A suitcase full of clothes and a hat

12 must-have travel accessories

There are a ton of travel accessories available, and I’ve had the opportunity to test several of them throughout my journeys. Here’s a list of the ones that particularly caught my eye.

1. Compression bags

If there’s one accessory I always travel with, it’s compression bags. I use these bags to squeeze in my clothes to save space when putting them in my backpack. During my trips, I also use them to separate clean clothes from dirty ones.

When I was bitten by bedbugs during one of my trips, I was able to separate my items into these airtight bags before I was able to clean out the contents of my entire bag.

This type of bag comes in several sizes. I have a variety that I use according to my needs.

2. E-readers

For the longest time, I was reluctant to the idea of using an e-reader. I didn’t like the concept of not holding a “real” book in my hands, and I wasn’t excited to be in front of a screen as a means of relaxation. But when I got my first e-reader, I wondered how I had managed to live without it!

The screen, which I feared, adjusts to the existing light and it doesn’t bother me at all. And the biggest advantage is that I always have access to hundreds of books, which allows me to travel lighter.

3. Universal adapters

Electrical outlet adapters are essential accessories for any trip abroad. They are used to adapt the electrical outlet of the destination country to our Canadian equipment, and vice versa. You can also buy a converter for your electrical devices or a transformer for your electronic devices.

On my end, I prefer models that include all types of electrical outlets, because they are less bulky and more practical than the ones that need assembling.

4. First aid kits

I never travel without a first aid kit. Mine includes necessary items for injuries or mild health issues that don’t require a doctor’s visit. It also put the medication I was prescribed during my travel health clinic consultation in it.

When I go hiking, I opt for a more compact size in which I have the necessary items to treat different types of injuries or traumas.

5. Sewing sets

It’s an accessory that has joined me on my travel adventures since the beginning and I can’t imagine going anywhere without it even if, normally, I’m not particularly sewing-inclined. Whether it’s stitching up a button or mending a tear on a garment or bag, my set which includes needles, thread and tweezers has helped me out on many occasions.

6. Portable chargers

I find it reassuring to have a portable charger when I’m abroad. I’m used to planning my itineraries on mapping apps (Google Maps, maps.me, etc.), and I have occasionally drained my cell phone battery while using them. Since then, I always carry a portable charger with me. I opted for a small-size model with medium capacity that takes up little space in my day bag.

7. Travel journals

For me, it’s a must. I really like to write down my adventures, my experiences and my observations on the places I visit. I reread passages from time to time, and a few lines are enough to remind me of the atmosphere and the feelings experienced.

I also use my journals to keep track of my itineraries and expenses. Of course, we now have our smartphones at our fingertips, but I still enjoy having a paper trail of my quests. In addition, I’m more inclined to re-consult my travel memories this way.

8. Headlamps

Whether it’s to search for something at the bottom of my backpack or to keep my surroundings well lit at nightfall, I never travel without a headlamp. There are several models and you can easily find them in most sports or outdoor stores. The range of light and the light intensity degree are things to consider when making your choice. When hiking or travelling, make sure you have spare batteries on hand if the light ever starts to weaken.

9. Hand sanitizer

When travelling, even pre-COVID-19, I always had a bottle of hydroalcoholic solution on hand. Whether it’s on the plane, on public transport or before a meal, I like being able to sanitize my hands when I feel the need.

Now that hand hygiene is better integrated into our routine, I believe that it will be more instinctive to disinfect our hands when travelling. This will prevent other health problems such as travellers’ diarrhea.

10. Collapsible bottles

I always bring a 1-liter water bottle when travelling, but I only adopted the collapsible water bottle very recently. It’s a practical accessory especially when baggage space is limited. There are several models and sizes, and you will find them in most outdoor stores.

11. Quick-dry towels

I wouldn’t dream of leaving without this classic backpacker accessory on my trips and my outdoor expeditions.

These towels are available in several sizes. All models are slim and take up little space in a backpack or suitcase. I particularly like them during independent hikes where every kilo counts or during a quick departure when waiting for ordinary towels to completely dry isn’t possible.

12. Waterproof bags

I bought my first waterproof bags a few years ago and since then, I always bring them on trips or hikes. Before that, on several occasions, I would worry that my electronic devices would get wet during a downpour.

There are many sizes and waterproof ratings and you will find what you need at most sports or outdoor stores. These bags also have clip allowing you to hang them on the outside of your bag, which makes them much easier to access!

Gabrielle Asselin