“What are your must-have travel items?” is one of the most common questions we get asked. And while we’ve written a bunch of very specific packing guides for everything (see them all here), we have yet to create a big ol’ chunky ultimate travel packing list.
So when Encrypt.Me asked us to whip up a guide to our essential travel must-haves, we were stoked! After all, we love nothing more than getting up on our soapboxes and nerding out about our favorite travel gear. We’re finally laying it allll out, from our travel gear to our camera gear to the equipment we bring with us to work on the road – everything a full-time travel blogger (or just like, regular traveler) needs!
So, ahem, *steps up onto soapbox, adjusts glasses* shall we?
Here’s what you’ll find in this massive list of our tried & tested travel essentials:
Need some help packing for your next adventure? We’ve created 5FREE Printable Packing Lists with everything you need to plan your next trip. We’ll also send our favorite travel tips straight to your inbox! Just sign up below.
Psst: Looking for more helpful posts? We’ve linked to a bunch throughout the post, but here are a few of our favorites:
- The 5 Best Women’s Travel Pants (& Men’s Travel Pants)
- The 6 Best Women’s Shoes (& Men’s Travel Shoes)
- The Ultimate Beach Vacation Packing List (for Curvy Girls)
Heads up! There’s a great sign-up bonus for our favorite travel credit card right now that’s worth $750 in travel rewards.
We highly recommend picking one up before the holidays to make hitting the minimum spend requirement easier…and, you know, pay yourself back!
Where would you go with $750?? (We have some ideas…) Hurry up and snag one before the offer expires!
Gear & Must-Have Travel Items
It’s difficult to pare down our favorite must-have travel gear into a short list, but surprisingly, we managed to tone down our extra-ness and make it happen!
There are a handful of tried & true essentials that we bring with us on every trip, whether we’re going backpacking for 4 months or just stuffing everything into a carry-on and heading to the Arctic (both actual things we have done, fwiw).
- Teeny Tiny Travel Clothesline: This teeny-tiny clothesline fits in the palm of your hand but can hang up the entire contents of your suitcase, soaking wet. We always bring it along, because you never know when you’ll have a wet bathing suit that needs hanging or some good old sink laundry to dry (which is how we get away with only ever bringing 7 pairs of underwear along on every trip). Tip: don’t hang it up in your bathroom, where it’s humid and damp – put it somewhere with natural, drying sunlight and plenty of air, like near a window or better yet, outside in the sun!
- Packing Cubes: Whether we’re carrying backpacks or suitcases, we roll up our clothing and organize them in these lightweight packing cubes to stay organized during our trip! We’re still using the exact same packing cubes that we purchased for our year-long honeymoon back in 2016 – they hold up fantastically. We also love how flexible and lightweight they are!
- Reusable Water Bottle: Reusable water bottles are not only the environmentally friendly choice, but they have a major advantage over cheap, clear plastic water bottles: they actually keep your water COLD, even in miserably hot destinations! We bring ours along on every trip, and we fill it up before long flights to stave off that drying plane air.
- Travel Towel: There is absolutely no guarantee that there will be towels available at the hostel, or that towels at your hotel are going to fit around your waist. Frankly, they rarely fit around my left thigh. So just to be safe, we always bring along a travel-friendly, lightweight, quick-drying travel towel!
Essential Travel Clothing
The best travel clothing varies somewhat depending on whether you’re going somewhere hot or somewhere cold – which is why we created detailed packing guides for both hot weather destinations & cold-weather destinations. But other than that, we actually pretty much bring the exact same things with us on every single trip!
After 5 years of full-time travel blogging, we’ve both tried & tested enough travel clothing to have a few beloved pieces of travel clothing that we absolutely swear by. They come with us on every trip and we typically end up wearing them embarrassingly often. Here’s what’s on the top of the list:
- The Best Travel Jeans: If you’ve spent more than 5 minutes browsing our blog, you’ve probably heard us waxing poetic about Aviator travel jeans. If not, allow me to serenade you: SEVEN. GIANT POCKETS. Including no tone but two zippered/hidden back pockets and a “coin” pocket so big I can fit my phone in it. Oh my lawd, I just swooned. We bring a pair of stretchy, cozy, pockety Aviator jeans with us on every single trip! Read more about why we love them and our other favorite pairs of pants for travel for women & also for men.
- The Best Travel Shoes: We’ve each found a few beloved pairs of travel shoes that come with us on every trip! We both wear a pair of Allbirds Tree Skippers (his, hers) pretty much every day: they’re breathable, lightweight, sustainable, cute, and comfortable enough to walk in for miles. Vivobarefoot makes an amazing pair of cold-weather boots (his & hers) that are so durable we’ve had them for over 3 years – I’ve even gone snow-shoeing in them. And we also each have a pair of leather Teva sandals (his, hers) which are both super cute and the perfect sandal for everything from hiking to white water rafting. Read more about our favorite travel shoes for women & men.
- Hiking & Adventure Pants: We basically throw this single pair of pants in our suitcase to cover absolutely any kind of athletic activity. We’ve worn our quick-dry hiking pants waterfall rappelling, canyoning, snowboarding, and even hiking a couple of times, too! Our favorite pants are both made by prAna: the men’s Zion pant and the women’s Halle pant.
- Quick Drying Shorts (His & Hers): Jeremy picked up a pair of these shorts to double as both his warm weather daily clothing item, and his swimsuit. They’re a 2-for-1, which is super convenient for travel, and they work great! They dry quickly, making them perfect for hopping in and out of waterfalls, rivers, and the ocean and then resuming your normal travel activities. They never got dirty or wrinkly and always look good, whether Jeremy wore them canyoning or waterfall rappelling. There’s also the women’s version, made out of the same stretchy quick-drying material as my hiking pants.
- Wool Undergarments: Wool is one of our absolute favorite textiles for travel. Merino wool is a miracle fabric. It keeps you cool when it’s hot AND warm when it’s cold. When it gets wet, you’ll stay comfortable while your clothing dries. It naturally resists the growth of fungus and bacteria, so it never smells – meaning less mid-trip laundry to do! Performance wool isn’t like the itchy wool of the past – it’s thin, stretchy, and super soft to the touch, like cotton. We wear wool on every trip whether we’re going somewhere cold or warm! Lia wears this sports bra, travel bra, & underwear and Jeremy wears this underwear & these socks.
- Wool, Cotton, Linen, & Hemp Clothing: We have a lot of love for sustainably farmed natural fibers and their amazing properties, which we know way too much about thank to Lia’s degree in Fashion Design. We’ve already told you how much we love wool, and our love for hemp is very similar: it’s naturally anti-microbial and temperature regulating, so it’s perfect for all-weather travel. We’re still working on finding more amazing hemp clothing, but the pieces we’ve field-tested and loved are this comfy t-shirt for women and this men’s button down. Cotton and linen are our go-to fabrics for hot weather travel (leave them at home if you’re going somewhere cold).
- Lounge Pants: Before I discovered the Outdoor Voices CloudKnit pants, I thought all stretchy lounge pants were the. same. I was wrong. These lightweight, super-stretchy pants look awesome and feel amazing. They have 3 roomy pockets and they’re perfect for everything from wearing on 20-hour flights to sleeping to hiking through the jungle (true story). We each have a pair that comes with us on every trip, and we wear them on every flight. Read more about our survival tips for long-haul flights!
- Swimsuits: I’m a size 16/18, and my favorite swimsuit is this one, which I literally have in 3 different colors. It’s amazing. It’s perfect. It’s a freakin’ steal! For more swimsuit picks, check out my guide to swimsuits for curvy girls.
- Swim Leggings: Snorkelling is my favorite travel adventure activity! Unfortunately, I alwys seem to end up with a sunburn … usually on my butt. These swim leggings provide full-coverage sun protection while letting me move underwater without restriction. Quick-drying swim leggings are designed to hold up in saltwater and chlorine and dry quickly once you’re out of the water (they are also incredibly comfortable to walk in, and prevent the dreaded post-swim chub rub). I love Waterlust’s swim leggings line because the brand is super sustainable and supports conservation and anti-racism initiatives, plus their leggings are 100% chlorine, sun, saltwater and sunscreen resistant and made from recycled materials. Oh, and their leggings have POCKETS! Sizes go up to 3XL. For more details, head over to the full review of my swim leggings!
Travel Essentials for Safety
Nothing ruins a trip quite like getting robbed. We hate to be bummers, but it’s true! Bad luck seems to have a habit of following us around, so we’ve learned to be overly cautious so we don’t end up lost, confused, taken advantage of, or worse.
Here are the non-negotiable travel safety essentials that come with us on every single trip:
- Money Belt & Bra Pocket: Carrying a wallet in your pocket is pretty much an open invitation for pickpockets. Stash your cards and cash away in harder-to-reach places, like underneath your clothing, instead! Jeremy wears a money belt on every international trip & Lia wears her bra pocket … every day. Yes, even at home. It’s just so convenient!
- Virtual Private Network: You might already be in the habit of keeping your valuables tucked away, covering your debit card number with your hand at ATM’s, and being aware of your surroundings, but are you protecting your digital information? Like, say … the logins to your bank and email accounts? Digital theft is sadly common and even scarier than getting your wallet stolen. Plus, it’s really hard to see it coming: your bank account can get drained while you’re sipping coffee at a cafe and using their conveniently free, open WiFi. Yikes! Protect yourself with an encrypted Virtual Private Network service, like Encrypt.Me, to keep both your phone & computer safe – learn more here.
- Lightweight Locks: As backpackers who often stay in hostels, we got into the habit of bringing locks along with us on every trip long ago. The other advantage to having a couple of locks on hand is that you can lock your luggage, which dissuades would-be thieves and pickpockets looking for an easy mark.
- Travel Insurance: Oh, how we love travel insurance! Travel insurance has saved our butts SO many times, y’all. From lost & stolen items to mysterious illnesses to really painful ear infections to an entire canceled trip, we are endlessly grateful to World Nomads travel insurance. They treat us right time & time again and are always there to bail us out when sh*t hits the fan! These days, we absolutely NEVER travel abroad without booking a travel insurance policy. We tried skipping it once and everything went horribly wrong and we immediately regretted it – never again. Not sure if travel insurance is worth it? We’ve got a detailed guide to travel insurance that will help you decide.
- Travel Credit Card: We book all of our trips on our favorite travel credit card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred. Not only do we earn cash back that we can spend on more travel, but the card also offers fantastic travel perks, like no foreign transaction fees, trip delay and cancellation coverage, lost baggage reimbursement, and rental car coverage, all of which helps protect us on our travels. We’ve filed several claims and the card has saved our butt many times! We’ve got a full review of the card. (Psst: shopping for an upcoming trip? You can put your purchases on the card to help you meet the sign-up bonus minimum spend!)
- Cloud Storage: Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud – there are a ton of great cloud storage services out there, and most of them let you upload lots of stuff for free! We recommend using a cloud storage service to upload important documents like a copy of your passport, your travel insurance policy, a copy of your itinerary, etc so you can access them easily even if something happens. We also recommend using Cloud Storage to back up your photos, especially if you’re taking them on your phone, just in case of theft! Phones are replaceable, but those photos aren’t. So back them up! Speaking of….
- Old Unlocked Phone: I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been traveling and our phone has gotten damaged – or worse, stolen. It’s happened so often that we’ve long been in the habit of stuffing our old, unlocked phones in the bottom of our bags, just in case. On our most recent trip to Colombia (with 16 high school students in tow), we brought a total of FOUR back-up phones between the two us. And they ALL got used – 2 by chaperones who couldn’t unlock their phones to use them with a SIM card abroad, and 2 by students whose phones were either broken or stolen.
- Backups of Everything: We bring backup plans for our backups, y’all. In addition to keeping our old phones stashed in our backpacks, we also bring digital & physical copies of our passports and emergency credit cards and US dollars hidden in like 3 different places. BACK. IT. UP!
Essential Travel Items to Stay Healthy
Travel is tough on your health, and we say this after getting sick in like, 4 continents. Whether you’re going somewhere without drinkable water or somewhere with really rich food, there are a few essential travel items you need to pack to keep yourself healthy. Because nothing ruins a trip more than getting violently ill …
- Water Purification: We take water purification very, very seriously. Honestly, one bout of waterborne illness is enough to convince anyone that it’s no freakin’ joke. But we legit bring like 15 kinds of water filtration tools, plus a few backups just in case. Our faves by far are the Steri-Pen, which uses UV light to kill anything that might be lurking in your water; and the LifeStraw bottle, which lets you drink from the tap – or like, a dirty puddle on the ground, if you want. True story: I once met with Lifestraw at a conference and the rep straight up drank from a bowl of muddy water. I was big sold.
- Imodium & Other Tummy Meds: Even if you’re purifying every drop of water you drink or use to brush your teeth, your stomach may still rebel against something you eat – or you may swim in some funky water, like say, that Cenote in Tulum, Mexico which made me super freakin’ sick. In any case, keep a little bottle of Imodium with you at all times. If you’re going somewhere that traveler’s belly is really common, we recommend bringing along DiaResQ packets (which work astonishingly well at temporarily stopping your symptoms) and asking your doctor for a just-in-case prescription in case things get really bad. Traveler’s belly isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be dangerous – dehydration is no joke!
- Bug Repellant: We have 2 forms of bug repellant that we rely on for every trip: Picaridin Lotion and Permethrin Spray. Picaridin Lotion is a lightweight bug repellant lotion, which means you aren’t accidentally spraying your bug repellant all over the ground (where bugs live…) or in your mouth (ick) and it doesn’t leave that awful oily residue after you apply it. It’s also incredibly effective! We pair that with Permethrin Spray, a bug repellant that adheres to clothing without affecting your skin. We apply it to all of our clothing BEFORE we leave for our trip. With that combination, we almost never get bit on our trips!
- Dramamine: Oh, how I love Dramamine. If they sold Dramamine in gallon jugs at Costco, I’d buy like 12. I pop Dramamine on trips like Tic-Tacs. I’m that person who gets nauseous literally just thinking about a windy road or bumpy boat ride, and Dramamine gives me like, superpowers. Like I can sit in the back seat and READ STUFF. Amazing! That said: the original formula puts me right to sleep, which is great for long flights but not so much for adventure days, so I make sure to have plenty of the non-drowsy formula on hand too.
- Whatever the CDC Recommends: Check the CDC website for the countries you’re going well in advance of your trip. The CDC has already done all of the work for you to figure out what you need to stay healthy no matter where you’re going. They’ll also tell you if something is legally required or not, like for example, the Yellow Fever Vaccine, which you’ll need to enter a bunch of different countries, or if you need to see a. doctor before your trip to get a Malaria prescription or something. We stay up to date on all of our travel vaccines, and you should too!
- Travel Insurance: Listen, we cannot stress this enough: you will, at some point, have a health issue one a trip that you’ll need to see a doctor for. It sucks but it happens all the time. And it’s SUCH a relief to know that you’re covered by insurance no matter where you are in the world. Our favorite travel insurance provider, World Nomads, will also help you find the nearest health facility and guide you through the process. When I had an awful ear infection in Costa Rica 2 days before our flight home, World Nomads not only helped me find the only doctor in the tiny town we were visiting – and then a hospital in San Jose, because the pain was so unbearable I needed a shot of steroids in the butt, which was almost as painful – they also covered a hotel for 2 extra nights in Costa Rica while I recovered, AND paid for my new flight home, AND reimbursed us for the non-refundable flight we had to miss/cancel. It was ALL covered! Will your health insurance back home do that?? No, it will not. So, again we say: DO NOT SKIP OUT ON TRAVEL INSURANCE.
Toiletries & Beauty Travel Essentials
Whether you’re backpacking for several months or just taking a weekend getaway, there are a few must-haves that will help you look and feel your best on the road. Here’s what we bring along with us on every trip!
- Sunscreen: Sun protection is important for everyone, but we are both pale AF so it’s even more important for us. We always bring two kinds of. sunscreen with us: Mineral Sunscreen, which is better for the environment and protects your skin with a physical zinc oxide barrier rather than chemicals that soak into your skin and can end up in your bloodstream; and Reef-Safe Sunscreen if we’ll be in the ocean, which is designed to biodegrade and not harm ocean life.
- Deodorant: Whether you’re going to be running around in. the heat or sitting on a plane for 18+ hours, chances are you’re going to get a little stinky. This all-natural deodorant is tried & true! It’s not an antiperspirant (but like, your body sweats for a reason, so antiperspirant has always freaked me out a little bit) but it will keep you and your clothes smelling like honey for a whole 24 hours. It’s also super moisturizing, so say goodbye to those icky red bumps you get when your underarms are all irritated and sad!
- Hair Stuff: I’ve recently embraced my hair’s natural texture and gone all-in on the Curly Girl Method, so my usual low-maintenance “f**k it, I’ll brush it when I get home” hair has transformed into bouncy, shiny curls. Like, who am I, seriously? Here’s what I bring with me when I travel: all this product, a travel blowdryer, a travel diffuser, and a microfiber hair towel. YES I know it’s super extra. But my curls look flawless and this is the first time in my life I’ve ever had good hair, so don’t @ me! I also have this little tiny straightener back from my pre-curly girl days.
- Moisturizer: Our skin takes a beating when we travel, so we take special care to moisturize like crazy on trips. My skin is dry, sensitive, AND acne-prone (I really lost the skin lottery) so I like to use pure, lightweight argan oil which soaks right into my skin without that greasy oily feeling and doesn’t break me out. If my hair feels thirsty, I work it right into my ends for added moisture on the go.
- Travel-Friendly Makeup: I don’t do a ton of makeup on the road, but I have a few tried & true products I love. My go-to travel look, in a nutshell, is tinted moisturizer + blush + waterproof mascara, and when I need to zhuzh it up I throw on a bold lip color. I love the Kat Von D liquid lipstick for travel because it DOES NOT BUDGE.
- Toiletry Case: We keep all of our toiletries organized into this handy dandy hanging toiletry case. It fits into all of our bags easily and hangs on any available hook in the bathroom. It’s so convenient that we never bother to unpack it; we leave it hanging up in our bathroom at home in between trips!
Want even more beauty tips? We’ve got a whole guide to our favorite makeup & beauty essentials for travelers.
Essential Travel Photography Gear
We get a lot of questions about the camera and gear we use on our travels (especially on our Instagram)! But we really have two answers to this question: essential camera gear for Normal People and camera gear for People Doing This Professionally. Because there is absolutely no reason to invest a huge amount of skrill into some heavy AF gear unless it’s literally your job, like it is ours.
So let’s start with the gear that you, a Normal Person, should have!
- A decent phone: Honestly? Phone cameras these days are fantastic. Lia films a ton of video on her Samsung Galaxy S10 and Jeremy’s iPhone takes amazing photos. So if you’ve got a decent phone camera, you really don’t need to bring anything extra! That said, if you’re anything like my mom and you’re still carrying around your daughter’s cast-off phone from 5 years ago, may we suggest…
- Our Favorite Travel-Friendly Digital Camera: The Canon Powershot is a travel-friendly, lightweight point & shoot camera that does a fantastic job taking photos in both light & dark conditions! We actually brought this camera along on our year-long honeymoon and a solid chunk of the photos on our blog were taken on this lil’ guy. It’s small but powerful, and it looks a lot less theft-worthy than a shiny phone!
- Action Camera: If you tend to do crazy things on your travels like go waterfall rappelling or white-water rafting or snowboarding or snorkeling and you want to document your adventurousness for your loved ones back home, an action camera is a must! We used to have a really nice GoPro, but then Jeremy lost it on a mountain somewhere, so we picked up this far less expensive action camera instead. And honestly, we can’t tell the difference.
Now let’s get take it a level further. Maybe you’re an aspiring photographer or a travel blogger, like us. Or maybe you’re just a hobby photographer who’s curious about our gear.
Whatever your morbid curiosity, rest assured that all of this stuff costs way too much and is way too heavy, and I spend most of my trips cursing the day I ever became a travel blogger while accidentally bumping my 10lb, $5k camera & massive lens into various cement walls, poles, and at one point, just straight-up dropping it on the ground. (Thank goodness for insurance.)
- Sony Alpha Mirrorless DSLR: So, neither of us have backgrounds in professional photography (although Jeremy does actually have a degree in filmmaking and currently teaches photography). But we finally upgraded to professional-level equipment last year, and it was such a game-changer! We currently shoot on a Sony a7rii and I can definitely say. that it’s changed our photography game, along with shooting in RAW and editing with presets in Lightroom. This is one of the best cameras currently on the market and we like it a lot. If you do end up getting one, make sure you buy a protection plan! We get our gear from B&H because they have fantastic multi-year protection plans, and yes, ours have already paid for themselves.
- Extra Batteries: every single battery on the market for this camera is trash, so stock up like crazy. We usually bring around 8 with us, plus a few extra chargers because we burn through them like mad.
- Camera Lenses: If you thought our camera cost an arm and a leg, wait ’til you see how much the lenses cost. Ha ha ha … *cries* When we first got our Sony a7rii, we picked up a couple of little fixed lenses (this one and this one) – they’re super lightweight and travel-friendly, and do a great job. But they aren’t adjustable. You have to move your body, because you can’t zoom in or out. Which eventually drove me crazy. So we upgraded to the 24-70 mm F2.8 G Master, which is a BEAST. It zooms in and out like crazy, takes amazing photos and videos, and weighs roughly one billion pounds. I hate how heavy it is, but I love that it’s the only lens I ever need for anything. If you can get away with the cheaper, lighter fixed lenses, they’re great – but if you’re constantly running around and taking photos on the go, sometimes shooting wildlife and sometimes shooting cities and don’t want to have to switch lenses constantly if you see something you want to shoot, the G Master is well worth the investment from a quality perspective. Don’t say we didn’t warn you about how heavy it is, though. Fun story: we actually managed to break our G Master lens within a week of buying it. Thank goodness we had a protection plan! It ended up costing us nothing!
- Tripods: If you’ve ever wondered “who takes the pictures of you two together?” The answer is a tripod. We currently bring 2 tripods with us on our trips: a little JOBY Gorillapod for when we just want to snap a quick couple’s shot while we’re out exploring, and this travel-friendly full-size tripod. It’s lightweight by tripod standards (it weighs about 2lbs) but very sturdy, which is crucial because our camera is chunky and heavy AF. If you’re doing the math in your head, our camera gear setup clocks in at roughly 86 billion pounds. To go along with the tripod, we use this remote.
- Action Camera: Like I said earlier, we lost our GoPro and couldn’t bring ourselves to buy a new one knowing full well we’d just lose it again, so we have this little guy instead. We take almost all of our video on our phones & DSLR, and only bust this guy out when we’re doing Sports Things.
- Camera Bag: What do we chuck all of our gear in? We’ve actually got a few camera bags. The PacSafe Camera Bag is our favorite overall: it’s roomy, pretty comfortable to wear, super theft-proof, and it has convenient side access. We also picked up this bag for hiking & outdoorsy trips; it doubles as a hiking day bag & hydration pack. And I just got a beautiful Gatta Bag, which I’m really excited to wear at conferences & on city trips! We also have our eye on this bag – it will probably be our next acquisition. Because f**k it, we’re already a few thousand in, so what’s a few more hundred, right? *Cries in poor, again*
Digital Nomad Essentials for Working on the Road
We spend countless hours holed up in hostels and coffee shops hunched over our laptops. For a long time we figured aching shoulders and necks and stiff wrists were all part of the Digital Nomad dream. It’s a small price to pay for being able to work from anywhere in the world, right??
No, y’all. Your health is NOT a fair price to pay. And it’s such an easy fix! We’ve since invested in a few necessary pieces of gear that make it possible for us to bring an ergonomic workspace anywhere in the world.
Although these days I have a home base with a little desk and everything, we worked on the blog 40+ hours a week during our year-long honeymoon. I currently find myself working on the road probably about 4-6 months out of the year (I still do my best work on planes).
Even when I’m at home, I like to work from a coworking space or coffee shop when I need a little change of scenery. I’m actually typing this blog post while sitting at a nearby coffee shop using all 3 of the items below. It’s like having my own little mini office!
If you’re working on the road, you absolutely need to pick up these Digital Nomad essentials.
- Ergonomic Mouse: Yes, I know: this mouse looks hella weird. That’s because it’s a fully ergonomic mouse. You won’t need to cramp up your hand to use your mouse pad or move your wrist side to side (which is exactly the opposite of how your wrist is supposed to move); instead, your mouse will stay perfectly still while you navigate using only your thumb. Once you put your hand on this perfectly shaped, oddly looking thing you’ll get why I’m totally obsessed! It does take a little while to adjust to using this mouse, but I’ve been using it for 5+ years and I credit it with fixing my chronic Tennis Elbow (which I definitely got from sitting at a computer, not playing a sport).
- Ergonomic Keyboard: You should only be using your laptop keyboard when you have no space, like say, on a plane or train. Otherwise, if you’ve got a desk at a coffee shop or coworking space, bust out this ergonomic travel-friendly keyboard. It will keep your arms at a 90-degree angle directly below your shoulders, where they belong (that neck/back strain you’ve got is from reaching forward and hunching over your computer, FYI) and help your wrists stay straight, so your fingers aren’t straining as you type!
- Portable Laptop Stand: This teeny-tiny, lightweight, foldable little stand makes a HUGE difference in your work setup on the go. It elevates your screen so you aren’t straining your neck or hunching your shoulders, and along with the keyboard and mouse, you can sit comfortably and the position your body is naturally meant to be in rather than reaching up or hunching down over your screen. It’s totally adjustable so you can make it the height that works best for you.
- VPN Service: In addition to protecting your health & your body, please don’t forget to protect your information too and invest a good VPN service like NordVPN! As a digital nomad, chances are you’ll be doing a lot of logging into stuff that you probably don’t want to be hacked, like, ya know, your website, your bank, your Paypal… you get the picture. With a VPN, your information stays secure and safe, even when you’re desperately tethering to that random open connection in the airport of some random country because you forgot the name of your hotel and have no idea where you’re supposed to go. Oh yes. We’ve ALL made that mistake.
Psst: Want more suggestions for working on the road? We’ve got a guide to essential digital nomad gear, which is also chock full of tons of tips we’ve picked up from 5 years of working from hostels and airplanes.
The Best Travel Luggage
We live in a small Bay Area apartment, which means we don’t have any storage space. Like, at all. So we can’t fit any extra suitcases, and all of our backpacks are just stuffed under the bed. Lucky for us we tend to travel carry-on only most of the time!
With that said, we do have a small collection of luggage that meets our needs for every length of trip!
- PacSafe Carry-On Backpack: This is by far my favorite carry-on backpack for heavy-duty travel. When you need to schlep your belongings around on cobblestones or up stairs or between multiple countries and don’t want to be hauling a big suitcase, you gotta have a backpack. This PacSafe bag ticks all of my boxes: plenty of space, extremely theft resistant (that’s like, the whole PacSafe thing), incredibly comfortable to carry (it’s got all the comfort and ease of a bigger pack, with loads of adjustable straps) and with enough pockets and sections to keep you well organized on your trip. This was my bag of choice for everywhere from Bali to Italy and even the Norwegian Arctic (yes: I went carry-on only to the Arctic, yes, I’m very proud) and it’s one of the most comfortable backpacks I’ve ever carried!
- Tortuga Carry-On Backpack: This nifty bag carries like a backpack but opens like a suitcase, making it the perfect in-between for when you’re not quite a backpacker, not quite a suitcase….er? The bag is basically like a big rectangle that opens exactly the way a suitcase does, allowing for A TON of space. When we bring this bag, Jeremy and I can actually combine our stuff together, making this our favorite weekend trip or short getaway carry-on bag!
- Away Carry-On Suitcase: This beautiful carry-on suitcase is not only stunning, but it’s incredibly high-tech. It’s got two compartments: one for soft clothing, and one for hard stuff, like shoes and toiletries and 18 hair tools even though you swore you were going to try not to be extra this trip. It includes a built-in portable charger, which means no more fighting over outlets or digging around for your charger. It’s got a built in laundry bag, with a built in compressor, so that you can ditch the wadded up plastic bag and actually have room in your suitcase after you’ve put off doing laundry for a solid 2 weeks. It’s incredibly damage resistant and won’t crack under the pressure of everyone else’s stuff, keeping whatever’s inside safe too. And of course, it does lock things and wheel things and all the other stuff that grown-up suitcases do.
- Chester Carry-On Suitcase: This lightweight little suitcase is a fantastic dupe for the smallest size Away suitcase, but cheaper and with fewer bells and whistles. It’s well constructed, super lightweight, and small enough to fit the carry-on requirements of even the pickiest and most restrictive budget airlines. Plus, it comes in millennial pink! Pair this with a powerful pocket-sized Anker portable charger and you won’t even realize you got a cheaper version of an Away suitcase.
- Backpacking Backpacks: When we hit the road for our year-long honeymoon, we packed everything we needed into one giant, heavy backpack each! Lia carried the this backpack and Jeremy lugged around this backpack. We still carry those bags with us when we’ll be backpacking for a month or longer – or going on overnight hiking trips
So now that you know all of our travel secrets, what questions do you have about our favorite gear or what we do/don’t recommend? Do you use any of the items on this list on your trips, too? Drop us a comment below!
Psst: Looking for more travel tips? Check out some of our other posts to help you plan your next trip!
- 25 Essentials for Cold Weather Travel: Winter Travel Packing List
- 42 Backpacking & Travel Essentials for Hot Climates
- 12 Long-Haul Essentials & Travel Tips for Economy Fliers