My 5 Travel Must Haves

We love to travel. We’ve gone places near and far; exploring new places, cultures, and food is our idea of fun.  The downside to travel is the challenge of packing, being away from your creature comforts, and finding yourself needing something that you have at home. In the last 15 years of traveling with my husband, and now a toddler, I’ve found these five things to be essentials whether we’re going 500 miles or 5000. 

  1. Packing Cubes– I am, in a word, obsessed with packing cubes. I first used them for a big international trip and they were a lifesaver.  Now, each family member has their own color. It makes it easy to grab red for the baby or purple for me and not have to dig through the shared suitcase. I’ve used them to separate seasonal clothing when traveling between climates or putting outfits together in one cube. They’re versatile and come in handy in so many ways. They’re also great when a toddler decides to unpack the suitcase…instead of clothing everywhere, there were just a few packing cubes.
  2. Friction Block Stick/ Blister Prevention Tape– When we travel we’re often doing a lot of walking. I’ve made a lot of shoe mistakes. I’ve brought the wrong shoes, or shoes that were new, or that I thought were broken in but were definitely not. We had to Uber 6 blocks back to a hotel once because I literally could not walk anymore. Then I learned of these items. I now use them as a preventative measure. Heels, toes, ball of the foot wherever your shoes are rubbing slap this on before and no blisters or raw heels. A vacation saver for sure!
  3. Portable backup battery/power bank– sometimes you just need an extra charge. These portable battery charges are a must. Taking pictures, using the map feature on your phone, playing videos to keep a kid happy and everything else we do can drain the battery. No one wants to be stuck inside charging their phone in the middle of vacation. These come in all shapes and sizes, but consider FAA regulations if you’re flying; some of the larger batteries are not allowed on planes and they cannot be in checked bags.
  4. Ziploc bags/Reusable zip-top bag– I typically bring both disposable and reusable bags when we travel. The disposable are great for protecting phones from rainy weather. (like the time we got stuck in a rainstorm at an outdoor concert). The reusable/silicone bags are great for making snack bags from the giant warehouse bags of chips/veggie straws and are convenient for leftovers or corralling smaller items (games, puzzles, or even syringes if you have a kid on several meds.)
  5. Reusable Water bottle with built-in filter– We love our reusable bottles. You can take it through airport security empty and fill it up at the gate. Throw it in a bag for outings or bring it to the beach. You have filtered water wherever you go. These are also great for kids who are thirsty at the most inconvenient times/locations. 

For other travel ideas and mom hacks check out the Road Trip Edition and Surviving Family Vacation.

A native of the New Orleans 'burbs, Melanie has lived in Baton Rouge since starting her bachelors degree at LSU. She earned her BA in Mass Communication and a master’s degree in Social Work both from LSU. In her professional life Melanie focuses on women’s mental health. Melanie and her husband Adam have been together for almost two decades. They have 2 bright and curious kids who keep them on their toes. When not working or moming Melanie can be found exploring yet another new hobby, trying to “get organized” and avoiding the laundry. She loves sitcoms, traveling, iced coffee and carbs.


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