What’s in My Bag: My Travel Essentials

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Fun fact: I hate packing. Hate it. I take ages to pack for any trip because I usually last 15 minutes before I get bored, frustrated or both. That being said, over a decade travelling, often for months at a time, I am getting better at it. Well, sort of. I at least have my list of essential must-have items that come with me on every trip. You know, the important things I can’t live without. Which is what I’m sharing with you today.

I’ve created a number of different destination packing guides on this blog, but these items are my tried and tested come-with-me-everywhere items. I’m not talking cell phones and cameras (you can find a post on my camera equipment here). I’m talking about everything from my favourite airplane outfit to the hairbrush I swear by. With that in mind, here’s what you will always find in my bag.  

Tangle Teezer Hairbrush

I have super long hair that tangles in a minute. Brushing my hair after a day in the ocean (or out in the wind) was the worst…until I found the tangle teezer. Or, more appropriately, until my mom bought it for me. Honestly, this brush has been an absolute lifesaver (or, hair saver) more times than I can count. I use it at home and abroad. It can be used wet or dry and honestly, I have yet to find something better to brush out mermaid hair. Plus, it’s really small and packs easy. Buy a tangle teezer here

This Power Bank

When I travel, I think I’m just as attached to my power bank as I am my phone. Why? Because being able to charge your cellphone isn’t always as easy as it should be. First off, my battery drains quicker than most since I’m on it all the time for social media and emails and the other work aspects that come with being a content creator. Not to mention taking photos. Secondly, sometimes power outlets can be tricky to find. More than once I’ve been on a train with no outlet or even somewhere with a plug that doesn’t work. Plus, oftentimes on sailboats, you won’t have power during the day. My power bank is essentially my security blanket so I can make sure that I can stay always charged and, therefore, always have access to my online maps. (I get lost a lot, ok?) This power bank is my favourite. It is a bit heavy, but it has enough juice to recharge my phone several times. Buy my favourite power bank here.

Dressy Sweatpants by Encircled

Dressy sweatpants sound like a dream come true, and these pants are. I feel like I’m wearing pajamas when I wear mine, except I look a whole lot cuter. They are so soft and versatile that they have become my go-to travel pant, especially for long travel days and overnight flights (again, they feel like pjs). I honestly can’t recommend these pants enough and yes- they have pockets! Check out encircled products here

The Evolve Top by Encircled

Hannah in front of a blue and green mosaic wall. She's smiling into the camera and wearing a black t-shirt and blue jeans.

Some people have lucky t-shirts, I have my favourite travel tshirt. I got my first evolve top from encircled in 2016 and haven’t stopped wearing it since (though I did have to replace it in 2022 because I got a hole in it). This tshirt is simple but stylish and the sleeves can be adjusted into different lengths for different looks. Plus, I can wear it frontwards with a lower neckline, or backwards to be more covered up. From Bali to Morocco, Greece to Ireland, this top comes everywhere with me. It’s also one of my regular go-to’s for a plane outfit because it’s so soft and comfortable. Check out encircled products here 


I’m a curvy girl but even my slimmer friends know how horrible chub rub can be, especially when travelling. After years of trying to use deodorant or baby powder, then just flat out not wearing shorts or dresses I found a miracle cure: BodyGlide. It’s like a deodorant stick put apply it on your thighs and ta-da! No chafing. I usually only have to apply once but if it’s really hot and I’m sweaty (or going swimming) I’ll throw it in my bag for the day and re-apply. Now I can wear all my cute dresses, shorts, or swimsuits as much as I want without having to worry about that horrible rash. BodyGlide has seriously been a life saver. Buy BodyGlide here.

Lululemon Leggings

These are hands down my favourite leggings in the entire world and I will always recommend them. To me, the price is worth the quality. I’ve had some Lululemon leggings since my university days (and that’s been awhile!). There are so many styles but my current go-to’s are the Wunder Train tights (or the invigorates if you can still find them!). They don’t slide or roll down the same way most leggings do. Which is a big deal for me since my butt/hips are bigger than my waist and this is ALWAYS a problem. And they are NOT see through. You can find a pair here.

Vessi Waterproof Shoes

Shoes can be annoying to pack for different climates and activities by my Vessi shoes make things a little easier because they are waterproof! I have two pairs, the Weekends and the Everyday Moves. The Everyday Move are my travel go-to because they are more supportive for outdoor adventures. They fit true to size and are really comfortable and lightweight to pack. Check out Vessi shoes here.

A Travel Journal

I’m a writer but more than that I love stories and sharing mine. So I always keep a travel journal of my adventures. It comes in handy for my work but I really love the idea of being able to have them on hand for future children and grandchildren. I’ve actually created my own line of travel journals using my photography that I sell via amazon. You can find them here

This Travel Tripod

I travel with a a few cameras (check my camera bag list here) and I think I speak for every solo traveller when I say it can be really hard to get photos of yourself when travelling alone. Which is why I decided to buy a travel tripod. Granted, I personally don’t trust myself (and others) to use it in crazy busy places but, if I get up early in the morning before the crowds, or am somewhere quieter or in nature, it’s perfect.  Buy the tripod I use here.

Packing Cubes

Ok, I know this is the most un-creative packing item on this list but I actually can’t live without my packing cubes. I know it sounds silly but when you spend weeks at a time changing hotels, you don’t have the energy (or space) to unpack and constantly emptying your entire bag to find a clean pair of underwear is a pain.

I usually travel with at least 3 packing cubes: 1 for tops, 1 for bottoms, and 1 for underwear/bras. Not only does it keep my suitcase neat and tidy but it also makes it so much easier for me to find an outfit for the day when I know exactly where to look for what. Buy packing cubes here

An AirTag

Finally, I travel with anAirTag. I’ve been the victim to lost luggage and being able to track and see where it is definitely helps. I’ve had a few friends who have been able to track down their luggage with the help of the air tag when the airport has totally lost them (one friend’s backpack fell off in a construction zone and was covered with equipment. Losing luggage isn’t ideal at the best of times but when I live out of a suitcase for half a year, it’s really not something I want to lose! 

Universal Adapter

Travelling around the world, often in multiple countries and even continents at a time means I have to change adapters regularly. Rather than carry a bag full of different plugs, I prefer to have a single universal one that I know will work with (and protect) my devices. I love this one because it allows me to charge multiple things at once. 

Travel Toiletry Bottles

Good shampoo and body wash is hard to find in hotels these days and those 3-1 type liquids wreck havoc on my hair so I always make sure to bring my own toiletries. Since I’ve never been able to find a solid shampoo bar that I like I instead just use refillable bottles so I can bring what I use at home. They are leak proof and super convenient for all types of travel. I use ones similar to these.

Ready to Book Your Trip?

Don’t forget travel insurance!

Please do not travel without travel insurance! I’ve had to use it multiple times throughout my travels and it has saved me thousands of dollars. You can learn more about travel insurance here. If you are looking for a provider I love and recommend SafetyWing. For Canadian readers, take a look at SoNomad.

Book your accommodation

I love and recommend booking.com for accommodation. They have a range of hostels, guesthouses, hotels, and resorts. Plus, the platform has a great loyalty program that means the more you book, the more you can save. 

Book your tours

My go-to tour provider that I love to recommend is GetYourGuide. They have options all over the world and partner with local companies for everything from day trips to food experiences and even airport transfers. 

Get connected

If you want to have data while travelling for online maps or any other needs, an esim is one of the easiest solutions. I’m a big fan of Airalo and have used their sim cards around the world from Brazil to Uzbekistan, Greece to the USA. It’s really easy- you download the app, pick what country you want an esim for, and after you purchase it follow the installation instructions. You can use promo code HANNAH3326 to save $3USD on your next esim purchase. 

Not sure what to pack?

I have destination-specific guides for some countries but you can also check my travel essentials and camera gear if you are looking for some ideas. 

Looking for a travel buddy?

Check out my group trips!


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  8. […] Psst: Wondering what my must-have travel items are? Here’s what you’ll always find in my bag. […]

  9. Bavin on May 26, 2021 at 11:49 am

    Hey Hannah,

    Nice post about the travel accessories! I also use packing cubes & carry a power bank. They both can be quite useful. Thanks for sharing!

  10. […] Psst: Wondering what my must-have travel items are? Here’s what you’ll always find in my bag. […]

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