9 Essential Items for the Best Travel Experience

It’s no secret that I do a lot of traveling or that I love being out in the world more than I enjoy being at ‘home’. Throughout all of my traveling, I’ve discovered a few tips and tricks to make the experience even better than normal. Today, I wanted to share a few of my favorite items that I always bring with me while traveling. I hope that these recommendations are able to make your travel experiences a little bit better too!

1) Have Smaller Bags Inside Your Larger Bags

These are some of my favorite items to keep with me while I’m traveling and I only recently started using them. The main purpose of having a few small bags in my larger bags is to help me stay organized in the chaos that is my life.

I use two different kinds of smaller bags. One type I use in my backpack and the other I keep in my suitcase.

  1. Topo Accessory Bag —Inside Backpack
    These are the best! [as an added bonus, they actually match the backpack I have as well. I would highly recommend these accessory bags even if you don’t have a Topo backpack though]. I use three of these right now, but I want to get one or two more. I have one that holds my hard drives and Apple adapters(😒), one for all of my random electronics cables and spare small portable chargers, and one for RapidAPI stickers [part of my job is to always have stickers with me to give out to people 🤷🏻‍♂️]. My favorite feature of these bags is that Topo always seems to use a really bright color, like neon yellow, on the inside of their bags. Having a bright interior makes it so much easier to find what you’re looking for!
  2. Osprey Compression Bag —Inside Suitcase
    Currently, I only have one of these in my suitcase, but I have plans to buy three or four more of them! [Between starting and finishing this blog post, I have already bought two more.] The Osprey bag I have in my suitcase right now is mainly used for dirty laundry. Being able to consolidate dirty clothes in a hotel room is a great way to keep my hotel clean, but it is also really convenient to separate dirty clothes from clean clothes while returning from a trip too. Once I’m able to order a few more of these, I plan to use them while I’m packing too [one for socks & underwear, one for shirts, one for pants, etc.]. The great thing about the Osprey Compression bags is that you’re able to squeeze out all of the air from the bag, which helps save space too!

2) You MUST have a good backpack

Honestly, I probably should have put this item as number one because having a good backpack is the most important travel item you can have…

Think about it. How often do you use your backpack during a trip? For me, it’s close to every day…

I currently use two different backpacks:

  1. Topo Designs Rover
    This is my go-to everyday backpack. It is the perfect size for a backpack. The backpack is extremely small and lightweight, but can still fit anything and everything I need it to.
  2. DoucheBags The Hugger 30L
    When I first got this backpack, I didn’t really realize just how big it was going to be. It’s honestly more of a ‘carryon’ backpack or a duffle bag style bag than anything else. [or the perfect size for a camera bag] I could easily pack everything for a weekend getaway in this backpack, which is what I mainly use it for. I also use this backpack for any long haul flights. On a long haul flight, I generally like to have some extra items like clothes, more camera equipment, etc. So having the bigger bag is nice.

3) A Local SIM Card

I would consider this a superfluous purchase on a trip, but I’m always happy with my decision when I get a local SIM card. The biggest reason I would recommend buying one of these is that it cuts down on the amount of time you have to spend looking for WiFi. Whenever I’m traveling somewhere, I want to focus on experiencing everything that the destination has to offer, instead of focusing on trying to find a WiFi hotspot so I can navigate to my next destination. Having a local SIM card really simplifies life and enables you to spend more time enjoying where you are [or at least that’s my experience having one].

Obviously, you need to make sure that having the local SIM card 100% does not distract you from your trip. It is easy to get sucked into your phone and spend a lot of time using it… Please don’t do this! If it is even remotely going to be a temptation, just don’t bother getting one.

4) Portable Chargers

It seems like most everyone knows just how important it can be to have a great portable charger, but I have a game-changing portable charger to recommend to you. The portable charger I use is the ‘Mophie Powerstation XXL USB-C’ and if you have a Mac or a USB-C charging computer, then you should 100% check it out. [or even if you don’t and you just was an incredible battery to charge your phone, I would still recommend this one]

It claims to get “66 Hours” for an iPhone 7 Plus and “14 Hours” for a Macbook. While I can’t guarantee those are completely accurate because I haven’t officially tested it myself, they seem pretty accurate from my experience! I am beyond impressed with how many charges of my iPhone I get out of this battery and even more impressed by how much power I can get for my 15 inch MacBook Pro. With this battery, I never have to worry about if the coffee shop I am going to has an outlet or if my phone is about to die.

5) Noise Canceling Headphones

I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but I only recently bought a pair of noise-canceling headphones... After using the pair I bought for a while now, I’m very disappointed I didn’t get noise canceling headphones sooner! If you travel at all, I would highly recommend picking up a pair. They provide you with a moment of peace in the middle of any kind of hectic transportation you might be taking. I opted to pick up the Sony WH-1000XM3’s and love them!

The reason I went with the Sony’s over the Bose QC’s is due to the fact the Bose haven’t seen any updates in a long time, so the Sony’s have more up to date technology. The other reason I went with the Sony’s is that the friends I happened to be talking to right before I bought them liked the Sony headphones more. You really can’t go wrong with either Bose or Sony noise canceling headphones.

6) Sleeping on Airplanes Starter Kit — Earplugs / Eyemask / Neck Pillow

All of these are pretty straight forward and honestly most people would only need these if a) you travel a lot or b) you are doing overnight flights. Whenever I tell someone that I’m able to sleep really well on flights, most people are extremely surprised. Having a great pair of earplugs, eyemask, and neck pillow is my biggest secret to getting a good night of sleep on a flight.

Earplugs
I absolutely loathe the foam earplugs that most people use, so when I found these silicone earplugs I was more excited that I would like to admit. They’re extremely comfortable, block out a ton of noise, and are easy to clean! I use Mack’s Ear Seals for mine, which you can find here.

Eyemask
There’s nothing too special about these. You mainly want to look for anything that is comfortable and blocks out as much light as possible. Here is the one I like to use.

Neck Pillow
The neck pillow that I use, honestly probably isn’t the best one out there, but I’ve used this one for so long and it works for me. It’s called the Cabeau Evolution Travel Neck Pillow. Let me know what you think or if you have a better recommendation!

7) Emergen-C

Hello, this stuff is magical! There is nothing worse than getting sick while you’re traveling… With how much I’m traveling, it is very likely that I will get sick at some point. I always, always, always have multiple packs of this stuff in my backpack and suitcase no matter where I am. [I’m serious… If you ever see me and want some vitamin C, just let me know!] I like to use the Emergen-C Immune+ as a way to build up my immune system as much as possible.

8) Bluetooth Speaker

I’m a huge music lover, so having a good way to play music no matter where I am is crucial for me. Wherever I go, I always bring a UE Boom 2 Bluetooth waterproof portable speaker. This thing ALWAYS comes in handy. This is probably my best recommendation that most people wouldn’t think about while traveling. I’ve had so many trips with friends where someone will say ‘Hey, let’s play some music.’ I then pull out the speaker and everyone gets so psyched! It’s amazing how much better this sounds compared to just playing music off of an iPhone. The other situation I use this a lot for, even when I’m traveling alone, is that I love to have some tunes playing while I shower. It might seem like such a small convenience to have, but being able to play music on a quality speaker always improves my trips.

9) Melatonin or ZZZQuil

“A fool sleeps when he needs to. A wise man sleeps when he can.” I relate to this quote more than I can tell you… This is by no means to say that I am the wisest man in the world, but when it comes to sleep I really need to have the mentality of sleeping whenever I can. Melatonin and/or ZZZQuil really helps with that!

The best example I have of this actually comes from about a week and a half ago. I was on a flight back from Tel Aviv and landed at 6 am on Wednesday in San Francisco. I then had less than 24 hours to do laundry, get a haircut, go to work, and get ready to leave for my flight Thursday morning to go to Miami for the weekend. It was absolutely essential for me to get a good nights rest and quickly reset my sleep schedule from jet lag before my weekend in Miami. Without having Melatonin or ZZZQuil, this would have been very difficult. Thankfully I was able to do it no problem!

Conclusion

There you have it, some of my most essential items for having a great travel experience. If there's anything you think I missed or items that you always bring with you while traveling, leave a comment below as I would love to hear about them! Also, please leave a 👏 if you liked this post. It really helps me to know what I should write more of.