The Ultimate List of Essential Travel Items

Updated on November 19, 2019
Matilda Woods profile image

Matilda Woods is a part-time digital nomad who is nearly constantly on the move and has become a packing guru.

I obsess about packing so you don't have to! Here are the seven travel items I can't live without.
I obsess about packing so you don't have to! Here are the seven travel items I can't live without.

Pack These to Pack Lighter

I am the sort of person who "practice packs". Not only do I practice before I actually pack up, I usually start about a month in advance. I admit that I may be overdoing it, but it does mean that I have become an excellent packer. You can read my favorite packing tips here, but this article is all about my very favorite things and the most important things in my bag right now. Check it out!

1. Combination Power Bank and Handwarmer

I'll start with one of my favorite new finds: a COMBINATION power bank AND hand warmer. How cool is that?! I always find that one of my biggest challenges when packing light is finding ways to keep warm, so why not add one to something we all know is an essential? Hence, a hand warmer/power bank!

2. Kindle!

This has got to be one of the most important things I travel with, next to my phone and laptop. I LOVE books, but they are near impossible to travel with. Enter, the Kindle. What more could you want then hundreds of books in your pocket? Honestly, if you don't have one yet, you're missing out!

3. My Favorite Laptop

Speaking of my laptop, I just got a new one and I am enamoured with it. The Microsoft Surface Go has honestly changed the way I travel. With an attached keyboard and stylus, it has actually managed to replace all my notebooks and even sketchbooks! I honestly cannot recommend this laptop highly enough! It is the perfect combination of laptop and tablet and happens to be one of the lightest laptops out there right now!

4. A Compact First Aid Kit

A small first aid kit is a must! I cannot tell you how many times my tiny first aid kit has come in handy. If it's not me, it's someone else. I like to add pain killers, antihistamines, and antacids, but, of course, you should amend yours to fit your particular needs.

5. A Compact Sewing Kit

A small sewing kit will keep you from having to buy new when you can simply fix something. This has been invaluable to me and, like the first aid kit, to many, many people around me. I like to add liquid thread and lots and lots of safety pins to mine.

6. Dry Bags

Packing cubes are great for organization, but they end up taking up a lot more space than they save. Personally, I prefer dry bags; they are super compact and they keep your stuff dry. I started using them because I had some lying around, but I have come to greatly prefer them.

7. Shampoo Bars

I am a huge fan of Ethique's shampoo bars, but my favorite thing about the company is that they sell conditioner bars, body wash bars, and even lotion bars. Not only will it help you reduce the amount of plastic you use, but they will save space in your luggage!! You can seek out cases to help them last, but I prefer beeswax wraps.

I use beeswax wraps for everything. I use them to wrap my shampoo bars when I'm on the move, but can also use them for just about anything I would use a plastic bag for! Save plastic and save space!

Well, there you have it. These are some of my absolute favorite products to travel with. They have all made my life so much easier, and almost all of them have allowed me to combine two things into one, eliminating a few items altogether.

To me, that is the key to packing light: pack carefully. Luckily, I am a wee bit obsessed, so you don't have to be. I hope this article was helpful!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Matilda Woods

What are the travel items you won't leave home without?

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    • Matilda Woods profile imageAUTHOR

      Matilda Woods 

      7 months ago from Toronto

      Hey, The Quirky Tourist! I love them, but I do think you have to keep in mind that they are gonna be a bit different than what you're used to... The shampoo, I love and find no difference. I often use the bars from Lush as well. Conditioner... Most of the suck, but I love the one for dry hair from Ethique, I have to remember to only use it only ends though because I use a lot and it can leave a residue :D I hope that helps, if you have more questions, feel free to get in touch!

    • lizmalay profile image


      7 months ago from USA

      Great article. Actually, for a long flight haul, I brought a power bank and a kindle or a book too. Thanks for sharing your travel essential items.

    • The Quirky Tourist profile image

      The Quirky Tourist 

      7 months ago from UK

      i am interested in the shampoo bars as I have never tried them. I am always a bit wary of 'soap' bars as I tend to find they make my skin dry. In your experience, would that be the case with this brand?

    • Matilda Woods profile imageAUTHOR

      Matilda Woods 

      7 months ago from Toronto

      Thanks Liz! I think I might be a bit obsessed!

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      7 months ago from UK

      You have given a useful and interesting list of items for travelling. If I were to start packing a month in advance I would add more and more items as time went on and go over the weight limit. I admire your discipline.


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