Skip to content
  • There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.

Our Travel Essentials

In our guide to travel essentials, we've handpicked a collection of must-have items that we use on every trip, from a long weekend getaway to a two-week adventure in Europe, ensuring your travels are hassle-free.

From navigating chaotic airports to exploring tropical paradises, embarking on a journey requires meticulous planning and the right gear. Welcome to our guide to travel essentials, where we unveil everything from luggage to credit cards that we swear by for seamless adventures around the globe.

As avid travelers who have journeyed far and wide, we have put our travel essentials through the ultimate test of time and use. Here we share our trusted recommendations, refined through countless trips, ensuring you're equipped with the best tools for your next expedition. Rest assured, we are not compensated for these suggestions – our opinions are entirely our own, born from our extensive travels and genuine experiences. 


Having good and reliable luggage is essential when traveling. It provides peace of mind, knowing that your belongings are secure and well-organized throughout your journey. Over the years, we have tried a variety of different luggage brands, pieces, and sizes.

Here are the luggage pieces we rely on:

  • AWAY Bigger Carry-On - We adore the AWAY Bigger Carry-On suitcase because its size makes it ideal for short trips. The suitcase's design - similar to that of the AWAY Medium - simplifies packing and enhances organization. Built to last, its durability ensures it stands up to the demands of travel, and backed by an exceptional warranty, it's a wise investment for any avid traveler.
  • AWAY Medium - We are huge fans of the AWAY Medium checked suitcase for its perfect balance of size, making it easy enough to lift and carry, while its thoughtfully designed configuration simplifies packing. Its durability ensures it withstands the rigors of travel, and coupled with an outstanding warranty, it is truly worth every penny.
  • AWAY Insider Packing Cubes (Set of 4) - We swear by the AWAY packing cubes for their ability to keep our clothes meticulously organized on longer trips, ensuring stress-free and efficient packing for every adventure.
  • Tumi Voyageur Just In Case Tote - The TUMI Voyageur Just In Case Tote bag is great to toss into any bag before heading off on a trip thanks to its lightweight nylon construction that effortlessly folds up. The tote bag also offers ample space for shopping abroad while remaining easy to carry. We have also washed it a handful of times now and after hanging it to dry, it stays looking brand new.
  • Eddie Bauer Stowaway Packable 45L Duffle - Brian just got this packable duffle bag as a Christmas gift and is already obsessed with it! The duffle bag folds into itself when not in use, so you don't have to worry about losing its storage pouch. The duffle bag is quite large with multiple compartments, making it a great travel companion.  
  • L.L. Bean Comfort Carry Laptop Pack 30L - Lauren has been using her L.L. Bean backpack since college and will not go on a trip without it! After nearly 10 years of both school and travel, the backpack still looks new. It's multiple pockets makes staying organized on the go a breeze. Plus, its padded shoulder straps and back panel make it comfortable to carry, no matter how heavy the backpack gets.
  • Longchamp Le Pliage Original M Backpack - Amazing for day-trips, this small Longchamp backpack folds up making it easy to pack. Yet, the backpack is still large enough to fit a reusable water bottle, travel guide book, external battery, and more.  
Brian and Lauren after arriving in Athens, Greece with their luggage.

Credit & Debit Cards

Credit and debit cards without foreign transaction fees are essential when traveling abroad. With these cards, travelers can shop, dine, and explore without worrying about additional fees related to currency conversions, ensuring a seamless and cost-effective international travel experience. A few of the cards we use - and recommend - are outlined below.

Credit Cards

  • Bank of America Travel Rewards Credit Card - Enjoy the benefit of no annual fees and earn a generous 1.5 points for every dollar spent, all while being widely accepted as a Visa card.
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card - Despite the $95 annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card offers an abundance of benefits to offset the cost. With triple points on dining and double points on travel, as well as comprehensive travel protection like coverage for disruptions and delays (which we experienced after an unexpected flight cancellation left us in New York City for three days, compensating us for the expenses we incurred up to $1,000), this Visa card is widely accepted.
  • Discover It Cash Back Credit Card - With no annual fees and cash back categories that rotate every quarter, Discover cards are increasingly accepted worldwide. In fact, our Discover card was the key to booking our train tickets in Japan, showcasing its growing global recognition and usefulness.
  • United Quest Card - The $250 annual fee may seem a bit high, but for frequent United flyers like us, this card quickly proves its worth with its valuable perks. Enjoy benefits like two complimentary checked bags, a $125 yearly credit on United purchases, and double points on dining and travel expenses.

Debit Cards

ATMs typically offer the best exchange rates for cash when traveling abroad, though watch out for fees. Unlike credit cards, few debit cards waive foreign transaction fees. However, our Schwab Bank Investor Checking Account does and is precisely why we opened it. Our checking account provides fee-free ATMs worldwide and reimburses any charges incurred, making it a traveler's ideal companion. The account also has no fees or account minimums, but you do have to have a Schwab One Brokerage Account to be eligible. 

7-Bank ATM in Tokyo, Japan

Tech Travel Essentials

In a modern world where connectivity is key, having the perfect tech gadgets can truly enhance your journey. Here is a list of some of our tech travel essentials. 

Our Tech Travel Essentials:

  • External Battery - When you're on the move, having an external battery is essential. External batteries come in a variety of price points, but we like this external battery by Belkin. With its multiple charging ports and capacity to charge multiple phones, this external battery by Belkin is always a staple in our travel gear.
  • Phone Charging Cables - Since we both own iPhones, we always make sure to pack a charging cable, but we also like to have an extra one handy in our bag for use with the external battery while on the move.
  • Headphones - High-quality headphones are a travel necessity, providing comfort and convenience on the go. Brian favors his over-the-ear Bose headphones, while Lauren opts her for compact Beats earbuds. We also like to keep a pair of headphones in our bag for walking tours.
  • Converters/Adapters - When traveling abroad to somewhere where the electrical voltage or plug shape is different from that of the United States, having a converter or adapter is essential. We have yet to find a good converter that we like for the United Kingdom, but we love these VINTAR adapters for Europe from Amazon
  • Camera - Our digital camera is an indispensable travel companion, and we wouldn't hit the road without it. Currently, we are using the Nikon Zf mirrorless camera, capturing stunning photos with the added flexibility of switching lenses based on our activities. While phones can capture decent pictures, the unmatched photo quality from a dedicated camera remains incomparable. We also always make sure we bring an extra memory card for our camera.
Lauren & Brian at Chureito Pagoda in Fujiyoshida, Japan

Other Travel Essentials

While packing for any trip, it is easy to overlook essential items that can make a big difference. Here, we've compiled a diverse array of often-overlooked travel essentials that have proven invaluable during our travels. 

Reusable Water Bottle

We always make sure to travel with a reusable water bottle, and our top picks are the Yeti Rambler Insulated Water Bottle in 18oz and the S'well Original Bottle in 17oz. Both bottles are lightweight and compact, perfect for travel, and their excellent insulation keeps water refreshingly cold throughout the day. Plus, their secure-fitting lids ensure no spills while on the go.

Shout Wipe & Go Instant Stain Remover Wipes

When traveling, spills and stains are almost inevitable. That is why we rely on these Shout wipes—they're a lifesaver for quickly tackling stains on the go. Affordable and conveniently packaged, they're a must-have for any journey, fitting perfectly in your backpack or purse for easy access.


Visiting a pharmacy in a foreign country is always an interesting experience. While they are not always possible to avoid, carrying essential medicines can (quite literally) erase some headaches from your trip. Medicines differ from country to country, so we always ensure we have a stash of necessities like Advil, Tums and/or Pepto Bismol, Dramamine, and allergy medicines before jetting off.

If you rely on daily prescriptions, be sure to pack an ample supply along with a few extra doses to cover any unexpected changes to your travel itinerary.

Hand Sanitizer & Sanitizing Wipes

It is no secret that planes and other forms of public transportation are not home to the cleanest surfaces. As such, we always travel with a couple of small bottles of hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. We prefer the Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes Travel Pack, but other brands work fine too. 

Reusable Shopping Bag

As more and more places now charge for single-use shopping bags, we always carry a reusable shopping bag with us when we travel. Not only does this save money, but it reduces waste. Our favorite, purchased at the Van Gogh Museum gift shop in Amsterdam, folds up small, and is easily washable. The brand is called Loqi and can be found on the Loqi website. However, any reusable bag or small canvas tote bag will do the trick.

Small Umbrella 

Lauren has been toting around her trusty Totes umbrella since her college days. Not only does it conveniently fold up small, but its charming rainbow design adds a touch of personality to any rainy day. Keeping a small umbrella in your suitcase is great in case of rain or even unrelenting sun. While any compact umbrella will suffice, we suggest opting for one with a distinctive pattern or color to easily spot it when left outside a shop or restaurant. Walmart carries the same Totes umbrella that we use on our travels in a variety of patterns and colors. 

Sewing Kit

Whether you happen to snag a complimentary sewing kit from your hotel or opt to purchase one for your travel gear (we highly recommend the Fiskars sewing kit available on Amazon), having a sewing kit on hand is a must for any trip. Our trusty kit includes TSA-approved scissors, a variety of colored threads, spare buttons, and sewing needles, ensuring you're prepared for any wardrobe mishaps that may come your way.

Lauren_Roman Forum

Perks of traveling with groovy



Secure luggage

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit litora maecenas, nisl primis turpis dapibus imperdiet nibh dui sem.


Visa tramits

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit litora maecenas, nisl primis turpis dapibus imperdiet nibh dui sem.


Airfare & transportation

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit litora maecenas, nisl primis turpis dapibus imperdiet nibh dui sem.


Smart locator

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit litora maecenas, nisl primis turpis dapibus imperdiet nibh dui sem.

Looking for more travel tips?