12 Items I Never Travel Without

We’re in the final stretch guys – 1 more sleep until we head to the Caribbean for 17 days! I cannot wait to be reunited with my family! I just finished packing and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share some of the items I never travel without.

As a mom, the key to comfortable travel is planning ahead and being organized, so there are definitely some things I always take with me.

First, let’s go over the essentials.

I feel like some things are so easy to forget, but are really important on any trip, no matter the duration. Some of these things are: sunglasses, chapstick, hair tie, headphones, charger, and a pen. They are always at the top of my packing list! I also usually dress the boys in layers and pack a blanket scarf for myself in case I want extra warmth or something cozy on the plane.

I always pack a ton of activities for the boys.

The key here is lightweight and mess-free. By that, I mean no small lego pieces, markers, puzzles, or the worst mess-maker of all, slime (did I ever mention that I hate this stupid trend? It’s the messiest thing ever!) I usually grab a bunch of light activity books with stickers, magnets, mess-free coloring, water pens, etc. as well as a couple travel Play Doh packets if the boys get antsy at the airport. The iPad is a life saver on the airplane – the trick is to download a bunch of movies, shows + videos on Youtube, Netflix, and Disney + so your kids can watch their favorite shows while in the air. Don’t forget to do this ahead of time when you have good wifi!

Snacks will save your life.

My boys are huge eaters. Like the biggest snackers of all time. I always pack various snacks for them to eat throughout the trip: small sandwiches, pretzels, crackers, cheese sticks, apples, tomatoes, cucumbers, granola bars… but also some treats like lollipops and fruit gummies. My kids don’t get sweets on a daily basis, so this is something that I know will keep them happy and busy during the flight. Lollipops are great for take off and landing – no ear popping! More on that below.

Here’s the breakdown:

#1 / NaSaDen Aluminum Frame Luggage: Such a fan of this luggage line! The aluminum frame gives your luggage extra protection and makes it extra durable. It’s super lightweight and has 4 double suitcase spinner wheels that ensure smooth-rolling mobility in any direction. 

#2 / 3 in 1 Headphone Jack Adapter: Such a great little tool to bring when you have two kids who always fight over the iPad. Two AUX jacks = Problem solved.

#3 / Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer & Volumizer Hot Air Brush: Are you sick of this brush yet? I feel like I’m constantly talking about it! But it really is revolutionary and, for me, has become the only hair tool I use and need. No more packing blow dryers, straighteners, and curling irons. 

#4 /Woosh Beauty Fold Out Face Palette: This palette is incredible! From contours, highlighters, and blush to eye shadows, eyebrow pencils, concealers, and setting powders, you have everything you need in one place. Makes the perfect travel palette! I’ll definitely share more about this while on vacation.

#5 / Digital Luggage Scale: A must if you’re always cutting it close to the limit when you travel.

#6 / EZ Packing Clear Packing Cubes: I am so happy I got these! I use them for makeup, sunscreen / beauty products, and medicine, but also to separate the boys’ clothing from mine. It keeps things organized in one big suitcase and I love it!

#7 / Boon SNUG Lids with Snack Cups: Going back to the snack topic, these little lids are really handy for snacks on the go. They fit on most cups!

#8 / Travel Wallet / Passport Organizer: I love ours! When you’re in charge of the family passports, it’s so much easier to keep everything in one safe, zipped up place. I love the extra card slots and pockets so that I can just use it as my wallet while I travel.

#9 / Drunk Elephant Baby Juju and Baby Pekee Bar Soap Travel Case: The best face wash! It is no secret that I love Drunk Elephant, and have used these face soaps for years now. I actually like the travel case more because the soaps never get soggy and wet – they’re the perfect size! I love having both an exfoliating and moisturizing option when I’m away, and have to say my skin is always glowing when I use this line. 

#10 / Lily Jade Diaper Bag: The best diaper bag. Period. So much room! It’s also such great quality leather. Obsessed.

#11 / Saf-T Pops: I always pack Lolleez for Liam because they’re organic and relatively clean, but Noah is still little and I love that these lollipops have a safety stick to prevent choking. I always have a few of these in my bag when we’re shopping (like at Trader Joe’s!) in case Liam gets a lollipop and Noah has a fit for one as well.

#12 / Wide Brim Straw Panama Roll up Hat: This hat is perfect for vacation, and so convenient because it rolls up and doesn’t lose its shape in your suitcase. It also costs less than $16 so that’s a major bonus, too!

What are your travel essentials?

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Some more travel posts:

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Johanna Riehm teaches in the department of Communication and Media at Manhattanville College and in the department of English at Mercy College. She teaches courses in the history of communication, public speaking, and social media, as well as creative and technical writing workshops. Johanna’s work has been featured in Graffiti Literary Magazine, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Bangalore Review, Cactus Heart Press, and the LaMothe Review. She is working on her first longer work, a creative nonfiction novel called We Carved Our Names in Tamarind Trees.

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