My Life in a Backpack: 5 Must Have Travel Essentials

by Tanja

What is really essential while travelling? I think back to our last trip. My suitcase was so stuffed I had to sit on it just to get the zipper closed, and that was just for two weeks! It’s time for minimalism. It’s time to think about what’s really important while travelling. Giulia, author of I’m the odd number asked me what are my 5 travel essentials and it’s time to answer.

Travel can be fun, energising, and exciting or exhausting and frustrating. It all depends on what you pack and how you do it. Here, I reveal the 5 travel accessories that help me minimise many of the inevitable inconveniences. First and foremost, the items in this list are meant to provide comfort and – ideally – serve more than one purpose. Secondly, camera gear and underwear are obviously part of my essentials even if I will not name them below 😉


5 Travel Essentials -

Whether to keep warm, dress up an outfit, cover my head, or use as an extra blanket, a large, lightweight scarf can serve any number of purposes. I choose an extra warm wool scarf in winter and a cotton one in summer that can also be used as emergency beach (or picnic) towel. You can also use it to pad a fragile souvenir!

Money Belt
After seeing tourists wear hidden money belts that were so bulky and obvious, I never thought I’d own one. But after being pickpocketed in Rome, I realised it was time. After some research, I landed upon the Wilford & Sons , which has multiple pockets and RFID protection – the protection layer against cyber fraud.

Water bottle
Another must-have during my travels is a water bottle, especially while travelling in countries where sources of drinkable water are everywhere! A water bottle is not only an eco-conscious investment in the earth but also in my health (staying hydrated helps stave off jet lag). I like the S’well insulated stainless steel water bottle. Next level: buy a purifier bottle to have access to every water source in the world. Any recommendations?

Foldable Down Jacket
Another dual-purpose essential? A packable warm jacket. Super compact it can lay flat in your suitcase, keeps you warm and protects you from wind and rain. You can roll the Tumi Patrol Packable Travel Puffer Jacket into its pouch and it suddenly converts into a comfy neck pillow.

Music is such an important part of our lives. We have an emotional connection to it. I’ve always connected music with travel. I’ve found hearing a certain song can take me straight back to a specific time and place. Travelling the world, I’ve collected songs and memories and my playlist has become longer, and more varied. And here comes my dream: replace my old crappy earphones with the Bose QuietComfort, the best noise-cancelling headphones you can buy, in terms of sound and comfort. Perfect to listen to my favourite tracks when I’m out and about, but also to help me sleep during long flights and in noisy hotel rooms.


What are your 5 travel essentials? Let me know in the comments below.


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Anna February 13, 2018 - 2:16 pm

In my suitcase the primary stuff is absolutely my camera and tripod, a trip is not a trip without some photos. 🙂

Francesca February 13, 2018 - 3:18 pm

I’m an old-fashioned girl so I’d go for a notebook and a pen; I like to write down everything, from expenses to emotions. I recollect everything during a trip, so paper and pencil are always with me.

Tanja March 7, 2018 - 2:51 pm

I agree, a travel journey is the best thing ever! I would need a list of at least 20 essentials to include everything!

Giulia February 13, 2018 - 3:41 pm

Wow, the money belt is so interesting, I didn’t know about it but seems really useful! Awesome tips!

Tanja March 7, 2018 - 2:49 pm

Hi Giulia! I can say that it’s really practical! Especially in areas where you don’t feel safe keeping the documents in a backpack or at the airport when you constantly need the travel documents 😉

Erica March 6, 2018 - 9:57 pm

I can’t travel without a pen and my notebook, I know it may sound a bit “vintage”, but I could never write my thoughts and even daily expenses on my smartphone

Tanja March 7, 2018 - 2:53 pm

Hey Erica! Thanks for dropping a comment! The notebook is irreplaceable, but sometimes have a light backpack to travel with is not so bad either! 😉

Giulia M. March 7, 2018 - 11:10 am

When I travel I always have these things with me, money belt aside (I use an alternative but the puropose is the same)!

Tanja March 7, 2018 - 2:56 pm

Hi Giulia, what is your alternative? I am curious now 🤩

Sofia March 14, 2018 - 9:10 pm

Music!! I can not imagine to travel without music.


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