Travel Necessities: The 6 Things I Always Pack

I’m not really into doing gear reviews (except to rave about the elusive amazing travel purse), despite the massive amount of solicitations that end up in my inbox. I mean, how much interesting stuff can I really say about a pair of shoes or a computer case?

Even so, I do get a lot of questions about what gear I carry with me on my travels. I’m not the kind of expert who reads dozens of backpack reviews or constantly upgrades my gear. I buy stuff, and if I like it, I stick with it, sometimes for many years.

Because space is always at a premium when you are moving around, I have to be very careful about what I select to tote around the world. Today I thought I would share some of my favorite travel necessities that always make it into my bag, no matter where I am headed.

Packing Cubes

Packing Cubes are a Travel Necessities
Two styles of packing, side by side

There are two kinds of people in this world. People who organize their backpacks with cubes or compression sacks (me) or people who just shove everything in and hope for the best (my husband). He can be all wrinkly if he wants, but I’ve been organizing my clothes in my backpack for years and its become one of my travel necessities.

I’ve been using the same old set for years, but recently I’ve replaced them with these Pack-It Specter Cubes from Eagle Creek. They are lighter and pack up even smaller. I usually organize my clothes by type (dresses, t-shirts, socks etc) and it makes unpacking even easier: just put cubes in drawers.


Can’t live without them. Don’t care what brand although I’ve been really into Yoga pants from Old Navy (yeah what can I say? I’m cheap). I made the mistake of packing none for my RTW trip and ended up almost immediately stealing a pair from Michael. They are travel necessities for lazy, rainy or chilly days when you just want to feel cozy and at home, wherever you are.

Flip Flops

Travel Necessities - Flip Flops

From Old Navy, preferably. What can I say? I used to shell out for expensive Tivas, Havainas etc. but now I save my money and buy the $5 ($2.50 if you can find them on sale) colorful rubber flip flops from the same store where I buy most of my cheap disposable clothes. They are surprisingly sturdy and I don’t feel so bad when I inevitably drunkenly lose one, which has happened… more times than I care to admit.

External Hard Drive

I’ve learned about backing up my files the hard way more than once. My Mac Book Air is perfect except for it’s tiny hard-drive, so I use my Western Digital 1 terabyte external drive to store my photos, music and a whole bunch of movies and tv shows. I’d be lost without it and I think all serious travelers, blogger or not, should have one, seriously make this one of your travel necessities.


No surprise here! My Kindle Paperwhite is my most prized possession, it’s the number one thing I would save in a fire (besides Mike I guess). When you read as much as I do, an e-reader is an essential travel accessory for a steady stream of new material.

You can read more about WHAT I read on my Kindle here.

Collapsible Shopping Bag

I bought this as an after-thought at a big department store sale and it has become one of the most useful things I own and one of my travel necessities. It’s a thin fabric shopping bag that squishes up into a container the size of my palm. Perfect to carry in my purse and whip out to hold groceries, market finds, an impromptu picnic and more.

As the way I travel continues to evolve, the things I carry change too. In the next year, I’m looking to update my travel gear to become more streamlined and light. I may even switch to carry on only, a big change for me! Eagle Creek as sent me a carry-on size backpack to try out (it has wheels!), so I will be sure to let you know how that goes for me. As long as I can fit my sweatpants, I should be good to go.

What travel necessities do you always carry?



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14 thoughts on “Travel Necessities: The 6 Things I Always Pack”

  1. I always pack: A big scarf, fuzzy socks, cheap slippers, foam earplugs, three or four tanks tops to throw on underneath shirts when I get cold- which is often- lounge pants and a sports bra.

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