I’ve got travel essentials on my mind this week- the cold Montana winter is tiring and I need a break from it! Next month we’re off to Florida and it’s got me itching to pack up my best travel essentials, a 1 week wardrobe and Ophelia’s necessities today!

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traveling essentials

Essential Packing Tip!

When you feel ready to pack up everything you belong and head to warmer climate, my best packing advice is to get out a laundry basket and start throwing things in 1 month before your trip (for me, that would be today!). Anything you think you might want with you, throw into the basket! Romper, shorts, several dresses that you won’t be wearing any time soon, your airplane pillow, sleep mask, etc. Add to your basket!

Packing Essentials

Toiletry Travel Essentials

1. Toiletry Containers- I purchased this 16 piece kit of travel containers that are TSA approved for our trip to Hawaii. It holds all of the things I need for my skin care routine, shampoo, conditioner- even toothpaste! These containers come with lids the seal the cleanser or face cream product for an extra layer of protection. I love these containers so much that I even bought a second pack to bring with me to the hospital when I had our little girl. $16 right now, and usually $23!

2. Poo-Pourri- I actually received this as a college freshman when I was living in the dorms. My nana thought it would be useful considering it was a communal bathroom. Spray it into the toilet before doing your business and it creates a layer on the surface of the water. Do your business and the stink will stay within the bowl. The next person to use that stall will never know what you were just up to…

3. Packing Cubes! Almost my favorite thing about packing for travels! Organizing my suitcase makes me so happy! There are so many options out there that it is hard to choose. There are options for a “soft” cube style that adds flexibly to how much you can stuff into the cube; or a hard one to protect the shape of your items such as bras. The pack I purchased a couple years ago was really great because it came with a bag for my shoes… I kept all my shoes in there for on the way to Hawaii, but then left just my sandy hiking shoes and water shoes in the bag to keep the sand contained.

There are SO MANY options!

4. Clothes– Enough Clothes for HALF the time you plan to spend at your destination. I have realized after a few trips that I only really wear my most comfortable/realistic items on repeat. And no one is going to notice if you wore that shirt twice, or that romper. I packed too much for our trip to Las Vegas and ended up wanting to wear my black romper from Maurice’s every night for dinner!

The Most Obvious Travel Essentials

This is the list of items that I carry with me on the actual flight and airport.

1. Travel Wallet/Organizer– Personally, I don’t like to bring my entire wallet to my travels. I like to keep just a 2 credit cards (NO DEBIT CARDS), insurance, and drivers license. The fewer cards in my purse, the less likely one of my many debit or credit cards will get hacked or stolen. I have had the same small wallet for 10 years now, and I have kept it in good condition because I only use it for traveling. It also has a front sleeve for me to keep my drivers license, which makes things super convenient while at the airport. If you’re going abroad, coming into cruise ports that require a passport, I have had this one on my wishlist for a long while, but I won’t be buying it until we go somewhere abroad. It’s only $3-5.

2. Personal Bag/Backpack– What are you going to use to carry all your ‘carryon essentials’? Here’s some basics, but checkout my full list here. I like to use a Lug 3-in-1 to carry everything for me. Although, I am not 100% sure how practical it will be while traveling with our baby who will be nearly 7 months old.

The Airplane Travel Essentials

  • Sweater or cardigan
  • Change of Clothes– underwear or new leggings, yoga pants or socks. Sometimes it just feels good to switch something out if you’ve been wearing it for 8 hours of travel and have 5 hours left until your home (or more).
  • Headphones– I own noise canceling Sony headphones. Kids were so very loud on the stretch to Hawaii, and I get that 5+ hour flights can be hard on kids…. but regular headphones did not tune them out. Now I have noise cancelling ones and lets hope that works next time.
  • Gum
  • Eye Mask– people keep their electronics on even during an overnight flight, sometimes it is bright enough to keep you awake and other times it is too awkward to accidentally see what they are watching. My eye mask helped me get to sleep. It felt weird at first to sleep with something on my face but it was better than other people’s lights.
  • Compression socks– Prevents DVTs and makes your feet feel good after traveling all day. It keeps your feet from swelling from sitting or walking around a bunch and changing altitudes.
  • Neck Pillow – for sleeping or extra support in the uncomfortable chairs.
  • SI Belt– I wear an SI belt just from sitting all day at my desk! Wearing one for the plane or even long car rides has saved me a lot of pain.
  • iPad/Tablet/Phone/laptop?
  • Video game- Kyler has a Nintendo switch and we played Monopoly on the way to Hawaii.
  • Healthy Food/Snacks– think about choosing more proteins and fats than a bag of crackers. Energy from protein and fats goes a lot farther than energy from carbs. Besides, why use up valuable space in your carry-on for crackers and chips, when you can get that from the flight attendants? I pack turkey jerky, my Healthy Trail Mix Recipe, and Larabars (carbs yes, but okay), cheese sticks and some sort of snack with peanut butter.
  • Kyler eats airport foods- he eats whatever he wants. But if we choose to buy something, I try to stick to my low carb diet by focusing on items that have a lot of protein or fat. Which can be a challenge when you’re staring at a menu with a lot of sandwiches. A safe choice for me has been buying chicken salads – Cesar or Spinach and Strawberries with vinaigrette. Then you have protein, vegetables to fill you up and something a little extra to make things not boring. Although they tend to have fewer calories, vegetables fill your stomach up more than foods loaded with carbs (like sandwiches).


3. Carry-On Suitcase– A hard or soft case carry on suitcase is what I am going with for my second carryon item. Usually, Kyler and I just go with 1 backpack/my lug bag each; however, I exclusively pump, and we are traveling with our infant daughter- so that requires more stuff! I am going to opt for a hard case so that I can protect my wearable pump.

BONUS LIST- Mama Specific Travel Essentials

We’re starting the adventure towards solids so that means I can start weaning from the pump, I’ll be leaving my Spectra S2 pump at home and relying on my manual Medela pump and Elvie Stride pump. That will of course require extra items like bottles, sterilizing bags, and other components for pumping on the go like my recently purchase ‘fanny pack’ for pumping! I do not want to risk someone bumping into me at Universal Studios, the zoo or aquarium in Tampa or the airport! I also got alcohol-free wipes to clean up my Elvie pump when we’re not at our lodgings.

Final Thoughts on These Best Travel Essentials

This list is my starting list based on recent travels to Hawaii and Las Vegas in 2021, we didn’t do any traveling in 2022 because my pregnancy made travel difficult…. but now we’re back on track and I’m back to daydreaming and sharing about these travel essentials that you may or may not know about! What is on your list!? Leave it in the comments.