e’ve created a list of budget-friendly items (under $50) that are our go-to travel gear that we take with us on all our trips. We’re confident ANY traveler will love them!
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We have a post that we went into great detail of why they are so important and reviewed several brands so you can get the very best set that will work for your specific needs, check that out here.
Our all-time favorite is the Eagle Creek Compression Packing Cubes.
Collapsible Water Bottle
A water bottle is a must-have travel gear, but not just any water bottle will do. The best water bottles for travelers are ones that collapse in order to save space when you aren’t using them – like going through airport security.
We really like the 1 Liter Hydrapack Stash Water Bottle since it collapses down into a small puck, has measurement markings on the side, made from lightweight materials, has a flexible carrying handle, and the wide-mouth opening allows you to easily pour liquids in or add ice.
An added gear to get with your wide-mouth water bottle is a splash guard to help control the flow of liquids.
Travel Inflatable Pillows
We have two inflatable pillows that are guaranteed to make it in our luggage:
- Cocoon Air Core Travel Pillow is perfect to provide back support during those long flights. It’s amazing how much of a difference having this pillow provides for your lower back.
- Sea to Summit Inflatable Neck Pillow allows you to sleep comfortably on flights without taking up unnecessary luggage room.
Because both these pillows are inflatable, it allows you to adjust how much air you want in them for your comfort. You can’t get that with any other travel pillow! Also, these both pack down extremely small which allows you to put them in your pocket so they’re at your fingertips when you’re ready for them.
Quick Drying Microfiber Towel
These Rainleaf Quick Drying Microfiber Towels are probably the most useful travel gear item we have. We’ve used them regardless if we go on a tropical/beach vacation, camping or even when we’ve gone to a cold destination like Iceland.
There’s always a need for a towel and these quick-drying microfiber towels are wonderful! They pack down next to nothing so you’ll surely have space for them and because of the microfiber material, they are super absorbent all the while still drying extremely fast.
3-1-1 Liquid Bag
If you’re a carry-on only traveler like us then you know all too well that your liquids must fit into a 1-quart size clear bag. If this is news to you, find out all about the TSA rule here.
Even though Ziploc bags can do the trick, they usually only last one trip and they can be limiting on what fits due to how they zip at the top. However, these TSA-Approved 3-1-1 Liquid Bags are so much better due to their durability and can be used over and over again to fit even more of your toiletry gear.
For whatever reason, travel always makes us feel dirty. Either in the cabin of the plane or even as we are out and about exploring destinations. To combat this, face wipes are an absolute necessary travel gear to help feel more refreshed and not so greasy.
Our preferred face wipes are Neutrogena Oil-Free Cleansing Wipes with Pink Grapefruit. These face wipes are medicated to help with acne but without the medicated smell. Instead, they have a pleasant, citrusy scent of grapefruit. They do a fantastic job making you feel clean in between showers with just a quick wipe down.
Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
The best travel toiletry gear is shampoo and conditioner bars since they are solid bars and don’t have to be included in your TSA security liquid bag.
However, the best perk is they are leak-free which eliminates the risk of them spilling onto the rest of your luggage contents.
We have a post that explains everything you need to know about shampoo and conditioner bars with a review of many brands, check that out here.
External Battery Pack & USB Splitter for 3
We prefer small ones since they don’t take up much space in your bag. Additionally, it’s best to find one that allows at least 3 full charges to a smartphone. We’ve been successful using the Pocket Juice External Battery Pack.
A bonus item to add to your external battery pack is a USB Splitter that allows you to charge 3 items together. When traveling there are usually several items that need to be charged, so having a USB splitter allows you to save time by charging all the necessary items at the same time.
Collapsible Day Backpack
We absolutely love the Sea to Summit Ultra Sil Daypack. It gets used on each and every one of our trips.
This bag is perfect because it packs down small enough to fit in your pocket when not in use, but when needed the single, large compartment holds a surprisingly huge volume of gear.
Added benefits include adjustable shoulder straps, water-resistant, and ultra-lightweight ripstop nylon fabric.
The Black Diamond Storm Headlamp is by far our favorite. The LED light is super bright with multiple settings for brightness and a red light for preserving night vision. You can also easily adjust the light angle as well as the elastic headband. This particular headlamp is water-resistant and comes in a few different colors.
A headlamp is necessary over just a regular flashlight since it leaves your hands free for other tasks and they are so much smaller and lightweight – making them very packable. Headlamps are good for peace of mind just in case you are out somewhere when it’s dark – regardless if it’s planned or not.
Bonus Item – GoPro 3-Way Grip, Arm, Tripod
We’ve added the GoPro 3-Way Grip, Arm, Tripod as a bonus gear because it doesn’t stand alone since you need to have a GoPro action camera to use it. But if you do have a GoPro, or if you are planning to get one, the GoPro 3-Way Grip, Arm, Tripod is a must!
This selfie stick (as we like to call it) is the most versatile selfie stick EVER and you really can’t beat the price for the amount of things you can do with it.
It’s called a 3-way because it serves as a camera grip, extension arm, and tripod. The arm folds inside itself so when you need more length you can easily extend it to your desired distance so you can capture selfies. The base of the grip also has lightweight mini tripod legs that you can either use by itself or add it to the foldable handle.
We’ve been amazed with the GoPro 3-Way and all that it can do, it’s a well thought out idea and very well made. We highly recommend it for any traveler that has a GoPro.
Bonus Item – Compression Socks
Not just one bonus item, but two! Compression socks are another bonus gear item because only Megan uses them, not RJ. They have been a necessity ever since Megan had her feet painfully swell from a long flight, now she never boards a plane without them.
The Sockwell Compression Socks work by gently squeezing your feet and lower leg to improve blood flow and lessen pain and swelling.
If you’re someone who suffers from high blood pressure, diabetes, or just generally concerned about developing deep vein thrombosis, you may want to invest in a pair of compression socks.
You may notice a theme with all our favorite gear, most are space-saving items that allow us to continue to travel with our carry-on luggage, but still have great quality that provides years and years of use. Best of all, these items are all under $50!
Do you have a favorite travel gear item that you never leave behind? Even if it’s more than $50, we’d love to hear it! Let us know in the comments below or send us an email.
The Essential Travel Toiletry Items: Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
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