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, after 8 years of travelling, 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- those are obvious. 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 blogger. 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. 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 recharges 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 and the only thing I wear on planes (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
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 early 2019 because I got a hole in it- my fault, I got caught on a door). 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.
Butterfly or Mariposa Wrap by Diane Kroe
I’m all about the multi-wear clothing and the butterfly and Mariposa wrap from Diane Kroe are firm favourites. They are light and airy and work perfectly as a coverup for the beach or for somewhere more conservative/religious. I’ve taken mine all over from Egypt to Greece to French Polyesia. They wash and wear really well plus it’s made for travel which means quick dry and no wrinkles. Definitely recommend!
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. 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 Leave in Conditioner
As far as hair and makeup go, I am extremely low maintenance. In fact, I don’t even blow dry my hair 99% of the time- that’s how lazy I am. However, as I mentioned above my hair gets super tangled and is awful to brush out sometimes. Especially after swimming or being in the ocean. My hairdresser actually recommended this product to me. Well, she uses it when I get my hair cut because even she can’t seem to keep my locks under control. It’s a leave in conditioner that makes my hair softer and easier to manage without being sticky or looking greasy. I spray it in when its wet then brush it out and ta-da! I manage to keep most of my hair on my head and not in my brush which hopefully means I avoid pre-mature baldness. Buy the conditioner here (This bottle is the big size, but I just got a small re-usable one that I fill for when I travel.)
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.
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