20 Things Every Traveling Gal Needs

20 Things Every Traveling Gal Needs (click through for list!) Whether you are a constant girl-on-the-go or an occasional traveler, we all run into the same hangups and headaches when it comes to getting ourselves to a destination and back. I’ve been especially focused on smart traveling ideas lately since my husband and I are planning on taking our first trip to Paris this year (a total dream come true for me!). Since he’s a traveling musician, I have to be a bit of a traveler myself to visit him on the road during tours, so I’ve certainly got an opinion or two on what I think are the most helpful things to keep a trip as smooth and comfortable as possible. Here are my top 20 must-haves for the traveling gal:

20 Things Every Traveling Gal Needs (click through for list!) 1. Mini emergency kit: If you are like me and have a purse that weighs more than your carry-on luggage (because you need everything possible with you “just in case”), then this mini-emergency kit will be right up your ally. My sister-in-law bought one for me a few years ago, and I keep it in my car or my purse at all times. It’s got great mini versions of really helpful items like stain remover, hair spray, nail polish, pain reliever, mini sewing kit, breath drops, and tons more. A must-have for anyone that likes to feel prepared.

2. Earplugs, eye mask  blow-up pillow (with cover): I am a big proponent of having all three of these when I fly and travel. I’m a bit of a light sleeper, so trying to sleep on planes and in strange hotels isn’t always easy for me. It’s pretty quick to DIY your own eye mask, but if you feel like flat eye masks crush your eyelashes, you can get a molded eye mask instead. These pink earplugs are brightly colored and always easy for me to find (and they come with a carrying case too), and I really don’t know how people travel without blow up pillows. They take up almost no space when deflated and they make travel cat naps much more enjoyable (make sure to get one with a soft cover though).

3. Scarf/Blanket for plane: When traveling by plane, I usually wear things that I think will be the warmest once the captain turns on the “I’m going to freakin’ blast you with the AC for the next 3 hours” sign. Just kidding, I don’t think they have a sign for that. But if they did, I imagine it would be sort of a frowny face with icicles for hair…anyway, I dress in layers to keep warm, bring socks during the summer months if I’m wearing sandals, and especially wear a large scarf or pashmina to act as a blanket during the flight. If you get lucky and the plane temperature is great, well now you have extra cushioning for your seat, back, or pillow. You can’t lose.

4. Travel perfume: These refillable travel perfume sprays are perfect for your carry on or purse (I always carry mine with me). Just remove the top knob to your perfume and you can pump the travel spray full of your favorite scent.

20 Things Every Traveling Gal Needs (click through for list!) 5. Headphone splitter: Because who wants to watch “Baby Mama” on your iPad by yourself? Share that laughter with a friend through this headphone splitter and rock on, dude… 

6. Travel map app: Take advantage of technology in your destination city by using map apps on your phone/tablet to find your way around the city. Citymapper is a great choice for finding your way around, and City Maps 2Go is another helpful option because you can still use the maps offline if you are in a wifi dead zone (both are on Google Play as well as for Android).

7. Phone battery extender: Since the modern traveler uses their phone so much on the go (as a camera, as a map, sometimes even as a phone!), it’s a good idea to have either a portable solar charger or battery extender with you on the road. Depending on your particular phone and price range, there are a lot of options to choose from (like this one). So do a bit of research online for the best options for your phone model. Hey, you never know when you’re going to need that extra battery time, so make sure you’re prepared!

8. Notebook or journal to write down your favorite spots: This is a great idea that was given to us by our friends that went to Paris for the first time a few years ago. Keep a paper journal of your daily activities and the names of stores or towns you went to so that you can revisit those spots again or give recommendations when other people visit there (or for when you want to blog about your trip later). They actually gave us our own journal to fill out when we told them we were planning on going to Paris this year—so sweet!

20 Things Every Traveling Gal Needs (click through for list!)9. Laundry/Lingerie bag: Keep your clean and dirty laundry separated (and out of sight from the dude in airport security) with cute laundry bags. You can have bags for your “unmentionables” only, or you can take a larger bag for all dirty clothes and separate bags for your shoes and purses as well. I’ve definitely had the black heel of a boot rub off on a neon yellow leather purse during travel. Ugh! 

10. Travel umbrella: Depending on where you’re going and when, you may be really glad that you brought along your travel umbrella. Especially if you are doing more of a sightseeing trip with a lot of walking, getting caught in the rain will be no big thing if you’ve brought your mini umbrella-ella-ella with you. Go with a more budget-friendly option if the possible rain conditions should be light, but invest in a more heavy-duty option if the location can get pretty windy as well. 

11. Unique luggage tags: For the longest time I didn’t have an official luggage tag. I would just fill out those paper ones at the ticket counter while I was trying to check in, and it was always a bit of a balancing act to write out separate tags for each bag and attach them without knocking over something (or someone nearby) in the process. Cute luggage tags (this these!) let you skip that hassle and give you another way to identify your bag at baggage claim as well.

12. Passport holder: Passport holders make you feel a little more luxurious while you travel—it’s like a leather jacket for your information to wear! You can get ones with pockets so you can keep your credit card or other information with it, or you can make your own DIY version like I did!

20 Things Every Traveling Gal Needs (click through for list!) 13. Travel steamer: I really hate ironing items at home, so I’m a big fan of the clothes steamer option instead. It’s faster, easier, and handles delicate fabric like a dream. With this adorable travel steamer, you can pack all those items that you were afraid would get too wrinkled in transit and just steam out any creases once you land.

14. Adaptor/Converter: OK, this one only counts if you are traveling overseas and want to plug in anything while you’re there (different countries use different plugs for electronics), but still, it always seems like a big deal when it comes time to pick one out. Get yourself a handy-dandy 4 in 1 adapter to cover all your adaptor bases. It’s even color coded by country so you can easily see which one to use and they all fit compactly together for travel—nice! Keep in mind that you may also need a voltage converter/transformer as well as adaptor if your electronic item has a different voltage than the one they use in your destination country (read more about that here).

15. Digital luggage scale: Every time we travel I spend about 10 minutes trying to guess if my suitcase is over the weight limit or not. If I’m at home, I can do the whole “weigh myself holding the bag and subtract my weight” trick, but I usually don’t have a scale at my destination, and hello, that’s where I buy stuff that I want to bring home. So it’s a bit of a guessing game at that point. The answer to the problem? A travel luggage scale! No more guessing, just attach to the luggage handle and lift the luggage off the ground to get an accurate weight.

 16. Dual voltage mini curling iron/straightener/hair dryer: Especially if you are going overseas, it’s nice to have a travel version of your favorite hair tools that is dual voltage so you don’t have to use a voltage converter at your destination (you will still need an adaptor for the plug though). You can get a mini straightenercurling iron, and travel dryer that will save you suitcase space and still achieve your desired look. 

20 Things Every Traveling Gal Needs (click through for list!) 17. A toiletries bag you love: A lady’s toiletries bag is like her traveling secret weapon since it contains all the necessities that she’d be lost without (hair care items, makeup products, shaving cream…you know the drill). So make sure that your bag is something that works best for your particular travel items. Some people like to have their toiletries bag compartmentalized into small areas with a hook so you can hang it up once you get to the hotel (that’s me!), while others like to have one main compartment where they can keep everything together in the same spot (that’s my husband’s style). Either way, there are so many choices to choose from like this hanging toiletry bag.

18. Luggage tracker: Now this is an awesome gadget for both you tech girls and you big worrywarts. Just charge this luggage locater before you fly, place it in your suitcase, and if your bag gets lost, you can track exactly where it is with an app on your phone.

19. Travel sleep machine: I also take a travel size sound machine with me every time I travel (similar to this one). Blocking out all the hotel noise and foreign sounds you aren’t used to is a must for anyone that wants a good night’s sleep on the road. You can also download white noise machine apps for your phone or tablet—light sleepers unite!! Although if you can’t sleep without the city noise, there’s also a sound option for that on the app as well…

20. WiFi hot spot: Cause a girl’s gotta blog all this travel stuff! If you aren’t sure about the wifi at your location or know you’ll be in a more remote spot, you may want to look into a few pay-as-you-go wifi hot spots like Karma or Datajack. Some phones can also be a hot spot just by themselves if you add that feature to your data plan, or your phone carrier may also have their own brand of hot spot you can purchase.

20 Things Every Traveling Gal Needs (click through for list!) Well, now that I know what to bring, I should be all ready for my next trip and that dream visit to Paris, right? Oh wait, I forgot about picking out the clothes I’ll want to wear when I actually get there…OK, I do have some more work to do, but at least I feel great about the rest of my trip packing! Hope you found some good ideas for your next excursion! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

  • Great list I like how you included all the hair styling products on your list.

  • So many great tips! Thanks a bunch. I have been planning to do more travelling and these are great ideas for on the go.

  • I’ve recently found this amazing pillow, where you can colour visited countries!!! http://p71jd5J6.kckb.st

  • haha I love the design of the sleeping mask. Couldn’t travel without mine.

  • We just got back from Paris yesterday! (I’m actually typing this at 5 am after having woken up at 3…oh jet lag). It was such a beautiful whirlwind of an adventure and I fell in love with the city. But we could have definitely used that travel map app…finding our way around quickly/efficiently is definitely a lot harder Paris because of all the winding streets. We only had 5 days and felt disappointed when we were wasting time walking back and forth trying to find where to go! I’ll remember to keep that in mind for next time (because of course, now there will be a next time!) 🙂

  • Thanks so so much for posting this! 🙂 I had been looking for a wi-fi hotspot but was overwhelmed with all the choices so it’s perfect that you narrowed them down for us!

  • this is the best post I have ever read giving away advice for stuff to take while travelling. I really loved the headphone splitter. I need it right now.
    Anyways, your post is certainly a one that needs to be bookmarked and used as a checklist everytime a girl plans to travel. Thanks for the tips. 🙂

  • HAIM!! I’m learning that song on the bass, it’s a really good one! This list is awesome, I’ll definitely use it when I travel this summer xxx

  • These are some great suggestions! We’ve included this post in our Friday Faves roundup this week! Thanks for sharing!

    Always Me

  • So many great tips! I’m leaving for Zambia next week and I really needed to see all of this in one place. I’ve pinned the eye mask and the passport cover and if I get really ambitious, I will try making them for my trip! Thank you!

  • You can ask recommandations to your parisians readers if needed, you know… Would be glad to help 🙂

  • This post was so helpful! My family and I are moving across the country in a few months, we have a long trip ahead of us! I especially like the dual headphone adapter and luggage tracker!

  • I was thinking the exact same thing! I need it! …and its pink. I’m sold. www.revampamor.com

  • Thank you so much for posting this! I’m leaving for Hong Kong for two weeks and this made me even more excited to start packing!

  • I think this is the first time in my history of reading blogs where I just went yup, yes, yeeeeees, all the way through the end. 😀

    I hope you guys have a fantastic trip, whenever it is.

  • I am lovinnggg this list!!! I’ve already bookmarked some items to buy soon even though I’m not though most seasoned traveler but I do dream ^_^

    The Chronic Dreamer

  • As a frequent traveler myself…. I have been using those large plastic bags you place your clothes in and squeeze the air out…they have changed my life! I have more space in my carry on, keeps my clothes tidy and safe. I just fold everything nice, stack, and place in bag. Then I roll the air out, toss the entire bag into suitcase. I take an extra one for purchases….it’s come in handy every time…. I don’t find my clothes more wrinkled at all. If anything, ironically they are less wrinkled. When I arrive I immediately unpack and hang pieces I want to relax.

    Secondly, I keep a nice soft slipper shoe so I can walk around the room or head to lobby for coffee in the am…run to the car etc. They are also nice for extended plane rides….I think they are a Halfiger….

    Lastly, sanitizer wipes! I never thought I’d be the one to do this…not a germ a phobe at all..BUT. I travel frequently for work and often the tray table etc is GROSS….I saw a mom do it next to me…and I do it every time now. I wipe down my whole space while I get settled and the plane is boarding.

    Traveling domestically is easy…you really don’t need much in the way of toiletries…. The shampoo products are decent, hair dryers….irons…Internationally is a different story. Take what you need or want in the quantities you think you’ll need or use only, to cut down on weight. Also, if you make purchases that you don’t want to lug around…ship them home. Same if stateside. Recently on a trip to Hawaii, I used the flat rate shipping method and shipped stuff home on the way to the airport. In Italy I had to purchase a larger suitcase midway and abandon my smaller one….and I still hit the 70lb limit…. $250 bucks later….I learned the hard way. Don’t impulse buy. Shop with intention. Always ask if the merchant will ship to you and for how much. They know the custom laws etc better anyway….

  • Great guide, traveling in April this week – this will turn out helpful.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Thanks for including all these great links! I’m definitely going to buy that hanging toiletry bag! 🙂


  • I just came back from shopping for travel supplies to see this post! Cute list, you’ve definitely reminded me of a few things I forgot 😛


  • Great post! Very helpful especially since I love to travel 🙂


  • Swooning over the Vintage VW Bus bag! Oh my gosh need!


  • Love this post. These are definitely essentials! We take all of these!

    xx Leesa & Kate

    Travel inspiration? www.wanderlustchronicles.com.au

  • Love this post. These are definitely essentials! We take all of these!

    xx Leesa & Kate

    Travel inspiration? www.wanderlustchronicles.com.au

  • Such a great list! Thank you! I didn’t even know that they made travel steamers 🙂

    www. itgirlnextdoor.com

  • I love that eyemask with the super cute lashes on the front! Also, ear plugs are a must for me. I actually wear them every night no matter where I am – my hubby and one of my dogs are big snorers!


  • You have it all nailed down!! I love the headphone splitter gadget and the little bus purse. Sometimes I bring a little cotton face mask for the flight, to filter out all the dust =)


  • I don’t use a compartmentalized toiletry bag normally but I like this pink one. The location tracker for your suitcase is a great idea. 🙂

  • A few Paris recommendations:

    Wander a supermarket!! There are soooo many great things you can buy while in France to stock up your kitchen. I recommend fleur de sel & duck fat- two musts on my list when I visit France. Bring back some French wine too, if you’ve got space.

    My favorite drink in France is cidre from breton. You can usually find it in the supermarket’s wine section, I recommend brut. It’s like if cider were champagne!

    Check out a creperie (likely also find cidre there, since crepes are from the breton region) and get a REAL galette. Galettes are like the savory version of crepes, but are made w/ buckwheat flour (sarassin in French). In the states, I only find savory crepes, which are made w/ the regular crepe batter, and I’m telling you, the buckwheat makes a huge difference!

    Have tons of fun!

  • This is a serious list! All these things I never knew I needed, that I absolutely need now! I am especially impressed with the luggage tracker and head phone splitter. I love cute luggage tags and have noticed matching luggage tags/passport holders everywhere lately. And yes, bring an umbrella. We got caught in Paris without one and ended up purchasing 3 because of how much rain there was.


  • Mmm, I don’t know the brand of it, but it’s a pretty basic rolling suitcase. As long as it has wheels, I’m usually fine with it 🙂


  • He’d probably be the better one to ask on that question! He travels pretty light though, as long as he has his laptop and some sort of gameboy, he’s good to go!

    Laura 🙂

  • It is so cute! It’s linked in the post if you want to get one 🙂


  • great products and info that are new to me..gonna help on my next travel plans..

  • This is useful…I am off to Florida shortly so your post has come in handy!

  • A scarf is for sure a MUST HAVE for travel. It does even more than work as a blanket when on the go. It has proven to be a lifesaver in so many circumstances. Don’t leave home without one!!!


  • This is so helpful! I’ve done quite a bit of traveling, but always plan for the trip the night before, so I always end up forgetting something. I guess I should just sit down and make a master list sometime so I’m prepared. Anyway, I’ve seen those Pinch kits before, and just realized it would make the perfect gift for my friend who is a new mama, just for everyday! Thanks for reminding me 😉

  • About the Headphone Splitter: There is an awesome App called “Twin Play” that lets you listen to two different songs on one headphone at the same time! Perfect for listening music with your boyfriend who might not always like hearing Taylor Swift 10 times in a row.. 😉

    (Maybe thats why mine made the app ;))

  • Some of these are not super “essential”, but still, great tips! I’ll be adding some to my suitcase next time 😀


  • Thanks for the tips. I definitely need to organize my makeup and toiletries for trips.


  • Great ideas! I always travel with hand sanitizer and a bottle to fill with water as soon as I get through security! I like to stay hydrated and clean after all those public restrooms!

  • Great tips! I should save it to check every time I travel. I’m the kind of forget-person.

    P.S. I loved the blue vehicle bag. I don’t know the name of the vehicle in english but here is “Kombi” and my grandma has one and she would love this bag! where is it from?


  • This is so helpful! I am a both a frequent traveler (I travel weekly for work) and a world traveler (going on vacation to South Africa next week) but some of these things I haven’t thought of…like bringing a small journal with me?! Now that I’ve got my own blog, this is a genius tip and will be super helpful to have while on safari 🙂 I also highly recommend this eye mask I just purchased a few weeks ago: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003CGPT28/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


  • Like every time: great post! I was in France last week and it would have been great to read this before, haha. Lot of the stuff i have always with me when travelling. But there are a few new rhings for me, too.

    Thanks for that and have a great day!


  • These ideas have my wheels turning. I love the journal idea – I’ll have to do that this summer 🙂 Also, I was wondering if you or your husband had any suggestions on music tour/travel essentials. My band is going to auditions this year and I’d love to be just as prepared. Thanks! everythingtlt.blogspot.com

  • Like some of the other commenters – I am much more of a minimalist traveler. I travel every week for work and have gotten to the point where I can fit what I need into my two carry-ons, even if I’m going to be gone for three weeks. I still love some of the suggestions above (the headphone splitter!!! – genius!). Two other tips that I’d add:
    1. I always travel in slippers. I also get really cold on the plane and this keeps my feet warm. They are really comfortable to walk (or run) through the airport in and you can wear them around your hotel room if you are a germaphobe.
    2. A bag with lots of pockets – if I’m going on a long trip, I find extra space by bringing a GIANT “personal item” with tons of pockets. I can throw bulkier items in there to free up space in my luggage, like my running shoes, and organize everything I’ll need for the flight. I usually throw a small clutch in there so I can take it out for easy access.

  • I have to add one item if your going on a really long road trip and might not have access to a washing machine in desperate need: Mini laundry packs for washing clothes in the sink. When we did a 3 week road trip to California with cheap hotels, this came in handy.

  • I love that pink toiletry bag! Perfect for traveling! Thanks for this post – it’s great!

    Kalyn Goff


  • Love this post! I need one of those mini emergency kits and the steamer!

  • Great post. For about my first 10 international trips, I forgot my travel adapter, so now I have millions of them scattered around the house! Eventually I learned 😉
    My favourite things when I’m travelling are my Kindle, my mug (sad as this is, I have a Starbucks mug that I’ve taken pretty much everywhere with me!), and a little first aid kit- usually just containing painkillers- no I’m not a drug addict, but they do come in handy 😉

  • I also travel a lot and loved this post!
    Not as glamorous as other things mentioned but I always make sure to bring small travel sized medications like tums or related. Especially if you are traveling somewhere where the food is something your stomach might not be used to!

  • Wow so many good recommendations in this post! I totally agree about a blanket for the plane and the eye mask. I love that toiletries bag and might have to get the yellow one….and I think I will definitely be getting my husband one of those luggage tags as he travels every week for work! Thanks for sharing!


  • i’m from seattle so i had to smile when travel umbrella was on your list… we don’t use umbrellas. 🙂 personally, i like hooded jackets or hats.

  • Great list, definitely helps since I’ll be traveling next week 🙂


  • A travel steamer?! I didn’t even know that existed! Such an awesome idea. Thanks for the awesome tips! ❤

  • Hi – first time commenting here. I travel frequently to Europe and I am much more of a minimalist than you. However, there is one thing I regard as essential that you didn’t mention and that is a multiple USB plug outlet. I have an American one that I plug into whatever country adaptor I need. This enables me to charge 4 devices at once using only one wall outlet. A lot of European buildings are old and the electricity is not always in the places you want it, or as many outlets as you want Also, you don’t need to carry the blocky iphone/ ipad /Kindle adapters if you have one of these.

    I’m not making any brand recommendations (although I have used this one without problems) but here is a link to show what I mean.


    The other thing is – I use a mesh laundry bag for my dirty lingerie when I travel – I just throw the whole thing in the washer and dryer when I have a chance. It’s not as cute as yours – so if you can think of a way of ‘cutening’ it up, I will be watching for it. : )

  • Great tips Caro! I’ll look into that USB plug outlet, thanks!

    Laura 😉

  • Definitely an eye-mask and earplugs, I need those to catch some sleep on a plane

  • I used to travel up to 95% of the time, so when I saw your post title, I figured the article would include really obvious items. But my knowledge is already outdated in just 1 year since I left my travel job! Thanks so much for some adorable travel ideas that are also practical. I’ll definitely be adding some of these to my arsenal. Great article, even for know-it-all, frequent travelers. 🙂

  • I travel all the time and LOVE these packing suggestions! I definitely need to trade some of my old, ugly things out for some of these new, cute items. Thank you! xo

    Circus & Bloom

  • I travel all the time and LOVE these packing suggestions! I definitely need to trade some of my old, ugly things out for some of these new, cute items. Thank you! xo

    Circus & Bloom

  • I think that my packing style is a bit more minimialist than yours, but there are still a lot of great things on this list! It’s interesting for me to go through and kind of pick and choose what would be useful and /or essential for me.

    I especially love the idea of bringing a paper notebook. And I think that’s so sweet that your friends gifted you one for your trip! I can’t wait to hear all about your time in Paris with Todd. I hope you two have a blast when it come around!

    x Kathryn

  • Gosh I love this! Would have loved to have the luggage tracker as the airlines lost my backpack while I was traveling around europe :/


  • i was there in september for a second visit, and it still makes my heart swoon. you’re gonna love it. go to holy belly for food. its a bit off the beaten path, but you won’t regret it. & cafe kitsune for coffee.
    have the best time 🙂

  • The headphone splitter is a great idea – perfect for watching movies on the plane with my husband. And the notebook is one of my go-to travel items! I spend the trip filling it with sketches, thoughts, and miscellany from the trip. It makes the perfect souvenir!

  • Love this!! I will be traveling to Italy this summer and this guide will come in handy! 🙂

  • This list couldn’t have been more perfect. I especially am enjoying that headphone splitter and the mini curler! How cute!

  • i’ve been thinking about getting a travel steamer for ages… i need to go ahead and pull the trigger on it!

  • Thank you for this! I’m planning more trips overseas, so this is really helpful!

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