Vacation season is here, and whether you’re planning a local beach trip, a great American road trip, or planning to explore the world by bicycle, there are a few things no traveler should hit the road without. So before you head to the airport, make sure you’ve got these items packed — you can thank us later.
1. A Battery Pack Charger: Getting stuck with a dead phone is a quick way to ruin a trip, whether it’s because you miss a photo opportunity or because you have no way to navigate. A battery pack like this 10,000 MAH option from Anker ($30) can charge your phone up to four times, and you can recharge the battery when you’re safely back at your hotel.
2. A Reusable Water Bottle: Save the planet and skip out on purchasing bottled water. Any reusable water bottle will do if you’re traveling within the US, but if you’re doing a lot of international travel, consider a water purifier bottle like this Grayl Ultralight ($60). The difference is that, beyond filtering for flavor, this bottle also removed 99.9999 percent of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa — keeping you safe from diseases like Hepatitis A and Giardia while you’re abroad.
3. A Hat: Hats really come down to personal preference, but if you know you’ll be wandering around a lot, opt for something full-coverage that comes with a chin strap (in case of windy weather) like this C.C. Serenita hat ($16). It’s also helpful if it can handle a bit of sweat — and be cute enough that you won’t mind it being in, like, a lot of your vacation photos.
4. A Sweet Snack: You’ve heard of hungry, you’ve heard of hangry, but then there’s thangry — travel hungry angry. Travel is exhausting, and you’ve got to fuel yourself well so you don’t crash in the middle of a museum tour. Keep something sweet (but healthy!) like these Purely Elizabeth bars ($28 for 12) on hand.
5. A Salty Snack: Okay, yes, sugar is a good mood booster — but if you’re in hot climates, you’re going to be sweating out a lot of salt, and you’ll need to replenish it. Keep salty snacks on hand, too, and bonus points if the snack includes protein like these Epic meat bars ($26 for 12) do.
6. A Dry Bag: You never know when you’re going to get caught in a rainstorm or jump aboard a kayak, and it’s essential to keep the most important items — like laptops, cameras, and travel documents — dry. Alternately, if you’re doing swimming, the dry bag can act as a wet bag — keeping your suit from getting everything else in your pack wet. You can go fancy like this Marchway bag ($13+), which also transforms into a single-strap purse or double-strap backpack, or you can just keep a couple of Ziplocs with you.
7. A Warm Jacket: Even if you’re going to a super sunny place, sometimes the evenings can get surprisingly chilly, and it’s never fun to have to call it an early night because your tank top isn’t cutting it. Pack a lightweight down or synthetic jacket that rolls up small, like this one from Columbia ($96).
8. A Lens Cleaner: One of the best parts of travel is finding a way to capture your experience on camera. Whether you’re taking all of your pictures on an iPhone or lugging camera equipment with you, one small but very important item to have on hand is a lens cleaner, such as this one from Camkix ($7). No more blurry photos for you!
9. Sandals: Even if you don’t think you’ll be doing any long-term walking in sandals, having a pair is excellent for everything from being your go-to shower shoes to slip-ons if you need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Flip flops will do, but if you want something that works just as well on the beach as on a trail, Xero sandals like the Z-Trail ($80) are rugged but super light.
What travel items do you bring wherever you go? Share your essentials with on Twitter @BritandCo!
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