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Packing for a trip is a big task. What should I take? Is this too much? What if I’ve forgotten something? Then there are the airline weight limits and the limited size of luggage bags. We've spent too many hours writing lists and deliberating over what to pack, but along the way, we have also learnt from our mistakes. We wouldn't call ourselves experts just yet, but we have a few tips and tricks to help our fellow travellers prepare for their next adventure.

10 Essential Travel Items



This list is for essential travel items you may not have thought of. For a full list of what we pack, check out our guide What To Pack For Full-Time Travel.


Surely these days, everyone would own at least one reusable water bottle. You can get them in all shapes, sizes and designs. Not only is it important to stay hydrated and avoid contributing to single-use plastic waste, but bringing one from home will also save you money, as bottled water can be pricey in tourist locations. Bring a reusable bottle to fill up at taps and filtered water stations, or if the water is not safe to drink, look into filters or purchase the larger size bottled water and decant this into yours as needed.


When travelling long-term or on a budget, these collapsible containers are a must. You can find them online and in many shops with outdoor and camping gear. They are lightweight and fold down, taking up very little space. We use these mainly for food, but occasionally for miscellaneous storage needs too. They have come in handy for preparing budget meals in hotels without kitchen essentials, saving money by bringing our own food or leftovers, and sneaking a few extra snacks from the hotel buffet to last the rest of the day.


You’ll notice the word “reusable” is repeated in this article a lot. It’s no secret that shifting from single-use items to reusable products cuts out unnecessary waste, but they can also save money and time. Zip-lock bags have numerous uses and don’t take up room or weight. We use zip-lock bags to avoid liquid products leaking in our suitcases (start doing this now, don’t learn the hard way), to separate and organise small items and to store leftovers. There are many brands who produce good-quality zip-lock bags that can handle wear and tear, like machine-washable silicone ones or the very sturdy IKEA ISTAD bags.


Whether you buy a pre-made one or build your own, a first aid kit is a must for all travellers. These can vary in size and contents, depending on the type of travel and your own medical needs and preferences. You may not even need to use the kit, but if you do, it is nice to have the staple items available that you know and trust. An example of some items to include in your first aid kit could be band-aids (adhesive bandages/plasters), antiseptic cream, eye drops, tweezers, painkillers, antihistamines or motion sickness tablets.


A souvenir we purchased from a market in Bali quickly became a versatile staple in our travel essentials. A large scarf or sarong can be utilised in so many ways while also taking up little space in your bag. It can be used as an item of clothing, an accessory to add a pop of colour, a cover-up at religious sites, protection from the sun, an extra layer for some warmth or a beach/picnic rug.


Another great souvenir purchase we made at a market in Singapore is our reusable and foldable shopping bag. This colourful, sturdy bag folds into a small rectangle and weighs next to nothing. It lives in our day packs and is used almost every day, either for groceries and other shopping or as an extra bag for our things when moving around. This tote has saved us from needing to purchase bags at the checkout or consistently wasting single-use plastic bags.


Essential Sustainable Travel Items - Reusable Earplugs

If you are someone who is sensitive to

sound, let us introduce you to reusable earplugs. You’ve probably seen the silicone earplugs they give out on long-haul flights. These can be very handy to help cut out the snoring from your fellow passengers, but once you reach the hotel located next to a bar, the motel along a busy main road or the hostel with a dorm full of strangers, you’ll be wishing you had another pair. These reusable earplugs we purchased from an Australian brand called loop earplugs. They are great quality, very affordable, take up barely any space and have ensured we get a good night’s sleep despite our ever-changing surroundings.


Depending on how long or how light you’re travelling, you may need to wash your clothes while away. Some laundromats and machines will include the powder or sell small sachets, while others don’t. In those cases, instead of buying large packs meant for households, look instead for laundry sheets. These are much lighter to pack than washing powder or liquid and less likely to spill into your luggage.


Deciding what clothes to pack for a holiday can be hard, but needing to pack for both summer and winter weather can be even trickier. Winter gear usually takes up the most amount of room, so to avoid losing space for summer clothes, invest in some good-quality, lightweight and compact warmer layers. We both love puffer jackets; they are light and can be rolled and squished into small spaces, yet they are warm and comfortable.

For great quality jackets, we would recommend looking at trusted outdoor and hiking brands. Bec is obsessed with her puffer from Macpac.

We also bring thermals which are easily worn underneath to make any outfit suitable for winter but still lightweight for packing.

The thermals/HEATTECH from Uniqlo are quite affordable, good quality and very comfortable.

One beanie, a pair of gloves, thermal socks and a hiking scarf/bandana is also worth throwing in. These small items help keep warm without needing a whole other wardrobe.

What to pack for travel in winter


This item is more of a packing style and is admittedly not for everyone, but packing cubes can be an extremely helpful addition to your suitcase. There is no right or wrong way to use packing cubes; whatever works for you is best. We love how packing cubes keep our suitcases organised and tidy, especially when we’re moving around a lot. However, we don’t use the cubes in the same way. Bec uses multiple cubes to separate clothing by type, keep miscellaneous accessories together and compact everything to fit into her suitcase. Clark uses one big cube to separate smaller pieces, like underwear and socks, from the rest of the bag.

We would also recommend getting a set of packing cubes that come with a dirty clothes bag or buying a small sack from an outdoor store, like Macpac, to keep your laundry separate.

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