Editor’s Note: We asked our writers to put together a list of their 5 travel must-haves. Now, we’re sharing all their travel-savvy wisdom with you. Check back each week to see a new list of items our writers wont leave home without.
I travel a lot. And when I do, I try to take only a carry-on. (Last year I traveled 10 months non-stop with only a 32-liter backpack that easily slid into an overhead compartment.) Over the years, I’ve refined my list of what gets packed, and what stays at home. Here’s what I’ve come up with.
Earplugs: I spent most of last year on the road. Earplugs became a necessity so I could catch up on sleep, whether on a plane, train, an overnight bus ride, or while hostel living.
Sarong: I picked this one up while traveling in Brazil and found it to be an indispensable travel staple. I’ve used it for everything from a beach cover-up in St. Thomas to a head scarf in the Sahara. And there’s so many other things it’s good for: a picnic blanket, a makeshift pillow, and it even transforms into a dress or a skirt with only a well-placed knot. Another tip for budget travelers: if you’re staying in a hostel, grab a bottom bunk and tuck your sarong under the mattress of the bunk above you for an instant privacy curtain.
Water bottle: Staying hydrated is super-important, especially while traveling. One of my top tips for beating jetlag is to bring along a water bottle. It helps to save money and it doubles as a safe compartment for any breakables—just slip your sunglasses, or any pint-sized delicate souvenirs, into the bottle and screw the lid on tight to ensure they make it to your destination safe and sound.
Camera: The make and model don’t really matter. I love taking photos and find that going back through them lets me relive my trip and remember details and small moments (like that particularly spectacular sunset over the ocean, or the homeless dog I befriended in Argentina) that might otherwise be lost.
Flip-flops: You don’t need to be beach-bound to find these useful. Whether you’re padding around your hotel room, or stepping into a questionable hostel shower, flip-flops are a must. And I love that they take up virtually no space.
Chic Travelers: What can’t you leave home without? Tell us your travel must-haves in the comments below!
photo credit: Liz Behler