Authored by Christopher Joseph
You can pretty much guarantee that every adventure will come with its bumps in the road, but with careful planning and a few handy travel accessories you can be prepared for anything.
The accessories you travel with will depend on a variety of different things – the environment you’re heading to, the length of your journey, the type of transit you prefer, and even the weather. And then the rest of the time it comes down to personal preference.
Accessories most commonly found in a travelers bag include a first aid kit, flashlight, camera, headphones, and perhaps a travel hoodie, though to cover all possible bases, we’ve listed and discussed 15 more. If you find something that’s missing from your bag, click on the product photo to shop on Amazon.
Whether you’re travelling by car or flight, a neck pillow makes the list for allowing you to sleep comfortably. They are designed specifically to help you sleep better while traveling, and feel better once you’ve reached your destination. (I’m sure everyone will agree that airline pillows are farcically small and essentially useless).
Most pillows are so comfortable that they may even replace a hotel pillow. They are available in different sizes, material and cost. The following are a couple of our favorite options.
Read More: The Tempur Transit Pillow Review
Swiss Army Knife
A multi-tool / tactical knife is a great accessory to take on your travels, but just make sure you’re not carrying it in your hand luggage to avoid getting it confiscated at the airport.
As the name suggests, multi-tools have several attachments making them handy in a variety of situations. Most multi-tools will include a corkscrew, a knife, screwdriver and bottle opener which can prove lifesaving if you need to cut up some firewood to cook any food you’ve taken with you or foraged.
You’ve probably heard the old adage that the best camera is the one you have with you. For most of us, that means our best camera is our humble mobile phone.
Modern mobile phones do a decent job at taking a pretty picture, but they do have their limitations. If you want to get creative with your photography, or get that envious ‘blurred-background’ look, you’re much better off investing in an inter-changeable lens (ILC) camera, or at least, a good compact camera.
Buying a decent camera doesn’t mean breaking the bank – there are plenty of great cameras available for under $500 and some great dSLR lenses which cost much less than you’d expect. And if you invest in one with a good zoom, these can double as a set of binoculars!
Read More: How to Choose a Camera for Travel
All Terrain Trekking Boots
Such boots are not for every traveler. For instance, if you’re travelling by air for a business meeting, you obviously wouldn’t need boots to tackle all terrain! But if your journey involves passing through the hills or in mountainous areas, we recommend all terrain trekking boots.
When searching for the best pair of boots, make sure that you invest in quality; shoes, especially trekking boots, are one thing you end up regretting having taken the cheaper option for. And obviously pick the size that is right for you. It’s best to head into a shop-front so you know how they feel and fit, though if you’re familiar with a brand and their sizing, ordering online can be more convenient.
Consider things like the quality of the material – some trekking boots are made with low quality materials which may not be really effective. They should have water resistance, be as light weight as possible, and made of durable material that doesn’t easily wear out.
If you’re camping, or heading out on a multiple night trek, carrying a sleeping bag is crucial. Even if you’re traveling during summer, you should never underestimate how cold the nights might get. And if you’re traveling in tropical countries, sleeping under the stars without a sleeping bag / mosquito net, might see you with bug bites in the morning!
Unlike other types of bedding used while camping or hiking, sleeping bags can be set up very quickly and are also easier to store. But don’t just grab the first bag you see – make sure you pick a sleeping bag that is the right size for you.
Other features to look for include the type of material the sleeping bag is made of and its designs. If you’re heading into cold climates you should purchase one which has been specifically designed to handle minus degrees and keep you warm on the snow / ice.
If you have trouble sleeping when you’re traveling / not in your own bed, a sleep bracelet could be the key. These look like a watch without a face, and contain a metal disc to harness natural frequencies from the environment to our body to help you sleep.
Studies show that those who use sleep bracelets are more relaxed, have wonderful dreams, feel more refreshed, and sleep for longer hours. Though choose this product from a known brand so that you don’t end up buying a less functional version.
A very crucial item that many people take for granted is a flashlight, but it’s something that every traveler should have. The main purpose of a flashlight is to obviously offer a source of light when making your way through the dark. And this is especially important when you’re in a foreign environment.
But don’t just purchase the first cheap version you find from your supermarket. You should consider if it’s waterproof (are you diving?), how many you want, and if it’s a good style. What power output do you require, and what size? How reliable is it, and how much do you want to pay.
If you’re trekking, you may consider a headlight instead of a hand held. Also, tactical flashlights have been known to act as protective weapons.
SureFire G2X Series LED Flashlights with tough Nitrolon body
Streamlight 88040 ProTac HL 750 Lumen Professional Tactical Flashlight
A smartphone is used for almost every aspect of travel these days – from WiFi connection, to social media, use of the camera, calculator, games to keep us entertained, and then of course, what they were originally intended for … calls!
Though I haven’t met a single person who hasn’t dropped or damaged their smartphone at some stage, which is why it’s essential to have a case for protection. These days you can even order custom phone cases and choose your own design / photo.
You can choose from slim cases that just attach to your phone and protect agaisnt scratches but offer high picture quality, or silicone cases that are thicker but protect more against drops. I personally have a silicone custom Galaxy S4 case.
“Whether you listen to that album you’ve been meaning to for months, binge-watch movies, or just want to take a nap without having to listen to the passengers around you, our number one piece of advice is: Never board a plane or a train without headphones.”
There are different types of headphones from which to select from, though for the best quality choose a brand which offers wireless noise cancelling. They need to be light (easy to carry in transit), and comfortable (if you fall asleep with them on you don’t want to wake up with a headache).
Weather you’re traveling in hot or cold weather, make sure you’re prepared with skin and eye protection from the sun. Be aware that when traveling internationally you may be entering a country with UV Rays more fierce than you are used to at home. Act accordingly to protect yourself and your health.
When it comes to UV rays, the winter season is more dangerous than you may think, and you can easily get sunburnt in the snow. UV radiation is reflected from light surfaces on the ground, and because snow reflects up to 80 percent of the UV light from the sun, it means you’re are often being hit by the same rays twice.
Travel with waterproof sunscreens SPF 30 or higher (with broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum protection for both UVB and UVA rays) and wear sunglasses (or goggles) that offer 99 percent or greater UV protection.
Related Post: Travel Advice: How to Prepare For the Weather Overseas
A water bottle is something which should be with every traveler, on every trip. And you should have one regardless of whether your vacation is to the city, or hiking into the mountains / foothills.
Not only does this ensure you’ll stay hydrated throughout the day, it also drastically reduces the amount of plastic waste from buying bottled water and tossing the bottle. If you’re traveling in a country where the water is not safe, make sure you boil your water or take water filters with you.
Packing cubes are fabric cubes which come in different shapes and sizes usually secured and fastened with a zip. They are a great way to keep your clothes, accessories and toiletries separated and compact in your backpack whilst travelling.
However an added benefit is that they reduce your impact on the environment, and mean you don’t have to travel with plastic bags.
External Battery Charger
When travelling, you never know when your electronics might start complaining that the battery is running low. For this reason, it’s great to travel prepared with a backup for recharging.
An external battery charger usually comes with USB ports for charging more than one device. Pick that you are comfortable with and include it in your travel accessories.
Hanging Cosmetic Bag
Whether you’re male or female, hanging cosmetic bags allow you to pack better. For instance, how do you organize your undergarments when you travel? Do you place them in zipped bags? Store them in luggage pockets? Or just place them wherever there’s space?
I can organize my clothes to look neat and tidy in a suitcase when I’m packing for a trip, though as soon as the case is zipped and flipped to stand on it’s wheels, there’s always a moment of pause where I cringe. After all that hard work separating your underwear from your shirts, and your shirts from your shoes, you know that after you arrive at your destination everything inside is going to be a hot mess.
But cosmetics bag or travel undergarment organizer allows you to organize undergarments or small items neatly in a foldable bag which acts as a portable closet throughout the trip. A little organization can go a long way to making your life easier when you’re on the move. So choose one of these best toiletry bags for travel.
Related Post: Introducing the Ultimate Travel Undergarment Organizer
If photography is a priority and you plan to travel with a lot of gear, you should invest in a photographers bag. It’s impossible to carry a lot of camera gear in your hands, and best to separate this from your other luggage so you don’t lose expensive equipment in between clothes and other items.
A dedicated camera bag means you can carry everything conveniently and comfortably, from your cameras, to each lens, and smaller items like spare SD card, battery chargers, and lens cloths.
Related Post: Camera Gear You Should Have With You on Every Trip
First Aid Kit
Never underestimate the importance of traveling with a solid first aid kit – in fact, this should be one of the very first things you pack.
According to a recent survey, a massive 80 per cent of us are not equipped to deal with minor medical emergencies in our own homes – let alone when we’re out on the travel trail. This means we are making thousands of unnecessary emergency visits to hospitals and GP’s for relatively minor, simple to treat conditions such as grazes, blisters and splinters.
You generally don’t have to be a doctor to help yourself, or others, in an emergency, though you do have to have the first aid skills and tools to administer the care required; you need to be traveling with a first aid kit. Though obviously call for a medical evacuation if required.
Adventure Medical Kits Sportsman Series Whitetail First Aid Kit
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Wow, it’s the first time I’ve heard of a sleep bracelet. That’s pretty interesting! And I agree about the water bottle. Save the earth and save money, too! Some cities just sell water at exorbitant prices!
It was the first time I had heard of a sleep bracelt too, on getting Jo’s guest post submission. Sounds really interesting though right!
Yes, water bottles are my biggest travel essential, environmentally friendly, and great for sticking to a budget too. Cuba is one country where the price of water really hits you!
The tip about having a first aid kit is a lifesaver… Make sure its stocked with all the standard stuff as well as Aloe, an antibiotic cream and extra band-aids and you’ll be able to take care of all the big and small things that happen while travelling!
Absolutely – I’ve found that we’ve turned to our travel first aid kit more times than we can say! Aloe is the biggest thing, because I seem to never learn and get burned so much (sunburn). Can never have too many bandaids too … usually I go through them for blisters after long hikes.
Thanks for stopping by! :)
I have gotten lazy as far as lugging around our travel camera with the smart phone thingee but you can snap clear, crisp images with a moderately-priced travel camera Christopher. I tend to snap and IG or FB or Twitter share photos speedily but if I want 1080 p video quality or more eye-popping photos I bring along the camera to make a greater impact.
I do agree that smart phones have incredible picture quality nowadays – we were recently in Antarctica and one of the girls took her iPhone out kayaking, the pictures she came back with were incredible – couldn’t tell that they had been taken on a phone as opposed to a camera. Agree with you on the greater quality of video though :)
I’m glad I saw that, don’t try and put that pocket knife in your hand luggage, or it could lead to a few problems at security.
A very nice list there anyway but still trying to get my head around the sleep bracelet, I simply haven’t heard of it before.
The first aid kit is certainly worth the expense for any outdoor adventure, especially when kids are in tow. Nice list
Haha yes, I’ve had mine confiscated a couple of different times for forgetting to move it into my checked luggage. Always pulls a red flag at security if in your carry-on.
I hadn’t heard of a sleep bracelet before Jo submitted his guest post either, but makes sense for people who have difficulty sleeping when they’re not in a familir environment / their own bed.
The first aid kit is probably our biggest essential – we’ve utilized ours more times than we can count!
Glad you enjoyed the post :)
Packing cubes are a huge YES for me! It really saved my life in so many ways. I always bring a water bottle too.In some countries, water is expensive or in some, it’s scarce therefore best to always be prepared.
Awesome Karla! Both packing cubes and water bottles are great ways to travel in a sustainable and eco friendly way, cutting down on waste. And as you said, the water bottles is also about preparing yourself should water in a foreign country be scarce – which is sadly the case in much of the world these days.
I’m a pro photographer, but I hate traveling with a lot of gear, especially on a leisure trip. I love my little Canon Powershot for vacations. I can still get a little creative, as you said, and I’m not weighed down. A also wouldn’t dream of traveling without my travel pillow. I’m asthmatic and sometimes when I’m having an attack, I need to sleep sitting upright to keep from becoming too congested. A travel pillow keeps me propped up and from getting a cramp in my neck!
We’re the same – when I met my husband his camera bag was bigger than the bag he had his clothes and everything else in as he traveled around the world! We soon ditched the majority of the bulky camera equipment and downsized, it was the best thing we ever did! So much more freedom of movement now :)
And I’m with you on the pillow – I think people often underestimate the value of access to a pillow you’re familiar with, that you’ve molded to your body’s needs.
I hope your future travels are safe without further asthma attacks. I’ve had an attack abroad before, and it’s not fun!
Great tips, I carry some of your suggestions, others no as I do not go on trips that require these things. Love the Amazon suggestions!
Thanks Lucy, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. A lot of the list will come down to personal preference, and as you said, the type of trip your taking will dictate the travel essentials you will / won’t need.
Glad you liked the Amazon suggestions! I figure that way people can add items to their cart now so they don’t forget later down the line :)
Many of these are on my must-have list as well! I LOVE packing cubes. Those are the absolute best! I love them and never leave home (for longer than 4 days) without them. The Eagle Creek ones are the best. I’ve never heard of a sleep bracelet, but I’m definitely going to have to check those out. I can use all the help on can get when it comes to sleeping while traveling – especially in hostels! Thanks for sharing!
I’m in love with Eagle Creek packing cubes too – I went a bit overboard recently and have a whole cupboard full of them, different shapes, colors and sizes :D But they’re SO good! I use them in my wardrobe for general organization when I’m not traveling.
I hadn’t heard of a sleep bracelet before Jo submitted his post either, bit it sounds quite handy for those people who have trouble sleeping in unfamiliar environements. I’m lucky in that sense that I can fall asleep literally anywhere, under any conditions!
Nobody ever thinks for a flashlight but that’s a great idea, especially in developing areas where electricity is volatile. I wish I would’ve remembered to pack one on a business trip I took to Senegal a few years ago…
Most people I’ve talked to assume the flashlight app on their phone will suffice in an emergency, but those are pretty weak at the best of times, and if your phone dies, you’re out of luck.
A physical torch can come in so handy, and you’ve made an excellent point about traveling in developing areas with hit or miss electricity.
Re your Senegal trip, I guess you’ll only forget it once right!
All of these are amazing things for travelers to carry. I love my Asolo hiking books. I am on my second set. I average like 8000 miles per pair.
Sounds like you definitely get the use out of your boots Jennifer! Thanks for the tip on Asolo – I’ll have to check out the brand :)
I’ve never heard of a sleep bracelet before. I wonder if it helps with jet lag? That’s always my biggest problem when I switch a lot of time zones.
A flashlight is always handy to have and I keep a travel one in my suitcase. It’s been useful on more than one occasion. You just never know when there might be a power outage or you could need it.
I had never heard of a sleep bracelt before Jo submitted his guest post either, but it definitely sounds like it would be a great accessorie for those who have trouble sleeping. Would probably help with jetlag in the sense that if you’re wide awake at 10pm, it may help get your sleeping patterns back in line with the clock.
Glad to hear you keep a flashlight in your suitcase – ours has come in continually handy too! Can’t escape a power outage, no matter where you are or how developed the country you’re in is!
A sleep bracelet is a new one for me! This seems like a pretty common sense list.
It was for me too when Joseph submitted this guest post but it definitely sounds like it would be a great accessory for those who have trouble sleeping. Would probably help with jetlag in the sense that if you’re wide awake at 10pm, it may help get your sleeping patterns back in line with the clock :)
Glad you enjoyed the post!
Great list especially with regards the Power Bank suggestion. I also find when travelling that a head lamp can be quite useful instead of a torch as it frees up your hands. Reduces your street cred, but makes life a bit easier when you need it!
Thanks for posting.
Haha yes the headlamp is not exactly fashionable per say, but it’s definitely practical in freeing up your hands – I love mine – I’ll have to build up my street cred in another way lol :D
This is a great list of accessories for someone who wants to travel a lot. I myself picked up some ideas from your list. Thank you very much.
Glad to hear you picked up some ideas Lucy, happy to help! Have an amazing time on your next trip :)
Which one out of the mentioned here is good combination of ANC and portability with good battery backup?
You can’t go wrong with Sennheiser :)
As a scientist I would like to know which studies actually provide any evidence of their benefit and are conducted without any conflict of interest e.g. not by the people who are selling them
Hi Carol – this is a round up of our recommended products and it has not been influenced by the companies selling them. We write our advice from personal experience as opposed to studies.
You are more than welcome to conduct your own further research – the product links click through to Amazon where there are user reviews on each.
I love Canon PowerShot ELPH 360 HS. Canon is not generally a cheap brand by any means. In spite of this, Canon digital cameras have achieved the best buy status. This proves that you get great value for the extra money.Canon cameras are inevitably on the camera wish list of any consumer that desires a high-quality camera.
Hi Anup, the Canon PowerShot is one of our favorite lines of cameras too! No, not cheap, but definitely one of the most reliable and proven when it comes to quality.
Definitely great value :)
The second type of Canon camera is the EOS line—the DSLRs. The EOS line has a solid reputation as well for performance across the board, including video. Canon has a wide range of options available too, from top of the line full frame professional models to small, entry-level DSLRs.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge Mira! I would love to eventually upgrade to the EOS line, though currently using the Nikon D5300 and can’t fault it :)
Hi Meg. Great reading! I went to Italy not long ago and there was something called a “chill bag” that was being used on the beach. I ended up buying one and I would always bring It to warmer places and to festivals
Glad you enjoyed the post Emma :) Thanks for the tip on a chill bag – sounds great! Sounds like a mini eski or cooler? I always thought they should create small coolers that can fit into a backpack; really would be great for the beach or a festival. Will go searching, thanks!
It seems like a survival tour backpack. I liked your choice of picks. Swiss Gear knife is the must-have tool at a tour packing. All the kits are essential for my next travel to the mountain but I do not own a DSLR. Mobile photography is good enough I think.
Absolutely, you’d probably be pretty well set by throwing the above into a backpack and heading out! Totally agree that mobile photography is incredible these days, it really has started competing directly with many of the top level cameras in some cases!!