There are a few useful items I’ve found myself wishing I had packed with me during my travels, especially on international trips lasting more than a few weeks. Some of them I subsequently bought on the road, others I’ve suffered without. Consider bringing these things with you the next time you’re jet setting domestically and beyond.
A large Scarf This is your source of warmth, your pillow, your picnic blanket, and your tote in a crisis. At the very least, you can use it as padding to protect fragile items in your suitcase. If you’re going somewhere warm, bring a lightweight summer scarf to sit on at the beach, and for places below 70 degrees, a wool blend one will work great.
Reusable Tote You’re going to have to carry extra stuff. Groceries, day tripping items, a baguette and several bottles of wine, who knows. Lots of European grocery stores charge extra for plastic bags, and it’s pretty wasteful to accumulate them throughout your trip anyways. The tote can also be your laundry bag to separate out dirty things, or again something to wrap up breakables, and even as overflow luggage if you can’t help but accrue things during your journey. I recommend the free ones you get with department/clothing store purchases or the stronger ones from grocery stores. You won’t be heartbroken if it rips or gets dirty.
A brick of laundry soap Detergent doesn’t have to be in liquid form! This is great news, because you are going to pack clothing items that you intend to wear more than once, especially if you’re abroad for a week plus. Now you can hand wash socks, underwear, and anything else that needs freshening up without having to track down a washing machine. I keep the brick intact and just rub it onto all of the clothing, agitate them in the sink with water, leave for 10 minutes, then rinse and hang up everything to dry.
Travel tissues Some toilet stalls aren’t properly stocked when you need it the most.
Reusable water bottle Water isn’t free everywhere, y’all. Bring a bottle to refill! Even one of those that you can compress and stow in your luggage, but you’re probably going to have it out and filled most of the time. Obviously this applies best to places you can trust the water from faucets.
Ear plugs People snore and babies cry and drunk people yell outside your window in Florence until 3AM on a Monday. Headphones + a white noise app can do wonders as well. I prefer brown noise, it’s a lower pitch.
Long plane, train, and automobile rides are the perfect time to consume a book, and the most minimalist way of traveling is to not bring a physical book at all. This is where eBooks and Audiobooks come in, and sometimes after long days of looking, you want to give your eyeballs a rest.