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  • Writer's pictureBranwen Defren

The Ultimate Travel Essentials

Embarking on a journey is not merely about reaching a destination; it's a tapestry of experiences woven together by the places we explore and the memories we create. Whether you're a seasoned globetrotter or someone setting foot on foreign soil for the first time, the key to a seamless and enjoyable travel experience lies in the tools and products you bring along.

In a world where convenience and efficiency reign supreme, finding the perfect travel essentials can transform your expedition from a logistical challenge into a well-curated adventure. From my personal travels, I've found the best gadget must-haves to make your next expedition unforgettable. . .


While this item is on the pricier side, it's the best investment you can make. I've personally had this carry-on for over five years and taken it on trips domestically and abroad, and it has never broken down. It easily fits in the compartment head, so you never have to check it (my absolute favorite aspect!) while still having the ability to pack all your essentials (plus a little extra if you're a bit of an over-packer like me) or want to bring home more than you left with like souvenirs! It's versatile (you can drag it behind you or have it "walk" next to you), easily manageable, and can carry everything you need. (Quick tip: If you do purchase it, be sure to register it right away with TravelPro so if you have any issues with it, it can get covered. Like, do it as soon as you get it so you don't forget).

I've had this duffel bag for ten years, and it's still in pristine condition - and it's definitely gone through it. I've stuffed it to the brim where it was a challenge to even close it (literally could see the seams struggling on the zipper!), tossing it in overhead bins, in the backseat of cars, on top of trains, and more - this bag can do it all and then some. You really get the bang for your buck with this duffel bag - the quality is top-notch and will last ages.

Grey Backpack

This is the backpack I have taken on airlines for more than five years. I can easily store everything I need from my laptop, chargers, medications, cosmetic bag, snacks, and more. I often stuff this to the brim before I board the plane, and it still fits comfortably under the seat. It's reasonably priced and highly durable. 11/10. I definitely recommend it if you're looking for a new backpack at a reasonable price.


In some countries (like the United Kingdom), you must have ALL your toiletries in a clear bag. Believe me; it is not fun to have to dump out your things and hold up everyone while you sort through and make sure everything is in there. Because if it's not, they will find it, and you either have to find a way to make it fit within their specifications, or it gets tossed out. (You're only allowed a specific limit of liquids). Yes, it's annoying. Yes, I have had to throw out shampoos and expensive perfume before. But I learned my lesson and started using these when I traveled abroad, and they are a massive help.

I'm a stickler for my toothbrush and personally prefer electric ones. (Plus, they're better for your teeth!) This one is perfect - it's not crazy expensive, it's battery operated (and the one battery lasts a long time!), it's also easily portable (and it is obviously easy to use).

This one is a little "extra" of me - but I am the woooorst at flossing. I hate it. Honestly, I don't understand people who do it every day. So this is my personal alternative, and it's fantastic and easy to use.

This is straightforward, of course; you know you can't bring your usual-sized shampoo and conditioner (well, unless you check your bag, but I digress). Besides getting shampoo and conditioner at your destination, getting these easily refillable TSA-approved bottles with your regular products makes sure that your skin and hair aren't too disrupted by the change in atmosphere and routine. (My hair and skin are super sensitive, so I like to keep my product use consistent, and these are perfect for keeping the right amount that I need).

Want to bring your perfume, but it's too big for your cosmetic bag, or it's over the liquid limit? Don't fret; get these perfectly sized perfume fillers so you can still smell as fresh as a daisy but don't have to lug a giant bottle or check your bag just to bring along your favorite perfume.

Both of these are super helpful - compact, easy to use, and valuable when you need it, especially if you're on a work trip and you don't have a close-up mirror, the lighting in your hotel is poor, etc.

While this is straightforward, this travel hair dryer is my top choice because my hair is a BEAST and takes forever to dry, especially on its own. My mum has personally blown a fuse at a hotel before trying to dry her hair (it was a tiny little hotel in the Welsh countryside... good times), but this little dryer has been able to handle it all so far!


I know this doesn't sound like a very "high-tech" gadget, but believe me - a good reusable water bottle is worth its weight in gold. There are usually water stations around airports where you can fill up water bottles (or at least water fountains) that you can use instead of purchasing waaaay overpriced water at concession stores. It also comes in handy when you're out and about, and you can easily keep it in your backpack. This bottle isn't too expensive; it's stainless steel, 100% BPA, and toxic-free, and it keeps everything freezing cold (or hot) for hours on end (plus it also comes with multiple lid options!) I absolutely love mine and use it every day, too (I personally have the 22oz bottle, but it comes in larger and smaller sizes as well!).

If you are interested in a more expensive water bottle and don't mind spending the dough, I highly recommend purchasing a bottle that will also "clean" your water to boot. My favorite is the LARQ purification water bottle. I got this bottle as a Christmas gift, and if I'm traveling or camping somewhere and don't trust that the water will be safe to drink, this is the bottle I bring along!

It can be really expensive (at least for an American) to have their phone "on" internationally. However, in places like the UK and EU and more, you can easily purchase a local SIM card and input it into a cell phone. Now, I personally am a little apprehensive about messing with my day-to-day iPhone, but some people are more tech-savvy, so those who are - you do you! However, if you're like me, and would feel more comfortable "messing" with a smartphone that costs under $100, then I would highly recommend purchasing this one. It's surprisingly really nice for its price, it's also a smartphone so you'll know how to use it efficiently, and since it's not your primary phone, you won't be too upset if something happens to it. While you're in said country, you can easily have service with a local SIM and don't have to worry about losing your own SIM card because you won't have to do a complex swap.

This, I think, speaks for itself - it's the absolute worst when you arrive in a country and realize that you don't have the correct plug for the outlet, or perhaps you forgot to get one entirely. (Yep, it's happened to me). Usually, they sell converters at airports, but unfortunately, like most things, they are ridiculously overpriced (and you don't want to be a sucker like me and have to sheepishly buy one as you're leaving the international airport). This little guy has saved me a lot of money and worry because I know I'm prepared wherever I go.

What do you always need before you leave somewhere? Keys, phone, wallet. (At least that's my mantra!) However, sometimes things get shuffled around in the hotel room, or maybe you accidentally left your wallet at a restaurant. My favorite device I've purchased is the wallet Tile Finder. It's slim enough that it easily fits in my phone wallet and actual wallet, and well, let's just say it's definitely come in handy.

I don't know about you, but I personally am someone who is on my phone before bed (yes, it's a bad habit. Yes, I know it. And no, I sadly likely won't change). So, that's why I love this 6-foot-long charging cable. It charges my cell phone, Apple Watch, and other gadgets all at once, and it's long enough that I can use it while in bed before falling asleep.

Honestly, this is something I use even when I'm not traveling, but it can save you some time when you are, too! It's compact enough to fit easily into a backpack or suitcase and makes sure that your clothes are nice and neat, which is especially helpful if you are going on a work trip. This little thing has paid for itself ten times over and brought a lot of my sweatshirts back from lint ruin.

I purchased these headphones after I couldn't find my BOSE headphones (yes, I am seriously annoyed with myself about that). However, a friend of mine recommended these from Amazon. It's a 10th of the price, and yet it works just as well. They are incredibly comfortable, easily fit into my backpack, and sync up effortlessly with Bluetooth. I can happily say it was a great purchase with no regrets. (Thanks, Caroline!)


This is something that you never want to think about needing, especially if you're a woman, but it's always, always better to be safe rather than sorry. This is an incredibly small thing that just adds a little extra security. If this seems too complicated, though, another great safety option is a door stop alarm - this little thing may be small, but it is LOUD as hell. It will immediately ward off any potential intruders by alerting just about anyone in the vicinity that something is afoot. It's also very easy to use. (Just try not to accidentally set it off yourself the following day, or you're in for a very loud wake-up call before coffee!)

This is something you may not know about until it happens to you... In the digital age, many of our credit cards and ID cards have a tiny chip inside them called "RFID" or "Radio-Frequency Identification." This chip can be vulnerable to tech-savvy thieves who can steal your information from your cards without even touching them.

However, RFID-blocking cards act like a digital shield. It's like a superhero for your wallet, equipped with technology that blocks the signals hackers use to steal your debit or credit card information. So, just as you'd secure your home with an alarm system, the RFID blocking card safeguards your financial and personal information, ensuring your cards can't be secretly accessed by anyone with ill intentions. With this four-pack, I personally keep one on my phone wallet and regular wallet, so everything is protected. It's an easy purchase that can save you loads of trouble down the road! (If you don't mind purchasing a new wallet entirely, another great option is this Rfid Blocking Passport/Vaccine Card Holder and Wallet).

While I personally loathe checking my luggage in, sometimes it's unavoidable. When that happens, you want to make sure your things are secure and won't get ruffled through. (You just never know!) These tiny little locks are just a little something to make you feel more at ease that ALL your things will be waiting for you at your destination.


If you have a medical condition that would need to be known immediately in an emergency, this is something that you should keep on you. Once it's scanned with a phone, it will show a list of your noted medical conditions, surgical history, medication lists, emergency contacts, and more. This is something I personally have on my keys, wallet, and backpack.

In the era of COVID-19, it's better to be safe than sorry in crowded airports, especially airplanes where the air is recycled and going somewhere international. These are easily disposable and actually not that uncomfortable to wear. I like to keep a pack in my backpack just in case, and it's been really helpful when I've forgotten to bring my regular one.

This tiny little kit has all the essentials you need for whatever might potentially happen. It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. (One tip, if you are traveling on a plane, be sure to remove the scissors prior as this will likely get taken by security).

This is just a small sample of items that can help make your next trip, whether it's local or abroad, smooth sailing. Check out more ideal products for your next trip here.


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