The 30 Essential Items that Every Traveler Needs in 2018

OMG! You're going Traveling! So I am guessing you are having that standard quarter life, post college crisis. You have quit your job & committed all your savings into a full year of world travel.

Or, you are a bit older & have some savings that you can now use to explore the world. Either way, I am excited for you & can tell you now that travel will change your life for the better.

You are two weeks out and you have got everything sorted, probably because you have read - 27 Things To Do Before You Go Traveling. Shameless plug, I know. However the points covered are valid & if you are still 6 months out from your departure date & have no clue what needs to be sorted. 27 Things to do before Travel is the blog for you.

In this blog we cover 30 essential items that can benefit any traveler no matter where you are going on your incredible journeys.

The right items can mean moments like this can be appreciated.

The right items can mean moments like this can be appreciated.

To make things easier for you the blog has been split into three sections; Essential clothing, Packing Solutions & Must Have Electronics. Let's crack on into it starting with the stuff we all need... unless your a nudist in which case - good luck getting on the plane. 

See Also - 16 Must Pack Items for Your Carry On

The Quick Guide

1 - Flight Socks
2 - Quick Dry Undies
3 - Travel Towels
4 - Merino Shirts
5 - A down jacket
6 - Cargo Pants
7 - Ergonomic quick dry hiking socks
8 - Merino Thermals
9 - Quick dry board shorts/Bikini
10 -A breathable waterproof jacket
11 - A pair of waterproof hiking shoes
12 - A sh*tty hat & beanie
13 - A sturdy travel pack
14 - Packing Cells
15 - Rain cover
16 - Pack & go day pack
17 -Durable mesh laundry bag
18 -RFID wallet & Passport wallet
19 - Smartphone
20 - Noise canceling headphones
21 - Laptop
22 - Cable management
23 - Power bank
24 - Universal adapter
25 - Go Pro
26 -DSLR or Point & Shoot camera
27 - Kindle
28 - Speakers
29 - Portable external hard drive
30 -Two way radios

Essential Clothing

If you are traveling for a decent amount of time it is likely you will be experiencing multiple seasons. The items listed below are versatile, packable and reliable. We have included links for certain items. These links will take you to brands that offer reliable, robust & long lasting products.

Cheap is great but if your item is toasted after just a few months then you are wasting your money in the long term. Through personal experience I have found it to be much more expensive over time if you buy crap quality stuff.

Invest now and have peace of mind while you travel. If you are worried about losing the item or having it stolen... GET TRAVEL INSURANCE!

Let's get into it.

001 - Flight Socks
Sometimes known as travel socks or Anti DVT socks. Socks that are designed specifically for flying help prevent two things, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) & that dreaded ankle swelling. You may be more familiar with the term 'Cankles.'

If you are young & fit you may wish to opt out of purchasing flight socks, if you are an older traveler these little guys are life savers when it comes to long hauls. Young people! I still highly recommend getting yourself a pair if you plan on doing long haul flights.

They work by applying light but continuous compression throughout your flight. Although your chances of developing blood clots is rare, that chance increases with travel time & age. Flight Socks can negate that problem.

Play the preventative card when it comes to blood clots and DVT. Besides, constant compression will promote blood flow & help you avoid those stiff ankle feels at the end of your flight.

Grab a pair online - Here or Here

002 - Quick Dry Undies
Undies... we all use them. Well, I hope we all do. Going 'commando' is great if you are at the beach but undies keep all the leftovers from reaching your pants/shorts/skirt... Don't be gross.

Undies are small but if you are packing 20 pairs of bra's, jocks, budgy smugglers & granny panties you are going to take up some room. You can cut that amount down substantially if you invest in a few good set's of quick dry undies.

As the name suggests, they dry fast. That means you can turn them around a lot quicker.

Grab a set online from HERE & HERE (The Men's & Women's are included in each link)

003 - Travel Towels
Doesn't matter where you are traveling, if you plan to swim, shower or exercise then you are going to need a towel. You can go the budget way & hijack some hotel towels for the day or just be a grown up & bring your own.

The problem with towels is they take up to much space. Luckily some clever group of humans invented the microfiber towel. A towel so small it can pack down to the size of a wallet! They are perfect for travel & tend to dry pretty damn quick.

You can find yourself a quick dry towel at most travel stores. For the online shoppers try these two links - The comfort option or The compact option

004 - Merino Shirts/Tops
I freaking love these things! Right let me explain why - I stink when I travel & I mean really stink. I have an issue, I sweat lot's & I'm a boy. That mean's any cotton shirts, polypro or button up's tend to start smelling & feeling uncomfortable pretty quickly when I travel.

Solution - Merino, anti odour.

Merino tops can be found at most outdoor retailers such as; Kathmandu, North Face, Patagonia, Icebreaker or MEC (for the canadian homies). These days you can find them in several styles from button up's to thermals to suit jackets.

For travel they are perfect. Comfortable, breathable & odour resistant (I wore mine for 4 days straight once without any odour issues). If you are after a quick online purchase try this link.

005 - A Down Jacket
If you are going somewhere cold & you don't want to clog your luggage up with a million jackets then a down jacket is the way to go. When it comes to warmth nothing beats down! 

DISCLAIMER: These jackets are made using duck/goose feathers. Look for the RDS (Responsibly sourced down) tags. These tags indicate that the down has been sourced from animals already in the farming chain & not from live plucking.

Down jackets compact down (pun intended) to nothing making them perfect for travel & they work well as a pillow on the plane. Find your down jackets at any outdoor retailer but do your brand research to ensure there jackets are reliable.

006 - Cargo Pants
Yeah I know cargo pants aren't the most fashion responsible choice for the modern traveler but times have changed. You can actually pick up some pretty fashionable looking travel pants nowadays.

Again, most outdoor retailers will stock some suitable options. Look for plenty of pocket space, water resistant fabric, quick dry & wind resistance. Above all else aim for comfort these are the pants you will be using in long hauls & on those epic multi-day treks.

For these ones I advice going in store and getting the perfect fit. Look to outdoor brands like; North Face, Kathmandu, MEC, Patagonia & RAB.

007 - Ergonomic Quick Dry Hiking Socks
Even if you aren't hiking ergonomic quick dry socks are a worthwhile investment. Ergonomic essentially means that each sock is designed to fit each foot. You have a left & a right in case you forgot. This offers comfort & strength in the areas you need it most.

Having a few pairs of quick dry socks that breath well will drastically reduce your sock quota & allow you more time away from the laundromat.

Outdoor retailers are a great option but for those looking for an online fix try this link.

008 - Merino Thermals
If you plan to chase the sun all the way around the world then you may not need thermals but just remember that some countries/regions can be incredibly warm during the day & drop to sub zero temperatures at night.

Having a pair of merino thermals is always a great idea, besides you will love wearing them on those cold long haul flights. Why Merino? Merino composites have incredible odour control, meaning you can wear them multiple days in a row & not worry about smelling.

This also means you don't have to wash them very often. Merino's are quick dry & offer superior comfort but just be weary if you have allergies to wool. Merino thermals are woolen.

009 - Quick Dry Board Shorts/ Quick Dry Bikini
Having quick dry swimmers allows you to reduce the amount of bikini's/boardies you need to throw in your bag. This gives you more space for the things that matter.

Most people hate throwing on wet togs (swimmers) so having a pair of quick dry's that you can dry on the back of your day pack is really handy.

010 - A Breathable Waterproof Jacket
Rain is a factor almost anywhere in the world, if it's not rain then it may be snow which you also need to keep off your body using a waterproof jacket. A poncho is great for the budget backpacker but if you are looking to invest in a jacket that will last you long term you need to spend some cash.

A good quality jacket will last you a decade if you look after it whereas a poncho or cheap jacket will only last you a few months & is unlikely to do a very good job at keeping the moisture out & removing the moisture within.

Goretex is a great material with some incredible breathability but it is not your only option. I have listed a few brands below that I truly believe offer great products(they have Goretex options as well). Make sure you ask for a breathable waterproof jacket designed for travelers.

The North Face 

011 - A pair of Waterproof Hiking shoes
"Help! My luggage is full of shoes & I am going to need another bag!"
Here is the question I am going to ask you - Have you thought of buying a pair of shoes that will suit all your needs?

When traveling you are going to be in several different environments. From Urban city centres to snowy mountain tops & everything in between. Save yourself some packing room by investing in a pair of hiking shoes that serve most of your needs.

If you are worried about style there is no need. Hiking shoes nowadays are far more style friendly, some brands create hiking shoes that hardly even look like hiking shoes. Here are a couple options to look at:

Saloman - The Ultra 3 GTX is an amazing shoe and tends to foot a narrower foot shape.
Australian/NZ buyers - Woman          Men
International buyers - select your country at the bottom of the page & search for the Ultra 3 GTX

Oboz - Also an incredible shoe more fit for the wider foot.
Australian/NZ buyers - Woman          Men
International buyers - Change your country in the top right of the page & then search for the bridger for men or mystic for woman.

012 - A sh*tty Hat & Beanie
The only item that Paulo and I deem OK to go el cheapo on. Hat's and Beanie's (touques for our Canadian readers) are essential head wear that we tend to cram into the smallest of spaces in our carry on.

We also tend to wear them to death - sweating all over them, dropping them in the dirt & leaving them behind at a backpacker bar in Berlin because we had one to many pints. At the end of the day it is a hat, the cost tends to go up based on brand not functionality.

Head to your local Op-shop & find yourself a bargain!

Packing can be stressful so knowing what to take & what the essentials are is key.

Packing can be stressful so knowing what to take & what the essentials are is key.

Packing Solutions

After many years of travel failures & life changing mistakes I have learned that when it comes to packing it is definitely worthwhile getting your sh*t sorted before you fly. INVEST IN QUALITY PACKS! And, invest in packing solutions that make your life easier.

013 - A Sturdy Travel Pack
No! The Thrift Store is NOT a good place to pick up a travel pack & NO an over the shoulder gym bag is not going to be comfortable when you travel. Set yourself up for success by investing in a pack that serves the functions you will need it for while traveling.

If you plan to hike lots then invest in a pack designed for hiking but with travel needs in mind. Alternatively if you are more of the urban explorer aim to get a pack that gives you the option of shoulder carry or wheeled. Yep! They exist as a hybrid design.

A couple things to keep in mind:
-Top Loads can be frustrating when you get to your room, so try front load & top load designs.
-Look for bags that serve multiple purposes & come with a day trip pack attached.
-Choose bags that come with strap covers to avoid handling damage at the airport.

Find your nearest reputable outdoor retailer for this one gals/guys. They do the best packs.

014 - Packing Cells
Packing cells.. What are they?

Packing cells are your best friend, that's what they are. Packing cells are basically different sized zip up mesh bags that allow you to easily separate your clothing items. This makes unpacking & repacking much more efficient.

It also keeps your gear a lot more organised which reduces misplacement of items or that 'Where the hell did I put my undies!' moment. You can pick up packing cells from most travel & outdoor retailers. I trust Kathmandu's products the most.

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15 - Rain Cover
For your pack that is. Rain cover's are super handy and can be pulled over your pack in seconds to avoid getting all your valuables drenched. If you are planning on hiking a lot then I also recommend a Pack liner.

You can pick up rain cover's in several sizes so make sure you find the one/s that best suit/s your bag/s (that was a lot of back slashes, my apologies). Try out your local outdoor retailer or travel store or shop online.

016 - Pack & Go Day Pack
Boom! These are one of my favourite travel accessories. A day pack that fits into a case the size of your wallet, now that is a game changer. If you are planning on a day hike but don't want to lug around your carry on bag then these little guys are perfect.

I recommend the 15 Litre packs, they seem to be the perfect size for a day trip. Again the outdoor retailers come out tops in this one but be sure to ask how durable the material is. Some pack & go day packs are far to fragile.

Here is a link to the packs that Paulo & I use.

017 - Durable Mesh Laundry Bag
Laundry is something that we all need to do at one point or another during our travels. Quite often this is when we lose the odd sock or favourite shirt. Luckily there is a very simple solution - purchase a mesh laundry bag.

Laundry bags that have durable draw strings can also be attached to the back of your pack during the day with any wet items inside. Why? Well, it gives them a chance to dry while you transit or explore.

Grab one here or visit a local travel store.

018 - RFID Wallet & Passport Wallet
RFID stands for Radio Frequency IDentification. RFID works great when it comes to scanning details from a credit card or passport. This technology allows skimmers (thieves) to scan your credit card details or your identification. Not an ideal result for you or your travel savings.

Great news! It is easily preventable. You can purchase RFID tech that blocks the frequencies from skimming. I highly recommend getting them for your cards & passport. I really trust the products made at Kathmandu.

Let's get some gadgets! Electronics time.

Let's get some gadgets! Electronics time.

Must Have Electronics

We live in an incredible time! A time where we have almost anything at our fingertips at the push of a button or the scan of a thumb print. Technology is amazing & a few electronic items will drastically enhance your travel experience.

019 - Smartphone
This one goes without saying in today's world. If you want to find locations easily, keep in contact with your friends, get that cute girl/guys number at the bar or document your travels. You need a smartphone.

Handy tip though - Get a lifeproof case. They are a lifesaver.

020 - Noise Canceling Headphones
Hate hearing crying babies while sleeping on the plane? Most people do, including the parents. Enter Noise Canceling Headphones.

Noise canceling headphones work in two ways, they provide you music for your ears (obviously) & they can be used to cancel outside noise completely.

They work by incorporating a microphone that measures ambient sound, generate a waveform that is the exact negative of the ambient sound, and mix it with any audio signal the listener desires. Technology is awesome!

021 - Laptop
Although smartphones can do almost anything there are some cases where they are just too small. Watching Netflix is a prime example. Laptops still serve a purpose when it comes to consuming or creating content.

If you are a photographer, film maker or blogger then laptops are your office so be sure to choose wisely & get that thing insured! Here is an option for the creators out there & here is an option for those who just need the basics at a low cost.

022 - Cable Management
Got electronics? Well then chances are you have cables. Avoid nasty cable jams & tangles by investing in some simple cable management. It's 12 bucks or a lost set of chargers... your choice.

023 - Power Bank
If you plan on hiking or traveling in thrid world countries you are going to encounter areas without power. No power means no charge for your devices. You can easily get around this by purchasing a power bank.

If you are only after one charge then check out these options. If you have a lot of electronics that you are reliant on for work then check out these amazing products by Goal Zero.

024 - Universal Adapter
One day the whole world will just need one plug & it probably won't even be a plug. It will be some sort of frequency based charge that just requires close proximity... That would be awesome for travel! For now though, we need adapters.

Universal adapters are the way to go in my opinion. They save you money and packing space.

025 - Go Pro
The Go Pro has become a household name and although it is not the only action camera on the market it is definitely the most well known. For good reason to. If you are looking for a versatile camera to document your travels then a Go Pro is a great option.

The Hero 6 is the latest model but seems to still be sorting through some kinks. Paulo has owned the Hero 5 for a while now and swears by it. We recommend that model (just so happens to be where that Go Pro link takes you).

026 - DSLR or Point & Shoot Camera
This one is definitely optional and is more suited to those creators out there that have some form of interest in photography. If you are a learner & want to get a bit of an idea on what gear to buy then check out our blog for traveling content creators.

027 - Kindle
I am yet to invest in a Kindle even though I read a lot! Something about hardcover novels just makes me smile but practically speaking a Kindle is definitely the best way to carry your books.

028 - Speakers
"Who's got speakers?" If you are a backpacker wanting to party or an elderly travel on the hunt for some relaxing evening vibes then chances are you need some music. You have your smartphone cranked but the sound quality sucks. Lucky for you your speakers are in your day pack.

There are multiple options when it comes to travel speakers. Some are waterproof & shockproof & others crank the sound up louder than a 747 (massive exaggeration by the way). This link can get you started.

029 - Portable External Hard Drive
If you plan on taking a lot of photos then you are definitely going to benefit from external storage. Photos & Videos take up a lot of room on your phone & Laptop so transfer onto an External Hard Drive when you can.

Make sure you get the right cable connections to fit your device/s.

030 - Two Way Radios
"Why would I need a 2 Way Radio?"

Great question, it's a bit of a random one isn't it? So let me explain. 2 Way Radios come in incredibly handy if you are a photographer trying to set up some landscape shots with a subject that is way to far away to talk to.

For our average Joe traveler 2 way radios can come in handy when you are in those third world countries without any reception. Let's say you and Bob are traveling through a marketplace in Nicaragua. You lose Bob & have no sim card and can't speak a word of Spanish. Oh Sh*t!

No worries. You have your radio & so does Bob. Give him a buzz and wait until he responds, within 5 minutes you have tracked down Bob & your travels continue. 2 way radios for the win!

Now all that is left to do is start traveling! If you are after helpful blogs, vlogs & podcasts (coming soon) then be sure to Subcribe. You can subscribe by scrolling down a little.

Happy Travels!
Life is Great. Travel is Better.
Paulo & Jacques