When leaving home to go visit a different part of the world, there are a few things you should take with you that will make the whole experience easier and better for you.
Everything from the right phone, SIM card, and apps, to the daypacks, toiletry bags, and other accessories that are designed to save you money, keep you safe, and make your life easier while traveling. It’s important to be prepared so that you can have the best experience possible!
On this page, I will go over the must-have travel accessories no matter where you travel to and other recommendations for things you should consider buying!
1. Travel-Ready Phone
Whether it’s just to upload instagram photos or to navigate yourself using Google Maps, a smartphone with internet access while abroad is almost as much of a necessity as your passport.
However, not every smartphone is good for traveling. Some won’t work with certain networks, others are locked to specific providers, and others will only let you use one SIM card.
Your phone may already be travel-ready, but if it isn’t, then you’ll need to know how you can prepare it and if not, which phones you should invest in for your next trip.
Check out my Guide to Travel-Ready Phones to find out more.
2. Prepaid SIM Card
Going hand-in-hand with the travel-ready phone, you should also get a prepaid SIM card so that you are able to stay connected and perform useful acts such as getting directions with Google Maps, locking and unlocking your debit and credit cards to stay safe, and anything else that requires access to the internet.
All of those things can be achieved with the SIM card you have from home, but usually at a high roaming cost. Getting a prepaid SIM card can save you a lot of money on roaming fees!
There are three types of prepaid SIM cards that you can get: international, local, and eSIM data plans. Each one comes with its own pros and cons and which one you should get depends on your priorities.
I go over all three in detail including which one is best for you in my Guide to Prepaid SIM Cards.
3. Travel Apps
Once you have the perfect travel phone and you know everything you need to know about getting a local prepaid SIM card to stay connected to the internet while you’re abroad, you should look into preparing for your trip by downloading the top travel apps for your phone that will make your life much easier when on the road.
From travel standards such as Google Maps to currency converters to others that you may not have even thought about, having the right apps will help ensure that everything goes smoothly on your trip.
I cover all the best ones in my Guide to the Top Travel Apps.
4. Travel Adapter
A travel adapter is needed if you are going to a country that uses a different power outlet than the one used by your home country otherwise you won’t be able to charge or power anything on your trip!
You can see which type of power outlet each country uses in its Destination Guide and if the country you’re going to uses a different one, you’ll have to get a travel adapter or two. Here are a few good ones I found on Amazon:
Note about Travel Adapters & Converters
It’s important to know the difference between travel adaptors and travel converters. A travel adapter is what you use to be able to plug your device into a differently-shaped power outlet in another country.
A travel converter is used to convert the amount of electricity (referred to as voltage) that the power outlet sends to your device. Plugging in a device that uses a different voltage to the one provided by the power outlet could blow a fuse in both the device (completely ruining it in the process) and the building itself, taking out your electricity.
The good news is that most devices like phones, tablets, and laptops are dual or multi-voltage meaning they can work anywhere, but some devices like hair dryers, curling irons, and hair straighteners can be single voltage. You can check if the device or charger you plan to bring with you is dual or multi-voltage by looking at its label.
Look for the word “input” or numbers followed by the letter V. If you only see a single number like “120V”, watch out because the device is single-voltage. If you see “100-240V” or something similar, then you’re good to go because that means the device is multi-voltage.
If the device you want to bring with you is single-voltage, you’re actually better off not bringing it at all. This is because although voltage converters do exist, I do not recommend actually using them since the risk of ruining your device and losing electricity in the building in case of failure is too high.
Luckily, there are alternatives available such as the ones I recommend in #5:
5. Travel Hair Dryer/Straightener/Curler
As mentioned, hair dryers, straighteners, and curlers are devices that are not typically suitable for traveling because of the fact that they usually don’t support more than a single voltage. However, there are dual-voltage travel-sized versions of these devices that you can get should you need them on your trip. See below for a few I found on Amazon.
Just keep in mind that most of these dual voltage devices require that you set them to the right voltage before plugging them in and using them so make sure you know what voltage is used in the country you’re visiting! You can find that information on each country’s Destination Guide.
6. Multi USB Charger
To go with your travel adapter, you should also get a multi USB charger. This will let you charge more than one USB device using the same charger meaning if you have to charge multiple devices, but you only get access to one power outlet, you can still charge them all.
Here are two options to choose from on Amazon:
7. Power Bank
Even if you get a phone that has super-long battery life, there may be times that you forget to charge it or you just want to avoid letting the battery get too low. This is where having a power bank comes in handy.
As long as you remember to charge the power bank, you will be able to use it to charge your phone or any other electronic device that gets its power from a USB cable. A power bank is an extremely useful thing to have while traveling. They come in a variety of different sizes, but the only brand you should trust is Anker.
Anker makes the best power banks out there and I can tell you this from experience. Their power banks are completely reliable and their customer service is also top-notch. You may find cheaper power banks out there, but you’re better off spending a few more dollars for one from Anker that is top-quality.
Go for a 5,000 mAh power bank if you want to fully charge one device. If you have more devices, consider getting a power bank with 10, 15, 20, or even 26,800 mAh (the most powerful one they make).
8. 6 Foot USB Cable
Having a longer-length cable is useful for when the power outlet in your hotel or hostel room is far away from your bed which can happen more often than you think. 6 feet is the ideal length, but you can even find cables up to 10 feet long if you need more length.
Also, having an extra USB cable will ensure that if your main one becomes faulty, gets misplaced, or needs to be borrowed, you still have a backup for yourself.
In addition to power banks, Anker also makes the best-quality USB cables. If you ever have an issue with one of their cables, you can get it replaced free of charge! All of their cables are fast charging too.
9. Phone Tripod & Remote Shutter
If you want to take a photo of yourself, there are a few ways you can do it. You could simply extend your arm and take a selfie. Or you could ask someone nearby to take a photo of you. Another solution is to use a selfie stick if you don’t mind looking silly.
However, there is another alternative which is much better: a phone tripod with a remote shutter. You can set it up like a normal tripod or if it has them, use its flexible legs to attach it to a nearby pole. And with the bluetooth-enabled remote shutter, you can take photos of yourself that look like they were taken by someone else! Say goodbye to the selfie stick!
Here are a few options I found on Amazon:
10. Headphone Jack Splitter
If you’re going to travel with someone else on a long flight, train, or bus ride, one of the best ways to pass the time is by watching some movies or TV shows on your phone, tablet, or laptop.
However, unless both you and your friend have wireless bluetooth earphones and your device is a fancy one that allows both of them to connect to it, you will have to go old-school and use the headphone jack.
The problem is that you will only be able to connect one pair of wired earphones to it. This is where a headphone jack splitter can come in handy. It will let you connect a second pair of wired earphones to the same device, letting you both enjoy the movie with both earphones instead of just one!
Here are a few different options on Amazon:
11. Waterproof Phone Pouch
If your phone is not waterproof, then you’re missing out on those cool photos and videos taken in water, whether you’re above or under it. But you don’t have to go shell out hundreds of dollars on one of those fancy waterproof phones to be able to bring yours into the pool or ocean.
A waterproof phone pouch can keep your phone and other belongings dry even if you completely submerge it underwater! It’s a great way to take away the stress from bringing your phone into a body of water to take that awesome photo. You can buy it on its own, but you can also often get it as a bonus with a dry bag!
Here are a few options on Amazon if you want to buy it on its own:
12. Dry Bag
A dry bag is similar to a waterproof phone pouch in that it can keep everything inside it completely dry even when fully submerged, except you can store much more than just your phone in it.
They are extremely useful when doing any type of water sports such as kayaking or canoeing, but are also great to have simply when near any body of water to ensure that your belongings stay safe.
They come in a variety of sizes, measured in litres. A 5L bag is the smallest you’ll find and it will hold your personal belongings such as your phone, wallet, keys, and other small items. If you want to keep more items dry, consider getting a 10L, 20L, 30L, or 40L one.
Here are a few options on Amazon. Each one comes in different colors and sizes:
13. Microfiber Beach Towel
Having a beach towel is obviously needed if you’re going to a beach destination, but it can also be useful in other situations too. For example, some forms of accommodation like hostels might not have complimentary towels or might charge you to use theirs so you need to have your own.
A microfiber beach towel is typically thinner and more lightweight than a standard towel which makes it easy to pack in your luggage. You typically want to go for one that is at least 30″ x 60″ (80cm x 160cm) so it’s big enough for the beach.
Here are a few options on Amazon that you can get in different colors and sizes:
14. Lightweight Beach Blanket
A beach blanket is very useful for whenever you want to sit on the beach, but also other surfaces like grass and gravel. Using a beach towel also works, but it can get dirty and you won’t be able to dry yourself with it when you need to. A beach blanket is also typically bigger and lets more people sit on it than a beach towel.
Therefore, it’s best to keep the two separate and it’s easy to do that with a lightweight beach blanket that is easily folded into a small pouch. These beach blankets are also water and sand-repellant meaning that you don’t have to worry about getting sand all over you!
15. Lightweight Daypack
A daypack is a great accessory to have as it will let you carry your essential items when you’re out exploring a city or on a hike. When you’re out for the day, you’ll need to carry everything from a power bank to sunscreen to mosquito repellant to a phone tripod to a water bottle to snacks, and more. You won’t be able to fit all of these things in your pockets so having a daypack is extremely helpful.
Getting one that is lightweight and foldable is even more helpful as it means that when you’re not using it or you need to pack it up, all you have to do is fold it up into a small little pouch that you can easily pack into in your suitcase.
Here are some of the best ones in different sizes and colors from Amazon:
16. Anti-Theft Backpack
If you’re traveling to a city or destination that is known for pickpockets that like to take advantage of tourists or you just want a backpack with a little more theft protection than a lightweight daypack, then an anti-theft backpack is right up your alley.
These backpacks are designed with preventing pickpockets in mind by generally keeping pockets to a minimum and ensuring that the main pocket for the bag cannot be accessed when it’s on your back, either by hiding the main zippers against your back or by locking them to the bag. This makes it very difficult for pickpockets to steal your belongings!
17. Money Belt
If you want to protect your cash from would-be thieves when you’re on the go, one way to do it is by wearing a money belt.
These belts are designed to look like real ones and made so that you can store folded cash inside them which is only accessible if you take the belt off. If you’re ever in the unfortunate situation where you are asked to empty your pockets, your cash will be safe as it will be hidden in your belt which most people won’t expect.
However, these belts are only able to store cash and not much else. If you also want to keep your cards, phone, passport, and other small items safe, another type of money belt available is the kind that hides under your clothes.
Not only can these types of belts store more items, but they can also block RFID scans, keeping your cards and passports safe. You can also combine both types of belts for maximum security.
18. Infinity Scarf with Hidden Pockets
If the money belt isn’t stylish enough for you, consider getting an infinity scarf that also has hidden pockets. Not only will you look chic wearing it, but you can also keep your small valuables safe in the hidden pockets that nobody will think to look for!
This is a great alternative in the winter or colder destinations in general.
19. Travel Lock
A lock is a useful accessory to have not only to lock your luggage when you travel, but also if you plan to stay in hostels during your trip since you will be sharing a room with other people and you never know when someone might take an interest in your stuff.
Most hostels will offer lockers in which you can store your valuables and other belongings, but they usually require you to have your own lock to use them. Some of them will sell locks, but it’s typically cheaper to come prepared with your own.
And another good type of lock to get is a cable lock which is perfect for when you have to leave your luggage unattended in the luggage storage section of a train. By securing your bag to it with a cable lock, you can relax in your seat knowing that it will still be there when you need to get off.
20. Ear Plugs
Ear plugs are a must for people who stay in hostels since they help drown out noises like people snoring or rustling through their bags in the middle of the night, but they are also useful to have for other travelers too.
You never know when the hotel you booked is located next to a busy street or the rooms have thin walls. Earplugs are a small investment to make to ensure peaceful sleep no matter where you are!
21. Travel-Sized Toiletries
Everyone has had to go through the experience of being forced to throw out a bottle of shampoo or body wash by airport security because it was over the 100ml or 3.4 oz limit allowed for carry-on. Maybe you simply forgot about the limit or maybe you just weren’t able to find small enough bottles.
You could choose to pack your toiletries in your checked luggage, but you might not always have checked luggage and even if you do, you risk having them leak onto your clothes. You can usually find travel-sized toiletries in drugstores or department stores like Walmart, but a better way to travel is by using refillable toiletry bottles.
These bottles are perfectly sized for carry-on travel and can be easily refilled with your favourite shampoo or body gel!
22. Toiletry Bag
Getting the right sized toiletries is only half of it. You also need a way to store and carry those toiletries in addition to your toothbrush, razor, makeup, and other bathroom items as you travel. Not only to ensure that they don’t spill on the clothes in your luggage, but also just to keep everything in your luggage organized.
There are two types of toiletry bags, the kind that sit on the counter and the kind that can hang from a door or hook. Here are the best of each kind on Amazon:
23. Mosquito Repellent
If you’re traveling to a destination that is known for its mosquitos, then mosquito repellent is a necessity. Not only can mosquito bites be annoying and itchy, but mosquitos can also carry diseases like malaria, yellow fever, and dengue fever, to name but a few. Therefore it is important that you have mosquito repellent with you.
You can typically buy it when you arrive at your destination, but having a bottle with you before you take off ensures that you are protected from the moment you land and can also save you some money.
Getting a larger bottle that you can pack in your checked luggage is a good idea, but if you only plan to have a carry-on bag, then you can also get a 3 oz bottle which is airline friendly.
Consider also getting a mosquito net if you want extra protection.
Sunscreen is another necessity if you are traveling to a hot destination or simply one that is known for its sunshine. Sunburns are no fun and neither is potential skin cancer from overexposure to the sun. Sunscreen will help keep you protected and if you wait to buy it when you arrive, you might be spending double, especially in beach destinations.
Come prepared with a bottle of sunscreen from home so you don’t have to go looking for one in your destination. You can get a standard sized bottle for your checked luggage, but if you only plan to travel with a carry-on bag or you want to avoid the risk of sunscreen leaking onto your clothes, then get a 3 oz bottle that you can bring in your carry-on.
Remember that the higher the SPF, the longer you can stay in the sun before your skin starts to burn. Try to aim for at least 30 SPF.
25. Digital Luggage Scale
Budget travelers will know all about the struggle of making sure that their luggage is under the weight limit for airlines, but with more and more airlines starting to charge for checked luggage and even carry-on luggage, everyone needs to make sure their bags meet airline requirements if you don’t want to pay excess baggage fees.
This is where a digital luggage scale can come in handy. All you have to do is hook the strap around the handle of your bag and lift it up by the scale to know its weight.
It does require a bit of muscle if you are lifting heavier bags, but it’s small and compact meaning that it’s super easy and convenient to carry around with you as you travel!
And that’s it!
There are more travel accessories out there, but these 25 are the most important ones you need to know about. Let me know in the comments below if this guide helped you find some new travel accessories to take with you on this trip and if you have any other travel accessory recommendations, tell us all about them!
And if you’d like to know how you can fit all your newly bought travel accessories into your luggage, check out my Packing Guide.