in Budget-Friendly Travel, Uncategorized

Often Overlooked Items To Pack for a Trip Abroad


This post may contain affiliate links.


What’s on your packing list for traveling abroad?

I’m setting off for Europe with two carry-on’s: a backpack and a purse – and a packing list that I hope is as short as I need it to be. Now, this may not seem all that impressive-  but if you consider our plans for our one week, you would wonder how we will fit it all in so little space. Well that is to come. But first, I want to show you five things that can be easily forgotten!

Granted, you’re not going to need everything on this list. And depending on where you’re going, you might not need anything! My point is, these are things that we almost forgot – and maybe you will find them equally valuable! I believe each one is well worth the price and the space in your bag. All of these items will be on my packing list for several trips to come.

The LifeStraw may be my most-prized travel purchase of this year.

Life Straw

This is such a fantastic invention. The Life Straw is a water filter that is incredibly effective and portable. It will last you a whopping 264 gallons of water and is so easy to use that even my dog could use it (if she had thumbs). It’s the perfect item to bring with you, especially if you’re traveling anywhere you might question the water. Seriously – you can drink out of a stagnant pond with this, according to the product. And it hardly takes up any space in your bag.

At only 2 ounces, it’s worth the extra space for me. I can be confident in where the trail will take me if I carry this.

Inflatable Neck Pillow

Want comfort while you travel but don’t want to use up all the valuable space in your bags? Think about getting an inflatable neck pillow – you can blow it up when you need it and deflate it when you’re landing at your destination or rolling into the train station.

Many of these will come with ear plugs, but if they don’t, you’ll definitely want those also!

Battery Bank

There are some incredible deals out there for battery banks. This should be on your packing list even if you aren’t necessarily going overseas. This is the ultimate carry-on if you plan to be on the move during your trip and won’t have ample opportunity for charging. It’s not just for your phone, either – if you have a camera, an iPad – all of these items you can charge via a battery bank when you’re on the move.

Not sure what to look for? A high mAh will tell you how long the battery will last on a single charge.

Power Adapter

If this isn’t on your packing list, it’s probably on your list of things to buy when you get to your destination. It’s great if you don’t need this, but if you do – you may be better off buying one at home and bringing it with you. You can check which countries use which outlets here. Here is one place to start shopping if you do decide you need one, though your best bet will be to search specifically for the outlet you’re going to need.

Many people will say to wait until you’re at your destination to buy a power adapter. This is your choice. Mine were only $4 each and they were tiny. In this case I’m more than happy to bring them with me so I don’t waste any time on my vacation shopping for them.

I also felt more reassured buying it at home instead of possibly getting charged the tourist up-charge. Think about it. Tourists are the only ones that would need adapters like this, and anything that caters to tourists might be overpriced.

With a crossbody bag, you’ll have all of your hands available for activities!

Cross-Body Bag

I grabbed mine from Target during one of their BOGO sales, and this will be my second carry-on. I’m sure you know where to get them, but Amazon has a great selection also. This obviously isn’t necessary for every traveler, but it’s worth a consideration. If you’re an American going abroad (such as myself), you’ll probably stand out in some way. You may even be targeted for pickpocketing and theft. You can safeguard this by getting a cross-body bag, which is more difficult to pull from your body. The best part is – your hands are free for everything else!

Bonus: The Best Flight Search Engines You’ve Never Heard Of.

Now – let’s say you either have the stuff above or you’ve decided you don’t need any of it. What are tricks you can do to pack smarter?


Travel-sized or sample-sizes are perfect for traveling, especially if your trip is only a week or two long. I get Birchbox monthly, and the past several months have been saving many of my samples for my upcoming trip. That way I do not have to bring any of my full-sized (and expensive) items with me and risk spillage, breakage, or not getting across the border. Many beauty stores will provide you with samples of a product that will last you about a week if you ask, either for free or for a small price. This is an excellent way to save some precious bag space so you can take home some souvenirs.


If you’re like me, you’ve always packed far more clothes than you’ve ever really needed for a trip. I’m going to Switzerland and Austria and only packing a (small) backpack and a crossbody bag. How do I plan on doing this?

  • Just pack neutrals. I’m only going to pack neutrals so I have less concern about matching and therefore I’m only bringing clothes that I will wear.
  • Most of my AirBnB’s have washing machines. This is such a fantastic aspect of AirBnB – the fact that you can ensure something like a washing machine. Having this available to me will help me only pack two or three outfits.
  • Wear the heaviest clothes for travel. I’m going to wear the bulkiest, heaviest clothes for the journey there and back.
  • I plan on bringing clothes that I won’t mind too much throwing out while in Europe if there is something I want to bring back with me. I do a lot of clothes shopping at Savers (I find great stuff here) – where most clothes are $5 or under. If it means that I get to take home some gourmet chocolate, I won’t mind leaving behind a few shirts!

Plan to Immerse Yourself & Downsize Your Entertainment

Don’t worry too much about keeping yourself busy (unless you’re going to be doing a lot of traveling). You will probably be busy most of the time – and if you aren’t, you’ll probably be tired. Make sure you enjoy where you are or engage with the locals and remind yourself to stay in the moment. Are you going to look back on your trip and be glad that you scrolled through Facebook for 30 minutes before leaving your hotel room? No, of course not.

The only entertainment I plan on bringing with me is my Kindle. It is tiny enough to barely notice in my crossbody bag. Plus, I get to read any book I want for free, so the entertainment really is endless.


What are some underrated items on your packing list? Is there anything in this post that you think you could benefit from?