I have to admit, I am by no means a minimalist. When I travel I like to have everything I need and I like to travel comfortably. What I will say is, I have been trying to make an extra effort to travel with less luggage for efficiency. Who wants to wait for checked luggage when you have the world outside the airport to explore. With that being said, I could give you a very long list of things I like to make sure I have when I am traveling, but I will start with my top 5 travel essentials.
You might be thinking “come on Toniann, who doesn’t know about packing cubes?” The packing cubes I have found most useful are not just the regular ones. I use compression packing cubes! What a difference in space they make.
I first discovered these when I was going on a week-long trip to Europe during winter. Everyone knows, winter clothes can get bulky and heavy. As I mentioned earlier, I am not a minimalist. So when I started to get my clothes ready for that trip I realized it would not all fit in one suitcase unless I compressed them. I have seen the plastic compression bags that you can roll to get the air out or vacuum out the air. However, when country hopping and moving from hotel to hotel, that can become tedious. These compression cubes I found, worked great, they only zip closed and come in different sizes. At first glance they don’t look like they hold much but trust me they do. I went from two suitcases to one!
Another great tip: I also used the plastic compression bag to hold my bulky jacket. Oftentimes you don’t want to travel on the plane in that jacket, but you will need it as soon as you get out of the airport. I simply stick my jacket into a medium- large bag, compress it flat and slide it right down into the front pocket of my suitcase for easy access.
A foot swing
I would like to tell you that I am able to travel in business or first class every trip, but no ma’am, I ain’t got it like that. However, I do like to travel just as comfortable as those up front. Especially on long trips, when I tend to want to just relax, read, watch a movie or sleep for the ride, those economy seats can drive me nuts! I saw an ad for a foot swing and it looked like it worked so hey, why not, I ordered one. Guess what?… It really does make a huge difference and works the same exact way as the footrest in business class! You simply pull down your table, strap the swing over it and put your legs in, and that’s it!
Waterproof toiletry bag
I haven’t always felt the need to have one of these. I have travelled with my toiletries and experienced no spillage. But on a long flight you never know what can happen. I had been given the cutest waterproof bag and started to use it on my trips. On a long flight from Miami to Rome, I thankfully used this bag, as when I arrived at my hotel, half my toiletries had spilled. But thanks to my waterproof bag, the spillage was contained and not all over my other things in the suitcase.
Another great tip: a decent size waterproof bag can also be used for storing a wet swimsuit that you need to pack right before a flight. I often go for one last swim before I leave, when I go to beach destinations.
A foldable bag is one of my best friends. You don’t always want to tour a city with a backpack or a big hand bag, but sometimes we buy things on these tours. A foldable bag takes up almost no space, and even better, some of them have a clip that you can just clip on to the bag you are wearing, so no space inside your bag is wasted. Having this reusable bag is also great considering most countries are eliminating or charging for shopping bags.
Another great tip: Ever go to the airport after your trip and your suitcase is just a tad heavier than when you arrived? Or is that just me? Pull out your little foldable bag and take some excess weight out of your suitcase. This tip brings me to my next travel essential.
Lightweight luggage scale
Being in Europe, there tends to be differing weight restrictions depending on the airline you fly. If you are country hopping and are a souvenir shopper or a shopper at all (those chocolates can add up in weight), then you may want to check your luggage before heading to the airport, to avoid extra fees. Although I always weigh my bags before leaving for my trip and make a mental note of the weight, I also want to make sure I don’t overdo it on the shopping for my additional flights. Packing a lightweight hand held scale really comes in helpful here. It takes up almost no space and will be worth not having to pay additional fees or having to rearrange things at the airport before your flight. Some hotels now offer this as an amenity, so check before you go.
Do you have any travel essentials I should add to my list? Drop me a comment and let me know.
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