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The Five Foot
Traveler

Reaching New Heights








The Five Foot
Traveler

Reaching New Heights








The Five Foot
Traveler

Reaching New Heights








The Five Foot
Traveler

Reaching New Heights








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You’ve decided that you wanted to travel somewhere new, so you booked a flight, secured your hotels, and told all of your friends. You eagerly search Instagram for the must-see spots and, before you know it, you leave in a few weeks! Now, I never recommend saving packing for the last minute, but it’s silly to start gathering your travel essentials few months out too. 

This article is meant to serve as a guideline for the most efficient ways to go about packing your travel essentials. Coming from someone who has visited over 100 countries, it’s safe to say that I’ve done enough trial and error for all of you! In this article you will find the most useful carry on essentials, packing and clothing essentials, outdoor essentials, fitness “on the go” essentials, reading essentials, and business management essentials.

girl taking a selfie with a chimp

Chimp trekking in Uganda with travel essentials on hand

Now, here’s the thing: this list of travel essentials covers just about everything, so try not to get overwhelmed. No matter your age, no matter your type of travel, this comprehensive list should be used as a guideline to decide what you need to pack depending on your trip. For instance, you certainly won’t pack the same things for a luxury cruise through the Caribbean, an RV trip through New Zealand, or a road trip through South Africa. Of course, it should go without saying, but if you’re going to places like Antarctica or the Arctic, you will certainly need to include gear for extremities, and a packing list is almost always provided. 

Please note: This page contains affiliate links, meaning that The Five Foot Traveler may receive a small commission when you purchase any travel essentials using the links in this article at no extra cost to you. I appreciate your continued support!

 

I personally use and own everything that I recommend below. 

 

Before you begin packing, please make sure you go through this checklist of absolute, no questions asked travel essentials:

    • Is your Passport valid for six months after you depart your destination and for the duration of your trip?
    • Have you checked to see if you have all of the necessary visas for where you’re visiting?
    • Have you purchased a comprehensive travel insurance plan?

Hopefully you’ve answered YES to the above questions, so let’s dive in. First thing’s first, I always recommend having a staging area for your travel essentials well before you pack. For me, it’s the loveseat in my bedroom, but anywhere will do (although I do suggest keeping it out of reach from messy children or pets). Here, you can organize the travel goodies you’ve purchased and start organizing your piles of clothes and toiletries. I find this useful because I usually want to use the things I need to pack, so I’m not a big fan of throwing everything into a suitcase two weeks prior to departure.

 

Luggage

 

And speaking of suitcases, decide early on the way you’d like to travel. Are you going on a luxury European vacation? Trekking through the Himalayas? Relaxing on a beach somewhere? Your luggage should reflect your style of travel. Since I started this travel journey as a backpacker, I initially checked a 55L backpack and used a hiking backpack as my carry on.

backpacking travel essentials

When I first started backpacking these were my travel essentials

Then I started traveling carry on only, where I used a spinner carry on and a hiking backpack as my personal item. Then, finally, when I transitioned into luxury travel and *gasp* needed to pack heels and a variety of dresses, I started checking a 24” spinner and bringing with me a carry on spinner on the plane and a cross body bag as my personal item for under the seat in front of me.

women's travel pants & travel essentials

I've cleaned up a bit over the years though, don't worry!

I’ve loved every backpack, bag, and suitcase that I’ve owned and highly recommend picking and choosing between the following:

 

Airplane Personal Item

 

    • Cross-Body Bag: If you want to look a little more put together, but want easy access to all of your carry on travel essentials, a cross-body bag is a must. If you like to travel with your laptop, make sure you purchase one that has a laptop sleeve too. Of course, it should be small enough to fit under the seat in front of you but roomy enough that you won’t have to dig around in it to find what you want. My Recommendation – Vera Bradley Lighten Up Weekender Travel Bag. This is honestly an absolute must for me, and I bring it everywhere I go.

 

 

Airplane Carry On Item

 

    • A Spinner Carry On Suitcase: If you’re questioning whether you should get a suitcase with two wheels or four wheels, always choose the four-wheel spinner. It will make your life easier as you both navigate crowds within the airport and on the busy streets of your destination. Trust me on this, as I converted from a two-wheeler to a four-wheeler and it made a huge difference in the way that I travel. My Recommendation – TravelPro Maxlite 4 21” Hardside Spinner. Hardside here is key. It helps you not to overpack, and it is also more durable for your travels. This is one of the most lightweight hardside carry on suitcases that you’ll find on the market, and it has a built-in TSA-approved lock as well as a limited lifetime warranty.
    • If you’re not carrying on a suitcase, you may be able to carry on both recommended personal items – depending on the airline, size, and weight.

 

Airplane Checked Item

 

    • Spinner Checked Suitcase: Again, I highly recommend a spinner four-wheel suitcase over a two-wheel suitcase for the purpose of ease. Personally, I like when my carry on spinner and checked spinner match, which led me back to TravelPro. I like the way that the inside is organized, and it’s helpful that each of their hardside spinners come with a built-in TSA-approved lock. My Recommendation – TravelPro Maxlite 4 25” Spinner and TravelPro Maxlite 5 29” Spinner. Depending on the type of trip you’re taking (and how many shoes haha), you’ll need to decide which size checked luggage works for you. I find it useful to have a 25” and 29” on hand, but 99% of the time I will choose just to bring the 25” Spinner, as I’ve found that’s more than enough for me. If you’d like to purchase the 21”, 25”, and 29” as a set – which is the best bang for your buck – you can do so here.

 

    • Trekkers Pack: Now, if you’re moving around a lot, camping, trekking, and staying in refugios, then a trekkers pack will certainly be the better option for you. When I first started traveling I used a trekkers pack, and it definitely has its benefits for the active among us! When researching which pack to get, make sure that it’s easily opened from multiple points on the bag, that it has plenty of pockets for your smaller items, and provides you with plenty of support. My Recommendation – Osprey Ariel AG 65 Women’s Backpacking Backpack and Osprey Atmos 65 AG Men’s Backpacking Backpack. I tried on what felt like hundreds of trekkers packs before realizing that these were, hands down, the ideal pack that I was looking for. I have carried quite a bit of weight in mine, and it was always comfortable on the hips and shoulders. Plus, Osprey has an “all mighty guarantee” where they will repair any damage free of charge and, if they can’t fix it, they will replace it at no cost to you. Incredibly, this applies to all of their products, no matter the purchase date. You can read more about it here, if interested. 

 

    • Rolling Duffle: At the end of the day, some people just love duffle bags (my grandpa is one of them!). They’re a great combination of a duffle bag and rolling suitcase, and you have the ability to carry the bag or roll it, depending on your circumstances. My Recommendation – TravelPro Rolling Duffle Bag with Drop Bottom. This comes in all different colors and sizes, but I recommend the 30”, as it’s plenty roomy without being overwhelming. This rolling duffle is lightweight, yet incredibly durable; it survived a few weeks of safaris in Africa with no problems. It also has many different pockets and separators to keep your bag well-organized. 

To keep your luggage organized as a whole, I couldn’t recommend packing cubes highly enough. I originally didn’t think they had much use, but they’ve changed my life when it comes to packing – whether it’s just for a weekend trip or a year-long journey. They come in all different sizes, and I use a variety of small, medium, and large packing cubes. My Recommendation: I have tested many packing cubes over the years, and I can say – without a doubt – that the Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Cubes are the absolute best on the market. They are incredibly durable and as lightweight as possible. And look at how nicely they fit into a suitcase!

carry on suitcase with packing cubes

How I pack my carry on to include all travel essentials

And always remember: lock all of your luggage with TSA-approved locks if you don’t have a suitcase with built in locks. Both checked luggage, and carry on (yes, this means backpacks too). I’ve tried many different locks over the years, but these are my favorite. I presume you’re like me and don’t want people sifting through your checked bag nor people sneaking into your carry on while you sleep (have you heard the stories of valuables being stolen from airplanes?).

But now that you’ve chosen your luggage, you’re probably wondering what travel essentials are actually necessary to pack….

I’m going to break down my packing list into easy-to-organize categories for you. Just remember to pick and choose what you most need for the trip you’re taking. So, let’s do this!

 

Carry On Essentials

 

Documents & Confirmations: These are things that you simply must have on you at all times. DO NOT leave your house without packing these into your personal items, as they are absolute travel essentials. 

 

PassportCredit/Debit CardsPrinted Reservations & ItinerariesCopy of Travel Insurance
RFID Travel WalletEmergency CashCopy of PassportCopy of Visas
Government ID/LicensePriority PassCopy of Bank CardsCopy of Medical Prescriptions

 

Comfort: Unless you travel first class, flights are rarely considered comfortable – and it doesn’t matter if it’s an easy 5-hour flight or a 19-hour flight! Make your life easier by packing these few travel essentials for a bit of extra comfort. There’s no way that I could do an overnight flight even semi-comfortably without these!

girl on airplane with over-the-ear noise cancelling headphones, a sleep mask, and a pillow - travel essentials

Noise Cancelling Headphones, Eye Mask, Pillow – Travel Essentials

    • Blow Up Pillow: I’ll start by saying that I think I’ve tried every airplane pillow out there, or just about! Since I take so many overnight flights, and we all know how airplane pillows feel, it makes sense to bring your own. I began not to worry about the shape or size — if it helped me sleep, it was a keeper. My Recommendation – Haobaimei Airplane Pillow. I know, I know it looks a bit silly, but I promise you that it’s the best airplane pillow out there. It has allowed me to sleep comfortably in a variety of positions. I’d like to be able to describe it in detail, but you’re better off clicking this link, and scrolling to the “product description” to see all of the reasons why this pillow is a must!

 

    • Foot Rest: You’re probably thinking, “what?” But yes, airplane footrests are a thing, and quite comfortable. Rather than trying to squeeze your legs under the chair (and slam your shins along the way), you can instead set up your footrest. My Recommendation – Sleepy Ride. I’ve had this footrest for years; it’s incredibly lightweight and folds up tiny. It’s very easy to set up, and you can adjust the height to your preference. 

 

    • Eye Mask – Eye Masks are a tricky thing. Assuming that it will be over your eyes for hours on end, you need to ensure that it doesn’t press against your eyes, doesn’t let light in, and doesn’t slip off your head. My Recommendation – Manta Sleep Mask. I was drawn in not only by their 100% darkness guaranteed, but also by the fact that you can still open your eyes behind the mask too! The fact that there is zero pressure on your eyes, and that it’s fully customizable to your unique face makes it a must have!

 

    • Compression Socks: Compression socks are important to wear while flying, especially if it’s a long-haul flight! They not only increase circulation, but they help prevent blood clots and swelling too. My Recommendation – Alvada Compression Socks for Men & Women. Get them and remember to bring them on your next flight! 

 

    • Earplanes: Have you ever struggled with painful ear popping on airplanes? Well I get horrible ear pain whenever I fly… to the point where I cannot fly without them. My Recommendation – EarPlanes Pack of 3. These work fantastically to relieve the pressure in your ears during take off and landing, while muffling some of the noise too. 

 

    • Reusable Water Bottle: I always recommend traveling with a water bottle on hand for two reasons. (1) It’s good to have a bottle that the flight attendants can fill up for you so that you’re not stuck to 3 sips of water until the next flight attendant comes back. (2) Having a reusable water bottle can help minimize your plastic waste. My Recommendation – Hydro Flask. The Hydro Flask is a BPA-free stainless steel, slip free water bottle. It comes in a variety of sizes and will keep hot drinks hot for up to six hours and cold drinks cold up to 24 hours. Definitely handy to have while traveling!

 

    • Sweatshirt or Jacket: Planes (or any type of transportation honestly) can sometimes be unbearably cold! I definitely recommend always having a sweatshirt or jacket on hand, or both, as I doubt anyone wants to be freezing and uncomfortable for hours on end. 

 

    • Change of Clothes: No one likes a smelly person 😉 But in all honesty, it’s important to have a change of clothes on hand for just in case your luggage gets lost. If you’re going on a beach trip, pack a bathing suit. A hiking trip, pack your spandex. You get the point. 

 

    • Carabiners – While this may seem a bit random, carabiners are incredibly useful for travel. I use a carabiner to clip my water bottle to my carry on, as well as to clip my pillow and footrest to the seat in front of me too. You don’t need anything fancy, so something like these will do. 

 

Technology & Valuables: Anything of value should never be checked. Make sure that all technology and valuables (like jewelry & sunglasses) are packed in your carry on and in a locked compartment. Some of these things may be obvious, but I’m still including them if you reference this as your packing list. 

As a content creator, I obviously pack a lot more tech than the average person, but please use the list below as a guideline for what to pack tech-wise according to your needs. Perhaps you’ll even find something new to bring with you on your next trip! 

girl on laptop by the ocean - travel essentials

A typical day with my laptop on the road

    • Smartphone: This is a given these days, but make sure you pack your phone! It’s also incredibly helpful to have some apps downloaded that might help make your travel easier. My favorite is App in the Air 🙂 My Recommendation – iPhone Xs Max. If you’re looking for a new smartphone, I have an iPhone Xs Max 256 GB and absolutely love it. 

 

    • Noise Cancelling Headphones (and iPod): Airplanes are noisy. People are noisy. Babies are noisy. Get rid of the noise! My Recommendation – Bose QuietComfort 35 II. These wireless, bluetooth noise-cancelling headphones are honestly a dream. They are the very first thing I pack in my personal item, as I couldn’t do a flight without them! Of course, make sure you have music downloaded on your phone or iPod to listen to as well (and yes, I still use an iPod). 

 

    • Earbuds: While I’m obsessed with noise cancelling headphones, it’s always a good idea to have a regular pair of earbuds too. They do make noise-cancelling earbuds as well, but those have never felt right to me. My Recommendation – Apple Airpods with Charging Case. These Airpods automatically connect to your device and charge within 15 minutes once you put them back in their case. They’re small, lightweight, and easy to travel with. 

 

    • Kindle: I don’t go anywhere without my Kindle. I love that it allows me to travel with as many books as I’d like, without the burden of actually having to lug them around. My Recommendation – Kindle Paperwhite. The flush design is as close to “paper” as it gets and there are no glares (this I can promise, as I always read at the beach in the sun!). It is also waterproof, which is convenient, and pairs with bluetooth headphones as well if you’re an audiobook listener. 

 

    • Laptop: Depending on what you do or for how long you’re traveling, you may not need to bring your laptop. My Recommendation – MacBook Air or MacBook Pro 15”. These both have very different uses. For travel, the MacBook Air is significantly easier to travel with. While it’s infinitely lighter though, it doesn’t have the same processing power as the MacBook Pro 15”. If you plan on editing a lot of photos or videos, unfortunately the heavier MacBook Pro 15” should be your go-to. I personally used (and loved) the MacBook Air for years before switching to the MacBook Pro 15”, which is what I use now (for a stronger and faster laptop). 

 

    • Laptop Case: Even if your backpack or messenger bag has a laptop sleeve, be sure to have your laptop in its own protective case! My Recommendation – CCPK Laptop Sleeve. This is as basic a laptop sleeve as it gets, but it is snug and will protect your laptop, without adding extra bulk. 

 

    • External Hard Drive: If you’re on the road a lot or take excess photos, you’ll certainly want an external hard drive on hand to back everything up! My Recommendation – LaCie Rugged Mini External Hard Drive. I’ve had multiple LaCie Rugged Hard Drives, and I’ve loved each and every one of them. They’re perfect for any kind of trip, as they’re compact, durable, and water-resistant. And if you’re interested in learning how to better edit your photos, it even comes with a complimentary one-month membership to Adobe! 

 

    • USB Drive: I can’t even begin to tell you how many times people ask if I can give them a USB drive with photos. It’s an extremely small, very useful thing to have on you if you’re in the content creation space. My Recommendation – SanDisk Cruzer Glide CZ60 USB Drive. I personally recommend the 256 GB, as you’ll never worry about running out of space, but any will do based on your needs. 

 

    • DSLR Camera: Now this one is tricky one because every person has different travel needs and preferences. I’ve personally traveled with a Canon, Sony, and Panasonic… but it wasn’t until I traveled with an Olympus Camera that I was fully content. My Recommendation – Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. Not only is it the lightest DSLR that I have ever carried around with me, but it’s waterproof and weather-sealed, which makes it ideal for every situation. This is my go-to travel camera these days, and you can read the full review of my Olympus products here. 

girl leans over side of cruise ship to take a photo

Always travel equipped with a good camera!

    • Lenses: Again, lenses will depend on the type of photo that you’re aiming to get. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II can be purchased with two different lenses, or you can purchase the lenses separately. My Recommendation – M. Zuiko 14-150mm f4-5.6 for your everyday lens and M.Zuiko 7-14mm f2.8 PRO for a wide angle lens. I originally thought I wouldn’t need a wide angle lens, but sure was wrong!

 

    • GoPro: By now I’m sure you’ve heard that the GoPro is the best action-cam on the market and, guess what, it’s true. Whether you’re running down the beach, zip-lining through the air, or diving with sharks, the GoPro can help perfectly capture the moment. My Recommendation – GoPro Hero 7. The GoPro Hero 7 prides itself on filming in 4K, taking 12 MP still shots, and having the best stabilization on an action camera. This is a must for any adventure traveler! 

 

    • Memory Cards: Make sure you purchase high quality memory cards. I always recommend smaller memory card sizes, and a lot of them. If a memory card were to become corrupt, I would hate to lose everyone on a 256 GB memory card! My Recommendation – SanDisk 32 GB Extreme Pro for your camera and the SanDisk 64 GB Micro SD for your GoPro. The Extreme Pro writes quite quickly at 95 mbps and the Micro SD is a Class 10, meaning that it will work great for full HD video playback. Both SD Cards are waterproof, shock proof, and temperature-proof. 

 

    • Gimbal: No one likes shaky videos. If you’re shooting with a smartphone or GoPro, a gimbal helps stabilize your videos and keeps them smooth. They’re relatively lightweight and portable, and a necessity if you want to get into video. My Recommendation – DJI Osmo Mobile 2. DJI is an incredible reputable brand and their gimbal is one of the most lightweight on the market. Run, jump, do everything in between, and this gimbal will keep your videos stable. 

 

    • FitBit: It’s no secret that I’ve always loved my FitBit. I’ve worn one for years, and I love that it provides me with in-depth sleep analytics while also counting my steps, calories, and distance walked for the day. My Recommendation – FitBit Versa. I’ve had a few different FitBit’s over the years, and the Versa is definitely my favorite! It’s the biggest competitor to the Apple Watch, and I prefer its exercise analytics and sleek design. You can also download your favorite apps and music on your FitBit Versa too! 

 

    • Portable Speaker: I actually bought the UE Roll out of necessity when our other speaker died on a road trip through New Zealand, but I’m SO happy we did! It’s incredibly portable and easily hung up or carried with you. My Recommendation – UE Roll Wireless. This bluetooth speaker is not only wireless, but waterproof and shockproof too. It has great sound quality, and  it makes for the perfect addition to any camp out, beach day, or general use around the house. 

 

    • Portable Battery Charger: You never know when your phone or camera might die. I always always always carry a portable battery charger with me. Not only does it ensure that I will always be charged up, but it’s also nice to be able to provide your friends with a bit of juice when their phones die too (because, no, they typically never have an external battery charger). My Recommendation – myCharge AdventureMax Portable Charger. The myCharge is an important buy for travelers because, aside from having dual USB ports for charging (which is awesome), it is also splash-proof, drop-resistant, and dirt-proof, making it the perfect travel buddy. It’s also incredibly small and compact and has an attached carabiner, so it’s easy to throw in your purse or attach off a backpack. 

 

    • International Adaptor: No matter where you’re traveling, this is an absolute must. I always carry at least two international adaptors so that, if one breaks, I always have a back up. You would be surprised how many people forget to pack an international adaptor. My Recommendation – Upgraded Universal Travel Adaptor. The reason I love this travel adaptor is that not only does it have a standard plug, but four USB ports as well. Sometimes I don’t have a long time to charge my equipment, but with this adaptor I have the ability to charge everything at the same time. This Universal Adaptor works in over 150 countries, so it’s certainly handy to have!

 

    • Chargers: If you have a lot of gear, it’s likely that you have a lot of cords and cables. While there’s no need to elaborate, these are the main chargers that I always have on hand. 
Standard USB CableiPhone ChargersGoPro Charger
Laptop ChargerCamera ChargerFitBit Charger

 

Medications: When people think of travel essentials, they don’t typically think of meds, but important Medications should never be checked! Should your luggage be lost, you don’t want to be without your daily meds. If you have prescribed medication, ensure that it is packed in your carry on. Aside from our individual health needs, I recommend packing – at minimum – Advil, Allergy Medications, Pepto-Bismol (or something similar), Motion Sickness Tablets, Tylenol AM/PM, and Malaria Tablets (depending on your destination), as well as Neosporin Cream and Hydrocortisone Cream. And, of course, if you carry an EpiPen, don’t forget that either! 

 

Miscellaneous: These are some small things I wasn’t sure how to categorize, but I make sure to have all of these in my carry on as well!

 

GumUltraLight PackHand CreamPurell
Notebook & PenChapstickEye DropsClorox Wipes

 

Packing Essentials

 

Clothing: Clothing is a tricky one, as this really varies per person. I’ve done 8 month trips where I’ve had 5 tops and 5 bottoms, and weeklong cruise trips where I have 20 outfits for 7 days. I highly recommend Anatomie as your go-to travel clothing brand though, and they’ve actually been endorsed by both Forbes Travel Guide and Condé Nast Traveler. Please take the time to view these three articles:

 

women's travel pants & travel essentials

With the founders of Anatomie, my go-to travel clothing!

In general though, you can use the table below as a rough guideline for the types of clothing you should pack. I don’t go anywhere without these things – no matter what season it is. Remember when packing, your clothes will typically get a bit wrinkly, so I recommend bringing a travel-sized wrinkle releaser as well as a dual-voltage travel steamer. 

 

Tank TopsDressesBathing Suit/Cover-UpsPajamas
T-ShirtsSkirtsExercise ClothesSweatshirt
Long Sleeved ShirtsShortsBras/Sports BrasRain Jacket
Dress ShirtsPants DryFit Undies/BoxersDown Jacket

 

Toiletries: Do yourself a favor and purchase the Eagle Creek Pack It Quick Trip Toiletry Bag. It’s the perfect sized toiletry bag and very lightweight. It should easily fit all of your toiletries, aside from your Microfiber Towel (this is a must!). There’s no need to explain what each toiletry is needed for though, so I’m providing you with another table with what to bring – 

 

Foldable ToothbrushRazor & Extra Razor HeadsCollapsible DiffuserNail Clippers
Solid Toothpaste and FlossShaving CreamMini StraightenerTweezers
DeodorantSilicone Travel BottlesHair TiesBandaids
Solid Shampoo/ConditionerHair GelBrush/CombMoisturizer
Bar of SoapFrizz EaseFeminine Hygiene ProductsQ-Tips
Pssssst Dry ShampooMini Dual-Voltage HairdryerTide StickMakeup & Remover

 

Shoes: Shoes are always a personal preference. I used to travel with just one pair of flip flops and one pair of hiking boots, but times have changed a bit. I know other people who practically need a whole suitcase just for their heels. With that said, these days I typically pack sandals, a pair of flip-flops, black heels, nude heels, cross-training shoes, sneakers, and hiking boots when I’m going on a longer trip. And, of course, plenty of socks! I recommend Puma’s ankle socks and Darn Tough hiking socks. 

girl walks up shimmering stairs on a cruise ship in her black stilettos - travel essentials

Gotta have a good pair of heels while you're cruising!

Outdoor Essentials

 

Camping: So you’ve decided that you want to become one with nature, or you’re simply on a trip that’s better suited for camping – awesome! Years ago I spent two months camping through Central America and another two months camping through Africa, and both were incredible experiences. It helped that I was well-prepared though! It’s important to note that even if you decide to camp in the summer (or in a desert), it is not always warm at night. I’ve learned this the hard way, so make sure you pack many layers and are prepared for every type of climate, every time. My go-to camping equipment is as follows –

a tent with the milky way overhead

Couldn't have camped in New Zealand without my lightweight tent!

    • Big Agnes Tent: Big Agnes is the best of the best when it comes to finding the most lightweight, durable tents. I used a bulkier tent for my first camping trip and regretted it instantly. My Recommendation – Big Agnes Fly Creek UL 3. I’ve loved every night that I’ve spent in this tent — it’s unbelievably light for a three-person tent, very comfortable, and weatherproof too! I always opt for a three-person tent over a two-person tent so that we can keep our gear inside with us and have a little extra space. 

 

    • Sleeping Pad: A good sleeping pad is a necessity. When I first started camping I tried to go cheap to save money, but it was a terrible decision. It definitely isn’t fun spending the night slipping and sliding off your mat, or feeling the ground under your back. My Recommendation – Big Agnes Air Core Ultra Sleeping Pad. This sleeping pad comes with the option of it being insulated or uninsulated, and I’d definitely recommend the insulation as it’s rated for 3-season camping and still only weighs in at 21oz! This folds up incredibly small (about the size of a water bottle) yet doesn’t compromise on its comfort. 

 

    • Sleeping Bag: A roomy yet packable sleeping bag is also, obviously, very important for camping. I recommend getting a 2-3 season sleeping bag and doing your research to ensure that it’s super lightweight. My Recommendation – Sea to Summit Spark Down Sleeping Bag. The beauty of this sleeping bag is that it weighs just over a pound and packs down to just 4.9L! It also comes with a compression bag so that it compresses down to the size of a water bottle. This sleeping bag is water resistant, has a great hooded component, and will keep you warm all night. 

 

    • Sleep Liner: This is something that a lot of people forget about, but it’s incredibly handy. I suggest traveling with a sleep liner for a few reasons. First, it can be an extra layer if it’s colder outside, but it can also be your only layer if it’s too warm for your sleeping bag. Also, it doesn’t need to be used just for camping. When I used to stay in hostels, I’d use my sleep liner in bed rather than use the blanket. My Recommendation – Sea to Summit Adaptor Coolmax Liner Traveller with Insect Shield. I’ve used this all over the world. You can purchase it without the insect shield, but I personally prefer having the extra insect repellant treatment, especially when in outdoorsy locations. 

 

    • Ultra Light Pillow: You want a comfortable, small blowup pillow to have with you. I’ve seen way too many people fold up their clothes into an uncomfortable pillow when they could have just brought a lightweight pillow. My Recommendation – Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Ultra Light. I’ve had this pillow for about five years now, and it’s never let me down. I won’t go anywhere without it. Not only does it pack down to smaller than the palm of my hand, but it’s genuinely comfortable! There have been many times where I’ve been in luxury hotels with pillows that were too high for me, so I just blew up this little pillow. 
    • Hammock or Sleeping Hammock: If you’re camping, sometimes you just want to hang out outside of the tent… literally. A hammock definitely comes in handy during those times! Travel hammocks are easy to set up and are great for lounging, napping or reading a book. My Recommendation – ENO DoubleNest Hammock. This is a two person hammock, but comfortable for just one as well. It folds down small and is quite lightweight. Sometimes we bring it on our hikes as well, rather than just keeping them at the campsite! If you don’t feel like sleeping in the tent, or have a third-wheeler tagging along, the ENO Ember 2 Under Quilt could be of use too. 

girl in hammock by the lake

Who doesn't love a good hammock?!

    • Cookware: If you’re camping, you’ll definitely want the ability to cook easily. We all know though that no one wants to lug metal pots and pans to their campsite. My Recommendation – Sea to Summit X-Series. It doesn’t get much better than lightweight, durable, and collapsible cookware! The 5-piece set comes with one pot, two bowls, and two mugs, so you may need to order more than one set depending on how many people you’re camping with. They fold up smaller than you could imagine! 

 

    • Spork: A spork is just one of the most convenient things you could have. Whether you need a spoon, knife, or fork, the spork has your back! I always carry a spork with me in my daypacks as well, as you never know when you will need one. My Recommendation – Tapirus 5 Spork of Steel Utensils Set. I highly recommend these rust-proof stainless steel sporks over their plastic equivalents. I had numerous plastic sporks break on me before transitioning to stainless steel and haven’t had any problems since. 

 

    • Inflatable Lounger: Have you seen these things?! They’re infinitely better than any camp chair and fold up even smaller! These are truly one of the most interesting and useful camping additions that I’ve seen. My Recommendation – AlphaBeing Inflatable Lounger. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, click that link and check it out — it’s one of those things that is better visualized than described. 

 

    • LED Camping Lantern: You certainly need something to light up your campsite or tent once it gets dark. As I like to keep things small and portable, I always suggest going for a lantern that collapses into itself. My Recommendation – MISPO 6 Pack Portable Camping Lantern with LED Flashlights. These are the perfect mini lanterns to put in and around your campsite. Then, when you’re not using them, they barely take up any space and pack away easily. 

 

Hiking: It’s important to practice safe hiking anywhere you go. As always, I recommend looking up your hiking trails in advance, letting someone know where you’re going, and having a trail map handy. Bring many layers, in addition to the following –

girl with a blue sweatshirt, red hat, and hiking poles stands in front of the matterhorn in switzerland - travel essentials

Couldn't have tackled the Matterhorn Base Camp without my hiking poles!

    • Hiking Backpack: If you’re planning on taking day trips from your campsite or accommodation, a good hiking backpack is a necessity. I always look for things like good waist support and structure, as well as ample pockets. My Recommendation – Osprey Sirrus 24 Women’s Hiking Backpack and Osprey Stratos 24 Men’s Hiking Backpack. If you don’t remember why I chose these packs specifically, please scroll back up to the “luggage” section. 

 

 

    • Hydration Pack: Whether you’re going out on a two hour hike on a hot summer day or a long trek, a water bladder makes a massive difference! You won’t have to deal with taking off your backpack to take a sip, or worrying about your water bottle falling out of the side pocket. Plus, you can carry far more water with a hydration pack as well. My Recommendation – CamelBak Crux 2L or 3L Reservoir. I originally thought I’d save money by going with a non-name brand, but when I did that my water always tasted like plastic and, quite frankly, it was disgusting. CamelBak deserves the praise that it gets, and it’s definitely worth the price tag. I have both a 2L and a 3L, depending on what type of hike I’m doing. I find the 3L more useful on a day-to-day basis, as it doesn’t always need to be filled to the top.

 

    • Hiking Poles: Hiking Poles are a necessity for any hiker, in my opinion. Hiking poles not only make you a bit faster, but they take some pressure off your knees too. I always look for carbon poles are they are a lot lighter than aluminum poles. My Recommendation – Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Trekking Poles. Not only are these lightweight, 100% carbon fiber, and of the highest quality, but they also fold into three sections which makes them incredibly convenient to pack or attach to a backpack when not in use. 

 

    • Headlamp: Whether you’re completing a sunrise or sunset mission, wandering around your campsite in the evening, or misjudged the length of your hike, it is imperative to carry a headlamp on you whenever you’re hiking! My Recommendation – Black Diamond Storm Headlamp. This headlamp is both waterproof and dustproof, which is always helpful! It also had three different color LED options, as well as adjustable intensity. I also love that it has a lock mode, which keeps my headlamp from turning on in my pack!

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Hiking in the dark can be dangerous without a headlamp

    • Water Filter: A water filter is very important when you’re out hiking. If something happens and you run out of water, you can stick it into any water (from a dirty puddle to a river) and it should come out clean. My Recommendation – LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. The LifeStraw removes waterborne bacteria, waterborne parasites, and micro-plastics found in the environment from your water. It is the most reliable water filter system for a hiker on the market. One of the admirable things about LifeStraw is that for every product purchased, a child receives safe drinking water for an entire school year – pretty remarkable! 

 

    • Pocket Tissues: You never know when you’ll have a runny nose, have to clean up a spill… or need to pee. Just have them on you. 

 

    • First Aid Kit: This should be a given, but I know plenty of people who don’t hike with one. Should anything happen, it helps to know that you’re properly prepared. My Recommendation – M2 Basic 150 Piece First Aid Kit. This is a travel-sized first aid kit that is about the size of your hand, so there’s no excuse not to put it in your backpack!

 

    • Bug Spray Wipes: Applying bug spray is typically a pain and tends to leave you sticky and oily, but not with the wipes! My Recommendation: Repel 94100 Sportsmen 30-Percent Deet Mosquito Repellent Wipes. I started traveling with these in 2013 and haven’t looked back. They’re incredibly easy-to-use, portable, and protective. 

 

    • Clif Bars or Clif Protein Bars: You definitely need to ensure that you have some sustenance to keep you going while hiking. Although I’m not a big fan of the sugar content in Clif Bars, there’s no debating the fact that they were designed to help give your body fuel while active. My Recommendation – Clif Bar Variety Pack or, if you’re looking for a higher level of protein, the Clif Builders Protein Bar Variety Pack. While Clif Bars are – hands down – the tastiest protein bars on the market, my favorite flavors are the White Chocolate Macadamia and the Chocolate Mint. 

 

    • Hiking Boots: Wearing good hiking boots is, of course, imperative. Over the years, I’ve spent ages researching the best and most comfortable brands. Another aspect that’s always important to me is that they’re waterproof, as you never know what conditions you might be hiking in or if the weather might take a turn. My Recommendation – Lowa Women’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot and Lowa Men’s Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot. Once I discovered Lowa, I never turned back. I’ve owned four different pairs of their hiking boots, as I’m incredibly happy with the model. They are properly waterproof and supportive, and perfect for any type of hike be it short distance or long distance. 

 

    • Hiking Socks: If you hike a lot, you know how important a comfortable, breathable sock is. If you’re anything like me, your socks probably also take a bit of a beating, so you need to find something reliable. My Recommendation – Darn Tough Hiker ¼ Cushion Sock – Womens and Darn Tough Hiker ¼ Cushion Sock – Mens. Not only are Darn Tough socks incredibly comfortable and antimicrobial, but they are guaranteed for life! If you’re a frequent hiker, there’s no brand more reliable than Darn Tough, and they’re certainly worth the price tag. 

 

    • Base Layers: Base layers have saved me time and time again while out for long hikes, and I cannot stress their importance! If I’m not wearing my base layers, they’re in my bags. While there are so many brands and base layers out there, it’s important to do your research as I simply can’t list them all. My Recommendation – Women’s Ultra-Soft Long Johns & Warm Top Set and Men’s Thermal Underwear Set. Always, always make sure that your base layers are moisture-wicking!

 

    • Down Jacket: I carry a down jacket with me on every trail, every camping trip, and even every airplane. It doesn’t matter whether it’s sweltering hot or freezing cold, I always have one with me to ensure that I’m prepared. My Recommendation – Mountain Hardwear Women’s Ghost Whisperer Down Hooded Jacket and Men’s Ghost Whisperer Down Hooded Jacket. These jackets are, in my opinion, the best lightweight down jackets on the market. The hood is important, as it provides that extra warm, and they’re both machine-washable. Another aspect that I love – and find to be incredibly useful – is that it folds up into itself so that it packs down extremely small. The jacket is worth every cent to me, and I wouldn’t travel without it!

girl stands with northern lights in iceland

Staying warm in Iceland thanks to my down jacket

    • Rain Jacket: You’re pretty much crazy if you decide to go hiking without a rain jacket. Not only could the weather change from a beautiful day to an ugly storm in the blink of an eye, but it also serves as a windproof layer as well. My Recommendation – Outdoor Research Women’s Aspire Jacket and Outdoor Research Men’s Horizon Jacket. After testing out multiple lightweight rain jackets, and finding myself soaked after a good rain, I decided to invest in a GORE-TEX rain jacket. While they’re slightly bigger, these rain jackets will still packs down small enough to throw in your backpack… and it will actually keep you try! They are waterproof, windproof, and extremely breathable due to the multiple venting systems. 

 

    • Hat: An easily packable sun hat always comes in handy. While there are plenty of “cute” ones out there, I like to make sure that I purchase hats that can both be thrown in the wash and are moisture-wicking. My Recommendation – Outdoor Research Women’s Solar Roller Hat. I discovered this hat a few years back, and found it so convenient that it’s the only hat that I ever hike or travel with. While this is obviously a women’s hat, the male or uni-sex equivalent would be the Outdoor Research Helios Sun Hat. 

 

    • Buff: Buffs have many uses – whether you’re wanting to keep your neck, face, or head warm. They’re lightweight and incredibly useful. My Recommendation – Buff Polar Multifunctional Headwear. I’ve owned many buffs in my life and, when I’m outdoors, the Polar Buff is most definitely my favorite. It has a SPF 50 and has fleece at the bottom and microfiber at the top, making it the perfect accessory to keep both your neck and face warm in chilly temperatures. It’s also moisture-wicking and quick-drying, and can be worn in over ten different ways! 

 

 

Fitness “On The Go” Essentials

 

I get asked all the time how I stay in shape while on the road. Whether I’m in a luxury hotel and eating my heart out, or camping and carb loading, I can’t say that it’s easy. But I will say that it takes conscious effort every single day. I’ve learned to say no to two $0.25 ice cream cones in the same day, as tempting as it is! I also implement a strict workout routine, which has gotten infinitely easier since I started using LiveKick Fitness. They specialize in one-on-one personal training and private yoga done via live video — think FaceTime but for fitness! You can choose your (highly qualified) instructor for a time that works for you, no matter where you live in the world! I’ve done everything from high intensity exercise in my ocean view hotel in Australia to yoga in my office at home in the States. And the best part is, you don’t need access to a gym or any equipment if you don’t want! You could try out LiveKick Fitness here, and be sure to use the code “FIVEFOOTTRAVELER15” for 15% off your LiveKick plan! Other than being armed with my LiveKick Fitness App, I travel with –

on video in real time with livekick fitness - a personal trainer and a yoga instructor

Screen cap of my LiveKick personal training (left) & yoga (right)

 

    • Resistance Loop Exercise Bands – I started using looped resistance bands when I injured my knee two years ago, but it’s a fantastic addition to any workout when you’re a new exerciser or an exercise junkie. I use these largely for strength training and physical therapy.

 

    • Flat Exercise Bands – Flat exercise bands give you a few more options, which allows you to truly get a full body workout whenever you want.

 

    • Rumble Roller – My 12-inch RumbleRoller is one of my favorite things that I pack, when I have the space! Nothing feels better than this spiky foam roller after a good hike or exercise. 

 

    • Cross-Training Shoe – I’ve made the mistake many times of doing aerobics and weight-lifting in a running sneaker, which just isn’t good for you! The Nike Air Bella’s are light-weight and comfortable trainers.

 

    • Running Shoe – If you’re also a runner though, I’d recommend packing your running shoes too. Maybe you’ll be luckier than I and could find a one-shoe-fits-all for you though! I’ve worn Brooks Ghost sneakers for many years now and I’ve been quite happy with them. 

 

    • Travel Yoga Mat – I always wanted the ability to be able to stretch anytime, anywhere, which led me to research travel-sized yoga mats. The Plyopic Travel Yoga Mat is both lightweight, eco-friendly, and foldable so that you can bring it wherever you need. 

 

Reading Essentials

 

Beach reads are always necessary. Sometimes it’s nice to get lost in a good story and enjoy a book with a view. While I could individually summarize these books, I think it’s best if you check them out yourself to see which one is best for you 🙂 Here are some of my favorite travel books –

girl sits on bench reading her kindle in front of the mountains

It may not be the beach, but I thought it was a great spot to read!

If you feel like being slightly more intellectual on your vacation, I highly recommend these excellent entrepreneur books:

 

Business Management Essentials

 

More and more frequently you will find people on the road who have the freedom to work remotely. If you are a business owner, or wannabe business owner, these are my absolutely necessary softwares and systems needed to keep my business running online, even when I’m not in front of my computer. Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean that you need to stop making money 🙂

girl works on laptop at the beach

Working remotely on the beach in Australia

    • ClickFunnels – Whether you run an online business or you’re looking to become a digital nomad, ClickFunnels is an absolute must! This software helps you great the highest converting sales funnels amongst many, many other incredible features. They offer a free Affiliate Bootcamp that I highly recommend going through if you’re new to the online space. If you aren’t new to working online, and haven’t checked out ClickFunnels though, you can grab your free trial here. Email me if you do, and I will share with you my top converting sales funnel. 

 

    • GetResponse – Email marketing is key to success. No matter what business you’re in, you need the ability to directly reach out to your followers or consumers without every having to think about social media algorithms. Through email marketing you can get your audience to know, like, and trust you… and ultimately buy from you. And the beauty of this is that if you’re on a trip, you can set up an email autoresponder series to continually bring in sales without you having to even open up your computer! GetResponse is free for under 1,000 email contacts, and have incredibly reasonable rates after that given the service they provide. You can sign up for your free account here. 

 

    • BlueHost – Do you have a blog or website? It needs to be hosted somewhere to be kept safe! Your web host ensures that your site continues to run smoothly and backs up your site daily should anything go wrong; it’s your website’s safety shield. BlueHost offers incredibly low rates, and I’m able to give them to you for even lower. You can purchase your BlueHost web hosting for just $3.95/month here! 

 

    • ClickMagick – I personally never click on an “ugly” link – a link that has a ton of numbers and letters and seemingly goes on forever. ClickMagick allows you to turn those long ugly links into short, clean URLs using your domain name. You can grab your ClickMagick account here.

 

    • Later – If you’re wondering how people post to Instagram on the go or have beautifully crafted Instagram feeds, it’s likely because they use a tool to help them get organized. I first discovered Later last year and have used them ever since to help schedule, analyze, and organize my accounts. Because they’re an official partner of Instagram, you can craft your posts and then schedule them to be automatically posted to Instagram! And the best part is, it’s free! Set up your free account here. 

 

    • TailWind – If you understand the value of Pinterest for your business, TailWind is an absolute must. It allows you to easily schedule out your Pins and re-Pin from others in your niche. You can adjust your settings so that you auto-Pin throughout the day, without having to sit in front of your phone or computer the whole time! Pinterest is a huge driver of traffic to websites, so it’s important that you take advantage of its benefits. TailWind is also free, and you can claim your account here. 

 

    • LiveLeap – Are you someone who likes to go live on social media a lot, either to showcase what your business has to offer or to show off your latest vacation? LiveLeap allows you to live stream on Facebook across multiple pages, which can increase your views ten times more than without it! So if you stream on your business page, you can also connect it to your personal page and Facebook group so that your live video goes live on all of those pages at once. It’s a great way to expand your reach! You can set up your account here. 

I hope that this list of travel essentials didn’t overwhelm you! I obviously travel full-time and am always over-prepared, so you just need to pick and choose which of these items is most important for the type of trip that you are preparing for. I wish you the best of luck with packing… as I sure as heck know how much we BOTH need it! As you pack and prepare for your next trip, please let me know in the comments below if I missed any important travel essentials. 

girls sits on rocks with four penguins on her south africa vacation

I'll leave you with some penguins – and a great travel hat!

In the meantime, please ensure that you purchase travel insurance before you leave! Of all of these travel essentials, travel insurance is arguably the most important thing to have on hand (after your passports and visas). I’ve had to use my travel insurance multiple times on the road, even though I’m healthy. You never know when something might happen; take comfort in knowing that whether your flight gets cancelled or you wind up sick and in the hospital, you will be covered. I recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance for all of you. You can get a free quote here. 

 

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travel essentials packing list

 

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I solemnly swear to only send you emails related to traveling, being a digital nomad, and monetizing your blog and social media following.