I still remember the moment during one of our planning meetings about our trip to Italy when my professor said that they were only allowing us take a carry-on size bag for 18 days. My jaw dropped and I didn’t think he was serious.
Unfortunately he was, and for an over packer like me, it nearly triggered a full blown panic attack. I take a carry-on size bag for weekend trips, not 2 and half-week trips.
Well I did. I managed to fit everything I needed (plus a little more) in a carry on size bag. Looking back, it was a good lesson, but it did require some careful planning. I learned how to only pack the necessities and the must haves.
After exactly a month in Europe today (didn’t I just leave?!?!) I have narrowed it down even more and I’m here to tell you what I think are my absolute travel must haves.
BAND-AIDS | I am the girl who always has band aids with her. You never know when a new shoe is going to give you a blister or you have a bad hang nail!
IPHONE CHARGER | This is essential for me and something I always have in my bag. Especially now that I’m working in Paris and I’m not always with a group. I use my phone a lot to figure out the metro so having it die is not an option! Definitely worth every penny.
HAND SANITIZER | I’m addicted. After the metro? Before you eat? After a long day of touring? Won’t leave the house without it.
CHAPSTICK | The number of chapsticks I have laying around at home is kind of ridiculous. I think I have one in every purse and then a few extras just to be safe. I had to limit the number I brought over to Europe!
HAIR TIES | Everyone has those days when your hair just won’t seem to cooperate no matter how much hairspray you use.
RICK STEVE’S GUIDE BOOK | I swear by this man. We had a bit of a bump in the road when we were at Pompeii and our tour guide fell through. Thankfully one girl had the Italy Rick Steve’s on her phone that included a guided tour and maps of Pompeii! Literally a life saver. I had never really heard of him before this past trip and now I don’t know if I’ll go to a city without buying his book! He has amazing suggestions and guided tours for most of the big attractions. He’s funny and makes the history about everything so interesting!
PILLOW/ BLANKET | My mom bought me this handy gadget before I left and I was hesitant to take it. I didn’t want to have to tote it around with me. Thankfully I took it because I used it more than I ever imagined. Most of the hotels would get cold during the night and I would sleep with it on every single night. It was also perfect for our long bus rides in-between cities for sleeping. Could not recommend one more.
PEARL EARRINGS | You never know when you’ll need an extra pair of earrings. I feel absolutely naked without earrings in so I always travel with a backup.
HEAD PHONES | Make a fun playlist before your trip to jam out to before your long flight or car ride! You’ll thank yourself later.
TIEKS | I swear by these shoes. If I was rich and not a broke college student, I would by a pair in every color. Not only do they fold up super small, they are also the most comfortable flats you’ll ever wear. I ordered the navy right before I left and I think I wore them the majority of the trip. I don’t think I could get through Italy without them. I also wear them probably 2-3 times a week for my internship and made my mom send me my pink pair! I have definitely gotten my money's worth in these flats.
What are your travel essentials?