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Husband trying to stuff all of our stuff into the vehicle!

Essential Travel Gear – 10 Seemingly Random Things that I Won’t Travel Without

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Over the years, my packing list has been refined, changed, and tweaked some more. While what we pack varies greatly depending on destination and season, there are a few pieces of essential travel gear that hold a standing place in my travel bag no matter where or when we go.

Here are 10 pieces of essential travel gear that I won’t travel without:


A good momma never goes anywhere without wipes. I always have regular baby wipes and Thieves antibacterial wipes in my carry on bag.

Emergen-C and Ninxia Red

Supporting our immune systems for travel is something that happens before, during and after the trip. While we are traveling, I like to take some extra targeted nutrients as a buffer against all of the “ick” that we are exposed to during the travel process.

I like to put the powdered Emergen-C packets in our water when we get on the airplane at the beginning of a flight and we take a Ningxia red during the flight or when we arrive to help give our bodies a powerful antioxidant boost. Cheap insurance for a healthy trip!

Ningxia Red packets are definitely an piece of essential travel gear for us!
We always take our Ningxia Red packets when we travel! They are under 3 ounces, so goo to go in your quart sized plastic baggie for security!

A reusable shopping bag

A spare bag can have a lot of uses when you are traveling. I love to use it to take all of our stuff out for the security line at the airport ahead of time (so we aren’t unpacking everything when we get up to the belt). This is great for the airplane when you just need a few things down out of your carry on bag but don’t want the whole thing.

I also can’t tell you how many times my reusable Chicco bags have carried extra wine (when you travel with kids, extra wine is ALWAYS a necessity 😉

A Travel Sewing Kit

My travel sewing kit has saved my butt on more than once occasion. If you don’t want to order them on Amazon, they often have these at hotels as an amenity for guests (can’t hurt to ask). This is something that literally takes up almost no room in your bag, but can really save the day! Buttons, tears, all easily fixed with this indispensable piece of essential travel gear.

An eyeglass repair kit

If anyone in your party has glasses, an eye glasses repair kit can quickly becomes a piece of essential travel gear because there is almost nothing else that will help when one of those teeny, tiny screws come out, rendering the glasses useless and the wearer blind for the rest of the trip.

The chances of you finding someone with the proper tools to fix broken glasses (other than spending a chunk of a day hunting down a eye glasses shop) are pretty much zilch. Make sure to get one with extra screws (’cause losing one of those little buggers is really a bummer!) This is another piece of essential travel gear that hardly takes up any room in your bag.

A bottle opener and a corkscrew

I use these all the time. They live on the little key ring inside my backpack, and it sure beats having to ask at the hotel or having to buy one when we are out.

If you get a travel corkscrew, make sure to get one without a blade (many of the ones that are called “waiters corkscrews” have a small blade which may cause you problems with security).

Tea Bags

It never ceases to amaze and shock me how many times we have stayed at really high end hotels and bed and breakfasts that offered a shoddy selection of tea! Such a simple thing…so I usually carry a few tea bags with me when we travel, just in case. You never know when you will need a proper cup of tea!

Essential oils – the most important piece of essential travel gear of all!

Man, of all the things that I really can’t travel without, my oils are at the top of the list (wait…the corkscrew is up there, too! Mama has to have her wine!) Seriously, though. I can’t think of too many other things that have SO MANY uses for travel and come in such a small package.

Bumps and bruises? I have an oil for that. Can’t sleep due to jetlag? I have an oil for that, too. Starting to get that scratchy throat and worried that an illness will ruin your trip? Yup! Sitting next to a nervous flier? Yup, I have used my oils for that, too. So much goodness in such a small package…

Man, I never travel without my oils.  These are perhaps the most important essential travel gear in our bags!

Lens wipes in individual packets

These are really nice for if the tablets get crudded up, or for cleaning the camera lens. I also usually have a soft cloth in the camera case. Yes, I know that I already said that I have baby wipes with, but these are nice to have for when you need a little extra cleaning power and don’t want any streaks.

Ketchup/Condiment Packets

This is a new one for the list, just discovered on this last trip. This is good – I really wanted a 10th thing to round out this list 🙂

On our way back from vacation, my son refused to eat his chicken on the airplane. Airplane food is a little weird, even for me. All it would have taken to get him to eat it was some ketchup. Ketchup is a magical potion to get toddlers to eat things. Lesson learned. We now travel with a few packets of condiments to make weird foods taste more normal.

Shanna Schultz

Hello, my name is Shanna, and I am a detail obsessed travel addict on a mission to make planning your own family trips fun and easy! I offer tools, guides and resources to help you through all of the steps of planning meaningful, memorable family vacations. Come over and check out our Facebook community where I share real tools and resources to help you move the needle on your travel goals. Let's start making those travel dreams real, y'all! Life is too short to spend dreaming...let's start DOING!

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