Recommended Travel Gear

Recommended Travel Gear lists abound on the internet, but are they for real? Some are clickbait, some are top ten lists written without much expertise or thought. I have been traveling professionally around the globe for a long time and I’d like to think that I have it down to a science. If you’re looking for the best recommended travel gear, either for a travel gift or for yourself, here you’re going to find what is actually in my bag. For reals. No joke.

This is a list for quick reference, as a companion to my blog and YouTube packing videos, with links to take you directly to the things I use. Most of these items have been written about at some point on this blog, but always ask if you’d like more information. A reminder: I only suggest things that I truly like and use, none of my suggestions are paid, but I do work for Rick Steves, just so you know.


These are my actual bags that I use. For other options, including a great rolling bag, see

Main Backpack- Tom Bihn TriStar

Day Bag- Tom Bihn Medium Cafe Bag

Extra Bag- Lewis n Clark Hideaway Duffle

Packing Cubes- Eagle Creek Specter

Shoe Cube- Lewis N Clark Packing Tube

Stuff Sacks- Lewis N Clark Ditty Bag


I’ve done some exhaustive research on jackets and found some great solutions. More on that hunt HERE.

Winter- Arcteryx Nuri (Best Coat EVER)

Spring/Fall- Eddie Bauer Microtherm Storm Down Jacket

Summer- Eddie Bauer Rainfoil Packable Jacket

Vest- 32 Degrees Packable Down Vest


Clothes are very subjective! Below are some of my classic favorite items, basics that will work for almost anyone.

Top-Eileen Fisher Stretch Silk Jersey (Anything Eileen Fisher is a winner)

Pants- Eileen Fisher Washable Stretch Crepe

Cardigan- Eddie Bauer 7 Days 7 Ways Cardigan

Sweater- Lark and Roe Cashmere Pullover in Black

Leggings- Felina Black Leggings

Skirt- Fold Over Knit Skirt

Scarf- Big Gray Silk Scarf

Tank Top- Banana Republic Essential Tank

Dress- Eddie Bauer Aster Crossover Dress


A truly subjective item for recommended travel gear, but these are solid picks. Costco often carries great socks and undies.

Moneybelt- Rick Steves Moneybelt

Socks- Kirkland Signature Merino Wool Socks

Compression Socks- Sockwell Graduated Compression socks

Undies- Felina Bikini 

Bras- Freya Balconette, Black and Nude

Bathing suit- Freya Bikini

Pajamas- Fisher’s Finery Silk Chemise


My shoe choices change frequently, but these are the most reliable which I’ve used for several years. For more, see my recommended travel gear shoe spreadsheet.

Walking Shoe- Asics Metrolyte

Flip Flop- Teva Mandalyn Mush Wedges

Spring/Fall Slip-On- Tom’s Black Wool Shoes

Summer Slip On- Sketchers Sweet Pea

Sandal- Birkenstock Mayari


Specific thoughts on each of these items HERE.

3-1-1 Toiletries Bag and Bottles- Lewis n Clark Flat Bottle Set (Great Value!)

Lipstick- Revlon Colorstay Overtime

Mascara- Neutrogena Waterproof

Moisturizer- Neutrogena Healthy Skin

Face Powder- Bare Essentials Bare Minerals

Toothbrush- Violife SlimSonic

Toothpaste- Marvis

Shampoo- Biolage Shampoo

Conditioner- Biolage Conditioner

Razor- Venus Travel Razor

Deodorant- Milk and Honey Natural Cream Deodorant (Yes, it really really works!)

Day Bag

Phone- iPhone 7

Back-up battery- Anker Powercore 10000 (Seriously don’t forget this)

6 ft extra durable Charging Cable- Amazon Basics

Plug Adaptor- DuaFire Travel Plug Adaptor with USB

Tablet- Ipad Air

Reader when traveling without iPad- Kindle Paperwhite

Headphones- Bose Soundsport Comfort Earbuds (These are the best and last forever.)

Waterbottle- Hydroflask

Pens- Sharpie Stainless Pen

First Aid Kit- Rick Steves Travel Aid Kit (A starter version of my Box of Awesome)

Guidebook- Rick Steves, obviously!

Bonus Items

You really don’t NEED any of these things, but you want them, I know. It’s ok. Pick only one or two.

Watercolor Set- Windsor and Newton Travel Set

Brushes- Folding brushes for watercolor

Sketchbook- Artist field journal

Flat Iron- BaByliss Pro Nano Iron (This is AWESOME for curling hair in minutes)

Down Pillow- Soft Down Standard Pillow

Zippered Pillow Case- Linenspa Pillow Protector (Doubles as laundry bag!)

Travel Blanket- Pembrook Fleece Blanket

Coil Water Heater- Lewis N Clark Immersion Heater

Titanium Mug- Ninja Prepper Mizu Double Wall Mug

Spork/Bottle Opener- Ninja Prepper Yari

Wine Bottle Opener, Travel Friendly- Jetsetter TSA Compliant Corkscrew