Let’s talk travel accessories. And, in particular, travel essentials. There are some travel accessories that everybody needs, such as somewhere to store your money, something to help you charge up your tech, and other travel accessories that just make travelling that little bit easier.
You can get super fancy with your travel accessories (hello wine diaper), or if like me you’re a bit of a budget traveller, you can stick to the essentials.
If you’re someone (or you know someone) who loves exploring the outdoors or is about to go backpacking, then I’ve put together a great guide to the best travel accessories for you!
1. The Ridge Wallet
You can get all sorts of fancy wallets nowadays but The Ridge Wallet is the wallet I take on my travels.
When I go out I don’t always want to take a bag with me just so I have somewhere to put my wallet. Pockets in women’s clothes aren’t big enough for your standard wallet and so I end up putting a card in there which then falls out when I reach for my phone. Basically, it’s not ideal.
However, The Ridge Wallet is tiny, super light and fits in all my pockets (even those super shallow ones you get in jeans).
It holds up to 12 cards before it’s full which is loads when you think about it. When you travel you really don’t need all those loyalty cards for shops back home, and when you’re back home you’re probably not going to have to have that many cards on you at all times anyway!
Oh, and if you are worried about someone stealing your details wirelessly then you’ll be pleased to know their wallets block RFID (wireless theft).
They also come in lots of different colours (even my favourite colour!)
2. Compression bags
I used these during Thom and I’s three month trip around South America and I think they’re the best way to save space in your bag. They’re pretty much the ultimate travel accessory for any backpacker.
I know people love packing cubes but I think these are even better. Not only can you arrange your clothes in different bags but you can roll it up and squeeze all the air out meaning all your clothes take up so much less room!
The ones that are self sealing are best for travellers as you don’t want to fuss about with a vacuum in your dorm or hotel room.
3. Waterproof phone case
If you’re planning to chill out by the beach, try some kayaking, go snorkelling or even find a waterfall then you’re going to find a waterproof case super useful.
I’m forever breaking things because they got wet. I recently bought myself a waterproof case and now I can be safe in the knowledge that even if my phone does get splashed a bit too much, it’ll still work.
These waterproof cases work on loads of phones and you can still use your phone normally whilst it’s in the case. I’ve tested out taking pictures with it too and you wouldn’t be able to tell it was in a plastic-y case. You can keep it around your neck thanks to the lanyard. The best part is they’re not even expensive!
Whilst I’m not sure I trust it enough to actually drop it into the sea outright, it’s definitely on my list of essential travel accessories for adventurers!
4. Battery pack
These aren’t even just essential travel accessories any more. They’re pretty much life essentials. A good battery pack will charge your phone up more than once in between being charged itself. I love this one that Thom got me for Christmas. It’s super lightweight, charges quick and is a nice colour too!
5. Collapsible water bottles
It honestly drives me crazy the amount of plastic water bottles travellers get through. Please, please take your own water bottle with you! I mean this even more when you’re travelling somewhere that has drinkable tap water!
You can get all sorts of cool water bottles now. I remember having collapsible water bottles similar to these ones when I went on my first hiking trip at 13. They’re a great accessory to pack as they’re very light and can fold down to take up almost no space. However, if you want to look a bit more stylish then invest in something like a Swell bottle. This will keep water cool AND looks great on your desk back home. But really, any water bottle will do.
6. Reusable bottles for toiletries
I know part of the excitement of going on holiday comes from picking up all the tiny minis at Boots or your local drug store, but these are so much better for your pocket and the environment.
Forget spending a ridiculous amount on a tiny shampoo and buy these reusable bottles. Then, just squeeze in your usual shampoo, conditioner, make up remover etc and you’re good to go.
It’s especially good for shorter trips where you really don’t need that massive bottle of shampoo that will undoubtedly spill all over your clothes while in the hold.
The other benefit is that they’re now in small enough containers to get you through airport security. So, if you like travelling with just hand luggage then these are perfect!
Oh, you may want to label them too cause you don’t want to go putting shampoo all over your face thinking it’s make up remover…
7. Travel adapter
If you’re travelling abroad then chances are you’ll need some sort of travel adapter. This travel adapter has you covered for all your electrical needs. Not only does it have adapters for the US, EU and Australia but it’s voltage converter, has room for up to 4 USB ports and more room for 2 plugs!
Since phones, tablets and the like are all charged by USB nowadays, the 4 USB ports makes this a great travel item to pack for your next trip.
Travel towels are genius. I had the same one for years and it saw me through so many trips. More recent travel towels are even better at soaking up the water and then drying out quickly. They pack down tiny too unlike beach and bath towels which will fill up – and weight down – your backpack.
These are one of my top essential travel accessories simply because you’re going to need a towel at some point!
Even if you’re staying at a hotel you might go on a day trip to the beach, a lake, or do some water sports and want a towel to dry off after a swim.
9. Baby wipes
Baby wipes are so, so useful. They’ll freshen you up after a day or two hiking without a shower, remove makeup, and stop your hands from feeling sticky after you’ve gorged yourself on some fresh fruits.
10. Hand sanitiser
When you’re travelling you’re going to come in contact with all sorts of germs. If you’re backpacking you may end up going a few days without a shower. Then there’s the questionable toilet facilities you come across while abroad.
Hand sanitizer has your back and these small tubes are great for always having with you. Or, even better, buy a bigger one for use at home and fill up one of your brand new reusable bottles for your trip!
11. Wash bag
At first this might not seem like much of a ‘must have’ travel accessory but let me explain.
Firstly, if you’re hostel hopping during your backpacking trip you’re not going to want to try and carry your shampoo, conditioner, body wash and who knows what in your arms as you dash from your room to the bathroom before someone else nabs the shower before you. If you’ve got a wash bag then you can just bung everything in there and carry that in ONE HAND. Genius.
Secondly, if you don’t have a wash bag and the inevitable shampoo spill happens it’s going to go all over your clothes.
You can of course get thousands of different types of wash bag but this one is a great way to organise everything and then you can just hang it over the back of the shower door. That way you don’t have to empty everything and line them up on a shelf or the floor every time you shower.
Plus, the fabric is waterproof so if your shampoo does explode it’s going to be contained in the wash bag and not all over your clothes.
12 Portable drying line
Sometimes you just need to give your clothes a quick wash in a hotel or hostel sink. Instead of hanging them to dry over a dusty shower rail or the back of a chair where you’ll end up with wood stains on your white t-shirt, buy this portable drying line.
You can stick this up anywhere and you’ve suddenly got a great clothesline to dry your clothes off on!
13. A canvas bag
Chances are you’ll have a good day sack with you, but in the evenings you might not want to take that with you. The same goes for sightseeing in a city, sometimes you just don’t want to wear a backpack with a dress and sandals.
I usually pack a canvas bag with me when I travel as they take up next to no space, fit in my pocket so I have a bag just in case I end up buying something, and are re-useable. They’re the kind of thing that are often given away for free as marketing,so you’ve probably got a couple in a cupboard at home. If not, then this plain one is good for everyone
14. Mac in a sac
I feel like pac-a-macs/macs in sacs are a bit cooler nowadays. Whilst they’re not exactly 100% waterproof (is anything?) they’ll keep you dry in showers and are great as an emergency coat.
As with most of the must have travel accessories I’ve suggested they also pack up small and are lightweight!
15. Self Sealing Dry Bag
If you’re a bit of an adventure traveller then you might find yourself kayaking, whitewater rafting or on a boat at some point. In that case these self sealing dry bags will ensure you keep everything dry should a sudden immersion arrive.
16. Shoe Bags
I often tend to just take a plastic bag with me to keep my shoes separated from my clothes. But after I’ve taken out said shoes and put them back in the bag a few times the bag falls apart of I end up ripping a hole in it as I’ve done the knot too tight. When that happens the bag is useless and any mud on my shoes gets all over everything else
These shoe bags won’t break and will actually help keep everything clean, (and smelling nicer). Plus, one of these would be great to keep your dirty washing in before you’ve had a chance to go to the laundrette.
17. Portable bluetooth speaker
At some point on your travels you’ll probably going to want to blast a bit of music. Even if it’s just in your hotel or hostel room before going out for the evening. This portable speaker is bluetooth ready so connects to your phone or laptop without an extra cable, sounds great, lasts aaages and is small too!
Padlocks are one of those things you don’t think about until you realise you need one. Not only can you use them to stop people getting into your luggage, but they’re great for staying in hostels. Most hostel dorm rooms have a space to put your valuables in but they require you to have brought your own lock. Hostels will sell you a lock but they’re usually way more expensive than if you went out and bought one yourself.
Padlocks are also great if you’re living the vanlife and using a gym as your way of showering. A lot of gyms require you to bring your own lock and with these you’ll be sorted!
See, padlocks really are a travel essential!
19. Dry Shampoo
As with the baby wipes dry shampoo is really just a life essential. You’ll be grateful for some dry shampoo to freshen your hair up in between showers on long hiking trips! It always smells so nice too…
20. Head torch
A torch of some description is always handy to have in your backpack when travelling. It’s great for when you get stuck somewhere whilst watching a sunset and can’t find your way back, for time’s when you want to do a sunrise hike, or those trips where you’re camping and need some light to find your way to the toilet.
A head torch was also our only source of light for the five months we lived in our van. It worked better than you’d think!
21. Wallet ninja
If there’s a travel accessory you think I’ve forgotten then it’s probably covered with the ninja wallet. This will fit in your Ridge Wallet, and has 18 different functions including a beer opener which, let’s face it, is the one you really want!
Just make sure to put this in checked in baggage when flying. Whilst Ninja Wallet say it is TSA approved, you’ll probably have it taken away from you when going through security.