When you're getting ready to head out on a trip, it's extremely easy as a new traveler to get caught up in what to pack, especially in the travel accessories department.
Should you take a separate camera, or will the camera on your phone be enough? Laptop or no laptop? Do you even need to bring electronics at all?
To get to the bottom of these questions I asked dozens of expert travel bloggers, minimalists, digital nomads and online entrepreneurs a simple and open to interpretation question to see what accessories they never leave home without:
"Your best friend surprises you with a trip, you don't know where you're going or for how long and they are rushing you because the flight leaves soon. What are the 3 best travel accessories you love traveling with that you make sure to grab as you run out the door?"
Many of the people below have been travelling and blogging non-stop for YEARS, and some of the answers will seem very obvious, but the goal of this article is not to reveal some unknown travel accessory that will revolutionize the way you travel, but rather to show the gear doesn't really matter as much as people might think - what matters is getting up and going, knowing you'll figure it out along the way.
Ultimately, travel is a very personal experience, and it's up to you what you want to bring along (or not) to make sure your travels are enjoyable.
So without further ado, here are what the experts recommend never leaving home without...
Best Travel Accessories (As Voted By 40 Experts)
Read on to discover each expert’s best travel accessories they'd grab on their way out the door, along with some awesome tips to go with their choices...
You can either skip to your favorite expert using these quick links, or grab your beverage of choice and enjoy them all.
3 Travel Essentials To Never Leave Home Without
Responses listed in the order they were received...
1. My Topo Designs Klettersack - Big enough to fit all your stuff (traveling light), small enough for a carry-on that slips under the seat in front of you.
2. My Sony RX 100 ii - fits in your pocket, takes DSLR quality photos. Best point and shoot camera on the market.
3. My Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody Jacket - pop the hood and curl up on the plane, use a a pillow, keeps you warm if you need it, rolls up into nothing when packed.
Our 3 favorite best travel accessories that we bring on every trip:
1) Smart Phone - It doubles as a camera. We get great pics that we upload and share on the spot with Instagram and Twitter. With apps like Expedia, we use it to book hotels (we often get great last minute deals)...and Tripit (which notifies us of flight and gate changes).
2) Power/Battery packs - we never know when we are going to find an outlet so these are key to keeping everything charged.
3) Sandi: Air Repair - an awesome travel size set of skin care designed for people who fly a lot. Rick: House of Jerky - great source of protein on those long travels days when food isn’t always accessible.
1) High-quality earplugs. This is important; not the kind you squish and try to stuff into your ear before they expand, but the heavy-duty ones drummers wear on stage. I started wearing them to gigs on the advice of a tinnitus-suffering musician friend, but they are now essential for any travelling I do. Mine are ridged so you can control how much sound to block out; toggle between "dead to the world" for jetlag naps, keep out ambient noise if you need to concentrate, or have them on a 'low' setting if you just want to take the edge out of airplane noise.
2) A big, comfy zip-up hoodie. Not only useful in almost any climate, but the best thing around for dealing with unpredictable airplane air. Often the cabin can be sauna-like when getting on the plane, but then you awake later from a doze in an arctic blast, and not all airlines give you blankets.
3) A notebook. Even when not on a specific assignment. To record impressions and overheard snippets of conversation in new countries. I've had some of my best ideas for stories or plans after a beer or two in airport bars - but I know I never remember them unless i write them down.
I actually answered this very question in a blog post: http://everything-everywhere.com/2012/09/04/literally-the-only-three-things-you-need-to-travel/
The only things you need are a credit card, a passport and a smartphone.
Hmmm.... I think I might echo Mr T, "I ain't getting on no plane..."
Well, certainly not for a jaunt into Europe! ;0)
Passport, smartphone and charger? Actually, I'd need a reading book, I'll go anywhere as long as I have a good book, and no I haven't 'gone kindle' yet.
And if you'll take the passport as a given and the book as not a gadget, I'd take my Anker back-up battery and fold-out keyboard for the phone. The Anker holds its charge beautifully, and it's more difficult that you think to always be near a plug socket to keep the phone going. And I hate typing on a phone screen, my fingers are just too big!
1) Pikkpack Shoes - Comfy shoes that are not hideously ugly are an important travel accessory, and I love these androgynous leather flats, which you literally construct yourself. They’re minimal and versatile, which means they do the job of several pairs of shoes.
2) Petzl Headlamp (Zipka Plus) - I love these tiny lamps so much that I have three of them. The head strap retracts, making the whole lamp about the size of a lime. A flashlight is essential for safety while travelling, and it also makes a great reading lamp.
3) Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones - These cut out the noise of plane engines, crying babies, and generally annoying humans. With a phone full of audiobooks and music, plus good headphones, I’m perfectly happy to spend 24+ hours in transit.
I'll probably just go without taking anything (except the passport and CC, of course).
I mean, the only things I need are a toothbrush and perhaps some baking soda, but I can always buy it in the destination. And even if i'm not rushed, that's what I take. Take that for example. You're catching me here a day before a month long trip to Africa.
This is exactly how my gear looks like: 1x merino wool shorts, 1x merino wool shirt, 1x merino wool panties, 1xsmartphone (no internet, only for camera and notes), 1xtoothbrush, baking soda (deodorizer), credit card.
So I suppose your question is what I think are the best travel accessories? I'd say there is no such beast as a must-have. But if merino wool shirt, pants and undies count as three travel accessories, I'd give my vote to them.
Emily says: Adam, Colette & Sierra are my favorite travel accessories! If my best friend was taking me on a trip, I expect it would be a very different trip than life on the road in the van. I would grab my debit card, Raen Luci sunglasses and my MacBook Air to check emails and skype my family.
First of all I would be ecstatic. I love me an adventure!
Assuming I couldn't just grab my emergency travel kit (which I always keep pre-packed http://www.lifelisted.com/ blog/ridiculously-practical- guide-moving-new-country/#kit), credit card (which has a high spending limit for just such an adventure) and passport, I'd grab the following:
1. Gaffer's tape (It has all of the benefits of duct tape but doesn't leave residue or melt in heat.)
2. My camera (which is my phone)
3. Another friend (the more the merrier!)
Pretty open-ended and limited info, but here goes on the accessories:
1) Earplugs - Essential to sleep, if we're headed where there's noise. Crucial in SE Asia for example where animal and human activity begins in the wee hours.
2) Packable Windbreaker - Rolls/folds into its own self-contained pouch. I carry it all the time at home and on the road. It's another layer, warm, repels water, the belly pouch serves as another quick gear store if needed.
3) Eagle Creek packing cubes to separate gear and clothes.
Given these exciting circumstances, I would not run out the door without first grabbing my dSLR camera, camcorder or laptop.
These three items are the most expensive things I own and they're the only must-have items I need to carry with me. I'd be more than willing to buy new clothes, toiletries or even replace my backpack; however, I'm lost without these three toys.
Well, I'd have to say...
My camera, its charger, and a heavy duty eyemask for sleeping.
The first two are absolute musts for me when I travel, and the third is a little something that I've been carrying around religiously for the past 5 years on the road.
Nothing better than having a good sleep mask when your hotel room is right across the street from neon lights or massive street lamps.
Firstly, my camera. I'm sucker for visual story-telling. In the post-google era, a simple Instagram photo @StephBeTravel can inspire a person to pack up and go.
Secondly, two good pairs of shoes: a set for hiking, and a fun pair of pumps! Anything else, I can do barefoot.
Thirdly, and most importantly -- a sense for kindness, ambition, and adventure. We are re-defining pretty with the adventurous spirit.
1) My iPhone because it's my guidebook, road map, social media dashboard all in one.
2) My DSLR because sometimes the iPhone camera just doesn't cut it.
3 best travel accessories:
1) iPhone 6 - I have music going for pretty much every minute that I'm awake, Throw in a way to book last minute bus tickets, find the hostel you're staying in, etc etc etc, and you got yourself a must have accessory.
2) Amazon kindle paperwhite with 3G - I read 2-3 books a week, and when living out of a backpack and traveling you spend a LOT of time sitting in bus stations, on buses, on planes, trains, and in cars....aka plenty of time to read (when you're not chatting with strangers and fellow travelers).
3) International plug adapter - allows you to charge your devices in any part of the world. Without this guy, #1 and #2 wouldn't get you very far!
4) Bonus: ex-officio boxers. Because, underwear. You're welcome.
My iPhone 6 for sure - I've got so many apps on it that I use for travel, from Local Eats, which helps me find restaurants to DuoLingo, which helps me practice languages. And of course I take tons of photos using Camera+. I've actually taken trips where pretty much my only accessory was my phone.
The other two things I never leave home without are my Kindle - I've got an old-school version with no bells and whistles, so it's just for books - and a water bottle.
I try to avoid buying bottled water if I can, since water bottles are such pollutants. Since I don't know where I'm going, I'd probably grab my bottle that has a built in SteriPen so I can purify on the go if I need to.
I absolutely have to say my cell phone because I use it for all my bookings, maps, connections, social media etc, but if that is too boring, here are three more with links for elaboration:
1) My favorite travel skirt - It's an athletic running skort, can be dressed up or down and is ready for anything!