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19 Must Have Travel Essentials – Top Essential Things We Pack For All Trips

We travel constantly and have learned over the years what must have travel essentials to pack, discovered travel hacks, and found out the things you definitely can travel without.

Here are some of the must have travel essentials you shouldn’t travel without (apart from your passport and travel ticket). 

READ MORE: Top Travel Tips for Visiting Turks and Caicos, Tips for Traveling Mexico for the First Timers, What to Wear When Traveling in Bahamas

1. Weather-appropriate and season-appropriate clothes 

Must have travel essentials - arriving in an airport knowing the proper weather of the location you're visiting in your time of visit is a very important part of your travel planning

Must have travel essentials – arriving at an airport knowing the proper weather of the location you’re visiting at your time of visit is a very important part of your travel planning.

This might sound like something everyone should already know about but trust us. Time and time again, we meet people, including seasoned ones, who travel without the appropriate clothes!

Always check the weather and the season you are traveling in. You won’t believe how many times this happens, but you can actually mistake the weather of a country (or at least at a certain time of the year), based on what you see online with media.

For example, we went to South America with half of our group not realizing that the weather is actually really cold. Even Brazil, where the country is popular for its beautiful weather, it’s actually a huge country and not the whole country has tropical weather. 

We found ourselves often needing an extra jacket, or double clothes especially during the winter time in South America (yes it’s a thing), which means big parts of Brazil (including Rio de Janeiro) were already experiencing some type of cold weather and rain when you’ll definitely need to wear something more than your swimming trunks! 

2. Windbreakers – Must Have travel essentials

Windbreakers are the perfect intersections between giving you extra cover, no matter the weather – for the heat or cold. It’s something that has unexpectedly proven to be really useful on all our trips. 

When you find yourself feeling the need to get a little bit of cover from the sun, and you’re wearing something too thin, you can use one. 

If you suddenly find yourself in situations like entering temples or banks or offices, you can use it.

If you need a sudden cover from little rain, you can use it. 

Extra cover for yourself, if you find yourself suddenly feeling cold in a bus, plane, or additional clothing for even much cooler weather, Windbreakers are still useful. 

3. Sunscreen – Must have travel essentials

There’s always a need for a good sunscreen. Even on the coldest days of our stay in Peru, we still needed some sunblock as the sun will eventually come up and you’ll need it when you’re high up in the mountains.

4. Medicines

Emergency medicines or medicines for common headaches, cough, and even small bandaids are good to have in handy because traveling is not always gentle. Have an antiseptic with you, and have some Paracetamol, especially if you’re traveling with kids, topical creams, cleaners, and gauze. Make sure you don’t forget your prescription medicines, and even prescriptions from doctors, in case you will need them refilled in another country or location.

5. Spare Cash

Traveling to different parts of the world, some advanced, some not, you can find yourself in a situation where you can’t use digital and card payments. 

Even in some malls in other countries, you find stores that require you to pay cash. 

Having spare cash with you is super helpful so you don’t have to look for an atm all the time. Having smaller bills with you, especially if you’re traveling to a much smaller country or town is very useful. 

6. Pins and Needle kit 

There are days that you’ll need a quick fix for an outfit. We find pins and needle kits not an always-needed thing to be with you, but definitely really helpful if you have them.

7. Water Bottle and Water cleaner 

If you’re planning on areas where there is a doubt if the water is clean all the time, you can have a water cleaner. These sometimes come as drops (mineral drops), or bottles with filters. You don’t have to repurchase these types of water bottles often, so if you find yourself traveling to remote places a lot, or in countries without too much access to clean water, it could be a good must have travel essential to keep in your luggage.

At the very least, have water bottles. They always come in handy! And good for the environment as well.

8. Hand Wash and Tissues Towels

In these times, after all the virus and pandemic scare, you’ll never know when you’ll feel you need to wash your handwash. Have small cleaners and handwash with you. Even for just the safety of your mind. 

9. Extra Small Bags and Tote Bags

We always find ourselves needing these when shopping or needing to store extra things we need during travels (we usually travel several months at a time at the most). Also, for small emergencies like vomiting – small biodegradable plastics are so useful! 

10. Napkins/ Biodegradable Pads / Menstrual Cups for Women 

It’s easy to have these and just keep them tucked away with your emergency and toiletries bag. You don’t have to worry about it all the time, and you don’t have to buy them every time you need them – and they’re something you need (for females) once a month! 

11. Breath Mints and Small Snacks 

If you find yourself in situations where you need to be in a transportation for a long time (long bus and train rides, and those uber long flights), and won’t be brushing for a while, have some breath mints with you – super handy and useful, and you’ll thank yourself you have them!

12. Small Snacks

Bitesize cookies or candies are enough. If you’re traveling long term or for travels where you don’t know if you’re going to be stuck somewhere for a long while, small snacks, chocolates, or candies can prove to be useful – especially when you’re traveling with the little ones. Try to have something less sugary or too salty if you’re on a special diet or for the little ones so they won’t get hyper! 

13. Some form of cleaner – Must have travel essentials

There’s always a chance to get emergency dirt when you’re traveling. A small tide cleaner is so useful just to have around with you, and something to forget later. You can easily remove small dirt that can happen accidentally, and for us who travel with a kid it always comes in handy.

Digital Tools – Must Have Travel Essentials

As times become more inclined to technology, our must have travel essentials includes a lot of tech and digital tools. Find what you need to bring below. 

14. Travel Adapters

universal-travel-adapter

Too important that a lot of people miss it! Even if you’re staying in hotels, it’s easy to forget that some countries have a different plug than your home country, and you might not easily connect your devices. Have this in mind and be prepared! We usually have two travel adapters with us that can cover all types of plugs in different countries so we can easily use them anywhere, anytime. Our travel adapters are digital plugs ready as well so they have usb and usb-c’s hubs as well. 

15. Extra memory cards / Digital Memory if possible 

If you love taking photos and planning to take a lot on your trips, have extra memory cards and disks so that you won’t have to worry about buying these especially if you’re in remote or beach areas.

16. Flight Out Tickets

Easy to forget but a lot of times required. One of the first things we purchase after buying flights and checking for visa requirements are flight out tickets. If you’re traveling longer and jumping to different countries, this might be required by airlines and immigration, so make sure you have them. 

17. Additional Identification 

Very important in case you’re changing bags, or you need to prove your identity, or in emergencies where you lose your passports. We always keep additional identification and spare cash in separate bags than our regular luggage, so we can have them ready in emergency situations. 

18. Protection Software for your Devices

Protect your computers from possible malware attacks by installing software that can protect your information, and make sure you’re securely connected to the internet, especially when accessing a lot of public wifi networks. An antivirus, or a vpn for example, are necessary digital tools to have.

Your computer itself might have ways to keep your system protected, so check and turn on the necessary settings for these, especially when traveling.

19. Virtual Sim Cards – eSIM

eSIMs are easily starting to be the standard of sim card technology, with Apple paving the way by releasing only eSIM card phones for their iPhone 14 lineup in the United States this year. And although this is not yet the standard everywhere, a lot of the newer phones released are starting to have dual sim card options, with the other one an eSIM.

What is an eSIM and how is it different from a regular sim?

An eSIM is an electronic or virtual sim card where you won’t need a physical sim card to connect to a data network. At the moment, the main use for them is for travelers and digital nomads who want easy access to another network data signal for regular browsing, work, and other online activities.

Usually, an eSIM allows you to spend less money on data while abroad, rather than getting a data plan with your regular network and spending so much money on roaming charges.

Once you’ve checked that your mobile phone or other devices support eSIM compatibility, you can start to look at various eSIM options to see which ones can work well for your trip. 

Final Thoughts on Must Have Travel Essentials 

We hope you loved our advice on travel packing for your next adventure. Have any other travel essentials that you think we need to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below and til our next guide! 

Ruben Arribas is a Spanish traveler who has traveled more than 70+ countries around the world. Now based in the Philippines!