The Travel Essentials Alphabet

By Caitlin Hornik

Jet-setting off to a fabulous new destination? Here's a list of 26 must-have items for world travelers, from A-Z!

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An all-in-one adapter is one of the wisest investments for avid travelers. Keep it in your backpack so you’re connected no matter where you go!


Everyone packs books, but does anyone actually read them? Aren’t you busy ziplining or skydiving or something? Pack one anyway - you'll be glad to have a familiar way to unwind at the end of the day.


Packing cubes keep your suitcase neat and organized, no matter the length of your trip.


Having detergent on hand will make sink-washing your dirty clothes much easier, don’t you think? Pro tip: if you're trying to keep it to carry-on, bring detergent powder instead of liquid, but be sure to keep it under 12 ounces!

Eye drops

After that 21-hour flight to Bali, your eyes will thank you for bringing these along.

Facial Wipes/Face Masks

Long flights dehydrate, so bring some moisturizing facial wipes and face masks to keep your skin glowing throughout your trip!


Reading glasses, sunglasses, or fashion statement glasses - don’t leave these babies behind! Whether you have a designer pair or a dollar store bargain, we’re positive you’ll use these during your trip.

Hand Sanitizer

You know airplane tray tables have more germs than toilet flush buttons, airplane seatbelts, and TSA security bins, right? Right. You’re welcome.

Insect Repellant

Super important (unless you're headed to Iceland, where there are no mosquitoes), consider it an absolute necessity.


Nowadays it’s common to use your phone to jot notes down, but we prefer a real journal to store your thoughts and memories from your trips. Physically writing things also helps you remember them, and who doesn’t want to remember that time they were accosted by a wild monkey at the Top of the Rock in Gibraltar?! (True story)


Having a kit filled with first-aid items, painkillers, and emergency antibiotics is one of the most basic, and important, travel essentials to keep you prepared for any situation that may arise. Bandaids may not heal the wound of missing your flight, but they’ll help you recover from that tumble during your hike!


It may sound silly, but having good-quality luggage is a luxury. Habitual travelers know the importance of having the right piece of luggage for every trip. Preferably something sturdy that won’t collapse when you overpack, or combust after just one trip. From weekender bags to extended stay vacations, having the right luggage is a true essential!

Minimalist Wallet

It’s pretty common for people to carry around a big, bulky wallet filled to the brim with every rewards club card and family picture they own. When traveling, it’s best to carry a minimalist wallet for a few reasons, but mostly because you’d be pretty sad if you had to replace your Starbucks gold card.

Noise-cancelling Headphones

These are a wise investment to begin with, but become an essential when you’re heading to Australia and spot a family of seven kids a few rows ahead of you.


A hanging travel organizer is a great way to keep your toiletries safe and secure while you travel. Many have clear plastic pockets so you don’t have to worry about taking everything out at the TSA checkpoints! We also like the plastic pockets because they’re easier to clean if something spills or explodes mid-flight.


Pretty self-explanatory, but did you know that of all Americans eligible to obtain a passport, only 40% actually do?


Believe it or not, Q-tips are really useful to have around at all times. Yes, they help you put on or take off your makeup, but they can also be used to apply topical medicines and creams, soothe puffy eyes post-travel, and for portable aromatherapy if traveling with oils.

Reusable Bags

Packing a foldable, reusable bag is a multi-purpose packing hack. Use it for grocery shopping, as a souvenir holder, or even as a laundry bag.

Spare Battery/Charger

Investing in a portable spare battery and/or charger for your cellphone and other electronics is a total no-brainer.

Thermal Compression Socks

On long flights, these babies can help increase blood flow to your legs, thereby reducing the risk of a blood clot. We don’t want any ruined trips, so we suggest add these to your essentials collection. And maybe a pair of fuzzy socks while you’re at it; warm and fuzzy socks to compliment your warm and fuzzy feels about traveling. Aww.


Hear us out: there is such a thing as “travel underwear” that's made with an easy-to-hand-wash fabric. Remember that detergent you packed? It’ll certainly come in handy when you’re washing these. You can thank us later.


Use it on your lips, use it on your hands, use it when you’ve eaten too much and can’t fit into your leggings. We love multi-purpose travel essentials!

Water Bottle

Find a good, sturdy, filtered water bottle and carry it with you wherever you go. Plain and simple - No ifs, ands, or bobbles about it.

X-tra Socks

Just having one extra pair can make all the difference!


Yarn and knitting needles aren’t really essentials, but a hobby or craft along those lines is! Cross-stitch, coloring, and origami are other suggestions of a packable hobby you'll be glad you brought along when the kiddos need something something to do with their hands.

Zip Pocket Jacket

Pockets are the epitome of a travel essential because storing belongings in your jacket is significantly easier than traveling with a bag, especially on a hike or day trip! Finding a waterproof zip pocket jacket would be the best option - many exotic locations have unpredictable weather, so it’s always good to be prepared! Even better is that many raincoats and jackets are now packable, meaning they fold up into a small carrying case, so they’ll take up less room in your luggage. Definitely a worthy investment before your next trip!

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