What Are Travel Essentials?

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  • Written By: Gregory Hanson
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2019
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The definition of travel essentials varies from case to case, depending on who is traveling, what style of travel they prefer, and where they are traveling. In all cases, money and important documents, as well as appropriate protections for those items, should be considered travel essentials. Many travelers rely on electronic devices and should make sure to bring equipment needed to use or charge those items. Personal grooming and comfort items should typically also be priorities. Appropriate luggage is also necessary for most types of travel.

Travel documents and money are the most important travel essentials. Passports, visas, drivers’ licenses, and other required forms of identification are critically important, and should be stored in a safe place while traveling. Copies of all documents should be kept both somewhere else in a traveler’s luggage and with a friend or relative at home. Some amount of money is needed for nearly every sort of travel, and it is a good idea to make sure to have both cash and credit available. Travel guides and maps are also very helpful, whether carried as books or programs on mobile devices.

Electrical and electronic devices are travel essentials in the modern age. In addition to the electronic devices themselves, a traveler should make sure to bring any equipment needed to use or charge those travel accessories. This will often include both a power supply and a power converter when traveling internationally.


Grooming and comfort are important to most travelers as well. Toiletries and other small personal items should be considered travel essentials. Medicines and glasses or contact lenses are crucial travel gear, as is documentation explaining any prescription medication. Small comfort items, such as back or neck pillows, earplugs and face masks, or lightweight towels can greatly ease the stress of travel, especially air travel.

Appropriate clothes and shoes are also travel essentials. Anyone planning to hike or backpack should bring foot gear suitable for walking, and should prepare for the possibility of inclement weather as well. Travelers should also make sure to pack clothing that is culturally appropriate. A visitor to Italy, for instance, may be denied access to some of that nation’s historic churches if they are not dressed appropriately.

Luggage is also critical to the success of most travel ventures. Luggage needs to be durable and adequately easy to transport. Smaller secondary packs or satchels are handy, as they allow most of a traveler’s luggage to be left at a hotel room, hostel, or other home base.


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Post 10

Has anybody tried any of those space saving bags for traveling?

I am trying to pack everything I need in one suitcase, and don't think I can do it without something like this to give me more room.

I just wonder if they really work. And, once I remove the item from the bag, will I have a hard time getting it back in the bag?

In order to have room for all my shoes, travel gadgets and personal care items, I need to find a better way for my clothes to fit.

I saw some advertised where you could pack up to twice as much. Do they really work?

Post 9

@LisaLou- My friend has a name for the wild goose chases you mention. His family calls it "Dairy Queening" after the time several Dairy Queen restaurants in a row didn't exist when his family was looking for one with a GPS.

I agree that maps are essential. Even if things change, most of a map stays the same from year to year, and they need less upkeep than fancy travel gadgets.

Post 8

Even with smart phones and GPS systems, my husband won't go on a car trip without current maps. Of all the travel items that are important, this is crucial for him.

He has had too many wild goose chases with electronic devices, and prefers a good map over anything else.

We belong to a motor car club and get free maps as part of our membership. When we are getting ready to go on a trip, I always make sure I have the most current ones.

We have also found that you can get current maps at many rest areas along the way. If we are entering a new state, we often stop and pick up a

map there to have on hand.

I don't think my kids travel anywhere with a map. All they have ever known is using something electronic. They don't have much appreciation for a map that you fold, unfold and spread out across the front seat.

Post 7

After making sure I have my money and identification, the most important travel essentials for me are my personal care products.

Packing these usually takes longer than anything else, but I like to take the products I am used to using and like.

Many of the free products provided by the hotels are not the quality that I am used to using every day.

Finally I put together a travel kit that contains all of my favorite products. These are packaged so they will go through airport security without any trouble.

This has saved me a lot of time and I know I will have the essentials that I am used to using.

Post 6

I always make sure to have some cash with me when I travel. I keep some in my wallet and then some in my bag separate from everything else. This is just in case my wallet gets stolen.

You never know when you won't be able to use a card or when there will be some kind of problem with your account. I think its good practice to have some hard currency on hand just in case. This has bailed me out of a few stressful situations.

Post 5

There are lots of different travel accessories that people would consider essential. But for me the number one most important thing to make sure that you bring along is enough pairs of clean socks.

I think about it like this. Socks get dirty no matter what you do. It is really unpleasant to wear dirty old socks and often not easy to clean them. So I always make sure to pack at least one pair for every day that I will be traveling. I know it sounds like a silly thing to get so focused in on, but it always makes for a better trip.

Post 4

There are a couple of things I always take with me when I travel that most people might not think to bring. I had to go on a few vacations myself before I found out that I needed these items.

One of them is a plastic bag for dirty clothes. You don't want to put your dirty clothing in with the garments you haven't worn yet, so it's good to have a designated laundry bag for storing the ones that will need to be washed.

Another thing is a pen and paper. Several times on trips, I have wished I had a pen to jot something important down, like the address of a destination or directions. It's also good to have a pen to fill out and sign a check if necessary.

Post 3

When I am getting ready to pack for a trip, I always make a list of travel necessities. If I don't do this, I will forget some important things.

I have to have my tweezers and nail clippers when I go anywhere for more than a day. There's nothing worse than getting a hangnail or a coarse hair or splinter and not being able to remove it. I would spend hours plucking at it with my fingernails to no avail.

I have a little grooming kit that looks like an eyeglass case. It is black with bright flowers on it, and it snaps shut. Inside, it has individual loops that hold several grooming tools in place, like tweezers, nail clippers, a nail file, and a digging tool.

All of the tools have the same floral pattern on them as the outside of the case. It's my most stylish travel essential, and I never go far without it.

Post 2

@wavy58 – You learn through experience. During my last road trip, I seriously wished I had brought along some travel bottles with water in them, because I spent so much money buying water at every gas station along the way.

A big bottle of water costs nearly two dollars, whereas filtered tap water from home is super cheap and only makes up a small fraction of your water bill. I have learned my lesson, and next time I travel, I will stock my car with water from home.

This would alleviate the temptation to buy soda, as well. I drank too much of this during my vacation, and I just felt bad, because I'm not used to it.

Post 1

I learned a bit about travel essentials during my last vacation. I went with my husband to New York to visit his family, and there were a few things that I should have packed but didn't. Now, I know better.

I didn't anticipate that it would rain for most of the week we were there. I had packed three pairs of suede boots but no rain boots. Also, I had a leather coat and a wool coat, but no rain coat.

Luckily, I did have a pair of tennis shoes, so I wore those instead of the suede boots. I didn't look very fashionable in them, though, and I felt strange going to a nice restaurant in sneakers.

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