Every time I pack for a trip I always ask myself what do I really need to take with me. After years of only traveling with a carry-on and not checking my bags I worked out my strategic guide to packing for a trip. If you're traveling out of a single suitcase these things will be the top things you should make sure are always in your bag.
I cannot encourage you enough to get a reusable laundry bag, something that packs down small when you don't need it, yet can fit at least a half to full suitcase full of laundry. Living out of a single suitcase when traveling I always worry about my worn clothes starting to smell and making my clean clothes soiled with their smell.
A reusable laundry bag is the perfect companion for multi-day trips. Pack away your dirty clothes and separate them away from your clean clothes while on your trips. That will guarantee your clothes stay fresh for longer.
I use to not be a fan of bringing a reusable water bottle in my bag for the longest time. I always thought it took up space and I could rely on water bottles or refreshments on my journey. A recent trip changed that for me when I decided to take a water bottle with me to Australia. I ended up going through some remote forests and long bus journeys. Without many stops a long the way I came to appreciate higher capacity water bottles.
I picked up the Hydro Flask Lightweight (21 fl. oz.) water bottle before my trip and found it worked out perfect. It had just the right amount of increased space for water and was lightweight enough where it didn't add any additional bulk to my bag.
In an increasingly connected world if our devices aren't charged we feel left out. And watching the battery percentage tick down without easy access to chargers is a dreaded feeling. Last year I was recommended the MINIX 66W & MINIX NEO P3 100W. These Gallium Nitride (GaN) chargers are completely small and compact and they come with world adapters making it an easy choice to throwing in your bag. I keep the 66W in my backpack while the 100W stays in my suitcase. The smaller one is easy for charging my electronics and even my phone, while the larger 100W charger is perfect for charging my laptop, with the extra ports it beats out carrying around this plus the Apple proprietary charger.
I respect all of our cleaners in the industry, they are hard working and have to keep up at record pace to make it through airplanes during short turns. While they do a great job of cleaning and turning an aircraft sometimes they miss something. Maybe it was some juice spilled on the tray table, or a sticky arm rest seat, sometimes things go overlooked and I don't blame them. I usually carry a healthy amount of disinfecting wipes along with me to make a once over if something isn't 100% clean.
While you could have someone come back and clean it for you or struggle trying to get a flight attendant to get you extra wipes during boarding, it can be a struggle. Being self sufficient means I can do it my way.
Sometimes long travel days can kill your body, around the 10-12 hour mark I start getting aches and sometimes headaches from being at altitude for a long time. There was one time I was flying from Chicago to Mexico City to Madrid (for a mileage run) in one day. During my second segment about halfway across the ocean I started to get a terrible headache. It may have been dinner, or it may have been the dry air and higher cabin altitude but my body was starting to struggle.
Having an emergency stash of asprin can really help you push through the long days wether intentionally inflicted or not.
This is another absolute must have. Invest in a quality set of bag tags that provide clear contact information. If you've ever been forced to check your bag it can mean the difference between losing your bag forever and being reunited with your bag. I personally have a set of metal bag tags that have been engraved with my name, email address, and phone number. The engraving can never fade like ink, or be ripped like paper.
If you're an iPhone user and you don't already know the magic of the AirTag, you're missing out. These little disks are a man's best friend to ensuring that when you're seperated from your bag or personal belongings that you always know where they are. If you do invest in AirTags I would highly suggest that you hide them in your bags rather than attaching to the outside, that way they'll never be torn off or intentionally removed. I personally have one on my keys, inside my backpack, in my luggage, and one hidden inside my laptop sleeve.
They work anywhere and like bag tags if you're seperated from your luggage you always know where it might be.
3. "Nice" Clothes
I find myself flying standby a lot, as an airline employee it's a perk of the job but it can also be a curse. Never knowing what actual flight you're going to be on you need to have backup plans. I am fortunate enough to be eldigible to ride in the cockpit of an airplane, with that comes rules and standards that I must adhear to. I always travel with some slacks, a button up shirt, and lightweight dress shoes. Just in case I ever need to fly in the cockpit I'm ready to change at a moments notice.
For the regular traveler, you never know when you're going to be in a situation where being dressed up will help you out.
I have never thought airline headphones were any good. They always seem to have poor quality, frequency response, and distort audio. Being able to use my own high quality headphones is always preferrable. I invested a few years ago into portable bluetooth transmitter that you can plug into any Inflight Entertainment system. Audio quality is spectatular on your own headphones, it can allow you to use wireless headphones, and some particular models allow you to share your audio with up to 2 sets of headphones.
As an addon to this accessory I would also pick up a airplane adapter for dual pole plugs.
A good pair of noise cancelling headphones is a must when traveling. People are... well... annoying. Creating your own isolated space to watch your IFE, listen to music, or just enjoy some zen time on an airplane is a life saver when it comes to lasting on long or cramped flights. I'm not sure if I can recomend a one-size-fits-all solution to noise cancelling headphones, the technology that goes into them can create different pressure points in your ears depending on the technology they are using. Personally I use a pair of Bose over-ear headphones and find they work quite well. I would suggest if you ever struggle with proper noise cancelling headphones try a different brand and test out how they feel. There should be a pair that's right for just about everyone.
These are just a few of the common things I always pack with my on my trips. Things will vary depending on the type of trip you're going on and what kind of resources you'll have on the other side. Take this as a great starting point to make sure you have everything you need for a great trip.