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For a while, I was so focused on packing light that I overlooked small day-to-day items that actually made travelling a whole lot more pleasant. I decided to share my list of small underrated items I always pack in my suitcase. Most of these are under $5 and can be picked up at a drugstore. Huzzah!

  1. Screen or glasses cloth
    Between my phone, computer, glasses, and sunglasses, I have a lot of surfaces that could use a good wipe down. Sticky fingers, sweaty foreheads, and sunscreen…so much can get on them and these cloths make sure I can see.
  2. Dryer sheets
    When packing sneakers, I usually throw a few dryer sheets in them so they don’t transfer any smell to my other items. Having a few extra handy keeps my suitcase fresh in general.
  3. Dust bag
    Dust bags are the cotton bags you get with a handbag or a pair of shoes. I have a ton that are completely useless at home, but while travelling, I use them to keep my clean and dirty clothing separate.
  4. Shower cap
    I don’t actually use this for my hair, although I suppose I could. Instead, they’re the perfect cover for worn shoes in a suitcase.
  5. Extra Ziploc bags
    I use them for toiletries, money, jewelry, a wet bathing suit, and more.
    Always handy.
  6. A notebook and pen
    Seems silly considering how much of my work is done digitally, but I always regret not bringing a small notebook and pen while traveling. I’ll use them to write down ideas, names, directions, and doodles instead of using precious iPhone juice.
  7. Gum/mints/breathstrips
    I always like having gum on hand, both for my ears on the plane and for general quality of breath.
  8. Flip-flops
    Thin flip flops are nice to have for your hotel when you just want to pop down for some ice, in your AirBnB if the floor is cold, in a hostel when the bathroom is down the hall, or for the shower at a campground.
  9. A clutch
    I bring a small clutch for my cards, money, keys, and passport so I don’t have to bring my backpack or a large purse when running a quick errand or going for dinner. I also like having all my essentials in one pouch.
  10. A reusable coffee cup
    This might seem bulky, but the amount of coffee cups I’d waste if I always got disposable cups would be criminal. I like having my own cup for water and coffee at conferences especially. The 4 oz. Keep Cup is my favourite because it’s really small and light.

How about you? What are your small champion items?

packing must-haves