32 Travel Essentials, According to Travel Bloggers, Family Travelers and General Adventurers

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Don’t leave home without these 32 travel essentials that make your trip easier, cleaner and overall, well, funner. We looked to travel bloggers and other frequent jet-setters for picks, and came away with these absolute must-haves, from a luxe pair of slipper-shoes to wear in-flight to pair of stylish Polarized sunglasses and pickleball set for outdoor fun.

Bon voyage!

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travel essentials portable charger

1. Qtshine Portable Charger Power Bank

Travel Blogger Dan Flying Solo maintains that “any traveler knows that keeping their devices charged is essential these days” and he recommends taking a handy portable charger anywhere you go. This model can charge most phones up to six times and tablets twice, and can charge two devices simultaneously.

travel essentials calpak

2. Calpak Mini Hue Carry-on

We reviewed this bag and loved it for its surprising roominess, durability, style and ability to finally restrict us to the travel capsule wardrobe we’ve always dreamed of.

travel essentials travel yoga mat

3. Carry Onwards Travel Yoga Mat

At three pounds, this is lighter than many other quality yoga mats, and made to fold flat so that you can throw it in your carryon or backpack without a bulky rolled-up situation.

travel essentials pill case

4. Cadence A Capsule A Day

These leakproof, waterproof BPA-free plastic containers fit together to hold everything from pills to shampoos. Choose among seven colors to code your daily self-care regimen while you’re away from home.

travel essentials yolo slippers

5. Yolo X Scarosso' Travel Slippers

Designed by Yolanda Edwards, the founder of travel and lifestyle magazine YOLO Journal, these lightweight slippers have a velvet body and rubber sole, making them attractive and oh-so packable. “[They] go with everything from dresses to jeans,” she says. “And because they come in so many different colors, even when I'm traveling and always wearing the same black/navy/grey look, I feel like I have some life on my feet!”

travel essentials underwear organizer

6. Mingseecess Portable Underwear Travel Organizer

Don’t want to search for your socks and knickers in your luggage anymore? Travel blogger Caz Makepeace recommends a dedicated travel organizer with slots for bras, bikinis and whatever else is going on with your undergarments.

travel essentials fly girl
Background: Tvn Phph Prung Sakdi / EyeEm

7. Fly Girl: A Memoir by Ann Hood

This memoir of a former TWA flight attendant in the 1970s (People called her a “gifted storyteller”) is full of bygone days of travel glamour as well as more turbulent times of massive industry deregulation and labor strikes.

travel essentials sunglasses

8. Maui Jim Polarized Sunglasses

“Best sunglasses I’ve ever owned,” says the author of the Going Awesome Places blog, who cites them for their optical clarity. We like how the brand has a wide range of styles, whether you’re going for a sport fisherman vibe or something more chi-chi resort.

travel essentials compression socks

9. Fenglaoda Compression Socks

The globetrotting blogger behind The Blonde Abroad won’t leave home without packing compression socks which increase pressure around the ankle, upwards toward the knee, helping decrease incidence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT, aka blood clots in the legs). We like these because they’re low-key cute, unlike the many loudly printed options we’ve seen elsewhere.

travel essentials bleusalt wrap

10. Bleusalt The 2-yard Wrap

Makepeace (of Y Travel) also recommends taking a blanket-sized scarf for everything from a too-cold hotel room to an over air-conditioned flight. This wrap, which comes in 18 colors, is just large enough (44 x 72 inches) to work as a lap blanket while you’re in the air and do double duty as a shoulder wrap once you’ve reached your destination. The Tencel modal and spandex fabric is breathable and can be washed and dried without shrinking…and it comes in its own drawstring bag, meaning it won’t come unfolded when not in use.

travel essentials longchamp bag

11. Longchamp Large Le Pliage Tote

Travel blogger Hey Ciara says she’s used this as her carryon for years, after purchasing one in Paris. She even got one for her mom—which is the most ringing endorsement we can think of for this leather-handled nylon tote with a zip and snap-top closure. Additionally, it’s great to throw in your checked luggage since it folds down to a flat square.

travel essentials blotting paper

12. Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Blotting Paper

This refillable mirror case holds small sheets of paper that are genius for absorbing extra moisture without harming makeup—because when you are in transit, you won’t always have a chance to put your face back together.

travel essentials travel wallet

13. Zoppen Travel Wallet

This is the indispensable item you need to stay organized during your travels, with card slots for identification, a sleeve for any notes and your itinerary as well as places to stash currency. Sure, your ticket is probably a QR code on your phone, but we still like a place for physical items. And the RFiD-blocking material means that scam artists won’t be able to scan your personal information when it’s tucked safely inside.

travel essentials airtag

14. Apple Airtag

Lost luggage is a real buzzkill, but there are strategies to avoid it. “Besides the obviously mandatory name tags, buy Apple tags and put one in each of your checked luggage," advises Yolanda Edwards. “And bring an extra in case a bag is overweight on the way back and you’re asked to check it.”

trael essentials packable hat
J. Crew

15. J.Crew Packable Hat

The raffia is bendable, rollable and still emerges from your suitcase looking cute and shady thanks to the medium-size brim.

travel essentials folding hair dryer

16. Conair Folding Handle Hair Dryer

This tiny, lightweight blow dryer justifies taking up precious room in your luggage because it’s got more power (1600 watts) and functions (dual heat settings, a cold shot button to set style) than whatever dryer you’ll find in your hotel room. And did we mention it’s only 1 pound and folds up?

travel essentials instant camera

17. Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera

Social media is great, but sometimes you want a tangible keepsake to share with friends on a trip. That’s why frequent traveler Hey Ciara enjoys bringing along an instant camera—but only on shorter trips, because the film can be pricey.

travel essentials electronics organizer

18. Caoodkdk Electronics Travel Organizer

Seriously, isn’t it time you stopped rooting through the bottom of your carryon for the right charger or to find your earphones? This lightweight semi-padded case includes tiny pockets to fit small cords, larger slots for power banks and even a pocket for your phone…in case you decide to use your in-flight time for a digital detox.

travel essentials pickle ball
J. Crew

19. Recess X J.crew Pickleball Paddle

Pickleball is America's fastest-growing intergenerational sport, so when you're visiting your folks, a steely game of pickle ball should be on the agenda. Think of how psyched out your opponents (aka beloved family) would be if you were to whip out a fiberglass paddle and tailored cover.

travel essentials beats headphones

20. Beats Solo 3

Travel blogger Hey Ciara recommends these for listening on board your flight since they have comfy cupped padding on the ears and a stylish look to boot. Plus, they give up to 40 hours of performance on a single charge.

travel essentials beis weekender

21. Beis Weekender

Our reviewer deemed this bag the unsung hero of her two-week vacation, citing its minimal good looks, Velcro-lined laptop sleeve and wire-rim opening that makes it easy to see everything inside. (Special shout-out to the zippered luggage trolley sleeve that allows you to rest it on your checked or carryon roller bag.)

travel essentials waterproof pouch

22. Joto Waterproof Phone Pouch

Even if you’re not planning to take your phone with you snorkeling in some exotic locale like Nomadic Matt, you’ll feel a lot more secure slipping your phone into this dry bag that’s got an easy snap closure yet is certified waterproof to 100 feet down. It’s transparent on both sides, so you can stash a car key and some money in there too, and it comes with a detachable neck strap.

travel essentials silk pillowcase

23. Mulberry Silk Pillowcase

Like a spot of luxury with you when you leave home? Make like The Blond Abroad and travel with a silk pillowcase. It’s soothing and known to reduce hair breakage.

travel essentials travelpro

24. Travelpro Maxlite 5 Softside Expandable Luggage

Sometimes you just have to check a bag, and when you do, you want to feel confident that it will stand up to any amount of baggage handler roughhousing. That’s why you’re opting for a Travelpro, the spinner luggage designed by a pilot to be lightweight and durable. This model has a handle that stops at two heights, four durable 360-degree spinning wheels and a two-inch expansion zipper to fit all the purchases you’ll be coming home with. We love the lifetime limited warranty and one-year guarantee for repair…just in case the airline does any damage.

travel essentials n94

25. Airwasher Kf94 Adjustable Face Masks

The big innovation here is a clever little loop along each side that lets you tighten the mask to fit your face. There’s also a smart three-dimensional design which lets you wear it with some room between your mouth and the mask, so that your lipstick won’t just immediately rub off.

travel essentials filter water bottle

26. Lifestraw Go Water Filter Bottle

The center filter in this reusable BPA-free water bottle is good for reducing microplastics, bacteria, parasites, pesticides and overall cloudiness in your water. We discovered this brand on blogger Hey Ciara’s web site and think it’s indispensable for backpacking and camping.

travel essentials tripod

27. Toneof Cell Phone Tripod

Travel blogger Nomadic Matt recommends taking a small portable tripod for capturing hands-free shots. We’re fans of this model, since it only weighs three-quarters of a pound, folds into a slender 11-inch wand for portability and extends to 60 inches tall. Also, there’s a remote shutter release that stores right in the tripod shaft.

travel essentials toiletry kit
Dagne Dover

28. Dagne Dover Toiletry Pouch

This stand-up toiletry case's inventive design shows why PureWow readers love the brand—the 5.5-inch round and tall case has a removable Velcro insert that keeps all your travel bottles and jars exactly where you want them. And it's all 100 recycled materials. Bonus: There's also a large size.

travel essentials uv cleaner

29. Monos Cleanpod Uvc Sterilizer

A high-energy beam of ultraviolet C light zaps out of this portable device with the push of a button. According to a study co-authored by Columbia University, UVC light kills invisible airborne germs, thus the rationale of using this device on that airline armrest or taxi door handle.

travel essentials packing cubes

30. Away Insider Packing Cubes

These four organizers come in seven colors and have mesh tops so you can see what’s inside, as well as a water-resistant nylon base and sides. There’s one for socks, one for underclothes, one for shirts and trousers…and they all fit, puzzle like, into a standard carryon bag.

travel essentials travel pillow

31. Hest Camp Pillow

This small memory-foam pillow is ergonomically shaped and only 2.2 pounds, and has a dirt and water-resistant cover that’s machine washable.

travel essentials supergoop

32. Supergoop! Spf 40 Mini Defense Refresh (re)setting Mist

A real game-changer in the sunscreen game, this mist can be applied and reapplied over makeup without rubbing it in. You simply spray a light coating on each side and center of your face (with your lips tucked in because you don’t want to eat sunscreen) and you’re good to go.

dana dickey
Dana Dickey

Senior Editor

Dana Dickey is a PureWow Senior Editor, and during more than a decade in digital media, she has scoped out and tested top products and services across the lifestyle space...
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