Traveling This Summer? Explore These 12 Essential Items You Should Never Forget to Pack (2023)

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While you can usually find what you need at your destination, you can save money and time by simply packing properly beforehand.

Traveling This Summer? Explore These 12 Essential Items You Should Never Forget to Pack (2)
Traveling This Summer? Explore These 12 Essential Items You Should Never Forget to Pack (3)
(Video) 10 Must Have Travel Essentials For This Summer

Macy Meyer Editor I

Macy Meyer is a N.C. native who graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2021 with a B.A. in English and Journalism. She currently resides in Charlotte, N.C., where she has been working as an Editor I, covering a variety of topics across CNET's Home and Wellness teams, including home security, fitness and nutrition, smart home tech and more. Prior to her time at CNET, Macy was featured in The News & Observer, The Charlotte Observer, INDY Week, and other state and national publications. In each article, Macy helps readers get the most out of their home and wellness. When Macy isn't writing, she's volunteering, exploring the town or watching sports.

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(Video) 15 Things to NEVER FORGET When PACKING for your CRUISE!

The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the way many people think and navigate travel. But if you're like me, you're eager to book your next trip, whether it's to another state or another continent. Traveling can be exhilarating and eye-opening, but most of us dread the packing and preparation stages, especially when you consider packing for ever-changingweather, temperature and climate.

Even though I'm a notorious overpacker and planner, I inevitably forget to include something and am forced to buy whatever I left behind. (Don't get me started about the trip where I forgot socks and pajamas.) While you can usually find what you need at your destination, you can save money and time by simplypacking properly beforehand.

You might not be likely to forget things like clothes or shoes, but what about less obvious items that will make your trip smoother and more comfortable? Whether you already have your trip booked or you're planning in advance, these are the 12 things you should bring on your next vacation. (For more travel tips, learn about the best way to pack a carry-on and check out this travel checklist.)

Best Luggage, Wheeled Cases, Duffels and Carry-Ons 2023 See at Cnet

1. Hygiene items and prescriptions

On your travels, the last thing you want to forget is any essential hygiene or medical item. While you can easily get more deodorant to stay fresh on your trip, it's much more important to remember medications that will be incredibly difficult to replace once you arrive at your destination. This includes contact lenses, birth control, prescription glasses and any other medications.

For women, most times we can plan a trip around our cycle, but sometimes life happens. It can be very costly and uncomfortable to be on a trip without sanitary items, especially when you need them. So, just make it a habit to pack a few. It's better to have them and not need them than to not have them and need them.

2. A reusable water bottle

Traveling This Summer? Explore These 12 Essential Items You Should Never Forget to Pack (5)

If you're spending hours walking through city streets or going on a full-day hike in a national park, you're going to need to hydrate frequently. It's not always easy to access water in certain destinations -- not to mention how brutally hot or humid it can be in certain climates -- so taking a refillable bottle with you is always helpful.

Sure, you could rely on purchasing water bottles at your destination, but water is often expensive in popular tourist hubs or hotels, and grocery or convenience stores aren't always nearby, especially in rural or woodland areas.

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Here's a list ofsome great water bottles. If your destination's tap water isn't drinkable, think about awater bottle with a built-in filter.

3. Portable power banks

When traveling, you're likely going to be using your phone more -- pulling up boarding passes, looking up places to go and directions to those places, keeping in touch with friends and family back home and taking hundreds of pictures. All of this drains your battery, and it can be frustrating to interrupt your busy itinerary of sightseeing to charge your phone. Plus, access to power outlets is never guaranteed.

That's why it's always good to bring a portable power bank with you. Power banks put the power in your pocket for easy access and usually aren't too expensive. I recommend investing in one that's not only reliable, but can also charge your phone multiple times before needing to be charged itself.

Read also:Must-Have Travel Gadgets to Make International Trips Stress-Free

4. Towelettes

Traveling This Summer? Explore These 12 Essential Items You Should Never Forget to Pack (6)

While bus tours or subway rides can be super fun, they're not always the most cleanly of places. During your travels, you're likely going to have to grab "high-touch" objects like remote controls, light switches, telephones, doorknobs, faucet handles, etc. so it's important to keep hygiene in mind to prevent illness.

Washing your hands might not always be an immediate option so make sure to pack a few towelettes with you. Plus, small wipes should make it through security checkpoints without issue.

5. A quick-dry towel

Towels come in handy more often than not and you never know when one might save the day. Maybe you spilled on your outfit or got caught in a rainstorm and need to dry off quickly. Or maybe you arrived at your hotel or Airbnb only to find they didn't provide towels.

Quick-drying towels are not the most luxurious option, but they're lightweight and easy to stow away while traveling. Most importantly, they dry super fast so you can clean up and pack it up in your bag without too much of a wait.

6. Plastic bags

If there's one travel necessity I swear by, it's a plastic bag. Need to pack up your muddy shoes? Plastic bag. Want to separate worn dirty clothing from your clean items? Plastic bag.

While plastic or trash bags are not the most glamorous travel item, they have a multitude of uses and won't take up much space in your luggage.

7. A packable backpack

I consistently pack too much in my carry-on luggage. I want to bring my cameras, hat, sunglasses, a change of clothes and some toiletries just in case my checked back is lost. But all of these items quickly add up to leave very little room in my backpack. And usually, I don't want to take them all with me as I tool around the destination I'm visiting.

I suggest taking another smaller, preferably foldable backpack that you can use as you tour. This will keep you from having to pack and repack your carry-on bag. Plus, you can use it to carry the souvenirs you pick up along the way.

8. Bottle protectors

I come back from almost every trip I take with a bottle of wine or specialty beer as a souvenir. I love bringing a special bottle of beer, liquor or wine home to share with friends and family as I tell them about my adventures.

(Video) What a great start to an 18 hour road trip😎 Credit kate_sperry

But before that can happen, the bottle has to actually make it through the trip home. And that means you'll need to bring a form of protection. Many people swear by the wine-bottle-in-the-sock method or will swaddle the glass bottles with their clothes, but I prefer to pack an actual protective bottle bag. I recommend aprotective bottle bagwith padding and a zipper top that will help protect your clothing.

9. Dryer sheets

Traveling This Summer? Explore These 12 Essential Items You Should Never Forget to Pack (7)

For me, this is a no-brainer. When you're walking miles and miles through various train or bus stations, airports and cities, you're going to work up quite the sweat. And your shoes will likely pay the price.

Bring several dryer sheets with you to help mask the smell of your shoes. Upon returning to the hotel or Airbnb at the end of your day, simply place a dryer sheet in each shoe to help aerate them.

10. A universal plug adapter

Traveling This Summer? Explore These 12 Essential Items You Should Never Forget to Pack (8)

You probably already know this. I'm going to remind you anyway: If you're traveling abroad, you need a plug adapter. Outlets in the US are a different size from outlets overseas, which means if you intend to use electronic devices in a different country, you'll need an adapter.

You could try to buy one at your destination, but they can be expensive and hard to find. It's best to pack one with you before you go to save time and money.

11. A travel router

OK, this might seem like overkill, but a travel router has saved me on more than one occasion. Internet connection is not always reliable when traveling or in certain rural areas, and establishing a wired connection is almost always going to be more dependable than wireless (especially in hotels). I feel much safer traveling knowing I have a stable connection to call in case of an emergency, keep up with the group I'm traveling with or connect with loved ones back home.

Here's some more good news: Travel routers are usually small, affordable and easy to pack. You can buy one for anywhere between $20 and $100, and they're usually not much larger than a wall adapter.

12. A packable down or rain jacket

No matter if you're heading to a tropical destination or hitting the streets of a European city, it's always wise to bring an extra down or rain jacket (or umbrella if you have the space). Even if you check the forecast religiously, you could still get caught in a freak rainstorm or have a chillier night than expected.

One of the best options that won't weigh down your suitcase is bringing a packable down or rain jacket that can easily fold up. Trust me, it's better to be safe than sorry.

Final thoughts

Traveling can be a life-altering experience that creates memories that last a lifetime. But before you can experience all the magic of the cities around the world, you have to pack. And packing the right way can make all the difference by reducing stress and saving you money in the long run. While everyone might have a different idea of what items are essential for traveling, the 12 recommendations above are what I have found to be the most useful during my own trips.

If you're planning a vacation soon and are stressed about preparing, we have plenty of resources to help. Get ready for your next trip with these hacks and tips:

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  • I've Traveled All Over the World. Here Are 7 Things I Always Pack
  • 6 Smart Ways to Save Money on Travel Despite Rising Flight Costs
  • Is Travel Insurance Worth It? What to Know Before Your Next Trip
  • 8 Google Travel Features to Make Trip Planning Easier
  • Out of PTO? Here's How to Travel Without Using Vacation Days


Traveling This Summer? Explore These 12 Essential Items You Should Never Forget to Pack? ›

Toothbrushes, razors, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, floss, toiletries, soap, etc. These items are some of the most forgotten items on vacations, and it makes sense.

What is the most forgotten item when Travelling on vacation? ›

Toothbrushes, razors, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, floss, toiletries, soap, etc. These items are some of the most forgotten items on vacations, and it makes sense.

What are the essential things you need when you travel? ›

Here are 10 essential travel items that you will need for your next trip!
  • Travel steamer. Carrying a small travel steamer with you is especially helpful when travelling for a long period of time. ...
  • Portable battery. ...
  • Moisturiser. ...
  • Camera. ...
  • Hard drive. ...
  • First aid kit. ...
  • Travel adapters. ...
  • Toilet roll.
Jul 1, 2021

What is the most important thing you always bring with you when you travel Why? ›


When traveling, it's a must to have your identification card and passport with you. You never know when you might need them, whether for security reasons or to get a visa. Make sure that you keep them in a safe place while you're on your trip and be prepared to show them if needed.

What is the most forgotten item? ›

Toothbrush is the #1 most forgotten item with 18% of respondents. Men are less forgetful than women -- at least, according to how they responded. The least forgotten thing is food; with men being more forgetful of food compared to women.

What are five things you always take for vacation? ›

5 Essentials You Need On Every Vacation
  • CAMERA. Whether your phone is your camera or you're a DSLR-toting pro, a camera is must for any vacation. ...
  • PHOTO ID. This one isn't a super fun item to bring along, but it's arguably the most important. ...
  • SUNSCREEN. ...
  • CASH. ...

What not to take when traveling? ›

10 Things You Should Never Pack for Vacation
  • Anything irreplaceable. Sad to say, there are sometimes thieves among us. ...
  • Valuables with no ID. It happens to all of us; we put down our phone, get distracted and forget to pick it up. ...
  • Wine. ...
  • Sunscreen. ...
  • Reading material. ...
  • Too many shoes. ...
  • Hair dryer. ...
  • A 'maybe' outfit.
Jun 20, 2015

Which summer clothes are best? ›

We should wear cotton clothes and light coloured clothes in summers. Cotton is a good absorber of water. Since we sweat a lot in summers, cotton clothes absorb sweat from our body and exposes the sweat to the atmosphere, making its evaporation faster.

How do I pack for a 10 day summer trip? ›

Follow the 5-4-3-2-1 packing trick, where you pack five tops, four bottoms, three dresses, three pairs of shoes, two swimsuits, two bags, and one of each of a few miscellaneous accessories. If you're opting for a carry-on, mix and match items in your travel capsule and have a versatile wardrobe.

What should I pack for a 6 day summer vacation? ›

What to pack for vacation
  • Classy, casual dresses. Since you're going to be in the summer heat, you don't want to pack dresses that are stuffy, heavy, too tight, or too stiff. ...
  • Your favorite hat. ...
  • One-piece swimsuit. ...
  • A summer-weight sweater. ...
  • Sunglasses. ...
  • Comfortable shoes.
Feb 18, 2023

What should I put in my hand luggage? ›

10 essential items to pack in your hand luggage
  1. Passport. We'll start with the most obvious one. ...
  2. Purse/wallet + money in two currencies and/or debit/credit cards. ...
  3. Mobile phone or tablet and charger. ...
  4. Headphones. ...
  5. Wet wipes. ...
  6. Tissues. ...
  7. Medication. ...
  8. Water bottle.
Aug 9, 2019

What is the most important in traveling? ›

Traveling is not only visiting a new place or seeing new spots you never see before, it's also a chance to know other people's culture and history! It gives you the chance to accept the other's culture and traditions and gives you the ability to adapt to the circumstances you live in this city with those people.

What is the number one thing forgotten by adults? ›

32% of people think forgetting someone's name is the worst mistake you can make, with 22% saying forgetting a partner's birthday is the biggest no-no. As for the most common things people are forgetting, they include: A password (51%) Things when I grocery shop (51%)

What is the most forgotten toiletries? ›

  • Contact Solution. This one is easy to forget, but many guests may need contact solution during their stay. ...
  • Make-up Remover. For many folks, the makeup remover is an essential item during their stay in a short-term rental. ...
  • Lip Balm. ...
  • Razors. ...
  • Shampoo, Conditioner & Body wash. ...
  • Hand Sanitizer. ...
  • Bottle Opener. ...
  • Sunscreen.
Dec 18, 2022

What sort of things people usually forget? ›

The study was conducted with 2,000 adults - The most common things forgotten included leaving without a phone, where your keys are, and misplacing your wallet. In total, most of the respondents were found to have forgotten over 1,400 things in a year. Women get more upset when they forget or misplace things.

What are 5 things you should do to prepare for the trip? ›

Here are some handy trip planning tips that will keep your prepared for the proverbial rainy-day.
  • Pick your destination. ...
  • Decide the duration of your trip. ...
  • Book flights, train, or bus tickets, and accommodation. ...
  • Plan the day-wise activities and course of action. ...
  • Pack diligently and make all the necessary adjustments.
Mar 23, 2023

What not to eat or drink on a plane? ›

“For this reason, I always avoid eating foods that make my stomach bloated and expand even more. These foods include onion, kale, beans, red meat, lentils, gluten, and broccoli.” Beyond foods, Remo added, it may be a good idea to steer clear of carbonated drinks that can also lead to an upset stomach in the air.

What not to pack in a suitcase when traveling? ›

Hold luggage banned items
  • Flammable liquids and solids.
  • Oxidisers such as bleaching powders.
  • Organic peroxides.
  • Tear gas devices or any gas cylinders.
  • Infectious substances such as live virus materials.
  • Wet-cell car batteries.
  • Magnetrons. Instruments containing mercury.
  • Instruments containing magnets.

What color is best to wear in summer? ›

Best Colors to Wear for Summer
  • White. Summer is a great time to wear white. ...
  • Khaki. Sandy hues like khaki, tan, and beige are all stylish for summer. ...
  • Turquoise. Turquoise is another color that's on-trend for the warmer months. ...
  • Yellow. ...
  • Fuchsia. ...
  • Any Color Can Be a Summer Color. ...
  • Related Articles.

What is the coolest material to wear? ›

Cotton. Cotton is one of the coolest fabrics for summer and hot weather. Not only is it cheap and hugely available, but it is also great for the heat. Cotton is soft, lightweight, breathable, and soaks up sweat, allowing heat to escape the body and for you to stay cool.

What color shirt keeps you coolest in summer? ›

White, yellow, gray, and red

It is commonly said that white is the most appropriate colour for summer temperatures because it keeps the body cool, unlike black which tends to absorb heat.

What is the 5 4 3 2 1 packing method? ›

Do the clothing countdown: If you need a mantra to help streamline your wardrobe, use the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rule for a weeklong trip: Limit yourself to no more than five sets of socks and underwear, four tops, three bottoms, two pairs of shoes and one hat. The list should be adjusted to suit your needs.

What is the 54321 packing list? ›

We believe the secret to becoming a light packer is the 54321 method. For a weeklong holiday, that means you'll need: five shirts and/or T-shirts, four pairs of trousers, three accessories (think hats, belts and sunglasses), two pairs of shoes and one pair of swimming trunks.

How many outfits can you fit in a carry-on? ›

You can pack 10 days of clothes in one carry-on bag. The key is to pack clothes that all work together, and of course, to use clothing organizers that maximize the space in your bag.

How many bras to pack for 2 weeks? ›

If you have unlimited suitcase space and don't want to do any laundry, a two-week trip means packing 14/2 = 7 bras and at least 14 pairs of underwear.

How many outfits for 5 day trip? ›

If you're going to be gone five days, bring three items of clothing. If you're going to be gone seven days, bring seven items of clothing. There is a bit of a “gray area”, which I'll explain here in just a minute. And yes, it sounds little crazy, but you can put together a minimal wardrobe.

Does toothpaste count as a liquid? ›

Each passenger is limited to one quart-size bag of liquids, gels and aerosols. Common travel items that must comply with the 3-1-1 liquids rule include toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash and lotion.

Do you put deodorant in hand luggage? ›

Can I take deodorant or aerosols in hand luggage? Aerosols and roll on deodorants are classed as liquids, so any containers larger than 100 ml will need to go in your luggage in the hold. Containers smaller than 100 ml are accepted if in a clear plastic bag.

What is the 3-1-1 rule? ›

You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes through the checkpoint. These are limited to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. This is also known as the 3-1-1 liquids rule.

What are the main 5 reasons for people to travel? ›

5 Reasons Why We Travel
  • We travel to learn.
  • We travel to escape.
  • We travel to discover.
  • We travel to make new friends.
  • We travel to experience.
Sep 2, 2015

Can you bring a water bottle on a plane? ›

Tip #2: Reduce waste and save some money by bringing a reusable water bottle. So you can't bring H20 or any other liquids more than 3.4 oz. (well there are some exceptions) through security, but you CAN bring an empty bottle. Just fill it up on your way to boarding your flight after screening.

How to dress on a plane? ›

When choosing what to wear on a plane, look for stylish tops made with natural fabrics, such as cotton, silk, wool or linen, which will allow air and moisture to pass through. Moisture-wicking man-made fabrics are an equally savvy option.

Does a purse count as a carry-on? ›

Your personal item like a purse or small handbag must fit under the seat in front of you. Dimensions should not exceed 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm). These don't count as your personal item or carry-on: Diaper bags (1 per child)

What should you not bring on vacation? ›

10 Things You Should Never Pack for Vacation
  • Anything irreplaceable. Sad to say, there are sometimes thieves among us. ...
  • Valuables with no ID. It happens to all of us; we put down our phone, get distracted and forget to pick it up. ...
  • Wine. ...
  • Sunscreen. ...
  • Reading material. ...
  • Too many shoes. ...
  • Hair dryer. ...
  • A 'maybe' outfit.
Jun 20, 2015

What should I not forget to pack for an international trip? ›

International Travel Essentials
  1. Sturdy Travel Bag. Your travel bag of choice may vary depending on your travel style and how long you're traveling. ...
  2. Day Bag. ...
  3. Universal Travel Adaptor. ...
  4. Reusable Water Bottle. ...
  5. Passport and Visas. ...
  6. Travel Insurance. ...
  7. Medications. ...
  8. Debit or Credit Card.
Mar 23, 2021

What are some things you must not do when you travel abroad? ›

For a start, here is a list of 10 things you should never do while travelling abroad.
  • Never Dress Inappropriately. ...
  • Never Do Things Which Are Considered Unhealthy And Unclean. ...
  • Avoid Consuming Alcohol. ...
  • Never Disrespect Culture. ...
  • Never Use Disrespectful Sign Language. ...
  • Never Voice Your Opinion on Subjects Considered Taboo.
May 28, 2015

What should you not carry-on a plane? ›

Security Information
  • The following items that are banned for carriage on person/hand baggage on board flights operating from civil airports in India; and Indian Registered aircrafts from foreign airports : ...
  • Sharp Objects.
  • Sporting Goods.
  • Guns and Firearms.
  • Tools.
  • Martial Arts / Self Defense Items.
  • Explosive Materials.

What normal things can you not bring on a plane? ›

What items are prohibited in carry ons?
  • Liquids, gels, or pastes in bottles larger than 3.4 ounces (100 ml)
  • Guns and ammunition (including BB guns and cap guns)
  • Stun guns and tasers.
  • Sharp objects (knives, axes, razor blades)
  • Self-defense items (such as pepper spray, brass knuckle, billy clubs)
Dec 3, 2021

Why do toiletries have to be in a clear bag? ›

Do Toiletry Bags Need to Be Clear? TSA does not specify that toiletry bags need to be clear. However, when traveling with liquids, using a TSA approved clear liquid bag will help expedite the TSA process so agents can see everything easily without further inspection.

How do you pack toiletries for the hospital? ›

Pack a toothbrush and toothpaste, lip balm, deodorant, a brush and comb, makeup (if you're planning to use it), and hair ties. Hospitals usually provide soap, shampoo, and lotion, but you might prefer your own. A hanging toiletry bag can be helpful, since there's usually little counter space in the bathroom.

What not to do when traveling in America? ›

Never interact with strange children
  1. “Don't pull the cheeks/hug/peck a child which is not yours. Its a big no-no to shower affection on someone's child without their consent (quite common in Asian countries).” ...
  2. “Don't stare or talk to children. ...
  3. “Don't get too familiar with children you don't know. ...
  4. “Avoid silences.
May 22, 2016

What things should a tourist avoid doing or seeing? ›

The Top 20 Things Not to Do as a Tourist
  • Not learning at least simple greetings in the local language.
  • Expecting everyone to speak YOUR native language.
  • Taking photos of people without asking permission.
  • Staying only in all-inclusive resorts.
  • Doing things you wouldn't do at home (littering, vandalism, etc.)
Oct 9, 2022

What are travel tips? ›

7 essential travel safety tips
  • Do your research. Get to know your destination in depth before you arrive. ...
  • Don't draw attention. ...
  • Make copies of important documents. ...
  • Keep your friends and family updated. ...
  • Be wary of public Wi-Fi. ...
  • Safeguard your hotel room. ...
  • Be aware of your surroundings.


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