My Favourite Travel Items: Things you might not think to pack

My favourite travel items: stuff you might not think to pack!


No matter how much planning you do, or how much stuff you take, there is always something you wish you had packed.  Every trip is different and what you will want to bring will vary.  I have a packing list I use to make sure I don’t forget any of the essentials (because spending an afternoon looking for contact solution is not how I like to use my time when I travel).  The following is a list of non-essentials that I have discovered make my travels go more smoothly.


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My Favourite Travel Items


water bottle, travel items, packing tipsRe-Usable Water Bottle  Save the environment and your pocketbook by packing your own water bottle.  I like to use a traditional stainless steel bottle (you can pack some smaller items inside of it to save space), but the camel-sack style is a great way to save space in your luggage.



journal, travel items, packing tipsJournal  When I’m travelling, I don’t always have the time to record my adventures in great detail.  But having a journal means I can take some rough notes so I don’t forget the important events of each day.  Whether you like to write a lot or a little, a journal will help preserve those memories that can be forgotten too easily. (I have a few journals for sale in my store too).



my favourite travel items, packing tipsUnicorn  I don’t like to check my bags when I fly, nor do I like to carry more than I need to, but sometimes you just have to take your giant, inflatable unicorn with you.  It definitely adds magic to the adventure and is a great conversation starter.  I don’t take it everywhere, but I miss it when I don’t.




my favourite travel items, packing tipsCollapsible Bowl/Tupperware  Laura and I have to be careful what we eat.  That means we often cook are own meals.  A collapsible bowl (with a lid is great) or Tupperware container means we can prep some healthy and safe foods to throw in our day packs.  There’s nothing more annoying than not being able to enjoy your day due to hunger pangs.  Just make sure you get something leak proof so you are not responsible for making the entire plane smell like old broccoli (true story).



my favourite travel items, packing tipsDigital Media  Having a great playlist, as well as a few movies or tv shows, is a necessity on my mobile device.  Music grounds and calms me after a day of excitement.  Having a show to watch while you wait for flights can help the time pass more enjoyably.  Check out my list of Indie travel songs for some inspiration!




my favourite travel items, packing tipsHeadband & Elastics  The beach destroys my hair!  Being able to tie it up and throw a headband over the flyaways means I don’t have to look like I just dropped out of a tornado.  As well, some days you are just too busy having fun to wash your hair.  A headband can cover up the worst of it when you’re in a rush.



my favourite travel items, packing tipsProtein Bars  These have saved my life so many times and I would never travel without at least a handful of them in my bag.  They fill your stomach quickly and you never know when an airline will forget your meal or you won’t be able to find somewhere to stop for lunch.


my favourite travel items, packing tipsMoisturiser  I have tried to convince myself in the past that sunscreen doubles as moisturiser because it’s a lotion.  It really doesn’t.  Even if you’re not doing the sand-and-sea thing, you will be amazed at how quickly your skin gets dry.  I use a moisturising lotion almost every day when I travel.



my favourite travel items, packing tipsAllergy Medicine  There are a million things that can happen while you’re away – something gets in your eye, you make friends with a stray dog, mosquito bites and weird rashes…  Allergy pills can help with most symptoms so your day isn’t spent in discomfort.



my favourite travel items, packing tipsDuct Tape   I usually pack this so I can assemble my hula hoop, but I always end up using it for other things as well.  Make sure your liquids are sealed tightly, fix broken handles on bags, and even use it as padding when you get a blister.  You don’t have to pack a whole roll – just wrap a few lengths around your water bottle or sunscreen bottle.  Packing tape is a good option too.



my favourite travel items, packing tipsEssential Oils  There is definitely a little bit of hippie in me – maybe more than a little bit.  I don’t believe essential oils will cure cancer or anything, but there are few that do work for smaller issues.  Peppermint oil is something I use everyday to give myself an energy and mood boost.  It also has a cooling effect if you’re visiting a hot destination.  I created my own mosquito repellant that also works quite well.  Lavender oil and chamomile help me chill out when I get too excited or stressed.



my favourite travel items, packing tipsInstant Coffee  If I had a choice, I would start every morning with a cup of tea.  But sometimes you don’t have access to a kettle.  Sometimes you don’t want to pay $5 for a cup of coffee.  Sometimes you’re in the middle of the woods with no amenities at all.  I don’t know how much coffee is in these sugary, instant mixes, but when I need an extra kick in the afternoon, the combination of caffeine and sugar does the trick for me.  The great thing about these is you don’t need hot water.  Just throw one or two into your water bottle, give it a good shake to mix things up, and you’re good to go.


What’s your favourite essential or non-essential travel item?


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 My favourite travel items: stuff you might not think to pack!




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18 Replies to “My Favourite Travel Items: Things you might not think to pack”

  1. I really laughed when you said that travelers should pack an inflatable unicorn. What do you do with it? What direction has a conversation taken because of it? I’m curious! 🙂

    1. It’s starting a conversation right now!! Most conversations start out with, “Cool unicorn,” and develop from there. Some people like to keep the fantasy alive and ask about who the unicorn is and where it came from. Some conversations become discourses about the constructs of our society. One person talked about real-estate. Really, whatever people are into. As for the unicorn itself, you float on it or use it as a comfy beach bed. I wouldn’t take it backpacking, but I will take it when I don’t have to carry my luggage all over the place.

  2. Thank-you Jennifer. As your Mom, your travel partner to Cuba and somewhat of a “virgin traveller”, all this information is great! I’m sure Mommy will whine less as I’ve already packed my vanilla lattes for mornings! Can’t wait for this special Mommy/daughter time.

    1. We are going to have an amazing time (no matter how much stuff we forget to bring:)!

  3. Ok, so you travel with a hula hoop and a giant inflatable unicorn. I want to travel with you – you sound like so much fun! 🙂 Would love to hear about your own mosquito mixture. Rencently we tried those citronella bands for the kids and they were so powerful we ditched them pretty quick. YECH.

    1. If we are ever in the same part of the world, I would love to meet you! I live in Vancouver if you ever come this way…

      I thought I wrote down my mosquito repellent recipe (one day I want to make these for sale), but I can’t find it now…I believe I used equal parts citronella and tea tree oil with a bit of lemon, clove, cinnamon, and peppermint added in. It still had a citronella smell to it, of course. Mosquitoes love me and I found this would deter them for up to half an hour. It did require frequent reapplying, but I don’t like to use deet if I don’t have to.

  4. I love the unicorn! Great packing list, I never think to bring allergy meds or duct tape, but I usually end up needing at least one of those things.

  5. Thanks for the tips and other interesting blog posts. I always pack a scarf, something longish and cotton, excellent for: shade, a cooling neck wrap when wet, something to bundle a bunch of other things together, a make-shift handle or tie-down, a strainer, a flag for Marking the Spot, or for waving to get someone’s attention, also a backdrop for photos if there is an undesirable background. I’m definitely adding duct tape wrapped around a water bottle to my packing list. Karen

    1. A scarf is a great idea! I don’t usually wear them, so I never thought much about it, but I have a large one that would be great for all of these ideas. Thanks so much:)

  6. I think I need that unicorn. No joke. I love that you bring it on trips and use it as a great convo-starter! I wouldn’t have originally thought to bring duct tape as an essential item, but it makes SO MUCH SENSE! I think I’ll have to add it to my essential pack as well!

    1. I break things a lot. And I get a lot of blisters and sometimes band-aids just don’t do the trick on their own. Happy travels! Hope you make a unicorn friend soon:)

  7. The unicorn made me laugh! Duct tape is always a good idea, especially if luggage tears. Hair ties are the most important thing I bring with me anywhere. The second is my Lactaid pills so I can eat whatever I want!

  8. You have got a very unique packing list consisting of unicorn and hula loop. Really you are enjoying your travel in a different way not like as usual kinds. Your Indie songs list is also cool. I listened all of them. Great and unique tips.

  9. Oh boy! Headbands are life-savers. I have to carry them around everywhere, no matter how short my hair is. 😉 Imagine packing that cute kitty in a basket along. 🙂 Essential oils and eye drops are what I swear by when I travel. Cheers!!

  10. I just stop for a while at the Unicorn part and re-read it few times. That item is pretty unique I think. I will check out your Indie list for my next travel 😉
    Thank you for the list!

  11. Like the part about the reusable bottle. The only reason I avoid them is that they are heavier. But yes, the time has come for the humanity to cut down on plastic bottles. I don’t carry a journal though. The laptop goes with me mostly and even in short trips, I nowadays type on my phone.

    1. I still haven’t got a handle on writing with electronics. At least not for first drafts. I know I’m behind the times and it’s not very environmental of me, but I was raised with pen and paper:) I will keep trying though!

  12. Ba ha ha the unicorn!! Wow I bet that definitely is a conversation starter! This is the most unique item I have ever seen on anybody’s packing list. Ever. Good on you! Reusable water bottle is always important (especially for long flights) and a great playlist is a necessity! I’m not sure I’m ready to pack the inflatable unicorn yet though 😂

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