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best travel essentials 2024

33 Best Travel Essentials You Should Always Pack

What our editors always travel with, and you should, too.

For some of us, an affordable carry-on is our travel essential. For others, it's nothing less than a Rimowa suitcase . Some of us never travel without a cashmere sweater . Personally, I swear by this Halfday Garment Duffel , but others swear by a classic weekender . We're exploring all options here.

Cashmere Sweater

Best Sweater for Travelling

Naadam cashmere sweater.

The Garment Duffel

Travel Packing Hack

Halfday the garment duffel.

Just In Case Tote

Best Packable Tote Bag

Tumi just in case tote.

From post-flight, or in-flight, grooming must haves to luxury wallets that make you feel more put together walking through TSA, you can trust our expertise here. And here's a light warning. We will, only once, recommend that you still wear a suit while you travel. It's part of our DNA, sorry. Other than that, these are the 33 travel essentials that we swear by.

It sounds annoying to say a cashmere sweater is the perfect travel accessory, but it's so warm, soft, and lightweight, there's nothing that beats it. Plus, our favorite sweater from Naadam only cost $100.

I've already written about how great this bag is . A garment duffel isn't a new concept, but for $100, this version of it is life changing. Pack two suits or a few dresses, roll up the bag, then add everything else like normal. Nice clothes stay wrinkle free and everything packs more easily.

We all know the deal. It's a return flight, you have new clothes and souvenirs, or you just are packing a lot less diligently. That's where this Just In Case Tote comes in. It packs down to the size of a book and expands to be a sizable personal item.

Smythson Passport Cover in Panama

Passport Cover in Panama

A passport cover is tough to call an essential, but once you hit a certain level of frequent flyer, it absolutely is. This one in luxe leather from Smythson is the best you can buy.

Lucchese Dopp Kit

Dopp Kit

One thing we really believe in is upgrading your dopp kit. That polyester one from Amazon won't make you happy, and it'll disintegrate in a few years. Lucchese makes some of the best travel bags on the market , and this pebble leather dopp kit is the best value on the website.

J.Crew Kenmare Unstructured Suit Jacket

Kenmare Unstructured Suit Jacket

Yes, the men's magazine is still telling you to wear a suit on a flight. A relaxed-fit unstructured suit is a man's matching set. It's just as comfortable as your ugly PJ pants, getting dressed takes two seconds, and you look great no matter how jet lagged you are.

Lululemon ABC Classic-Fit Pant

ABC Classic-Fit Pant

If you insist on doing stretchy pants, make sure you do the best stretchy pants on Earth .

Sabah Baba Leather Slip On

Baba Leather Slip On

The airport shoe situation is a funny one. There's a lot of ways to tackle the issue. Most people prefer sneakers. Loafers are a great shout. Cowboy boots —they're slip ons!—are my chaotic choice. The only rule is no exposed toes.

Truthfully, though, these Sabah slip ons are the only answer to "What's the best travel shoe?" Slip on, slip off. Wear them to the beach, or use them as a bring your own hotel slipper.

Husbands Paris Black Metal Corners Wallet

Black Metal Corners Wallet

When you're an American exploring parts of the world you're unfamiliar with, be smart. A front pocket wallet will keep you from being on the losing end of tourist pickpocket schemes. This one from Husbands is my absolute favorite.

Away The Hanging Toiletry Bag

The Hanging Toiletry Bag

If you have an especially long self-care routine, you'll need something a bit more tailor-made. This hanging toiletry bag from Away is a great shout.

Cadence Flex System

Flex System

As far as routines go, this Cadence system is a functional masterpiece. You can customize a set of containers for grooming products, bath products, and supplements. All the little hexagons click together for easy packing. It's some of the best travel design we've ever gotten our hands on.

Byredo Mojave Ghost Roll-On

Mojave Ghost Roll-On

Creating your own olfactory bubble is a life-changing travel hack, but spray-on cologne is a bit intense for the plane ride. Byredo makes nice roll-on fragrances to solve that problem.

F. Miller Eye Oil

Eye Oil

That stale plane air is a nightmare for your skin. This eye oil firms and nourishes skin while still feeling natural. Keep it on hand to take care of any problem areas—around your eyes, lips, and cuticles. It's our best hack for looking good even after a long flight.

Bose QuietComfort Headphones

QuietComfort Headphones

We're big proponents of noise-cancelling headphones for pretty much all things that require either a deep inner focus or a hard distance from the world outside. Bose's QuietComfort headphones silence the world (crying babies, crunching plane neighbors) around you.

Bombas Everyday Compression Socks

Everyday Compression Socks

These socks will reduce any swelling or numbness after a long flight, or a short one for that matter. Compression socks are your new favorite travel companion. These have a daily-use approved 15-20mmHg pressure.

Patagonia Nano Puff Fitz Roy Trout Hoody

Nano Puff Fitz Roy Trout Hoody

A packable Patagonia jacket is one of travel's biggest upgrades. It's super warm, and makes for an excellent extra layer—especially when you're not sure what you'll need. It packs into a little cube, which can double as a travel pillow.

Davek The Mini

The Mini

Tiny and adorable, this will save you from some unexpected weather. The micro design tucks away perfectly into your suitcase.

Drake's Brown Birds of Paradise Print Wool Scarf

Brown Birds of Paradise Print Wool Scarf

Even more versatile than a sweater is a lightweight scarf. Any scarf from Drake's is a good buy, but this printed one is especially fun. In the terminal, it's an accessory. In the lounge, it's a blanket. On the flight, it's a shawl, eye mask, emergency pillow, or a fucking tablecloth. If you buy one thing for travel, buy a good lightweight scarf.

Adidas Originals Stan Smith

Stan Smith

Stan Smith's are another classic choice. Wear them with jeans, sweatpants, or a suit, and look fine in all instances.

NEW BALANCE 990v4 Sneakers

990v4 Sneakers

Sometimes you just need to get there, and these sneakers will do the trick. And when you do get there, go stretch your weary plane legs on a long walk without having to change shoes.

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How To Travel Like A Minimalist: Packing List And More

how to travel like a minimalist

Traveling like a minimalist means striking the balance of finding comfort while away from home, but not being weighed down by excess stuff either. Choosing minimalist travel has changed my packing process entirely and made everything easier for me.

ryans tiny house

Hi, I’m Ryan

Having a minimalist mindset while traveling has taken all the hassle and headache out of my traveling experience. Packing light allows me to have what I need without being weighed down, and focus on the experience of the trip itself.

ryan mitchell simple living expert

What Is Minimalist Travel?

What Is Minimalist Travel

Minimalist Travel Packing List: Essentials Only

Minimalist Travel Packing List

When I’m packing for any trip, I divide my needs into smaller categories to make the packing process more manageable and keep track of what I actually need. I start with my travel capsule wardrobe, then pack my toiletries. I prefer to organize things into packing cubes to keep the chaos at bay while on the move.

Minimalist Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Minimalist Travel Capsule Wardrobe

Traveling with a well-planned capsule wardrobe is the move for any vacation, especially if you’re trying to travel like a minimalist. Clothes are a major culprit that take up a lot of space in a suitcase or bag. Create your own capsule wardrobe to minimize your luggage.

minimalist packing for travel

To do this, you’ll want to think through several things. Check the weather for the entirety of your trip, and choose items that will work with the climate you’ll be in. It’s also important to pack high-quality, staple pieces that can be worn more than once, especially for longer trips where you’ll have access to a washer and dryer.

Similar to personal uniforms , capsule wardrobes work best when you have a few base pieces like neutral shirts and pants, and then accentuate with only a few pieces that can give the outfit an entirely new look.

A Basic Travel Capsule Might Include

  • Two T-shirts
  • Two long sleeves or tank tops
  • Two pairs of shorts or jeans
  • One dress or suit
  • Sweater or swimwear
  • Four pairs of underwear
  • Four pairs of socks

how to build a capsule wardrobe

My own capsule wardrobe is pretty simple, but you can make it as decorative or basic as you prefer. Of course, this basic list will need to be adjusted based on the weather on your trip, if you have plans to go out somewhere fancy, or any other trip-specific clothing needs that might come up.

Minimalist Travel Toiletries

Minimalist Travel Toiletries

Toiletries are probably the second biggest category of travel items that can suck the space from your suitcase. Of course, it’s different for women and men, and it also depends on how basic your daily routine is.

Ryans Minimalist Travel Toiletries

If I’m going to a place that doesn’t provide basics, I tend to pack a two-in-one bar that can I use as my shampoo, bodywash and facewash — my favorite is the Duke Cannon’s Midnight Swim Bars or their Shampoo Pucks in Gold Rush Scent .

For the larger bar, I cut a chunk off to suit the length of my trip put in a Matador flat pack soap bar bag . The pucks come in a small tin which is super convenient. I’m not one to overcomplicate things with multiple products, but I also don’t have temperamental skin or hair.

Basic Toiletries To Pack As A Minimalist

  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Conditioner
  • Facial cleanser or wipes
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Basic makeup
  • Daily medications
  • Feminine products

Basic Toiletries To Pack

When it comes to packing my toiletries as space-consciously as possible, I use Gotoobs to hold my liquid toiletries , which have never leaked on me, and I put that in a bag inside my larger toiletry bag where I keep everything else. This saves me space and keeps my liquid toiletries separate to help prevent leaks or spills in transport.

Toiletries You Can Travel Without

  • Extra lotions or skin creams
  • Entire makeup bag
  • Multiple hair styling tools
  • Hair accessories
  • Nail polish
  • Essential oils or perfumes

Toiletries You Can Travel Without

Ryan’s Minimalist Toiletries

Ryans Minimalist Toiletries

My personal toiletry kit has a two-in-one soap puck, deodorant, razor, comb, tooth brush, toothpaste tablets, and a nail clipper. I use the shampoo puck as body and face wash, then also use it for shaving.

minimalist travel convenience items

The two white tablets in the photo are mini hand towels that expand — those along with the face wipes are a godsend when you’ve been traveling for a long time and need to wash up when you don’t have access to a shower. The Purell packets are also good because their size won’t bring much attention as a single use packet going through airport security.

For longer trips, I’ll often add shaving cream, a mini sewing kit, and lotion.

Minimalist Daily Travel Essentials

Minimalist Daily Essentials For Travel

One of the best things to do when it comes to packing the rest of your miscellaneous daily items is to have a central location in your home where these items live regularly. This could look like a catchall tray, a storage bin, or a backpack or travel bag.

Keep daily essentials like chargers, electronics, a water bottle, and more in this spot. Then, when you’re preparing for a trip, you can move all of your essentials to your luggage quickly. You’ll save yourself the mental space of having to fish through your closet or under your bed for your lesser-used items that are still essentials.

Daily Essentials For Minimalist Packing

  • Charging cords
  • Keys and wallet
  • Cash and credit cards
  • Identification (license/passport)
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Book/notebook
  • First-aid kit

minimalist travel essentials

Ryan’s Daily Minimalist Essentials

Ryans Daily Minimalist Essentials

When I’m packing my minimalist travel bag, I usually put all of these daily essentials in a separate travel bag than my clothes and toiletries. If I’m flying, this is what I fill my carry-on with for easy access. Even if I’m road-tripping in a car or travel van , I usually put these items in a carry-all pouch that goes in my backpack.

Ryan’s Daily Items Packing List

  • Modern Coup Admin Pouch
  • Benchmade Bugout Pocket Knife
  • Smooth Precision Pens – Bolt Action Pen V2.2
  • Anker Compact737 Charger
  • Herschel Slim Men’s Wallet
  • Field Notes Notebook
  • Griffin Mini-Cable Kit
  • Human Gear Go Bites Duo Utensil Set

Ryans Daily Travel Items Packing List

Trip-Specific Items For Minimalist Travel

Trip Specific Items

Once I’ve covered all my daily essentials and basic needs, I usually have about half a suitcase of room left to focus on items specific to my trip. This could be anything from ski gear to a surfboard to your bridesmaid dress to a nylon tent and off-grid camping cookware .

I don’t know about you, but the process of packing always feels super tedious and mentally draining to me. Covering all of your basics first is one of the best ways to pack like a minimalist and make the packing process way less daunting. You knock out all the more thought-intensive categories first, then just focus on the fun stuff.

How To Pack Like A Minimalist: Best Travel Gear

Best Minimalist Travel Gear

In addition to having a packing strategy and following a packing list, using savvy packing gadgets can help you travel light. Investing in these simple products can make your minimalist packing life a whole lot easier.

Amazon Basics 4 Piece Packing Travel Organizer Cubes

Four Piece Packing Cube Set

GoToobs by Humangear

GoToobs And GoTubbs By Humangear

Packism Clear Toiletry Bags

Packism Clear Toiletry Bag

Like I mentioned in my advice above, when I pack my toiletries, I like to separate my wet toiletries from my dry toiletries. These small, clear toiletry bags by Packism are an ideal size to store all my liquid toiletries and then nestle into my larger suitcase or carry on.

Matador Toiletry Bag And Soap Bar Case

Matador Toiletry Bag And Soap Bar Case

General Medi Store First Aid Kit

General Medi Store First Aid Kit

Nomader Collapsible Leak Proof Water Bottle

Nomader Collapsible Leak-Proof Water Bottle

things you only need to buy once in a lifetime

Build A Minimalist Travel Backpack For Solo Travel

Minimalist Travel Backpack For Solo Travel

For me, traveling solo has been something that has set me free and given me experiences that I could never have had by just staying home. In the past decade, I’ve had the privilege of traveling 23 countries including Canada , Australia , and several European and Latin American countries .

Minimalist Travel Backpack

Best Minimalist Travel Backpacks For Solo Travel

Best Minimalist Travel Backpacks For Solo Travel

Fitting all of the belongings I need into a simple travel backpack always provides me with a deeply freeing feeling. Choosing a minimalist travel backpack that will support you fully, last for years without tearing, and have room for all your travel gadgets and gizmos is a must.

I have a couple of personal favorite travel backpacks that I would recommend for regular use. The first one is the GoRuck GR1 . The GR1 is ridiculously sturdy and ideal for strenuous hikes or camping trips. I also love the Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack . It has an extremely strong hip belt and sturdy shoulder straps, and multiple compartments for storing all the gear you might need.

Other Popular Minimalist Travel Backpacks

  • Minaal Carry-on 3.0
  • Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L
  • Matador SEG42
  • Zpacks Nero 38L ROBIC
  • AER Travel Pack 2

Minaal Carry-on Backpack

How To Pack Your Minimalist Travel Backpack

How To Pack Your Minimalist Travel Backpack

Figuring out how to pack your travel backpack is a whole other can of worms. Of course, this will also heavily depend on where you’re going on your trip, how long you’ll be gone, and what your essential needs will be.

There are a few things I make sure to always have with me when I pack my minimalist travel bag for camping, off-griding, or any kind of basic travel.

Travel Backpacking List

  • Basic hygiene supplies
  • Sleeping bag and sleeping pad
  • Water treatment supplies
  • Snacks/food
  • Map/compass/GPS
  • Small tools/repair kit

Travel Backpacking Items

Does Minimalist Travel Make Life Better?

Does Minimalist Travel Make Life Better

  • How will you pack like a minimalist on your next vacation?
  • What items will you pack verses go without?

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Thanks for this article. I’m planning to visit some family living in Mexico and bought a overhead suitcase to use for traveling..made a stateside trip and and stuff it with what I thought I’d need for a 3week trip..with your list ideas, I’ll make smarter packing & weight decisions..looking forward to hassle freely out of country trip more now..

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Great post. Very helpful. Thank you.

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Even more minimalist: Williams Lectric Shave in a small poly eye dropper bottle. Using drops at a time it lasts weeks. A 5 blade razor will go a month. Tick tweezers, not eyelash pluckers. Travel liquid soap for hair & body, refill as you please leave the label on. NO buds as they are prone to lowering your awareness to thieves and muggers.

No logo clothing, simple full cut, no western stretch synthetics – natural fibers. Same for footwear, heavy euro hikers aren’t normal in most cultures, and NO camo patterns – actually illegal and not welcome. Keep the egear to bare minimums and know the local plugs and adapters.

An inexpensive digital is much lighter than a heavy stainless dive watch, leave pricey jewelry at home.

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35 Travel Essentials for Any Length of Trip

travel essentials routine

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There’s something about traveling that is equal parts excitement and stress, especially when it comes time for you to bust out your suitcase and prepare to pack. What comes along with you can vary tremendously depending on the length of your trip and the occasion. Thankfully, the Cut Shop team has traveled far and wide, and has picked up a few tips, tricks, and essentials for packing well. Regardless of whether it’s a quick weekend escapade or a whole month abroad, here are the 39 best travel essentials worth taking along, listed according to the length of time spent away from home .

For Overnight Trips

Whether you’re only traveling ten minutes away for a staycation or venturing to a nearby city for a day, overnight trips can be just as challenging to pack for as longer ones. Our best tip is try to be strategic about stowing all the necessities in a larger tote ba g.

iMangoo Protective Cable Organizer Case

Keep all your chargers and cords organized and untangled in one place. This little case makes sure you can actually find what you are looking for, especially in the depths of a big bucket-shaped bag.

Hill House Home The Ellie Nap Dress

The Nap Dress is comfortable enough for any road trip or train ride or even to sleep in. You really can’t go wrong — it’s like wearing your pajamas but still looking totally presentable. We particularly like the wrinkle-resistant navy dress for easy wear on the road.

Baggu Go Pouch Set

This three-pack of pouches might be one of The Cut Shop ream’s favorite purchases. Perfect for everyday use, the pouches are great for housing everything from makeup to dirty clothes to receipts. We always have one in our bags, no matter if we’re leaving the house for a night, an hour, or a whole week.

July Everyday Garment Tote

Perfect for event-specific travel, this tote doubles as a garment bag, protecting those special-occasion outfits. It has just enough space to also pack a pair of shoes you do not want to commute in.

Saie Slip Tint Dewy Tinted Moisturizer SPF 35 Sunscreen

One of the best tinted moisturizers out there, this option from Saie offers hydration and some SPF and will give you light coverage with a dewy glow. When you can’t bring your entire medicine cabinet, this is a great option that combines a bunch of products in a multistep routine.

HoodHealth Stainless Steel

Because hydration is always important, especially when you’re traveling.

Leeshine Ice Roller for Face and Eyes

Just because you’re not doing your skin-care routine in your bathroom at home doesn’t mean your skin should suffer. This ice rollers will fit perfectly in your toiletry bag and come in handy first thing in the morning.

Emi Jay Big Effing Clip

Sometimes on those quick trips, we push washing our hair an extra day (or three) so we can leave all our heat tools at home. With some dry shampoo and a cute hair claw , no one has to know.

Weekend Trips and Excursions

Whether you are heading out of town for a wedding, trying to get away for a little R&R, or traveling for work, when it comes to packing a weekender or a smaller suitcase, organization is key.

Béis The Weekend Duffel Bag

There are so many options out there for weekender bags, but this water-repellent tote from Béis ticks all our boxes including the trolley pass-through pocket to attach to your suitcase and save your shoulders. This one is just over $100.

Guanda Car Vent Phone Mount

Most of the time, travel is associated with flying, but whether by choice or not, sometimes the trip involves hours of car time. A phone mount changes the game on a long road trip and is definitely safer.

Comrad Nylon Knee High Socks

For those longer flights where you are in a confined space and not moving around as much (looking at you, window-seat fliers), compression socks can help reduce swelling and discomfort in the legs and feet.

Loop Quiet Earbuds

Weekend trips can sometimes mean a jam-packed itinerary, so when you want to sleep, you want to snooze uninterrupted. Enter Loop, a reusable silicone earplug that allows you to get the ultimate fit (it comes in four sizes) so you can get in that power nap.

Le Specs Outta Love Sunglasses

Forgetting your sunglasses on vacation, especially when headed somewhere sunny, is a rookie mistake, which is why this pair from Le Specs is perfect to just keep in your weekend bag so you are never without.. They’re stylish, sturdy, and under $70 , in case you end up losing or breaking them.

Cadence Build Your 6 Bundle

Normally, travel containers are not the most stylish or multifunctional. But these Cadence capsules are both of those things. Unlike traditional travel containers, these can be used for anything from storing pills and skincare products to necklaces and hand cream. Plus, you can design your own set to include different labels and colors

Everlane the Relaxed Oxford Shirt

You can never go wrong with a classic button-up . It’s a must-have for any trip, especially a weekend one when space is limited. Wear it on its own, with a dress or pants, or as a bathing suit cover-up.

Tower 28 SOS Daily Rescue Facial Spray

The Tower28 spray is our skin-care savior , and if you’re looking to pack minimally for weekend trips, this needs to be in the toiletry bag. Perfect for sensitive skin, it’s multifunctional, and a spritz delivers a refreshing dose of hydration and soothes stressed-out skin.

Kindle Paperwhite

Not only do books take up valuable real estate in a carry-on, they add a bit of weight too. A Kindle is so low profile and light that we do not even think twice about tossing it in our bag. It also saves us time doing the math on how many books we should be bringing on a trip because our next read is just a Wi-Fi connection away.

Anywhere From Five Days to a Week and a Half

A full-fledged trip that still limits you to a carry-on may be the most difficult to pack for. Europe,Cabo, our parents’ house, it’s all about making the most of the room you have, even if you can’t help but pack all your sunglasses , expensive skin care, and cute outfits.

Reformation Fantino Cashmere Collared Cardigan

This cashmere cardigan is amazing on its own or as a layering piece in case you get chilly en route or in your hotel room. When you’re packing a carry-on, the more pieces you have that you can wear multiple different ways, the better.

Dagne Dover Remi Glasses Case

Sometimes you just can’t decide which sunglasses to bring, especially if you are going somewhere extra-sunny. This protective case from Dagne Dover allows you to bring three pairs in a very compact and convenient case that is easy to hang up when you get to your final destination.

Away Bigger Carry-On

There is a reason you can’t travel without seeing one of these suitcases. It fits in the overhead bin of most major U.S. airlines and allows travelers enough room to store all their belongings while remaining light, sturdy, and sleek. Plus, it comes in seven attractive colors and has a USB external battery for those extra-long travel days. It is an essential for the majority of trips you will probably take.

Calpak Packing Cubes 5-Piece Set

We love using packing cubes when we need to keep a duffel bag from becoming total chaos or for just staying organized when we’re traveling somewhere where we will be doing a wide range of activities that require very different wardrobe options. These packing cubes from Calpak are cute and will help bring some order to a carry-on.

Aesop Resurrection Rinse-Free Hand Wash

Whether you are in the window seat and do not want to disturb your neighbors to wash your hands or need to do a quick clean after pumping gas on a road trip, having some sort of hand sanitizer while traveling is a good idea. This one from Aesop obviously smells amazing.

Baggu Packable Sun Hat

Senior writer Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz swears by bringing this foldable sun hat no matter the amount of time you plan to spend in the sun. It packs up so small, it’s easily justifiable to toss in your bag. If nothing else, it’s cute for a photo op or two.

Two Weeks or Longer

Uniqlo Wide-Fit Pleated Pants

Wearing trousers on a plane not only saves room in your suitcase but also makes you feel more put-together on the go. These comfy but tailored pants from Uniqlo can be worn casually or dressed up, making them the perfect pair to travel in for long periods.

Merit Flush Balm Cream Blush

A two-in-one product that is perfect for face and lips is a godsend on the road, and this Merit lightly tinted balm is highly rated. It is the perfect product to throw in your bag for when you want to do a real quick touch-up, no matter where you are. Not to mention it’s one of our senior shopping editor’s favorite cream blushes .

Rimowa Classic Check-In L

The pinnacle of traveling well comes down to one word: Rimowa. The cases are classic, luxurious, and durable, though definitely a splurge. If you’re traveling for long stretches of time, and often, they can be worth the price point.

Wild One Travel Carrier

Pets under 20 pounds are allowed to fly in a carrier under the seat in front of you, and this stylish option from Wild One opens into a bed so your pet can relax at the gate before you both board.

4PCS Refillable Travel Perfume Spray Bottles

Most fragrances do not come in a three-ounce bottle, and it can be quite a risk to send a glass bottle in your checked bag, so it might be safer to opt for something like this. Even when you are not traveling, these little cases are convenient to throw in a bag so that you always can carry around your favorite scent.

A Month or More

We’re way past suggesting hand cream and new luggage because, at this point, you’re practically moving to your destination. These are the things that upgrade you from a casual traveler to a pro and will make your longer flights and longer stays more comfortable

Bearaby Travel Napper

Carrying an extra six pounds might seem a bit excessive, but if you’re on a long flight and you’re staying over a month in your new destination, you might as well be as cozy and comfortable as possible. This travel0size weighted blanket from Bearaby comes in its own duffel bag, so it can easily be your personal item or be checked in with no problem.

FunTouch Rechargeable Travel Makeup Vanity Mirror

Want to be able to still do full glam while you’re away? This rechargeable and slim travel vanity mirror will help your makeup look flawless no matter your lighting situation.

Twelve South AirFly Pro

You may have seen this on your TikTok FYP. It allows you to connect your Bluetooth headphones (hello, AirPod Maxes ) to airplane screens, so you can watch your favorite comfort movie or episode of Sex and the City without worrying about bringing a corded pair or needing to purchase those cheap plane headphones in the air.

Saatva Weighted Silk Eye Mask

Like a weighted blanket for your eyes, this eye mask is sleep enhancing (perfect for long flights and jumping through timezones) and made from super soft silk.

Tumi Just In Case Tote

Chances you’ll come back from vacation with more clothes than you went there with are high, so consider packing this foldable nylon tote to hold all your overstock.

Mejuri Travel Case

Travel with ease knowing that your necklaces won’t get tangled and all your earrings are safe and sound in one place.

Daily Pill Organizer

This pill case also came from our TikTok FYP and is small enough to fit in any purse, but has enough storage to hold all your medicine, vitamins, and supplements.

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Editor’s Picks

travel essentials routine

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Top Things That Are A Must-Have In Your Travel Essentials

Picture of Ivana Greslikova

  • February 20, 2024
  • Last updated: February 23, 2024
  • What to pack

Home » Travel Blog » Top Things That Are A Must-Have In Your Travel Essentials

Embarking on a journey, whether a weekend getaway or a long-awaited vacation, is always an exciting experience. However, to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip, it’s essential to pack the right essentials. From practical items that enhance convenience to indispensable tools that provide peace of mind, having the right travel essentials can make all the difference between a stressful trip and a memorable adventure.

In this guide, we’ll explore the top things that should be on every traveler’s packing list, helping you prepare for your next excursion with confidence and ease. Whether you’re a seasoned globetrotter or a first-time explorer, these must-have travel essentials will help you stay organized, comfortable, and prepared for future adventures.

8 Things That Are A Must-Have In Your Travel Essentials

Travel-sized toiletries.

One essential item that should always be included in your travel essentials is travel-sized toiletries. These compact versions of your everyday hygiene products are convenient for packing and ensure you have everything you need to maintain your grooming routine while on the go. 

From mini bottles of shampoo and conditioner to travel-sized toothpaste and deodorant, having these toiletries on hand can make freshening up during your travels a breeze. They’re often TSA-compliant, making them ideal for hassle-free airport security checks. Whether you’re jetting off on a weekend getaway or embarking on an extended journey, travel-sized toiletries are a must-have for any traveler’s packing list.

travel essentials

Portable phone charger

A portable phone charger is another indispensable item to include in your travel essentials. In today’s digital age, smartphones serve as lifelines while traveling, providing navigation, communication, entertainment, and more. However, the last thing you want is your phone to run out of battery while exploring a new city or navigating unfamiliar terrain. 

A portable phone charger ensures you can keep your devices powered up on the go, allowing you to stay connected and capture precious memories without worrying about finding an outlet. Compact and lightweight, these chargers are easy to toss into your bag or pocket, making them a convenient and practical addition to any traveler’s toolkit.

Travel adapter

Another essential item to include in your travel essentials is a travel adapter. When traveling internationally, electrical outlets and voltage standards can vary from country to country, making it essential to have a travel adapter to ensure compatibility with your electronic devices. Whether charging your phone, laptop, camera, or other gadgets, a travel adapter allows you to plug them into foreign outlets safely and efficiently. 

With the compact design of most travel adapters, they take up minimal space in your luggage but provide maximum convenience and peace of mind throughout your journey. Don’t let incompatible outlets hinder your ability to stay connected and powered up while abroad – be sure to pack a travel adapter for a seamless experience.

Lightweight and versatile clothing

travel essentials

One crucial element in any traveler’s arsenal of essentials is lightweight and versatile clothing. Packing clothing items that are both lightweight and versatile can significantly enhance your travel experience by offering comfort, practicality, and adaptability to various climates and activities. 

Opting for garments made from breathable, quick-drying fabrics reduces your luggage’s weight and ensures that you stay cool and comfortable during your adventures. Additionally, choosing versatile pieces that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits allows for efficient packing and minimizes the need for excess clothing. 

Whether exploring bustling cities, trekking through nature, or lounging on a beach, having a selection of lightweight and versatile clothing ensures you’re prepared for whatever the journey may bring.

Travel wallet or organizer

travel essentials

An essential item that should always find its way into your travel essentials is a travel wallet or organizer. This compact accessory is designed to keep your essential documents, such as passports, boarding passes, credit cards, and currency, organized and secure. At the same time, you’re moving compartments and pockets, a travel wallet allows for easy access to essential items, reducing the risk of misplacing or losing important documents during your journey. 

Whether navigating airport security, checking into hotels, or exploring new destinations, having a travel wallet ensures that your essential documents are conveniently and safely stored, providing peace of mind throughout your travels.

Reusable water bottle

A reusable water bottle is another indispensable item to include in your travel essentials. Staying hydrated is essential while traveling, especially when exploring new destinations or outdoors. A reusable water bottle allows you to carry water wherever you go, ensuring you have access to refreshments without relying on single-use plastic bottles. 

Many airports and tourist attractions also offer water refill stations, making it easy to top up your bottle throughout your journey. By opting for a reusable water bottle, you reduce your environmental impact by minimizing plastic waste and save money on purchasing bottled water during your travels. Compact and lightweight, a reusable water bottle is a practical and eco-friendly addition to any traveler’s packing list.

It’s important to note that THC oil , derived from cannabis, may be subject to legal restrictions and regulations in various regions and countries. While some individuals may consider it a travel essential for personal use, it’s crucial to research and adhere to local laws and regulations regarding the possession and transportation of cannabis products. 

Travelers should exercise caution and discretion when carrying it to avoid legal complications or potential penalties. Additionally, it’s advisable to consult with relevant authorities or legal experts to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations while traveling with THC oil.

Travel-size first aid kit

Another essential item to consider in your travel essentials is a travel-size first aid kit. While nobody wants to anticipate accidents or injuries while traveling, having a compact first aid kit can provide peace of mind and essential supplies in emergencies. 

These kits typically contain basic medical supplies such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, adhesive tape, tweezers, allowing you to address minor injuries or ailments quickly and effectively.

travel essentials

Summing It Up

Packing the right essentials can make all the difference between a smooth and enjoyable travel experience and encountering unnecessary challenges. From practical items like travel-sized toiletries and portable phone chargers to safety essentials such as a travel adapter and a first aid kit, having the right travel essentials ensures you’re prepared for future adventures.

Lightweight and versatile clothing allows for comfort and adaptability, while a travel wallet or organizer keeps important documents secure and easily accessible.

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I'm a Travel Writer—I Don't Go Anywhere Without These 10 Items

From suitcases to sneakers, the go-to essentials when you’re always on the go.


I’ve traveled to more than 40 countries in the past 20 years, visiting every continent except Antarctica (which is still on my bucket list!). From jetting off on far-flung adventures in Iceland to quick road trips to Palm Springs , I’ve made my fair share of packing mistakes—and I've learned from them. Now, whether I’m sipping Champagne in the French countryside or going on safari in Africa, here are the must-haves I don’t leave home without. 

The Perfect Carry-On

When you’re flying thousands of miles every month, TUMI luggage is well worth the splurge. Its timeless design and top-tier functionality makes it a favorite of travel writers and jet-setters. The 19 Degree 22-inch carry-on is just as beautiful as it is durable and the smooth glide of double spinner wheels make it effortless to cruise through the airport. Opt for an aluminum hard-sided suitcase so you aren’t tempted to try to overstuff it, and organize your must-haves into packing cubes.

TUMI 19 Degree

Insanely Comfortable White Sneakers

While it's true that at most destinations, you can buy pretty much anything you didn’t pack, the one exception is really, really comfortable shoes. Since shoes are fairly heavy and take up a decent amount of space, packing just two to three versatile styles is key. No matter the destination, a timeless white sneaker is my first pick while packing. My Joyasol Paisley sneakers come with memory foam insoles that mold to your feet and are made from a luxe leather that can be dressed up or down. 

Joyasol Paisley sneakers

I first started carrying around black duct tape to cover up those pesky little lights that are constantly glowing in hotel rooms. As a light sleeper, getting a room truly blacked out is the best way for me to ensure a good night's sleep. Soon, though, I started realizing how often tape came in handy for other issues: creating a temporary fix for a broken backpack strap, helping secure curtains that don’t fully close, or sealing up a crack in my hiking boots.

A Cozy Sweatshirt

The one item I wear more than any other on a trip is my go-to sweatshirt . Even in tropical climates, I end up cozying up with it on flights and the inevitable spots where the A/C has been cranked up. While it's easy to get more excited about the fashion-forward looks you’ll be packing, there is always a spot in my go-bag for a great sweatshirt or hoodie. 

Tracksmith Crew - Amateur

Effortless Sunscreen

Almost any trip will entail far more time outside than I usually spend at home, even when I’m not at the beach. When I’m exploring the city instead of laying by the pool, it can be easy to forget to lather up with sunscreen or put on a hat . The Invisible Shield SPF 35 by Glossier applies like a serum, so it’s effortless to add to my morning routine when traveling. And since it's only 1 fl. oz., it tucks it into your carry-on within the TSA liquid requirements. 

Glossier Invisible Shield

Well-Stocked Medicine Kit

You can get basic medications from nearly any city in the world, but when you’re sick or hurt, you don't want to have to trek to a drugstore. My essentials are Pepto Bismol, ibuprofen, Zicam, pseudoephedrine, antiseptic ointment, and bandages. I also swear by hemp CBD to help with sleep, sore muscles, and other typical travel ailments— High Falls Hemp has a great travel pack of tinctures. 

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High Falls Hemp

Spare Sunglasses

The only item I lose more often than my phone charger when I’m traveling? Mysunglasses. (Pro tip: if you need a spare charger, ask at lost and found—they usually have a box full of forgotten chargers from past guests!) Now, I travel with an extra pair or two of folding sunglasses tucked away—they fold up super compact so they can fit into a small pocket. Keep them handy when getting off a red-eye to avoid the too-early glare of the sun off the tarmac. 

Zenni Foldable Round Sunglasses

Smartwatch or Fitness Tracker

Some travelers swear by a smartwatch to help them keep their cell phones out of sight while on vacation—but I use it to track my health stats so I know when to rest and when to adventure. I used to come back from a trip feeling like I needed a vacation to recover. Now, my watch can tell me if my night’s sleep was disrupted so I can schedule an afternoon siesta. It tracks my Daily Readiness Score to let me know before I get worn out (or fighting off a cold!) so I can take an extra day of pure R&R… as if I need an excuse to lounge in a poolside cabana all day!

Google Pixel Watch

Versatile Shirt Dress

A classic cotton shirt dress is one of the most versatile items of vacation wardrobe since it can be styled so many different ways. Dress it up with statement jewelry, go casual with a denim jacket, or wear it open over a swimsuit as a cover-up. 

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travel essentials routine

31 Carry-On Essentials Our Editors Swear By

By Madison Flager and Megan Spurrell

Carry on products collage.

All products featured on Condé Nast Traveler are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

At 35,000 feet, the simplest of items can become essentials. Whether it's a favorite protein bar that breaks up the salted peanut humdrum, or a MacGyvered combination of accessories that ensure sleep, these items are what make sitting in an aluminum tube hurtling through the sky seem, well, bearable. Below, Traveler editors share their best tips for what to pack in a carry-on , from skin-saving beauty hacks to gadgets that keep boredom at bay, plus more practical items, like a case to store travel documents and credit cards and pouches for all of our toiletries. These are the items that have firmly earned a spot in our carry-on luggage and personal items, making travel days smoother, no matter where we're headed.

Tech essentials

Organizational hacks, creature comforts, beauty and wellness must-haves, packable snacks, hydration essentials.

  • More in-flight items we love

This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.


I’ve been sold on these Technics earbuds from the moment I got them, and I refuse to fly without them now. The most underrated feature is the ambient sound mode. It cancels out all surrounding noise but you will still be able to catch announcements coming from the cockpit as if the pilot is talking directly to you. —Paris Wilson, commerce producer

iPad Air

The iPad Air has become my favorite carry-on tech item. Between e-book apps and downloaded TV shows from Netflix and Hulu, I can fit hours and hours worth of entertainment onto the slim tablet. And if I’m trying to get work done but don’t want to bring my laptop, I use the Smart Keyboard case, which is surprisingly lightweight for a keyboard that feels stable and is almost full-size. Plus, the battery life is great, so I don’t have to worry about running out of power, even if I’m using it for the majority of the flight. —Stephanie Wu, former Traveler editor

Sony WH-1000XM4 Headphones

Once I was on a 16-hour flight, seated in front of the chattiest passenger. (He was going to Cape Town , then Australia , Singapore , and Hawaii , if you were wondering. He also loves 90 Day Fiancé .) Luckily, all I had to do was pop on my Sony noise-canceling headphones and I was in my own oasis of silence. These Bluetooth headphones are pricey but they're worth it. They block out nearly all noise, are pressure optimized for comfortable listening on flights, and come with a two-prong jack (especially useful for passengers in business class , where the seat-back usually requires one). Best of all, they have a built-in microphone which can pipe in outside noise—all you have to do is hold your hand over the right ear—so you won't have to take them off to hear flight attendant announcements. They're a lifesaver. —Meredith Carey, former Traveler editor

travel essentials routine

Once in flight, I become absolutely glued to my Kindle. Lately, I've been churning through the Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante from wheels up to wheels down. This version of the Kindle has adjustable lighting which is perfect for reading on planes with dim cabins (and helps you avoid being “that person” who uses the overhead reading light during a nighttime flight). I like to load my Kindle up with a couple new books before I leave for a trip, so I can continuously read no matter what my on-board Wi-Fi situation might be. —Jessica Puckett, travel news and transportation senior editor

Image may contain: Electronics

I've recently become an AirPod convert—I just got the noise-canceling set and there's no turning back—but if there's one place an old school pair of headphones with a cord and a headphone jack reigns, it's in-flight. Most in-flight entertainment systems require a 3.5mm headphone jack, like the classic Apple headphones, and there's truly nothing worse than finding yourself unable to plug in when you want to (or relying on the headphones they sell onboard). I have an iPhone 10, so it's also essential I pack a lightning adapter so I have the freedom to switch to music on my phone when I'd like. I'd argue every frequent traveler should have a spare set of these headphones tucked inside their carry-on —even if you have another set of headphones you use more regularly, these guys are a lifesaver whenever you inevitably forget your bigger, better pair on a long-haul flight. —Megan Spurrell, senior editor

Image may contain: Bag, and Briefcase

Longer trips mean I'm packing more gear, and I like keeping this pouch pre-packed with my endless array of cords, headphones, back-up battery back, adaptor, and plug-ins ready to go. The organizational structure of this pouch, with its many internal dividers and sections, means I can find everything easily and never worry about messy cord management. —Corina Quinn, former Traveler editor

travel essentials routine

I was given a set of travel pouches as a gift and they've been absolutely invaluable. I didn't think I'd be able to use all three, but on a recent trip, I used the small one for my vitamins, the medium one for electronic cords and adapters, and the large one as a catch-all for all the stuff that typically just floats around at the bottom of my bag. It made it way easier to reach into my carry-on to grab things mid-flight, when I'm usually juggling a million objects and stuff is spilling everywhere on my lap, tray table, and the floor. —S.W.

Image may contain: Clothing, Apparel, and Buckle

There should be a word for the level of frustration induced by tangled cords in your carry-on—especially when you're desperately trying to retrieve a charger for your iPad, which is currently at one percent and you have three more episodes of The Crown to get through. This Is Ground's Cord Tacos solve it all with a super simple taco-shaped design that keeps cords nicely organized. They also come in a bunch of colors, making them easy to find at the bottom of your bag. —Lale Arikoglu, articles director

Image may contain: Wallet, Accessories, Accessory, and Bag

Mark & Graham's commute clutch gives me one spot to keep all the small but essential things I always take with me. It's so organized, and I love how easy it is to pack and find what I need, fast—whether that's my wireless earbuds, pens, lip moisturizer , in-flight sheets masks , passport, or money. —C.Q.

A small bag.

Like packing cubes , small pouches are essential when traveling—you can never have too many. This small one from Cuyana is made of a pretty pebbled leather, and is the perfect size for storing AirPods, corded headphones (to use for in-flight movies), and a lip balm. —Madison Flager, senior commerce editor

travel essentials routine

If I’m traveling with checked baggage, I like to keep my toiletries and medicine on me in my carry-on bag or personal item, just in case I have to deal with lost luggage. I’ll make sure all my travel essentials are in there: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, contact solution, plus any valuables like jewelry. For extra-long flights and red eyes, I’ll bring a change of clothes, too. —M.F.

travel essentials routine

This is my new must-have on flights where I'm trying to sleep. It's surprisingly easy to blow up (I'm talking three or four breaths, max), and is easy to adjust depending on which way you want to lean and how firm or soft you prefer a pillow to be. Even better, it rolls up tightly, taking up way less space in a backpack or tote than a traditional neck pillow. —M.F.  

travel essentials routine

I would like to consider myself a compression sock evangelist. For pretty much every flight more than 4 hours I pop on knee-high compression socks , which eliminate any pins and needles feeling from sitting for so long and give me more energy on arrival. I love this Comrad pair, mostly because you can pull them off as regular socks before and after you board and no one will be the wiser. —M.C.

Image may contain: Food, and Ketchup

These ear plugs are also at the tippy top of my carry-on packing list—they block out any noises on board. Once you roll them between your fingers, they expand to fit comfortably in any ear and offer complete silence no matter what chatty flier is sitting next to you or how many flight attendant call buttons go off. I buy these in bulk and bring several pairs with me on every flight I take. —J.P.

Image may contain: Cushion

After resisting an eye mask for many years, a work-week red eye finally made me a convert. I find that compression-style masks are best for helping me actually fall asleep in the air…and if it has a cooling insert, even better. This weighted IMAK version was made to fight headaches and will block out any sunlight, so you don't have to worry about nudging your neighbor to close the shade. Even better: It's less than $15 on Amazon. —M.F.

Image may contain: Food, and Mayonnaise

Disinfecting wipes always come in handy. I wipe down my plane seat and tray table when I first board and use them to clean my hands before and after enjoying my in-flight snack. I’ve also reached for these when first arriving at an Airbnb or hotel room, at an amusement park, and after a subway ride. —Meaghan Kenny, associate commerce editor

Lemon mist.

When hand sanitizer was in short supply in 2020, I was extremely happy to have a few bottles of Everyone for Every Body's hand sanitizer spray squirreled away. A few years later, it's still a go-to, mainly for the great smell—a mix of that sunscreen-coconut and fresh lemon. Without fail, whenever I use it, someone asks what it is and where to get it. Plus, it doesn't dry out my hands. —M.F.

Image may contain: Bottle, Text, and Label

This hand sanitizer from Aesop was already my go-to before the pandemic, and has continued to serve me well ever since. It doesn't dry your hands out, smells of mandarin rind and rosemary leaf, and comes in a sleek little bottle—a luxurious upgrade to the other hand sanitizers that now permanently rattle around in my tote bag. —L.A.

Image may contain: Bottle, Cosmetics, Lotion, and Sunscreen

For as long as I can remember, my mom has been using Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, applying it with near-religious zeal after a shower, before bed, and post-beach. It's one of the many good habits she's passed on to me—albeit one of a small number I've been smart enough to practice regularly. I have super-sensitive dry skin to begin with, and I find that this lotion, which I take in a TSA-friendly tube when I'm traveling, moisturizes it just enough, leaving my skin soft, dewy, and replenished, even after a multi-hour plane ride. It's liquid gold. —Betsy Blumenthal, features and franchises editor

Image may contain: Bottle, Cosmetics, and Aftershave

My skincare routine is simple, and works for me year-round, but I don't like to disrupt it when I travel. Thankfully, Kiehl's makes miniature travel-size versions of my products, like their Cucumber Herbal Conditioning Cleanser, which are close to me on every flight, and crucial for the tired state my skin is always in after. —Louis Cheslaw, former Traveler editor  

[Editor's note: The carry-on size version is no longer produced, so we recommend transferring product into a Cadence Capsule when you're carrying on.]

travel essentials routine

You think a spritz is a spritz until you use this one. Lumene is a Finnish brand and the company uses all Nordic ingredients in their products, down to the water which comes from a pure Arctic spring. Spray the Lähde Hydrating Mist a couple of times after a long flight and the water, which is infused with nourishing birch sap and releases the most wonderfully subtle fragrance, will wake your skin right up. —Erin Florio, executive editor

Lip mask.

The Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask is such an essential carry-on item for me. I keep a tube of it in a special pocket of my bag so I can find it quickly without fumbling. It's so moisturizing on my lips, which tend to flake in dry aircraft cabins, and even adds a hint of shimmer. It also spreads easily and is thicker than something like Aquaphor without being too sticky. There are five different colors available—I love the light pink Champagne color and the sheer red Smashed—and the tubes last forever. —J.P.

Image may contain: Bottle, Cosmetics, and Sunscreen

My hands get really dry when I travel, and I love Supergoop!'s moisturizer because it never feels greasy and keeps my hands smooth. As a bonus, it's completely odorless and provides great SPF coverage. —C.Q.

travel essentials routine

I almost always have a tin of Rosebud Salve on me, but especially when I fly. It's thicker than most other lip balms I've tried, and keeps my lips from getting dry in flight. Plus, it doubles as a balm over dry patches on my hands, and each small tin lasts for months, even with frequent use. —M.F.

Image may contain: Food, and Snack

A lot of plane food is trash, so I always pack nuts when I travel. I’m obsessed with the ‘Bold’ line from Blue Diamond because the almonds come in tongue-lashing flavors like Salt & Vinegar, Spicy Dill Pickle, and Wasabi & Soy Sauce. They’re completely addictive—and at 30,000 feet, you need aggressive flavors to punch through the dulling of your palate. —A.H.

Image may contain: Text, Label, and Bottle

Under most circumstances, if I’m eating a bar of any kind, it means that something has gone terribly wrong with my eating plans for the day. However, when it comes to plane snacks, Perfect Bars are worthy of their name. They taste significantly better than other high protein bars—really, they eat like crumbly cookies—and they have the ability to keep you full for two or three hours in the air. —N.K.

travel essentials routine

I love RXBars because they taste good but feel quite healthy—and when I travel, I know I'll be eating and drinking everything possible when I reach my destination, so swapping the Reese's pieces at Hudson News for something made of fruits and nuts feels like a kindness to my body. On most flights, I have to have my own snacks, too, because there's nothing worse than realizing you're hungry mid-flight and having nothing to turn to beside Biscoff cookies (sorry, Biscoff hive). —M.S.

Image may contain: Bottle, Shaker, and Cylinder

I’ve started carrying a reusable water bottle whenever I travel, whether I'm getting on a long flight or a short car ride. I love the way the BKR looks, with its sturdy glass material, carry-handle, and the wide variety of color options. For something more lightweight, Nalgene is the way to go. —S.W.

Image may contain: Cosmetics, Bottle, and Sunscreen

I take in-flight hydration seriously. Actually I take hydration seriously all the time, and I don't let a flight derail me. I love Nuun electrolyte tablets because you can drop them in your water and get a fizzy little drink, and they have less sugar than other brands like Liquid IV. I swear I land feeling fresher for it—and I like to think my effort saves my skin from reaching that wretched bone-dry airplane state, though I'm not clear on the science of the whole hydrating-from-the-inside-out thing. —M.S.

An AG1 box.

Early morning flights are tough, but sometimes, they're unavoidable. When I'm leaving my house before the sun rises, I like to bring an Athletic Greens travel pack with me to drink on the way to the airport or before boarding my flight. It gives me a boost of energy, without having to stand in the inevitably long line for coffee at the airport. And between the hydration, vitamins, and minerals, I feel like I'm starting my day off on the right foot. My only qualm—I wish the travel packs were narrower, so no powder would spill out when I'm pouring a pack into my water bottle. —M.F.  

More in-flight items we like to pack

Image may contain: Text, and Bottle

No matter how many gadgets I have on me, I always pack a small notebook and keep it close on every trip. Sometimes my neighbor turns out to be from wherever I'm headed and I want to jot down their tips; other times, I know my phone is going to die before we land and I need to scribble out the address of my Airbnb to show a cab driver. There's something romantic about having a physical notebook at the ready, and with a tiny one like the Moleskine Volant, I never have to ask if I really need it when deciding what to pack (or cut) in a carry-on. —M.S.

travel essentials routine

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These essentials make spring travel easy, from spacious belt bags to one-and-done outfits

Now that the sun is starting to stay out longer (no more 5 p.m. sunsets!), it's safe to say warm weather is on the horizon. With sunshine on your mind, you're probably already preparing for spring break or even your big summer getaway . But don't let busy airports and crowded planes keep you from enjoying the trip you've been looking forward to all winter long. Instead, put your mind at ease with a packing list full of some much-needed essentials .

Shop TODAY contributor Chassie Post and Shop TODAY editorial director Adrianna Brach previously stopped by Studio 1A to share some must-have spring travel items, from a compact curling iron to one-and-done clothing picks. Keep reading to shop all her favorite items, plus more editor-approved essentials.

Travel essentials seen on TODAY | Seen on 3rd hour of TODAY | Seen on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna | More travel essentials | How we chose | Meet the experts

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Chico's travelers tie waist jumpsuit.

Travelers Tie Waist Jumpsuit

For an easy, no-frills, one-and-done outfit to wear when traveling, this jumpsuit from Chico's checks all the boxes. A "wrinkle-free" fabric, according to the brand, it'll keep you comfortable all day.

Available in petite and regular size options and lengths, the brand is truly committed to making your travel days easier, also in part due to its elastic waist and ability to be dressed up or down, depending on your travel style.

Conair Unbound Cordless Auto Curler

Cordless Auto Curler

This compact hair tool takes only one minute to heat up and provides one full hour of cord-free usage off a single charge. Get long-lasting curls while on-the-go without sacrificing too much space in your dopp kit.

Wild Fable Hayley Slide Sandals

Hayley Slide Sandals

Once the pedicure appointment is set, it's time to pick out what sandals you want to show it off in! This thick-strapped slide from Target is available in two different colors (white and black), plus a wide range of sizes.

The faux leather straps velcro shut, allowing you to adjust it to be comfortable when walking.

Brush Bubble Silicone Makeup Brush Covers

Silicone Makeup Brush Covers

Cover one large brush or a set of littles with these silicone protectors that easily slide on and off your brushes without ruining their shape.

Available in a number of colors, this 2-pack is well-loved by reviewers because of how easy it is to clean.

SteelSeries Stratus+ Wireless Gaming Controller

Stratus+ Wireless Gaming Controller

Stratus+ Wireless Gaming Controller

Steelseries nimbus+ wireless gaming controller.

Nimbus+ Controller for Apple Products

Think vacation will tear your favorite gamer away from their video games? Think again. This controller has versions compatible with both Android and Apple devices and allows them to play with ease while on the go.

Both of these controllers last up to 50 hours off of a single charge, ensuring enough game play for their next long flight or road trip.

Cincha Travel Belt Bag

Travel Belt Bag

It's the accessory known around the world: the viral belt bag. Made with recycled nylon (that's well-known for being easy to clean!), this durable bag promises to hold everything you nee d for day trips, sightseeing and everything in between.

It has two straps: one that allows you to wear it either across your body or at your waist, and another that you can grasp like a clutch. Plus, it has a "passthrough" that slips over your suitcase handle, so you can remain hands-free throughout the airport.

Cincha Travel Belt

Travel Belt

If your bag doesn't include a slip-through sleeve allowing you to slide it over the handle of your suitcase, Cincha has got you covered with this travel belt.

It employs a strap to ensure that your bag stays in place, leaving you hands-free. It even tightens like an airplane seatbelt to secure your bag in place. It's available in a number of different colors and designs, including two lengths depending on the size of your personal item.

Travel essentials seen on 3rd hour of TODAY

Airplane window organizer.

Airplane Window Organization Station

Are you team window or aisle seat? (Because let’s be honest, no one willingly chooses the middle seat). If you chose aisle, you might want to rethink your decision thanks to this product that gives you more space in the already-cramped seats.

This organizer slides into the airplane’s window fixture, holding two beverages, your phone and a pair of sunglasses with ease. Plus, it doesn’t take up much room in your personal item, as it folds up and fits in its own carrying pouch.

Serenity Tray Organizers

Tray Organizer

Traveling with kids? The mesh pockets on the seat in front of you are much too small to hold everything they need, so opt for this 4-pocket organizer that slides over the tray table and easily holds their favorite stuffed animal, tablet, water bottle, coloring books and more.

When you’re not using it as a catch-all for the flight, it becomes a drawstring pouch to hold everything together. Plus, it’s easy to clean as well — simply throw it in the wash with the rest of your clothes when unpacking.

Musicozy Bluetooth Sleep Headphones

Sleep Headphones Headband

If the hum of white noise lulls you to sleep, incorporate your nighttime routine into your takeoff routine with this headphones headband that utilizes Bluetooth technology to play music and sounds via your phone or tablet.

This easy-to-use headband has three buttons to power the headband and control the volume, plus it can last 14 hours on a single charge (making it great for longer flights!).

Supergoop! Everyday SPF Faves Kit

Everyday SPF Faves Kit

Sunscreen is a must-have product year-round, no matter if you live in a state with warm weather or not. This set from Supergoop! includes all of their bestsellers, including some of their lightweight and most-protective picks.

From their sheer Unseen Sunscreen to their tinted Glow Screen (that both offer SPF 40 protection), this kit also includes their glow stick balm and setting spray, all available in TSA-compatible sizes.

Vivaia Slip On Sneakers

Sneaker Sliders

These unisex sneakers help minimize stress surrounding the security line. If you (along with the rest of TikTok ) are never sure on what the rules are at certain airports, save yourself the hassle of tying and untying your shoes with these slip-ons.

While they do have laces, you only have to tie them once to find your perfect fit, then they’re hands-free every time after that. Coming in either mesh or wool materials, they’re also available in 15 different colors.

Summersalt The Sidestroke One-Piece Swimsuit

The Sidestroke

TODAY readers can save 25% on women's swimsuits and men's swim trunks with code TODAY, now through 5/30.

Dubbed the “unicorn of swimsuits,” this one-piece from Summersalt continues to be a go-to for many members of the Shop TODAY team, including editorial director Adrianna Brach, who’s owned hers for over five years.

It’s free of all the features that make swimsuits sometimes a pain, including underwires, padding, clasps and additional straps. Available in a number of colors and patterns (14!) and a wide range of sizes (0-24), it’s also available in a long torso option that includes an extra inch and three quarters onto the body of the swimsuit.

Summersalt Men’s Swim Short

The Men’s Swim Short

Once Summersalt perfected their women’s swimsuit, they launched a men’s one too! With mesh lining and a patterned back pocket, these prove to be functional and fun.

Some reviewers note that they run big, so you might want to size down. Available in four different colors and patterns, they even match some of the women’s one-pieces, so you can coordinate on vacation!

Seen on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna

Rollink flex 360 carry-on collapsible suitcase.

Flex 360 Carry-On Fully Collapsible Suitcase

As residents of New York City, Shop TODAY editors are always on the hunt for functional products that also fit in their apartments without taking up too much space.

This suitcase is no different than the one you already own, it has a hard shell, 360-degree wheels and a TSA-approved lock — but it also collapses down to only 5 inches.

When it’s expanded, it opens up to reveal 40 liters of space, perfect for three weeks worth of items, according to production associate Audrey Ekman, who traveled internationally with it.

AirFly SE

What’s an item that you can use both on a treadmill and an airplane? This Bluetooth transmitter. It allows you to ditch the in-flight headphones and use your own wireless earbuds.

Simply connect it to your headphones, plug it in to the headphone port, then stream music, movies and shows per usual. It can also connect to two sets of headphones simultaneously, making it easy to watch a movie with children or a friend mid-flight.

Flpsde Water Bottle with Snack Storage

Water Bottle with Snack Storage

It’s no secret that we love multitasking products, especially ones that will appease hungry children. This water bottle fits up to 20 ounces of a beverage, plus seven ounces of their favorite snack. It’s also insulated to keep liquids in it hot or cold for hours on end.

The Sleepy Tie

Extend the life of your blowout while getting your beauty rest thanks to this scrunchie that does the work overnight! Available in small, medium and large sizes depending on the length and thickness of your hair, this Shop TODAY writer-recommended product is essentially the 2024 version of sleeping in your curlers.

Not only is it easy to use, but due to their hair color-like shades, you can wear it on your flight without receiving weird looks, preserving your blowout while traveling.

Medium Chai

Studs Flatback Earrings

Flatback Earrings

With a new ear piercing studio at 30 Rock, now is the perfect time to invest in STUDS earrings. Their flatback line is ideal for traveling-as you don’t have to worry about messing with or losing the traditional backs, plus they’re more comfortable to wear.

Some of them are available in a “reversible” design, with the flat back also incorporating a fun shape. The name “STUDS” is a nod to their business design: you purchase one earring at a time, to mix and match your “earscape.”

More travel essentials

Makeup eraser 7-day set.

Coconut 7-Day Set

Coconut 7-Day Set

These reusable makeup remover pads can be used throughout the entire duration of your trip, and easily cleaned with the rest of your clothes when you return.

All you need is to add water to remove a days’ worth of mascara, foundation and more. Not only will your home planet thank you, but your wallet as well, as one wipe lasts 3,600 washes according to the brand.

Kenra Professional Simply Add Water Shampoo

Kenra Professional Simply Add Water Shampoo

Simply Add Water Shampoo

Ami Desai , lifestyle, fashion and beauty expert loves this innovative shampoo as a beauty travel hack because it's packaged as a powder-based formula that you pour into your hand, add water and lather into your hair, just as you would with a normal shampoo. According to the brand, you'll get three times more product than most liquid shampoos. And Desai says you won't have to worry about TSA guidelines or spills in your luggage.

Kenra Professional Simply Add Water Conditioner

Kenra Professional Simply Add Water Conditioner

Simply Add Water Conditioner

The brand also offers a conditioner counterpart to help keep your locks looking soft and shiny throughout your vacation.

Foxybae Mini Rose Gold Travel Kit

Mini Rose Gold Travel Kit

Mini Rose Gold Travel Kit

Hair tools can be bulky and take up a lot of space in your suitcases. That's why Desai likes this mini travel kit, which comes with a bag, small flat iron, curling iron and hair dryer — all of which you get for under $80. According to the brand, the tools have dual voltage so you can use them internationally.

Aloisia Beauty Deep Hydration Aloe Gel Mist

Deep Hydration Aloe Gel Mist

Deep Hydration Aloe Gel Mist

Desai says she keeps this cooling aloe mist with her whenever she travels. She especially likes it for sunburns since the misting nozzle is mess-free and you don't have to touch painful and sensitive skin while applying. According to the brand, it contains soothing witch hazel and green tea to help calm the skin. Desai also says that since it contains hydrating ingredients, you can even use it as a primer or setting spray.

Lazy Day All-In-One Moisture Pads

PEACH & LILY Lazy Day All-In-One Moisture Pads

All-In-One Moisture Pads

While you might want to keep up with your 10-step skin care routine while on vacation, that's not usually realistic. Desai says that when she's traveling, she likes something quick and easy and leans on these three-in-one moisture pads after cleansing. According to the brand, they're formulated to act as a toner while offering hydration.

Beis The Cosmetics Case

The Cosmetics Case

The Cosmetics Case

To keep organized, Desai likes this cosmetic case since it allows her to see everything at once and has tons of storage for her makeup essentials and brushes. According to the brand, it's made of faux leather so you can easily wipe it clean and it comes with a removable standing mirror so can apply your makeup on-the-go.

Modoker Convertible Garment Bag

Convertible Garment Bag

Convertible Garment Bag

This multifunctional garment bag is perfect for men's suits or lengthy dresses. The two-in-one functionally allows you to hang your outfit like a normal garment bag then zip it up into a duffle bag for the rest of your traveling essentials, from toiletries bags to clothing. According to the brand, it meets most airplane carry-on requirements, making traveling easier than ever.

Rollink Flex Vega Carry-On Suitcase

Flex Vega Carry-On Suitcase

Vega Carry-On Suitcase

Since suitcases can take up a lot of storage space, "Looking Fly on a Dime" author Patrice J. Williams loves this genius collapsible option. According to the brand, it can fold flat and will only lay about two inches high. Williams says this makes it easy to store under the bed, in closets or inside other suitcases. Not only that, but it also is sturdy enough to hold all of your essentials for a weekend getaway or big shopping trip.

TaihuaXin Luggage Cup Holder

TaihuaXin Luggage Cup Holder

Luggage Cup Holder

If you find yourself constantly juggling your luggage, coffee and water bottles through the airport, Williams likes this useful luggage cup holder. You can slip the adjustable sleeves over your luggage handle or wear it as a crossbody, which Williams says makes it a great option for hiking, too. And that's not all, there's even a zippered pouch to store your IDs and credit cards.

Bagail Compression Packing Cubes

BAGAIL 4 Set/6 Set Compression Packing Cubes Travel Expandable Packing Organizers

Compression Packing Cubes

Whether you're team packing cubes or not, Williams says compression cubes will help you pack even more items than usual, which is great news if you're a chronic over-packer. Coming in a set of four, these cubes feature an additional zipper to help allow the bag to lay flatter, but Williams notes you'll want to fill each cube only two-thirds of the way. She also mentions these cubes are a great travel hack to help keep your suitcase organized, especially if you're sharing a suitcase.

CHI Handheld Garment Steamer

CHI Steam Handheld Garment Steamer

Handheld Garment Steamer

If you're looking to quickly de-wrinkle your clothing while traveling, Williams likes this compact steamer by CHI as a quicker and easier option than the hotel iron. According to the brand, it will heat up in about 35 seconds and it only weighs about one pound, so it won't take up much of that extra needed weight.

Portable Mini Refillable Perfume Atomizer Bottle

Portable Mini Refillable Perfume Atomizer Bottle,Atomizer Perfume Bottle,Refillable Perfume Spray, Scent Pump Case, Perfume Atomizer Refillable Travel 4 Pcs Pack of 5ml

Mini Refillable Perfume Bottle

Celebrity and bridal makeup artist Ashlee Glaze r doesn't waste an ounce of her favorite fragrance when she travels with these portable perfume bottles that keep her perfume safe, portable and TSA-approved. Since the container is made of high-quality aluminum and durable glass, you can take a broken perfume bottle off your worry list.

Rechargeable Travel Makeup Vanity Mirror

Rechargeable Travel Makeup Vanity Mirror with 72 Led Lights, FUNTOUCH Portable Lighted Makeup Beauty Mirror, 3 Color Lighting, Dimmable Touch Screen, Tabletop LED Folding Cosmetic Mirror with Lights

Travel Makeup Vanity Mirror

A reliable mirror is a necessity to create your sun-kissed vacation glow . However, Glazer says most bathrooms aren't designed with beauty in mind. This affordable travel makeup mirror has 72 LED lights that can glow in white, warm and cool settings. Now you can do your makeup anywhere and everywhere.

Apple AirTag (Pack of 4)

AirTag (Pack of 4)

AirTag (Pack of 4)

As more people travel this summer, lost baggage is on the rise. Keep track of your luggage with Apple's AirTags. After syncing the AirTag with your Find My map, place it in your bag so you can keep track of your luggage as it travels from point A to point B. Glazer loves putting it in her makeup bag!

Unidapt Universal Travel Adapter

Unidapt Universal Travel Adapter, International Plug Adaptor Outlet Wall Charger Converter with 5.6A Smart Power and 3.0A USB Type C US to EU, AU, UK, USA

Whether you have a lot of devices to charge or need to convert to a foreign outlet, this universal travel adapter will satisfy your charging needs while fitting in thr palm of your hands, according to Glazer. In addition to including five USB ports, the adapter can charge devices in countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Spain, the brand shares.

Travelon Bag Bungee

Bag Bungee

If you have trouble balancing your carry-ons while rushing through the airport, you can use this hassle-free travel hack. This bag bungee is adjustable and easily fits between your suitcase handle for a secure fit, allowing you to easily roll your luggage around.

Stojo Collapsible Water Bottle

Collapsible Water Bottle

Collapsible Water Bottle

Lifestyle and travel expert Bahar Takhtechian says you won't get in trouble with the TSA by bringing your own reusable water bottle. You can also save on plastic and money by refilling at any airport water fountain. When full and expanded, this bottle fits up to 20 ounces of water and collapses down to under four inches when emptied, making it easy to throw in your carry-on.

So-Mine Commuter Essential Bag

Commuter Essential Bag

Commuter Essential Bag

Keep all of your personal items in one place with this commuter bag. Featuring six open pockets, it is slim enough to attach to your airplane seat and holds your phone, tablet, chargers and more!

How we chose

The Shop TODAY editors and writers search the internet to find the best products out there. We interview expert sources, comb through customer reviews and even use our own personal experiences to make shopping easier for our readers.

As an editorial team, we independently create content and determine coverage based on research, reporting and what we think  TODAY.com  readers would like to read about. The goal of our content is to provide a service and inform readers who are on the hunt for the latest products to help make their life better. Items are sold by retailer, not TODAY. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time.  Learn more about Shop TODAY .

Meet the experts

  • Bahar Takhtehchian is a lifestyle, wellness, style, motherhood and travel expert.
  • Patrice J. Williams is the author of "Looking Fly on a Dime," a novel on how to find affordable and chic clothing items.
  • Ashlee Glazer is a celebrity and bridal makeup artist.
  • Ami Desai is a lifestyle, beauty and fashion expert.

travel essentials routine

Shannon Garlin is an Associate Editor for Shop TODAY.

travel essentials routine

Bella Druckman is a production coordinator at Shop TODAY.

travel essentials routine

Sierra is an associate editor for Shop TODAY.


The 15 Best Travel Essentials For Women (Packing Advice From a Full Time Traveler)

in Travel Style on 08/23/23

I’m going to start by saying that I’m not an over-packer. I travel the world full time with a carry-on bag and a small backpack… oh and my husband! 😜 and after 2 years of doing this, I’ve learned that there are things I absolutely cannot live without because they make my life on the road a lot easier. So, whether you’re getting ready to start jet-setting across the globe or exploring hidden gems closer to home, you’re about to revolutionize your packing game! I’m going to share all my secrets as a minimalist packer, as well as my top 15 travel essentials for women. No BS!

Ready to Learn About My Top Travel Essentials For Women? Let’s Dive In!

The 15 Best Travel Essentials For Women! Advice From A Full Time Traveler. By Ways of Style.

*This post contains affiliate links. Which means if you shop for certain things by clicking the links in this blog post, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you! Thanks in advance for supporting Ways of Style!

First: Let’s Talk About Minimalist Packing!

Less is always more. Once you learn to have a minimalist approach when it comes to traveling, you will not only save time and stress, but you will also free up valuable head space. Yes, you read that right!

The less things you have, the less you will worry about what to wear and the more free space you’ll have in your mind. This can help you be more creative and save you time to read, relax or to think about things you actually care about. The less meaningless decisions you have to make every single day, the better.

Today, I’m going to teach you how to become a minimalist packer and help you think about the essential travel pieces you actually need. NO BS! Are you ready?

Basic Things To Consider When Packing Your Suitcase:

  • Obvious one, but where are you going? Check the weather a week in advance. There could be rain, or a cold front, or a heat wave, or it could be sunny and 70 degrees… all of this matters when deciding what to bring with you.
  • What type of activities will you be doing? Beach, hikes, museums, party, etc.
  • Is it a fancy or a casual trip?
  • How long is the trip? My current packing set-up allows me to create outfits for at least 15 days before I have to do laundry (although we do end up doing laundry every week).
  • Is there a washer at your Airbnb? Does your hotel have 24-hour laundry service? This is especially important if you like to pack white t-shirts like me :)
  • Do you sweat a lot? Weird question I know, but this helps you think about how many times you can realistically wear something before you have to wash it. This is different for everyone.
  • How many times a day do you usually change while on vacation? Try to picture how your days will look like and what seems realistic. You will most likely wear only one outfit per day. For this one is very important that you picture how your days will look like, and where your accommodation is located. For example, we were in Rome this past summer and our hotel was very far from the center, so we just committed to spend the day in the center until after dinner. Hence, I only needed one outfit per day ;)
  • Have you checked how walkable your destination is? Because if you’re going to Western Europe, it is very unlikely you will be wearing heels or flat sandals with slippery soles. You know the ones I’m talking about… forget about those if where you’re going is hilly and with cobblestone streets.

How To Pick The Right Pieces To Pack?

Ok, so this blog post is not about a detailed packing list, but about the best travel essentials for women , but I think if you’re here, you probably need some guidance on which pieces to pack. Here’s my advice:

  • Quality over quantity. This will help you look more polished, even if you wear the same thing 2 or 3 times.
  • Go back to basics! Plain T-shirts , a little black dress , white sneakers , comfortable pants , a plain midi skirt , button down shirts, etc… these days all of these basic pieces can look very chic if you style them correctly. Solids and neutrals are your best friends! These are some of my favorite outfits with my most styled basic pieces:

The 15 Best Travel Essentials For Women! Advice From A Full Time Traveler. By Ways of Style.

  • Versatility is key! Button down shirts can be styled open, tied around your waist, thrown over a dress, as a beach/pool cover-up and they make GREAT layering pieces if the temperature drops.
  • The right accessories can elevate any look. Don’t underestimate the power of these! More on that below.
  • Lay every single thing you want to bring with you on your bed. This way you can really visualize the quantity of items and easily see if the colors/prints you want to bring work well with each other (don’t underestimate this step).

Resist the temptation to overpack “just in case.” Stick to the mindset of embracing simplicity and trust that you’ll have everything you need within reach throughout your trip. I understand traveling can be stressful and that you’re just making sure that all of your needs will be covered.

But I can tell you from personal experience that you if you do end up needing anything extra (which rarely happens) you will be able to find everything you need. And you will be amazed at how much your concept of “need” evolves over time. I promise, you don’t need as much as you think.

Also Read 👉🏻 How To Choose The Right Color Palette For ANY Trip!

What NOT To Pack!

This is only based on my own experience. Please remember that I’m a full time digital nomad, so even though I travel full time, I am for sure not on vacation mode:

  • Books… BIG TIME NO. Bring a kindle instead .
  • Neck Pillow. Controversial I know… but you really don’t need one. Airlines have pillows. You can always use a sweater or pashmina to take a quick nap on a bus/train.
  • Beach Towel. We used to travel with one of these, and even though it was awesome, it wasn’t worth it because we only used it a handful of times and it took a lot of precious space out of our carry-on bags. Also, check if your Airbnb/hotel has beach towels. They usually do.
  • Umbrella. Accommodations usually have complimentary ones, and if they don’t you can ask for one.
  • Anything that you will only wear once. I mean, unless you are going somewhere for less than 7 days, try to pick pieces you can wear multiple times and style in many different ways… which leads me to… 👇🏼

👉🏻 Get the FULL list of the WORST things I’ve Ever packed here!

15 Travel Essentials for Women!

Here you have them all, but they’re organized by clothing, accessories and miscellaneous below. Make sure to read my advice for each as well ;) I promise I have a valid reason for all of these.

  • A white linen shirt
  • A top/bottom set
  • Comfortable/Stylish Joggers
  • Waterproof Birkenstocks
  • White Sneakers
  • Statement Earrings
  • Crossbody Bag
  • Compression Packing Cubes
  • Menstrual Cup
  • Comfortable Pajamas
  • Foldable Tote Bag

PS: if you need help picking how many things to actually pack, read this newsletter I sent to my list! It has some general guidelines on quantities.

5 Travel Essentials For Women (Clothing)

It was so difficult to pick just 5 things, but if I list them all, then this post becomes useless. These are the things I pack on repeat. I always have some kind of version of these, and my suitcase would simply not be complete without these 5 (maybe 7?) pieces, no matter the season (except for winter, we don’t like cold weather):

  • A white linen shirt: (feel free to also replace with a chambray shirt ) A very underestimated piece, but you can seriously wear it in so many different ways! (Read this post for more ideas)

travel essentials routine

  • A top/bottom set: These are great because you can wear them together and make them look like a dress or a jumpsuit. You can also wear them separately to create even more looks! My go-to set is a top and a midi skirt. (Browse this site for cute sets!) – Side note here: I used to think either a jumpsuit or a maxi dress were better choices, but no. Sets are way better! You can style them in more ways and they take less space. (I just learned this, and are heading to Italy with this exact set, so make sure to follow me here if you want to see how else I style this top & bottom set!)

travel essentials routine

  • Comfortable/Stylish Joggers: Forget about jeans and pants! A good pair of joggers are  a game changer. These are great for hikes, travel days and you can even dress them up with cute espadrilles or sandals. ( These are the ones I love the most. But honestly you can’t go wrong with this brand!)

The 15 Best Travel Essentials For Women! Advice From A Full Time Traveler. By Ways of Style.

  • Birkenstocks: I have 2 pairs and I always travel with one OR the other. (I use these ones the most, but this style is also very versatile and nice for easy hikes!)
  • White Sneakers: I can’t remember a time in my life where I didn’t have a pair of white sneakers and now that I travel full time with only 3 pairs of shoes at a time, I understand why. These are the ones I have , just keep in mind that they are often sold out, so if they’re available just snag them! (I recommend you pre-order them if you have no rush though). AND they also have a Canva version which are the ones that my husband has, and I also have had these ones for many years. So there you have 3 great options. This is something you will buy only once every 3-5 years! (FYI: no matter which ones you choose, you can wash all of them by hand)

The 15 Best Travel Essentials For Women! Advice From A Full Time Traveler. By Ways of Style.

I could also add a little black dress and a white t-shirt to this list! I couldn’t just leave them out. So technically it’s 7 travel essentials for women!

You Will Also Like These Articles:

  • My 7-Piece Capsule Wardrobe Checklist (for more outfit ideas and ways to style these basic pieces!)
  • What To Pack For A Beach Vacation (Free Packing List Included)
  • How To Wear White Sneakers All Year Round!

5 Travel Essentials For Women (Accessories)

When it comes to traveling, having the right accessories can make all the difference. I like to choose a couple of statement pieces like a neck scarf, headband or jewelry which can transform any of my outfits instantly! And because I always pack neutrals, it’s hard to go wrong with which accessories I bring with me.

Accessories take up little room and add plenty of variety to your travel wardrobe, so have fun picking these (this is where I keep all my accessories while on the road). Think about bold, colorful pieces to really take your outfits to the next level! Here are my top 5 accessories for women:

  • Pashmina: a versatile travel scarf is essential. Not only does it add a fashionable touch to any outfit, but it can also double as a blanket or pillow during long flights or bus rides. Look for one made from lightweight material so it takes less space. With a pashmina, you can add an extra layer to any look, you can use it as a picnic blanket, beach cover-up AND to cover your head or shoulders when visiting religious sites. ( Here’s a great budget option – And here’s a dressier one )
  • Statement Earrings: Have fun with these! Choose tassel earrings with bold or multiple colors. I also always have with me these pearl earrings and I wear them a lot, so they were a good investment. Because earrings don’t take a lot of room, I usually travel with 4-5 pairs :) ( option 1 $ 29 – option 2 $29 – option 3 $58 – option 4 $48 – option 5 $30 )

travel essentials routine

  • Headbands: I love a good headband! And if you’ve ever watched any of our travel videos on Youtube , you know that I wear them often. These are my top 3 websites to shop for headbands that don’t give me a headache lol – I recommend packing 2-3 and mix and match between printed/coloful and neutrals. ( option 1 – option 2 – option 3 )

The 15 Best Travel Essentials For Women! Advice From A Full Time Traveler. By Ways of Style.

  • Neck Scarf: Little did I know all the different ways I could use a neck scarf. You can tie them to your bag, wear them around your neck or even to dress up a pony tail. Have fun with this piece and choose a couple of fun prints! This is one of my favorite travel essentials for women!

travel essentials routine

  • Crossbody Bag: Also something I didn’t know I needed, but have you ever tried to take anything out of a backpack? It’s annoying AF! I love carrying a small crossbody bag with me, and my main criteria is that it fits my sunnies , cellphone and travel wallet. (here you can browse some cute crossbody bag options for every budget)

Note: Picking the right accessories can vary depending on your personal style. Feel free to swap earrings for rings or necklaces. Just don’t go too crazy or you’ll need a bigger suitcase.

I keep all my earrings and necklaces inside this cute and tiny travel jewelry bag.

5 Travel Essentials For Women (Miscellaneous)

  • Compression Packing Cubes: I think packing cubes are specially useful for girls. My husband hates them, but for a guy who only packs shorts and t-shirts, I see his point. I love them because I can keep my bag organized by category, I can easily find things as I need them, they’re easy to unpack and it helps me with space management. For example I have one packing cube for my tops and whatever fits in there, is what goes on my trip and so on. (These are my go-to! The brand was created by fellow full time travelers, so it was a no-brainer for us to support them!)
  • Menstrual Cup: Ideally you won’t have to travel when having your period, but if you’re in it for the long term like I am, there’s no escaping this one. Full disclosure, I don’t always wear mine. I’m still figuring out which one is the right fit (literally) and I’ve had accidents lol – but I’ll get there. I still think these are a must because they save space and the planet! My advice is that you don’t try a menstrual cup for the first time during your trip, test it in advance and make sure it works for you!
  • Comfortable Pajamas: This might be crazy, but nothing beats going to bed with good silk pajamas. I travel with 2 of these and a silk robe lol (I might leave the robe behind for my next 6 months of travel, but I will miss it dearly!). To save space, I travel only with short sleeve and short styled PJs. (Browse cute and comfy PJs here)
  • Foldable Tote Bag: Having an extra bag that folds up small but expands when needed is incredibly useful. We use ours on travel days to carry random food items from one Airbnb to another, on day trips, for shopping at local markets and for beach days. Basically, whenever we don’t have baggage restrictions (aka bus and train travel), we throw anything in there last minute! Don’t overspend on this one because if you use it like we do, it will get dirty. Make sure it’s washable too!
  • Face Towel: I cannot dry my face with Airbnb/hotels towels… who knows where those have been. Seriously, who knows!? That’s why I always travel with this cute face towel :)

PS: if you use a curling iron, this can be considered an essential too. This one is great for traveling because it collapses! I’ve had it for 2 years now and use it at least twice a week! Also, don’t forget your adapter to plug your electronics (different countries use different plugs). This is the one we’ve had since we left to travel full time.

Did You Know?

You can download a list of the 10 things I ALWAYS travel with here! You can even save it as a PDF for future reference! This ‘top 10’ list is what I use as a base when packing for any trip!

Let’s talk about Makeup! – These Are My Best Makeup Packing Tips!

No post about ‘Best Travel Essentials For Women’ would be complete without talking about makeup.

I actually use very little makeup, but it hasn’t always been that way. Let me explain.

I’ve made my fair share of mistakes here. I used to travel with a giant bag full of products. Turns out I really don’t need much. Despite making travel videos for a living, I’ve learned to let go of the need to look perfect, so I don’t use a lot of make up anymore!

Less is more applies here as well, and I’ve learned that the best thing to do here is to have products that are versatile. You know, those 2 in 1 kind of products?

My advice is to try to downsize as much as possible at home. Try the setup you want to bring for your travels for one week and see if it works out. Spoiler alert, it will!

This Is My Current Make Up Bag Set Up:

travel essentials routine

Turns out, I only use 5 things! Plus, 3 makeup tools including my makeup bag.

  • Foundation: I love this brand so much! They are experts at matching your color online! I always order my foundation while in the US. My foundation is my biggest make up item and that’s why I pack it in my toiletry bag.
  • Concealer: I don’t really have a preference. I buy what I can find and it depends on where I am when I run out. This is the one I have right now and I like it.
  • Blush: This is the brand I’ve been using for years and I order it when I’m back in the US whenever I need it. I try to plan ahead when I’m about to run out. I like it because it’s small and you have to use very little product, so it lasts me for well over a year!
  • Mascara: I’m also not loyal to any brands here… I buy what I can find, whenever I need it. This is the one I have right now.
  • Eye/Brow Liner: Same as above. Bought this one last time I was in the US and I’ve had it for 2 years lol – it’ll be good for 2 more years. I only use it for my eyebrows.

Makeup Tools:

  • Makeup Sponge: I use this sponge to apply my foundation. It usually lasts me 6 months and I wash it with water and soap once a month or so while on the road.
  • Makeup Brush: This is the brand I’ve been using for many years! I only bring one make up brush for my blush. That’s it!
  • Makeup Bag: Just a small makeup bag that came with my brush set. (here’s a small one in case you need one)

General Advice When Choosing What Makeup Products To Pack:

  • If you use more products than I do, focus on multi-purpose products to save space and reduce clutter. For example: A Foundation with SPF protection – A tinted moisturizer that combines hydration and coverage – A lipstick that doubles up as a blush – An eyeshadow palette with versatile shades VS carrying individual pots. You get the point. There are a lot of multi-purpose products out there!
  • Buy travel sized products! It will save you so much space. And you will be amazed at how much things actually last! I usually don’t recommend travel sized products for everything, but when it comes to beauty products, it’s a great solution to save some space.
  • Remember that if you run out of something, you will be able to buy a replacement, and honestly it can be a fun travel experience too.
  • As a general piece of advice, grab a very small makeup bag and bring only what fits in there. As mentioned earlier, try and test your ideal makeup travel routine one week before your trip to make sure it works for you.

travel essentials routine

I’ve also realized that having a solid beauty routine while traveling, helps my skin look so much better, hence I need less makeup. That being said, this is how my beauty routine looks like right now:

  • Face Wash (once a day – at night)
  • Exfoliant (only once a week)
  • Serum (morning OR night)
  • Day Moisturizer with 40 SPF (every morning)
  • Night Moisturizer (every night)
  • Eye Cream (every morning AND night)

I’m not 100% loyal to brands because I buy what I can find wherever I am, but I always have access to good products. These are my top 5 beauty brands. I like to browse these websites to try new products whenever I’m in the US (this was hard, because I love so many!):

  • Origins – High quality natural products that won’t break the bank!
  • Skinceuticals – definitely a splurge, but their products are the best I’ve ever used. Can’t wait to afford them again! 😂
  • Beauty Counter – Natural products with safe ingredients. I’ve never tried any products from them I haven’t liked.
  • TULA Skincare – Excellent skincare products powered by probiotic extracts & superfoods. Can’t say enough good things about them!
  • TATCHA – Great Japanese brand, actually, they’re AMAZING!

I could go on and on… but there you have it. Top 5.

*if you’re shopping for any product from any of these brands, enter your email as you first visit their website to get between 10-15% discounts – also, if you know you won’t be checking in your carry-on bag, remember to buy travel sized products!*

Save This Post For Later & Have This List Of Travel Essentials For Women Handy – Pin It!

The 15 Best Travel Essentials For Women! Advice From A Full Time Traveler. By Ways of Style.

What’s Inside My Toiletry Bag? Toiletry Bag Essentials For Women:

Toiletries are another important consideration when packing for any trip. Opting for travel-sized versions of your favorite products will save space and weight in your bag. Additionally, investing in some reusable bottles can help ensure you have all your necessities without exceeding liquid restrictions.

This Is My Current Toiletry Bag Set Up:

All the beauty products mentioned above, plus:

  • A bar soap.
  • Body moisturizer with collagen in a travel bottle for toiletries.
  • Hydrating shampoo in a travel bottle for toiletries.
  • Travel size hairbrush
  • Mani/pedi travel kit (without the case)
  • 2 nail polishes (I alternate the colors every 6 months)
  • 1 top/base coat (2×1)
  • Natural deodorant

Notice: I don’t pack conditioner. Just an ultra hydrating hair mask that I use maybe once a month (it’s expensive but it’s a miracle worker and I only buy it once a year). These containers are super cool because you can fill them with any beauty product you already have. This way you don’t have to buy anything new or travel size if you already have what you need :) – Also, my toothbrush/toothpaste goes in my husband’s toiletry bag.

Again, you don’t need as much as you think. And this is coming from someone that already feels has a lot of stuff! I really feel like I have everything I could possibly need. I still take care of my skin/hair because that’s important to me, but I don’t over do it.

PS: my toiletry bag came with my compressible packing cubes! I don’t think it comes with every set of packing cubes any more, so make sure to double check first! If not, here’s a cute toiletry bag from Amazon. I recommend a clear one so you know exactly what’s inside.

Final Thoughts About Travel Essentials For Women:

I didn’t want use the word ‘essential’ loosely, that’s why I kept this article simple.

I spent a lot of time thinking about how to make this post useful, so I hope you leave this random page you found on the internet with some direction and new ideas about things you’ll actually need while on vacation.

Remember, these are just some suggestions based on personal experience – every woman’s travel needs may vary depending on her destination and preferences! The most important thing is packing light with only the essentials. This way you’ll have more freedom to explore and enjoy new experiences while keeping your stress levels low! It does make a difference to pack light. I can tell you from my own experience.

If you feel like I left anything out, please leave your questions in the comments and if you have any suggestions about what you want to see next in here, I’m all ears! Leave them in the comments too.

Thanks so much for being here and safe travels wherever you’re heading next :)

PS: download the full list of the WORST things I’ve Ever Packed here.

About the author:

Hi, my name is Aimara and I am the voice behind Ways of Style. I was born and raised in Venezuela until the age of 27 when I moved to Chicago, and 2 years later I met my best friend and husband. We now travel full time and live out of a carry-on bag, so believe me, I know a thing or two about how to maximize every single piece I own. 

I love creating new looks, and looking cute while I’m traveling. And in this blog, I try to share all my looks, even if I don’t have the best photos ;) My goal is to help you maximize every piece you have in your closet and to encourage you to live with less things.

Not Ready To Leave Yet? Read These Travel Related Posts Next:

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  • How To Create a Capsule Wardrobe For Traveling (European Summer Edition)
  • The 5 Best Shoes For Traveling! 👟

Did You Learn Anything About The Best Travel Essentials For Women? Share It On Pinterest! (It Really Helps My Blog Grow!)

The 15 Best Travel Essentials For Women! Advice From A Full Time Traveler. By Ways of Style.

Want to watch a packing video instead? I share my full packing list + outfit ideas in this video ⬇️

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April 11, 2024 at 1:46 am

These are such good tips. I have a terrible over packing problem I’m trying to break. I really need to streamline my whole packing style.

travel essentials routine

March 25, 2024 at 1:19 am

This is a solid list. I still swear by a neck pillow though. But I’ve gone through 3 spinal fusions and find that airline pillows pale in comparison to a great memory foam neck pillow.

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Africa , Asia , Central America , Essentials , Europe , North America , Oceania , South America · September 8, 2022

17 Long Flight Essentials That Every Traveler Needs in their Carry On

Planning a trip and are dreading the long flight? These 17 flight essentials are sure to make your time in the sky a bit more tolerable.

flight essentials

Flying is not fun. There I said it. Even after the hundred of flights we’ve taken we aways dread it. So overs the years I have managed to put together the perfect flight essentials kit. You will always find these items in my carry on.

This guide we will cover all the top travel essentials you need for a long haul flight. From travel pillows to ear plugs to cozy socks and more.

After reading this post you will know exactly which products to bring for your upcoming flight.

This post is all about the 17 long flight essentials that every traveler needs in their carry on.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a small commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read  full disclosure  for more information.

Flight Essentials

These are some of the best long flight comfort items that are an absolute essential for every traveler.

1. Travel Pillow

Over the years I’ve purchased several different travel pillows but never actually found the one that I couldn’t seem to leave home without, until I found this one! This travel pillow actually does what a typical travel pillow can not and that is comfortably supporting your head and neck so you don’t wake up with neck strain. It’s the only travel pillow I recommend.

travel pillow

2. Travel Blanket

I’m noticing over the years that less and less airlines are supplying blankets to its customers. When it comes to long flights a blanket is a much needed comfort item. So I recently started carrying my own because nothing is worse than trying to take a nap without a cozy blanket. This one fits perfect in my carry on bag.

travel blanket

3. Travel Foot Rest

Very few airplanes come with foot rests. It’s a luxury that you never thought you needed until you’ve tried it and realize how much more comfortable the flight is with it. Thankfully they sell travel foot rests that are compact and fit easily into your carry on.

flight foot rest

4. Sleep Mask

Not all flights are red eyes and not everyone will pull their screens down, so and an eye mask is a must have for long haul flights. You will be very thankful you can blackout your surroundings when you need it.

sleep mask

5. EarPlugs

Nothing is worst than a super loud flight. Especially when you are trying to read your kindle, get some work done or trying to take a snooze. That is why I always carry a couple earplugs for any flight we take, it’s a small investment but one of the most important items to bring on a flight.


6. Cozy Socks

One of my favorite airplane comfort hacks is wearing cozy socks. Airplanes tend to run cold and cold feet suck. These socks will keep your feet warm and are so comfortable that for a minute you’ll forget you’re on a plane. Common cozy socks are the best!

cozy socks women

7. Hand Sanitizer

For obvious reasons I always carry a couple hand sanitizers. These ones are awesome because they’re refillable and are the perfect size to get through TSA.

travel essentials routine

8. Disinfecting Wipes

Even before COVID it was my ritual to always disinfect my seat, the hand rest and the much needed tray table. I mean there is no possible way that airport staff or flight attendants clean those parts after every flight. These wipes smell good, come in travel packs and can be used for so many other surfaces on your trip.

Disinfecting Wipes

9. Toothbrush & Toothpaste

For long haul flights a toothbrush and toothpaste in your carry on is an absolute MUST. Instead of packing regular toothpaste pack toothpaste tablets they are much more travel friendly and you won’t have to worry about your TSA liquids limits.

travel essentials routine

10. Skin Care + Hand Lotion

Nothing dries your skin out quite like hours and hours of recycled air. Keeping up with your skincare routine will not only help hydrate your skin but will make you feel so refreshed. Hand lotion is also a plus, your skin will thank you for it.

travel essentials routine

11. Lip Balm

Never board a flight without lip balm. Again, your skin tends to get so dry in the sky and your lips are no exception. Aquaphor is one of my favorite hydrating lip moisturizer and never travel without it. Highly recommend this brand.

travel essentials routine

12. Noise Cancelling Headphones

I can’t believe I went flights and flights without headphones. Mathew always told me to buy some but never I thought I needed them. Ultimately I caved and have never looked back, I couldn’t imagine going on a flight without my headphones now. I recommend investing in a good pair of noise cancelling headphones. I especially love the Sony headphones because they are comfortable, easy to use and comes with an airplane adapter that connects to any tv monitor on board.

travel essentials routine

Kindles are very popular for good reason. Mathew loves his Kindle and has never been on a flight without it. It can store over 2,000 ebooks. Thus you have plenty of entertainment to occupy yourself for many many flights. You can purchase ebooks on amazon or through the Kindle Store.


I never travel without my laptop. I edit photos, videos and now will be working on the blog. Also, not all flights have free entertainment, for this reason I suggest uploading movies or tv shows to keep you occupied throughout your flight. Wifi is also available on a number of airlines if you need to catch up with work or emails.

apple laptop

15. External Battery Charger

Although USB ports are available in a number of airplanes not all airplanes have them. I have also learned that a lot of the time they don’t actually work, especially older planes. Don’t make the same mistake I did and run out of battery with 3 hours left in your flight. Not fun.

travel essentials routine

16. Water Bottle

Flight attendants are more than happy to fill your water bottles. It’s especially important to stay hydrated on long haul flights and asking for water in those tiny cups becomes annoying after about the third time and of course it’s super wasteful.

travel essentials routine

First of all never go on a flight without snacks. Airplane food is a little hard to eat and if you’re not vibing what they are passing out, snacks will save your life. Even if you are enjoying the plane food, having some comfort foods will make your flight even smoother. These are some of my go to snacks.

  • Dried Fruit
  • Crunchy Chickpeas
  • Protein Bar

Bonus Flight Essentials

Here are some additional products you might want to add to your carry on.

1. Phone Holder

Nothing is worse than walking into a flight you know you”l be on for hours just to find out there are no monitors, meaning no entertainment. This phone holder will be a life saver in those situations because you’ll be able to enjoy some screen time without having to hold onto you phone. The flex phone holder is compatible with a phone or tablet. These are great too because you can use them not only on your flight but at the airport too.

travel essentials routine

2. Seat Cushion

Okay this is something I just recently purchased after our last trip because I was having a lot of tailbone pain and was very uncomfortable on our flights. This seat cushion works great for long sitting hours and adds instant comfort to any chair. Definitely tushy approved.

travel essentials routine

3. Toilet Seat Covers

Nothing is worst than finding yourself in a restroom with no toilet seat cover. When I found these flushable toilet seat covers on Amazon they were an instant buy. Use them on a flight or for any sketchy restroom that your tushy needs protection from.

travel essentials routine

4. Poo-Pourri 

Although we all try using the restroom before any flight, when it comes to long flights that could be a bit of a challenge . Nobody wants to do it but when nature calls you have no other choice. Carrying Poo-Pourri will help keep the smell down and your fellow travelers will thank you for it.

travel essentials routine

5. Hydrating Face Mist

Like I mentioned earlier, skin tends to get extremely dry during a flight. That’s why I love carrying a facial mist in my bag. This is a nice quick fix to keep your face fresh and hydrated. Honest is one of my favorites and comes in the perfect size for TSA liquid regulations.

travel essentials routine

Well that about covers it, those are the 17 long flight essentials that every traveler needs in their carry on. Happy Traveling!


  • A Complete Travel Essentials Guide


Here you can find all the travel site links that we personally use and recommend.

ACCOMMODATION:  We find the best deals with  BOOKING.COM. The more you book the better the perks like free breakfast with your stay, room upgrades and even higher discounted room rates.

CAR RENTALS:  We have always used  RentalCars.com  and find them to have the best deals, customer service and selection of locations.

FLIGHTS:  Our go too for booking flights has always been  SKYSCANNER . We always find the best prices on this site.

TOURS/EXCURSIONS:  GET YOUR GUIDE  and  VIATOR  are two very reputable sites with easy and hassle free bookings.

TRAVEL INSURANCE:  It’s so important to travel with insurance and for this we use  World Nomads  or Safety Wing .


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  • Travel Essentials & Accessories

Travel-Friendly Beauty Routines For Every Budget

Published: November 20, 2023

Modified: December 28, 2023

by Ami Lund

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Traveling is an exciting adventure that allows us to explore new places, experience different cultures, and create unforgettable memories. Whether you’re a frequent jet-setter or embarking on your first getaway, having the right travel essentials and accessories is crucial to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. In this article, we will delve into the world of travel-friendly beauty routines, focusing on skincare essentials, makeup must-haves, haircare on the go, and travel-sized tools. Additionally, we will discuss budget-friendly options and provide some insightful tips and tricks to help you maximize efficiency.

When it comes to travel, maintaining a skincare routine is essential to keep your skin healthy and radiant. While traveling, our skin is exposed to various factors such as dry air in airplanes, changes in climate, and different environmental conditions. Therefore, packing travel-sized versions of your favorite skincare products is a wise choice. Look for lightweight and versatile options, such as facial cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreens, that cater to your specific skin type. These essentials will ensure that your skin stays hydrated, protected, and glowing throughout your journey.

Makeup enthusiasts know the struggle of paring down their collection for travel. However, with the right selection of makeup must-haves, you can still achieve a flawless look on the go. Opt for multitasking products like a tinted moisturizer or BB cream that provides coverage and SPF protection in one step. Pack travel-sized versions of your favorite mascara, lip color, and compact powder to complete your look. Remember, less is more when it comes to makeup on the road, so focus on the essentials to save space and weight in your luggage.

Skincare Essentials

When it comes to maintaining healthy and glowing skin while traveling, having the right skincare essentials is crucial. Here are some must-have items to include in your travel beauty bag:

  • Cleanser: Start your skincare routine by thoroughly cleansing your face. Choose a gentle cleanser that will remove dirt, oil, and impurities without stripping your skin of its natural oils.
  • Moisturizer: Hydration is key, especially when traveling. Look for a lightweight moisturizer that will keep your skin nourished and moisturized throughout the day.
  • Sunscreen: Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF. Opt for a travel-sized option to make reapplication easier.
  • Sheet masks: Pamper your skin while on the go with sheet masks. These convenient masks come in individual packets and provide a boost of hydration and nutrients to rejuvenate your skin.
  • Facial mist: Refresh and hydrate your skin during long flights or hot weather with a facial mist. Look for one with soothing ingredients like aloe vera or rosewater.
  • Eye cream: Combat puffiness and dark circles with a nourishing eye cream. Apply it gently with your ring finger to keep the delicate skin around your eyes hydrated and bright.
  • Lip balm: Keep your lips moisturized and protected from dry air and changing climates by carrying a hydrating lip balm.

Remember to opt for travel-sized versions of these skincare essentials to minimize space and weight in your luggage. Additionally, consider investing in reusable travel containers to transfer your favorite products into smaller, more travel-friendly packaging.

In addition to the essentials, consider packing a gentle exfoliating scrub to remove dead skin cells and reveal a fresh complexion, a face mask for a deeper treatment, and a spot treatment for any unexpected breakouts. These additional items can address specific skincare concerns that may arise during your trip.

Makeup Must-Haves

While traveling, it’s important to pack makeup items that are versatile, compact, and easy to use. Here are some makeup must-haves that should be on your travel checklist:

  • Tinted Moisturizer or BB Cream: Instead of packing a separate moisturizer, sunscreen, and foundation, opt for a tinted moisturizer or BB cream. These multi-tasking products provide hydration, sun protection, and a hint of coverage, perfect for achieving a natural and radiant complexion.
  • Mascara: Enhance your lashes with a travel-sized mascara. Choose a waterproof formula to withstand any unpredictable weather conditions or travel mishaps.
  • Lipstick/Lip Gloss: Pack a versatile lip color that can be easily paired with different makeup looks. Opt for a shade that flatters your skin tone and can transition from day to night.
  • Compact Powder: Control shine and set your makeup with a travel-sized compact powder. This will help you maintain a fresh and matte complexion throughout the day.
  • Blush/Bronzer Duo: Save space in your makeup bag by choosing a blush/bronzer duo. This two-in-one product allows you to add color to your cheeks and achieve a sun-kissed glow.
  • Eyeliner: Define your eyes with a travel-sized eyeliner pencil or a liquid liner. Opt for a waterproof formula for long-lasting wear.
  • Makeup Brushes: Select a few essential makeup brushes that can meet your basic makeup application needs, such as a foundation brush, blush brush, and eyeshadow brush. Choose travel-sized brushes or invest in a compact brush set for easy packing.

Remember, the key is to pack minimal makeup items that can create a variety of looks. Stick to neutral shades that can be easily mixed and matched, and opt for products that have multiple uses to save space and reduce clutter in your luggage.

Additionally, consider investing in a small makeup bag or pouch with compartments to keep your items organized and prevent them from getting damaged or lost during travel.

Haircare on the Go

Traveling doesn’t mean you have to compromise on maintaining healthy and styled hair. Here are some essential haircare items to ensure your locks stay fabulous while on the go:

  • Travel-sized Shampoo and Conditioner: Look for compact and travel-sized bottles of your favorite shampoo and conditioner. These will take up less space in your luggage and allow you to continue your haircare routine wherever you are.
  • Dry Shampoo: Keep your hair looking fresh and oil-free between washes with a travel-sized dry shampoo. This will help absorb excess oil and add volume to your hair, extending the time between washes.
  • Hairbrush or Comb: Pack a compact hairbrush or comb to keep your hair tangle-free and well-groomed. Look for foldable or mini-sized options that are easy to carry in your bag.
  • Hair Accessories: Include some essential hair accessories like hair ties, bobby pins, and hair clips. These items are versatile and can help you create different hairstyles on the go, whether it’s a simple ponytail, a chic bun, or a stylish updo.
  • Heat Protectant Spray: If you plan on using heat styling tools, bring a travel-sized heat protectant spray to shield your hair from damage. Apply this protective spray before using a hairdryer, straightener, or curling iron.
  • Travel-sized Hairdryer: If you prefer to bring your own hairdryer, invest in a compact and lightweight travel-sized one. Look for a dual-voltage option if you are traveling internationally.
  • Hair Treatment: If your hair needs some extra nourishment or repair, consider bringing a travel-sized hair treatment or hair mask. These products can revitalize your hair and restore moisture and shine after long days of travel.

Remember to pack these items in a separate bag to prevent any spillage or damage to your other belongings. Additionally, consider packing a shower cap to protect your hair from getting wet in hotel showers or during outdoor activities.

If you are short on space or prefer to travel light, many haircare products come in travel-friendly packets or solid forms, such as dry shampoo powder or shampoo bars. These options are compact and convenient for on-the-go haircare.

Travel-Sized Tools

Having the right tools while traveling can make your beauty routines more efficient and convenient. Here are some essential travel-sized tools to consider packing:

  • Compact Hair Straightener/Curling Iron: If you want to style your hair on the go, invest in a compact-sized hair straightener or curling iron. Look for dual-voltage options to ensure compatibility with different power outlets.
  • Travel-Sized Electric Razor or Epilator: For those who prefer to maintain hair removal routines while traveling, consider investing in a compact electric razor or epilator. These tools are travel-friendly and allow you to stay groomed and hair-free.
  • Travel-Sized Electric Toothbrush: Maintain your oral hygiene with a travel-sized electric toothbrush. These compact versions are lightweight and easily portable, ensuring you can keep your teeth clean and healthy while traveling.
  • Nail Care Kit: Keep your nails looking neat and well-groomed by packing a travel-sized nail care kit. Include essentials like a nail clipper, nail file, and cuticle pusher for on-the-go maintenance.
  • Travel-Sized Steamer: If you want to eliminate wrinkles from your clothing without the hassle of ironing, consider investing in a travel-sized steamer. These portable devices are easy to use and can quickly refresh your clothes in minutes.
  • Compact Mirror with LED Lights: Ensure you have proper lighting for makeup application or grooming by packing a compact mirror with LED lights. These mirrors are lightweight, portable, and equipped with bright lights to provide a clear reflection.
  • Travel-Sized Sewing Kit: Mishaps can happen while traveling, so it’s a good idea to have a travel-sized sewing kit on hand. Pack some safety pins, needles, and thread to handle any minor clothing repairs on the go.

When choosing travel-sized tools, prioritize compactness and versatility. Look for options that can perform multiple functions or have interchangeable attachments to minimize the number of items you need to pack.

Remember to always check the travel restrictions and guidelines set by airlines regarding the transportation of electric or sharp objects before packing them in your carry-on or checked luggage.

Budget-Friendly Options

Traveling can be expensive, but that doesn’t mean you have to break the bank when it comes to your beauty routines. Here are some budget-friendly options for your travel essentials and accessories:

  • Sample Sizes: Many beauty brands offer sample sizes of their products, which are perfect for traveling. These smaller versions are often more affordable and allow you to try out new products without committing to the full-size versions.
  • Drugstore Brands: Explore the beauty aisles of your local drugstore or pharmacy for budget-friendly options. Many drugstore brands offer quality skincare, makeup, and haircare products at a fraction of the cost of high-end brands.
  • Multi-purpose Products: Look for products that serve multiple purposes, such as tinted moisturizers that can double as sunscreen and foundation. By opting for versatile products, you can save money and minimize the number of items you need to pack.
  • Dollar Stores: Don’t underestimate the treasures you can find at dollar stores. They often carry a variety of travel-friendly beauty essentials like travel-sized toiletries, makeup wipes, and hair accessories at incredibly affordable prices.
  • DIY Beauty: Get creative and experiment with DIY beauty solutions using natural ingredients. For example, you can make your own facial masks using ingredients from your kitchen, such as honey, yogurt, and oatmeal.
  • Reuse and Refill: Rather than buying new travel-sized products for every trip, consider reusing and refilling small travel containers with your favorite products from larger bottles. This not only saves money but also reduces waste.
  • Sales and Promotions: Keep an eye out for sales, promotions, and discounts from your favorite beauty brands. Sign up for newsletters or follow them on social media to stay updated on any special offers that can help you save money on your travel essentials.

Remember, the cost of a product doesn’t necessarily reflect its quality. There are many affordable options available that can deliver excellent results without breaking your budget. Prioritize the functionality and effectiveness of the products rather than the price tag.

By exploring these budget-friendly options, you can find beauty essentials that suit your needs without compromising on quality while staying within your travel budget.

Tips and Tricks for Efficiency

Traveling can be hectic, so it’s important to maximize efficiency when it comes to your beauty routines. Here are some tips and tricks to help you stay organized and make the most out of your travel beauty essentials:

  • Create a Packing List: Before you start packing, make a list of all the beauty essentials you need. This will help you stay organized and ensure you don’t forget any important items.
  • Opt for Travel-Sized Products: Invest in travel-sized versions of your favorite products to minimize space and weight in your luggage. Alternatively, consider purchasing empty travel containers and filling them with your preferred products.
  • Use Multi-purpose Products: Choose products that can serve multiple purposes, such as a tinted moisturizer that combines hydration, SPF protection, and coverage. This will help save space and reduce the number of items you need to pack.
  • Utilize Sample Sizes: Take advantage of sample-sized products, which are often more affordable and perfect for short trips. These small sizes also allow you to try out new products without committing to full-size versions.
  • Pack Dual-Purpose Tools: Look for tools that can perform multiple functions, such as a hair straightener that can also curl your hair. This will help save space in your luggage without compromising on styling options.
  • Utilize Empty Spaces: Make use of empty spaces in your luggage by tucking smaller items like hair accessories or makeup brushes inside shoes or in between clothing items.
  • Invest in Travel-Friendly Brushes: Opt for travel-sized brushes or invest in a compact brush set that comes with a travel case. These brushes take up less space and are easier to pack.
  • Protect Liquid Items: To prevent any leakages, unscrew the caps of liquid items, place plastic wrap over the opening, and screw the caps back on tightly. This extra layer of protection will help prevent spills during travel.
  • Keep Essentials in Your Carry-On: Pack your essential beauty items, like skincare and makeup, in your carry-on bag. This way, you’ll have them easily accessible during the flight and in case your checked luggage gets lost or delayed.
  • Streamline Your Makeup Routine: While on vacation, embrace a more natural and minimal makeup look to save time and effort. Focus on the essentials like tinted moisturizer, mascara, and lip color for a quick and fresh look.

By implementing these tips and tricks, you can streamline your beauty routine, save space in your luggage, and ensure that you have all your beauty essentials readily available throughout your travel adventures.

Traveling can be an exciting and enriching experience, and having the right travel essentials and accessories can enhance your journey. By prioritizing skincare essentials, makeup must-haves, haircare on the go, travel-sized tools, and budget-friendly options, you can ensure that you look and feel your best while exploring the world.

Remember to pack travel-sized versions of your favorite skincare products to keep your skin hydrated and protected. Opt for multi-purpose makeup items that can help you achieve a natural and effortless look. Pack haircare essentials that are compact and convenient for on-the-go styling. Utilize travel-sized tools to maintain your beauty routine without sacrificing luggage space.

If you’re traveling on a budget, explore affordable options, such as sample sizes, drugstore brands, and DIY solutions. Be efficient by creating a packing list and utilizing empty spaces. Protect your liquid items and keep essential beauty items in your carry-on for easy access.

Ultimately, the goal is to create a streamlined and efficient beauty routine that allows you to enjoy your travel experiences to the fullest. So, pack smart, prioritize your favorite products, and embrace a simplified approach to beauty while on the go.

With the right travel essentials and accessories, you can confidently embark on your adventures, knowing that you have everything you need to look and feel your best throughout your journey.


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NCT Dream reveals tour must-haves, pre-show routines and how they relax after a concert

The guys of K-pop group NCT Dream open up about their tour must-haves and the surprising ways they spend their downtime for USA TODAY's weekly series, The Essentials.

In a new series,  USA TODAY’s The Essentials , celebrities share what fuels their lives.

Don't sleep on NCT Dream and its success.

When the septet debuted in 2016, the K-pop group's members were teenagers, influenced by the concept of "youth" while navigating their personal aspirations in the spotlight.

Nearly eight years later, the guys have matured and come into their own, developing a signature style and garnering worldwide recognition. Last year alone, NCT Dream placed No. 6 on the IFPI Global Top 10 Album Chart, won top awards in South Korea and embarked on a global tour across 26 cities, including in the U.S.

NCT Dream will make its way back to the states this year – starting Sept. 12 – for seven stops on its third world tour, including in New York, California and Washington D.C.

Need a break? Play the USA TODAY Daily Crossword Puzzle.

"Just getting ready for the concert itself is a thrill, and we're very excited to be able to come up with a brand new concert," says the group's leader Mark , 24.

On a late-night Zoom call prior to The Dream Show 3: Dream()scape tour's kickoff in Seoul, NCT Dream's members spilled on their routines and performance go-to.

How NCT Dream preps for a performance

Everyone has their own way to get hype before a concert, including NCT DREAM's members: Mark, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Chenle, Jisung and Renjun (who was absent from this interview).

Jisung , 22, says one of his go-to pump-up songs is " City Lights " by Avicii, while Jaemin , 23, says his playlist puts a "zen mode" before hitting the stage.

For Jeno , 24, there's usually a lot on his mind before a performance. Instead of listening to music, he tends to put on his headphones and play nothing. "I like to block all the sound out, to stay still and to empty my mind."

As part of his pre-show routine, Chenle , 22, watches interviews of late basketball player Kobe Bryant , "on every tour, before every concert."

"It gets me pumped up for the concert and ready to put on great performance," he says.

Exclusive interview: NCT Dream on their first US tour, growth and milestones

How NCT Dream relaxes after a show

Before a performance, Chenle takes precautions toward his health, including taking vitamins. Especially after a show, he uses products to prevent vocal issues and alleviate any strain since his voice gets "really hoarse."

Jeno also prioritizes his well-being on tour. "I always like to take a shower and I always make sure I use cold water at the end, especially because we're using our bodies a lot for shows and it really tires out our muscles," he says.

Haechan , 23, usually winds down by taking a warm bath and occasionally drinks some wine.

Sleep is key for the all group's members, but Jisung often find himself staying up late after a show.

"I'm on my phone all night," he says. "I want to learn how to relax."

What does NCT Dream do during downtime?

When the guys have a chance for free time on tour, they still spend it together.

"I like taking pictures. I'm not a professional, (but) I like to see the scenery and everything. Having a nice walk every once in a while is good in a different city," Mark says.

"We get to see a lot of different architecture in each city and that's another thing I like to look out for while we go out and take pictures," says Jaemin.

An avid basketball fan, Chenle keeps his sneakers on hand wherever he goes. "I've played basketball in pretty much every city we've been to so far," he says, adding how Mark usually plays pickup with him.

But each member uses his personal time-off differently.

"One of my most important essentials is my laptop so I can play games," says Haechan. "I can go outside during downtime but that makes me use up more energy. So I prefer to stay indoors … It's like me-time."

Jisung enjoys watching other K-pop artists' music videos, as well as some of the other content they have on their channels.

NCT Dream tour must-have items

Jaemin lists several must-haves for tour: wireless headphones, perfume, hydration cream, a Thai product for sinus relief, vitamins and an energy drink to name a few.

Chenle says his good luck charms for a great performance are the friendship ring that he shares with his members, plus his watch. "I have to put it on as soon as I wake up; there's like a routine," he says.

Besides his headphones, Mark's other must-have isn't tangible – it's his concentration.

"I always remember to bring myself," he says.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.


6 essential new midwest travel experiences for summer 2024.

Minnesotans are already accustomed to supersized attractions — and travel ties to Nordic heritage. So an invasion of towering trolls should fit right in with this summer's lineup of road-trip enticements.

Vacationers this year can also steam themselves in a sauna floating on a lake, hop a new train to Chicago, plunge down the new tallest water slide in America, and find more places to stay and play from Duluth to the Brainerd Lakes.

Here's a look at what's up in the summer of 2024.

Troll takeover of Detroit Lakes

Danish artist Thomas Dambo is building six giant trolls out of wood and recycled pallets in the parks and woods around Detroit Lakes, Minn. They will add to Dambo's global installation of more than 120 trolls, which can be found in 18 states. They sit cross-legged at the Philadelphia Zoo, peek around trees in Washington state, and even lounge on a beach in Singapore, each with its own personality and narrative.

Thomas Dambo's trolls are coming to Detroit Lakes. Shown is Bruun Idun at Lincoln Park in Seattle.

"In the old stories, trolls are the creatures that live in the forest, and they represent nature," said Dambo, who considers himself a recycling artist and activist. "They are the unspoken voice of the plants and animals."

He keeps his work family-friendly with a whimsical feel and imaginative touches, but also with a message about reducing waste. The Minnesota installation — his largest in the U.S. — will also include his tallest troll yet, at 36 feet.

With the help of more than 250 volunteers, the trolls are expected to be finished by mid-June, when people can visit downtown Detroit Lakes to get the first clues for an interactive experience. Locations will stretch between Fargo and Perham, Minn., as the story leads to additional trolls that can be purposely tricky to find.

"It's a big, free, outdoor, recycled fairy tale to go out and explore," Dambo said. Updates will be available through the nonprofit Project 412 ( project412mn.org/trolls-dl ).

The Lincoln Park Craft District in Duluth.

New lodging and fun in Duluth's Lincoln Park

Fans of Duluth – especially those looking for good food and local drink — will have more places to spend the night in the city's increasingly popular Lincoln Park Craft District.

The Duluth Press Building, originally financed by "Buffalo Bill" Cody for his sister to run a printing press in 1894, has been renovated by the owners of Duluth Grill into eight one- and two-bedroom suites that are pet-friendly and have full kitchens ( duluthpressbuilding.com ).

Most guests will be tempted, though, by the dozens of eateries popping up along the Superior Street corridor, including OMC Smokehouse, Corktown Deli & Brews, and Burger Paradox.

Zenith Basecamp, described as "indoor glamping" or hostel-style lodging, also is expected to open by late summer. It will feature private dog-friendly rooms, a communal lounge, cocktail bar and easy access to guided activities through Zenith Adventure ( zenithbasecamp.com ).

The new accommodations join newish ventures blending residential apartments with vacation rentals: Lincoln Park Boutique Hotel, which opened in 2022, and Enger Lofts Hotel and Marketplace, which rents 15 rooms in a renovated warehouse.

Also new this summer: Visitors can buy a Duluth Passport to get three attractions — Great Lakes Aquarium, North Shore Scenic Railroad and the William A. Irvin lake freighter — for the price of two ( duluthpassport.com ).

Amtrak’s Borealis daily service to Chicago from St. Paul’s Union Depot began May 21.

A new train to new Chicago attractions (and the Dells)

Amtrak service between St. Paul and Chicago is not new. But there are three advantages to the new Borealis train over the long-running Empire Builder on the same track: fare, speed and reliability.

We're seeing one-way fares as low as $41-$50 or $98-$108 for business-class seats, although private rooms are not available on the new train. At seven hours and 24 minutes from St. Paul's Union Depot to Chicago's Union Station, Borealis shaves about 30 minutes off the Empire Builder's travel time. And since Borealis isn't coming all the way from Seattle or Portland, passengers can count on fewer delays ( amtrak.com/borealis-train ).

It's a good time for a long weekend in Chicago. At the Field Museum, the " Unseen Oceans " exhibit lets you "pilot" a submersible in a lifelike underwater environment, while the rare Chicago Archaeopteryx fossil reveals the link between dinosaurs and birds. The Navy Pier's new Flyover experience virtually thrills riders with a view of the city from above. And at the Chicago History Museum, " City on Fire: Chicago 1871 ″ immerses visitors (not literally, we hope) in the historic blaze. (Reserved tickets for all are a must.)

You say Chicago is too far? Amtrak also stops in Red Wing and Winona, Minn., plus La Crosse, Wis., Milwaukee and Wisconsin Dells, where the new tallest water slide in America, the 145-foot Rise of Icarus , is now open at Mount Olympus theme park.

An elevated glamping tent at North Shore Camping Co. in Beaver Bay.

Glamp sites double on North Shore

North Shore Camping Co. has doubled its number of platform tents to 30, following their popularity after opening in 2023 near Beaver Bay, Minn.

Tucked into the hillside across Hwy. 61 from Cove Point Lodge, the glamping tents include beds, potbelly stoves and basics for campfire cooking, plus a shared shower and bathroom building, campfire programs, naturalist activities and barrel saunas.

Bonus: Glamping guests may use the pool at Cove Point Lodge and access the Lake Superior shoreline there. Bikes can be rented for the nearby Split Rock Wilds mountain bike trails or to ride the paved Gitchi-Gami State Trail to Split Rock Lighthouse and Gooseberry Falls state parks ( northshorecampingco.com ).

Sisu + Löyly's floating sauna for six people is docked at Skyport Lodge, on Devil Track Lake near Grand Marais.

Saunas are floating now

If the thought of jumping into Lake Superior makes your teeth chatter, the key is to warm up first. Cedar + Stone Nordic Sauna opened in late 2023 on a barge docked at Duluth's Pier B. Up to 10 guests can get hot and steamy before taking the cold plunge into the Great Lake ( cedarandstonesauna.com ).

Sisu + Löyly, which has saunas in Grand Marais and Lutsen, also claims the country's first public floating sauna, a trend that originated in Norway. Reserve its sauna for up to six people floating at the dock of Skyport Lodge on Grand Marais' Devil Track Lake, through summer and early fall ( sisuandloyly.com ).

Quarterdeck Resort on Gull Lake has a new makeover.

Brainerd area ups its resort and golf game

Quarterdeck Resort, a Gull Lake resort that opened in 1957, has completed a major makeover and expansion. It modernized its 18-room lodge and restaurant with a new exterior and contemporary menus, renovated six five-bedroom lake houses, and added the QD Social, a central recreational and entertainment area. The new gathering place includes a year-round heated outdoor pool, a 20-person sauna, outdoor fire tables, an indoor fireplace, large-screen TVs and games.

For larger get-togethers, the resort also built six lake lofts with five to six bedrooms each. Sixteen new woodsmoke cabins have two- to three-bedroom units ( quarterdeckresort.com ).

Meanwhile, Minnesota golf legend Tom Lehman has helped Cragun's Resort with its $15 million renovation and expansion of its Legacy courses, adding to the Brainerd Lakes Area's wealth of golf courses.

In addition to the Dutch 18, a 7,000-yard par-70 course with white sand bunkers, the Lehman 18 leads golfers through a 1,000-acre sanctuary that winds around Stephens Lake and natural wetlands and features stacked-sod bunkers. By next year, another nine holes will be added to the Dutch 18 course ( craguns.com ).

Star Tribune travel editor Simon Peter Groebner contributed to this story.

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Three boys found a t. rex fossil in north dakota. now a denver museum works to fully reveal it, janis paige, star of hollywood and broadway, dies at 101, poppi faces lawsuit from consumer who questions its gut health claims, new york city is building more public toilets and launching an online locator so you can find them.

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I've Visited 10 National Parks, and These Are the 15 Hiking Gear Essentials You'll Definitely Want With You

The clothes, shoes, bags, and bug repellent I swear by, starting at just $10.

travel essentials routine

Travel + Leisure / Reese Herrington

My husband and I both enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, whether it be hiking, mountain climbing, or camping. Last year we made it to seven national monuments across the U.S.  This year, our goal was to visit and hike 14 national parks . So far, we’ve made it to 10 - Olympic, Grand Teton, Zion, Acadia, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Mount Rainier, and Redwood National Parks. 

These are phenomenal places that offer a wide range of activities along with impressive landscapes and diverse flora and fauna. Our favorite part of visiting a national park is exploring all that Mother Nature has to offer. So we’ve had a lot of practice on knowing what hiking essentials we need to pack, whether you’re out for a short or longer jaunt. Here are 15 of the most useful necessities as you plan your own adventure. 

Rainier Women’s Rain Jacket

This windproof and water-repellent jacket does the job protecting you from the elements. The adjustable hood keeps the rain and sun out of your eyes. Two zippered hand pockets and two internal pockets provide ample storage space. The fact that this jacket folds down and packs easily makes it a must-have when hiking. 

Cliganic Natural DEET-free Mosquito Repellent Stickers

These essential oil-infused patches save you the discomfort of mosquitos and other pesky insects. The pack comes with 90 easy-to-peel DEET-free stickers that stay on and last for hours. The all-natural blend of citronella and peppermint are suitable for both kids and adults.

Arca Gear Hydro Carrier 

Stay hydrated with Arca Gear’s portable 32 ounce Hydro insulated water bottle sling and carrier . The thick nylon material safeguards your bottle from damage and ensures your beverages stay either warm or cool. There’s a zippered, water-resistant pocket to stash your cash and credit cards safely, while still allowing you quick access. The padded shoulder strap offers all-day comfort, whether you wear it over your shoulder or as a cross-body. Plus, the company’s lifetime warranty makes this a hard purchase to resist. 

Soothfeel Women's UPF 50+ Lightweight Long Sleeve Hoodie Jacket

Dressing in layers when hiking is a good idea. To avoid crowds, I always set out early when visiting a national park or monument. That being said, the weather can totally change from morning to afternoon, especially if you’re at a high elevation. I wore Soothfeel’s long sleeve hoodie on all of my treks and I’m so glad I did. Available in 22 fun colors, it’s lightweight and breathable, and offers UPF 50+ protection. Because of the sleek fit, It’s super comfortable when maneuvering through steep trails and narrow pathways. I found the two zippered side pockets beneficial for storing my phone and a small SPF stick. But if you’re looking to splurge, Patagonia’s R1 Air Full-Zip Hoody ($179) is another one of my faves for adventuring.

Gregory Maya 25 Pack 


Start any hiking adventure with a reliable backpack like Gregory’s Maya 25 pack , which is lightweight, but can also carry up to 25 pounds. If you’ve read my insider tips on how to pack efficiently, you’ll know I swear by Gregory products because of their durability. The Maya is made of heavy-duty nylon to withstand inclement weather and rugged terrain as you adventure. My favorite part about this bag is the padded shoulder harness which offers superior comfort. Another winning feature is the hipbelt, which not only adds stability, but also provides a zippered pocket so you can easily access snacks and other necessities. 

Scarpa Ribelle Run GTX Waterproof Gore-Tex Trail Shoes

I’m a huge fan of these Gore-tex sneakers from Scarpa . When I was trail running in Grand Teton National Park earlier this year, I was met with a sudden torrential downpour. If I hadn’t been sporting these waterproof trail runners, my feet would have gotten soaked. They’re also breathable, making them an excellent choice when moving in hot weather. The no-slip rubber outsole provides reliable traction so you can move confidently on all types of terrain. Plus, they’re super lightweight, making them a breeze to pack.

REI Co-Op Women’s Trailmade Pants

Comfort is so important when I’m hiking, so it’s no wonder I’m a huge fan of these adorable REI trail pants , which are made of lightweight nylon spandex for durability and comfort. Water-repellent and snag-resistant, they offer breathability for all weather conditions, along with two side pockets and a zippered thigh pocket for storing snacks. The articulated knees offer free-range of motion, making them a good choice for all your outdoor endeavors. For those looking for an elasticized waistband, the Outdoor Afro + REI Co-op Trail Pants are also a great option because they’re super comfortable and also offer several zippered pockets.

General Medi Mini First Aid Kit

Even if you’re going out for a short hike, you should consider bringing a first-aid kit just to be on the safe side. That’s why I am a huge fan of this small kit, which includes 110 useful items in case you get into a pickle: an emergency foil blanket, scissors, bandages, gloves, and much more. Best of all, it’s compact and weighs just over 5 ounces.

Penetrex Soothing Joint & Muscle Pain Relief Cream

This 2-ounce bottle for joint and muscle relief is a lifesaver. Fast-acting menthol and arnica help soothe muscles after a day of movement, while hemp provides hydration for your skin. Rub it anywhere you’re feeling aches and pains. The non-greasy formula isn’t sticky and won’t leave any residue on your clothes or belongings. 

Merino Wool Lightweight Hiking Quarter Socks

These soft and cozy socks offer extra reinforcement at the heels, toes, and Achilles, allowing for all-day comfort. Made in the USA and composed of a merino wool blend, they’re available in three colors, and sizes S to XL. 

Carve Designs Lucie Compression Short

Carve Designs

Carve Designs not only makes some of the most flattering bathing suits, but the women-owned company designs functional clothing meant for the outdoor enthusiast, too. The Lucie Compression short , made of recycled swim fabric, hugs in all the right places. It’s great for hiking, biking, and is even made for swimming. I like the wide waistband, which stays put and doesn’t roll down. The hidden pocket inside the waistband is a great place for holding cash and keys. If you’re looking for something with less compression, the Banff short is a great option. Made from coconut husks and recycled bottles, it offers UPF 50 protection and is quick-drying. I like pairing either bottom with the Larisa Hemp Tank , which is flattering and fits like a dream.

Nano Series 310 Ultra Resistant Polycarbonate Waterproof Protective Case

I use Nanuk’s Nano protective cases whenever I travel. They’re great for safekeeping batteries, chargers, and medication. Water-resistant and airtight, the polycarbonate shell protects your items from being crushed or damaged during transport. They’re also lightweight and compact which make them the perfect travel case. The detachable belt can act as a fanny pack so you can remain hands-free while navigating challenging hikes.

Garmin eTrex SE GPS Handheld Navigator

This small, handheld navigation system by Garmin offers navigation support while you’re on your journey. Rest easy with this high-resolution, easy-to-use device, which offers up to 168 hours of battery life. With a readable screen even in direct sun, you can pair it with Garmin’s app to get real-time weather, access to Geocaching, and additional smart notifications, such as texts and emails. Best of all, it’s water-resistant, so you can hike with confidence regardless of the weather. 

PackTowl Personal Ultralight Microfiber Camping and Travel Towel

I found this lightweight microfiber towel super useful during my trips. During last year’s summer trip to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument when temperatures reached the 100s daily, it was great for managing my sweat. The Polygiene silver-ion odor control feature allows for multiple uses in-between washes, which is great for road trips. Compact and machine washable, it’s available in four sizes and 12 colors. 

Black Diamond Pursuit Trekking Poles - Pair

Trekking poles are not only great for uphill climbing, they’re also helpful when it comes to uneven ground, offering stability. This pair by Black Diamond saw me through many challenging hikes at Olympic National Park as well as both Acadia National Park and the Grand Canyon. They’re lightweight and sturdy with comfortable cork grips that feel secure even when you sweat. The shafts are made of high-quality 7000-series aluminum for durability and the FlickLock allows for easy adjustments and smooth transitions. Sold as a pair, they come in two sizes — S/M and M/L — and are available in two colorways. 

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travel essentials routine

Take it from us, these editor-approved sleep essentials will seriously improve your nightly routine

Shop TODAY independently determines what we cover and recommend. When you buy through our links, we earn a commission. Learn more .

As shopping editors, there's nothing our team loves more than a rare sale, a viral TikTok trend or products that simply wow us. Well ... we can think of at least one thing: Sleep .

We may not get enough of it (who does ?), but for people who look at prices all day long, we stand behind the sentiment that shut-eye is, indeed, priceless. And because catching more ZZZs is a luxury we can all agree on — and vital to our long-term health , according to experts — you can be sure that we've all nailed down a set wind-down routine to help us make bedtime as cozy and relaxing as possible.

So, to help you get your snooze on, Shop TODAY editors are sharing their secrets to prepare for hitting the hay, from top-notch pillows and sound machines to the serums and sprays that put the "beauty" in beauty rest. Whether you're an early riser or a night owl, check out our 20 top recommendations that will turn your cat naps into full-on slumbers.

Sleep accessories | Pillows | Bedding | How we chose

Best sleep accessories, according to Shop TODAY editors

Everyone for every body nourishing lotion.

Vanilla and Lavender Nourishing Lotion

Vanilla and Lavender Nourishing Lotion $ at Amazon

You’re not alone if you prefer the feel of a lotion before bed. And if you also like lovely-smelling skin care and are prepping for an overnight trip, editorial assistant Sierra Hoeger recommends this travel-sized nourishing cream. "I always gravitate towards something lavender-scented to help me relax and wind down before bed. This lotion is my go-to because it's not too overpowering and helps keep my skin smooth overnight!"

Intelex Marshmallow Warmies Eye Mask

Marshmallow Warmies Eye Mask

Marshmallow Warmies Eye Mask $ at Amazon

For associate editor Kamari Stewart, her bedtime routine means business, especially when it comes to the tools she tries to help her sleep. For example, her favorite sleep mask — it has to feel durable yet comfortable and help to create a peaceful environment. And she found just the one.

“I love this sleep mask! It’s slightly weighted and has a lavender scent which is super calming. It can be microwaved for warmth, though I haven’t done that yet. I’ve never really been into sleep masks because they felt too flimsy for me, but I like the weight on this one because it stays in place and the pressure forces me to relax my eye muscles.”

Bgoverss White Noise Machine

White Noise Machine and Warm Night Light

White Noise Machine and Warm Night Light $ at Amazon

“I’m one of those people who can’t sleep in complete silence and needs a fan or some sort of white noise to help me sleep, says associate editor Shannon Garlin. To fall asleep quickly and easily , she enlisted the help of this affordable white noise machine, and it hasn’t let her down.

“My sister actually recommended this white noise machine to me and it’s been a game-changer. It has tons of different types of white noise [options] and lets you adjust the sound level to your liking. I also love that it has a light, too, so if I need to get up in the night, I just tap instead of turning on a big light.”

Kasa Smart Light Bulbs

Kasa Smart Light Bulb

Kasa Smart Light Bulb $ at Amazon

For writer Danielle Murphy, this product is more of a fun addition to a bedtime routine than an essential. “I really never understood the point of color-changing lights outside of a wedding or dance party until I go the chance to try these smart lightbulbs. I can match my lighting to my mood or create a more calming experience just by swapping out my yellow lights for a restful blue or pink hue.

But is it hard to set up? “Nope,” says Murphy. “The Alexa app walked me through it. Now all I have to do is tell her what color I want via my voice or phone.”

Loop Quiet Ear Plugs

Loop Quiet Ear Plugs $ at Amazon

While complete silence isn’t preferred, Garlin isn’t a fan of the distractingly loud noises that come from her upstairs neighbors. To drown them out but still hear the effects of her white noise machine, she uses these Loop Quiet Ear Plugs . Not only have these small plugs restored her sleep, but they also lay comfortably in her sensitive ears.

Neom Perfect Night’s Sleep Essential Oil Blend

Perfect Night's Sleep Essential Oil Blend

Perfect Night's Sleep Essential Oil Blend $ at NEOM Organics

Commerce Editor Vivien Moon is one to also hop on the lavender train, because “I am a scent-driven girl who prefers everything to smell good — and that includes my bed sheets,” she says. “My mother taught me a sleep hack that may require extra effort, but it’s worth it for me. I love to iron or steam my bedsheets before making my bed, and I will mist them with lavender oil-infused water to give them a light lavender scent. The olfactory experience is worth the extra 20 minutes of effort. I know oil and heat don’t mix which is why I use a mister that lets me evenly distribute this oil without damaging my sheets.”

Pure Enrichment Pure Relief XL Heating Pad

Pure Relief XL Heating Pad

Pure Relief XL Heating Pad $ at Amazon

We know a heating pad can offer countless benefits to your everyday lives, but for deals editor Rebecca Brown, it's the one thing that can complete her snoozing setup. "It creates such a cozy environment," she says, thanks to its InstaHeat Technology, which helps the pad warm up in seconds and relieve muscles quickly.

Nodpod Sleep Mask

  • Nodpod Sleep Mask $ at Amazon
  • Nodpod Sleep Mask $ at Target
  • Nodpod Sleep Mask $ at Nordstrom

"I never really liked traditional eye masks — I’d never tried one that completely blocked out light," Murphy says. "However, since this one is weighted, it does a great job keeping any source of light out of sight. The weighted feature is really comfortable and helps me get into a more relaxed state."

Canopy Humidifier

Humidifier w/ Aroma + Filter Subscription

Humidifier w/ Aroma + Filter Subscription $ at Canopy

If you lose moisture at night, former associate editor Francesca Sales knows how you feel. She admits to experiencing so much dryness that by the morning, her nose, cheeks and lips become flakey and red. Luckily, she found a solution with the Canopy Humidifier.

"I love, love, love this humidifier. Honestly, I don't know how I lived my life without it. I didn't realize how much sleeping with the Canopy really helped with dryness until I spent two nights accidentally not turning it on — and both of the mornings after, those flakes and redness were back.

Moon adds, "I love for my home to have a gorgeous scent and this one does two for one: It can act as a humidifier and can somewhat double as a diffuser with essential oils. It is really quiet and has dishwasher-safe parts."

The Reset Luminous Hyaluronic Serum Spray

Luminous Hyaluronic Serum Spray

Luminous Hyaluronic Serum Spray $ at Credo

Before her head hits her pillow, Brown makes sure to coat herself with this hyaluronic misting spray from Iris & Romeo. This 3-in-1 beauty must-have promises to deliver 24-hour hydration, keep skin looking plump and protect the moisture barrier. And in addition to hyaluronic acid, the formula is packed with other enriching ingredients like ceramides, niacinamide and a cellular hydration complex, which the brand says helps to reduce fine lines.

Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite $ at Amazon

Stewart also makes sure to get through a couple pages of a book before bed, but she’s doing so on her Kindle device.

“I use my Kindle Paperwhite, so I’m not staring at the blue light from my phone but also don’t have to hold an entire book if I don’t want to,” she says.

The Paperwhite features an adjustable warm light to lessen the strain on the eyes and offers up to 10 weeks of battery life — enough time to get through an entire trilogy.

Hatch Restore 2 

Hatch Restore 2

  • Hatch Restore 2 $ at Amazon
  • Hatch Restore 2 $ at Best Buy
  • Hatch Restore 2 $ at Target

The Hatch Restore alarm clock has been all over TikTok recently, and if you've been wondering if it's worth the splurge, trust one of our staffers who says it's "changed" her mornings.

"I’ve always been a traditional iPhone alarm girl but this clock gently wakes me up with a light flute every morning with a gentle sunrise light too," shares production coordinator Camryn Privette. "You can customize the sound and lights to whatever helps you. It’s also a noise machine and I fall asleep to the rainstorm sound every night now, too."

Stewart is also a fan. "The gradual light increases that occur the hour before you’ve set the alarm to go off is really nice, especially for winter time when the sun doesn’t rise until well after my alarm has already gone off. I’m also a fan of the sounds you can set for both sleepy time and morning. I personally do rain for sleep and ocean sounds for the morning. It’s so peaceful! And, according to a few TikToks I’ve seen, you can also do custom sounds which can be very fun."

Best pillows, according to Shop TODAY editors

Purple Harmony Pillow

  • Purple Harmony Pillow $ at Amazon
  • Purple Harmony Pillow $ at Walmart
  • Purple Harmony Pillow $ at Purple

"Purple calls this ‘the greatest pillow ever invented’ — and I have to agree," shares production associate Audrey Ekman. "The unique, patented gel grid technology is so strangely satisfying to the touch and doesn’t trap any heat. I am a notoriously bad sleeper and tend to wake up sweaty in the middle of the night, but ever since swapping out my pillow for the medium height version of this Harmony pillow, I haven’t been having that issue. It’s more than I’ve ever spent on a pillow, but given that we spend a third of our lives in bed and getting good sleep is so important, I think it’s worth every penny. I’ve even gotten my boyfriend hooked!"

Pillow Cube Side Cube

  • Side Cube $ at Amazon
  • Side Cube $ at Walmart
  • Side Cube $ at Target

Stewart calls this pillow her "ride or die." "I’ve been a side sleeper my entire life and this pillow is that girl! Since it’s a cube shape, it tucks in comfortably between your head and shoulder. It’s the perfect height to keep everything aligned throughout the night and keeps me from waking up with aches and pains. I also love that it’s a longer pillow so I can turn over throughout the night and I’m still on it."

Ostrichpillow Memory Foam Bed Pillow

Memory Foam Bed Pillow

Memory Foam Bed Pillow $ at Ostrich Pillow

“I used to need several pillows underneath me to gain the support I need while I slumbered away (and even then I felt like I needed at least another to ensure I didn’t wake up with a stiff neck),” says senior SEO editor Jess Bender. “Since getting this memory foam pillow, though, I’ve never needed to worry about achy mornings. I especially adore that it perfectly hugs and positions my head, even when I toss and turn in the middle of the night.”

Best bedding, according to Shop TODAY editors

Kitsch satin pillowcase.

Satin Pillowcase

Satin Pillowcase $ at Amazon

Beauty lovers have long been singing the praises of silk pillowcases for hair and skin — and editorial assistant Sierra Hoeger says that after trying one, she'll "never go back to a cotton or fleece one ever again," after trying this. "Even on nights when I don’t wash my hair, I’ll still wake up with smooth, frizz-free hair."

LuxClub 6-Piece Queen Sheet Set

LuxClub Queen Sheet Set

LuxClub Queen Sheet Set $ at Amazon

"This might sound horrible but I will sometimes put off changing my bed sheets because I don’t want to swap out these for a different set," shares Moon. "They are truly the softest and most luxe sheets I’ve ever slept on. Better than any hotel sheets or any other sheets I’ve gotten at any store. Considering the price, I would be happy to only buy these sheets for the rest of my life they are that soft and breathable. I have recommended these to multiple friends because I can’t stop bragging about them and am sad when I sleep on any other sheets."

Quility Weighted Blanket for Adults

Weighted Blanket for Adults

Weighted Blanket for Adults $ at Amazon

Sales' last bedtime must-have: A weighted blanket. Specifically, this Quility option from Amazon, which comes in several sizes and weight options.

"The more I use it, the more I feel the stark difference between how my body feels after a day full of various internal and external stressors, and how it feels seconds after sliding under this blanket. The distribution of the weight immediately signals my entire body to relax at once.

If your temperature easily spikes at night, Sales can attest this this blanket's comfortability. I run hot when I sleep, and I can sleep with this over me through the night without waking up once."

Quince Classic Duvet Cover Set

Classic Duvet Cover Set

Classic Duvet Cover Set $ at Quince

When it comes to the great top sheet debate , associate partnerships editor Lauren Witonsky says that she's "team no top sheet" since "it always gets tangled at the bottom of the bed." That's why she relies on a comfortable duvet cover instead. "This one from Quince is super breathable, gets softer with each use and is actually affordable for such good quality. I love the crisp white color because I always feel like I’m crawling into a hotel bed at the end of the day."

Purple SoftStretch Sheet Set

SoftStretch Sheet Set (Queen)

SoftStretch Sheet Set (Queen) $ at Purple

As for her bedtime necessities, Murphy, swears by the Purple SoftStretch sheets. “The moment my body felt this material, I knew I was in trouble. Getting out of bed in the morning is already a struggle for me, but having sheets that feel this good is going to make it even harder. But seriously, no other sheets compare.”

How we chose the best sleep products

The Shop TODAY editors and writers search the internet to find the best products out there. We interview expert sources and use our own personal experiences with the product and brand to make shopping easier for our readers.

As an editorial team, we independently create content and determine coverage based on research, reporting and what we think  TODAY.com  readers would like to read about. The goal of our content is to provide a service and inform readers who are on the hunt for the latest products to help make their life better. Items are sold by retailer, not TODAY. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time.  Learn more about Shop TODAY .

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

This article may contain affiliate links that Microsoft and/or the publisher may receive a commission from if you buy a product or service through those links.

Take it from us, these editor-approved sleep essentials will seriously improve your nightly routine


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