Packing Essentials for Travel

by Carrinicole

Key Travel Packing Tips

My secret? Pack light!

No matter the duration of my trip — one week to one month — I only carry a backpack and small rolling bag. I believe you should only pack what you can carry. If you cannot easily maneuver your own luggage you’re missing out on many angles of tourism. You cannot easily travel by train; and if you travel by metro, you cannot transport your bags from the station to your hotel easily. Many metros don’t have escalators — from Japan to New York — so you need to be able to carry your bags up and down flights of stairs. Many towns in Europe are cobblestone as well which can be challenging with heavy bags. 

I also tend to carry my bags on for my international flight. I’ve had many situations where my bag doesn’t make it to my final destination, and I don’t want the stress of coordinating that at the beginning of my trip. On the way back home I check my bag. 


Suitcase: Away

  • I love Away’s suitcases. They are lightweight, sturdy, and have an efficient packing system. 

Backpack: LeSportsac

  • I’m obsessed with my LeSportsac for travel. The loose structure of their bags allow your daily bag to feel like a Mary Poppins bag. Everything can fit!

  • The brand is also internationally known and stylish, so you fit in and aren’t marked as a tourist as easily. 

Fanny Pack/Purse: Herschel

  • A stylish fanny pack is key for travel for me.

  • It serves many purposes:

    • I keep essential items in it during my flight (Purell, lotion, Kindle, chapstick, gum) so I don’t have to dig through my bag.

    • I can clip it on the outside of my backpack or put valuables in it inside the backpack.

    • I use it as a purse when I go out for dinner / drinks.


Headphones: Bose Quiet Comfort

  • The Quiet Comfort is my favorite tech accessory for travel. The battery life is long and the over the ear style is comfortable for long-haul transatlantic flights. Its noise cancelling drowns out airplane noise and crying babies, and the sound quality is phenomenal. It comes with a wire to plug into airline entertainment systems as well. 

Ebook: Kindle

  • Reading is an important activity when I travel, and the ease of bringing an ebook saves me so much space.

  • I love how the new Kindles are waterproof as well, since I spend a lot of time reading in a pool or by the ocean. 

Converter: BESTEK

  •  BESTEK makes an amazing converter:  you can not only plug in multiple items, but you can directly plug in via USB drive as well. Overnight you can charge your GoPro, cell phones, headphones, Kindle, laptop, iPad all at once! 

  • It also converts the wattage, so if you bring any American hair tools, it won’t melt your hair.

Tripod: UBeeSize

  • Having a tripod that doubles as a selfie stick is key for taking epic photos.

  • Pro Tip:  Not all locations allow tripods, so search for approved items ahead of time before you bring your tripod into Versailles for example. 

External Battery: Miady

    • Whether you’re listening to music on your international flight, or using your phone seeing the sights, you never want to run out of battery! These external batteries are compact and will help you hold a charge.

GoPro: Hero7

  • GoPros are easy and fun to bring on trips with you — especially if you’re going to a beach. The new Hero7 is waterproof! 

GoPro pole: CamKix Waterproof Pole

  • So you can have those epic selfies! Can be used above or under water.


Being prepared for rain has allowed us to have the most special moments on our trips. Many tourists are not prepared, and we end up having places like Pompeii, the Arc de Triumph, and streets of Rome all to ourselves. Don’t prevent an unforgettable experience because you didn’t pack an umbrella or rain jacket! 

Umbrella: TUMI Compact Umbrella

  • TUMI’s umbrella is compact and can easily fit in any bag. It is sturdy for those windy days, and can automatically open and close, making it convenient for going in and out buildings. 

Rain Jacket: Fjallraven

  • I love Fjallraven’s rain jackets. The hood can easily stay on with my hair, and the design/material keeps my outfit stylish when I wear it. 

Sunglasses: Rayban Wayfarers

  • Wayfarers never go out of style, so I like to wear them on my trips so photos will never look dated. They’re also sturdy and cheap, so I won’t be upset if I break or lose them.

Hat: Lululemon Baller Hat

  • You never know how sunny or hot it can be. Lululemon’s hats are lightweight, stylish, and easy to shove into a backpack. 

Scarf: Pashmina

  • Scarves have a double purpose for me: I use them for lumbar support on flights, or they can serve as a blanket if the flight is extra cold.

  • When I reach my destination, I also have a fashionable scarf to wear. 

Travel chess: Magnetic Pocket Chess

  • If you play, this is an easy way to bring a game with you wherever you go. I don’t use my phone on vacations, so playing chess can help pass the time while you’re waiting around!

Deck of Cards: Bicycle Standard Playing Cards

  • Similar to chess, having a deck of cards is key so you can play a game or two at any time…. Maybe even a game of solitaire at the beach. 

Tour Book: DK Eyewitness

  • DK Eyewitness has my favorite tour books. I like the combination of data and pictures so I can get a visual feel of the sights to help me prioritize what to see.

  • I also enjoy their breakdowns of museums, ensuring I see all the important works of art. 

  • Note that I do not rely on these books to come up with my itinerary, its merely serves as the base.


Many places will have these items in their pharmacies, but I think its best to still be prepared from day one so any minor road bumps don’t impact your plans. 

Sunscreen (face): La Roche-Posay Mineral Ultra-Light

  • I love this mineral sunscreen! It provides lightweight coverage, and the tint ensures that my face doesn’t look washed out. 

Sunscreen (body): La Roche-Posay Broad Spectrum Spray

  • I like a spray for my body because its easy to apply, and lightweight so my skin isn’t greasy throughout the day.

Earplugs: Mack’s Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs

  • You never know what ambient noise you’ll face when you travel, so I’m always prepared with earplugs. 

Hand Sanitizer: Purell

  • A must for every bag you have. 

Wet Wipes: Cottonelle

  • You never know when you need to clean / sanitize something, or even if a bathroom doesn’t have toilet paper. 

Tissues: Kleenex

  • You never know if you need one. Best to keep a travel pack on you. 

Tweezer: Tweezerman

  • I’ve gotten splinters on trips, and am thankful always have tweezers around. (They keep my eyebrows in check too!)

Eyedrops: Clear Eyes

  • Allergic reactions, or overall irritation can impact your day if you don’t have them. 

Pain Reliever: Aleve

  • I bring Aleve for headaches, because chances are, I’ll be drinking on trips and therefore should not be taking Advil. 

Sleep Aid: Tylenol PM

  • If I have any challenges with jet lag, these can help me get to sleep. 

Nail Clippers: FixBody

  • Nothing is worse than getting a hang nail on a trip, or breaking a nail. 

Razor: Gilette Mach3

  • Not always necessary depending on the trip, but I usually pack one just in case. I also use men’s razors because they’re cheaper and more effective.

Band-Aids: Band-aid Travel Pack

  • Cutting yourself or getting a blister can really impact your plans. Be prepared! I get a travel multipack. 

Ear Drops: Swimmers Hylands

  • I’ve gotten water stuck in my ear on beach vacations, and it can be very unpleasant if you aren’t prepared.

These are all personal choices, but here are my favorite toiletries: 


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