Since we get asked about our travel essentials all the time, we came up with the idea of crafting a specific post about the 30 items we can take with us on pretty much every single trip. From carry-on baggage and backpacks, to raincoats, hiking boots and even bank cards, here are our most esteemed travel essentials.
Disclaimer: all the travel essentials listed below are linked to a website where you can complete your purchase. You won’t pay a single penny above the official price and you’ll be giving us a hand by using our affiliate links 😊
Under 25L: Quechua NH Escape 500, 23L (£34.99)
We highly recommend the NH Escape 500. Besides the usual top-notch quality one came to expect of the French brand, this model also offers some nifty features that make it stand out, such as a dedicated laptop compartment that you can easily open without disturbing the rest of your belongings, making airport security a breeze. Plus, there’s a roomy compartment designed specifically for your clothes, which opens up fully like a suitcase. This clever design allows you to pack your items more efficiently, making it easier to remove liquids or other objects when going through airport security.
Plus, there are 15 other pockets to cater to even the most organized of individuals out there. Furthermore, this incredible backpack is priced at just £34.99, making it an unbeatable deal. We’ve been putting this backpack to the test for over a year now, and it’s still in excellent condition, showing no signs of wear and tear despite frequent use. And to add to its appeal, all models come with a generous 10-year warranty that covers any issues like broken zippers, loose straps, or faulty buckles.
Under 35L: Quechua NH Escape 500, 32L (£44.99)
NH Escape 500’s 32L-version. The perfect budget-friendly backpack, on a maxi size.
Backpack version: Forclaz Travel 500 Organizer (£59.99)
The Forclaz Travel 500 Organizer 40L is one of Decathlon’s latest offerings. This backpack, inspired by the popular NH Escape 500 models, takes travel convenience to a whole new level. Unlike your typical camping backpacks, the Travel 500 is designed with compartments that make it feel more like a well-organized travel suitcase, making it much easier to access its interior pockets. It’s a dream come true for anyone who loves having everything in its place, especially when navigating the always stressful and mess-prone airport security checks.
But that’s not all—the Travel 500 also has a padded compartment specially designed to keep your laptop safe and secure, with its very own lock-compatible zipper which adds an extra layer of security. It’s like the NH Escape 500, but on steroids.
Trolley version: Kono 55x40x21cm 40L (£70.99)
Kono’s Trolley has the perfect dimensions (55 x 40 x 21 cm) for cabin bags that need to be stowed in the aircraft’s overhead compartments. The 4.6 average rate collected after more than 1200 reviews on Amazon stand as the ultimate proof of its solid price-quality ratio. Besides the massively positive feedback, the trolley’s 3-dial combination lock and multidirectional spinner wheels are also very nice additions.
Backpack version: Forclaz Travel 100 50L (£39.99)
If you’re planning your next holiday and need a spacious backpack, then look no further! As usual with Decathlon’s backpacks, this model strikes the perfect balance between simplicity and functionality, offering plenty of pockets and convenient front access.
The fact that the brand also commits to a 10-year warranty stands as a testament to their ingenious craft. With this backpack, you’re not just getting a reliable companion for your journeys, but also great bang for your buck.
Trolley version: Amazon Basics Hardside Luggage 71cm (£77.58)
This is yet another example of a great deal we’ve managed to find on Amazon for travel luggage. This specific model from Amazon Basics, measuring 53.5 x 32.5 x 88 cm, is an excellent choice for those who are looking for a generously sized check-in bag. Much like the smaller example we’ve given above, this bag also has rave reviews, multidirectional spinner wheels and a fully lined interior with divider. Plus, its expandable design allows for up to 15% extra packing capacity.
For 2023, we’ve decided to add a new category to our travel essentials list that just makes perfect sense. Sometimes, a 20L, 30L or 40L backpack can feel a bit too big when all you need is room for a water bottle, sunscreen and some snacks to get by during your day in the likes of London, Paris or Berlin. That’s why we did some digging and found some smaller options that won’t take up much space in your “main” backpack, which you can leave at your place of accommodation.
Let’s start with the Quechua Arpenaz 50 10L (£3.99). Dirt-cheap, ultra-compact and definitely serves its purpose. There’s not much more to say about it, really. Aside from the main compartment, it also includes an outer pocket for quicker access.
Now, if you’re looking for something with a little more functionality, the Quechua Arpenaz NH100 10L (£6.99) is an equally fantastic choice. It not only has a side pocket for your water bottle but also an interior pocket and padded straps for your back and shoulders, ensuring extra comfort.
Having extra room in your bag is always welcome, and one of the best ways to save some of that precious space is by utilizing compression bags. Unlike many others in the market, these do not require the use of any vacuum or pump. You just need to keep rolling out the bags until all the air comes out and finito!
Perfect to avoid the mess your bag usually turns into whenever you have to pack/unpack! These packing organizers from Vicloon have a great price considering all their perks. With 8 different bags, you are guaranteed to always keep your baggage neat and tidy!
This liquid transport kit is a fantastic choice if you’re traveling with nothing but carry-on luggage and have to deal with the usual 100ml limit per bottle. It’s designed with convenience in mind, offering four containers, each with an 89ml capacity. Crafted from durable silicone, these containers come equipped with secure lids that ensure no accidental spills or leaks.
If you know someone who needs to take off (and then put on, of course) 3 different coats because their bag is already oversized, then here’s the perfect gift! This small portable luggage scale has a capacity of up to 50kg, allowing you to know exactly how much your bag is weighing. With this scale, not only will your friend avoid stressful moments at the airport but they will no longer look like a walking chorizo while going through security.
Compression socks are an absolute must-have, especially for those longer journeys where you’re going to have to do a lot of sitting. These socks effectively reduce swelling caused by fluid retention and help maintain a healthy blood circulation in your legs. When it comes to affordability, you just can’t go wrong with these unisex compression socks from Decathlon.
A true life-saver on longer trips! Not just for you, who won’t have to leave that plane/train/bus with the absolute worst neck pain of your life, but also for the person seating right next to you, who will no longer have to put up with your wobbly head on their shoulder. This specific model from Amazon has great reviews and comes with an eye mask and earplugs.
When it comes to traveling, the most precious thing you have is the space on your backpack. A regular coat can eat up a whole compartment, which is why it’s wise to go for a packable jacket. The Forclaz MT 100 down jacket from Decathlon is a fantastic option, thanks to its price and great reviews. Plus, they’ve got a women’s model and a men’s model to suit everyone’s needs.
A real traveler isn’t bothered by a little rain shower. With a reliable raincoat, you can take on even the heaviest downpours without worrying about getting stuck indoors. Plus, a raincoat is way more practical than carrying around an umbrella, with the added convenience that it doesn’t get damaged as easily. This specific model, from Decathlon, is available for both men and women, so everyone can stay dry in style.
There’s nothing quite as frustrating as being in the middle of a hike, whether it’s in a city or out in the mountains, and feeling your feet getting wet. Luckily, these days you can get affordable footwear that keeps you protected from such discomfort. Take a look at the Quechua NH150 shoes. They offer incredible value for the price and are available for both women and men.
In-between passports, tickets, pens and other accessories, it is always useful to carry a document holder bag. This one from Forubar has plenty of room for all your documents, passports and cards, and comes with two very important extras: RFID blocking and water-resistant design.
If you’re looking for something that keeps your documents handy at all times, this basic pouch is definitely worth considering (£21.44). Its design is sleek and slim, making it easy to wear around your neck and discreetly hide it beneath your clothes.
Amidst the chaos that we all witnessed at the airports last Summer, loads of people were able to track down their baggage due to these item finders, such as Tile (for both Android and Apple) or Airtags (Apple). Having one of these “hidden” at your regular backpack may also come in handy.
When there is not much space left in your bag but you still got to take THAT book, your best option is to check the Kindle Paperwhite. It’s a classic formula, both tested and approved by millions of people, which you can store anywhere considering its small and convenient size. Standing as an upgrade from Kindle’s basic model, the Paperwhite version has a bigger screen, an IPX8 certificate – making it waterproof – and an adjustable warm light for a more comfortable reading experience on the eyes.
“Oh, but we can find all of that information online for free!”. Yeah, we know. However, if you have a friend or relative with an old soul like ourselves, their eyes will glow at the sight of a Lonely Planet guide. No matter how much mankind has advanced over last the last few decades, there is still no replacement for the feeling of turning the paper pages of an actual, physical book. Also, the fact that the information usually contained inside these guides is of the highest quality doesn’t hurt either!
Best quality-price ratio: JBL Live 460NC (£61.99)
This JBL model offers all the basics of a good set of noise canceling headphones at an attractive price. Once again, the product’s 4.5 average rate after more than 1300 reviews shows how much buyers are happy with their purchase.
Pro Recommendation: SONY WH-XB910N (£147.50)
Perfect choice for users seeking something a bit more elaborate at a reasonable price. Boasting a pretty lengthy battery life of up to 30 hours, multipoint connection (allowing you to switch effortlessly between devices) and optimization for both Alexa and Google Assistant, this one is a no-brainer!
Best quality-price ratio: SKULLCANDY Sesh ANC (£69.99)
Considered an excellent value-for-money option, the Skullcandy Sesh ANC include many of the features you will find in earbuds costing twice as much. You may expect up to 10 hours of battery life, extendable to a whopping 46 hours with the use of the compact charging case.
Pro Recommendation for Android: Sony WF-C700N (£99.00)
The Sony WF-C700N are widely considered one of the best options for those willing to spend some money on a set of noise-canceling earphones. Considering how much they’re selling for at Amazon, this is definitely a great deal!
Pro Recommendation for Apple: AirPods Pro, 2nd generation (£200.00)
The go-to choice for Apple devices. For their size, the sound quality and noise-cancelling feature is excellent. Plus, the AirPods can be synched to all Apple products.
So, you’ve just boarded the plane with your noise-canceling headphones and want to get them connected to the in-flight entertainment system. Small problem: you’ve forgotten your cable or, in case we’re talking about earphones, there is no way whatsoever to get them connected. How nice… now you will have to either read the subs with no sound or use the earset provided by the airline (if they do) which do not isolate any kind of noise. However, if you have a Bluetooth transmitter that will no longer be an issue., as this small device would allow you to connect your wireless headphones to any in-flight entertainment system.
A plug adapter is particularly useful whenever we travel to countries with a different socket type from the one we have back at home. Although there are specific adapters from plug X to socket Y, we recommend that you use a universal one. Not only is it more versatile, but it also has 4 USB ports so that you can charge more than one device at a time.
Having a multipin plug socket really does come in handy in various situations. Picture this: you’re in Japan with a group of friends, and you all need to charge your laptops, but there’s only one plug adapter available. Or imagine you’re camping in Iceland, where the number of available sockets is ridiculously limited for all your devices.
Now, if you’re looking for an option that provides even more connections and doesn’t require direct wall plugging, let me suggest this amazing charging cube. It’s a game-changer with its 3 electrical inputs and 3 USB ports, and it even comes with a 1.40m cable for added convenience.
Though it may not be the most compelling gift, a power bank can at times feel like the most useful thing in the world. It has saved us before, when we had to sleep at a Bolivian hotel with no electricity or when all the sockets were already being used at an Icelandic camping site… and it will likely save us again in the future! This one from INIU (£19.99) is a pretty solid choice. Besides boasting a capacity of 10000 mAh, enough to charge your phone twice, it also has 2 USB ports (1 type A + 1 type B).
If you’re in the market for something twice as powerful, let me introduce you to the VRURC power bank available on Amazon. Priced at just £29.99, this little gem is one we can personally recommend. With a generous 20000mAh capacity, 3 regular USB ports and 2 USB-C ports, as well as a LED display which shows you the device’s current battery capacity, it’s capable of catering to a wide range of equipment.
If you want something with an even bigger capacity but far less compact, you may want to check out this alternative from VEGER. It has a staggering capacity of 30000 mAh (the two previous entries combined), 2 input (Micro USB + USB C) and 3 outputs ports (3 USB + 1 USB C), allowing you to charge up to 4 devices at a time.
A first aid kit is one of those must-haves that we hope to never actually need to use. However, don’t underestimate its importance for everyday situations that actually aren’t emergencies. You’d be surprised how often you’ll find yourself reaching for a band-aid to soothe those nagging heel blisters, tweezers to remove splinters or thorns, or gauze to clean a minor scrape, especially when you’re exploring more challenging terrains. This one from Decathlon is a fantastic choice, as it comes fully equipped with all the essentials you might need. Furthermore, if you want to consider an invaluable addition to your kit, make sure to check instant cold packs. Although someone infinitely smarter would be able to explain how these actually work, I’m just going to assume it magic! Just give them a gentle whack, and they instantly transform into a source of cold that can be applied to injuries, such as bruises, sprains, swelling and any other discomfort you might encounter on your adventures.
22. Hiking Flask (£2.99)
It’s just a simple water bottle, there’s not much science behind it. Staying hydrated is crucial during any trip, and having a water bottle on hand makes it super easy, whether you’re exploring nature trails or wandering the through the city. Plus, if you’ve ever been to touristy areas, you know how essential it is to have water with you. Instead of paying inflated prices or contributing to plastic waste, take advantage of the water in your accommodation or public fountains. Just make sure it’s safe to drink! And to answer a question we get so many times… Yes, you can absolutely take your water bottle through airport security, so as long as it’s empty. This one from Decathlon is a fantastic choice.
Sunscreen is an indispensable item, whether you’re heading for a beach vacation or enjoying adventures in the snow. As experts emphasize, the brand is far from being the deciding factor, as what truly matters is ensuring your sunscreen has an SPF of 50+ to provide optimal protection. Keeping that in mind, we went looking for an under-100ml option that could tick that box, allowing you to breeze past security at the airport. Once again, Decathlon offers two excellent choices that tick all the boxes. You can opt for a 50+ sunscreen in either cream or spray form, both conveniently packaged in 50ml sizes (priced between £5.99 and £6.99 for a 50ml container).
Our lips go through a lot and deserve some extra care. That’s why a hydrating lip balm (£2.99) that’s also sweat-resistant and offers high sun protection should not be overlooked.
Keys, wallet, mobile phone and sunglasses are the items that usually accompany us everywhere, whether we’re just popping to the bakery or heading to New Zealand. Now, if you’re anything like me and always end up losing your pair, it’s hard to justify splurging £100. That’s where Hawkers comes in. Their sunglasses provide good quality at a fair price.
Their compact size, quick drying and high water absorption capacity make these microfiber towels a staple in our travel bags.
When it comes to Decathlon’s ingenious creations, the Easybreath 500 is undoubtedly a close runner-up after the backpacks we mentioned earlier. We always make sure to pack this innovative mask for our beach or snorkeling adventures, and it never lets us down.
Water shoes (or reef shoes) are one of those unexpected travel essentials that we never knew we needed until we owned a pair. Whether you’re strolling along pebbled beaches or rocky shores, or even if you’re an adventurous soul who loves exploring the rugged coastal terrain, these shoes offer invaluable protection against cuts and injuries. Everything a pair of flip-flops can do, but better!
A bag which allows you to take your cellphone and other essential items on a beach trip while protecting them from the sand and water splashes. It’s also extremely useful for long walks since it will shelter your belongings from the rain. We bought this Havaianas beach bag back when we were in Rio de Janeiro and it has stayed a loyal friend to us ever since.
As you might have noticed after our romanticized report on the Lonely Planet guidebooks, we are still rather old-school when it comes to technology. So we couldn’t resist and ended up buying a Fujifilm Instax Mini. That feeling of being able to actually touch the photo just a few seconds after the shoot is something we really enjoy, making it a super interesting gift, not just for travel, but also to mark any other special occasion or moment.
Revolut is one of those convenient tools that you won’t want to travel without. Immensely useful, you can consult and manage your card and even exchange money in real time through the mobile app. Considered its main advantage, you can use your Revolut card to make payments or withdrawals in foreign currency without paying any fees. Furthermore, the exchange rates offered are the ones you can find at the live market (so no hidden commissions). It truly is a game-changer!
Besides, the fact that this is a rechargeable card just adds an extra layer of security, as you can top up your Revolut card with nothing but your daily budget, minimizing your losses in case of theft or cloning. As a cautionary tale, during our trip to Namibia, our Revolut card was cloned, but the thieves were only able to access the remaining 40,00€ from that day’s balance. If it had been our primary card, the situation would have turned into a disaster.
Sign up for Revolut for free >> to get 3 months of Premium. Other good options are Portuguese Moey or the German N26.