So, there’s this song that begins “My bags are packed, I’m ready to go.” What about you? When you travel, are you truly prepared and ready to go? When I travel, I have to spend a good deal of time making sure I have everything I need, particularly accessories that are going to make my experience easier.
Here is a list I have compiled, from experience, of the travel accessories you are likely to need.
The two travel accessories I consider most essential are those that will get me around.
1. Passport holder
Do yourself a favor when you travel and get a good passport holder, or travel document organizer. You’ll be able to keep your passport and vaccination card together, with any other documents you need. And you are less likely to lose them if they are in a solid, efficient holder.
2. Money belt
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My other essential is a money belt. You never know who is watching you when you travel and may want to help themselves to your money. Get a slim fit option that you can wear under your clothing, where it really will be invisible.
The types of bags you choose to take with you when you travel will depend on the purpose of your trip and the type of destination.
1. Check-in bag
Your check-in bag needs to take most of your clothing and other travel items. This doesn’t mean it has to be unwieldy, though. Choose a bag that is big enough and on wheels. Trust me, you don’t want to have to carry around a big, heavy bag. Unless it’s a backpack, of course.
There are a lot of options for travel bags, so choose carefully and make sure they suit your style. I recommend going for a hard shell expandable bag at least.
2. Internal frame hiking backpack
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If you’re going on a backpack holiday, or at least where you’ll need to carry your things around a lot, then definitely choose a backpack as your check-in luggage. A well-designed backpack has plenty of room for just about all you’ll need. I recommend getting a backpack with a built-in frame.
It’ll give you support when you carry your load around. These backpacks also have quite a few different pockets, which is a great help with organizing your things. My choice is a backpack with a detachable daypack, which is a great bonus.
3. Day pack
It doesn’t matter where you are going and why, a traveller needs a bag that they can take out and about while leaving the big bag at home. This is the beauty of a daypack. Of course, a daypack is really designed to be used on a hike, but I find it very useful for any aspect of daytime visits while I am travelling. Unless it’s for business.
4. Chest sling backpack
A chest sling backpack is essential if you are carrying a big backpack on your travels. You can carry this sling bag easily on your front. This keeps it away from the bulk of the backpack and puts less strain on your shoulders. I particularly like a crossbody bag, because it means I can get at important things like money or my passport without having to put everything down and go fishing through a lot of pockets and bags.
5. Computer travel bag
If you are travelling for business, or need to take a laptop for any reason, a computer travel bag is important. A laptop shoulder bag is more formal than a backpack and just about as easy to carry around.
I do recommend that, if you are going to be doing a lot of walking with a laptop, that you rather go for a computer backpack.
6. Duffel bag
A useful alternative to a daypack or cross chest sling bag is a duffel bag. I find mine to be quite versatile. I can fill it full and use it as my main bag when I travel, or I can pack it a little less tightly and use it as a carry-on.
A drawback of duffel bags is that they have to be carried, but the shoulder strap does make this fairly easy. Provided you don’t put everything in your duffel bag, it makes quite a good general travel bag. The side pockets are useful to organize your goodies.
7. Carry-on bag
From my descriptions so far, you’ll see that there are a lot of options for carry-on bags. Let’s consider the ‘classic’ cabin bag. This is a hard or soft shell bag that has wheels and has the correct dimensions for the overhead bins in an airplane. It is basically perfect for just about any travel scenario.
I’ve found myself using my pull-along carry-on bag as my main bag for some travelling, too. These bags are amazingly spacious and can take you a long way.
8. Garment (suit) bag
There are those trips you take that need you to have a suit or other formal dress. This is when a garment bag is necessary. There is a whole range of these bags available. The design I find most useful is that which folds in half. This makes it less unwieldy than carrying a hanging bag around. Essentially, the garment bag becomes another suitcase.
9. Shoe bag
Shoes are always a bit of an anomaly when it comes to packing. I am a little wary, sometimes, about that the soles may be dirty. This is even more important if you get caught in the rain or mud and need to travel on. This is why a few shoe bags are a great accessory to take when you travel.
10. Laundry bag
I think that it’s essential to take at least one laundry bag with you when you travel. You can get some great combinations of different sized bags, which fold up small and can be packed easily. With these, you can put your dirty clothes in your suitcase until you get a chance to wash them. And they won’t soil your other clothing.
1. Toiletry bag
When it comes to packing your toiletries, a compact, waterproof toiletry bag is essential. I suggest getting one that has at least two compartments, or at least some kind of pockets you can slip your bottles and the like into.
2. Travel pack of toiletries
The best advice I can give you about toiletries is to keep them small. The best solution for this is to take a travel pack of toiletries. Everything you need is included and it is easy to pack.
3. Toothbrush with cover
One of the smallest travel accessories you should take with you is one of the most essential: a toothbrush. Buy a travel set and you’ll have everything you need. Most travel toothbrushes can fold, which makes them easier to fit into a toiletry bag.
4. Travel shaver
Travel shavers come in different sizes and shapes. I suggest looking for a rechargeable shaver with additions that make the whole process of maintaining your hair growth while you travel easier.
1. Hanging luggage scale
One of your best investments for international travel is a hanging luggage scale. It lets you check the weight of your bags quickly and easily, which will save time and money in the long run.
2. Cable ties
I’ve arrived at the airport only to find I’ve either forgotten to lock my luggage, or have lost the locks. On one such occasion, I was introduced to the value of the cable tie. They are easy to use, strong and not easily undone.
You can simply thread a cable tie into the zippers of your bag and lock them up, which is better for security and peace of mind. I’ve also used a cable tie to stand in for a button (luckily, I could just cut it off at the end of the evening) and as a substitute keyring.
3. Travel pillow
Arriving at any destination with a stiff neck is the bane of any traveller’s life. You won’t enjoy the first day or so of your trip, or you won’t be able to concentrate on business meetings. One of the best ways to avoid this is to make sure you travel with a travel neck pillow. They are great on airplanes, but also on buses and trains.
4. Ziplock bags
Do yourself a favor and go out and buy a range of ziplock bags. They are a traveller’s lifesaver. Use small ones to organize your medication, or toiletries. The larger ones can hold cables and batteries in your cabin luggage.
You can use big Ziploc bags to pack your socks or underwear. And they are also really great for keeping your dirty laundry away from your other clothing before you get a chance to wash it.
I also really find Ziploc bags useful for keeping snacks in my daily bag fresh and together.
5. Multi tool
You never know when you might need a tool when you’re travelling. From cutting cable ties on your luggage, to fixing a door handle on your hostel room door, you could need to have a tool on hand. You don’t need many fancy gadgets, but a good multi tool is a great accessory to have along.
Just make sure you pack it in your check-in luggage.
If you intend to go roughing it, or are going camping, then a good flashlight is a must-have. Wherever you travel, though, I suggest packing a small flashlight at least. You’ll find it very useful to shine the way if you are out walking and it gets dark before you’ve found your way home.
Looking for car keys, or a door lock, in the dark can be frustrating. This is where I find it useful to have a torch on me all the time.
If you are unlucky enough to experience a power outage, then you will thank me for this advice!
How can you ever travel without some kind of ‘in-flight’ entertainment meant just for you?
1. Headphones, earphones or earbuds
Traveling is never the same without being able to listen to your choice of music, podcast or audio book. Make sure you have at least a set of earphones or earbuds, that are lightweight and give you easy access to your sound. You can also opt to take a good set of headphones with you, especially if you are going to spend a lot of time on planes, busses and trains.
2. Power bank
When I travel, one of the first things I grab is my power bank. When I travel for business, I can’t afford my phone to lose power. When I travel for pleasure, I don’t want it to run flat. A good power bank is the answer. There are plenty of options, so I suggest looking for one that has a large battery capacity and is quite lightweight.
3. Multi charging cable
Travel should be efficient and contained, so take a multi-charging cable if you can, rather than a whole lot of cables. It is less to pack, but lets you charge just about all you need to.
4. Flexible phone tripod
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I prefer to take photos with my phone that aren’t selfies. I have a great little flexible tripod stand for my phone. The legs can be folded around a bench, or something like that, to keep the phone steady while I run into the shot. It also doubles as a selfie stick if I need it to.
If you are serious about your travel photos, then take a camera, rather than just your phone. I suggest a lightweight digital camera, which will give you great photos, but won’t be a burden to carry.
For more adventurous holidays, you can always take a digital action camera.
6. International adapter
The problem with international travel is that not all socket plugs are the same. I also find that I inevitably need more USB charging ports than I usually have. There are some great multi international adapters that will let you charge all your devices.
Advising someone to take a hat with them when they travel can seem like a bit of overkill, but how many times have you forgotten your head? The easiest thing to do is to grab a baseball cap and slot it into your bag.
If you are sensitive to the sun, or going to be out and about in dangerous heat, then a full brim hat is even better.
2. Rain gear
Unless you are going to an area that never sees rain, I suggest taking a rain jacket or rain poncho with you when you travel.
There are some really great lightweight options that protect you and can even accommodate a backpack. This means all your possessions will be kept dry.