Whether you are headed out for a local day trip, a weekend getaway, or an international vacation there are probably a few items that you always bring along. This week we are each going to share our five essential travel items, and why they are at the top of our packing list!
1. Chapstick. No matter where I go, you can bet that I have at least one tube with me. The skin on our lips is much more thin and sensitive than other areas of our bodies, so it needs special attention every day. If I plan on being outside often, my go-to selection is the classic formula with SPF 15. In the winter I LOVE a combo of two Hanalei products – the clear lip treatment, and the sugar lip scrub (these products are not nut allergy friendly).
2. Extra hair ties/bobby-pins. While these both have obvious and practical uses, they can also be utilized in more creative ways in a pinch. Hair ties can be used to keep travel bags latched in the event of a broken strap or buckle, they can also keep small containers closed during travel. Bobby-pins have numerous different uses. I’ve personally used them to pick locks, style clothes, close snack bags, as a toothpick, and as a makeshift screwdriver!
3. Hand sanitizer. Being that we are in the midst of a pandemic, this particular item is extra important right now but remember, you can never go wrong with good old soap and water. I keep a small bottle of sanitizer in all of my bags when I’m on the go, and a full size bottle in my drivers side door so that I can clean my hands before and after driving. Working in healthcare, I am hyper-aware of all the germs people carry and that live on inanimate objects….Please. Wash. Your. Hands.
4. A blanket. This is more-so for day trips and weekend trips. I like to be cozy while traveling long distances in the car and I’m usually the co-pilot (thanks for always driving, Ben). A blanket makes it easy to get comfortable for hours in the car. Also, a blanket can be used in emergencies for warmth or cut into strips to create a makeshift tourniquet, for picnicking, or for keeping car seats free of muddy paw prints.
5. A multi-purpose bag. I think everyone should have a bag that they can use to carry their own essentials regardless of where they’re going – to work, school, traveling, hiking, etc. My favorite hiking/travel pack is the Osprey Mira AG 34, I can no longer find this particular model online but you can’t go wrong with an Osprey Bag no matter the model (the Sirrus 36 looks to be a comparable model in size and features ). For an all-around everyday pack, I use the Kuhl Kove 22 – I love the waxed cotton material and cinch closure for easy access!
1. Sunglasses. Sunglasses are obviously popular in the summer, but I see few people wear them in the winter. Personally, my eyes are extremely sensitive to light so I wear them year-round. I often joke about needing to live in a dark cave! So to make sure I am comfortable during daily activities, I carry a pair with me no matter what. I am on the lookout for a good pair and am currently relying on a freebie pair I got from a conference simply because they have very dark lenses. I also have a pair of Avoalre polarized sports glasses that I am super satisfied with after ordering from Amazon. This pair fits my face well and has adjustable nose pieces for the skinny bridge of my nose.
2. A long trip bag. Most people resort to traveling with suitcases, but I enjoy carrying my Kelty 50L Redwing backpack for extended stays. While the weight is on my back and not the ground, the backpack has a chest buckle and a thick waist strap to help support the weight. Also, it has given me greater versatility during trips when I am too early to check into my lodging for instance. Rather than dragging a suitcase through a city and over crumbling infrastructure or cobblestone, the pack is strapped on tight and moves when I do. Also, no matter what size bag I bring independent of the trip, I always find a way of packing it to the brim. My Kelty bag is forgiving in that it has a few external pockets that I use for overflow packing!
3. Hair Serum. This may make me sound high maintenance, but for all of you out there with luscious curls, you understand that it’s basically a necessity. My favorite is the Cantu Curling Cream. I usually use the Cantu Curl Activator, but found the curling cream in travel size. I do prefer the curling cream, however, because it has a lighter consistency and does not weigh down my thin hair as much. That said, I still dilute both products with water before applying. These products help me feel much more confident about my hair even during travel when sitting on a plane for an extended period of time may dry your hair out, or your destination’s water supply has different elements and minerals in it that your hair is not used to. The curl rebellion is real, so I always go prepared.
4. Travel Size Containers. A few years back I found these silicone travel size containers for soap, lotion, etc. I love them! They are squishable which is fantastic for squeezing out the last remnants, plus, they have durable lids on them so the entire container feels sturdy…not like the super thin, flimsy plastic containers. Also, I have never had one of these leak! Since I bought them, they have definitely become more popular and you can find them in Walmart and Target in different shapes and sizes.
5. A Jacket/Sweatshirt. While you may be going from one warm destination to another, consider the night time temperatures and air conditioned environments you will be in. I love the cold, but only when it’s natural cold outside. Chilly air conditioning without the added humidity element, such as on a plane or in an airport terminal, makes me extremely cold and uncomfortable, so I like to always have something to cover up with. I try not to travel with my heavy winter coat, but like to bring some type of pull-over that I can bundle up in.
Some of these must-haves are personal preferences while some can be considered essentials no matter the trip. Space is always limited, so learn to pack what you can and leave what you must. Having a couple immediate essentials ready to go makes packing for your trip that much easier. We would love to hear what your essential to-go items are, so leave us a comment below!
- Melanie & Rebecca