There are some travel necessities that are simply no-brainers; some evolve from trial and error. Others come to us via the advice of friends based on their experiences. Consider this post in that last category; items I now consider indispensable when I pack the bag. They are not ‘live or die’ necessities but they do offer practical convenience and in some cases a touch of luxury. Please be aware following contains some affiliate links, which are identified as such.
Travel necessities: hard-sided luggage
It’s a matter of taste, but I’m a confirmed hard-side-luggage traveler. Furthermore, luggage MUST have 360° spinner wheels; no more dragging it behind me. Brand name options run up and down the scale of price points. I love the TUMI line (affiliate link); it’s elegant and beautiful; the quality is unmistakable. But if I traveled with TUMI I’d wince with every trip watching it go down the checked luggage belt into the maw of the cargo hold.
My hands-down choice is the online luggage disruptor, Away.
It’s sturdy, has a life-long guarantee, and wheels around with ease. I bought the first bag, the smaller carry-on when the company was a fledgling start-up. I loved the roomy-ness for 5-7 days of travel and the availability of the battery charger; it has saved me more than once.
Furthermore, it comes in an array of colors, and in 4 sizes: a carry-on which fits all major airlines requirements, a larger carry-on, and 2 even larger bags. There is even a child’s size, for those special trips to Grandma’s.
So thrilled, I bought a second bag, the grey one above, as my go-to for longer trips (10 days in Europe with fall clothes was no problem). The amount of stuff that fits inside is nothing short of amazing. A magical gusset expands to ensure your great finds make it home.
Granted, Away bags are short on glitz and glamour. But you won’t be biting your lip when it’s dumped onto the baggage claim carousel. Just get a good luggage tag; I’ve noticed the popularity of these bags has skyrocketed. The secret is most definitely out.
Travel necessities: a cashmere poncho
Every “what’s in my carry-on” list includes a shawl or wrap for chilly planes. For me, it’s a cashmere poncho, something I can wrap up in that won’t fall off or unravel during a snooze. Here’s mine:
The thing about cashmere is that it is soft, warm and light and can make economy feel (almost) like the front of the plane. In beige or black, it’s more than a cozy plane wrap; it will see you through a day of museums, a coffee on the plaza and a night on the town.
If cashmere isn’t your thing but the idea of a poncho is, the options are endless.
In my humble opinion, the BEST thing about a poncho, in addition to its versatility and comfort is the simple fact that it is flattering for every shape and age group. By some fashion magic, long ponchos make older women look more elegant and younger women look more sophisticated. I don’t know how that works but it does.
Travel necessities: Powerbeats earphones
I know what you’re thinking: we’re too old for this kind of thing. Nope. If you’re like me and enjoy podcasts or audiobooks, these are ideal for long-haul flights or train travel when the scenery is less than captivating. They are comfy and don’t fall out of your ears, unlike my experience with earbuds. (Has that ever happened to you, or is it just me?)
The Bluetooth connection means you’re not hopelessly tangled; the volume controls ensure you can hear the highs and lows but your neighbor isn’t bothered. The sound quality is great for all but the most discerning audiophile. What’s not to love?
Full disclosure: (affiliate link) my Powerbeats were a gift from my 30-something son. And at first, I thought: really? But let me tell you: they’re not just one of my travel necessities. I’ve started wearing them around the house – listening to music or podcasts during mundane chores, audio books on the treadmill…I’d call that a lifestyle necessity!
#4 Travel necessities: Personal care
I’ve long been a fan of these individual size packets.
They are convenient, TSA-approved, sulfate-free (yay!) and (affiliate links) it’s all here. I love the fact that the contents won’t spill over your stuff, even if it means all those plastic things are less environmentally friendly. Dispose of carefully and rest in the knowledge that shampoo won’t get on your cashmere, or anything else. Yes, it’s a trade-off.
We don’t want to forget the gents here. There’s a kit just for you.
#5 Travel necessities: The no-nonsense travel purse
For years I’ve traveled with this indestructible TUMI bag. It’s durable, has a ton of compartments that are easily accessible for my phone, glasses, and credit cards. The nylon material is lightweight yet nearly bullet-proof; its cross-body strap is secure. It’s roomy enough for travel folders, a smaller iPad, a paperback. It is not chic; the school-matron look is almost military-grade in its practical quality. But it works and I love it.
I endure the derision of my friends knowing this no-nonsense bag is aces. TUMI has a great line and is worth every cent. This exact model is now re-imagined, and there are (affiliate links) similar styles to consider.
Bonus! Travel necessities for our canine companions
We know dogs love a road trip, hate to be left behind. Like all good travelers, they need their travel necessities at hand….
All that’s missing is the cell phone carrier. You don’t want to leave Fido behind and with this tidy bundle, you won’t have to.
Everybody has their favorite travel necessities – what are yours? Please let us know in the comments below!
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