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Top Travel Gear for 2023 Adventurers

What do you take on your trip? What do you need? As long-time readers know, I’m a fan of packing light. I don’t think you really need much when you travel. As a backpacker, I want to make sure everything I own fits into one bag. I often think people bring too much stuff when they travel. I went to Costa Rica on my first trip overseas and I took with me the entire suggested packing list my tour company gave customers. I carried around so much stuff I never used. Years later, when I did my first backpacking trip around the world, I still carried so much, I ended up leaving stuff in hostels as I went. But I also recognize everyone has different travel styles and needs. No two travelers are alike. As you prepare for future trips and are wondering, “what do I really need to bring?”, I wanted to give you a list of what I view as practical and must-have items. These items won’t take up too much space, are incredibly useful, and will make your trip better. Here’s my favorite travel gear:

Items Under $25

  • 1. Travel Padlock – Safety first! If you’re a budget traveler and plan on staying in hostels during your next trip then you’ll need one of these. Since most hostels use lockers, budget travelers need to provide their own travel lock if they want to keep their stuff secured. While you can usually rent or buy them at hostels, it’s much cheaper just to buy one before you go. Buy now on Amazon!
  • 2. Travel Adapter – As many travelers have learned, it’s incredibly frustrating (not to mention inconvenient) to arrive at a new destination only to realize you can’t charge your phone or computer because the electrical outlets are different. That’s why you’ll want a travel adapter. They’re a simple accessory but a necessary one if you’re visiting different regions of the world. This is one I personally use as it covers every region of the world (and comes with USB ports too). It’s affordable, easy to use, and lightweight. Buy now on Amazon!
  • 3. Packing Cubes – Packing cubes are essential if you’re going to be living out of a backpack for a few weeks (or months), or you just want to keep your suitcase better organized. They come in a variety of sizes, allowing you to store items big and small. They’re great for making it easy to find everything in your backpack or suitcase. Buy now on Amazon!
  • 4. Earplugs – Anyone who has ever stayed in a hostel knows that earplugs are a necessity. These earplugs are reusable and work much better than the cheap foam ones, blocking out any distracting noises. From snorers to late-night drinkers to copulating couples — I’ve heard it all. Even if you’re not going to be in a hostel, they’re still helpful for sleeping in buses, overnight trains, and other types of transportation. A good night’s sleep is priceless — travel prepared! Buy now on Amazon!
  • 5. Passport Holder – A passport holder is a must-have for any avid traveler. It protects your passport from wear and tear — which is important because a damaged passport might get you sent home early or denied entry to a destination (plus, replacing a passport is an expensive hassle). While there are tons of pricey, fancy options out there, a simple one will get the job done. Buy now on Amazon!
  • 6. Toothpaste Bites – Having to travel with liquids is a pain. They’re always a hassle at airport security. And when it comes to toothpaste, there is a lot of waste (you never get all the toothpaste out and the plastic package is bad for the environment). Enter toothpaste bites. These dry tabs of toothpaste come in a recyclable jar (no plastic!). They take some getting used to but they’re an eco-friendly option for the environmentally-conscious traveler. (If Bite doesn’t ship to your area of the world, Lush also sells toothpaste and mouthwash tabs). Buy now at Bite!
  • 7. Moleskine Notebook – I never leave home without one of these. Not only do I use them for work (I’m constantly taking notes and writing down ideas) but I also use them to keep track of my travels so I have something to look back on. They are the perfect notebook for journaling during your trip as well as for writing down travel notes such as directions, contact information, and language tips. Even in this hyper-technological age, I think everyone needs to write more during their travels so they have something to look back on. Buy now on Amazon!
  • 8. Exploration Journal – If you want a travel journal that isn’t just blank pages but rather has space for itinerary planning, places to jot notes in the local language, inspirational quotes, and much more, grab our new travel journal. It was designed specifically with travelers in mind, so you can take notes and write down stories and reflections during your travels. Buy now at Remember Your Travels!
  • 9. Celiac Travel Cards – My friend Jodi from Legal Nomads created these helpful travel cards for anyone traveling with Celiac disease. They are in-depth resources that communicate your concerns to restaurant staff in a way that allows anyone traveling with the disease to have a worry-free meal. If you or someone you love has Celiac disease, these travel cards are a useful resource! (Use the code NOMADICMATT for 10% off!) Buy now at Legal Nomads!
  • 10. First Aid Kit – If you’re going to be doing any hiking, biking, or other activities during your trip I suggest bringing a small first aid kit. It just needs to include the basics (band-aids, antibiotic cream (Polysporin), paracetamol (Tylenol), gauze, hand sanitizer, etc.) so that if you get a small cut, blister, or burn you won’t need to worry about infections. Of course, you should always buy travel insurance before you leave home but this will help you take care of any minor cuts or scrapes you get during your travels. Buy now on Amazon! Here’s more information on how to pack a basic first aid kit.

Items Under $100

  • 11. DryFox Quick Dry Travel Towel – Unless you’re only staying at hotels and Airbnbs, you’re going to need to bring a towel. Having a lightweight, quick-drying towel makes a huge difference when you’re on the road since regular towels are too bulky and heavy (and they take a long time to dry). Instead, get a travel towel. They’re a compact, quick-drying solution that every backpacker needs. (Use code “nomadicmatt” for 15% off your purchase!) Buy now at DryFoxCo!
  • 12. LifeStraw – Single-use plastics are common in a lot of countries around the world. They’re also polluting our oceans and destroying the environment. But when you’re traveling, they can be hard to avoid if you want to stay safe. Fortunately, you can do your part to help the planet by traveling with a reusable filter. LifeStraw is an awesome brand that sells bottles with built-in water filters. The filters last 5 years so you save money on changing them too. You’ll be able to stay healthy and lower your reliance on single-use plastics. Double win! Buy now at LifeStraw!
  • 13. Travel Headlamp – This is a handy tool for both backpackers and anyone looking to do any hiking or camping. If you’re going to be staying in a hostel, having a headlamp is helpful when you need to check in or out but don’t want to disturb your fellow travelers by turning on the lights. They’re also helpful in emergencies. Buy now on Amazon!
  • 14. Trtl Travel Pillow – Travel pillows are perfect for those long-haul flights, delayed buses, and airport naps. Every avid traveler should have a travel pillow. They just make being in transit all the more comfortable. They help prevent jet lag and make even the longest, most uncomfortable trip a little more bearable. Buy now on Amazon!
  • 15. External Battery – We all travel with numerous electronic devices like phones and tablets, but it can be hard to keep them all charged. An external battery solves that problem. Three high-output USB ports make this external battery incredibly convenient, as you can charge three devices at once. Plus,…
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