Wanderlust Essentials: 25 Must-Have Travel Items

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Embarking on new journeys requires more than just your adventurous spirit. You'll need certain accessories to make things flow smoothly. Some items are obvious, like your phone charger or passport, but there are other unsuspecting items that seasoned travelers swear by. Never fear! Wealth of Geeks is here to save you the hassle — read on to discover some must-have travel items you need. 

1. Hardshell Luggage

Family with two children going on holiday, walking at the airport with luggage.
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Hardshell luggage is a game changer. A good quality suitcase can make traveling more accessible and comfortable, especially if it is small enough to fit in the overhead bin, sturdy enough to withstand rough handling, and has wheels to move around smoothly. 

2. Noise-Canceling Headphones

Noise-Canceling Headphones
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Noise-canceling headphones are helpful for long flights. They're your secret weapon against crying babies, chatty passengers, and all the other background noise when traveling. Also, ensure they fit, which can help reduce ear pain caused by air pressure changes.

3. Compression Socks

Compression socks
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When you think of compression socks, you might envision senior citizens — but no more! Compression socks can improve blood circulation, prevent swelling, and reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots in the legs. They're perfect for long flights and can make a world of difference.

4. Travel Pants

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Everyone can wear a quality pair of travel pants! Cargo pants are perfect for traveling thanks to their numerous pockets and sturdy construction. You can have a specific pocket for your passport or any other important document to keep it safe, secure, and easy to access.

5. Knot-A-Bag

Plastic bag, dispenser, storage, garbage, trash, diaper

The knot-a-bag is a nifty item that has many uses. It's a tiny plastic tube with one long packet inside and a small blade to tear them off. You can pull out a packet of any size for anything you need. You just knot the top and bottom. They're perfect for storing messy clothes, soiled diapers, trash, muddy shoes, etc. It's also super compact, so you don't have to worry about taking up too much space in your luggage.

6. Hero Clip Carabiner With a Hook

Hero Clip Carabiner with a Hook

The hero clip carabiner with a hook is a clutch and versatile travel tool. Some of the most prominent uses are to secure bags and to prevent theft or keep them off the ground. You can also hang gear while camping or in hostels; it serves as a stroller or shopping cart hook and keeps items organized by hanging them from tents or trees. A practical hook design makes it a valuable accessory for travelers seeking enhanced convenience.

7. Travel Towel

Travel towel, microfiber towel
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Having a travel towel in tow is especially useful for hostels or camping. It's lightweight, compact, and fast-drying, so you can use it for bathing, swimming, or cleaning. Make sure you choose a towel that isn't too large to carry around your neck or in your purse or bag, and whip it out whenever necessary. I had never considered its utility outside the pool, but it makes perfect sense.

8. Kindle

Kindle, E Reader
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Taking along a Kindle is a great idea for long journeys or tropical destinations where you'll be relaxing at the beach. It's an electronic device that can store thousands of books, magazines, newspapers, and other documents. It has a long battery life, a glare-free screen, and adjustable brightness and font size. I'd seriously be lost without it, as it's my number one form of entertainment for down days when nothing is planned.

9. Power Bank

Power bank, Charger, phone, cell,
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When you're traveling, having a reliable power bank is non-negotiable. Whether you're navigating unfamiliar streets with GPS or binge-watching your favorite shows during a layover, it's the ultimate travel companion for keeping your devices charged. If you want to ensure you never miss a moment to capture memories or stay connected, always keep it with you.

10. Packing Cubes

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Packing cubes are excellent for organizing your luggage and saving space. These miniature fabric containers can hold different types of clothing or items. They can help you pack more efficiently, find what you need quickly, and avoid wrinkles or creases. You can find affordable packing cubes at various places. Online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart often offer budget-friendly options.

11. Swiss Army Knife

Swiss Army Knife
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A Swiss Army knife is a multi-tool with blades, scissors, screwdrivers, corkscrews, tweezers, etc. It can help you open bottles, cut food, fix things, or save lives. It's a flexible tool to have in your pocket. Remember, if you're flying, it's safe to pack it in your checked luggage, but keep it out of your carry-on to comply with airline and security regulations.

12. Water Bottle With a Filter

Filtered water bottle
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Carrying a water bottle with a filter is critical, depending on where you're visiting. It's not just about staying hydrated; it's about doing so wisely. These bottles come with built-in filters that can purify tap water or even water from natural sources, ensuring safe drinking water wherever you go. Plus, they're reusable, which means you're saving money on buying bottled water and reducing plastic waste- a win for your wallet and the environment.

13. Neck Pillow

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A neck pillow is a must-have for travel comfort. You know those long flights or bus rides that leave your neck feeling like a pretzel? Taking this convenient pillow is the way to go. It supports your head and neck effortlessly, making it easier to get some sleep and feel refreshed as you travel from here to there. Plus, it's so compact that it won't hog your luggage space.

14. Travel Adapter

Travel Adapter, Plug, Power, Universal
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You need a travel adapter; don't let anyone convince you otherwise. There's nothing like that moment when you land in a foreign country, eager to charge your devices, and then… surprise! The plugs are different. A travel adapter is a device that can convert the shape and voltage of the power outlets in other regions. I always carry one, just in case.

15. Sarong

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A sarong is a large piece of cloth that can be wrapped around the body differently. Use it as a skirt, dress, scarf, shawl, blanket, towel, curtain, or hammock. It's like the Swiss Army knife of clothing, which many people haven't considered bringing along when traveling. A lightweight sarong is a great accessory to have in your arsenal.

16. Headlamp

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A headlamp is an excellent travel companion, especially if you're an adventurer or love exploring off the beaten path. A small flashlight can be attached to your head with a strap. It'll help you see in the dark, find your way, read a book, or do other activities hands-free. From personal experience, it's perfect for areas where you have no reception and have to read a map to find your way around at night.

17. Lock

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Image Credit: ‎Master Lock.

Taking a lock with you when traveling is essential, even if you feel it's unnecessary. You never know what can happen, and it's not just for securing your suitcase; it can also be used to lock up hostel lockers, hotel room doors, or even your daypack. A reliable lock adds an extra layer of security, giving you peace of mind and allowing you to enjoy your journey without worrying about theft or unauthorized access.

18. Journal

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A journal is your travel confidant, capturing memories and experiences that would otherwise fade with time. Once you return home, it becomes like a personal time machine, allowing you to revisit moments, emotions, and reflections from your trip. It can also help you remember your trip, express yourself, learn from your mistakes, or set goals.

19. VPN (Virtual Private Network)

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Think of a VPN as your invisible shield in the digital world. When traveling, you often connect to public Wi-Fi networks, which can be less secure. A VPN encrypts your internet connection, protecting sensitive data from potential hackers and ensuring online privacy. It also allows you to access websites and stream content that might be restricted in certain countries. 

20. Collapsible Travel Utensils

Collapsible Travel Utensils
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These compact, reusable utensil sets are perfect for eco-conscious travelers. They often include a fork, knife, spoon, and sometimes chopsticks. Whether you're enjoying street food or having a picnic, they reduce the need for disposable cutlery and are easy to clean on the go.

21. Travel Clothesline With Built-in Clips

Travel Clothesline, camping, hiking, outdoors
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A portable clothesline might not be on everyone's packing list, but it's handy for drying clothes on the road. Many come with built-in clips to hang laundry or wet swimwear in your room. It's a quirky yet practical solution to keep your clothing fresh and dry, even if you're far from laundry facilities.

22. First Aid Kit

First aid kit
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Carrying a first aid kit is the perfect safety net on the road, providing essential care when unexpected mishaps occur. They can help you treat wounds, infections, allergies, pain, or other conditions. A well-equipped first aid kit ensures you're prepared for various health-related issues during your travels if you can't get to the necessary medical service immediately. Take prescription medications wherever you go; you never know if you'll need them.

23. Camera

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A camera is obvious, and many of us use our smartphones to capture images and make videos when traveling, but a backup doesn't hurt. If anything happens to your phone, you'll still want some way to capture your experiences. These photos become cherished souvenirs, evoking memories and allowing you to share your travel story with others.

24. Empty Ziploc Bags

Ziploc bags
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I cannot stress the importance of having various Ziploc bags that you can whip out when traveling. Small to large bags keep toiletries and accessories organized, prevent spills, store your travel-sized belongings like toothpaste and shampoo, hold snacks, etc. They're also great for providing moisture protection for electronics and wet items. These versatile bags enhance organization, protect your belongings, and make travel more efficient.

25. Storage Scrunchies

Storage scrunchies, hair, ponytail
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Storage scrunchies are ingenious multi-functional accessories that combine fashion with functionality. These scrunchies look like stylish hair ties but secretly contain a hidden zippered compartment. Inside, you can discreetly stash small items like keys, money, or lip balm, making them perfect for travel or outings where you want to keep essentials close at hand without carrying a bulky bag.

Author: Creshonda Smith

Title: Trending Topics Writer

Expertise: Travel, Food, Parenting, Lifestyle


Creshonda is a content writer with a passion for entertainment and lifestyle topics like parenting, travel, and movies. Hailing from Cleveland, OH, she graduated from The Ohio State University with a bachelor's and master's degree in Clinical Social Work. While she has specific topics that she enjoys writing about, she likes to tackle other topics that she's not as familiar with in an attempt to continually improve her writing skills and knowledge about the world around us. Creshonda has written for various publications such as MSN, Detroit Legal News, Jacksonville Journal-Courier, and more. When she's not serving as a Trending Topics writer for Wealth of Geeks, she's searching for tropical destinations to travel to with her family.