15 Essential Travel Items: Even for Carry On Luggage

Sharing is caring!

So, you’re ready to travel; the dates are booked, and now you have to pack.

But what do you pack?

The buzzword – travel light – got you thinking: What essential travel items do you need?

Your memory is suddenly in overdrive with all kinds of things. You’ve just watched the 50th episode of “I shouldn’t be alive”, and it’s got you thinking “, How prepared should I be?”

While it’s all helpful information, wading through it can be a minefield, especially if all you need is to find the essential items for travel.

You’re in luck.

From our three and a half years of full-time travel, we have found which things are necessary for travel, especially for us 50-year-old travellers.

These 15 essential items (it was 8 when we started) for travel will give you added safety and comfort and enhance your travel experience.

You can check out these FREE Travel apps essential for travel.

15 Essential Items for Travel

  • Personal Travel Alarm
  • Collapsible Water Bottle
  • RFID Blocker – 2 options
  • Camera and accessories
  • International Power Adapter with USB
  • Wifi Booster
  • Power Bank
  • Travelan
  • Silk Sleeping Liner
  • Listerine 80ml
  • Ear Plugs
  • Dylon Travel Wash
  • Packing Cubes
  • Inspirational Reading material
  • Cloud Storage


1. Travel Safely with a Personal Travel Alarm

Travel Alarm in a hand
Cavius Travel Alarm -fits in the palm of your hand

When you have concerns about unwanted entry into your hotel or hostel rooms while sleeping, the Cavius Travel Alarm for personal protection is what you need.

However, we believe a smoke alarm is also vital for any traveller to pack. You’ll be surprised how many hotels, Airbnb and hostels have no smoke alarms installed.

Check your room now!

If you are using a day backpack, you can clip the Cavius travel alarm to your backpack for personal protection of your valuables.

It’s why we always travel with a Cavius Travel Alarm.

We are so passionate about ensuring you are safe while you travel that we even wrote  Why Your Hotel Room May Not be Safe.

The Cavius Travel Alarm weighs 60 grams, fits in the palm of your hand, and comes with a 5-year battery life. For more information, you can check the Cavius website for product information and certifications.

You can purchase from Amazon.


2. Save on Space: Use a Collapsible Drink Bottle

With a ban on plastic increasing, carrying a collapsible drink bottle for travel makes sense. A perfect solution for travel through airports.

The Valourgo Collapsible Water Bottle is made of silicone, is non-toxic and has a leak-proof valve. It’s so easy to fold and pack to reuse later. Plus, it’s safe to use in the dishwasher.

With more and more water fountains appearing in tourist areas, carrying your own water bottle is essential for travel.

Check out the colours on Amazon below.



3. Protect your Data with an RFID

8 essential items you need for travel
Travelon Anti Theft Bag







With passports and visa cards now containing chips, the possibility of your information being illegally skimmed is more prevalent.

As a traveller, you need to ensure your personal data is secure.

We purchased a Travelon Anti-Theft Carrying Case with an RFID (radio frequency identification) blocker contained in two sections within the bag.

Do we need RFID-blocking wallets?

Yes, especially when travelling as a protection against people skimming your data. Passports and credit cards contain chips with your personal data.

We also use a Card Guard to place behind our credit cards to prevent card data from being illegally scanned.

Again, this gives you the added security of your financial data while you travel.

You can also purchase these items by clicking through Amazon below.

4. Take Memories: Quality Camera and accessories

Small portable camera
Sony DSC-HX90V

So many times, we see photos documenting a traveller’s adventure on social media, and we feel so disappointed for them. The quality of the photos is poor.

Yes, cell phone cameras are advanced, and editing may help, but the quality of a photo needs the best platform: a camera.

Sony DSC-HX90V is the camera we highly recommend to take quality photos while travelling:

  • Small enough to fit in your pocket
  • An amazing Zoom Lens
  • WiFi for photo downloads
  • Geotagging to identify the photo location
  • Reasonable price
  • Quality images

Terry has had a passion for photography since high school (his way of skipping class to work on the school newspaper), and a job in London selling camera equipment also helped.

We use a Sony A6000 Mirrorless and a Sony DSC-HX90V as our preferred choice of travel cameras.

The Sony A6000 Mirrorless allows more light for photos, especially with fading light. The Sony DSC-HX90V is light, easy to use and fits easily in your pocket,

Memories are important, and for us, photos are our souvenirs.

Remember to purchase a second battery and memory cards for your cameras.

The Amazon link below will take you directly to these cameras.


5. Be Prepared: Carry an International Power Adapter

It seems to be that when you travel, you learn not only about history and culture but also what plug socket a country might have.

And the way to get around this wee problem is to carry a universal power plug.

Travel Inspira Universal All-in-One Worldwide Travel Power Plug – gosh, don’t have a few drinks when you need to repeat the name!

We love this adapter for its added feature of multi USB ports for cell phones, Kindles, and cameras. It’s a must when travelling.

You can see the range of international power adapters through Amazon.

International plugs
Travel Inspira Universal All-in-One Worldwide Travel Power Plug

6. Wifi Booster: No more slow Wifi

Even when Airbnb and Hotels advertise free Wifi, the signal strength is often low.

It’s frustrating, especially after a day of travel, when you are looking forward to catching up on the world news. Well, maybe Facebook and Twitter.

That’s why we travel with a wifi booster.

So, how does it work?

The wifi booster is plugged directly into a power source. You then set up a link to the wifi booster website via your cellphone or laptop. Once connected, you can link to the host wifi at no extra cost to either party.

All you are doing is boosting the current signal from weak to strong. You can then move the wifi booster to any power source where the wifi signal is weak.

7. Stayed charged: Carry a Power Bank

Imagine being at your bucket list location of Angkor Wat when the camera capturing those once-in-a-lifetime images runs out of power!

This happened to us as Terry had forgotten to charge the camera overnight. But thankfully, we had a power bank with us, and we didn’t miss a shot.

Smartphones can also lose power at vital times (like when you have restaurant directions and no power).

To get around this dilemma, we each carry a Power Bank.

A power pack recharges your smartphone up to four times between charges. And it can easily fit in your bag or backpack while on the move.

8. Eat with Confidence: avoid Tummy Rumble

We love Travelan.

A gift from a friend on our first travels to Asia was a packet of Travelan.

She knew we didn’t want to get the dreaded ‘Delhi Belly’, and Travelan became our best pre-food friend.

Whenever we saw street food, we wanted to try it but felt a little uncomfortable ordering a dish; we popped a Travelan.

And we can say, apart from Terry eating fried grasshoppers when a little drunk, we didn’t get any tummy sickness in our four-month Asian Adventure.

So, take the plunge and enjoy those dishes with Travelan.


9. Sleep Fresh: Silk Sleeping Liner

small package on a square of silk
Kathmandu Sleeping Bag Liner Silk

When travelling through Asia, the temperatures were consistently over 35 degrees during the day and not much cooler at night.

Even a standard bedsheet was too hot to have over our bodies, but a silk liner was right.

A silk sleeping liner provides:

  • An assurance of cleanliness while sleeping
  • A cooler option to use in warmer climates
  • A hygienic option for an overnight train or bus
  • A chastity bag (just kidding)

We use the Kathmandu Silk Liner as it packs to the size of a pair of socks, fits easily into a small bag and is readily available when needed.

Or you can purchase the Deluxe Nod-Pod Sleeping Bag Liner from Amazon.

And don’t be put off by the price, as silk is best as it packs small and feels great against the body.

Or if you are already in Asia, buy one there; they are so much cheaper.

10. More than a Mouthwash: Listerine 80ml

8 essential items you need for travel
Listerine – more than just a mouthwash








You may wonder why we have this on our list.

Johnson & Johnson Listerine started out as an antiseptic, so it has many more uses than just as a mouthwash. Check out Mommysavers for 22 Unique Uses for Listerine. 

Take a small pack of waterproof plasters for any scratches or cuts as a quick solution to cover a wound.  And you have a basic but vital level of protection.

11. Sleep Well: with EarPlugs

Ear plugs
Earplugs can help you have a better sleep

Sleeping can be difficult when travelling.

Changing time zones, a different bed in a variety of hotels, sleeping on a bus, train or plane, and snoring or noisy people nearby.

Or those roosters crowing at daybreak, why are they so near the hotel?

We have found carrying a pack of disposable earplugs will overcome some of those challenges.

Blocking out the noise we find settles our minds to ensure we awake refreshed for the next day of exploring.


12. Dylon Travel Wash

One reason we are able to travel light is packing our 75ml Dylon Travel Wash. It’s so small; it even fits in our hand luggage.

And with hotels charging a per-item fee for laundry, Dylon Travel Wash is essential to keep our “essentials” clean and fresh.

13. Get Organized with Packing Cubes

One of the best things we bought before starting our travels were packing cubes in different colours.

Packing cubes will help you organize your bag and pack more efficiently.

And having different colour packing cubes and sizes makes finding the t-shirts and underwear so much easier.


14. Inspirational Reading Material

While you are sitting back, relaxing on your flight, here’s some inspirational reading to pass the time. It’s why we love Slow Travel.

15. Cloud Storage          

When travelling away from home and without your computer, the next best thing is cloud storage when documents are needed quickly.

Cloud Storage is the answer for the modern traveller. You can choose:

  • One Drive
  • DropBox
  • Google Drive

Now you can start scanning, transferring and storing important documents like:

  1. Passport copies
  2. Visa pages of your passport
  3. Insurance policy
  4. Photos (of you)
  5. Driver Licence (remember to copy both sides)
  6. Medical documents

Cloud Storage will be your easy access to important documents, especially in cases of emergency or theft.

It’s also a great idea to forward copies to family members.

This list could be endless …

But we have found these 15 essential items for travel help keep us safe, organized and less stressed when arriving in new places. (At least we know the wifi will work.)

No doubt you will find your own essential items for your travel needs.

Maura always travels with Neutrogena 50 sunblock to stay looking beautiful. And Terry always travels with a small hair trimmer to keep him looking his best.

Take a look at what Amazon has on offer.

Amazon is a one-stop shop shipped straight to your door.

What’s the essential item you always pack for travelling?



  1. Fran McHale says:

    Hi Maura Terry,
    Loving the advise and tips. Very helpful and sound. the smoke alarm a great reminder in view of current events in London and Hawaii.
    Just a couple of extra tips for mouth care especially being the nurse in the family. Along with the Listerine ( excellent choice ) especially in humidity mouth ulcers can be an issue carrying a small tube of BONJELLA a soothing jell for the mouth with antiseptic properties. then for cold-sores a small tube of ZOVIRAX a cream place on the lips when you first feel the tingle it should then not blush into the full sore. Lastly as we all know dental pain it the worst pain next to giving birth ( so I’m told !!!) any way it’s very sore and expensive, until you can get the dental treatment you seek from a reputable source of your choice to numb the pain, I suggest investing in a small bottle of OIL OF CLOVES placed on a cotton stick, applied directly on the affected tooth. This will be SORE however you will soon be comfortable and virtually pain free. This is by no means a treatment it is symptom management and you must at your earliest convenience seek a dentist’s advise. DISCLAIMER: As with all of these suggestions please read the packaging first and if you are allergic to any of the contents DO NOT USE.
    Loving your news must catch up soon have loads to fill you in with take care happy travels.
    Lots of love Fran xxx

    • Terry&Maura says:

      Thanks Fran for these extras tips. We do carry a bottle of Oil of Cloves purchased from the Spice Gardens in Kerela, Southern India. It’s great as a tooth whitener too.

  2. Daniel McKenna says:

    The silk liner is a good idea. I remember quite a few hotels in Asia having only a duvet with no top sheet so it was very hot.

    • Terry&Maura says:

      Yes we found just having a duvet, too heavy for the hotter climates. Silk being a natural product is the better option.

  3. Tammy says:

    Being married to a retired fireman, the portable smoke alarm is perfect for traveling. Great list and I do use most of these items. The ear plugs are a life saver sometimes.

  4. Alexis says:

    A mini smoke alarm?! I had no idea there was such a thing! I’m surprised that some Airbnb’s don’t have that piece of equipment already installed.

  5. Clem says:

    Very informative, never thought of that! I always have an international adapter and some oral cleansing product (not necessarily the listerine). But will definitely look into the others. The travelog Antitheft bag, wouldnt that count as an additional item when you check in?

    • TravelKiwis says:

      Thanks. Most times you can take a carry on bag up to 10kg and another bag, like a handbag or camera bag etc

Comments are closed.