enough to carry everything you need without being bulky.
It’s perfect for when you check into your hotel and realize there’s zero counter space for your stuff.
Just hang it from a towel rack or even the shower rod and you’re good to go.
12. A MULTI-TOOL THAT’S SAFE TO FLY WITH
Pack one of these Leathermans (note – it must be PS style) into your travel bag and keep it there!
This one is TSA compliant as it doesn’t have a blade. But it does have tweezers, pliers, a nail file, etc.
It’s perfect for those small, inconvenient travel moments where a little tool would come in handy.
Fixing jewelry, removing clothing tags or when you need to get rid of a splinter.
For road trips, camping, the beach, a cruise, an all-inclusive resort or any kind of travel, an insulated tumbler is a must-have travel accessory.
This tumbler has an insanely high amount of 5-star ratings on Amazon and comes in 41 colors!
It also comes with 2 lids: a flip close lid and a lid with a straw. How genius is that?
These are perfect at the all inclusive resort or when you’re walking around in the Las Vegas heat – this cup keeps your drinks ICE COLD (but can also be used for hot beverages)!
14. FANNY PACK
Fanny packs are in and I am SO okay with this trend.
They’re the perfect size for carrying your essentials without being too bulky.
I also love that it stays close to my body for feeling more secure and keeps my hands free to take photos or hold a drink.
You can go hiking with them, or when you sit down at a restaurant you don’t need to set it down anywhere.
A good fanny pack has been one of my most useful items for traveling.
I love my black lululemon fanny pack. I wear it for all my Las Vegas trips (perfect for pool parties, too).
But this fanny pack comes in 18 different colors and is the perfect bag for a music festival this summer!
15. VICKS VAPOINHALER
This is so handy to have on road trips or on the airplane for instant relief from the dry air.
It’s small and super stealth to use so no one will notice.
Check out Vicks VapoInhaler here.
16. CHUB RUB ANTI-CHAFING
If you’re going to be doing a lot of walking, cycling or hiking on vacation, you need this chub rub to prevent chafing!
Wear your beautiful dresses and skirts without having to worry about any thigh chafing.
Once you try it, this is the summer travel accessory you won’t ever leave home without.
Try the all natural anti chafing stick here.
If you’re coming back to your hotel room after a long day of walking and adventures, it’s so nice to take your shoes off.
But I never trust how clean the floors are in hotel rooms, which is why I won’t ever go bare foot and not even in my socks.
So I pack a pair of slippers to wear in the hotel room and problem solved!
These slippers have memory foam, so they’re ultra comfy for sore feet (and they come in 10 colors)!
I hope you found this list of traveler essentials to be helpful. I have to say, these are my tried and true best items for travel and they’ve never let me down.
Packing is always a pain in the you-know-what no matter how many times you do it, so I find that list like these are super helpful to make sure you’ve pack all the essential travel items you need.