Man With Luggage Standing At Airport Window Looking Airplane Thinking About Travel Essentials

40 Travel Essentials To Be Ready For Anything

Traveling is fun and exciting. But it can also be unpredictable!

Especially these days. As more of us leave our homes and start traveling again, it feels like there are even more ways for trips to end in disaster. 

But it doesn’t have to be that way. With some preparation, you can travel knowing you’re ready for anything! This post will show you my travel essentials for any trip. 

These are the same methods I use. And I’ve based them on my own experience and research. And I’ve tried to keep it efficient by balancing safety, weight, space, and cost.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that everyone travels differently. While building one list for everyone is hard, I think this is a great place to start. So let’s dive right in with my 40 travel essentials to be ready for anything.

Table of Contents

Insurance

Travel Insurance Policy Is Travel Essential Insurance
Travel Insurance Policy Is Travel Essential Insurance
Travel Insurance Policy Is Travel Essential Insurance

While travel insurance is not appropriate for every trip, it is essential under the right circumstances. I’ve successfully used it on several occasions as part of my travel preparedness, which is why I feel confident recommending it.

1. Travel Insurance

Traveling can get expensive, especially the more extended or complex your trip. And if something goes wrong, you could be out hundreds or thousands of dollars.

However, you can protect your investment with travel insurance. For example, when you purchase travel insurance, you transfer your financial risk to the insurance company for the premium price.

The insurance policy specifies your coverage amounts and under what circumstances you can collect. The result is that travel insurance provides options if something happens to your trip in the future.

Most travel insurance offers financial protection if you need to cancel your trip due to a covered reason like job loss, sickness, or a death in the family.

However, good travel insurance protects you against so much more! Policies can include coverage for emergency medical, evacuation, trip interruption, delays, terrorism, weather, coronavirus, and property loss.

Furthermore, you can even buy insurance that lets you cancel your trip for any reason.

Pro Tip:
If you want a policy that allows you to cancel for any reason, you must purchase it within 14 days of your first payment toward the trip.

To help you decide when insurance is appropriate, I suggest you ask yourself these four questions:

  1. How expensive is your trip? The more money you have on the line, you’ll want insurance to protect it.
  2. How far ahead of time are you making plans? The earlier you start making payments, the more time there is for something to go wrong. But insurance can put your mind at ease.
  3. Are you traveling internationally? Every foreign country on your itinerary adds complexity and risk to your plans. However, you can offset the risk with insurance.
  4. Do you want additional coverage? If you’d like specific protections like those I mentioned earlier, you’ll want a policy that includes those coverages. 

As with most insurance, prices vary significantly from company to company. I recommend using Squaremouth to research and compare quotes from different insurance companies. Squaremouth’s comparison engine is a valuable tool for travel, helping you find the right policy at the best price.

SquareMouth Travel Insurance
  • The highest-rated travel insurance comparison site.
  • Use Squaremouth's comparison engine to search, compare, and buy the best travel insurance for your trip.
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Health

Woman Using First Aid Kit Travel Essential Health
Woman Using First Aid Kit Travel Essential Health
Woman Using First Aid Kit Travel Essential Health

No one likes getting sick or injured while traveling. But sometimes, it happens. But carrying these items in your travel emergency kit might save the day.

2. Medical First-Aid Kit

A first-aid kit is a must-have travel essential regardless of where you go. Aside from disrupting your plans, you never know how difficult it might be to see a doctor.

When you have a first-aid kit, you can deal with minor issues yourself. And this keeps them from becoming serious problems.

The best travel first-aid kits are compact, thorough, and well-organized. In addition, they should have supplies to treat ailments such as pain, stomach issues, dehydration, minor wounds, burns, blisters, and sprains.

I’ve recommended a few of my favorite options below:

Adventure Medical World Travel Medical First-Aid Kit
$89.99
  • Contains the medical supplies you need when traveling to remote locations where medical assistance may be hours or days away
  • Provides you with a full complement of emergency supplies as well as medications to treat common travel ailments, including stomach upset, dehydration, pain, and allergies
  • Accommodates one to four people for multiple days
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02/02/2023 08:08 pm GMT
My Medic MYFAK Mini First Aid Kit
  • The MyFAK Mini First Aid Kit comes equipped with high-performance life-saving supplies organized with a color-coded folding page design
  • The MyFAK Mini offers all its first aid power in a compact, portable-sized, water-resistant carrying case with extra space to customize to your needs
  • Designed for one person, it measures 8.5-in. x 6-in. x 2.7-in. and weighs 2.5-lbs. to 2.7-lbs
Check It Out
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3. Dental First-Aid Kit

Anyone who’s ever had a dental problem away from home will appreciate a dental first-aid kit. Even a minor tooth issue can be excruciating and blow up a well-planned trip. 

A dental first-aid kit has everything you need to temporarily treat minor issues like toothaches, damaged fillings, and broken crowns. I carry this one in my travel emergency kit whenever I travel:

Adventure Medical Kits Dental Medic Travel First-Aid Kit for Teeth
$22.00
  • Contains basic supplies like floss, cotton, and anesthetic
  • Temporary cavity filling mixture protects your tooth until you can find a dentist
  • Orasol gel and tural tea (tannins) soothe pain in the teeth and gums
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02/02/2023 07:33 pm GMT

4. Prescription Medication

Prescription medications are a travel essential. However, you may need to bring your medication bottle or a copy of your prescription with you.

For more information on traveling with prescription medication, visit the Transportation Security Administration website.

5. Over-The-Counter Medication

Including common over-the-counter medications on your travel packing list is also helpful, especially when traveling in a foreign country.

At a minimum, you should include the following:

6. Toilet Seat Covers

Not all toilets are created equal. And sometimes, a public restroom makes you think twice about sitting down. But, when you travel, especially with children, you must use whatever bathroom you find.

However, when you carry your own travel toilet seat covers, you won’t have to worry about unsanitary toilets.

Rockland Guard Flushable Toilet Seat Covers (50-count)
$6.95
  • Provides a layer of protective barrier to avoid direct contact with unsanitary public restrooms for a hygienic and safe bathroom experience
  • Flushable and biodegradable
  • Pocket-sized and easy-to-use
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02/02/2023 10:48 pm GMT

7. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

The new reality of travel post-COVID-19 is a confusing mess of international, national, state, local, and individual business guidelines.

That’s why carrying your medical personal protective equipment (PPE) like nitrile gloves, masks, or a face shield is essential.

Face Mask (50-pack)
$6.03 ($0.12 / Count)
  • This is a general use face mask
  • Pack of 50-masks
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02/02/2023 07:26 pm GMT
Safety Face Shields for Adults (10-pack)
$7.99 ($0.80 / Count)
  • Pack-of-10 adult-size face shields with 180-degree wide full-face protection from particle droplets, spray, splatter, saliva, wind, smoke, and debris
  • Crystal clear, double-sided anti-fog and anti-static coating treatment
  • Adjustable elastic band fits most people and is comfortable to wear
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02/02/2023 09:38 pm GMT
MedPride Powder-Free Nitrile Exam Gloves (100-count)
$9.99 ($0.10 / Count)
  • Heavy-duty strength with higher tactile sensitivity
  • Higher chemical protection and puncture resistance
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02/03/2023 01:53 am GMT

8. Thermometer

Another of today’s realities is that we must monitor our health more than ever. And one of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by checking our temperature.

A thermometer like the one below is another helpful travel tool.

Infrared Non-Contact Digital Thermometer
$19.99
  • This non-contact infrared thermometer is ideal for use with both adults and kids
  • The LCD screen uses a color-coded display for different temperature levels
  • Measures temperature within 1-second in either ℉ or ℃ and is accurate to within ±0.4℉
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02/02/2023 08:38 pm GMT

9. Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer isn’t just for pandemics. Regardless of where you travel, sometimes you need to clean your hands but don’t have access to soap and water.

That’s why I recommend adding a small bottle (under the TSA limit of 3.4 oz) to your travel packing list, just like the example below:

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Jelly Wraps (1-fl-oz / 8-pack)
$19.15 ($2.39 / Count)
  • Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer kills 99.99% of most common germs that may cause illness without damaging the skin
  • Mild formula is free of triclosan, parabens, phthalates, preservatives, and harsh ingredients, so it does not dry out or irritate the skin
  • 1-oz jelly wrap travel bottles are perfect for attaching to purses, backpacks, key chains, diaper bags, or gym bags
  • 8-pack includes 4 Refreshing Gel and 4 Naturals
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02/02/2023 06:53 pm GMT

10. COVID-19 Self-Test

Whether you’ve been vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19 before traveling, sometimes you might want to be rechecked. But it would be best if you didn’t have to rearrange your plans and search for a place to get tested.

Instead, you can carry a few COVID-19 self-tests. Then you can quickly check yourself any time you want. Here are a few of the more popular choices to include in your travel emergency kit:

iHealth COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test (2-pack)
$17.98 ($8.99 / Count)
  • FDA-authorized rapid test detects active infection in only 15-minutes using just a shallow nasal swab
  • The test can be self-administered by those 15 years and older and adult-administered for children 2-14 years old
  • The iHealth Test app allows the administrator of a small group to monitor and track test results as needed at school, work, or an event
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02/02/2023 02:59 pm GMT
Quidel QuickVue COVID-19 Self-Test Kit
$23.99 ($12.00 / Count)
  • QuickVue single-use home test detects nucleocapsid proteins from SARS-CoV-2 from individuals with or without symptoms in only 10-minutes using a nasal swab
  • Authorized for individuals aged two and up
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02/03/2023 12:58 am GMT

Environment

Man Drinking A Water Bottle Because It's A Travel Essential For Environment
Man Drinking A Water Bottle Because It's A Travel Essential For Environment
Man Drinking A Water Bottle Because It's A Travel Essential For Environment

In a perfect world, we enjoy beautiful weather every time we travel. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. But if you have these travel essentials, it doesn’t have to slow you down.

11. Water

Don’t let dehydration ruin your vacation! So, make sure you stay hydrated while traveling, regardless of the climate.

Whether you use bottled water or local drinking water, carrying a water bottle gives you the most flexibility.

I am a big fan of this water bottle and always bring it on trips.

Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth BPA-Free Water Bottle (32-oz)
$15.99
  • Nalgene's Tritan wide mouth bottle is free of BPA, BPS, and phthalates, virtually indestructible, and completely leakproof
  • Suitable for both warm and cold beverages (-40-°F to +212-°F)
  • Wide-mouth opening accommodates most water filters is easy to clean and dishwasher safe
  • Nalgene's bestselling water bottle for more than 30 years
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02/02/2023 10:13 pm GMT

However, sometimes you aren’t sure you can trust the local water. That’s why having a water bottle with a built-in water filter is a significant advantage.

Thankfully, there are options you can use in these situations. 

Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System
$18.35
  • High-performance 0.1-micron absolute inline filter removes 99.99999% of all bacteria (Salmonella, Cholera, and E. coli), 99.9999% of all protozoa (Giardia and Cryptosporidium), and 100% of microplastics
  • The filter fits in the palm of your hand, weighs just 2 ounces, and is rated up to 100,000 gallons
  • Attaches to the included drinking pouch, standard disposable water bottles, and hydration packs, or it can be used as a straw to drink directly from your water source
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02/02/2023 10:48 pm GMT
LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle with 2-Stage Integrated Filter Straw
$23.99
  • Durable, reusable, BPA-free water bottle filters water using the award-winning LifeStraw hollow fiber membrane water filter
  • Removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites to ensure safe, clean drinking water
  • 2-stage activated carbon filter reduces odor, chlorine and leaves zero aftertaste
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02/02/2023 03:59 pm GMT

12. Rain Gear

The worst rainstorm I ever experienced was while traveling. And, of course, I didn’t have any rain gear with me. So, I ended up soaked to the bone.

But the rain doesn’t have to ruin a good time when you come prepared. Including a compact umbrella, hat, or rain poncho on your travel packing list might be pretty handy. Here are a few practical suggestions:

Lewis N. Clark Travel Umbrella
$14.03
  • Waterproof and windproof full-size umbrella automatically opens/closes and folds down into a compact 11-in
  • Extremely durable and well constructed with metal ribs, fiberglass tips, and quick-drying polyester with mildew-resistant protection
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02/03/2023 12:48 am GMT
Rain Poncho Hooded Jacket with Pockets (Adult)
$21.99
  • Full-length sturdy zipper, zippered pocket, adjustable hood, elasticized cuffs, and color-matched storage pouch
  • Strong waterproof backing with heat-sealed seams
  • Waterproof quick drying and breathable
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02/03/2023 01:29 am GMT

13. Sun Gear

Who doesn’t enjoy sunny weather while on vacation? Unfortunately, the sun can also do a lot of damage, even when it’s overcast. And that’s a lesson I learned the hard way.

So I consider sunscreen, hats, and outerwear with UV protection to be travel essentials. Check out the following options to get you started:

Blue Lizard Active Mineral-Based SPF 50+ Sunscreen Lotion (5-fl-oz)
$18.81 ($3.76 / Fl Oz)
  • Dermatologist-recommended broad-spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 50+
  • Mineral active Zinc Oxide provides broad-spectrum protection
  • Paraben-free and fragrance-free making it ideal for sensitive skin
  • Water-resistant and sweat-resistant so you stay protected longer
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02/02/2023 06:58 pm GMT
Henschel Hats Aussie Breezer Cotton Mesh Hat
$39.95
  • Crushable hat with a classic 3-in brim
  • 100% cotton and SPF 50+
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02/02/2023 01:46 pm GMT
REI Co-Op

REI sells top-quality camping gear, travel equipment, sporting goods, clothing, and footwear for outdoor adventures. Because they know the importance of quality outdoor gear, they stand behind their products with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Shop Now
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14. Insect Repellent

Bug bites can ruin a good time quickly. But insects like mosquitoes don’t just cause itchy bites. They can also carry diseases such as West Nile Virus, Yellow Fever, or Malaria.

That’s why carrying a quality insect repellent is just good travel preparedness.

OFF! Deep Woods Mosquito and Insect Repellent Wipes (12-count)
$7.49 ($7.49 / Count)
  • Long-lasting protection from mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, gnats, chiggers, and fleas
  • Twelve individually wrapped towelettes
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02/02/2023 04:52 pm GMT

Emergency Devices

Flashlight Is A Travel Essential Emergency Device
Flashlight Is A Travel Essential Emergency Device
Flashlight Is A Travel Essential Emergency Device

Luckily you don’t need to cram a bunch of unnecessary gear into your luggage. You only need to have the best tools for travel.

15. Flashlight

A flashlight is a pretty versatile piece of travel gear. It’s helpful when you’re walking on a busy urban street at night and when you’re camping in the mountains.

You can use it to signal for help in an emergency or if you have a power outage. And, when necessary, it can be used as a weapon for self-defense. 

I recommend carrying a high-lumen, pocket-sized LED flashlight, preferably one with multiple light modes for different situations.

Also, look for one made of high-quality aluminum that is durable, lightweight, and waterproof. I suggest considering a tactical flashlight like the ones listed below.

Pro Tip:
According to the TSA, a flashlight under 7 inches long is allowed in your carry-on luggage. However, it’s up to individual TSA agents to decide. So, it may not be permitted if a flashlight appears too much like a weapon.

Fenix FX-PD35TAC V3 1700-Lumen Rechargeable Tactical Flashlight Bundle
$94.95
  • Upgraded LED tactical flashlight features six light output modes with 1700-lumen max output and 390-yards max throw
  • Made of durable waterproof aircraft-grade aluminum with a premium Type III hard-anodized anti-abrasive finish
  • Includes two USB rechargeable ARB-L18-2600 batteries
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02/02/2023 03:58 pm GMT
ThruNite Archer Mini LED Flashlight
$25.99
  • With the highly recommended SST20 LED and TIR lens, the Archer Mini delivers an incredible 405-lumens with a beam distance of up to 285-feet (87-meters)
  • Features a low, high, and strobe light mode and a dual directional pocket clip allowing hands-free use
  • Includes a built-in rechargeable battery with an integrated Type-C USB charging port
  • It measures only 3.26-inches and weighs only 34-grams taking up barely any pocket space
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02/02/2023 04:12 pm GMT

16. Multi-Tool

Whether driving, sailing, or flying, it’s always a good idea to pack a multi-tool. It’s like having an entire toolbox in your luggage.

With many tools and even more uses, a multi-tool earns a place in your travel bag. So here are a few of my favorite ones for traveling.

Pro Tip:
If you’re flying and your multi-tool has a blade, pack it in your checked luggage so it is not confiscated at security.

Leatherman Sidekick Pocket-Size Multi-Tool
$54.99
  • Equipped with 14-tools, including knives, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, bottle & can openers, a file, a saw, and a ruler
  • The one-handed opening provides quick access to the tools you use most
  • Made in the USA with a 25-year warranty
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02/02/2023 08:58 pm GMT
Victorinox Swiss Army MiniChamp Pocket Multi-Tool
$42.95
  • Swiss-made stainless steel pocket knife is compact, agile, and ready to face any adventure head-on
  • Packs 18 functions into a slim profile that easily slips into your pocket
  • Measures 2.3-in. long, 0.6-in. wide, and weighs only 1.6-oz.
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02/02/2023 06:05 pm GMT
Victorinox Swisscard Lite Pocket Tool
$36.39
  • Renown Swiss-made stainless steel compact flat multi-tool that fits in your wallet
  • Includes an emergency blade, scissors, magnifying glass, screwdriver 3-mm, screwdriver 5-mm, Phillips screwdriver 00/0, Phillips screwdriver 1/2, tweezers, pressurized ballpoint pen pin, LED, ruler (cm), ruler (inches)
  • Measures 0.2-in. x 3.2-in. and weighs 0.9-oz.
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02/02/2023 09:43 pm GMT

17. Portable Car Jump-Starter

Tonya Denmark, the creator of Detail Oriented Traveler, is an expert in planning more travel and helping busy families get the most out of their vacations. She’s also a frequent road trip traveler and offers this advice to other travelers: 

“One of my favorite pieces of travel gear is a combo JumpSmart flashlight and jumper cables. You never know when you may end up with a dead battery or come to the rescue of someone else in need. 

I’ve used this compact but powerful battery pack to jump-start a car on more than one occasion. I’ve also used the bright flashlight to illuminate an emergency tire change due to a flat. 

It holds a charge forever and can even power electronics if needed. Because of its size, it stays in my car year-round, so I don’t even have to think about packing it.”

JumpSmart Portable Car Jump Starter with LED Flashlight and Power Bank
$129.99
  • The 400-amp peak 12-volt portable vehicle battery HD smart jumper cable can jump start up to an 8-cylinder, 5.0L engine (or a 2.0L diesel)
  • Includes a 4-mode 330-lumen LED flashlight as well as a powerful 37000 mWh power bank with a 2.4-amp charging port
  • Jumper cables have ten built-in safety features with audible alarms and visual safety indicator lights to warn of any improper connections
  • Durable CNC machined aluminum extruded housing with a knurled casing is scratch and stain resistant
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02/02/2023 10:43 pm GMT

Security

Pick Pocket Working On Subway Platform Is The Reason You Need Travel Essential Security
Pick Pocket Working On Subway Platform Is The Reason You Need Travel Essential Security
Pick Pocket Working On Subway Platform Is The Reason You Need Travel Essential Security

Many thieves see travelers as easy targets for theft. But you can lower your odds of being a victim by taking a few precautions. While it’s impossible to stop all crime, the travel essentials listed below will make you a less attractive target.

18. Travel Wallet

As a traveler, your most vulnerable moments are when you are distracted by other activities like dining and sightseeing. That’s when pickpockets love to take advantage of you.

Travel wallets are less conspicuous, making them more challenging for thieves to grab.

Good ones will also be RFID-blocking and constructed with more secure pockets than a typical wallet. Combined, this can significantly lower your risk of being pickpocketed.

I’ve successfully used this wallet while traveling to some of the top 10 most pickpocketed cities:

Venture Travel Neck Wallet with RFID Blocking
$17.95
  • Comfortable, breathable, lightweight, and water-resistant RFID blocking neck wallet designed to offer you a safe and secure location to store valuables while traveling
  • Features three smart storage compartments, including two zippered pockets and one velcro-closure patch, and an ID window
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02/02/2023 10:09 pm GMT

19. Anti-Theft Purse

Similar to a travel wallet, an anti-theft purse is designed to thwart thieves.

A good travel purse can be worn like an ordinary one but comes with lockable pockets, slash-proof construction, and cut-proof straps.

These security features make an anti-theft purse a very useful tool for travel. Several of my female family members and friends have recommended a purse like this:

Travelon Women's Anti-Theft Classic Messenger Bag
$55.99
  • 5-Point anti-theft security system features hidden, slash-proof, chain link construction, an adjustable, cable-reinforced, cut-proof shoulder strap, and a locking zipper
  • Designed with two multi-organizational compartments with zippered pocket and slip pockets, front magnetic flap hides, and zippered mesh water bottle pockets on each sidea
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02/02/2023 03:46 pm GMT

20. Money Belt

If you want an even more secure option, consider a money belt. Worn underneath your clothes, they keep your valuables close to your body and practically invisible to other people. 

Use a money belt for items you want with you but rarely need, like your passport or emergency money. Then carry your daily spending money and credit card in another wallet or pocket.

Look for ones made of lightweight but durable materials that have good-quality zippers. Increase your travel preparedness with one of these recommended money belts:

Eagle Creek Travel Gear Undercover Money Belt
$20.99
  • Keep credit cards, passports, cash, and other documents out of sight in this waist-worn, under-clothing money belt
  • Two zippered pockets keep your valuables close and secure
  • Made out of lightweight, breathable, and washable natural silk
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02/02/2023 06:28 pm GMT
Venture 4th RFID Money Belt
$17.95
  • The slim, lightweight design keeps credit cards, passports, cash, and other valuables hidden from pickpockets when worn under clothes
  • Large capacity for all your travel essentials
  • Constructed from waterproof 210D ripstop nylon with double-stitched reinforced seams
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02/02/2023 03:03 pm GMT

21. Portable Safe

A portable safe is a travel essential for anyone with valuables like important documents, expensive jewelry, or a lot of spending money. 

A good travel safe should have a way to secure itself to a more permanent structure and allow you to set a combination. I bring this safe on trips where I need a little extra security.

Master Lock 5900D Portable Safe
$17.50
  • A small, portable safe makes an ideal place to protect items like smartphones, passports, cash, and credit cards
  • Set your own four-digit combination and secure the safe to a fixed object with the included cable
  • Constructed with shock-absorbing foam and designed to be water-resistant
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02/02/2023 06:53 pm GMT

Technology

Hiker Using Smartphone As Travel Essential Technology
Hiker Using Smartphone As Travel Essential Technology
Hiker Using Smartphone As Travel Essential Technology

Whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, our electronic devices have changed everything about how we travel. With these electronic devices on your travel packing list, you will feel like a pro.

22. Watch

Experienced travelers know that watches these days offer a lot more than just telling time. And that’s especially true for anyone who enjoys outdoor adventures.

In addition to keeping you on schedule with timers, alarms, and calendars, watches like the ones listed below offer high-tech features like weather updates, altimeters, barometers, compasses, GPS technology, and health monitoring.

Suunto Core Smartwatch
$181.33
  • Packed with intelligent features like a storm alarm, altimeter, barometer, compass, sunrise and sunset prediction, and a depth meter
  • Tracks your daily activity and sleep to help you keep life in balance
  • Suunto combines Scandinavian design with ultra-durable materials and brings over 80 years of high-quality heritage craftsmanship, relentless accuracy, and pioneering innovation
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02/03/2023 12:29 am GMT
G-Shock Rangeman Solar Watch
$219.04
  • Atomic solar-powered digital watch on a black resin band with red accents and textured pushers
  • A tough and rugged timepiece that is shock-resistant, mud-resistant, temperature resistant, and water-resistant to 200-meters
  • Features include a compass, altimeter, barometer, thermometer, sunrise and sunset data, calendar, stopwatch, timer, and alarm
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02/02/2023 03:53 pm GMT
Garmin Epix Active Smartwatch (Gen 2)
$899.99
  • Designed for your athletic lifestyle featuring a 1.3-in. always-on display, built-in sports apps, performance metrics, SkiView maps, and golf course maps
  • Multi-band GNSS technology delivers better, more accurate positioning in challenging environments, while TopoActive mapping options help you navigate more confidently
  • Features 24/7 health and wellness monitoring, which delivers estimates for pulse oximetry, heart rate, respiration, stress, and advanced sleep monitoring
  • With up to 16-days of battery life in smartwatch mode, you can keep the adventure going
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02/02/2023 01:26 pm GMT

23. Smartphone

Believe it or not, your smartphone is one of the best tools for traveling.

You can use it to manage reservations, store digital keys, navigate, translate, research, shoot photos and videos, and store backups of valuable information.

I consider my smartphone to be a travel essential.

24. Power Bank

The more you rely on your smartphone, the more you need to ensure it’s charged and ready. Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to drain your phone’s battery during a busy day of traveling.

A portable power bank should be on everyone’s travel packing list. You’ll want one small enough to carry in your pocket but powerful enough to recharge your phone once or twice. 

This power bank is one of my favorite pieces of travel gear:

Anker PowerCore 5000 Portable Charger
$17.99
  • 5000 mAh battery can completely recharge most phones
  • 10-cm by 3-cm ultra-compact tubular design
  • PowerIQ technology provides the fastest charge
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02/02/2023 09:48 pm GMT

25. International Power Adapter

If you bring any electronic devices to a foreign country, you’ll need a universal power adapter. These multi-plug adapters allow you to plug U.S.-style plugs into foreign outlets. 

While they do not convert the electrical voltage, most modern electronics adjust automatically between 110 volts and 220 volts. So make sure you check the manuals for any of your devices.

Unfortunately, many poorly made and even counterfeit products are on the market. So, when shopping, make sure you buy one certified for safety by the FCC. 

I’ve tested several options over the years before finding my favorite ones. And I’ve successfully used the ones listed below multiple times. So that’s why I include them on my international travel packing list.

UPPEL Universal Travel Power Adapter
$19.99
  • Universal travel adapter (UK / US / AU / EU Plug) supports more than 200 countries worldwide
  • The compact design features one universal plug (110V-240V input), three different charging ports (USB 3.0, USB, and Type-C) for smart, fast charging, two 6A fuses, and 94-V0 silicone fireproof material
  • Safety certification by FCC, CE, and RoHS and a standby fuse ensures complete protection
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02/03/2023 12:33 am GMT
Bestek International Travel 5-Port USB & 2-Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip
$25.99
  • Portable 5-port USB and 2-outlet charging station with eight travel adapters (Type I/ E(F) /G /A /D /N /H /L) can power your devices in more than 200 countries
  • High-speed charging USB ports max up to 40W/8A output while outlets provide 1700 joules of power surge protection
  • Built-in over-current, over-heating, over-voltage, and short-circuit protection with fireproof ABS Material and PVC copper cable
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02/03/2023 01:04 am GMT

Communications

Man Sitting At Restaurant Using Travel Essential Communication
Man Sitting At Restaurant Using Travel Essential Communication
Man Sitting At Restaurant Using Travel Essential Communication

Communication services probably aren’t the first travel essentials that come to mind when planning a trip. However, depending on how connected you need to be, the following services could be handy tools for travel.

26. International Calling Plan

Your smartphone should work fine when you travel domestically. Every wireless provider offers nationwide coverage for calls, texts, and data.

However, most wireless plans do not include international roaming (except for T-Mobile’s Magenta plans).

That’s why you need to decide how you will stay connected. Otherwise, you may find yourself without the connectivity you need or a massive bill when you return.

The first step is confirming that your phone will work at your destination. Networks differ from country to country, and some phones or certain features may be incompatible.

Pro-Tip
The most popular international wireless system is GSM. However, in the United States, some providers use GSM (AT&T and T-Mobile), while others use CDMA (Verizon and Sprint). If your wireless provider uses CDMA, you need a device that can switch between systems.

The newest phones now support multiple eSIMs, including dual SIMs, providing international travelers with more convenience and savings than ever on international calling.

However, as long as your phone isn’t too old, you can take advantage of these options. But you can always contact your wireless company for help.

You have three basic choices for handling international wireless connectivity:

  • Contact your current wireless provider for their international roaming options.
    • Some sell packages for a flat fee, while others have daily rates.
    • While this is the easiest solution, it can get expensive during an extended trip.
  • Purchase a local SIM card or eSIM when you arrive at your destination.
    • Swapping out the SIM card or adding an eSIM switches your phone to a local number with credits for calls, messages, and data usage.
    • It is the cheapest option but requires some technical knowledge and time to set up.
    • Also, depending on the country, there can be other hassles, such as language barriers and local laws.
  • Purchase an international SIM card or eSIM.
    • International SIMs provide coverage across multiple countries.
    • Some SIM cards and eSIMs come with domestic and foreign phone numbers, making it easy for people anywhere to contact you.
    • You can also purchase one and set it up before you depart.
    • This type of SIM is more expensive than local ones but cheaper than your domestic carrier.

You have a lot of different options when considering international calling plans. Whatever you decide, having a plan for calls, texts, and data is a travel essential.

OneSimCard: International SIM Cards

OneSimCard is an international mobile service for savvy travelers to significantly reduce the cost of using a cell phone or other mobile device while traveling internationally.

Stay connected with an international SIM card or eSIM without worrying about returning home to a huge phone bill.

Learn More
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27. Cloud Storage

Cloud storage options like Google, Dropbox, or iCloud are helpful tools for travel because they help keep data organized and accessible without carrying hard copies.

Information like your itinerary, reservations, travel insurance, medical information, and other documents are available on any connected device. 

Typically, you need internet access to view the documents. However, if that’s a concern, there are also ways to download them onto your device for offline viewing.

28. Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Public WIFI may be available in many places when you travel, but that doesn’t make it secure. Unfortunately, many hackers specifically target public hotspots.

By placing themselves between you and the network, they can intercept private communications, including emails, credit card information, and login credentials. 

The solution is a Virtual Private Network, also known as a VPN, which is a secure and encrypted connection within an otherwise public network.

So, if you want to access any private data while traveling, you should consider a VPN service as one of your travel essentials.

ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is the World’s largest premium VPN service provider. Going online doesn’t have to mean being exposed.

No matter where you are or what devices you’re using, ExpressVPN will keep your personal information private and secure!

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atlasVPN

All the benefits VPN has to offer for an affordable price! Experience the internet without limitations — no geo-restrictions, censorship, or tracking. Atlas VPN is your daily tool for a more open & secure internet!

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Smartphone Apps

SmartPhone App Store Downloading Travel Essential Apps
SmartPhone App Store Downloading Travel Essential Apps
SmartPhone App Store Downloading Travel Essential Apps

There are so many great travel apps available these days, the ones I recommend below specifically focus on improving your travel preparedness.

29. Citymapper

Citymapper (for iOS and Android) is my go-to navigation app anytime I travel. That’s because its navigation integrates well with all available modes of transportation in any supported city.

It gives you a live-time preview, combining walking, cycling, driving, and public transit into the most efficient options. Then, based on your choice, it uses voice-guided navigation to direct you to your destination.

Best of all, the basic version is free! So, when you are visiting an unfamiliar city, it is the best way to get around.

30. Google Translate

Google Translate is a free app for iOS and Android devices that translates over 100 languages. But this app can do much more than translate the words you type.

It uses your phone’s microphone and speaker to listen, translate, and speak, helping you converse with locals.

You can also point your phone’s camera at printed words (like a sign or menu) and watch it automatically translate the text on your screen.

While the advanced features require access to the internet, there is an option to download selected languages for offline use.

So, it’s a valuable tool for travel anytime you go somewhere you don’t speak the language.

31. Trip Whistle Global SOS

If you had an emergency in a foreign country, would you know what phone number to dial?

There are over 70 emergency numbers worldwide, and Trip Whistle knows them all. Trip Whistle is a free iOS app that helps you contact emergency services worldwide.

When you open the app, it immediately maps your location and displays it as GPS coordinates. Then it gives you the appropriate phone numbers for police, fire, and medical assistance for your current location.

It’s a cheap and easy way to improve your travel preparedness.

32. Smart Traveler

Smart Traveler is a free app for U.S. travelers for iOS and Android devices from the U.S. Department of State. While it can be buggy, it’s the best way to monitor travel warnings, alerts, maps, U.S. embassy locations, and other official information.

Moreover, you can also use the app to access the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This program helps U.S. embassies and consulates contact you and provide assistance in an emergency.

Luggage

Woman Walking With A Backpack And Suitcase For Travel Essential Luggage
Woman Walking With A Backpack And Suitcase For Travel Essential Luggage
Woman Walking With A Backpack And Suitcase For Travel Essential Luggage

Your luggage is your home away from home while traveling. So, it pays to have well-built luggage that suits the way you travel and keeps your travel essentials organized.

33. Carry-On Luggage

Whenever possible, using carry-on-sized luggage as your primary bag is the most efficient way to travel.

You avoid the time and hassle of checking your luggage. And you avoid the risk of losing your luggage. Plus, packing light keeps you agile if you change your plans.

The biggest downside is that you have less space than with a full-size bag. But this can be helpful because it forces you to be more selective about your travel gear. 

Some high-end luggage manufacturers give you the best of both worlds with fancy features designed to fit more stuff in less space.

The luggage I’ve recommended below are great carry-on options to consider.

Samsonite Solyte DLX 20-inch Softside Expandable Carry-On Luggage with Spinner Wheels
$167.47
  • Maximizes your packing power and meets most carry-on size restrictions for those traveling domestically and looking to stay light
  • Features a built-in WetPak pocket, a zippered mesh pocket, smart fix buckles, and four multi-directional double spinner wheels
  • Overall dimensions measure 22-in x 14-in x 9.5-in with internal dimensions of 19-in x 13.5-in x 7.75-in and weighs 7.1-lbs
  • 10-year limited warranty
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02/02/2023 04:42 pm GMT
Travelpro Platinum Elite 21-inch Softside Expandable Spinner Wheel Carry-On Luggage
$314.49
  • Expandable 46-liter carry-on spinner suitcase with external USB port and dedicated powerbank pocket meets FAA regulations for carry-on and checked baggage
  • Precision glide system includes contour grip, four-stop adjustable power scope handle, and magnatrac spinner wheels for precise control and effortless roll
  • Features a fold-out suiter that packs clothes wrinkle-free, an interior tie-down system with built-in accessory pockets, and TSA compliant, removable quart-sized wet pocket for toiletries
  • Lifetime limited worry-free warranty that covers the cost of repair for damages from airlines
  • Overall dimensions measure 23.5-in x 14.5-in x 9-in with internal dimensions of 21-in x 14-in x 9-in and weighs 7.8-lbs
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02/02/2023 09:08 pm GMT
Briggs & Riley Baseline Softside CX Expandable 22-inch Carry-On Spinner Luggage
$779.00
  • Made with ballistic nylon outer fabric that resists wear, moisture, dirt, and abrasion, and cinch-down mesh garment panels keep contents from shifting and minimize wrinkling
  • Outsider handle provides greater interior capacity and swivel wheeled bag expands 2.5-in for up to 25% more packing space
  • Unconditional lifetime guarantee offers repairs free of charge with no proof of purchase or questions asked
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02/02/2023 05:34 pm GMT

34. Bluetooth Tracker

It doesn’t matter if you go by plane, train, car, or foot; nothing spoils a trip faster than losing your luggage. Thankfully, Bluetooth trackers like Apple AirTag and Tile Pro have proven their ability to help you find lost bags since exploding onto the market.

Both Airtag and Tile use a secure Bluetooth signal that your phone detects. And, when your tracker is out of range of your device, it can still be found by nearby devices within the manufacturer’s global network, which anonymously reports its location. It’s like a worldwide lost and found.

Apple Airtag has quickly become the most popular Bluetooth tracker due to its ease of use and Apple’s vast network. But, the Tile Pro is an excellent alternative for Android users.

Apple AirTag (4-pack)
$99.00
  • Find and track your items with the help of hundreds of millions of Apple devices in the Find My network through anonymous and encrypted communication
  • A simple one-tap setup instantly connects AirTag with your iPhone or iPad
  • AirTag is IP67 water and dust resistant, and its replaceable battery lasts over a year
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02/03/2023 12:38 am GMT
Tile Pro (4-pack)
$99.95
  • Tile Pro is a powerful, water-resistant, and secure Bluetooth tracker with a 400-ft. range
  • Use the Tile app to find your Tile within Bluetooth range or its most recent location when outside of Bluetooth range
  • Use the secure and anonymous help of the Tile Network to find your things across the globe
  • Android, iOS & Smart Home Compatible
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02/02/2023 11:08 pm GMT

35. Daypack

Once you reach your destination, a daypack is a great way to carry what you need each day without bringing everything else.

Since it’ll be your everyday bag, make sure it’s good quality and easy to carry. Ideally, it should have an easily accessible place to store your water. 

You also don’t want a bag that someone can open without you noticing. So, look for a lockable with internal pockets instead of external ones.

I’d also consider getting a larger bag than you think you need. Most people tend to pick up things throughout the day, and it’s helpful to have some extra space to store them. 

I’ve found that small travel backpacks make great daypacks. These highly recommended backpacks are an excellent place to start:

Osprey Farpoint 40L Men's Travel Backpack
  • 40L backpack made from ripstop nylon fabric with a large u-zip duffel-style main compartment
  • Features lockable zipper access to padded laptop & tablet sleeve, stowaway back panel, shoulder straps & hip belt, zippered rear flap for protection, and two front mesh water bottle pockets
  • Measures 21-in x 14-in x 9-in, which meets carry-on size restrictions for most airlines
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Osprey Fairview 40 Women's Travel Backpack
$159.95
  • 40L backpack made from ripstop nylon fabric with a large u-zip duffel-style main compartment
  • Features lockable zipper access to padded laptop & tablet sleeve, stowaway back panel, shoulder straps & hip belt, zippered rear flap for protection, and two front mesh water bottle pockets
  • Measures 21-in x 14-in x 9-in, which meets carry-on size restrictions for most airlines
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02/02/2023 03:20 pm GMT

36. Foldable Duffle Bag

When I travel, I enjoy buying lots of souvenirs and gifts. But sometimes I get to the end of my trip and discover that I bought too much.

That’s when I realized I couldn’t fit everything in my luggage. Or that it will be so heavy that I’ll get charged an overweight bag fee.

If you’ve been in the same situation, you will see the benefit of a foldable duffle bag. Lightweight yet rugged, it folds down into a compact pouch.

Toss it in your luggage without taking up much space. Then unfold it into extra baggage when you need it. That’s why I always include one on my travel packing list.

Gonex Foldable Travel Duffel Bag (60L)
$23.99
  • Durable and lightweight 60L large capacity foldable duffle bag made from water repellent and wear-resistant honeycomb 210D nylon fabric and premium zippers
  • Features with an internal end-pouch, shoe compartment, multiple pockets, two handles, and a removable adjustable long shoulder strap
  • Measures 9.45-in x 10.63-in folded, 24-in x 14-in x 9-in unfolded, and weighs only 1.2-lbs
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02/02/2023 06:58 pm GMT
Gonex Foldable Travel Duffel Bag (40L)
$29.99
  • Durable and lightweight 40L large capacity foldable duffle bag made from water repellent and wear-resistant honeycomb 210D nylon fabric and premium zippers
  • Features with an internal end-pouch, shoe compartment, multiple pockets, two handles, and a removable adjustable long shoulder strap
  • Measures 8.66-in x 10.24-in folded, 20.87-in x 9.84-in x 12-in unfolded, and weighs only 0.8-lbs
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02/02/2023 07:30 pm GMT

37. Carabiners

Have you ever watched someone struggle through an airport or train station with too much stuff? It doesn’t look like fun.

That’s why I clip carabiners onto every bag, backpack, and suitcase I own. Because they let me connect my bags in lots of different ways. But the best part is that I can use them to free up a hand whenever I need it.

I consider this an indispensable piece of travel gear.

Fusion Climb Heavy-Duty Modified D-Shape Locking Carabiners
$11.55
  • UIAA certified heavy-duty auto-locking aircraft-grade aluminum carabiner
  • Meets ANSI Z359.1-2001 standards with a strength rating of 25 KN (5620 lbs.)
  • Measures 4.33-in x 2.55-in
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02/02/2023 09:24 pm GMT
Favofit Heavy-Duty Medium Locking Carabiners (4-pack)
$14.99
  • A heavy-duty aircraft-grade aluminum retractable metal carabiner is rated at 12KN and can withstand over 2697-lbs of force
  • Measures 3.2-in x 1.9-in and weighs 0.96-oz
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02/02/2023 08:23 pm GMT

38. Luggage Straps

Luggage straps are another helpful tool for travel. There’s nothing like a trip with kids to discover inventive ways to attach things.

I’ve traveled with everything from a car seat (without the baby) to a trash can strapped to my luggage. On occasion, I’ve even held a broken suitcase together with one.

I recommend keeping long and short ones in your luggage for maximum flexibility.

Lewis N. Clark Add-A-Bag Travel Luggage Strap
$7.99
  • Solid and durable straps with quick connect and disconnect Easy Latch System
  • Adjustable from 11-in to 16-in
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02/02/2023 03:53 pm GMT
Samsonite Add-A-Bag Strap for Spinners
  • Use these extra bag carriers when traveling with additional items
  • Bungee cord wraps around the top carry-handle and adjusts to the size of your extra bag
  • Lightweight, compact, and fits inside a carry-on, purse, or business case
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Samsonite Luggage Strap
$7.50
  • Rugged ABS buckle built to withstand the rigors of baggage handling
  • Ultra-rugged polypropylene strap adjusts to fit bags up to 72-in
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02/02/2023 04:33 pm GMT

Money & Documents

Multiple Currency Is Travel Essential Emergency Money
Multiple Currency Is Travel Essential Emergency Money
Multiple Currency Is Travel Essential Emergency Money

The last two travel essentials on this list aren’t glamorous, but including them on your travel packing list might get you out of a jam.

39. Emergency Cash

You never know when some extra cash will come in handy. That’s especially true when you travel.

While credit cards and mobile payments may be more popular, there are still some places in the world that only take cash. Not only that, but payment processing networks don’t always work. Or you might not trust someone enough to hand them your card. 

I recommend carrying at least $100 in cash in your travel emergency kit. Furthermore, I suggest you get emergency money in every country’s currency before you depart when traveling internationally. 

Make sure some of your cash is in small bills for maximum flexibility. And, if possible, keep it somewhere other than your wallet or purse, just in case it’s lost or stolen.

40. Useful Translations

When traveling overseas, don’t let a language barrier prevent you from communicating vital details when it matters the most.

Translate information like health issues, medications, or food allergies ahead of time. Write them on an index card or your phone to be available whenever you need them.

Conclusion

Couple Relaxing On Dock Looking Palm Trees Thinking About Travel Essentials
Couple Relaxing On Dock Looking Palm Trees Thinking About Travel Essentials
Couple Relaxing On Dock Looking Palm Trees Thinking About Travel Essentials

Travel is good for the soul, providing physical, medical, and emotional benefits. And you can enjoy these advantages when you’re prepared for the unexpected. 

Travel preparedness doesn’t have to be complicated. The travel essentials outlined in this article will prepare you for any journey.

And if you’d like additional suggestions, you can find my favorite travel-related services and gear on my Travel Preparedness recommendation page.

Did I miss anything? Feel free to post any thoughts or suggestions in the comments. For more helpful tips, check out some of my other articles in the links below.

Additional Resources

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