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Essential Carry-on Items According to a Travel Expert
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Essential Carry-on Items According to a Travel Expert

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11 Must-Have Travel Items

Whether I’m going away for a long weekend or a few weeks on the road the staples in my carry-on are always the same.

1. A sturdy backpack: I have more backpacks that I care to admit, but my favorite right now is the original Fjallraven Kanken. It’s waterproof and the perfect size to fit my computer, a change of clothes, and a good pair of headphones.

2. Decomposition Notebooks: I know I’m probably one of the only people that still love pen and paper, but Decomposition notebooks make my doodles and to-do-lists next-level.

3. An inflatable travel pillow: One time I carried a huge travel pillow around Thailand for three weeks, and, well, I will never make that mistake again. Inflatable pillows FTW.

4. Amazon Paperwhite Kindle: With a few different Kindle options the choice is up to you. I love the Paperwhite because it has a built-in light for nighttime reading, doesn’t glare when you’re on the beach, and is an entire library at your fingertips.

5. A Passport Document Holder: This is something I received as a gift and likely wouldn’t have purchased myself, but I love this one by Tumi. It holds my passport, phone, credit cards, and my boarding passes all in one place.

6. My Traveller Collective Keychain: This amazing keychain has small rings marked with all of the countries I’ve visited. Each time I look at it hanging on my backpack I’m reminded of different memories and adventures.

7. A lightweight scarf: My favorite is a scarf I picked up eleven years ago in a market in Tanzania. To this day it’s gone on every trip with me and can be blanket, pillow, shoulder covering… You name it, this scarf is your answer.

8. An external battery pack: There’s nothing worse than getting on a flight and realizing the technology you were depending on to pass the time is dead.

9. My Polaroid Instant Printer: Most of my weekend trips are to visit family and friends, so I always pack my instant printer. The pictures are fun reminders and it’s easy to share prints with anyone you met along the way.

10. A deck of cards: Cards are one of my absolute favorite ways to pass time. They’re also a great way to meet new people while you’re traveling.

11. A sewing kit: I know this one might seem like something your grandma packs, but I swear by it. A sewing kit will have everything you need to get you out of a wardrobe malfunction on the road.

These are just a few of my favorites things. Comment below with any suggestions for fellow travelers.


Still deciding where to your travel must-haves will accompany you in 2018? Request a call from one of our global travel experts for help figuring out which Rustic Pathways program is right for you.

About the Author

Elizabeth Cortese

Social Media and Influencer Marketing Manager

Liz first developed a passion for travel while summiting Mount Kilimanjaro as a Rustic student. This taught her at an early age the importance of experiential education for students around the world. She has since graduated with a bachelor’s in marketing communications from Emerson College in Boston. When Liz is not hopping from restaurant to restaurant in San Francisco or buried in a New York Times bestseller, she can be found packing her bags to spend time with family and friends.