The Travel Essentials You Need to Pack Like a Pro

Essential Vacation Travel items List

Essential Travel Items to Help You Pack Light This Vacation

If you’re about to embark on your first big travel destination, or you want to double check that you have the right travel essentials for vacationing, look no further! We love making lists, and packing lists are our favorite (obviously). It can be extremely frustrating to spend so much time packing, only to discover that you forgot a few essential items. What makes this worse is that it always seems like the items left behind are not easily, nor quickly, tracked down. To avoid this traveling pitfall use our packing lists and recommended products to pack efficiently and strategically. The items on our lists will cover you for the majority of countries (Thailand, Japan, Europe, South America, or the USA), with slight tweaking being needed for destination countries that have Mosquito borne illnesses.

Travel List: Basic Essentials

Vacation Packing List Essentials

When we talk about the essentials, we are referring to everything needed for travel that are’t clothes. The goal is to always keep it light, so stick with the below list and you’ll be a pro packer.

basic essential travel items

Basic Travel Essentials for Long Flights, Buses, or Trains

same packing list of essential travel items

If you are going to be traveling for an extended period of time consider carrying on your day pack with some of the following items:

  • Toothbrush
  • Neck Pillow
  • Entertainment device (Music, Movies, etc.)
  • Bandanna or Handkerchief
  • Ear Plugs
  • Eye Mask
  • Book
  • Wet Wipes (highly recommended)
  • Hooded Sweatshirt

If a survey was taken of all the backpackers who wander year round you can be sure all these items are in their bag. If you purchase the right things you will have an expert kit for life and make all the other backpackers you meet look like amateurs. Seriously though, don’t want to be ill prepared forvacation because it can be the difference between the best time of your life and crying in your bunk alone in a hostel. All the item recommendations below have been put through the most extreme of traveling experiences. They are high quality, durable, and built to withstand everything. If you purchase cheap alternatives, well, you get what you pay for, as they say. All items below are the best items, in their category, for traveling and are travel essentials.

What to Pack for a Trip: Travel Items

How to pack travel essentials

Day Packs and Stuff Sacks

Taking day trips and exploring your surroundings is a huge part of travel and will be taking up most of your time. This is where collapsible day packs really shine, they are small enough to fold into your backpack or luggage, but strong enough to carry everything you need for a day trip. Day packs are ultra convenient because they allow you to leave your luggage at the hotel and hostel while still being able to carry maps, water, and an extra jacket. When packing a day bag you should include the following: an extra layer, windbreaker, water bottle, sunscreen, cell phone charger, portable charger, maps, hat/beanie, and a camera. You can also bring a book or journal if you want to take some time to lounge around.

Outlander Day Pack
This little pack may not look like it, but it is extremely durable. It has three
zipper compartments and two side pouches for water bottles and documents. The top zipper can easily fit a water bottle, windbreaker, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, camera, and tablet in it. While not totally waterproof, it does keep everything pretty dry as long as you don’t get caught in a torrential downpour. The reason it’s the best day pack is because of the multiple pouches. This is the bag we use and we’ve had it for seven years.

Stuff Sacks
Stuck sacks are a great way to compress your clothes and keep them dry, separate dirty clothes from clean ones, or store shoes. You can easily roll up your clothes and stuff them inside these making it easy to stack and organize everything in your backpack. They also double as laundry bags which you can take to the local laundromat. These stuff sacks are made of a water resistant plastic with cinch cords. A 2.5L, 4L, and 6.5L will fit in any carry on backpack. It’s recommended to have three.

Money/Document Storage

Pack light with these travel items

Carrying cards, money, and passports can be nerve racking when traveling. To avoid your documents getting lost or stolen, keep a hideaway money pouch that is comfortable and convenient. A good money belt will securely and discreetly store your documents, cards, and money while not drawing unwanted attention. There are a lot of options out there, but the most popular is the money belt as made popular by Rick Steves. It hides your money and documents under your shirt and attaches to you like a belt. Thieves will generally pick the easiest targets, so not carrying a stuff wallet or a purse will deter them from robbing you.

Eagle Creek Undercover Hidden Pocket
Our personal favorite money belt, simply slip it through your belt and flip it underneath your front pocket between your underwear and pants. It’s comfortable while being low profile enough to not notice; and it easily carries all your money, vaccination cards, passport, and credit cards.

Money Belt
The original money belt is still a great option! Regardless of how dorky they are, they carry all your necessary documents with ease including your passport, train tickets, money, credit cards, hotel keys, travel insurance, and vaccination card. Advanced thieves will know about these if they can isolate you away from a group, so don’t get into a situation where they can.

Slim Travel Wallet

If you’re looking for something more lightweight that allows you easy access to your cards and money, consider a thin wallet. They are ultra thin and can fit in a front pocket to avoid getting pick pocketed. They also can fit in your other money belts. We generally carry a dummy wallet in our back pocket in case we do get robbed. A dummy wallet allows us to hand the thief something to satisfy them while keeping the majority of our valuables hidden away.. The likelihood of you getting robbed is pretty low in most countries, but better safe than sorry!

Summary: Travel Packing Checklist Essentials

Having the right  items will be essential to allowing you to move around freely while enjoying your trip. A day pack will allow you to bring a water bottle, camera, and an sweater. Money belts will make it hard for thieves to take your stuff and stuff sacks will keep your dirty and wet clothes separate from other things in your bag.