28 International Travel Essentials You Didn’t Know You Needed

The flight is booked, the itinerary is planned, and you’ve been searching for outfit inspo on Pinterest for weeks. All signs point to an international vacation. Whether you’re heading overseas for the first time or checking off another trip on your bucket listyou’re in for the time of your life. But before you turn on your out-of-office response, you still need to tackle packing. Fitting everything you need in a suitcase can be tough for any type of trip but even more so when you’re traveling internationally. Not only do you need basics like clothing and toiletries, but you also need to think about things like outlet adapters and items to keep you comfortable on a long-haul flight. If you’re already overwhelmed, we’re here to help. Read on for all the international travel essentials you’ll need to make the most of your next trip overseas.

To help with packing:

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Passport Holder

A passport is the #1 must-have for an international trip, so you’ll want to make sure you have it on hand. Keep it protected and easy to access with a passport holder.

Luggage Scale

There’s nothing worse than getting to the airport and being told your suitcase doesn’t meet the weight requirement. A luggage scale will help keep your overpacking in check and let you know how much room you have left for souvenirs.


Luggage Tag

Whether or not you’re checking a bag (but especially if you are), it’s helpful to have a luggage tag with your information in case it gets lost. Bonus points if the tag is distinct or personalized to help you easily identify your suitcase at baggage claim.

Apple Air Tag

Speaking of lost luggage, keep track of your bags with a tracking device like the Apple AirTag. This will clue you in on where your luggage is even if it’s MIA.


Packing Cubes

Packing cubes may seem unnecessary, but once you try them, you’ll never go back. These travel essentials will help you pack so much more in your suitcase (and if you’re like me, you need all the help you can get). They can even help reduce wrinkles in your clothing, too.

Travel-Size Toiletry Set

RIP to the full-size bottles of Kristin Ess texture spray and mousse I thought I could sneak onto a flight once. Ever since, I’ve been a stickler for the 3.4-ounce rule, and these refillable bottles will help you do the same.



Plastic Luggage Cover

Protect your luggage from scuffs with a luggage cover. What’s even better? A plastic cover also helps protect your luggage from any potential bed bugs that may be lurking in your hotel.



Luggage Lock

Regardless of where you’re traveling, it’s always nice to have peace of mind that your valuables are safe. Add a luggage lock to your suitcase during the flight and whenever you leave your room.



For the flight:

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International flights are no joke. We’re talking long hours, small seats, and not a lot of room to get comfy. Enter the airplane footrest: a genius device that simply slides over the tray table and acts as a hammock for your feet.


Slip-On Shoes

I pride myself on being very quick and efficient in the TSA line. How do I do it? Slip-on sneakers. Laces, zippers, and buckles will slow you down, but a pair of hands-free, slip-on shoes like these will help you get through security much quicker.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Whether you’re bingeing a show or just looking for some peace and quiet on a long flight, noise-canceling headphones will be your best friend. Just make sure to charge them the night before if they’re wireless.



Blanket Scarf

This has become one of my tried-and-true travel essentials. If you run cold, incorporate a blanket scarf into your travel ‘fit. Not only does it look stylish while you’re walking through the airport, but it doubles as a blanket in case you get chilly on the plane.

Neck Pillow

What would a plane ride be without the quintessential neck pillow? To make your nap even better, opt for a silk or satin neck pillow that’s gentler on the skin.



Eye Mask

For anyone who has trouble sleeping on planes or just wants to signal to other passengers that you’d like some peace and quiet, eye masks are absolutely travel essentials. Pro tip: use a blackout eye mask to help you catch some z’s even if all the cabin lights are on.



Antibacterial Wipes

This is a must-have for me on every trip. Sure, the plane is cleaned between flights, but I enjoy having the added peace of mind that I’ve sanitized my seat and surrounding area. They’re also helpful if you don’t have access to soap and water but need to clean your hands on the go.


Headphone Splitter

Friends don’t leave friends hanging while they catch up on episodes of Queen Charlotte next to you on the plane. Pack a headphone splitter so you can both watch (and listen to) a show or movie together.


Seatback Organizer

Calling all my fellow organization-loving girls: you need a seatback organizer. Keep your phone, book, tablet, water, and all your other travel essentials together in one place—without having to plunge your hand into the grimy seat back pocket.


While you’re there:

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Filter Water Bottle

Depending on where you’re traveling, the drinking water may not be the safest to drink. Invest in a water bottle with a built-in filter like this one to purify tap water and cut back on single-use plastic bottles.



Outlet Adapter

Did you know there are 15 different types of electrical outlets used throughout the world? With that in mind, it’s important to have the right kind of plug on hand for your destination. Add a multi-style outlet adapter to your packing list to make sure you can charge your devices.


Voltage Converter

In addition to countries having different style plugs, they often have different voltage levels, too. Most American gadgets use 110 volts, but European ones work on 220 volts. Some devices (like most smartphones and laptops) are dual-voltage, which means they can automatically convert to a different system, but others (like some hair dryers, for example) need a separate voltage converter to avoid frying your device. Always check the label on your device to make sure before you plug anything in.


Translation App

While it’s not required to know the language of the place you’re visiting, it’s definitely helpful to know a few common phrases. A translation app will help with this in a pinch or for pronouncing menu items you may not be familiar with (I’m looking at you, coq au vin).

Travel Body Pouch

Tourists can be victims of pickpocketing when traveling abroad. Keep yourself and your money safe by wearing a hidden pouch or wallet inside your clothing so you’re less likely to be targeted.



RFID-Blocking Wallet

Electronic pickpocketing is another tactic thieves might use in crowded areas. Protect your credit and debit card information with an RFID-blocking wallet.



Personal Safety Alarm

Safety is key, especially when traveling to a new place. Add a personal safety alarm to your bag or hook it around your bra strap or belt loop for an added layer of security you’ll appreciate if you are traveling alone or get separated from your group.


Portable WiFi Hotspot

If you’ll be working during your getaway, you may want to invest in a portable hotspot so you’re sure to have internet access wherever you go. Just imagine—the Amalfi Coast as your Zoom background? Yes, please!


Private VPN

Another helpful tool for a working vacay is a private VPN. Set one up on any device to increase your privacy so you can browse the internet safely and anonymously.

Portable Charger

Perhaps even more important than having internet access is having your devices fully charged. Keep a portable charger on hand so you’ll never run out of battery while taking photos for the ‘gram.


Travel Guides

Whether you like to plan ahead or make it up as you go, travel guides are a must-have for exploring new cities. Pack some with you in case you need sightseeing recommendations or get lost and need a map.



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