Ultimate List of Travel Essentials for Long and Short Trips


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These tried-and-true travel accessories will make traveling part of the fun on both long and shorts trips. My list of ultimate travel essentials make packing (and unpacking) a cinch, as well as making long flights and roadtrips more comfortable for everyone (including international flights.) Here’s the best travel essentials for upcoming vacations and trips!

Traveling is kinda my jam. Check out our guide to Traveling the California Coast with Kids and The Ultimate Travel Guide to Charleston!

Let’s be honest– the worst part of vacations is often getting there. Traveling can be a chore when you rely on trains and planes and automobiles, but it CAN be more comfortable and steamlined with these tried and true travel favorites. I’ve traveled to California, Boston, and Ireland/Scotland in the past 3 months so here’s my favorite travel must-haves for both long and short hauls!

Favorite Travel Essentials

First up: this convertible travel blanket/scarf/favorite thing ever! When I bought it, I truly thought I’d only use it on the plane as a blanket or as a wrap in chilly restaurants. Nope, I wore it ALL DAY ERRRRR DAY in Ireland and Scotland. It was fabulous as a scarf, and there were times when I unfolded it and wrapped myself up like on the train to Inverness when we were stuck sitting on our overturned suitcases for 3.5 hours in the doorway. It was like my own little cocoon. (ps- I’m the one on the left, wearing the scarf/blanket/cocoon.)

The ULTIMATE Travel Essentials for Long and Short Trips

Another tried and true favorite was my crossbody travel purse. It was absolutely perfect for my recent trip to Europe. Not too big, not too small, and it was crossbody so it didn’t put too much pressure on my back or shoulders. Plus, it had a safety features such as mesh lining to prevent it being slashed and zippered pockets that locked to prevent pickpockets. My favorite feature was the water bottle holder on the side that zipped and unzipped to hold the water bottle. GAMECHANGER! No more wet purse due to stashing a bottle inside!

The ULTIMATE Travel Essentials for Long and Short Trips

My carry-on bag was another must-have. I have back pain issues, so the fact that this has a pocket that slid over my luggage handle was EVERYTHING. We rolled our luggage all around airports and over cobblestone streets and through Inverness and onto trains. The fact I could easily roll my carry-on on top of my suitcase made traveling despite chronic pain so. much. easier.

The ULTIMATE Travel Essentials for Long and Short Trips

Speaking of luggage, all three of us bought the same suitcase and it was perfection. I have it in Rose Gold but my friend bought it in the Mint color which I loved as well. I was worried the wheels would snap off but I can honestly say that these suitcases took a beating– 8 days of traveling to two countries via planes, train, and automobile– and didn’t break or crack despite the cobblestone streets and being hauled over curbs. We even SAT ON THEM on a train for almost 4 hours as mentioned above. We were able to fit all three into the small trunk (er, BOOT) in all our taxis and rental car too. By far one of my favorite purchases!

And hands-down, the hero of my recent travels has been these noise-cancelling headphones. I borrowed them from my husband and now I need my own pair because we’re probably gonna fight over who gets to use them the next time we fly together. Even just slipping them over my ears reduced the noise on the plane by like 90%. Add in my soothing soundtracks and podcasts, and I don’t know how I could have flown without them. Plus, if you have a roomie that snores after a wee bit too much whisky or are staying in a hotel on a noisy street, they’re so comfortable you can sleep in them… which I did, on numerous occasions, and it allowed this super-light sleeper to actually sleep which was a miracle in and of itself.

Another favorite is this hanging toiletry bag. I’m a product junkie, and have such sensitive skin I HAVE to take my own natural products along or else my skin breaks out like crazy. I loved that this case hangs on a towel hook so it didn’t clutter up the counter, which is especially handy when rooming with a friend. Plus, it made everything easy to see and reach.

The ULTIMATE Travel Essentials for Long and Short Trips

After resisting packing cubes for years, I finally ‘invested’ in a set (haha, the awesome packing cube set I got is under $25, the joke’s on me) and WOAH they make packing and unpacking a cinch. Here’s a few ways I’ve used them:

  • packing undergarments and pajamas
  • one cube for rolling outfits together to make getting dressed each day a cinch
  • one cube for each kiddo when we travel as a family
  • packing outerlayers like jackets and cardigans for cold days
  • use a small cube in your carryon filled with an ’emergency’ outfit and toiletries in case your luggage gets lost
  • there’s even a shoe bag included so clothing doesn’t get dirty
  • as you travel, use one cube for dirty laundry and then simply empty it into the hamper when you get home

(to catch more deets and see a lot of these items in action, check out the Travel highlights and/or the Amazon highlights on my Instagram)

packing cubes in suitcase

There’s so many great travel accessories out there, here’s 27 that I’ve either personally used and loved or have 5 star reviews on Amazon!

27 Must-Have Travel Accessories

  1. Memory Foam Neck Pillow Set With Earplugs and Eyemask (or if you would rather get them separately, here is a good eyemask and this pillow has amazing reviews)
  2. Toiletry bag
  3. Portable phone charger
  4. Collapsible water bottles
  5. Spinner expandable carry on (I also like this one from Kenneth Cole)
  6. Hooded light weight jacket (or a waterproof rain jacket like this one that was perfect for Scotland & Ireland)
  7. Portable nylon shoe bags
  8. Anti-Theft Crossbody Bag
  9. Travel ballet flats (another option here); these are great for long flights
  10. Umbrella
  11. Neck Wallet (there’s also a waterproof lanyard for your phone too!)
  12. Comfortable Leggings
  13. Makeup Bag
  14. Silicone Travel Bottles- I put all my shampoo/ bodywash/ conditioner in these!
  15. Packing Cubes
  16. Water Shoes (great for water sports and beaches)
  17. Travel Wrap and Blanket
  18. Compression Socks
  19. Carry On Bag with Pocket for Luggage Handle
  20. Luggage Scale
  21. Power Adapter for International Travel
  22. Laundry Bag
  23. Electronics Organizer
  24. Padded Laptop Bag (this is another great option if you’re just looking for a laptop sleeve)
  25. Bose Noise Canceling Headphones (or another option with great reviews here)
  26. Passport holder
  27. Backpack (or for a lightweight water resistant backpack, there’s this great option)

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Hope that helps inspire others to get outside their comfort zone and travel, even if you have chronic pain or occasional anxiety like me. Having these comforts from home made the journey so much easier, so I could enjoy the destination!

The ULTIMATE Travel Essentials for Long and Short Trips

What travel accessories go with you each and every trip? What destination is next on your travel bucket list?

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