I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again– I LOVE PACKING! It’s so therapeutic and it get’s me so excited for wherever I’m going. Upon return, it takes weeks to fully unpack. However, there are always certain items to always keep packed and ready in your bag.  

what should I always pack

1. Padlocks / bag locks

Padlocks are essential, whether you’re staying in a hostel or hotel–it’s always good to be able to lock your valuables up in your bag or in a locker.

2. Digital bag scale

It’s always good to have an idea of what your bag weighs, especially when flying. Most airlines have limits on how much baggage you’re allowed–typically 10kg for cabin bags and 20-25kg for checked bags. They come pretty compact and always fits perfectly hidden away in my backpack!

3. Plane headphones (plus a backpack)

I’ve definitely boarded flights with IFE with only my Apple lightning connector headphones or my bluetooth headphones (that don’t have a cord). I learned to keep a pair of AUX cord headphones stashed in my bag so I never have to suffer without on whatever mode of transport I’m on. 

4. Eyemask and earplugs

Whether they’ll get used on a train, bus, plane, or hostel room, I always always ALWAYS have my eyemask (plus a backup) and earplugs handy. It’s super difficult for me to sleep sometimes, so these are lifesavers for every single trip. 

5. First aid kit / Emergency Medications

As an anxious and adventurous traveler, having a small first aid kit stowed away in my backpack is very important for me, so it’s nice to have one ready for every trip. It typically includes a dozen or so bandages, an Ace bandage, Ibuprofen, and antihistamines. Small and packable, it doesn’t take up any space or brain power to remember. 

6. Wipes (Clorox, face, flushable)

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, I still carried packs of Clorox wipes in my bag at ALL times. As soon as I board my flight, bus, or train, everything in my vicinity is wiped down. These surfaces are not sanitized regularly, so they’re some of the dirtiest places you’ll come into contact with. I always recommend having a travel sized pack permanently sitting in my backpack. 

7. Universal adapter

To minimize the chance of losing small individual adapters, it’s SO much more convenient to have a brick with all of the plug options built into it stowed in your luggage at all times. That way you don’t have to stress about digging for your adapters in the tech drawer we ALL know we have. 

8. Spare Phone charger

We’ve all forgotten a charger before and had to fork over $10+ for a replacement cord at a gas station, airport, or train station. I’ve learned to ALWAYS have a pair hanging out in your luggage so you can avoid the extortionate prices while you’re a captive customer. 

9. SPF chapstick

Daily SPF is important, for sure. But personally, SPF chapstick is even MORE important. My lips are incredibly sensitive to sunlight, so I keep 2-3 SPF chapsticks in my bag at all times because I continuously manage to forget to pack them. 

10. Rain cover

This especially goes for those who travel with soft bags. Whether your bag ends up sitting on a luggage cart in the rain while being loaded into your plane/bus or you’re on a speedboat heading to a new island destination, it’s worth it to have a rain cover to keep your bag dry. You can usually get super packable covers that you can attch to the outside or inside of your bag, so you’ll never forget it. 

11. Pen (plus a backup)

Whether it’s for border control slips, health checks, or literally anything else, it’s ALWAYS great to have a pen packed so you don’t have to rely on your neighbor or flight attendant to borrow one. 


This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Kyle

    I love it!!!

  2. Kelly

    I do exactly the same. I hate packing (especially this smaller stuff), so I always keep headphones, pen, journal, wipes, hand sanitizer, toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant packed so that I’m ready to go. Before I started doing this, I would always forget something, which was always a pen.

    1. Taylor

      Doesn’t it make life soo much easier and more convenient?!

  3. Pam

    Great list! I am the same about my ear plus and eye mask – helps so I can sleep almost anywhere! I always forget a pen and am THAT person on the plane asking to borrow haha.

    1. Taylor

      Girl I’m telling you, just get a couple of cheap pens and keep those babies stashed away! It took me forever to start doing that and now I’m always that person doling them out to fill out immigration forms.

  4. Iris C. Permuy

    Hahaha, you’re such a pro! I do have all those items (except for the earplugs and the eye mask, I don’t need those, I sleep like a baby), but I always forget something somehow!

    1. Taylor

      Ahhh lucky you!! I would actually die without at least my ear plugs, especially when I stay at hostels.

  5. Love this list! I do the same thing, keeping all the essentials in my bag so I’m not tearing the house apart searching for them. Big thumbs-up for including a bag scale. Airlines are super strict these days on luggage weight!

  6. Court

    Great packing list items, especially the point about the plane headphones! Last time I flew I remember the moment that realized I only had my bluetooth ear buds. I also always carry around a printed copy or written instructions for the hotel or place I am going, just in case my phone dies.

    1. Taylor

      It’s the literal worst thing ever!! I got onto a 6 hour flight one time with only my bluetooth ones and ended up having to pay for the crappy plane headphones. Having paper directions is actually a great idea, I’ll have to keep that one in mind.

  7. Jay Artale

    Have you been peeking in my bag! That is a list of essentials .. but definitely the pens. There’s nothing more annoying that forgetting that and you have an immigration card to fill out and you can’t find your pen. It’s so easy in today’s technology world to remember that there’s still times we need old-school writing instruments.

    1. Taylor

      Right?! I was caught one too many times without a pen and having to ask people around me to borrow theirs, so now I’ve turned into the person with 6 pens to share in her bag!

  8. Paolo

    I always forget bringing pens whenever i travel. As a shy person, it is sometimes hard for me to borrow a pen especially in the immigrations. Will keep these tips in mind

    1. Taylor

      I feel like pens are the #1 thing people forget! It’s so helpful to just throw a handful of cheap ones in your bag that way you’re never without. 🙂

  9. Lydia

    I agree with all of these!! I always have a kindle / book in my bag as well

    1. Taylor

      Love that! I just recently got a Kindle, so I’ll likely be throwing that in for most trips as well.

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