I’m gearing up for some upcoming travels and it got me thinking. As someone who’s traveled relentlessly since my early 20’s, I have a tremendous appreciation for great travel gear. Over the past year I’ve logged more than 150,000 frequent flyer miles, and along the way I’ve learned how important it is to get a few key items right. So after many of you have requested this exact post, I’m happy to share my Top 8 Essentials for the Modern Traveler.
My top choice here is the Venque Flatsquare backpack. Everything at Venque is clean, modern and super versatile for either casual or high end work settings. Second choice goes to Everlane Modern Snap Backpack. You can’t go wrong with either choice.
This is the single most important item in any road warrior’s arsenal. I’ve been a Samsonite fan for years, and their new Silhouette Sphere 2.0 line is best bag I’ve ever used. It’s big enough to fit everything you’d need while small enough to make sure it always fits in standard overhead spaces and doesn’t have to be checked.
Most people use the standard eye mask you get in the airline’s comfort kit, but once you commit to the Bucky Eye Mask you’ll never go back. The innovation here is that the super light material is shaped with a cupped eye area so it doesn’t actually touch your eyelids at all. It just creates a pocket of darkness around your eyes. Trust me, this is by far the best eye mask on the market and it’s $10.
Just like the eye mask, this is a hugely underrated purchase that will change your entire travel experience. It’s only a few bucks more to get high quality earplugs, and the Hearos Xtreme Protection are my favorite by far. They block out plenty of sound, mold to your inner ear, and don’t cause the pain that many others produce.
This is probably the hardest item to pick just one winner. There are so many amazing headphones, and it really depends on your price range. Given that I prefer earbuds since I can keep them in my pocket and yet I lose a pair every six months, I tend to go for value above all else. The one thing I really care about is that they don’t fall out during workouts, and the Skullcandy Fix was made for that reason specifically. On longer trips though I might bring a full size set of cans, and in that case I go with the LSTN Troubadours. They not only sound phenomenal but they have a social mission so each purchase helps someone hear for the first time. Win-win.
Another completely overlooked item in the road warrior’s repertoire. When you take that cross-country redeye you want to make sure you’re extra comfortable and can pass out on command. My secret trick here is a pair of extra cushioned socks. Trust me, the best in the game is the Wigwam 40 Degree Below socks. They are amazing.
Ultra Light All-Weather Jacket
The weather in each location you travel to may differ, so you need a lightweight jacket that’s versatile enough to keep you warm in chilly weather, protect you from the rain, and yet not take up much space in your bag. My top pick here is the Uniqlo Ultra Light Water Defender.
Every traveler should keep a journal with them at all times. My favorite are the beautiful hand-crafted journals from Iona Handcrafted Books. If you commit to buying one of these you’ll cherish every word you write on the papyrus paper that fills the leather-bound interior of these pieces of art.
Bonus: The Essential Toiletry Bag
I used to scoff at the traditional dopp kit, but once I got one I realized how amazing these are for the modern traveler. It really pays off to simply keep one of these fully stocked with all the necessary items too. My favorite from a design standpoint is the Pendleton Essential Bag. If you like solid, no frills then go with the Herschel Toiletry Kit.
Now I’m turning it over to you. What are your favorite essentials when you hit the road?