The World Notebook
My Top 5 Travel Essentials. Every traveler will tell you what their most important travel essentials are, and I'm a firm believer in reading them to understand what works best for you. Not every traveler is the same. Read what my travel essentials are and get some ideas to prepare for your next trip.

My Top 5 Travel Essentials

10.02.17 0 Comments 3 Photos

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. - Augustine of Hippo

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When you’ve traveled around a few times, you begin to realize that there are just some things you can’t travel without. It doesn’t matter whether you’re traveling to New York from Rhode Island for your friend’s wedding or if you’re moving abroad to Indonesia to start you’re new job; whatever the case may be, you can name five things you won’t leave without. These become your travel “essentials.”

Of course, all these things can differ based on the type of travel you’re going on and the type of traveler you are. Here is my list of the top five travel essentials I need, in random order, no matter what my situation is.


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Top 5 Travel Essentials. Smartphone works as a camera!

Took this with my iPhone and just used Snapseed to make it stand out more. A smartphone works really well!


A Smartphone

This could be just me, but I think one of the top travel essentials for everyone should be to carry a smartphone with you. To some, this can seem a little too “millennial” or too “luxurious,” but I think traveling with a smartphone is smart and minimalist.

I love my unlocked iPhone and take it with me everywhere. Because it’s unlocked, I can buy a SIM card from any telecom company in the world and use it in my phone. With the ability to use Internet comes the ability to use apps, like Uber or Google Maps. This way, I have more options of getting around the country or city I’m visiting and don’t have to worry about being connected to Wifi.

Another plus of having my iPhone is that I’m able to take photos on it. It’s no DSLR, but the camera does allow for some good quality photos. I’m not a photographer, so I have no need to carry around a large camera for professional photos. For these reasons, carrying a smartphone with me just seems like the better option.


A Laptop

As a travel blogger and English teacher, my laptop is a must. Even in my past travels, such as when I traveled to Jordan and Israel/Palestine, I was a student studying abroad. My laptop was, and still is, a necessity in order to get any work done, and has become one of my top travel essentials for these reasons.

If your laptop is HUUUGE (I used to have this giant Dell laptop that was horrible to travel with even across campus), looking into a smaller, more compact laptop is probably better. After my freshman year in university, I ditched that giant Dell laptop (gave it to my little brother hehe) and saved up for an Apple Macbook. It’s 15 inches, so it’s the perfect size and weight for traveling. I also like that it syncs to my iPhone, so I can share things between them if I need to.

Bringing a laptop with you on your travels isn’t a necessity if you’re not moving abroad, studying abroad, or a travel blogger/freelancer; so, if you don’t have to, just leave it at home and you won’t have to worry about it at the airport (stupid laptop ban) or on the road.


Top 5 Travel Essentials. Choose a good backpack, no matter where you're going.

I don’t have this backpack anymore because it didn’t work for me.


A Travel Backpack

A good travel backpack is an essential across all types of travelers. Different types of travelers will vary in what they deem the “best travel backpack” to be. If you’re the type of traveler who backpacks, then you will obviously need a large backpack for that purpose, like this one here. (Can y’all just count how many times I say backpack, like…. Wow.)

I’m not a backpacker, so I don’t need that sort of backpack. As I mentioned, I enjoy bringing my laptop on my travels, so I need a backpack with space for my laptop. This travel backpack by Lapacker is the exact one I have and I love it. It’s sturdy and anti-theft, comes with plenty of space for my laptop and other essentials, has multiple pockets, and it’s comfortable. The only downside is that the side pockets don’t fit a water bottle, but I’m fine with keeping my bottle inside my bag, too. The one I had before this (which you can see in the picture above) just didn’t work for me. There weren’t enough pockets and there wasn’t a compartment for my laptop.

A travel backpack doesn’t have to be a huge thing you lug around. Anything that you feel comfortable traveling with, keeps all of your things secure, and provides plenty of space for you will work. This is something that is subjective to every traveler, so don’t feel the need to conform and get what’s “most popular.” Find what works for you!


Nike Sneakers

Some people like their Jordans, but I love my Nikes. If you plan on doing any sort of outdoor sport, like hiking or backpacking, don’t forget to take a good pair of shoes.

I love hiking and participating in walking tours, so I need comfortable shoes or my feet will start hurting. Plus, last year, I tore my meniscus (sucked) and had patellar tendonitis. Every so often, some knee pain will flare up, especially if I’m walking for a long time. My Nikes are an absolute top travel essential for me because, without them, I can end up in a lot of pain.

Don’t risk wearing some crappy shoes with no support that will leave your feet blistered, sore, or exposed. Take the proper footwear for your intended trip.


My Top 5 Travel Essentials. Nike shoes are a must!

My favorite and super comfy shoes <3


A Book

Sometimes you’re stuck at an awfully long layover, or have a long flight ahead of you, and need something to do. The best option for me is to read a book. I almost always travel with a book in my bag because it’s a much better option than draining your phone or laptop battery.

I usually buy my books at either Barnes & Noble or at thrift stores, but wherever you decide to buy your books is up to you. If you’re like me and you enjoy ordering through Barnes & Noble, you can click here you can get a 10% off coupon by using the promo code HOORAY.

Currently, I’m reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, but on my last trip I read If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Camino, which I highly recommend! It’s so quirky and different; I loved it!



Here are my top 5 travel essentials. Of course, these might change as I become a more experienced traveler, but I always seem to need these things; they’re just that essential for me.

What are your travel essentials and why? Leave your answers in the comments below! Also, what books are you reading at the moment? Leave your suggestions for some great books down in the comments because I’m always looking for new things to read!

If you want to unlock my free resources page, just hit fill out the subscribe form above or click here to get the password. You’ll get a printable travel essentials checklist when you join.


Safe Travels!



The heart wants what it wants, and what it wants is travel. At least, that’s the case for Karina. As an English teacher, she works while living in and exploring other countries. The World Notebook is her way of documenting her travels and experiences with others. Follow her on social media!