Are you a long-term traveller, travelling on a budget looking to save a few pennies while helping the environment a little along the way? If so, then sweet. Because in our essential travel items list you are definitely going to find something that fulfils both needs.
When we both first started travelling we didn't carry half of the stuff we use now on a daily basis. After we met each other in Pai, Thailand we planned to keep on travelling for as long as we can and with that our list of essential travel items kept on growing.
We began picking up items that would save us money while on the road, stuff for working on the blog and a few items to help us cut back on our waste.
(Our actual essential travel items)
Depending on the type of travel you are planning, most of your travel items will vary for sure. Our below-mentioned travel gadgets are not your standard "what to pack for a backpacking trip" list. These essential travel accessories are items which are always in our backpack no matter where we are travelling.
So hopefully we can inspire you to find new gadgets to add to your essential travel items list for your next travel journey.
Our Essential Travel Items
Reusable Water Bottle
Not only will a reusable water bottle save you a few quid but you will also contribute to helping the environment. If you have ever been to the likes of Southeast Asia you will notice the huge amount of plastic used on a daily basis. Things literally come in plastic, wrapped in plastic and put into a plastic bag. And that's no exaggeration.
So why does having a reusable water bottle help us out? As you can imagine, in developing countries you can't just drink from the tap, so a lot of people buy bottles of water. Before having our reusable water bottle and the next item on this list we were going through 3/4 plastic bottles a day. For some that might not sound like a lot, but over the course of a week, that's 21/28 plastic bottles.
Now we just fill up at our guesthouse when we can or buy one big 6L bottle from time to time cutting a huge chunk of our waste. Over time, we save a few pennies too which adds up while using the other items on this list.
Tip: most airports also have free water refilling stations where your refill bottle will come in handy.
The big advantage of having a water bladder is, you don't have to stop for every water break. You carry the bladder in your backpack and just drink from the pipe while you are hiking, running or climbing. Oh and its reusable with all the same advantages as a reusable water bottle.
We have only recently got our water bladder and we are loving it. The reason we got one in the first place is for our upcoming trekking trip to Nepal. But now we use it constantly every day.
We suggest getting the bigger 3L one over the smaller 1.5L or 2L ones. Don't worry, you won't have to lug around 3L with you every day if don't fancy it. Simply fill it up half way for shorter trips around cities and use the full 3L for longer hikes.
Also, don't forget to get yourself a small cleaning brush as well to clean out the pipe.
Since we work online the TP-Link is one of our most needed essential travel items. We use it in countries where the local guesthouse wifi isn't great. This travel accessory is basically a mini wifi router also called pocket wifi.
Unlike the major companies renting pocket wifi while travelling, this won't cost you an arm or a leg. Seriously google "Travel Wifi" and look at their rates. They charge from 8$ a day just so you can use the local 3G/4G connection.
With the TP-Link, all you need is a local SIM card from the country that you're in. Insert the SIM card into the TP-Link and you are all set. Even if you had to buy a new SIM card every two weeks, you will still be saving a fortune.
Another advantage of having the TP-Link is that you can connect up to ten different devices. Although you can connect devices using your mobile hotspot, the TP-Link's upload and download speeds are much faster. Which again is fantastic for online work. We even had a friend who we introduced to one and he used it while teaching English online.
Ok, this is a no-brainer but it's still an essential travel item we never travel without. Through our phones (iPhone and Samsung) we can easily stay in touch with family and friends and post our newest photos while interacting with followers on our social media on the go.
Today smartphones have fantastic cameras which is great for capturing great snaps without carrying around an additional camera. But we guess you probably already know that :-).
Being an inspiring photographer, Alina wants to learn all she can about photography to capture the best moments from our travels. For the last couple of years, she was using a Canon Powershot SX610 HS which was great at the time.
Currently, Alina is using a Sony A6000 which she got for her birthday to improve her skills. She loves the fact it's lightweight and has an interchangeable lens so she can capture great landscape photos.
At the moment we can't give our own in-depth review since we are still learning all its functions. What we can say though is, the Sony A6000 takes some quality images and Alina is delighted with it.
Travelling off the beaten path with no one around to take a photo of you? Then grab yourself a tripod and add it to your essential travel items list!
Right now we have a small 30cm one which has flexible legs. If we need to get extra hight we simply use the bendable legs to wrap around branches and poles etc.
We find the tripod better than the selfie sticks as you can capture yourself and the whole landscape behind you easier.
Probably the best-storing device for any kind of traveller. Use it to keep SD cards free for amazing shots, adding videos, movies, music and swapping media with other travellers.
Although don't just rely on the hard drive. Try to save your most important files on your hard drive in two places. Either save them on an additional USB stick or Google Drive (Google gives you 15GB of free storage). A good reason for this is in case you lose or damage it like we did.
Alina's old hard drive from WD recently started acting weird. Being brave enough she had a go at fixing it herself. Unfortunately, she trusted some youtube video and opened the disk of the hard drive.
Well, that's something you shouldn't try yourself as we figured out afterwards. All our data was gone. Luckily the most important photos we already saved somewhere else.
This time we travel with a 1TB Toshiba hard drive with no complaints.
Oldie but goldie, the packing cubes. What a great invention for any traveller who likes being organised. Aka us.
To be honest with you, it took us a while before we heard of packing cubes. We only came across them over a year ago reading another blogger's essential travel items packing list. Now we couldn't imagine travelling without them.
You'll never have to route through your bag again pulling out 20 billion items for one single thing. With these, you can sort your clothes into different packing cubes, keeping your backpack neat and tidy. But most importantly, being able to access what you need easily.
Headphones are definitely an essential travel item to pack when hitting the road. We shouldn't need to say too much about bringing headphones with you, as they speak for themselves.
Trust us, you won't be sorry you stuck them in your backpack when you are on a long-ass twelve-hour bus journey.
Solar power bank
Our power bank has 10 000 mAH and can charge a dead iPhone up to three times. Paul is very forgetful when it comes to charging his iPhone and usually runs out of battery when we need it most.
The best thing about the solar power bank is, you can hang it on your backpack while charging your phone and the power bank at the same time.
Of course, the power bank will not charge as quick using solar compared to being plugged into a socket. Nevertheless, it is very handy when you are out trekking for days without access to power.
Other great features of this solar power bank are the quality LED flashlight and SOS signal lights. You may never need them but they could be handy features when on a solo adventure trip.
Some might find it too bulky to carry (including charger and replacement heads) while travelling, but it is an essential travel item for us. Since using an electrical toothbrush we found our teeth much cleaner.
We don't mind the bulky part as long as it makes the quality of our teeth better. We do still carry a normal toothbrush for any trekking trips or days without power though.
Collapsible lunch box
Ahhhh where would we be without our trusty collapsible lunch boxes? Actually, we know where we would be. We'd probably be stuck on a budget airline starving haha.
All jokes aside though, these are an essential travel item that we swear by! We use them in every single country that we go to. Last year travelling through the Czech Republic and Croatia, staying in Airbnb's, we used it on every single day trip, cooking our own meals.
If we attend a low airline flight (where food usually is not included), we cook our lunch beforehand and take it with us for the flight. Or we use them as bowls for our porridge in the morning (yes we love our porridge).
Aside from the money savings, you are also producing less waste, you know what's in your food, and after you finished your meal, you just collapse the box and fit it easily in your backpack.
Tip: Make sure not to leave food in the box for too long. Ours is made out of silicon and sometimes it's quite hard to get rid of the smell of the food.
...and this is how we get hot water wherever we have access to a plug. This little travel gadget is super handy for making your own coffee, tea or using the hot water for your porridge. This is great for anyone who likes to save up a view bucks while on the road.
Carrying this with a jar of coffee or tea bags surprisingly saves you a nice little sum each month. We can save up to 215$ month between cooking our own breakfast and making coffee.
Tip: Put the coil into the water first then plug it in. When the water is boiling, unplug it first, then take the coil out of the water. If you take the coil out of the water first and then unplug it, it can break. A lesson learned from our own experience :-).
We don't need to explain why you need this multifunctional tool. It's super handy for any kind of travel. Short term, long term, road trips, island hopping or mountain trekking. There will always be a situation where you will need a pocketknife.
Travelling with many devices and only having two plugs in your room is not ideal when working online.
Since we started the travel blog, we noticed we needed a few more essential travel items and more sockets. Having the extension cable makes life a little easier when you need to charge your laptop, phone, toothbrush, power bank and the TP-Link.
Oh, and the camera, the additional batteries for your camera...and probably a few other things along with it.
Protect your eyes, guys! Especially in regions like Southeast Asia, where there is sun all year round, sunglasses are an essential travel item. You will also need them for trekking in snowy regions to stop you from getting snow blindness. Yep, snow blindness is an actual thing.
We wouldn't be able to get much work done without our laptops. We don't use anything fancy like a MacBook, even though people using them do highly recommend them.
Paul's Essential Travel Items
Head And Body Razor
You think being bald would be easy when grooming but Paul is actually a very hairy man. So instead of carrying a head razor and body groomer, Paul uses's the Phillips QC5580.
It is super lightweight, smaller than his hand and comes with two attachments which act as a 3-1 for him.
He uses the balder attachment for his head cutting it down to a complete zero smooth finish. The second attachment (trimmer) he use's for trimming his beard and as a body groomer which cuts from 0.5mm-15mm.
Also, a quick note to the gents. It is perfect for the lower region (Paul speaking). No nicks or cuts when using the balder attachment.
Another great feature he loves is the fact it rotates 180°. Making it extremely easy and quick for cutting your own hair.
We were debating this one. But Paul has two bulletproof arguments. One, he is bald and two, he's Irish. Suncream is the first thing he mentions before we go out the door. If this post was in any order and Paul had his own way, suncream would be the first thing on our essential travel items list. But he doesn't :-p.
The sun lotion we use is the Aloe Pura Organic Aloe Vera Sun Lotion SPF 25. It contains 99.9% bioactive aloe vera, jojoba, avocado, chamomile and organic herbal extracts.
Not only is it better for your skin, it also helps protect our reefs as it doesn't contain harmful chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate. Studies have shown sun lotions with these chemicals can cause bleaching to our corals.
So choose your lotion wisely guys if you plan on doing lots of snorkelling or diving. Oh, and the SPF 25 is perfect even in 36-degree heat. Normally Paul only has to apply it once a day. Yup, it's that good.
Alina's Essential Travel Items
Scissors & Nail File & Nail Clippers
Alina is always at her nails and is always at Paul to do his nails too. Make sure to get a good nail file, so it won't take you too long to file around the edges.
The quickest way to getting knots out or brushing through curly hair. The best thing about a detangling brush is, it will never slip out of your hand.
It became one of Alina's essential travel items when we spent a lot of time on Koh Tao in Thailand. Salty water and her fussy hair equals the need for a good brush.
Alina is using the Mooncup or silicon menstrual cup for over a year now and is extremely happy with it. You never have to worry about tampons or where to find them. You would be quite surprised how difficult it can be to come across them in some countries.
All you need to do is insert the cup and you are good to go for about 6-8 hours. Perfect for long or overnight journeys. No smell, no waste, no leaking and no more spending money on tampons.
Everything on this essential travel items list is actual items we use and like. We would never recommend anything on this list if we didn't already use them or think they wouldn't add value to you guys.
We hope our essential travel items list was helpful and gave you some new ideas for your next trip. Surely you have some essential travel items you never travel without too. We would love to hear what they are in the comments below.
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