Jet-setting off to a fabulous new destination? Here’s a list of 26 Must-have Essentials for In-the-Know travelers, from A-Z!

Before packing for your next vacation, start here to see the top 26 items to bring along, listed A-Z! You’ll make folks envious of your travel savviness, and your life will be made easier too! Here are our top picks.

Adapter. An all-in-one adapter is one of the wisest investments for avid travelers. Keep it in your backpack so you’re connected no matter where you go! Be sure to find one that’s easy to use. Check the ratings.

Backpack. Let one of your carry-on bags double as the backpack you’ll tour with daily. No need to pack a tote or additional bag. But if you must, make it a lightweight nylon backpack, the kind that unfolds from a compact pouch to a full-sized backpack.

Cubes/Clothes Pins. I rely on packing cubes when it comes to getting the most space from my suitcase and staying organized. And clothes pins are invaluable after washing garments in the sink and to keep your curtains closed tight and your room dark.

Detergent. Having detergent on hand will make sink-washing your dirty clothes much easier. I like a small bottle of liquid (1 or 2 ounces) but if you need more pack powder; just keep it less than 12 ounces, the size of a soda can.

Energy Bars. Having Protein Bars on hand with 20+ grams of protein fills you up even when you can’t wash your hands first. That and a bottle of water and you’re no longer grouchy for a while.

Flashlights (the micro-mini LED ones). Great to have in your backpack/purse for dark streets, taxis, reading menus, and getting to the restroom at night in a strange place. Pack more than one.

Glasses. Reading glasses, sunglasses, glasses instead of contacts – don’t forget unless you want to buy a pair in destination! Afraid of losing your expensive sunglasses, take along an inexpensive pair you don’t mind losing.

Hand Sanitizer Wipes. Airplane tray tables, seat belts, controls, lavatory flush levers…you name it. They all carry more germs than you can count. Take packets of hand sanitizing wipes and a bottle of gel (less than 3oz).

Insect Repellant. A small pump bottle, no aerosol cans. Super important unless you’re headed to cold climate.

Journal. Purchase one for each trip. Take notes in it daily. You’ll love to not only review your photos but also your thoughts, feelings and ah-ha moments for years to come.

Kit. Having a medical kit filled with first-aid items, painkillers, ointments, vitamins and emergency antibiotics is one of the most basic, and important, travel essentials to keep you prepared for any situation that may arise. My kit is actually a gallon-size Ziploc bag. Not kidding!

Luggage. Don’t be cheap! Pay more for good-quality luggage that is easy to handle (think 4 wheels). I’ve heard stories about luggage falling apart on the first trip. Yikes; don’t let that be you.

Minimalist Wallet. You won’t be using most of the stuff in your wallet; so leave it at home. Take only what you need (debit card for cash and 1 or 2 credit cards). Place a small amount of money in the RFID wallet. The rest put somewhere else on your body or leave it in the locked safe. Placing 2 or 3 rubber bands on a slim wallet will make it less “pickpocket-able”. RFID means no one can scan your cards through the bag/wallet.

Noise-cancelling Headphones. Ahhhh! Stop the sound of the roar of jet engines, that gabby person behind you and frustrated children. Peace and quiet.

Organizer. A hanging travel organizer is my best friend and a great way to keep your toiletries secure and organized. The plastic pockets catch spills and prevent disasters too. 

Passport. Don’t leave home without it! You are privileged after all. Only 40% of Americans eligible to obtain a passport actually do. Too bad for them. 

Q-tips. They offer plenty of uses from putting on and taking off makeup, applying medication and for portable aromatherapy if traveling with oils.

Reusable Bags. Packing a compact, foldable, reusable nylon bag is genius. Use it for grocery shopping, as a beach bag, or even as a laundry bag. In Europe there are no grocery bags to be had unless you bring your own.

Spare Battery Charger. A battery charger can be used to power your electronics when you can’t get to power. Just don’t forget to take along the cord that powers the battery charger. Yep; I did that!

Thermal Compression Socks. On long flights, these babies can help increase blood flow to your legs, thereby reducing the risk of a blood clot. And I’ve noticed that my legs/feet get less tired when wearing them. Double- doozy benefit!

Umbrella-Collapsible. Take along a small expandable, collapsible umbrella to either attach to your backpack or place inside for less than sunny days. A small compact disposable poncho also works well.

Victorious Attitude. Even with the best of planning something is bound to go “not as planned”. Remember that it’s all part of the travel experience. Take it in stride; keep a victorious outlook and smile that you just added another great story to your repertoire. 

Water Bottle. If you don’t want to purchase bottled water on location (what I do), then find a good, sturdy, filtered water bottle and carry it with you always. It’s DIY bottled water.

X-tra Zip Lock Bags. They can be used in so many ways. I take a few quart size, sandwich size and gallon size. They come in handy keeping items in one place, organized, DRY and from soiling your other clothes.  Take transportable snacks with you from the buffet for your lunch. Cheese, fruite & crackers are perfect for that.

Yellow Highlighter. Great for marking important copy in a guide book, brochure, etc. and highlighting areas on a map etc. Along with a pad of post it notes and you can keep your “to-do’s” organized as well.

Zip Pocket Jacket. Having interior and exterior pockets on your jacket sure makes it easier to carry and access your items. Some days you may be able to skip the backpack/purse and utilize your pockets only. Your best bet is one that is waterproof and has zippers. Some fold down small & fit in its own pouch.

Do you have any must-bring items when you travel? We’d love to hear from you! Post a comment below or leave us a note on Facebook

About Denise

My goal is to simplify travel-planning through an equal exchange process where I acquire your ideas and expectations for your trip relieving you of the worry, hassle, stress and time that accompanies Do-It-Yourself planning.

Recent Posts

Give the best gift of all this Holiday season, the gift of travel

Are you wondering what to give yourself or your loved ones this Christmas? How about a gift that you already own; that’s better than any item you could buy?  People are eager to get back out there and demand is surging. This week we describe the benefits and many ways...

Protect your cybersecurity when traveling: Our top tips

Did you know that approximately 1 in 4 international travelers have been victims of hacked devices when using public Wi-Fi? This is a surprising statistic for many, but unfortunately it’s a fact of life in our increasingly connected world. Whether abroad or in the...

Hurricane in the Dominican Republic: Our vacation experience

Like many during the pandemic, we were grounded entirely for longer than we liked. When my husband and I contacted Denise to help us plan a much needed vacation, we said we wanted an All-Inclusive in the Dominican Republic and September worked best for our schedules....