First off, if you don’t have one already, get an Amazon Prime Membership. Students get a 6-month/1 year free trial and non-students are offered a month long trial (time to put that new email address to use!). Why? Because you get items for free shipping within two days, which eliminates any worries about receiving items on time. But be forewarned – this can definitely get addicting so watch your bank accounts carefully so that you’re not frivolously spending. Ebay is another great resource, but if you’re on a time crunch, I would definitely go with the guaranteed 2-day shipping policy.
- It’s a no brainer, right? But if you don’t have a wide variety of luggage pieces available to you at home, it can be somewhat overwhelming to choose the right fit for you. There are all these different sizes, colors, shapes, and functions. But from my research and experience, any trip four weeks or less for the solo traveler would be best suited with a 24″ upright luggage piece. This size is considered medium and although it means you will have to squeeze some of those souvenirs when you’re finally coming home, you will be absolutely certain that you will not exceed the weight limit for most airlines. I would also suggest a four-wheel spinner for two reasons: 1) two wheels and a packed suitcase = TIMBERRRRRR 2) You can place your carry-on luggage on top and simply push your luggage rather than straining your wrist with the weight. Lastly, color is important. I opted for a midnight green color so that it wouldn’t be too loud/daring, and it allowed me to locate my luggage immediately on all 10 flights I took. Oh, and there’s that struggle between quality and quantity – if you can afford to splurge a little on your suitcase, do it. You will definitely see why when your little friend puts up a fight and is there for you wholesome as ever at the end of your travels.
- USB External Battery Backup Charger
- I had always planned on buying one of these, but I am beyond thankful I had the sense to buy one before I went off traveling. This small, yet powerful device, saved my butt a few times in remote locations in Thailand and will prove to beneficial back home as well. Definitely look at every product and again, find a balance between quality and quantity. You don’t want a cheap version that will crap out after one use, but at the same time, you can definitely avoid putting down $40.
- USB cord
- A USB cord can go for as low as $0.01 on ebay. Sure, it might not be the best of quality, but rather than forking over $20 to an Apple Store and end up losing that cord during your travels, I found that a cheaper version is extremely helpful in terms of charging your phone on the go with your external battery.
- Toiletry/Cosmetic Travel Bag
- I am a fan of missglamorazzi, so when, in one of her videos, she displayed her Anya Hindmarch Inflight case with individual compartments, my OCD self knew that it would be extremely helpful to have. Finding out that it would cost me $250 however, killed my desire to buy it. A Google search however, led me to a see-through travel bag that also had compartments and a nifty hook that you could hang up in the shower. The price for this? 7.99. SOLD. Fit all my 100 ml bottles and my make-up and separated everything and could be held in my carry-on without any issues from security.
- Universal Worldwide Travel Charger/Adapter Plug
- Absolutely necessary. You can find a similar version on any website with varying prices. Sure, certain places you go will have outlets that are designed to fit a variety of styles. But my hair straightener would not work until I plugged it into this adapter and plugged that into the outlet. Besides, it’s small and easy to carry around.
- Luggage Digital Scale Travel Size
- My best friend let me borrow hers for my trip, but I ended up buying one as soon as I got home. Sure, the size of my luggage was small enough that I was able to stay below the weight limit. But 1) it was pretty interesting to see that just going to Sri Lanka upped my luggage weight by 5 lbs 2) saved my butt when I was on a Jetstar flight with strict weight restrictions.
- Gear Tie Reusable Rubber Twist Tie
- Now I admit, this may be more of an extra, rather than a necessity. But I’ll throw it in here just because it was beneficial for me. So if you have an extra $3 to spend, this may be worthwhile for you. Yes, I suppose you could just use rubber bands to tie everything together, but 1) rubber bands always seem to break at the worst of times 2) because these ties are brightly colored, it’s easy to locate your earphones in a sea of black/white cords. Plus, you have different sizes to choose from and again, it’s not that pricey!
- Passport Holder
- I laughed when my sister suggested I get this. I mean, why would I want a cover for a passport that I’ll only really use for flights? But because she insisted & agreed to pay for it, I ended up getting this pink case with the words “My Journey Everywhere” and a bow. A little corny, but it had an Anya Hindmarch vibe to it. Boarding my first plane leaving the US, I was a bit embarrassed to have this pink cover on my US passport, so I quickly took it off and hid it away. When I landed in China for a layover, I ended up freaking out for 20 minutes because I could not find my passport. The dark blue blended in with the depths of my bag and carry-on luggage and it was only after I extracted all my other items that I was able to find it. Lesson learned. I immediately re-dressed my passport with the cover and discovered that the pink allowed me to locate it immediately. It also has a nice pocket for boarding ticket stubs and what not – as a sentimental person, it was a great way to track my flights.
While I did want to buy a couple of packing cubes as well, my budget didn’t allow it, so I ended up settling for a pack-it garment folder by Eagle Creek. Since part of my traveling included an internship, I thought it would be useful to have to avoid any creases on my business wear. However, it didn’t end up preventing a lot and was more of a hassle than an actual benefit. I’d love to try cubes on my next round of traveling and see how those fare instead.