Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Molly Egan
Ultimate Travel Packing Guide – 100 Essential Travel Accessories
Whether you have just booked your trip, hotel, airline, or need inspiration – this list is for you! If you want to learn about travel gear that will make each flight, adventure, and travel experience most enjoyable and smooth – keep reading.
Need that perfect travel bag? Need gear to endure a long-haul flight? Best carry-on bag? Best versatile jacket? Lost your passport? Peruse this list of essential travel gear and travel accessories! This list is the best of the best and gathered from traveling a million miles and 64 countries (… and counting).
Why should you listen or trust me?
I have traveled six of the seven continents; internationally for work and pleasure and trekked solo. All that to say, I’ve experienced nearly every travel snafu. My travel career has many chapters, flight experiences, and destinations. I know from firsthand experience, that the items listed below will make a difference.
Start your next adventure with the must-have travel accessories below!
What are the Best Travel Accessories?
The list is structured by category: Bags, Clothing + Accessories, Flying, Maximize Storage, Clothing, Outdoor Hiking + Camping, Snow Adventures, International, Health, Travel by Car, and Covid-19 Travel.
The Ultimate Bags
1. Travel Backpack
While traveling internationally, you’ll encounter unpaved roads, uneven sidewalks, or unimaginable amounts of people on the streets – here, a travel backpack (or pack) supersedes a roller suitcase! Regardless of age, the weight of your backpack can irritate your back, so proper support is key, as well as, a variety of pockets and compartments.
2. Travel Carry-on Suitcase
The ultimate essential air travel accessory is carry-on luggage! Walk a few miles from the airport entrance to the gate, and you’ll swear by a carry-on roller suitcase over a duffle bag! Lastly, save time by not waiting on checked luggage – the best carry-on luggage bags are here and a golden rule for the frequent traveler – never have lost luggage!
3. Travel Backpack or Underseat Luggage
My second essential travel accessory. A great backpack can fit your laptop a book or two, work-related papers, water bottle, snack, pens, wallet, noise-canceling headphones, and phone. The ultimate kind is waterproof here are some of the best under seat luggage bags.
This can be used instead of a backpack, for that extra professional look. Especially for the travel days flying for an interview or pitch – this makes all the difference – keep it simple and sleek.
Love a great one! Whether business or adventure travel, it’s needed. A great transition from the office to a Michelin star restaurant dinner, or from a whitewater rafting adventure during the day to a dive bar.
6. Travel Beach Bag
Have you traveled to Miami or a destination walkable to the beach and wanted to sit by the beach for a bit, pre-or-post-workday? How about going on a work trip and then straight to the beach? I highly recommend a great foldable, compressible, water proof, and easy-to-remove-sand travel beach bag!
7. Expandable Travel Bag
Have you ever bought something on a trip when your suitcase is ready to explode? Or, at the end of a trip, you can’t imagine fitting it all back in. That’s when expandable bags become your best travel accessory – don’t stress if packing light is a challenge!
8. Sling Bag
Sling Bags are great for your all-day-long adventure while traveling! You can keep your essentials in this and (literally) sling it over your shoulder! Trust me; it’s game-changing and significant for ALL.
Must-Have Travel Clothing + Accessories
9. Travel Portable Chargers
Your electronics will lose their juice faster than anticipated when on the go. All the location tracking and searching for signals in New York City, for example, will have you reaching for this by the time it’s happy hour!
A power bank will provide extra peace traveling. Have more than one charging cable for each type of electronic device – phone, iPad, earbuds, etc. – and keep it in a suitcase or easily accessible in your travel crossbody bag.
10. Versatile Jackets
Weather will always change on you – hello, climate change! Whether you’re in the mountains or beach, when the sun goes down – jackets are a must. Having a versatile jacket that can go from hike to dinner, or office to a night out is a must!
11. Must Have Travel Layers
While traveling you will encounter multiple temperatures and climates in 24 hours. Clothes that help you stay warm in the cold office or plane and easily shed for the Summer sun – a great option for travelers.
12. Hooded Jackets
Jackets with a hoodie are a new love of mine. Another tip for encountering varying climates and weather – oh, that Summer near-daily afternoon rain in mountains or beachside in Florida. Don’t have an umbrella – pop the hood over and boom – you’re golden.
Surprisingly to many people, ski jackets make a great windbreaker and rain jacket in other months – here are two of our favorite picks.
13. Fanny Pack
A blast from the past, this personal item is back – and I love it! It provides peace of mind with storage for essentials – wallet, lip balm, phone, Bluetooth headphones, and passport.
Sling it over your shoulder for easy-to-grab necessities – not lost in the bottom of a bag – is a great value! This bag has a few names sling bag, belt bag, or fanny pack – all a newer version of the former term.
A must! Finding the right one that isn’t greasy, or makes you break out – not here for zits – is a crucial necessity. After many trials, there are a few go-to’s – depending on the situation – that are must-haves!
15. Hand Sanitizer
Since 2020, we have become more familiar with having this on hand. It’s essential when there’s no soap, or when you don’t have a tissue or napkin – a trip must have.
16. Small First Aid Kit
A First-Aid travel-sized kit is an underrated accessory. For those sneaky paper cuts, hiking injuries, and bandaid on hand – so worthwhile!
17. Travel Wallet
Yes, wallets are still necessary, despite the digital phone payment apps. Cash or local currency is king! Some people like small wallets for cards and then larger wallets for keeping local currency. There are valid systems for both – stay organized and bring a week’s worth.
18. Bluetooth Headphones
A good pair of Bluetooth earplugs or blue tooth headphones are a traveler’s best friend – especially noise-canceling headphones! A necessity for rest that compliments the travel eye mask and crucial travel accessories on long flights. Note it’s nice to have a backup cord version to watch movies on the plane.
19. Travel Apps
There are many travel apps out there – but only a few are MUST HAVE. Whether it’s a currency conversion, maps, boarding passes, directions when you don’t have service in other countries or always having access to food recommendations – these are the best travel accessories that even save space!
The right pair of sunglasses and a system to not lose them – are crucial! Squinting while touring a scenic city or the blinding high-elevation mountain sun – I have the right pair of sunglasses for you!
21. Adventure Travel & Action Camera
Today we all have smartphones, so the DSLR cameras and their weight are often left at home. However, for the adventure activities or 360 options action cameras are the ultimate accessory! If you aren’t water rafting, having a rooftop 360 photo – so memorable!
22. Portable Travel Umbrella
When packing – don’t forget this travel accessory on your next trip! On a summer season trip, you’ll find instant downpours or that East coast rain that switches directions – yes, it can become a rain shield! In monsoon or hurricane season – a must have!
Flight Travel Gear
23. Travel Water Bottle
Hydration, hydration, hydration! The cost of water these days at airports and events is at times shocking! This is the best secret for saving money during these high inflation times. This is my favorite water bottle for refilling while on the go.
24. Drink or Hydration Mix
Flying dehydrates you, and so does elevation in the mountains and a nice hike. Replenishing electrolytes and adding nutrients to shield off a cold, etc. while traveling is crucial!
25. Shoes for Travel & Security
So you have status or services such as Clear, TSA, or Global Entry – well, sometimes they expire and small airports don’t offer them. Therefore, comfy, easy-to-slip-on and off shoes are essential!
26. Best Travel Toiletries Containers
Many times I’ve been in lines for airport security and they have been so strict about your toiletry bag! I have learned the hard way what will work in nearly every security checkpoint and fit the essentials. Learn more about the best travel toiletry bags!
27. Something to Read
I love picking up a magazine or a physical book for a plane ride – here’s the best list of ski books for the winter adventurer. However, I always switch it up to the electronic reader – iPad, kindle, laptop, etc. A must-have is blue light-blocking glasses!
28. Travel Tissue / Toilet Paper
You will encounter a toilet that doesn’t have toilet paper, and most likely on a long haul flight. We all saw what can happen with supply chains these past few years. For international travel, this item is absolutely essential – looking at you South East Asia and China.
29. Reusable Bags
Waterproof or small reusable bags are the ultimate travel accessories! There are a few kinds – small plastic, dry bags, dry sacks, and waterproof pouches. Which one you pick does matter. Those with odor resistant materials are the best travel accessories.
30. Travel Snack Food
You will encounter a moment where stores, restaurants, and opportunities to buy food are not available – or you’re in a time crunch to catch a plane, boat, bus, or taxi. Snack bars are the best travel accessory!
31. Maximize Carry-On luggage
I swear by carry-on luggage, packing light, and saving space? The easy and time savings is worth it for the frequent traveler. For international travel, maximizing space with a carry-on bag will allow for quicker custom lines by bypassing luggage carousels. The best carry-on luggage!
32. Maximize Checked Luggage Storage
Are you an over-packer? I am a recovering one! When traveling to colder climates or various climates over an extended time – maximizing checked luggage is essential! Packing techniques to have so much space and packing cubes are must have travel accessories.
33. Car Storage
Maximizing car storage is critical for road trips or outdoor adventures – camping, car camping, or having a car full of travelers. Save space and keep stuff organized with storage – car top storage carriers, hitch storage, bike racks, and roof-top tents – all of these are a must have!
34. Travel Packing Cubes
Maximize storage! Travelers often overpack. For them and the organized traveler – packing cubes are essential travel accessories. Clothes lay flat and maintain great shape and you can fit more stuff.
35. Travel Jewelry Organizers
When traveling for a wedding, business, or everyday adventure. Bags for organizing jewelry makes all the difference – a must have.
This article of clothing is often found inside travel luggage. Don’t pack this! Rock the jeans on the flight and save space – wear bulky clothing – especially when using carry on luggage. Travel accessories such as this that can go from casual to business to nighttime are a must have.37
Comfort is a must have when on long flights. This is at the top of the travel necessities list for an international or morning flight – same as a window seat, face mask, compression socks, travel pillow, and earplugs.
For most destinations, carry-on luggage and a versatile jacket are must-have travel accessories. Depending on the weather, the choice in style will vary. Here are the best ski jackets that are also great for camping and outdoor adventures.
A versatile shirt that can be worn on the flight and transition to the office with a blazer is essential to keeping it simple. When your trip will have outdoor activities, a waterproof, odor resistant and self-wicking shirt will be your best travel accessory.
40. Sweaters + Base Layers
Sweaters (or Pullovers) are a must-have for layering while traveling. Versatile clothes are travelers must have for any trip.
You can combine base layers with sweaters and easily remove or add this and a jacket as needed. A sweater for layering and many situations – office, flight, airport, night out – pack one and wear one in flight!
This item is a beach essential on your travel pack list. Suggest you pack this in your luggage or carry on. This takes up less space so wear the bulky shoes on your flight.
42. Shoes for all activities
Travel necessities are appropriate shoes for all activities and occasions. It can be very challenging to buy when traveling. Be smart when you pack, and pick versatile shoes.
The right coat is a travel necessity. These are multifunctional and can be used as a travel pillow when seated at a window seat. When you match the kind to the temperatures and weather of your trip, your comfort and peace of mind will thank you.
While traveling it’s best to hydrate and moisturize. Pack both a face and body moisturizer in your luggage – for any flight no matter long flights or short.
45. Face Wash
This item will often be found in one of the packing cubes inside your luggage. It is nice to have it easily accessible on long flights.
46. Tooth Brush
A must have item inside your packing cubes and luggage! It is nice to have access to these on any flight. Highly recommend the travel electric style.
47. Exercise bands
This item falls under other equipment, that is overlooked but is so good for blood circulation and stretching. The synthetic rubber material versus latex is recommended.
This item is must have for all luggage! Essential travel accessories include supplements that make the most sense for you – Zinc, Turmeric, and ibuprofen are the most popular on packing lists.
49. Ensure Sleep With An Eye Mask
Quality sleep enhances any trip or adventure! Carry an eye mask on the flight and do not pack it in your checked luggage. Even when you have an aisle seat – you’ll be able to sleep with a face mask that covers your eyes. Another type of face mask is great for rehydrating your face – another must have!
50. With Ear Plugs For Sleeping
This item compliments number 29 above. Earplugs will block out noises and help any light sleeper on any flight and ensure you fall asleep – no matter if the window seat or aisle seat.
International Travel Accessories
51. Covid Face Masks
Several countries still require face masks for flights and in certain facilities – typically health offices, government offices, and public transit. Due to testing for re-entry to the US, travel with a KN-95 or face mask. Today this is a travel accessory must have!
52. COVID-19 Test Kits
Highly recommend you carry on a Covid-19 test. Ensure re-entry to the US, and other countries, on your International or Canadian flight!
53. Virtual COVID-19 Test Verification
If you or your family, haven’t had the opportunity to miss a flight due to the turnaround of the COVID-19 test – Congrats! This can be an obstacle, so highly recommend virtual testing verification with your tests.
54. Appropriate Phone Service
Today internet cafes aren’t needed – yay! Before your flight, contact your provider for an International pass. Use wifi at your hotel or accommodations to save on bandwidth used!
Essential documents for International travelers include boarding passes, passports, IDs, cash, and travel documents – with accommodation addresses. Pro tip: don’t get flustered checking pockets and bags, and keep this all together – especially when traveling with family.
Second to packing your passport is having the proper visa for your destination! As a US citizen, many countries have payment for a visa when you land however there are many that require you to go to the consulate and request it weeks before!
56. Luggage locks
An air travel and train travel essential travel accessory is a luggage lock for your checked bags. Theft does occur so protect your clothes, valuables, and luggage.
Many suitcases today – carry-on luggage or checked suitcases – have these built in!
57. Currency Exchanger
When traveling internationally you can encounter several currencies, and a currency exchanger is great to assist in understanding costs.
58. Multi-Plug Adapters
Highly recommend multi-plug adapters for all of your electronics and other devices. Make sure to check the typical voltage of outlets and the input devices accept – some may need a converter.
Outdoor Travel: Hiking + Camping
The number one clothing item for camping and hiking is breathable underwear with a synthetic fabric material that reduces chafing and has an anti-odor treatment. Moisture-wicking is a must have feature.
60. Bug Spray
When camping or hiking you carry bug spray as bugs – even in the high elevation or dry climates. This is travel accessory is a necessity for your backpack.
61. Fast-Drying Towel
Microfiber towels dry faster than cotton towels. It can be a challenge to air dry towels in time so a quick-dry and packable towel is your new best friend!
62. Hand Warmers
Temperatures often drop at night, both hand and toe warmers will help ensure your comfort. These are a must have travel accessories for your backpack.
This must-have should be at the top of your travel accessories list! This will help keep your hands free when moving in the dark – which always comes quicker than expected.
64. Solar Charging Lantern
A solar charging lantern is a fun travel accessory for every campsite! Leave it out in the sun when you go for a hike during the day and use it at night – some even change colors!
65. Hiking Socks
The right socks for hiking will take a fun hike into a great or terrible experience. Ensure you are wearing wool, not cotton socks. Hiking socks should wick moisture and be antimicrobial – recommended hiking socks and other camping gifts here.
66. Hiking Boots
Happy foot, happy life! Clothes that touch your body are the most important. Ensure you have hiking boots for hill or mountain hiking and backpacking.
67. Trail Shoes
Shoes are key to a successful adventure and trip. Trail shoes are for hiking in dry climates or rocky paths. For an article of clothing ensure proper fit!
68. Hiking Pants
A lot of hiking clothing items should be a durable material with stretch for extra comfort, protection from Ultraviolet Rays, and a finish that repels water or also called waterproof.
69. Hiking Shirts
One article of clothing to never wear hiking is a cotton shirt. A must have hiking shirt features a breathable, moisture-wicking, and UPF protection material.
When hiking you will – hopefully – always have the sun! There are several styles of hats to protect yourself from the ultraviolet rays.
71. Hydration Packs
Similar to traveling on planes, a hydration pack is a must have for a safe and fun hike! There are a few types depending on the type of trip. Pro Tip: double check valves are secure!
72. Water Shoes
When participating in water adventures – whether that be white water rafting, spending the day out on a boat, kayaking on the lake, or hiking near a waterfall – waterproof shoes are a must have!
Tents are essential travel accessories for camping! When doing so in national parks, make sure you have a tent with appropriate materials for the weather conditions.
74. Sleeping Bags
A travel accessory that I encourage you not to skip on is a sleeping bag. Make sure you have an appropriate temperature rating for the climate and temperatures at night.
75. Air Mattress
This camping accessory will make ensure quality sleep! Two common types include manual air inflation or the use of a motor that you can use through a car.
76. Camping Grills
Everyone needs to eat and sometimes camping weather will not be conducive to cooking over a fire – oh, fire restrictions. The must have camping grills are light and easy to pack.
77. Camping Utensils
When camping, traveling on a plane, or backpacking, a reusable set of silverware, utensils, and plates are must have travel accessories.
78. Coffee Maker
Your morning routine can be the same camping as at home. Portable coffee makers and easy-to-make coffee systems make camping enjoyable.
79. Portable Blanket
Whether camping, hiking, or having a picnic backpack – a portable blanket is a must have travel accessory.
80. Car Bike Racks
In the great outdoors you will find many road bike paths and mountain bike trails. Car bike racks provide an easy way to travel without compromising luggage space inside the car.
Snow Adventure Travel Accessories
Due to the higher elevation of the mountains, it is essential to travel with UV protection as well as moisture for wind-dry lips. Chapstick is a travel accessory must have.
82. Ski Jacket
Snow sports often include snowfall, leading to water-proof and water-resistant jackets as a must-have. Check the ski jacket for the appropriate temperature, moisture rating, and wind rating to fit the climate you will ski in.
83. Snow Boots
Again, a happy – or dry – foot is a happy foot! Ensure the boots in snow are water-proof and have a lining to keep your feet extra warm.
84. Ski Boots
Always get your ski boots fitted by a professional near ski resorts. If the boot doesn’t fit you can end up with foot pain, blisters, and losing toenails.
85. Ski Goggles
Ski goggles are a must have for skiing. Sunglasses won’t protect you from the wind. Select the appropriate lens for the sky conditions.
Gloves are an essential part of skiing like socks are for hiking. You’ll want to maintain warmth for maximum enjoyment. Ensure the gloves you select are waterproof. Winter travel is incomplete with out proper gloves.
Ski helmets are a must have for skiing. Helmets have qualities that ensure protection from falls and concussions. Do not travel to the ski resort without it.
88. Ski Pants
Despite what your friends and family say – do not ski in jeans! Ski pants should be waterproof – whether or not gore-tex fabric – and it’s nice if they are thermal for heat retention.
89. Toe Warmers
Every skier has toe warmers – it’s a must have! The easiest and cheapest form is disposable (typically lasting 6+ hours) and is directly applied to your ski sock inside your ski boot.
90. Heated Socks
Heated socks are a next-level must-have ski accessory! These are more expensive than toe warmers, but boy are they worth it. And less expensive than heated ski boots.
91. Ski Gear Bags
The sport of skiing comes with a lot of gear and lugging it inefficiently is no fun. Find a travel bag for your skis and poles; and another for your boots, helmet, gloves, and other ski gear.
The snow is magical and you can enjoy it with snowshoes – not only going up the mountains but on flat land as well! There are a few styles of attachment, find the right fit for you!
93. Alpine Or Downhill Skis
The most popular style of skiing is downhill or alpine skiing. A vital factor to consider with skis is the appropriate length for your height, ski skill, and snow conditions.
94. Uphill Skis Or Skinning
Did you know you can ski uphill? Yes, a “carpet-like” or “furry” material sticks to the base if your ski and allows you to slide forward uphill on the snow! Highly recommend you try it.
Travel by Car
95. Phone Holder
When you travel in your car – road trip! – it’s best to have your phone mounted on your dashboard so that it is insight.
96. Tissue + Trash Holder
Save space and keep your car clean during any road trip with this essential – Trash and Tissue Holder. It is a car trip must have for storing your trash and tissues.
Always be prepared and travel with non-perishable snack food. Depending on the weather and road conditions of your trip, you may have highways close and be stuck for a few hours.
98. Jumper Cables
This travel accessory is a must have for any car owner. Be ready to fix a battery that died so you can carry on your travels.
99. Tire Gauge
When traveling in the mountains or at various elevations, the air in your tires will change. Having a tire gauge to check your tires for safety is a travel must have.
This is an essential travel accessory for the undesired occasion when you don’t have access to the car battery or other electrical light sources.
The Best Travel Accessories Summary!
Are you excited about your next travel adventure?
The most important thing to remember when planning your packing list, make a list, check it twice and check the weather.
The second most crucial step is to be open-minded, flexible, ready for the unexpected, and have so much fun. Use your support network in case of emergencies.
No matter where you are going, or what adventure awaits, you are ready.
Did I miss a travel accessory that you swear by? Have a memorable trip with the travel accessories mentioned here? If so, please send a photo and tell me all about it!
Thanks for reading!