What’s in my bag?  Well, usually not that much.  To be honest, the budget flights I book usually only include 1 carry-on piece of luggage per passenger, and I can generally limit myself to that.  The fact that I live in yoga pants, which easily roll up into a ball the size of my fist, helps a great deal with this! I do have a few select things that I deem ‘travel essentials,’ which I’ve put together in this post.

If you’re heading out for a few months or a few years, be sure to check out my long-term travel essentials list!

1. comfy hiking/walking shoes

Timberland brown hiking boots with burgundy accents, the perfect cute boot that keep you dry, warm, and slip-free.  A must-have for travel essentials.

These Timberland hiking boots are everything.  Ever since I can remember, I’ve had issues finding comfortable shoes that are sustainable.  My trips generally consist of A LOT of walking (12-15 miles per day), and these are ideal.  They’re comfortable, affordable, and cute!

2.  phone tripod

Adjustable cell phone tripod, complete with Bluetooth remote.  A definite travel essential if you are flying solo.

Everyone asks about my pictures, especially the yoga pics.  Most of the time I do take them myself.  My secret for taking good yoga photos?  Take a video.  Capture the still-shot that best embodies your asana practice.  Voila! 

This tripod is invaluable for the solo traveler, especially the solo traveler who wants to get some good yoga shots for IG!  It even comes with a Bluetooth remote that’s compatible with most Androids and iPhones!

3.  travel adapter

Black universal adapter with 4 USB ports compatible in every country.

One of the most important things to remember!  Granted, you can buy these little guys most places upon arrival, especially if you’re staying in a popular tourist destination.  Some Airbnbs provide them, but hotels usually do not.  This universal adapter is for sure one of my top travel essentials. 

Insider tip: If you are going to be somewhere for an extended period of time that’s generally less expensive than your home country, buy a charger there. I got a phone charger in Romania for a quarter of the price I would’ve paid back home (and didn’t need an adaptor since the plug was outfitted for Romanian outlets).

4.  travel yoga mat

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Ok, this one is not always with me.  Believe it or not, you can do yoga without a mat!  If I’m going to a destination that’s going to have mild weather, I’ll usually forego the mat in lieu of a backpack or additional personal item on the plane.  Still, if the comfort of a mat is something you enjoy, this Jade travel mat is my go-to (no, not just because my name is Jade). When traveling in Europe, I figured I’d easily be able to find a mat once I’d arrived, so I didn’t bring one with me.

Let me tell you – finding a decent yoga mat is harder than you’d expect, particularly if you aren’t in a major city. Even in Rome I could only find one place to get a decent one (Decathlon).

5.  quality headphones

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Obviously a necessity for the plane, also a good idea to have handy if you’re traveling with a snorer (looking at you, mom).  Don’t skimp on quality here, especially if you’re planning on logging a lot of miles, on a plane or otherwise.

For solo travel, I like having headphones to walk around my destination, occasionally.

Tip for solo female travelers: If you don’t want anyone to bother you, keep your headphones in. If you are in an unfamiliar or otherwise unsafe area, keep the headphones in, but don’t turn any music or podcasts on. This keeps you from unwanted conversation while still being aware of your surroundings.

While I generally turn to Bose for quality or MPOW for noise-cancellation, these Sony headphones are what I personally use. They’re cheaper than most others and have just as good quality.

6.  grayl purifying water bottle

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Guys.  THIS IS THE COOLEST THING.  I’ve tried Steripen and other water purifiers, but the Grayl Water Bottle is my favorite. It doesn’t break the bank (under $70) and it’s extremely effective (I didn’t take any vaccines before going to Ecuador, like a dumbass, and still drank river water safely).

Imagine a world in which you don’t have to purchase bottled water anymore!?  Anywhere in the world, the water you pour into a glass can be sanitized and ready to drink in minutes. If you’re headed somewhere with non-potable water, this should absolutely be one of your travel essentials. 

7.  sanuks

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Okay, this one is geared specifically toward tropical or summer weather, but seriously.  These.  Sandals.  Are.  The.  Best.  First of all, the inner sole is made of yoga mat.  Perfect!  It’s like a soft layer of squishy, memory-foam clouds to step into.  They are enduring, adorable, and come in a ton of different styles (also for winter, autumn, spring!). 

Not to mention they’re SUPER affordable (this style cost me less than $30) – and, they have men’s styles too!  I buy a pair every 2 years or so (simply because they’re really the only shoes I wear during the summer and I wear the SHIT outta them) and I’d never stray from this brand.

8.  (point-and-shoot) travel camera

Canon SX730 camera image from Amazon

This guy has 40x optical zoom, 4k video, wifi, 20.3 megapixel, image stabilization, awesome reviews on Amazon and more! It’s also under $400. Canon PowerShot SX730 Digital Camera w/40x Optical Zoom & 3 Inch Tilt LCD – Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth Enabled. Before I finally splurged and got a DSLR, this is what was capturing my epic travel memories.

9. a good book (or kindle)

Lately it’s getting harder and harder for me to cram books into my carry-on or backpack, so I’ve had to bite the bullet and get a Kindle. I absolutely, 100% need reading material when I’m traveling. But, for the most part, I do my best to only rely on a carry-on. So you see my dilemma.

10. yoga pants!

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Given the fact that I am working with limited space with a carry-on bag, yoga pants are the perfect solution to space-saving. Not only that, they’re the most comfortable option. I generally bring a couple of pairs of black pants that I can pair with a longer shirt or tank top.

While I hate the price tag, Lululemon pants are the best. They last, they’re good about replacing them should something happen, and they are without-a-doubt the most comfortable. I stick with the Align style at any length – full, 7/8, or cropped.

11. portable travel charger

The Anker portable charger is ideal for when you don’t like to be on the constant lookout for an outlet. I use my phone for Google Maps and the camera, so I go through a lot of battery, and typically don’t return to my accommodations for an entire day. This lightweight, portable charger can charge my (Android) phone multiple times without needing to be charged itself. It also has multiple USB outlets for charging two or more phones at once. You can’t beat it. There’s no worse feeling than, at the end of a long day of sightseeing, you don’t have battery left to take another photo, call an Uber, or GPS your way home.

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Pinterest graphic - stack of suitcases with text: 11 must-have travel essentials

Need to stretch before or after your journey? Check out this yoga sequence targeted toward travel. All-levels accessible.

traveling indefinitely? check out my list of essential items for long-term travel