5 items I cannot travel without

March of 2017 was exciting for me. I was able to check out some new cities in Florida, as well as travel some new cities outside of the state. Prior to these trips I hadn’t been on a plane since December of 2015 when I went to New York on Christmas and surprised some of my family. Before coming to UF, I traveled a lot more throughout the U.S. These past few trips I’ve been on made me realize how much I love and miss traveling. In hopes that I will be using these tips for myself sometime soon (a girl can dream), I have put together a list of five items I cannot travel without.

1. A unique travel bag or suitcase.

As much as I love traveling, the thing I dread most at airports is baggage claim. And No, I don’t feel this way about baggage claim because of that time I was traveling from Chicago to New York to spend spring break in the city with a friend and they lost my luggage… Just kidding, I definitely do. I never loved baggage claim before that happened, but after my luggage was lost that solidified my feelings. At baggage claim, everyone stands there trying to decipher which generic black suitcase is theres, hoping that someone else doesn’t take their bag- I don’t have time for that. When I arrive to wherever I’m traveling, I want to be able to spot my bag ASAP so a pop of color or a unique design is a must. Check out stores such as Ross, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls for good deals on nice suitcases.

Tip: I totally understand how travel luggage can be expensive and sometimes unaffordable. What I used to do before getting new bags to travel with was tie a big bright bow on my black suitcase, all over actually. I’d put one on the handle, one on the big zipper, one on the smaller zippers, etc;. This would help getting through baggage claim a litter faster. Also, don’t be afraid to ask friends or family members to borrow their luggage if necessary. I do it all of the time!

2. Comfortable shoes

Oh my goodness, I cannot stress the importance of this! Having a comfortable pair of shoes/sneakers is essential when traveling anywhere. Because I try to maximize the space in my suitcase, I’ll typically wear my sneakers during travel (to and from the airports, during shuttle rides/bus trips, on the train, etc;) and I’ll pack my shoes that take up less space, such as my sandals or flats. Being comfortable when traveling can make the biggest difference. Also, make sure that all of the shoes you do bring are neutral and can be paired with a handful of your outfits. This well help you cut down on packing.

3. Some kind of coat or sweater

Bringing some kind of coat or sweater that will keep you warm enough if needed I’ve noticed is something that a lot of people I know forget to pack even though it’s so important to have. I’m not going to lie to you, I am more inclined to dress comfy rather than cute. Normally when I travel, depending on the time of year, I will either bring a semi-light jacket (such as a Columbia) or if it’s the middle of the winter and I am traveling somewhere that gets really cold, I’ll bring a big puffy jacket along with some sweaters and shirts to layer it with. I get cold really easily and usually don’t even leave the house without something to put on.

4. iPhone/iPod/iPad & Earphones

Having some sort of smartphone and a pair of headphones will come in handy for entertainment on those long bus, plane, or train rides. They’re also pretty essential for blocking out the noisy people who may be around you. If you don’t have a smartphone, investing in some kind of iPod or tablet may be something you want to do! If I know my plane is going to have wi-fi, I’ll hold off on buying movies or TV shows to watch while on board and will pay for wi-fi (don’t judge) and watch the free services provided. If I know I’ll be traveling where purchasing the wi-fi is expensive or not offered, I download some stuff from the app store (books, games, movie, music, tv shows) on my phone so that I won’t be bored.

5. A good camera & memory cards

Now, this may not be as important to some as it is to me, but I’m a little photo obsessed. As of recently, I always take my Canon Rebel T3i DSLR camera and extra memory cards with me while traveling, along with my Fujifilm instax mini 8 Polaroid camera, and my iPhone. With these three devices I’m usually good to go.

Tip: if you don’t have a camera that takes nice photos, I can almost bet you have some kind of smartphone that does. Smartphones these days take such great quality photos that you almost don’t need an actual camera if you don’t want or have one. Just make sure to clear up some space off of your device prior to your travels so that you have more than enough space to take all of the photos you want during your trip.

6. Laptop

I almost always bring my laptop with me when traveling, no matter the occasion. As a student, it’s essential I have it with me at all times and it’s great being able to do homework on the road. I also like to upload and store the images I take daily on my laptop and make sure I have a backup of them so I don’t lose anything. If you’re traveling internationally, it’s nice to have because you don’t always have cell service and with your laptop, you can find and connect it to wi-fi anywhere and keep in touch with friends and family.

Hope you found this informative. Happy travels!