We do quite a bit of traveling, so I think I've got my packing routine to a T. In fact, I usually leave my carry-on suitcase filled with my travel essentials so I don't have to keep repacking it. I thought I'd share it on here for those of you who are planning a summer getaway.
I do want to point out that I err on the side of practicality when traveling, so while my picks might not be the cutest or most stylish options, they are functional. As much as. I wish I could be that girl with the chic StreamLine Luggage suitcase with a monogrammed Goyard tote sitting pretty on top, I'm not.
Below I'm sharing my general travel essentials, with a few extra things that I pack for summer travels. I also wrote this post about our best travel tips a while back, if you're interested.
It's important to keep in mind your destination. If we're traveling within the US, then I usually don't pack every little thing that I think I need. It's a different story when I'm going to a foreign country, however. One of my best tips is to keep a running list on the notes app of the things that you pack, and keep updating it after every trip so you have a comprehensive list of things that you need.
First things first, let's not forget the "essential" essentials that you really do need to pack:
- Passport or ID
- Credit and debit card(s)
- Glasses or contacts
After you have all your outfits picked out, here are some additional packing tips:
1. Pack an extra outfit, whether it's a t-shirt and leggings or a dress, it's good to have a backup outfit.
2. Extra underwear is not a bad idea.
3. Make sure your bra and undies work with all your outfits (i.e. if you have a strapless dress, make sure you packed an appropriate bra; pack appropriate underwear if you're wearing something sheer or white).
4. Don't forget your PJs.
5. If you'll be wearing sneakers, pack extra socks.
6. Remember to pack an outfit for the day you're flying out. I tend to not include this day when I'm packing and have had to rewear clothes, which is not fun. This is also where that extra outfit might come in useful.
7. Is it that time of month? Or will it be while you're away? Make sure you bring along whatever products you'll need.
This is the updated version of our suitcases. We prefer the soft suitcases because they are easier to stuff. Also, be sure to pick a suitcase that has multidirectional wheels because they are a game-changer! We've acquired tons of suitcases from different brands, but my favorite ones are these extremely durable Samsonite ones.
I swear by my MZ Wallace tote. It's the closest you can get to Mary Poppin's bag (you'll be amazed with how much fits inside). This bag is incredibly lightweight, which makes it ideal for traveling. It's coated, so your belongings are safe and dry if it rains or snows. Plus,it comes with smaller pouches so you can keep your stuff organized. I love this bag so much that I own multiples that I use for the gym, traveling, running errands, literally everything.
I admit, I haven't been bringing along my favorite duffle along on trips because we've only been going on really short, 2-day trips lately. However, I have needed to run out and pick up random nylon zipper bags for all the extra stuff that I pick up on said trips, so now I have a small collection of nylon bags. So, the moral of the story is: bring along an extra bag because you never know if you'll go overboard on a shopping trip. This duffle holds a generous amount -- I used to use it for short weekends away.
When I was in Hong Kong last week, I went to drop off some things at my grandma's. I had about fifteen bags in tow, so she gave me these braided straps with a clip that helped keep everything in place. They're amazing -- I wish I'd found something similar sooner. I can't find my exact ones online, but these straps seem to do the same thing.
Samuel and I never travel without our HydroFlasks. Not only is that the more environmentally-friendly option, I've had one too many instances when I was unable to find someplace to buy bottled water, so I made the switch once and for all. You're also saving a lot of money in the long run by bringing your own bottle to fill up and your own snacks. Personally, I don't think HydroFlasks are the best bottles because while advertised as heavy-duty, they scratch and dent incredibly easily. But since we only use them when we're traveling, they do the trick. I will, however, attest to the fact that they insulate really well -- my tea was still quite hot after 48 hours.
It's easy to forget that outlets vary from country to country, so be sure to pack a travel adapter so you can keep your electronics charged! I used to carry around a 4-in-1 adapter (it came apart so I could use the appropriate adapter), but then I found this global adapter that is so much better. While my old adapter only worked in dozens of countries, this one will work all around the world. I love that it's retractable and that there are 4 USB slots so you can charge multiple devices.
My banged-up mophie is proof that I haven't gone on a single trip without it since I bought it back in 2016. I could go on and on about why everyone should carry around a power bank, whether it's a humongous version like mine or a compact one. It all depends on your phone use. I also wanted to share this external battery that can charge up laptops and other devices, along with your phone. I personally don't own this (or need it at the moment), but it seems like a wonderful thing to have if you work on your computer often. We all know outlets in airports are usually few and far between, so I prefer to have my own back-up.
The unfortunate truth is that charging cables aren't very durable and they give out on you at the worst times. I broke three (yupp, you read that right: three) on our trip to the Philippines, and I had to spend the next morning running around town trying to find replacement cables. The good news is that these are easy to find if you're in a pickle, but since they don't take up any room, why not pack one or two extra? I have these really chic ones waiting for me at home, but also picked up several of these dirt-cheap ones, too.
If there's one thing that I cannot stop raving about, it's my noise-cancelling headphones (they even come in rose gold now!). Ever since I got them, I have never been able to travel without them. I own this pair, which work perfectly fine, but am eyeing these for when it's time for an upgrade. They make flying so much more pleasant because they block out so much noise.
I also like to throw in my normal headphones, or if you're fancy, your AirPods, for when you're out and about and want to listen to some music. I would not recommend going out in the streets with noise-cancelling headphones because that is not safe; you need to be aware of your surroundings, especially when you are traveling. Regular headphones are also great for late-night Netflix binging so you don't wake up your roommate without wearing bulky headphones. Think about it: do you really want to wear over-the-ear headphones when you're tanning by the pool?
While this isn't a necessity, I like that it protects my already heavily-handled passport from additional bends and scratches. Also, it's cute! I like the ones that have an inside pocket so I can keep my boarding pass(es) and other slips and forms all together.
I keep my bulky everyday wallet in my carry on tote, but when I go out, I transfer some cards and cash into a smaller wallet that fits in my purse better. My purses aren't usually very big, so I have to make the most of the available space.
Speaking of footwear, I wouldn't go out and buy a fancy pair of slippers for the plane -- the complimentary pair from your hotel room is just fine (like these). Or if you forget, you can ask your flight attendant nicely if they have an extra pair from first class. On flights longer than 6 hours, I like to kick off my shoes and slip on something comfier, and I refuse to walk around the plane in just socks, so this has worked out perfectly. The best part is, you can just toss them out at the end of the flight.
I usually like to pack some fruit, something salty and crunchy, some chocolate, veggie gummies, and if it's a longer flight, something that's more sufficient, like a pasta dish. Being stuck in the air with no food really freaks me out, so I tend to overpack food and snacks, but that's ok because it's a great way to make friends (a lot of people get peckish mid-air!).
I like to keep a little bottle of Purell in my tote bag and also one in my handbag because you never know when you'll need it! I also always Purell before I eat on the plane because airplane germs (yuck!). If you're traveling to Asia, it might be a good idea to keep a bottle handy because soap and running water isn't always available.
Yes, I realize I am a freak and probably the only person on the face of this planet who travels with disinfecting wipes, but in my defense, there are lots of germs out there and I'd rather be safe (and clean) than sorry! I don't go around the airplane wiping down tray tables, armrests, and such -- I just like to keep them in my bag in case my electronics get a little too dirty for my liking.
I'm not someone who can throw all my dirty laundry back in my suitcase, and since I rarely do laundry on a trip (unless it's a long one), I bring along a laundry bag or sometimes even giant garbage bags to bring home all our worn items. Hotels usually have plastic or fabric laundry bags, but I find them to be too small. I use those for my shoes. Does anyone else feel like your clothes double in size and weight on the way back? I totally do whenever I'm putting away our laundry.
A new phone costs hundreds of dollars; a waterproof phone pouch costs less than $10. If you're planning on bringing your phone in the water (or even close proximity to water), I'd highly recommend getting a waterproof pouch. You can still use your phone like normal, but it keeps your phone safe from water damage.
I'm not a fan of wearing sunscreen, and I hate to admit it, but I don't use it unless I have to. I like this one because it's for face and body, it's invisible, and best of all, it's waterproof, so I won't sweat it off.
This may come off as random, but baby powder helps get sand off your body. So if you'll be at the beach at all this summer, you're bound to get sand stuck on you. Rather than scrubbing endlessly when rinsing off, try dusting off with some baby powder -- it'll make cleaning up so much easier. Baby powder will also come in handy to help with chafing and to keep shoes fresher.
My love for straw hats may be new, but I popping on a baseball cap if I'm going to be outside for long isn't. I actually prefer a large straw hat over a baseball cap now because it provides more shade, even giving my shoulders a little extra coverage.
I used to always back a little drawstring backpack on vacation because you never know if you'll spend a day at an amusement park or go on a hike. If you decide to go on a little excursion, you'll be glad that you have this lightweight, packable backpack. I know we would've loved to have had this while we ventured to a waterfall when we were in Dumaguete.
Those are all my travel essentials -- I hope you found this post helpful! Did I miss anything that you can't travel without? Let me know!