10 Travel Necessities That Make My World Go Round

So in light of the recent holidays, I wanted to take time to reflect on some of my brand new travel-related gadgets I received (thanks, Santa!) as well as the tried-and-true products I’ve been using for years. Every single one of the items listed makes my travels easier in some way – from protecting my skin and electronics to allowing me to dance around the kitchen to my favorite tunes.

Favorite travel products

1. iPod Touch

Gone are the days of combing the streets for sketchy internet cafés and waiting for ancient hostel computers to load; my iPod Touch has made traveling so. much. easier. I use it to take notes, listen to music on the metro, snap photos, surf the web, set my alarm and translate words into French.

My favorite apps: Google Translate, TuneIn Radio, Feedly, and okay, I can’t help but love Instagram. I also like iMessage for texting friends both in Paris and back home.

Tip- there’s almost always free wifi, and air-conditioning, and bathrooms, at Starbucks or McDonalds. Don’t hate.

2. Classy leather notebooks

I actually use three different notebooks when I’m traveling: a lined notebook for diary entries, a pocket-sized book for writing down new words and important information and the recipe journal to document new recipes I learn.

3. Pepper Spray

Call me crazy, but as a girl who often travels alone, carrying a small, discreet can of pepper spray gives me a lot of peace of mind.

4. My Passport External Hard Drive

My Passport

At left: my most essential travel necessity, obviously. At right: the external hard drive which is actually smaller!

Another thing giving me peace of mind? My external hard drive. As an avid amateur photographer and travel blogger, I love having an external hard drive that fits in the palm of my hand. I bought the WD My Passport Portable with 1 terabyte of space because I shoot in JPEG and doubt I’ll ever need more space than that!

5. Kindle

Now that I have an e-reader I have no idea how I functioned without one before. In my pre-Kindle days, I used to waste about a third of my suitcase for books and spend precious travel time hunting down English-language bookstores. Now I simply click “download” and English books appear on my e-Reader like magic! I have the older Kindle Keyboard 3G which I like because the battery lasts about a month. No, for serious.

Also, I would advise paying extra for the 3G – it is really helpful to be able to use the web on it in case of emergency, and unlike the iPad there is no extra charge.

6. Mini Speaker

The X-Mini Capsule Speaker is my go-to Christmas gift for loved ones of all ages and genders because everyone loves it. For a speaker so small it has surprisingly great audio and a battery that lasts 20 hours. You really can play it anywhere; a hostel bathroom, a beach… I play it all the time when I’m cooking or working out at home.

Thank you Susan from Travel Junkette for writing about this amazing creation and thus bringing it into my life!

7. Little locks and big padlock

I use little locks to lock my backpack or suitcases while on the move and a big padlock to lock my luggage in those caged hostel luggage cubby thingies.

8. Jo Totes Camera Bag

Favorite travel products

I love, love, love this bag. After seeing it featured on about a million blogs I finally bought one- and it is the best camera bag ever. The leather is faux but so, so soft (plus you don’t have to worry about water damage) and the interior compartments allow for a camera as well as several lenses. Jo Totes makes beautiful, affordable and high-quality bags… I really can’t say enough good things about them!

9. PacSafe Portable Safe

Okay, I admit I haven’t had the chance to put my new safe to use just yet, but so many travel bloggers rave about it that I couldn’t help but buy it. I already know that I can fit my MacBook AND huge dSLR in it (I checked) so I’m already pleased!

10. Moisturizer with sunscreen

I’m admittedly kind of crazy about my skin, but really, everyone should wear sunscreen. I’ve used basically all of them at the drug store and department store and I would still have to recommend Olay. With SPF 15, mind you.

Disclaimer – if you buy from some of the links above, I will get a small commission. But these are all products I honestly love so don’t worry – I wouldn’t steer you wrong! Also I was in no way compensated by any of these companies.

What are your favorite travel products? 

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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel blogger and freelance writer who moved to Paris at 21, traveled the world for a year and now lives in Denver. She's usually in pursuit of skiing, languages and perfectly ripe cheese. Her writing has been featured in National Geographic, Viator and Jetstar Australia.
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  1. I used to be hardcore into ‘real” books and shun kindles, but then I received one as a gift before I left Canada. I’m totally converted – I may go back to books if I ever settle in an English-speaking country again, but for traveling, the kindle is definitely amazing! Also, I’ve been searching for a good camera bag – the Jo Totes bags look perfect – I may have to go for it!
    Jessica recently posted..Sunday Snapshot: Luang Prabang from PhousiMy Profile

    • I almost returned my Kindle when my dad bought it for me a few years back, but I am so so glad I didn’t! It’s really perfect for travelers, considering not only can you carry around 3,500 books, but you can also download them from anywhere where you have wifi.

  2. Not a bad list! I’ve heard great things about the pacsafe as well. And good call on the pepper spray.

    • I’m really excited about the Pacsafe- one of my friends had her dSLR stolen while she was at a hostel, and ever since I’ve wanted a portable way to keep my stuff safe.

  3. I have a J Totes Bag as well (the nautical one) !!! AMAZING. I love it so much!!!

    • I LOVE it. I can’t believe how high-quality it is- and I think it’s a lot better to carry around a bag that doesn’t obviously look like a camera bag. I’m actually considering getting another one for summer travel- I may have to follow suit and buy the nautical!

  4. I would not go anywhere without my laptop and camera

    • I actually was going to write another post about all of the cameras I bring when I travel- obviously a necessity as well!

  5. Great list! The bag is gorgeous! I would add hand sanitizer (I can’t get that germaphobe German out of me!) and glasses cleaner cloths – nothing is more annoying than realizing that you had dirt or a rain drop on your camera lens ruining a great photo.
    Julika recently posted..Picturesque Monday: Capturing CroatiaMy Profile

    • Cleansing cloths is a good one- I should definitely buy some for my cameras!

  6. I didn’t know that something named “Passport” external hard drive even exists :-O. Good to know. I carry my laptop external hard drive though. Need to think of it as well next time. I also love having my Ipod with me and turn it on when I feel sleepy ;-) and Cez recently bought the kindle and he’s so pleased with that as time goes by so quick when he reads :)
    Agness recently posted..Postcards from BerlinMy Profile

    • I just love the size of the “Passport”- and considering my PC recently crashed and took lots of my beloved photos and documents with it, I am so happy to have an external hard drive for the first time. And yes, the Kindle is awesome!

  7. Kindles are surprisingly awesome for travel! I inherited my dad’s old one and thought I would never use it, but it’s such a nice thing to have on a long-haul flight.
    Jessica of HolaYessica recently posted..A Less-Than-Warm Welcome BackMy Profile

    • Ironically the day after I posted this my Kindle permanently froze! I already have gotten in touch with Amazon for a new one, that’s how badly I love it.

  8. Oh that bag is so cool. Do you carry it in addition to a purse, or can you put things in it? May have to get one of those!!

    • I actually just use it as my purse, it has two large zippered compartments inside, as well as a zippered compartment and two pockets on the outside. Definitely look into getting one, it’s great for photographers!

    • JTotes has so many attractive bags… and I honestly do feel safer using a bag that isn’t obviously a camera bag!

  9. i love seeing how other people travel and what they travel with!

    i carry around much of the same (minus the kindle). but i always have my laptop (occasionally my ipad instead if im gone for just a few days), my iphone, external hard drive, notebook, small notebook to jot notes if im wearing a smaller purse when im out and still want to jot things down, meal replacement bars (I brought some from the US and always carry one around with me incase of emergencies), a teabag (incase of emergencies too LOL), padlock, passport, passport pictures, blah blah blah. im sure there are more, but that is all i can think of :)
    Megan recently posted..Photo Essay: The Magnificent Churches of DaugavpilsMy Profile

    • These days I take my laptop as well on account of all the travel blogging! Though if it’s a short trip I leave it at home to get a little screen-time break.

  10. Just got an Ipod touch and I don’t know how I ever lived without one before! Thanks for sharing, I love the look of the hard drive and little speakers – might have to have a sneaky little look on Amazon now :)
    Wish I had seen the Jo Totes camera bag before I got my plain black one though!
    Lilian recently posted..Visiting Litchfield National ParkMy Profile

    • The hard drive and little speaker are actually quite inexpensive as well so definitely take a look! And yes, I’m planning on getting a summery Jo Totes bag next, they’re awesome :)

  11. Thanks for all the great ideas! I must say I must have that bag!!

    • I’m glad to have provided you a bit of inspiration! And yes, a classy camera bag is a must for any fashion-conscious travel blogger :)

  12. These are actually a good list of things we should have when traveling, just like you I can’t go on a trip without my ipod touch and also my camera to captures beautiful memories.


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