12 Essential Travel Items You Absolutely HAVE To Have For Your Next Trip!

Right now, we’re just a couple of months into our indefinite, 2+ year, full time travel adventure! 

It’s hard to imagine that this time last year, the idea of quitting our jobs and travelling full time was just a tiny little seed in our imaginations. 

Yet, here we are, “living the dream” as so many people like to tell us!

While I’m not sure that this is everybody’s dream, and full-time travel does bring with it both highs and lows, it’s been an adventure for sure!

One thing that has helped keep us happy, sane and comfortable throughout our trip so far, are a few must-have travel items we purchased before we set off. 

Honestly, I’m so glad we got some of this stuff!! 

And I promise, this is not your average “travel accessory” list that you get everywhere!

These are tried and tested travel items that my husband and I use (almost) daily now that we’re travelling full-time!

If you’re headed off on a travel adventure of your own, whether it be a long-term thing like us, or a shorter one, these items are an absolute MUST for your next trip!


Must Have Travel Items

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Insulated Water Bottle

If you get nothing else from this list, make sure you get yourself a reusable, insulated water bottle!

I love my pink water bottle by Balhvit, though there are many other similar ones (Actually, my husband got this one by Aorin in blue, which comes with a super handy carrier strap! To be fair, his actually seems a little bit more resilient to bumps and scratches… Or maybe he’s just more careful than me!)

For travel to hot climates, it’s an absolute lifesaver to have cool water all day long. But, it also stores hot drinks, so it’s super versatile. 

We both got 750ml bottles.

While this may seem a little large at first, trust me when I say you’ll be glad you got the bigger size. In hot climates, you definitely need to stay hydrated and 500ml or less goes way too quickly!

Most insulated water bottles seem to come with cleaning brushes. I’d definitely recommend getting one of those if you can because when you use the bottle as much as we do, they need a good scrub and clean from time to time!

Joannda in Singapore with her pink Insulated Water Bottle by Balhvit
My insulated water bottle keeping me hydrated in Singapore!

Packing Cubes

How we never had packing cubes before this trip, I’ll never know.

Packing cubes make packing so much easier!! They take the frustration out of the constant packing/unpacking that you’re bound to experience when you’re on the move. 

We got two sets of the PRO Packing Cubes. That way, we were able to get two different colours which makes organising even easier!

While there are many different ways in which you can organise your stuff in packing cubes (Omer and I both use them slightly differently), there is no doubt in my mind that you will find them extremely handy!

I use the smaller ones for underwear and socks, the bigger ones for t-shirts/tops and shorts, and keep one medium sized one for dirty laundry.

PRO Packing Cubes are a must have for your next trip
Packing up at home before we left, with our new PRO Packing Cubes

Silk Travel Liners 

Sure, if you’re staying in hotels all the time, these are probably not needed.

But, when you’re slumming it a bit like we are, it’s great to have a clean, lightweight sheet that’s all yours! 

We’ve found that some hostels/guesthouses only provide rather heavy blankets… In hot climates, I really just couldn’t cope with a fleece blanket for sleeping!

Or, if you feel like maybe the level of cleanliness isn’t quite up to your standard, a silk travel liner can help you feel more comfortable in hostels, backpackers and dingy motels 😁 I’ve even used mine as a pillow case!

Our travel liners by Sea to Summit are super light and compact, machine washable and come with a small carry bag. 

silk travel liner


Revolut Card

We’ve been using Revolut for a few months now, both at home in Ireland and on the road. 

And, long story short, it is AMAZING.

Whether you just take the occasional trip overseas or you’re a regular international traveler, one thing’s for sure; At some point, you’ll have to spend and/or withdraw foreign currency.

Banks will charge you when you spend, withdraw or transfer money abroad. Usually with pretty steep fees. 

Revolut has saved us so much money already because the exchange rate offered by Revolut is the live interbank exchange rate

If I compare what exchange rate I’ve been given by Revolut, it always more or less matches the live rate I can see on xe.com

Plus, you can withdraw and spend money with little to no fees (up to a limit) in over 140 currencies around the world!

Even better, it’s super simple and quick to sign up for an account, which can all be done through the app on your smartphone.

Bonus: Sign up through my link, you’ll save the €5.99/£4.99 fee for getting your physical card sent out to you! 

Read my full Revolut Review here, for all the details on why I’m such a huge fan and why you really need to sign up for your own Revolut account!



Travel Pillow by Snooozeworld

This was my one big (slightly excessive) splash out for our trip…

I admit it isn’t the most compact thing in the world, although it does roll up! (It even comes with its own carry bag and a cotton pillow case!)

This travel pillow is almost like a regular pillow.

It feels like down even though it’s not. (The filling is made from microfibre polyester and is machine washable). 

I have used my Snoooze pillow so often already in these first few months of traveling, and am so glad I got it!

Pillows and mattresses in cheaper accommodations are a bit hit and miss in my experience. I’m certainly not advocating for bringing your own mattress (now that would be a bit excessive! LOL!) But, this travel pillow has given me some really good nights’ sleep where otherwise I likely would’ve woken up sore and uncomfortable.

I’m no spring chicken anymore, I admit! Ha!

Snoooze travel pillow
My Snoooze travel pillow is super soft and huggable, even in its carry bag!


Cooling Towel 

I got this mostly as a joke for my husband’s birthday, which was just over a month before we set off on our big travel adventure!

Although he deals extremely well with heat (more so than me, I’ll admit!), South East Asia just gets sweaty. Whichever way you turn it, it is very hot and humid! 

This lightweight cooling towel has kept us cool during long, sweaty hikes up mountains and through jungles.

You just wet it, swing it around quickly a few times and voila!

A cool, damp towel to dab your face and neck with! Or wear it around your neck or as a bandana, whichever works best for you! 

Cooling Towel is amazing for hot climates
Looking super cool with my cooling towel!


HDMI Cable

We should’ve brought an HDMI cable from home, but we simply didn’t think of it before we set off. So this has been a relatively recent purchase on the road in Malaysia. 

At home, we’re avid movie watchers and not surprisingly, we like to unwind on the road in a similar way when the WiFi allows it! 

We’re travelling with a 15” MacBook Pro, which can, of course, do the job just fine.

But, it seems a shame not to use the bigger flat-screen TVs that our hotel rooms sometimes come with. An HDMI cable just makes for better and more enjoyable movie watching!

Trust me, if you’re a TV fan like us, you’ll thank me for this one! 

Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite by Amazon

I don’t know about you, but I love to read! Especially when I’m travelling, it’s a great way to spend time and unwind.

And sure, I get it, reading physical books holds a special appeal. But, they just aren’t practical for travel.

My Kindle Paperwhite is only 4GB but it can hold thousands of books.

The built in light is easy on the eyes and great in any environment – direct sunlight, dark airplanes, you name it…

My husband has the new (2019) Kindle with built in light but we both agree that the glow on that Kindle is not as soft and does tend to strain the eyes a bit more after reading for a while in low light.  


Waterproof Dry Bag

Keeping your valuables dry is so important! We use our dry bag for beach trips as it’s great for keeping our camera in. But it actually makes for quite a good bag to store other items like a water bottle, keys, and wallet too.

We only have a 5 litre dry bag, which is good for carrying just the small items.

A 10 litre dry bag probably gives you a bit more versatility but either way, it’s a good investment if you’re planning beach or boat trips! Or just to keep things dry in the rain!

Waterproof Dry Bag is a must have item for travel!
Keeping the important stuff dry in my dry bag

Bonus Idea: Waterproof Bag For Your Computer!

Travelling with a laptop can be risky. You definitely don’t want it getting damaged or wet. We’re so happy we got this waterproof laptop bag before we left. It’s perfect in that it protects our laptop from both liquid and bumps!

It fits into the laptop pocket in our small (hand luggage) backpack, is light, and adds very little bulk. It’s available for 11″, 13″ and 15″ laptops.

Powerbank powerbank

I like to think I’m a pretty smart and organised person… But, we all have our moments…

Once or twice I’ve run rather low on battery on my iPhone… My powerbank has been a real lifesaver!

Also, it’s great for long travel days or simply as a “just in case” option.

We use Maps.me a lot on the road, and you definitely don’t want to run out of juice when you’re trying to find your way somewhere… The powerbank is small and light, and is a regular addition to our day-pack! (Just don’t forget your USB cable!)


Ear Plugs & Eye Mask

Not only great for trying to get some sleep on planes, ear plugs and eye masks are a standard bed-side item for both of us these days.

We’re trying to stick to a fairly tight budget, which means some cheap and cheerful accommodation options at times.

Cheap = not usually very quiet…

My ear plugs and eye mask have helped me get some decent sleep where I would otherwise be tossing and turning getting frustrated with the noise. Honestly, these have definitely kept us happy on the road so far!

USB Light

This is Omer’s addition – he insisted on it! 😂 Although I’ll admit that the pink colour was my choice! (I do love pink!)

Again, this has been a pretty recent addition. We got it in the RM5.90 store in KL! But, it’s been used a lot since then!

This USB powered light is really small but gives off a good amount of (warm) light.

You see, we’ve found that a lot of the rooms we’ve been staying in only have a bright overhead lamp. No bedside lamps, or smaller lights.

We’re using this USB light for when we’re watching movies, or when I’m going to sleep and Omer wants to spend a bit more time reading. The extra glow off the USB lamp is perfect without keeping me awake!

USB powered light - something you'd never think to pack but is a must have travel item!


So there you have it, my top 12 tried and tested, essential, must-have travel items that I’d highly recommend to anyone setting off on a travel adventure!

What is your must-have travel item? Is there anything you can’t live without when you’re on the road?

Let me know in the comments below!


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