I think it’s very safe to say that there is a good baseline for what a traveler needs with them on their trip. You have so many options now when it comes to gadgets and tools that make anything from your flight experience to your packing woes more manageable.

There are always going to be differences when it comes to the essentials you’ll need. It all depends on the type of trip you are taking and for how long.

That’s why I wanted to share with you the essentials we take with us on every trip so that we can sort through those overwhelming feelings of needing to bring every pair of socks you own….just in case, of course.

Let’s start by weeding through the more time-consuming aspects of your hygiene routine.

Do you have lots of hair on that head to wash? Do you absolutely need six face creams to put on in the morning? You do? Okay, no problem!

You don’t have to feel guilty about having a number of items to lug as long as you’re efficient in organizing them. There are a few items I swear by to stay as comfortable as possible while in the airport, in your accommodations (budget or not), and throughout your days of exploring.

Ask yourself these questions and I’ll fill you in on our go-tos so you can decide for yourself what kind of essentials you need!

Are you always looking for more space when it comes to carry-on allowance?

Lush’s shampoo bar, how you’ve saved me time squeezing one bottle of shampoo just to put it in another bottle! I could probably run a completely separate website that deals with managing curly hair while traveling and how much of a pain it can be!

But, that would give my curls too much satisfaction knowing they can get the best of me sometimes. (Yes, they have a mind of their own and yes, they can be spiteful-in case you were wondering.)

Once I got it down to a science, those difficult days for wrangling the frizz when you just want to get out and explore, gone! “Beat the poof!” (Just kidding! You know I love you curls!) But seriously, the Lush shampoo bar was a game changer.

Knowing that my hair needs so much product to keep it tame, it was always a big drag for me to try and guess how many 3 oz. tubes it would take to have just enough to get me through my trip.

But with the shampoo bar and conditioner bar, I only need to worry about my ounces when it comes to styling products (haven’t found my way around that one yet).

This saves me so much space when it comes to carry-on allowances! Instead of two bottles of shampoo and conditioner, plus the styling gel I take with me, I’m down to one bottle with much less hassle.

When it comes to buying the bar, you have a great variety. You can buy a tin for it so it’s that much easier to travel with. The round tin accessory that is recommended for it is a bit too small for easy access, so I went with the square tin when purchasing ours.


You might be thinking it’s all well and good for me, but Brandon loves the bars as well! We started out just sharing one because all you need to do is lather it up in your hands and you’re good to go!

However, he decided that he picked better scents than me and that we needed to go our separate ways, so now he carries his own-yep, tough critic.


Cosmetic Jars are what I use for all for my face products. I don’t take six face creams but I do have super sensitive skin when traveling so I take my full skin care regimen with me wherever I go. Keeping a bunch of these 1 oz. jars allows me to bring everything I need and still have space left over.

If you don’t feel like buying them, next time you got to a department store or any makeup store, be sure to ask for a sample of something and keep the jars for your travels!

Cleansing Facial Wipes are great for days when you are off in a dusty desert or makeup removal if you’re bringing that along. Brandon loves to use these at the end of a long hike-very handy on our way down from hiking Kilimanjaro. I love this brand as well because there’s no added fragrance and there aren’t tons of chemicals.

Wet Ones Hand Wipes. I buy a bunch of packets and put one in each bag that we bring. Whether you need hand wipes before you sit down to lunch, or to wipe off the hot water faucet in the hostel you are sharing with fifteen other people, the important thing is you have them whenever you deem necessary.

Cottonelle Flushable Wipes are also a staple for us. Yes, there are lots of wipes involved on our travels, but when you do all kinds of budget traveling and are on time crunches for flights, you often have long stretches in airports and you never know what could arise! Trust us on this one.

Not having to waste liquid space for any kind of sanitizers or big, bulky rolls of toilet paper are big space savers and really comes in handy with all of the other items you might be needing.

Feeling like you’re able to keep yourself as clean as possible when you don’t have access to showers all the time, is really important for our demeanor and energy levels when we travel. Do you find yourself needing the same?

How do you fare on a plane?

For years with flights that were anywhere from 16 hours or more to short little hops, I just buckled down, and waited it out because I can never sleep on a plane! It’s true!

The few times that I’ve gotten lucky to have a seat (or two) open next to me, am I able to rest. Since that’s a rarity, I don’t know why, when it’s such a common item that so many use, I never got myself a travel eye mask. I have one now. Short and sweet, it’s a must for me.

Noise canceling earbuds go hand and hand with my mask since I can’t sleep. Big headphones are something that I don’t like to carry around and to take up space during my trips since I really only use them for the plane.

The earbuds that cancel noise go a long way for me by saving room in my carry-on and my sanity after a while. Also probably another no-brainer.

I resisted buying them for so long because I lose things like this all the time and they can be expensive. In this case, worth the investment.

Fuzzy socks and a wrap around shawl is as close as I get to resting with a blanket on the couch. They are always with me on the plane. My go-to shawl has arms with the wrap being nice and long so that it not only wraps around my upper body but if I get really cold on the plane, I can put it over my legs-in flight blanket (that you don’t often get anymore)!

Travel pillows work well waiting in the airport as well. If you have had budget travel experiences before, then you might be familiar with the fact that airport lounges are not going to get “five stars for the comfiest bed of my trip” rating. You can get double the use and I always go for the inflatable ones. (I love to save space!)

A travel towel is also always in our carry-on so that whatever time it is that we are landing and taking off, we can go through our cleansing routines to keep us on a more normal schedule. (Can you tell that we’ve more often than not had to treat an airport bathroom like a locker room? Not always glamorous, but gets the job done!)

Are you like Brandon and can sleep fine on a plane-or anywhere-and just needs that towel? Man, so lucky.


What do you need throughout your adventure days?

Yes, camera bag, passport, safe spot for money, purse… you are an adventurer! You know what you walk around with throughout the day.

We are never, ever without one thing, though. Brandon often has an eye roll or two at my expense because he knows, “Do we have water?” is on the tip of my tongue often.

WATER! when you’re going through time changes and different altitudes, drinking loads of water at all times, not just on travel days, is crucial for energy level. Staying hydrated is going to keep you going when you have lots of exciting things to jam-pack into your schedule.

These essentials are items that benefit any kind of traveler but everyone has their own needs and comforts to address when traveling. What kind of traveler are you? Are there other essentials that you find it hard to travel without? Please be sure to share with us! We love hearing from you!


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