Updated: Aug 26, 2020
Hello fellow travelers! Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the internet to read my very first blog post! This blog has been an idea and aspiration of mine for a long time, and I always dreamed of sharing my travel tips, tricks and experiences. Fear was definitely holding me back from acting on my dreams, but it finally felt like time to put my ideas out there! I have traveled to many different countries solo, with friends, or family, and with groups! Here are 20 items, in no particular order of importance, that have made traveling for me a little easier along way, and maybe you’ll want to pack them on your next trip- near or far away! You will find that most of these items are linked with amazon.ca so they are easy to find if you’d like to purchase. Happy packing!
I love having a separate wallet designated for travel then my every day wallet. I only take the cards that I will need, and if I need to exchange currencies, it won’t get all mixed up! I find it especially helpful if the wallet is big enough to fit my passport- that way I know I won’t misplace it and can keep it safe. Another great feature about this particular wallet that is linked, is that it has RFID protection, which protects your cards from being scanned and stolen. This is definitely reassuring to know that your information is safe from being physically and digitally stolen.
This may be the most coveted item that I take with me when traveling, and is pretty self-explanatory. You may be on a grimy street car in New York City, or you may discover that a lot of the public washrooms in Spain often don’t have soap to wash your hands (I unfortunately learned this from experience), or you may have pet a super cute but very dirty street dog in the Bahamas that you wish you could take home with you…trust me, you would want to have hand sanitizer on hand in any of these situations.
These little packs are filled with just enough liquid detergent to wash clothes on the go! You just fill up a sink with water, squeeze the detergent in, and get to washing! I find these really handy to have on hand since you may not have access to a washing machine. What if you get your only pair of jeans that you packed muddy on a rainy day, or you may want to freshen up the clothes you wore on the plane, or yikes, you run out of clean underwear *TMI*…whatever your situation may be, these can save the day!
Dryer sheets may seem like an odd thing to pack with you on your next trip, but I find them super useful! I pack dryer sheets loose into my suitcase or backpack as I pack, so that my clothes stay fresh even when packed away! If you end up doing laundry and you have access to a dryer then *boom* you also have dryer sheets ready to go!
I love having wet wipes or baby wipes on hand when traveling. You never know when you will need one of these… from freshening up your face after a long flight, to cleaning up your camper van while on a road trip. The uses are literally endless- you’re welcome.
I have travelled with a blanket scarf on my last few trips because they are such a versatile accessory. You can wear it many different ways as a scarf, or a shawl, and then you can also use it as a blanket on a chilly plane ride, or roll it up as a pillow on a long car ride! I usually bring one that goes with all the items of clothing that I bring, so it’s easier to wear. So many possibilities!
You may not know this… but I am really bad with directions… I ALWAYS use the google maps app no matter where I’m going, even in my home town. The name of my brand, The Lucky Navigator, also came from my impeccable luck at finding my travel destinations, despite my horrible sense of direction. As much as I love the motto “I’m not lost, I’m exploring”, I am a huge advocate for google maps because I actually don’t want to be totally lost in a foreign place. You can load up directions to your destinations with wifi, and it will keep your directions going even when you get on your way and disconnect from wifi. Google maps also has great features like saved destinations, and I find this super helpful when planning all the places that I want to go on a trip. You can actually download your map to use offline, and when you are out and about, you can open your saved map and see all your saved spots, like nearby restaurants that you wanted to try, or different sightseeing locations, parks, etc! You can also favourite destinations that you may want to recommend to friends, or to revisit again in the future! You will never be lost again (well, maybe not NEVER)!
These are another item that I can no longer travel without. Packing cubes make packing and organizing clothes and items so much easier- and it compacts things so much more! You don’t have to dig through your bag for one pair of socks anymore, messing up all the items in your bag along the way. I usually have one large cube for sweaters and pants, one medium for shirts and pjs, and a small one for socks and underwear. Everything is nice and organized and I find that I can fit so much more in my bag using them! Packing cubes will literally change your life! YOU’RE WELCOME!
When I’m traveling to and exploring a city, I like to grab a walking map. You can usually pick one of these up from an information centre, airport or newspaper stand for free and they are so nice to have. Sure, you may look like a typical tourist pulling one of these out, but it can be really reassuring to have something physical (when and if technology fails) that has street names and local recommendations on it to refer to. They make great souvenirs and memories to look back to as well if you mark down the places you visited and liked!
I actually find travel books super helpful. They are a bit of an expense, usually retailing for around $30, but SO worth it. They are packed full of insider tips, maps, directions to remote locations off the beaten path, restaurant recommendations and fun facts that you may not find on Google or Pinterest! I especially like the travel books written by Rick Steves, as he beautifully merges historical facts and backgrounds with his recommendations, and it’s like having your own personal tour guide in your pocket! He even tries to include prices for most things, which I find super helpful when traveling cheaply, in choosing where to go and in knowing what the cost will be before you get there.
If you are traveling out of your home country, always be sure to research what your destinations power outlet situation is. They may have different outlets then your electronics have, and different voltages. These can be quite expensive in stores, but I actually found one at my local dollar store, so keep your eyes out! The adaptor that I have linked here only converts the power outlet and does not convert voltage. It can be a confusing concept to understand, but you may need another adaptor for your items. Most phones and chargers these days are able to convert the voltage, but I would be especially mindful with laptops and of course, heated hair styling tools (We’ve all seen the rom com movies where typically American tourists fry their curling irons and blow the fuse in little charming bed and breakfasts- DON’T BE A ROM COM STEREOTYPE).
I swear by makeup remover cloths, traveling or not. I literally have recommended and bought these for all my friends, mom, and sister after using them. Literally all you have to do is wet a spot on the cloth and it wipes all your makeup off! No icky makeup remover, no scrubbing your face forever, and no makeup wipes that you have to throw away after each use. Again, you’re welcome.
I also always like to have a portable phone charger with me, because everyone knows that sinking feeling when your phone runs out of battery and shuts off. You also don’t want to be stuck with a dead phone in the middle of your day as you might literally be lost without google maps, or may not be able to take photos! I like to take photos on my phone, as well as my camera, for easy social media sharing. It’s also important to have in emergencies! You may not have access to the local cell service, but there may be Wifi close by to connect to, to be able to contact anyone that you may need to.
You also never want to be in the situation where you are only half way through the day, and your camera battery dies. OH THE HORROR! I love taking photos on my camera, maybe too many photos but that depends on who you’re asking, and I never want to be in the situation where I can’t capture my amazing travel destinations because of a dead battery. I have this set of back up batteries and they have saved me so many times. I also love the duel charger, so I can always have not one backup battery- but two!
You never want to be stuck at a beach or a hostel without a towel, or have to pay to for one along the way. I always like to have a small microfibre travel towel with me, even if it doesn’t wrap around your whole body, it still gets you dry. The material is also fast drying, so you don’t have to worry when taking it with you on the go, and it getting smelly.
If you are a student, you may be eligible for discounts at museums, galleries and other sightseeing attractions! If you are a student, or are lucky to have had a student card with no dates on it like me and you still look like your student ID picture (hey, I’m not encouraging dishonesty here but I’m traveling cheaply) then definitely have your student card ready to show, or ask about any possible discounts- it never hurts to ask! Our expensive degrees have to be good for something- am I right?
I always pack a pair of cheap flip flops with me when I travel. I travel cheaply and often stay at hostels, and you never know who, and whose feet have been standing in those showers. They’re also nice to have if you are heading down to the beach or to a pool, and you don’t have to mess up your other shoes! If you run out of room for them in your bag at the end of your trip, you can clip them to the side of your bag, or if they were just cheap flip flops, toss em’!
Fold up bags can be really useful if you like to shop while traveling, like me. I always end up going home with more things then I came with, and a fold up bag is perfect to take as a personal bag on the plane and can hold any fragile items or extra purchases! Plus if you don’t end up needing it, it didn’t take up much space to begin with!
Nowadays, I exclusively only travel with a backpack. I find a backpack to be way more practical than a roller suitcase. When traveling from place to place, you may not be able to check into your accommodation right away for example, and then you’re stuck sightseeing with your bag (trying to roll your bag on the cobblestone streets of Europe? Not cute or practical). It’s so much easier if you can just throw it on your back, and be on your way! Nothing is going to slow me down from seeing all that I can! I can also fit a lot of stuff in a 40 litre bag, and pack a very curated selection of things. I have the linked bag and I have no problem packing for a 3 week long trip in it- thank you packing cubes! I always try to pack clothes that can be interchangeable in different outfits, and of course, wear more than once.
Another item that I always bring with me everywhere is a reusable water bottle. Of course, it’s environmentally friendly, but also budget friendly as you don’t have to keep constantly buying water bottles wherever you go. This one I have linked is especially cool because it folds up when empty and you can easily pack it away! It’s super important to stay hydrated when sightseeing and hiking, especially if the weather is hot. I also like to have a water bottle with me on the airplane as they can be super dry- I just fill it up after you go through security! I should also mention, that it’s always best to research your travel destinations beforehand, to see if the tap water is safe to drink. Also keep in mind, it may be safe to drink for locals, but your stomach may not be used to it, and may get upset upon drinking it. In this case, I usually buy larger water bottles or jugs of water, and then fill up my water bottle when I’m heading out for the day! Even though you are still having to purchase single use plastic water bottles, you are still recycling less plastic in the end.
I hope you found these tips helpful, and if you have any items that you can’t travel without, please share in the comments below- I love learning new tricks and tips!
Thanks so much for reading!