My 9 Travel Absolute Must-Haves!

By Lynna - February 05, 2018

Despite being a pretty flexible and minimalist  traveler, there are definitely some things that I will refuse to travel without.  I always pack pretty light (post coming soon about how to pack light) but these particular items are must-haves.

1. Sturdy All-Weather Hiking Boots

I literally wear my Bogs boots for every single trip that involves hiking, trekking or adventuring because they're soooo comfortable, warm, sturdy, well-tractioned, high quality, and to top it off they're super trendy and I get compliments on how cute they are on the daily! Definitely worth the investment because I've worn them through rain, wind, snow, desert dust name it. The pair I currently bring with me everywhere is this pair:
Bogs Women's Cami Lace Tall Melange Chocolate Multi Boot 6 B (M) 

2. Good Quality Down Coat and/or Wool Coat (if you're traveling in the winter season)

In love with this down coat!
Depending on what kind of weather you're going to be facing (dry or wet), I highly recommend investing in either a high-quality waterproof down coat for wet weather, or a thick wool coat for dry weather.  I have one of each and I love them both so much (one or the other goes on every single trip with me) that I haven't felt the need for any other heavy-duty coats.  I currently have these two:
MICHAEL Michael Kors Womens Snap Front 4 Zip Pocket Down 
Laundry by Shelli Segal Womens Corset Back Wool-Blend Coat, M, Black 

The best wool coat ever!

3. Comfortable Sound-Blocking Headphones

You know when you're on a plane and there are ten screaming crying babies around you and twenty frantic parents trying to calm them down and all you want to do is catch some sleep on your six hour red-eye flight?'re gonna thank me for suggesting these. I just turn on some low volume Zen meditation music and happily doze off, completely blocking out the noise of the outside world. Just make sure they feel super comfortable on your ears because you're going to be wearing them for hours at a time. Currently I'm obsessed with my Audio-Technica ATH-S500 in black: 

4. Mini Flexible Tripod

I often get asked who takes my photos for me when I'm on one of my solo trips.  The answer is: me!  I learned how to master this mini tripod within an hour of using it. Super easy and almost fun with all the cool positions you can put it in.  I just use the self timer function on my phone to make some magic with this tripod.

5. Firm Comfortable Neck Pillow

This is pretty necessary if you're planning to sleep on your flight, and super necessary if it's a long flight.  My life is neck-pain hell when I sleep on a flight without a good neck pillow.  Choose one that's firm but still comfortable and soft. I definitely prefer the memory foam ones over the micro-bead ones. 

6. 10,000 mAh Powerbank

Whether I'm out and about all day in the city or trekking through the wilderness, making sure my necessary tech gadgets are always charged and ready to go is an absolute must for me.  Don't let yourself get stranded. me. I learned the hard way :') Get a heavy duty powerbank that can hold a lot of juice; Anker is my favorite brand! This is what I'm loving right now: Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger

7. Lightweight Durable Backpack

This is a fashion backpack that I love and is surprisingly pretty comfortable/lightweight.
I'm writing this as my back is killing me because I was testing out a new backpack this weekend on my trip as my carry-on (and only piece of luggage) and clearly, it failed. Yikes!  Don't do what I did and assume any old fashion backpack will do. Invest in a lightweight, durable travel backpack that can hold a lot but also support the weight well.  I'm still searching for the perfect one to use as my carry-on/luggage, but I just bought this SwissGear backpack and I'm pretty confident it's going to be the one; I'll let you guys know with an update soon! 

When I'm exploring and walking around during the day and I want a smaller backpack as a daypack, I love my cute wool backpack from House of Tweed that I purchased in Scotland.  It's so cute and durable, and I get compliments on it all the time.  Even though it's small, it can fit a surprising amount of stuff and still feel supportive and light.  

8. Compact Sturdy Rolling Backpack

If I'm going on a longer trip with an airline that allows free carry-on luggage, I like to bring a rolling backpack instead of a traditional backpack that doesn't have wheels.  I can pack up to two weeks of clothes and other necessities without having to worry about carrying it all on my back. 

The reason I prefer a rolling backpack over a regular suitcase as a carry-on is because it's still small and convenient enough that I can say it's a "personal item" if anyone asks ;) I just pull out the straps and carry it like a normal backpack (this actually happened in Puerto Rico and it totally worked!). Also, it's still small enough that it can fit underneath the seat in front of me during a flight.  On top of that, if I'm walking up and down stairs and cobblestone streets (ahem, Venice) the wheels are going to get really cumbersome and annoying so I can just throw it on my back -- something you definitely can't do with a regular suitcase/carry-on! So it's definitely a win-win-win situation!

My rolling backpack that I've been using for years and has survived through practically all my trips has been a lifesaver (pictured above).  It's by the brand Transworld, but I couldn't find the same one that I have online.  I would still highly recommend any of their other rolling backpacks, though. 

9. Packing Cubes

I cringe when I think of life before packing cubes came along.  They have seriously leveled up my packing game.  Needless to say, they are my favorite way to pack!  It's so easy and convenient to have all my stuff separated into different cubes so I can easily access whatever I need.  And of course they make all my clothes extremely compact and tidy so everything slips into my luggage so effortlessly.  Make sure you buy high quality packing cubes, though, because some cheaper or low-quality ones will actually make it harder to pack (also learned from experience).  If you buy a low-quality set, it won't be able to fit as much within one cube and will be less flexible and more rigid.  Get one with flexible, soft material that seems like it has some give and smooth, non-rigid zippers.


That's it for now for my absolute must-haves for traveling!  I hope this post was helpful! Just remember that being properly prepared and well-packed will make your travels so much easier, more fun, and smoother with less hassles!  Happy and safe travels!


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