Blanca’s Travel Must Haves

  • Best backpack for air travel
  • Best Sleep Mask for Air travel
  • Roll up compression bags are great for travel
  • Collapsible water bottle for air travel

Although I have not yet documented all my travels, I've been to a lot of places (France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Croatia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Canada, get the idea). I've learned how to travel and what the ultimate travel must have items are.

But before I get to those, I have a few travel rules that you need to know before moving forward:

  1. I try to spend minimum 14 days in one place
  2. If my flight is more than 5 hours, I will not travel for less than one month
  3. I do not do too many destinations at one time (for example 3 countries in 7 days)

This means that when I go to Europe, or Asia, or Latin America I need to bring a little more than the basics. If I was just backpacking, jeans and tees would work, but since I enjoy Michelin starred restaurants, I need a more varied wardrobe. I've picked up a few things that I love and wholly recommend for your long term travel.

BTW - if you travel and you have some tips for me, please let me know in the comments. I'm always looking to learn more things to make my travel easier. And, just as an FYI ,some of these are Amazon affiliate links, but I stand behind my choices. They are incredible products.

Travel Must Have Items

Delsey Helium Aero Bags: These are incredible. They are super light and they roll so nicely I no longer have to fuss. These are worth every penny I paid for them. A total win.

Osprey Porter 46 Travel Duffle: This bag fits a lot of stuff...and I mean a lot. Especially when you combine it with the next item on my list. The bag has a slide in compartment that sits on your back, the perfect spot for my laptop and ipad. There are zippers and compartments everywhere, so just when you think you can't fit another thing in here, you figure out a spot. You do not want a rolling bag when you travel to places like Europe. Rolling bags are no fun when you are going over cobble stones. This bag is simple, convenient and fits in the overhead compartment of a plane. Since it's on your back, you'll have free hands for anything else you need to do.  When you're finally home, it stows away in very little space. This bag is awesome!

Lewis N. Clark Compression Packers: These babies are a life saver at just $10 bucks. You can fit a serious amount of clothes into these. Whenever you get stopped and security wants to check your bags, it's super easy to put everything back inside. They last fairly long, but at some point you will have to replace them. I love that these don't require a vacuum. You can consolidate your clothes with ease.  You will need at least 6 for 1 month travel.

Dream Essentials Sweet Dreams Contoured Sleep Mask: I wear these at home now. They are so comfortable you don't feel like you are wearing anything, and at $10 bucks, way cheaper than black out shades. They are also curved, so if you are like me and not blessed with gorgeous, long eye lashes...they won't touch the sleep mask. You'll look like Nite Owl from Nightwatch, but you'll sleep like a baby on your flight.

Vapur Collapsible Water Bottle: I hate wasting money. Bottled water is a waste of money. I love my vapur bottle. I have two - one in green and one in black. They go with me everywhere. I bring it on my handbag empty and fill it up at the water fountain as soon as I go through security at the airport. It has a carabiner clip, so it takes no space in my handbag and the bottom sits round, so it fits in most gym machines. This is a must have.

Power ConvertersYou will need two sets of these. Between your laptop, camera charger, can never have enough of these. I don't travel with as many of these now since I now have my own set of European appliances that stay in my luggage...but if you're just starting to travel, these will come in handy.

Multiple USB ChargerIf you're like me, you probably have various USB devices, phone, ipad, camera, etc... Plugs are scarce at the airport. This will be a gift from the gods when flights are delayed and you are stranded. You may even make some friends.

Von Voni Transformer DressI mentioned Michelin Starred restaurants. This dress is your answer ladies. There are endless permutations to this dress, so you won't feel like you've been wearing the same one for months. I have it in black for maximum wear options, but I think it is time for some patterns.

Noise Cancelling Ear Buds: That crying brat won't be an issue with these babies. The sound quality on these is great and they're not those huge ugly looking things.

Headphone SplitterI always travel with Antonio, and we will often watch a movie, listen to a podcast, or listen to an audiobook "together" with the help of this little gadget.

PashminaThese can work as a blanket when you're cold, a make shift rain covering, a coat, and so much more. You'll be thankful you brought one with you.

Longchamp Foldable BagThis one goes into your Osprey Empty. Use it on your trip to go food shopping, for beach trips, and can fill it up with all the goodies you find on your travels. Antonio and I have two, one in black and one in orange for over 13 years. These puppies are BIFL (Buy it for life).

Pre-Pasted ToothbrushIf you're flying first class, they're probably going to give you a nice toothbrush and a tiny paste, but most of us don't get this luxury (at least not on every trip). It's a good idea to always carry a pre-pasted brush in case of emergency.

For your sanity, you'll want to have these items on hand, in your carry-0n, just in case there is a delay:

  • Granola Bars
  • Extra Undies - As long as you have 1 extra, the other can get washed and dried
  • Tee shirt - to sleep and change into
  • Baby wipes
  • Advil
  • Xanax - you will never even know that baby cried all through the flight (this is of course only if you have a doctor's permission and a legitimate need)

***some, but not all the links to the products on this page go to my affiliates.


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Blanca Valbuena

I am the co-founder of FriendsEat and Socialdraft. I've got an unhealthy obsession with Burgundian Chardonnay, ASOIAF, and travel.

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