Traveling can be amazing, educational, inspiring and beautiful!
But... it can also be a little uncomfortable sometimes, especially if you don't have the right stuff with you or at least a few comforts. Let me share a few things that I love to travel with after learning the hard way a few times. (If you purchase any of the items I have shown below using the links I provided, I will get a small percentage back from Amazon. Thanks in advance if you do! :) )
First and foremost - COMPRESSION SOCKS
I have to carry a pair of compression socks with me for long flights and bus rides. If I don't, my feet and ankles puff up like a blow-fish and I can't fit into my shoes and my feet actually hurt. I have pictures of the crazy swelling, but I thought I would spare you from that horrific sight. ;) So these are the socks I keep with me now --->
They come in several fun colors and patterns so pick something that will make you happy when you see them! I went for the hot pink... I couldn't help myself. Pink makes me happy! And yes, they are supposed to feel tight!
These have been a total game changer for me, and I absolutely love them. I have had to wear them for 12+ hours at a time and they are still comfortable.
Second - A DAY BAG
As a photographer, I need a bag that works as a normal day bag AND a camera bag that allows me to get my camera out with ease. The backpack I am carrying in the photo above did NOT allow me to access my camera quickly. Although I LOVED all the pockets in that Kelty bag, it just didn't suit my needs as a photographer. If you don't need to worry about accessing a big bulky camera, a Kelty day-pack is awesome!
My other concern is that I don't want my bag to look like it's carrying expensive gear, so I want it to look subtle, average, boring. I don't want it to scream, "HEY, I AM CARRYING A REALLY EXPENSIVE CAMERA!". I am really liking this Lowepro Passport Sling messenger style bag. It has a removable padded insert for your camera and really quite a bit of room inside. It is comfy to wear and I am able to fit the following inside : A Canon 6D with an attached lens, one extra lens and battery charger, a small journal, a cell phone, a small toiletry or makeup bag, a water bottle, a rain coat, a passport and document organizer (which I will share below as well), a few snacks, and more! It's really quite roomy for a camera bag and really reasonably priced!
Third - PASSPORT & DOCUMENT ORGANIZER
I like organization. I like knowing where things can be found quickly. I like having several copies of everything in several different locations... like at least 4 backups and copies of everything. I am crazy. And this product enables the crazy.
I keep our passports, credit cards, yellow fever cards, and copies of our itinerary / important documents all in this organizer. It is like a large wallet and it fits perfectly inside my day bag. I chose the khaki color and it is super cute and it brightens up the often ugly travel gear!
Fourth - SHOWER WIPES & DRY SHAMPOO
So... it's just the reality of travel, especially if you are backpacking. Showers are a luxury when you are traveling. They can sometimes be far and few between. And for those days, I keep these shower wipes and a small can of batiste dry shampoo with me.
The wipes are individually wrapped, large biodegradable towels that you can use to freshen up at the airport or while on the road. I love that they are infused with lavender and tea tree to help fight bacteria and keep you fresh. It's the next best thing to a shower or bath when you are on the road.
The dry shampoo is by Batiste and it is the best one I have tried so far (I have blonde hair) and I carry a travel size or sample size container of it when I travel. Spray your roots and oily areas, fluff your hair and "style" as desired. I use the term "style" very loosely here... as styling for me with dirty hair means pinned back bangs and a ponytail. It is far from a perfectly washed and fresh feel but it is also far better than nothing. :)
Fifth - UGLY SANDALS (For Hikes, Water Activities, Backpacking, Etc.)
They aren't the most fashionable sandals you will ever own, but they are pretty comfortable and they will keep your feet happy if you are on a little more rugged of a trip that involves some hiking, water activities, biking, walking, etc.
You may want to consider keeping two different pairs on hand depending on the type of activites you have in mind.
If you need to protect your toes then the KEENS are the way to go. If you can allow your feet a little more openness, the TEVAS are great! I have a pair of both and overall they are both comfy and easy to walk in even if you have flat feet like me. They are both safe to go in the water but the keens will provide more protection from rocks.
Both brands offer plenty of fun color options too! So you can have a little choice in just how ugly your travel sandals are! ;)
Again, it is totally not fashionable... but you can also wear socks with either of these sandals which is sometimes a necessity. You can't go wrong with either of these shoes. When we backpacked from Bolivia to Mexico, I practically lived in my Keens. For our Africa trip, I lived in the Tevas.
Sixth - Miscellaneous Carry-On Items
The last few things that I have to have with me in my day-bag for easy access are as follows: lip balm, a toothbrush, hairbrush, a few makeup items (eye liner, compact, lip gloss), an international cell phone & charger, Gum, and a few cliff bars or snacks. I will also bring a change of clothes and a sweater or light jacket and scarf in my bag. To save space, you can just wear that jacket or sweater onto the plane! ;) You may also want to consider traveling with a small pharmacy of Tylenol, Bonine, Tums, Benadryl, & Imodium (because stuff happens ;) ). These are the medications I would usually have with me on most trips.
I tend to do 90% of my shopping on Amazon and I have provided links to all of my favorite stuff above. If you are thinking about purchasing any of the following items, I would love for you to use the links I have provided. I will receive a small percentage from Amazon for referring you.