Packing has become second nature to me—every trip I go on, I bring more or less the exact same things. While there are some great clothing essentials that are definitely important, it’s almost always the small items that make the most difference to me—they might not seem important, but they’re worth their weight in gold. Here are 10 everyday items I pack on every trip I take:
I never go anywhere without an eyemask, although sometimes I use a hat or scarf to do the job. This is absolutely essential if you’re a light sleeper, or have a hard time getting to sleep if the lights are on. Whether you’re in a hostel dorm room or trying to have a snooze on a train journey, an eyemask will do you wonders! I can’t stand the feeling of earplugs in my ears (weird, I know), but they are another essential for staying in hostel dorms.
Another great item if you’re staying in hostels is a lock. I always bring a padlock with me to avoid having to pay for one for a hostel locker, but they can also come in handy for securing your storage in any type of locker facility.
3) Shower cap
Shower caps are an absolute lifesaver when you travel! I always use them for my shoes, in an effort to protect my bag and the rest of my luggage from getting dirty. Because of the elastic band, they can fit nearly any size. I also use them most days unless I’m washing my hair.
4) Plastic bags
All hail plastic bags! I know they aren’t good for the environment, but I use and re-use my plastic bags a million times over on a trip. They make great lunch bags if you’re on the go, and I always use them to separate my dirty clothes from my clean clothes on the road. Plastic bags are also excellent if you need to pack any wet items and don’t want the rest of your luggage to get soaked. They are also handy if you need to re-pack your carry-on at the airport and make it look like you just went airport shopping, not that your bag is too big/heavy… not that I’ve ever done that 😉
5) Ziploc bags
Similar to plastic bags but different in size—Ziploc bags are the best for traveling, and I never leave home without at least 5 of them. I use them for packing my contact lenses and makeup (since it’s see-through, I don’t have to spend ages trying to find a bag, and it’s more compact than a makeup bag), as my liquids bag in my carry-on (so that any liquids I have won’t spill and ruin my stuff), for eating food on the go and/or taking snacks from breakfast to munch on throughout the day, and for separating money into different currencies. They are THE BEST.
I always bring my own towel with me, mainly since I stay in hostels and don’t want to pay extra for one. But a towel can also be useful for traveling as a makeshift blanket if it gets really cold (although I generally always travel with a scarf), or as an extra pillow.
7) Laundry soap bar
Since I travel light and typically bring the same amount of stuff for a 5-day trip as a 5-week trip, I never leave home without a bar of laundry soap. Generally, I’ll get laundry done about every 2 weeks on a trip. So laundry soap is how I keep my clothes clean on the go! It’s especially great for washing underwear and socks in the sink, since you run through those items fastest on any trip. I bought a giant bar of Zote from Wal-Mart and have used barely a third of it in the last year. Fels-naptha is another good brand, but I just can’t stand that smell.
Not just for cleaning your ears, q-tips are great for traveling! I use them to clean out the mouthpiece on my Camelback water bottle, and they’re also great for applying makeup (or fixing any mistakes) in a hurry.
Always, always travel with a pack of Kleenex on you. If I had a dollar for every time I went to the bathroom and there was no toilet paper, I would be filthy rich and drinking on a beach right now. Ladies, it’s better to be safe than sorry! They’re also great for blowing your nose and stuff like that.
One of the single most underrated items every person should travel with? A pen. There have been so many times, particularly going through airports, where I have desperately needed a pen and searched my purse to no avail. It’s also useful in case you need to write or draw anything because of a language barrier.
What are your must-have regular items for traveling?!