The most effective gear for vacationers in 2023

Map, backpack and other travel equipment
Last updated: 10/30/23 | October 30, 2023

What do you take on your trip? what do you need? As long-time readers know, I’m a fan of packing light. I don’t think you really need much when traveling. As a backpacker, I want to make sure everything I own fits in one bag. I think a lot of times people bring a lot of stuff when they travel.

I went to Costa Rica On my first trip abroad, I took with me the entire suggested packing list that the tour company provided to clients. I carried a lot of stuff that I never used. Years later, when I took my first round-the-world trip, I was still carrying so much, I ended up leaving things at the hostel as I went.

But I also realize that everyone has different travel styles and needs. No two travelers are alike.

As you prepare for future trips and wonder, “What do I really need to bring?”, I wanted to give you a list of what I consider to be practical and must-have items. These items won’t take up much space, are incredibly useful and will make your trip even better.

Here’s my favorite travel gear:

Items under $25

1. Travel lock

Main travel locksafety first! If you’re traveling on a budget and plan to stay in hostels during your next trip, you’ll need one of these hotels. Since most hostels use lockers, budget travelers will need to provide their own lockers Travel lock If they want to keep their things safe. Although you can usually rent or buy one from a hostel, it is much cheaper to purchase one before you go.

Buy now on Amazon!

2. Travel adapter

Travel adapterAs many travelers know, it’s extremely frustrating (not to mention inconvenient) to arrive at a new destination and then realize you can’t charge your phone or computer because the electrical outlets are different. That’s why you’ll want to Travel adapter. It is a simple but essential accessory if you are visiting different parts of the world. This is what I personally use because it covers every region of the world (and comes with USB ports too). It is affordable, easy to use and lightweight.

Buy now on Amazon!

3. Packing cubes

Travel packing cubesPacking cubes They’re essential if you’re going to be living out of a backpack for a few weeks (or months), or you just want to keep your bag better organized. They come in a variety of sizes, allowing you to store items large and small. They’re great for making it easier to find everything in your backpack or suitcase.

Buy now on Amazon!

4. Earplugs

Travel earplugsAnyone who has stayed in a hostel knows this ear plugs It is a necessity. These earplugs are reusable and work much better than cheap foam earplugs, eliminating any distracting noise. From snorers to late-night drinkers to wedded couples – you’ve heard it all. Even if you’re not staying in a hostel, it’s still useful for sleeping on buses, overnight trains, and other types of transportation. A good night’s sleep is priceless – get ready to travel!

Buy now on Amazon!

5. Passport holder

Blue passport walleta Passport holder A must for any avid traveler. It protects your passport from wear and tear – which is important because a damaged passport could result in you being sent home early or denied entry to the destination (plus replacing a passport is an expensive hassle). Although there are a lot of expensive luxury options out there, a simple one will get the job done.

Buy now on Amazon!

6. Toothpaste bites

Bites toothpaste jar with marks of spilled toothpasteHaving to travel with liquids is painful. They are always a problem with airport security. And when it comes to toothpaste, there’s a lot of waste (you’ll never be able to throw away all of your toothpaste, and plastic packaging is bad for the environment). Enters Toothpaste bites. These dry toothpaste tablets come in a recyclable container (no plastic!). It takes some getting used to but is an eco-friendly option for the eco-conscious traveler. (If Bite doesn’t ship to your part of the world, Lush also sells toothpaste tablets and mouthwash.)

Buy now from Byte!

7. Moleskine notebook

Moleskine travel notebookI never leave home without one of these. Not only do I use it for work (I’m constantly taking notes and writing down ideas) but I also use it to track my travels so I have something to look back on. they The perfect notebook For journaling during your trip as well as for taking travel notes such as directions, contact information and language tips. Even in this hyper-technological age, I think everyone needs to write more during their travels so they have something to look at.

Buy now on Amazon!

8. Exploration Magazine

Travel journal remember your travelsIf you want a travel journal that’s not just blank pages but has space to plan your itinerary, places to jot down notes in local language, inspirational quotes, and more, get our new book Travel magazine. It’s designed specifically with travelers in mind, so you can take notes and write stories and musings during your travels.

Buy now from Remember Your Travels!

9. Celiac travel cards

Celiac legal nomads logoMy friend Judy from Legal Nomads created these Useful travel cards For anyone traveling with celiac disease. They are in-depth resources that communicate your concerns to restaurant staff in a way that allows anyone traveling with the disease to have a worry-free meal. If you or someone you love has celiac disease, these travel cards are a helpful resource! (Use code NOMADIMATT for 10% off!)

Buy now from Legal Nomads!

10. First aid kit

First aid kitIf you are going to be doing any hiking, biking, or other activities during your trip, I suggest you bring a small pack First aid bag. It just needs to include the essentials (bandages, antibiotic cream (Polysporin), paracetamol (Tylenol), gauze, hand sanitizer, etc.) so that if you get a small cut, blister or burn you don’t need to worry about infections. Of course, you always should Buy travel insurance before you leave home but this will help you take care of any minor cuts or scratches you experience while traveling.

Buy now on Amazon!

Here’s more information on how to pack a basic first aid kit.

Items under $100

11. DryFox quick-dry travel towel

Sea to Summit Travel TowelUnless you’re only staying in hotels and Airbnbs, you’ll need to bring a towel. Having a lightweight, quick-drying towel makes a big difference when you’re on the road since regular towels are bulky and very heavy (and take a long time to dry). Instead, get Travel towel. It’s a compact, quick-drying solution every traveler needs. (Use code “nomadicmatt” to get 15% off your purchase!)

Buy now from DryFoxCo!

12. LiveStraw

Life water filterSingle-use plastics are common in many countries around the world. They also pollute our oceans and destroy the environment. But when you travel, it can be difficult to avoid them if you want to stay safe. Fortunately, you can do your part to help the planet by traveling with a reusable filter. LiveStraw is a great brand that sells bottles that have built-in water filters. Filters last for 5 years, so you can save money on changing them too. You will be able to stay healthy and reduce your dependence on single-use plastics. Double win!

Buy now from LifeStraw!

13. Travel flashlights

Travel head lampThis is a useful tool for both backpackers and anyone looking to do any hiking or camping. If you’re staying in a hostel, you have to Flashlights This is useful when you need to check in or out but don’t want to disturb your fellow travelers by turning on the lights. It is also useful in emergency situations.

Buy now on Amazon!

14. Turtle travel pillow

Comfortable travel pillowTravel pillows Perfect for long flights, late buses and airport naps. Every avid traveler should have a travel pillow. They just make crossing more comfortable. They help prevent jet lag and make a longer, more uncomfortable flight more bearable.

Buy now on Amazon!

15. External battery

Anker external batteryWe all travel with many electronic devices such as phones and tablets, but it can be difficult to keep them all charged. that External battery Solves that problem. Three high-output USB ports make this external battery incredibly convenient, as you can charge three devices simultaneously. Plus, it can charge most phones up to six times and tablets at least two times!

Buy now on Amazon!

Items over $100

16. Sofas shoes

Suavs shoesSofas shoes Versatile and durable. They’re perfect for travel because they’re comfortable for exploring a new city all day, while also looking a little more stylish so you can wear them if you want to at night. They are flexible, light, washable and breathable. love them!

Buy now on Suavs!

17. Travel bag

REI Flash travel backpackIf you’re traveling for a long time, your backpack is your home away from home. Reliable and durable suitcase A must-have for budget travelers, minimalists, and backpackers. A well-made bag will last for many years and through dozens of adventures. Having a reliable travel backpack is one of the most important items for a traveler and worth investing in.

My favorite bag is Flash 55 From REI (I actually prefer the slightly smaller version of the Flash 45, but it has been discontinued). Other companies worth checking out for quality bags are Osprey, Nomatic, and MEC (for Canadians).

Some other bags worth checking out are:

For more backpack suggestions, Check out my guide to finding the right backpack!

18. Unbound Merino travel clothes

Unbound merino wool shirtThis travel clothing is some of the most versatile on the market. Made of merino wool, Merino is unbound Provides clothing that can be worn daily for weeks without smelling bad. It’s very light (great for travelers who just carry with them) and looks stylish too. I really love this material, it’s comfortable, never needs washing, and lasts forever!

Buy now on Unbound!

19. Luggage from Samsonite

Samsonite eco-friendly recycled luggagePersonally, I’m a fan of backpacks, but if you’re looking for a bag instead, Samsonite It has been a favorite brand for quality durable luggage throughout the ages. Not only that, it also comes with a 10-year limited warranty in case something goes wrong.

Buy now on Amazon!

20. Kindle

Kindle from AmazonPersonally, I prefer paper books when I travel. However, I cannot argue against comfort and simplicity kindle. I’ll admit, moving physical books is a pain. It’s old fashioned and uncomfortable. With a Kindle, you can pack thousands of books into one device, ensuring you always have something good to read on the go.

Buy now on Amazon!

21. GoPro

GoPro Hero 11 photosI’m not much of a photographer, but even I will admit that every traveler needs a camera. If you want something better than your phone with ease of use, get it From GoPro. It’s durable and takes amazing photos and videos without a steep learning curve. It’s also waterproof and works well for everyday exploration as well as adventure activities. It’s the most versatile adventure camera ever.

Buy now on Amazon!

22. Noise canceling headphones

Bose QC35 headphonesThese headphones block out background noise so you can read, work, or sleep undisturbed during long flights, trains, bus rides, or just hanging out at the hostel. wireless Bose QuietComfort 45 The headphones are a fan favorite and my favorite brand. It’s convenient, rechargeable, and does a great job of removing background noise. If you have a limited budget, consider… Quiet rest 25 instead of.

Buy now on Amazon!

23. iPhone

The new iPhone 13These days, you don’t need to carry a big camera with you to get great photos while traveling. All you need is a smartphone with a high-quality camera. Although it is not a cheap phone, it is iPhone It has a high-tech camera so that you do not need to take a traditional camera with you when traveling. It has solid battery life, a great lens, a beautiful display, and is just great overall. Granted, I’m an Apple fan, so I may be biased, but here’s my list!

Buy now on Amazon!

For a non-Apple phone with an equally excellent camera, check out Google pixel series.

24. Travel insurance

Although it’s not technically a piece of gear, Travel insurance It is something you need on the road. In fact, it’s the most important thing you need, because it protects all your other gear. While most people think travel insurance covers health-related incidents (and it should), it also covers equipment you take on the road (sometimes with caveats, so always check the fine print before purchasing a plan).

It’s not just about being able to see a doctor on the road – it’s about making sure that if you fall into the ocean (like I did), your camera can be replaced at no cost. I never go on a trip without it because I’ve had to use it several times in the past. A good budget traveler is a smart traveler on a budget who is ready for anything to happen!

Read more about choosing the right travel insurance for you Or use the tool below to get a quick quote:


Whether you’re heading off for a two-week vacation or a full one Adventure around the worldThis list of travel gear will help you get started. You need a lot of things when you travel, but the right things can make a big difference.

Book your flight: logistical tips and tricks

Book your flight
Find a cheap flight using Sky Scanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the world so you always know no stone has been left unturned.

Book your stay
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Because it constantly displays the cheapest prices for guest houses and hotels.

Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellation. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it because I’ve had to use it several times in the past. Our favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

Do you want to travel for free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodations – all without any additional spending. paying off My guide to choosing the right card and your current favourite To get started and see the latest best offers.

Are you ready to book your flight?
Check my Resources page For the best companies you can use when traveling. I list everything I use when I travel. They are the best in their class and you can’t go wrong with them on your trip.

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