Like everybody else does, I spent months before our backpacking trip around Europe pinning posts about must have travel items, scrolling Instagram for helpful tips and exhausting Google with my constant questions.
By the point I had been travelling for years but I always seemed to forget things and this was going to be my longest stretch of continuous travel.
The day we left, my bag was filled to the max, I had my packing cubes nicely organised and to my surprise, the zips did up relatively easily.
Looking back on our trip, there were many things that I took on our trip that I wish I didn’t take but there were also many things that I am so glad that I did take and a few things I picked up along the way.
The items that have made it on the list below are the things that I will never go travelling without again. For some of these items, they are so simple that I’m shocked how useful they were and I am surprised that they have become my must have travel items.
These are the items that are not so obvious and aren’t on your usual travel essentials list.
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What is on my list of must have travel items?
On top of my list of must have travel items is a toothbrush cap. I was worried about taking a container for my toothbrush as they can be quite bulky. I recommend purchasing a suction cap toothbrush cup like this one.
I was so grateful for my toothbrush cap every day!! I prefer a suction cap toothbrush holder as it sits on the mirror no matter where you are staying.
I liked having my toothbrush on the mirror for two reasons, it keeps your toothbrush clean and off any dirty surfaces or just off surfaces in general and also, it is very easy to see something hanging on a mirror so you are less likely to leave it behind.
If you are travelling in hostels, camping or sleeping on buses/trains a sleep sheet (or sleeping bag liner) is a must have travel item. Not all accommodations are as clean as we would like and sometimes there is nothing you can do about it.
There is nothing worse than arriving to your accommodation late after a hectic day of travelling and the bed does not look as clean or as comforting as you would like.
We arrived to a hostel in Wales and the sheets looked they hadn’t been washed in a hundred years and it was tooo late to find another place. I was happy that I had backed my sleep sheet because I could still have the clean sheet feeling without having to touch their dirty sheets.
A basic sleep sheet like this one is perfect and it rolls away in to a carry bag and it won’t take up as much space in your luggage. However, if you would like to up your comfort levels without compromising on space, try out a silk sleep sheet.
For the same reasons as the sleep sheet, I was so happy to have my own pillow case. It is also great when you are travelling on a plane as you can stuff things such as scarves or jumpers inside to make a decent size pillow – much better than the airline pillows.
I prefer to travel with a silk pillow case (this one is my favourite) as it is much kinder to your skin and your hair. This is an important travel hack when you’re travelling for a long time and you don’t always get to treat your hair and skin with kindness.
Head Phone splitter
If you are travelling with a partner, family, friends or anyone, a headphone splitter is a must. This tiny but very useful gadget prevents arguments over someone else accidentally pulling your headphones out. I loved having the headphone splitter on long plane and train trips, it made watching a movie or listening to music with my partner so much easier!
No more arguing over who is tugging too much on the headphones. The best thing is, they are a super affordable item, especially this one, or if you’re looking for an iPhone headphone splitter, checkout this one.
Over the past 10 years of travel I have never used packing cubes. I don’t really know why! This trip I decided to give them ago and I will never travel without them again.
It makes packing up at each destination so much quicker and keeps your room a lot tidier. I loved feeling so organised and know where everything was.
Instead of pulling everything out of my bag to find a pair of shorts, I could do just pull out my packing cube that had my bottoms. It also made packing up before moving on a lot more bearable.
I like these packing cubes, as they come in different sizes and they include a toiletry and laundry bag.
I think ear plugs are pretty self explanatory! Not all hotels, hostels, apartments are going to be as quiet as your house and ear plugs can help block out some of the noise from the party on the street or the person snoring next to you on the bus.
Even when you are trying to grab some sleep on your flight, ear plugs make it so much easier.
I didn’t use ear plugs for the first few weeks of our trip and one I started wearing, I wondered why I hadn’t worn them before. I bought some of these ear plugs and I started sleeping so much better, which means more energy for sightseeing.
I don’t use eye masks all the time but the few times I did us it I was so happy that I had one. We stayed in an apartment in London where the bedroom light would not turn off…..it is safe to say I am so happy that I packed an eye mask!!
Even though it is not something that I use regularly, eye masks are definitely must have travel items because you never know when you’re going to need one.
As you may have guessed by now, I love silk it makes everything feel much more luxurious and comfortable. I really like this silk eye mask.
Even though we were travelling in Europe, in winter, I used sunscreen a lot more than I thought I would.
Although, there was a day in London I forgot to wear sunscreen and I got sun burnt. Remember, even though the sun may not be out there are still UV rays which can damage your skin.
Do yourself a favour and make your travels more comfortable by avoiding sunburn and wear sunscreen. Even when I’m not travelling this is my favourite suncreen.
For some people this might be a no-brain, but for me pajamas are not something I pack very often. When I’m travelling I usually just use a regular t-shirt.
However, on this trip I was so happy to have pjs! After a long day of sightseeing, especially because it was winter, it was so lovely to get back to the hotel, have a shower and put on some comfortable pjs.
I only packed one pair so they didn’t take up a lot of space and they’re smaller than tracksuit pants.
I loved having a scarf, to be more specific, a blanket scarf., I used mine all the time.
When I was super cold, it doubled as a dressing gown, I used it as a pillow or a blanket, an eye mask or just as a general scarf for warmth. It is amazing how many uses a scarf can have.
A door stopper? This must have travel essentials might sound very odd but it comes in handy. I have spent a lot of time travelling solo and I am always safety conscious.
Enter the door stopper. If you are staying in a hotel where you don’t feel overly safely you can put the door stopper on your side of the door to make it a little harder to open. Now, I know this isn’t fool proof but it always made me feel safer knowing I would here the door opening or be a bit of a deterrent.
On the other side of things, if you want to keep a door or a window open this can be a life saver.
If you buy a small rubber door stop like this one, it won’t take up much space in your bag but it can make your travel life 10 times better.
What are your favourite travel must have items? How has it made your travels must better? Let me know in the comments below.
My BEST Travel Resources
Here are my favourite travel resources for planning travel like a pro
Accommodation: I always use booking.com (I love their price match and flexible cancellation policies) or Airbnb (if I want a little more space) to book trip. If you prefer hostels, I suggest Hostelworld.
If you are new to Airbnb you can get an awesome discount using this link
Travel Insurance: After a few hairy moments on my travels, I ALWAYS purchase travel insurance. It may seem like a big cost now, but if the worst happens, it will save you a lot of money and heartache. I personally use World Nomads (and love them!), but I recommend that you do some research to find the insurance company that suits your needs.
Tours: While I prefer to travel independently, I do love doing some tours once I’m in a destination. It is a great way to find out history, hidden gems, taste local food and get a local insight into your destination. I always use Viator to book my tours.
Car Hire: Planning an epic road trip across the US or through Europe, or anywhere! Check out Europcar, they are my go to for car hire all over the world!
Luggage Storage: Some times when we are travelling our check in and check out times don’t match with our departure times so we have to put our luggage into storage. Stasher Luggage Storage is the biggest Luggage Storage Network across the UK, France and Germany