My Travel Essentials

Hello, hello!! We are home from our Greek adventure…so full of new memories and experiences. We had the absolute best time, and even though it’s great to be home, I’m honestly a little bummed to no longer be in our family bubble.

Throughout this entire graduation season, the excitement of this family trip kept me from getting too sad. I kept thinking, ‘But we still have Greece!’ Now all that remains is his leaving for college. #gulp

I wonder sometimes if the anticipation is worse than his actual leaving? My gosh I hope so, because this is just brutal. I’m honestly terrified of the moment we pull away from his dorm and head home. Part of me wants to just get it over with, and another wants to drag out every day until then.

But let’s get to today’s post, because I’m excited to share it! Given the amount of travel required for this trip (flights, ferries, cars, and countless stairs!), we decided to forgo checked bags, and go the carry-on route.

Which meant I had to be ruthless when it came to packing, and stick with just the essentials. These are my tried-and-true and accompany me on most every trip!


1 // Packing Cubes  These should come as no surprise…I’ve been raving about these packing cubes for years! They’ve literally revolutionized the way I pack and travel. Not only do they keep your bag organized and reduce wrinkling, but they allow you to fit twice as much in your bag. Serious game changers!

2 // Charger Case  Between my phone, laptop, sleep buds, air pods and camera, I’ve got a lot of devices that need charging! This compact case holds it all and rolls up for easy packing.

3 // Cosmetic Bag  I’m fairly minimal when it comes to toiletries for travel, but this zipper case fits all my makeup, hair and face products, and more. The shape is also perfect for packing in my go-to suitcase!

4 // Carry On Bag  Every member of my family now owns this perfect little carry-on! It’s super lightweight, yet sturdy, and rolls easily in a leaning or upright position. It holds a ton, while still fitting easily in the overhead compartment. I pack two medium eBags on one side, and another eBag and the toiletry bag on the other.



5 // Silicone Sleeve  This is one of those products you don’t realize you need…until you have it, and then you wonder how you ever traveled without it! The thin silicone sleeve protects your curling or flat iron during travel, but also allows you to pack it immediately after use! No more waiting for it to cool off before packing up.

6 // Hairbrush  I discovered this brush on our last Gibson x Hi Sugarplum photoshoot…Suzie Moldavon used it on me, and I couldn’t believe how smooth and shiny it made my hair, plus the added volume. In the interest of space (and European voltage differences), I left my hair dryer behind, but this brush gave me a smooth blowout, even using the hotel hair dryers!

7 // Curling Iron  Speaking of curling irons, this is not only my everyday iron at home, but it has universal voltage, making it work around the world, too (with an adaptor). Most hair appliances don’t have the proper voltage, requiring a converter and adaptor.

8 // Shower Cap  You’ve seen this a number of times on the blog…but I never travel without this shower cap! Unlike most, it’s lined in terrycloth, which keeps all moisture away from your hair, and therefore, preserving your style another day.



9 // Cozy Socks  For long-haul flights, the first thing I do is change into cozy socks! They instantly make me comfortable, and keep my feet warm.

10 // Jean Jacket  A must-have for every closet and suitcase, my jean jacket is always with me! I wear it with everything from joggers to sundresses, the perfect layer for unexpected cool nights, cold planes, and even when visiting places that require a little more coverage. I love the slim fit of this one, and it folds up easily in my carry-on.

11 // Sandals in ‘Makeup’  If you’re short on space, these sandals go with literally everything! Seriously, I’ve worn them with nice dresses, cut-off shorts, and everything in between. The ‘makeup’ shade is neutral and leg-lengthening. But for trips with a lot of steps and cobbled streets, I can’t recommend these strappy sandals enough!! I wore them almost everyday in Greece, and they were so comfortable. Use code HISUGARPLUM to save 20% on them.

12 // Packable Hat  My trick to looking pulled together on vacations, especially when pools and a beach are involved, is a hat…and this one is super chic! It packs easily and holds it’s shape, even after getting wet. I love the ‘A-Khaki’ color best.



13 // Skincare Kit  You know I love all things Colleen Rothschild, and even though I cut back on makeup and toiletries when I travel, I don’t cut my skincare routine (see it here)! Thanks to this discovery set, I can pack TSA-approved sizes of my go-to skincare products when I travel.

14 // Sleep Buds  I’ve shared my love of these little gadgets several times…tiny noise-blocking earbuds with a built-in sound machine. They’ve completely changed how and where I’m able to sleep! Plus, they’re compact and easy to pack. (See my full review here.)

15 // Sleep Mask  When paired with the sleep buds, I can sleep almost anywhere with this sleep mask! I’d been using a silk one, but started noticing my eyelashes on the right side (where I sleep) were starting to bend and slant from being pressed against the material all night. So I swapped to this cupped mask that doesn’t press my eyes…and voila! It’s especially great for travel…hotel rooms always seem to have an abundance of little lights!

16 // iT Cosmetics CC Cream All-in-one foundation and SPF50, plus added moisture…it covers me for both makeup and sun protection in one slim, TSA-approved tube! (See my five minute makeup routine here.)



17 // Portable Charger  Between taking photos, searching maps and travel tips, and posting to Instagram Stories, my phone dies quickly while traveling! This portable charging bank is compact, but provides a full (and fast!) recharge on the go.

18 // Adaptor Set  I have a handful of adaptors for travel, but this one covers all the bases! It has two plugs and 2 USBs (allowing for 4 devices at once), but also comes with a range of adaptor plugs for all the different countries. Just swap out the plug’s base for the one you need, and you’ve got a compact adaptor. (Note, this is only a plug adaptor, not a voltage converter.) If you don’t need all the adaptor options, we also have and love this one.

19 // Book  I always travel with a book…you never know if a flight will have movies or wifi, and I never want to be stuck without something. I just finished this book, and found it completely charming and bittersweet.

20 // Collagen Packets  We talked about my love of collagen in my Five Elements of Fitness post, and thanks to these individual packets, I can bring it with me for travel!


I also just discovered a new travel gadget that was pretty life-changing for our 10-hour flight to Athens…this inflatable foot pillow. Inflate just one side and it’s an elevated foot rest, or fully-inflate it to extend the length of your seat! No more trying to prop your toe on the arm rest in front of you! 😉 It works great for kids too, essentially creating a palette for them to lie down. It comes in a compact drawstring bag, and easily inflates and deflates for packing and travel.

I shared much of my packing process and tips on my Instagram Story (look for the Packing Tips video highlight on my profile page here). It includes a breakdown of these items, plus how I outfit plan for packing in a carry-on!

So tell me…do we share any Travel Essentials? What items do you never leave home without?

*Find more Packing Tips here and my full Travel section here.


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