This site is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CardRatings.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. What is written in the article is the editor's opinion.
Once upon a time, I had a series called “Must-Haves of Travel” where I shared items I always throw in my carry-on. They’re small, awesome, versatile, and duh, you should take them everywhere. These products are geared for when you’re on the go.
I thought it’d be fun to compile them into one definitive list, with a couple of extras added as a bonus. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you’ll see a few things I can’t stop blabbing about. 🗣
Here’s the full list!
In This Post
- 1 10 Must-Haves of Travel – The Full List
- 2 Bottom line
10 Must-Haves of Travel – The Full List
Every traveler has an item they swear by – something that’s always in their carry-on. You’ve heard the basics like Advil, lotion to fight dry plane air, and passport wallets for keeping everything handy.
I wanted to dig deeper and propose unusual items (and a few that are just fun).
Here’s what’s in my bag! 💁🏻♂️
1. Coconut oil
The original, the one that started it all.
I got interested in coconut oil to do oil pulling. Then started using it as a:
- Face moisturizer
- Hair mask
- Beard oil
- Cuticle cream
- Flyaway/cowlick tamer
- Mild sunscreen
- Lip moisturizer
- Occasional butter replacement (for cooking)
- Foot cream
I love to travel with coconut oil, especially in cold or dry environments. It’s a thick, nutrient-rich cream you can use in so many ways.
The best use is as an all-over lotion that’s more hydrating than ordinary body lotion. It’s gentle enough to use on your lips and sensitive areas like around your eyes. Plus, it’s all natural, so you can even cook with it (scrambled eggs in coconut oil are amazing).
You want to make sure you get organic, raw, cold-pressed coconut oil for maximum potency – here’s a brand I like that’s cheap for a big container.
2. Rose petal water
I have a thin, small spray bottle I fill with rose petal water to spritz on my face after a shower and throughout the day. It’s refreshing and lightly scented when used as a toner.
It makes your skin soft and hydrated, which is great for keeping nearby on long-haul flights.
What I like is these sprays only have 2 ingredients: water and roses (or whatever scent you select). Lots of toners have alcohol as an ingredient, which is drying for your skin. You can even spray it on your hair and use it as a light body splash.
An 8-ounce bottles lasts me a few months – or several trips.
3. Calcium bentonite clay
This one’s for before or after you travel. Because travel intrinsically clogs up your skin. All that recycled air, and being crammed with hundreds of people through your journey takes its toll on your skin.
It helps to remove toxins, heavy metals, and chemicals. Perfect for when your skin feels wrecked after long trips (especially to big cities with smog and air pollutants).
This is a nice way to reset your skin and keep it healthy and looking fresh because it removes gunk and impurities that cause zits and whiteheads. Its tagline, after all, is “feel your face pulsate!”
I recommend mixing it with apple cider vinegar and using a little coconut oil to moisturize afterward. Which leads me to…
4. Apple cider vinegar
Travel with vinegar? Hell yes. Make sure you get something organic with “the mother” – like this one.
I put some in a spray bottle and spray it in my hair as a conditioner when I shower. And I’ll put it on my face as a cleanser/astringent. If you have the luxury, it’s great in a bath to draw out toxins.
You can use it post-shave to calm down your skin and hair follicles. It’s also great to rub into tired muscles after you’ve walked around all day.
It’s a mild household cleaner to keep things sparkling without harsh chemicals. I use it to keep my drains and food disposal smelling clean.
And you can drink it to balance your body’s pH and clean out toxins (but mix it with water or put it in a tea).
For travel, I put some in a small bottle I found at the dollar store and put that inside a zippy bag in case it leaks. Super simple, and I love having it with me everywhere I go.
5. Activated charcoal
You’ll want this stuff any time you come into contact with food borne contaminants in raw produce, tap water, or melted ice.
It’s also great if you eat or drink too much and have an upset stomach because it traps gas and toxins and moves them rapidly out of your system.
They’re useful to have if you have a sensitive stomach, often feel carsick, or have a hard time eating airplane food.
Peeps say it even helps with jet lag and promotes anti-aging. A bottle is usually under $10, so I always have some on hand and throw a few in with my other supplements when I travel.
Just remember to drink a lot of water when you take them because they absorb thousands of times their weight in gas and toxins. And take them after your other vitamins, because activated charcoal will actually sweep the other stuff away with it – only take them when there’s something you want to get rid of.
6. Sesame oil
I love love love this stuff. It’s so light, so moisturizing, absorbs instantly, smells amazing, and makes my skin so soft and hydrated without feeling greasy at all.
In fact, it’s my go-to moisturizer during the day when I’m staying in (and then I use coconut oil before bed). It’s a skin regiment I’ve perfected over the past few months.
It’s also easy to transport. I like putting it in a spray bottle (as opposed to the squirt bottle it comes in) so I can spray it all over, rub it in real quick, and be out the door. It soaks in within seconds.
Sesame oil also contains zinc that helps promote circulation, so it can help fight DVT during long flights (and it smells so good).
This stuff was a game changer for me. A big bottle will last you months!
7. Affordable razors – Under $10
You can get 4 stainless steel, 4-blade cartridges as often as you want for $6 a box. And your first shipment with a free handle is only $1.
You can also give gift subscriptions.
Fact is, everyone needs a close shave and wants to look their best when they’re traveling. I like to trim and shave before going somewhere fancy or to go conference or meeting. And razors at stores are waaaayyy more expensive than $6.
Set yourself up for success both at work and on the go with good quality, affordable razors. This was the subscription service I didn’t know I needed until I started using it.
8. Portable travel tubes
These are the MVP. They’re 2 or 3 ounces and you can fill them with whatever you want: your choice of shampoo, coconut oil, sesame oil, body lotion, conditioner, or anything else.
They’re sturdier than a plastic bag and prevent leakage. Plus, they have a suction cup so you can bring them into the shower with you.
Because of their size, they’re always TSA compliant and perfect for travel.
You can grab a 3-pack and use them over and over for years. These are an excellent gift or investment for the frequent traveler.
9. Weleda skin food
- Get it here: Weleda skin food
I saw this on a friend’s Instagram account. She sold me when she said it’s a thick cream that melts into your skin, you can put it anywhere, and it’s usually only $10 for a 2.5 ounce tube (therefore you can travel with it).
If any part of you is dry or needs some extra attention, I highly recommend Weleda skin food. It’s packed with nourishing ingredients like sunflower oil, calendula, chamomile, and rosemary. Plus it has elderflower in it and smells like a gin and tonic!
The cream comes out almost like a paste and tacky, but begins to melt when it touches your skin.
I use this more as a hand cream and on other rough patches like my elbows and heels of my feet. I also sometimes use it on my lips and around my eyes if it’s been a super cold or dry day for an extra moisture bump.
This stuff has nearly 1,000 5-star reviews on Amazon and has been around since 1926. I can’t believe it’s so cheap and works so well. This stuff is like my security blanket.
10. Bluffworks blazer – On sale for $220 (usually $295)
- Get it here: Bluffworks shop
This is the priciest must-have and it’s geared toward guys, but there’s something amazing about having a great-looking, comfortable blazer you can travel with.
Something you can wear to a conference, a dinner, or as a jacket while being a tourist.
It’s typically $295, but on sale for $220 right now. It comes with 3 colors (navy, dark gray, and light gray), and I like my navy blazer. I’ve worn it to happy hours, around town, with jeans, with slacks, with sneakers and dress shoes.
You can wash it, wad it up, pack it – it always comes out looking sleek and wrinkle-free. Even in Texas, it’s not too heavy to wear over a button-up.
Having a great blazer is that thing that gives me a confidence boost before I walk into a room.
If it gets dirty, wash and dry it with your other stuff.
There are pockets inside the lining where you can keep credit cards and ID when you travel, making you pickpocket-proof. There’s no wool and it has a touch of stretch in the material. So it’s not itchy at all or overly warm. And there’s just enough give so you can move around freely.
I love having a handsome, versatile blazer that matches everything and always looks crisp. This would make an excellent gift for a traveler or throw it in your suitcase – you can literally treat it like a t-shirt and it comes out with a swagger every time.
Having it has been a joy on my travels.
Skin stuff, razors, pills, and a jacket – what a collection of travel must-haves, eh? 😹
But seriously, these items are all small and light – and easily fit in a carry-on. They improve my health, appearance, and mood when I travel. And many of them are versatile enough to replace a couple other things, which can actually save you room in your suitcase.
When you look and feel good, you get a confidence boost to take on any situation and comfortably walk into any place knowing you’re at the top of your game.
Many of these items are $10 or less, and the others are a nice splurge or would make thoughtful gifts. I’ve personally used many of these products for years now!
So now you know my must-haves of travel – what do you bring when you travel that you can’t stop raving about?* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post. The opinions of the commenters are not necessarily the opinions of this site.
- Chase Ink Business Preferred - Earn 80,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points and 3X bonus points for travel, internet, cable, and phone service
- Chase Sapphire Preferred - Earn 50,000 Chase points with the BEST card for beginners
- Amex Blue Business Plus - Earn 10,000 Amex Membership Rewards points and 2X bonus points on up to $50,000 in spending per year with NO annual fee