Best Travel Essentials Tripod, charger, umbrella, compression socks, international universal travel adapter

Best Travel Essentials for Packing a Carry-on Bag 2024

As a fellow passionate traveler, I know the thrill (and sometimes stress) that comes with preparing for a trip. But worry not! I have valuable tips: the Best Travel Essentials for Packing in your Carry-On bag. Whether heading out for a week-long retreat or an epic journey, this is a crucial first step to ensure your adventure goes smoothly.

It’s time to gather all your travel essentials! In this blog post, I’ll share my tried-and-true items that should occupy valuable personal item space— all the gadgets and items that will make traveling easier.

Travel stress will become a thing of the past with these essential travel items as we uncover exactly how to ensure every inch of your personal item contributes its purpose in ensuring your next holiday (or business trip) is as seamless as possible.

1. Best Carry-on Luggage Travel Essential

Travelpro Maxlite Hardside 21″ carry-on. Are you tired of struggling with heavy luggage while traveling? Look no further than a lightweight, expandable carry-on with spinning wheels and a solid long extension handle. Whether you prefer hard-sided or soft-sided, this type of luggage is a must-have for any traveler. And the best part? Our recommended bag meets most International carriers’ baggage requirements and fits easily in overhead bins on smaller European regional airlines. Say goodbye to the hassle and hello to stress-free travel with our top carry-on pick.

Matin 17" Backpack with the Travelpro Hard side carry on luggage at the airport.

2. Best Backpacks Travel Essentials

My spouse uses the OGIO Renegade Backpack as his work bag. It is over 5 years old and has worn well to everyday use. I switch between these two backpacks for my personal bag. This Lovevook Laptop Backpack is slightly smaller but has great pockets. I use this Matin 17″ travel laptop backpack when I need something larger with padding.

3. Best Portable Battery Chargers Travel Essentials

You will be surprised how quickly your cell phone runs out of battery when you are touring all day. I always ensure I have one in my bag so that I am never without power on my cell phone. 

We like the TG90 portable power bank since it can be plugged directly into the wall and has built-in cables, so you don’t have to carry around a charging cable.

In addition to the power bank above, I love this iWalk portable charger for its size. I recommend this Deksmo Wireless portable charger if you have a newer iPhone with magnetic capability. Both my spouse and I use this while out exploring.

4. Best Noise-canceling headphones

We have the Bose Headphones as well as our Airpods. The Raycon noise canceling headphones are a great inexpensive option to the Bose Headphones. Ensure you have ones that can connect to the airplane’s entertainment system or use iFly. An iFly will hook up to the plane’s entertainment using Bluetooth. We use this headphone jack when my spouse and I watch together on the iPad.

5. Best Ear Plugs

It’s essential to have earplugs when that kid is screaming a few rows from you. If you know, you know—Mack’s Soft Foam Earplugs.

6. Best Reusable Water bottle

Either I bring my Hydro Flask or a collapsable one. It depends on what my activities at my destination will be. However, this item is a must-bring on any flight, as flying dehydrates.

7. Best Travel blanket / Cardigan sweater

I always carry a cardigan AND a travel blanket in my bag. This cardigan is lightweight and will also work for your travels. My favorite is the CoolMax travel blanket. It’s lightweight but warm. I’ve had it for over five years, and it’s been my best travel investment.

8. Best Travel pillow 

I think a neck pillow is a personal preference, but this trtl Travel neck pillow is my choice. I have owned many of the years, and this one has worked well for me.

9. Best Eye mask

When your aisle mate wants to read, you are trying to sleep; the MZOO sleep eye mask is key.

10. Best TSA liquid-size containers

These clear plastic bags are great for keeping your liquids separate and in a TSA clear bag. If I go on a more extended trip, I use this bag for my toiletries.

Pull all liquids in a quart-size clear bag beforehand on International trips or if you don’t have TSA pre-check. I use these travel-size containers to reduce the fluids I bring on a flight. I have had this larger set for several years now.

Hand Luggage Essentials

11. Best Crossbody bag with zipper closure 

It’s best to have a zipper closure to avoid pickpockets. A crossbody is best because you can keep it in front of you while on public transportation and in crowded places. My two favorite crossbody bags are the Travelon Anit theft crossbody in black and the Fossil Fiona Crossbody in brown.

I have also used this backpack as my day bag if I need more room. I like it because the zipper closure faces my back, making it more secure. When I am doing something more adventurous, I use this sling backpack. It is waterproof yet breathable.

12. Best Travel wallet with RFID blocking

RFID blocking is a definite must-have when traveling. There are scams on the streets where people accidentally bump into you and steal your credit card information. I’ve had those travel document wallets for years now. My husband always carries this Travelambo minimalist RFID-blocking wallet.

When I hit the road, I never leave home without my trusty, RFID-blocking passport holder travel wallet. It’s been my go-to since 2019, and it’s proven to be a rugged traveler, standing up to all sorts of wear and tear.

One thing I love about this nifty little wallet is its particular spot for my SIM card and removal tool. If you’re still using a phone that requires a removable SIM, you know what a pain it is to keep those little bits and pieces safe and accessible. But with this wallet, the problem is solved!

And don’t forget the handy slots for your credit cards and ID. So why risk leaving your travel documents to chance? Invest in the ultimate in travel wallet convenience today!

13. Best Packable tote bag

I have these Reusable grocery tote bags stashed in all my suitcases. Many cities have banned plastic bags or charged you for a bag. These fold up quickly to take in your purse and serve as a beach bag in a pinch.

When I know we will shop for souvenirs, I bring this foldable Longchamp expandable tote. On the way home, I will check my carry-on luggage and use the Longchamp as my carry-on. I love the versatility of it, and it packs quite a bit.

14. Best International travel adapter

Are you flying internationally? My spouse and I have these International travel adapters in our personal travel bags. It has USB outlets and can be used worldwide.

15. Best Compression Bags

As for packing, I use these Bagsmart compression bags. It makes packing so much easier and more organized. These are especially useful when trying to pack carry-on only.

16. Best Packing Cubes

We also have this Bagail 6-piece set of packing cubes. When traveling with other family members, having their own color of packing cubes can be helpful.

17. Best Compression Socks

I always have a pair of compression socks in my carry-on bag.

18. Lightweight slippers

In addition to the pair of compression socks, I also have a pair of lightweight slippers called Fit Kicks. I use these especially while on a long-haul flight. These also serve double duty as swim shoes when you need them!

19. Best Luggage Scale

I always have a luggage scale in my checked bag. If your bag doesn’t have a trolley sleeve, I like using the Travelon bag bungee. I keep them in our checked bags in the same pocket as the scale, just in case.

Always have luggage tags on ALL your bags, including your personal bag. As an added tip, I would tie a ribbon or colored shoestring to the bags so they are easy to pick out, especially if you have black bags like everyone else.

20. Best Small umbrella 

This umbrella doesn’t take up much space and keeps you prepared.

What are the Best Travel Essentials for Packing in your carry-on bag

21. Best Organizer bag for electronic items

I use an organizer bag inside my personal bag to hold all my electronic stuff and what I need direct access to during the flight. It is easy to pull out the bag instead of opening several pockets and digging through my personal bag.

22. Phone charging cords

I always bring a few extras, as you never know when one will quit working. Long charging cable cords are great for travel because you never know where the nearest outlet will be in the hotel room.

23. Charging blocks with multiple USB outlets

These charging blocks have multiple USB outlets.

24. Cable Ties

To keep all my cords together, I use these reusable Cable ties.

25. Emergency pouch 

I travel with a first aid kit on every trip. I will add personal preferences, like moleskin and these Compeed blister bandages. If you get motion sick, I recommend these acupressure wristbands. I keep them in my emergency pouch—also, some ginger chews. I also include a travel-size hand sanitizer and a pack of toilet covers. Having tweezers, nail clippers, and rubber gloves can also be helpful. It is always best to be prepared while traveling.

26. Backpack Essentials Always In My Carry-On

Wet Ones are great for wiping down the tray tables, safety belts, and seats on the airplane. Plus, they are good for emergency clean-ups when no water is available.

Gum especially helps if you have ears that have a hard time clearing. Plus, I like to have some mints in case my mouth gets dry.

Having tissues and wet wipes in your personal bag can sometimes save the day. These are essential everyday items, so including them in my travel bag makes sense.

Flying is very dehydrating. Laneige lip balm is always in my travel and toiletry bags to combat dry lips. Packaging a small hair brush or comb is convenient to freshen up before landing. If I swim somewhere tropical, I usually have another wet brush in my beach bag.

I usually have a pen and a travel document wallet in my bag. I also always have a black Sharpie in my backpack; you would be surprised how many times it has been used.

My spouse wears disposable contact lenses, and I always have a few extra stashed in my bag or emergency kit. You will not believe how many times he has not packed his contacts! I always travel with reading glasses. Blue light-blocking reading glasses are my favorite since we spend so much time on our screens.

Snacks! I cannot tell you how often we have been on a delayed or diverted flight and wanted something to snack on. Always pack a few snacks; if you don’t eat them on the flight, they will be handy while exploring or relaxing in your hotel room. Protein bars and nuts are my go-to snacks while traveling.

27. One day’s worth of clothing

Planning can make all the difference when it comes to travel. Opting for a carry-on bag is smart, but sometimes, you may still have to gate-check it. Nothing’s worse than getting stranded without a fresh change of clothes after a tiring flight. Save yourself the hassle by packing a day’s worth of clothing and any essential medications in your personal item. That way, you’ll be fully prepared for whatever contingency.

28. Foldable Laundry Basket

I have a small foldable laundry basket for our dirty clothes in almost every suitcase. It keeps our hotel room tidy and organized.

29. Medications

Last but certainly not least, a medication pill organizer. When you are traveling, you should always keep your medication with you in your carry-on travel bag. These should never be checked, even at the gate. Unfortunately, lost luggage happens, and you don’t want to miss your medication.

Another organizer that I use is this compact daily pill organizer, where I put over-the-counter medications inside my emergency kit.

30. My camera must-haves

I like downloading pictures from my DSLR without bringing my heavy laptop. I use this card reader to download them to my phone. These pouches protect my camera lenses. This is my Canon 80d EOS DSLR camera.

I use this card reader when I download pictures to my computer.

This Ravalli Lightweight tripod with a bag is my favorite. I use an iPhone tripod mount when I only travel with my iPhone, which is more frequent nowadays. I use this Ubeesize phone tripod when I want a tripod in my day bag.

When I do adventure travel, I use a GoPro. When we go on boat trips, I use this Skog A Kust waterproof bag to protect all my electronic equipment. This is my camera travel backpack as a personal bag when I travel with my Canon 80D.

31. Apple Air Tags

Last but not least, Apple Air tags! The past year has brought all kinds of stories of lost baggage. An air tag in each bag can help locate them if they are lost or stolen. We had an instance this past year when the hotel delivered our three bags to three different rooms! Having air tags can help locate them quickly.

Final thoughts for Travel Essentials for 2023

All in all, exploring the world is an excellent and unique experience. Utilizing the best travel essentials for packing your carry-on bag will set you up for ultimate success! Whether it’s a long-haul flight or a short retreat, gather the necessities and organize them strategically in a carry-on bag to ensure nothing important gets left behind.

If you listen closely, the rest of the world invites you to faraway lands, cultures, and extraordinary experiences. Dream big. Plan bigger. And don’t forget to make your packing list based on your needs now–make sure to click those links! Now that you have the best travel essentials for your carry-on bag tips, go boldly into this newfangled voyage of life!

Did you find this post helpful? Here are some more of my blog posts for traveling necessities. Basic Travel Safety Tips and Tricks, Carry-on versus check-in luggage Tips, and How to Survive a Long-haul Flight and Travel Resources.

And don’t forget, grab life and always wear sunscreen!

Happy Exploring!

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