I’ve seen a number of lists for Travel Must Haves during my travels. For the most part, those lists aren’t all that practical or even the most useful. So I decided to come up with my own.
These are the things I wouldn’t leave home without if I had a choice. Some trips are different than others and I have fewer needs or maybe there’s less room because I’m traveling lighter.
This is the list I always start with, the ideal packing list for most trips. It also makes a great place to start if you’re looking for gifts for women who love to travel.
Travel Must Haves in 2024
Traveling can be an incredibly fun and exciting experience, but it’s important to be prepared with the right items to make your trip comfortable and stress-free.
⭐ This is my absolute favorite travel accessory of all time!
These are the things not to forget when traveling, the things you need for your basic health, hygiene and safety. They’re travel essentials for men and women alike, and my carry-on essentials for long flights especially.
Oral hygiene is critical for your healthy, appearance and interactions with other people. It’s also a major factor in how well you age. I love this folding toothbrush because it’s compact, lightweight and an excellent quality for the price.
You have truly scored when you find a brand of toothpaste tablets that you like and have one less liquid to worry about during airport screening.
3. Chapstick or lip balm
It seems like a small thing, but this is one of the top essential things to pack for traveling abroad. Air travel tends to dry your lips out, especially if you drink less water than you normally do. Be sure to bring SPF protective lip balm to keep them moisturized.
It’s good to be prepared wherever you go, for blisters and small cuts especially. My first aid kit includes a pair of nail clippers, as I’m always rough on my fingernails when traveling.
Keep yourself protected from sun exposure with a sunscreen stick that is easy to apply and travels well. The best thing about this is that it gets through security check easier than the liquid version.
Depending on where you’re traveling to, you may need a travel adapter to use your electronic devices. I often use my adapters even when I’m within my home country, as it provides more ports than the standard rooms tend to offer by way of outlets.
✅ Pro Tip: Don’t forget to pack your patience, wherever you go!
7. Pain reliever/medication
Bring any prescription medications you need, along with a copy of the prescription, in case you need to refill it while traveling. It’s significantly easier to bring your medication with you than to find a pharmacy and your particular brand when you’re away from home.
8. Comfy Shoes
Bring comfortable shoes for getting through the airport, for walking and exploring when you arrive. These can make or break how you feel not just at the end of the day, but how you feel about the day going forward.
9. Money/credit cards
Bring cash and/or credit cards and make sure to notify your bank or credit card company of your travel plans to avoid any issues. I prefer to have a back-up credit card, just in case one of them gets flagged for abnormal activity.
Keep your travel itinerary, including flight and hotel reservations, in a safe and accessible place. Include tickets and information for any tours or shows you have reservations for.
This is the most important item to bring on any trip, domestic or international. Make sure it’s up to date and valid. Make sure your passport expiration date is at least six months after your return date.
You never know when you’ll be asked to where a mask and you never know when you’ll find yourself in a situation where you want to wear one regardless of the requirements.
These useful travel accessories have made a huge difference in my own travels and are sure to make a huge difference in yours. They is also fantastic travel essentials gift ideas list.
13. Light Shawl
This piece has so many uses it’s difficult to image life without it. Blanket, sweater, scarf, poncho and more! I prefer a neutral color that will go with just about everything I own. This one here is more in line with travel essentials for women.
Ear plugs or sound-blocking headphones make it easier to focus on what you want to focus on, as well as to sleep when you’re in a noisy environment. They also send a silent message to others that you prefer not to have a conversation.
15. Travel pillow
A travel pillow can make long flights or car rides more comfortable. I’ve found that the best ones are the ones with a soft covering. This one is also lightweight and super easy to inflate!
Compression socks apply pressure to your lower legs, which reduces the swelling and discomfort that commonly occur when you’re sitting for long periods of time. Getting up periodically and taking a short walk around the plan is another helpful way to reduce the discomfort.
17. Power bank
Bring a portable charger for your electronic devices in case you need to charge them on the go. This is my absolute favorite charger, and I’ve tried quite a few. I’ve given this as a gift to everyone in my family and several friends as well.
18. Luggage tracker
Lost luggage should be the least of your worries when traveling, yet it seems to be occurring more and more lately. Be able to find your own luggage, just in case you need to.
A hanging toiletry bag is not only a convenient way of organizing and bringing all your toiletries, it’s the perfect solution to the limited counter space available in many hotel rooms.
20. Packing cubes
I confess that I was the last on board this particular trend, and only gave in because it was a gift from my youngest son. But it really does change the way you pack and the way you look at packing too.
Another gift from my family, and another one I couldn’t live without now. I love how easy it is to keep track of my cords now and am less likely to forget them in the hotel room when I depart.
If you thoughts about your safety keep you awake at night, this is the extra touch you need for added security when traveling alone. Inexpensive, lightweight and easy to use as well.
✅ Fun Fact: It’s scientifically proven that travel makes you happier than money or gifts!
23. Hat of some kind
Protect your head from whatever elements you encounter with a comfortable, foldable hat. A hat with a wide brim is the most ideal for sun protection in warmer climates.
24. Disinfectant wipes
Did you know that the fold-down table is the dirtiest place on an airplane? It’s true! Often the sanitation workers don’t have enough time to clean everything and the tables gets skipped.
Bring your own wipes and keep all surfaces clean, regardless of where you go and what you do.
Peace of mind if nothing else, they come in particularly handy in restrooms around the world.
25. Reusable water bottle
Avoid the extra time, cost, and environmental expense of always buying a new bottle of water everywhere you travel. Many airports offer free filling stations, after the check-in point, for you to fill up if you bring your own.
While you can purchase and often find Kleenex wherever you go, having them on hand exactly when you need them is truly priceless.
27. Tote bag – oversized, washable and foldable
Bring a small and compact bag that can carry its weight and more. I use mine for laundry, groceries and often as a beach bag.
Bring a lightweight jacket in case it gets chilly, or a lightweight rain jacket if you’re headed to iffy weather.
29. Healthy snacks
Quite often when traveling through airports, it’s easier to eat healthy if you bring your own snacks from home. Airport food isn’t even that good, but you’ll eat it if that’s your only option. Bring foods that travel well with you and give yourself a healthy start to your trip.
These items are well-loved and rated as top travel accessories by people who travel a lot, including me!
A universal rubber sink plug is extremely handy for washing your own clothes in the hotel sink. I love that it takes up so little space but makes a huge difference in my travels.
31. Cross-over bag
The best kind of travel purse out there. A cross perhaps, between your traditional purse and the infamous fanny pack. I love this so much I actually have two, one black one and one in beige.
32. Exercise accessories
33. Clean socks
Just in case your luggage is lost, bring a pair of clean socks in your carry-on.
34. Clean underwear
For the same reason just listed, there’s a certain comfort in knowing that you’ll have a clean pair if happen to need one.
35. Kindle or IPad
Bring something to do while you’re waiting at the airport or on the plane. Reading is an excellent way to pass the time and good for your mind as well.
It’s sometimes more difficult to get the proper nutrition your body needs while on the road, which can lead to increased fatigue or energy. Bring your own vitamins and you’re less likely to feel a deficiency in that regard.
37. Tea bags
Are you a tea drinker? How often have you come across a hotel that provides the kind of tea that you prefer? I admit to very rarely.
I prefer a very specific kind of green tea in the evenings and always appreciate that I’ve brought my own.
38. Silk pillowcase
Honestly, I didn’t see the value of this until I tried it. But sleeping on a soft and familiar pillowcase is by far more comfortable than sleeping on a strange and often scratchy one that smells like bleach.
Take notes and photos of everything. Record your thoughts, feelings, hopes and plans as this is what traveling is all about. Making memories.
These are items that others have shared with me that I’m thankful for in my life and in my travels, everywhere I go.
These apps for your phone will make your life easier on the way to your destination as well as getting around once you’re there. Download them before you leave, for the most convenience.
This app helps you identify which airport lounges you have access to with your current memberships and which ones you can join for a small fee.
Download the map you will need before you leave home and always know where you’re at or going while you are away. You can rely on it for directions even when not connected to WiFi.
This app helps you find vegan, vegetarian or simply healthy food wherever you travel. And it’s free!
Attitude is everything right? It’s easier to have a positive attitude when you’re traveling because it’s something you’re excited to do anyway. These are a few hidden gems to include in that attitude to improve your trip, your memories and your life.
43. Sense of adventure
A sense of adventure is looking forward to new and exciting things. Or even simply different things. It allows you to embrace the unknown more easily.
44. Sense of humor
A sense of humor helps you get through the obstacles easier and with less stress. It’s the secret weapon that helps me focus on the joy in difficult situations.
45. Sense of gratitude
Another secret weapon! Learn about and appreciate the culture of the country you’re traveling to. Find a way to be grateful for the differences between their culture and your own, even if it means you’re more grateful for the things you have at home.
46. Sense of enthusiasm
Every day is a fresh start when you travel, which makes it easier to wake up excited for the day ahead.
47. Sense of self-awareness
Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and actions and know when you need a break for some peace and solitude. And respond accordingly.
How to prepare for a trip to feel more comfortable
Being prepared means taking steps to minimize risks and potential problems while on the road, such as medical emergencies, lost luggage, or unforeseen delays.
It also means ensuring that you have the necessary documents and equipment to make your trip a success. Proper preparation can help alleviate stress and give you peace of mind, so you can fully enjoy your travels.
To be prepared for traveling, start by researching your destination thoroughly. Make an itinerary or at least have a general idea of what you want to do during your trip. Having a plan can help you feel more in control and confident, but be prepared to deviate from your plan if you want to.
Check the weather forecast, and dress appropriately for the destination and the activities you’ll be doing. Read up on local customs and cultural norms, and familiarize yourself with any safety concerns.
Make a checklist of necessary items to pack (or print the one above!), such as medications, travel documents, and important phone numbers.
Consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself from unexpected events, such as medical emergencies or trip cancellations. It’s also a good idea to inform your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans to prevent any unexpected issues with transactions.
Finally, make copies of important documents, such as your passport and itinerary, and keep them in a separate location in case of loss or theft.
By taking these steps, you can ensure that you’re well-prepared for any situation that may arise while traveling. Pack all of your items in a durable, well-organized suitcase or backpack, and you’ll be ready for a successful trip.
Take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and eating well. Be friendly! Smile, be polite, and engage with locals. Being friendly can help you make connections, make memories and make the most of your journey.
Frequently Asked Questions, Travel Must Haves
Some commonly asked questions about travel and the things you should bring with you when you go.
The most useful item for traveling is one that meets your individual needs and makes your trip more comfortable and enjoyable. For me, it is probably my smartphone.
The most essential travel items are a toothbrush, toothpaste, medication, comfy shoes, money or credit cards, your passport, your itinerary, lip balm, a mini first aid kit, sunscreen stick, a facemask and electrical adapters if you’re traveling outside of your own country.
The most forgotten items for traveling are phone chargers, medications, toothbrushes and toothpaste.
I always bring my phone, a charger, identification, water bottle, a hat, jacket and comfortable shoes.
Final Thoughts: Travel Essentials for 2024
These items are my essentials for 2024 and I hope you find the list helps you too. Regardless of where you go or for how long you’re gone, travel is more enjoyable if you go prepared. Safe travels!