Essential (and practical) travel items that we always bring when exploring the world

We L-O-V-E to travel, but it’s no secret that not every second of a trip is pleasant for your mind and body. A lot of our travel prep involves getting ready for those less than comfortable moments so we can breeze through them with the greatest of ease and get right to the exploring, and eating, and good stuff. To help you perfectly stock your next carry-on, or backpackers pack, here are a few of the essential travel items that we always make sure to bring when we head out to explore the world.

1. A massive cotton shawl

“I always travel with a big cotton shawl, which I’ve seen in some places described as a Turkish towel. It’s the old Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy principle: It can function as a towel, or a blanket, or a scarf, or even an on-the-fly skirt. I also always get cold in airplanes, so it’s a quick defensive maneuver against the aggressive air conditioning.” – Margaret, Features Editor

2. Ginger. Yes, ginger. 


“Ginger Root Capsules: Even though I love to travel more than anything, my body . . . doesn’t. Ginger helps soothe headaches and stomach aches, and works as a great placebo for other travel-related ailments.” – Christina, Video Contributor

3. Plastic Bags   


“You can use them for laundry, impromptu takeout, dry heave bags for bad mornings or plane/boat rides, or just to keep things separate within your laundry. I keep a bag of plastic bags in my room specifically for random travel purposes, and I never fail to use them. (Plastic bag tax notwithstanding . . .) I’m also in the habit of keeping cash in small plastic bags and then hiding them in like, my shoes or my bra, but maybe I’m just paranoid.” – Lily, Associate Editor 

4. Green oil


“I grew up with this stuff, but it’s really perfect for taking care of bug bites and for relieving sporadic headaches. Warning: It smells a lot, so make sure it doesn’t leak when you take it on the road. (Maybe . . . seal it in a plastic bag?)” – Lily, Associate Editor

5. My Kindle Paperwhite


“I’m diehard about good old-fashioned books, but when it comes to travel, my Kindle might just take the cake. Long gone are the days where I’d pack five hardcovers for a one week trip, only to immediately regret all the added weight. The Kindle solves all my problems — plus, the backlight is extra convenient for overnight flights.” – Gina M., Senior Branded Content Editor
6. The amazing Ostrich pillow

I use the travel version of the ostrich pillow every time I fly. I have a hard time staying awake on airplanes and it’s the best travel investment I’ve ever made.” – Kayleigh, Editor

7. Lots of lip balm


“Because you never know if you’re going to lose one. My favorites at the moment are Vaseline lip therapy in rose, and Dinoplatz in “Rabbit Food.” – Gina V., Associate Editor

8. Sickness fighting tools


“This is the best sickness prevention vitamin for travel. Perfect for when you feel like you’re getting sick. I HIGHLY recommend. You either don’t end up getting sick or it goes away really fast.” – Marie, Staff Writer

9. A notebook


“I will spend an entire day in a beautiful city but forget every single name of every single site by the time I go to bed. Whenever I get a chance to sit (on a train, at a fountain, in my sixth gelato shop), I jot down the things I’ve seen and a few feelings I’ve felt. Those pages mean nothing to anyone else but are priceless to me!” – Christina, Video Contributor
9. Melatonin


“It’s a natural hormone that makes you sleep, AKA jet lag’s most feared nemesis, AKA my boyfriend. – Kit, Senior Writer
10. A sleep sack


“Sometimes called a “sleeping bag liner”, these little sacks are a lifesaver (especially if you’re backpacking). They’re basically really light-weight sleeping bags perfect to sleep in if you’re taking an overnight train, or staying at a hostel. Silk is also awesome because it keeps you warm if it’s cold out, and cool if it’s warm out.” – Elena, Culture Editor
11. A fanny pack


“I have two: A black one, and a really cool decorative one, so I can switch them up depending on my outfit. I like them ’cause I’m paranoid of losing small stuff and I can just throw everything in there. I also think they’re fashionable.” – Quyen, Editorial Intern 12. A refillable water bottle

“I am so thirsty all the time, and I hate getting something to drink on the plane because open drink + turbulence = my drink everywhere. Then I get frustrated I can’t bring liquid through security, and then I never want to pay $25 (rough estimate) for a bottle of water before I board. SO, I’ve started brining my own empty bottles. I love this one, because it filters the water, too, in case you aren’t too keen on the idea of drinking fountain water.” – Rachel, Staff Writer

13. My 
J Pillow Travel Pillow


“It supports your head, neck, and (wait for it) SHOULDERS. It looks super weird and takes a second to figure it out, but this bad boy recently got me through two 24-hour travel days, and is the top-rated travel pillow on Amazon, winner, winner.” – Kit, Senior Writer

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