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The Ultimate Guide to Travel Accessories: What to Buy, What to Skip, and What to DIY

The Ultimate Guide to Travel Accessories: What to Buy, What to Skip, and What to DIY

Travel isn’t just about going to places. It’s also about the quality of the experience you have when you get there.

And that’s where accessories can really help. Having the right gear with you can mean the difference between a thrilling experience, and one that feels a little lackluster. 

In this guide, we’ll help you sort out the essential travel accessories from the unnecessary ones, and give you some tips on how to save money and space by making some of them yourself. We will take a look at:

  • Travel comfort accessories – things that make jet-setting around the planet a little easier
  • Travel security accessories – items that protect your valuables and personal information
  • Travel tech accessories – items that keep your body healthy and help you out in an emergency
  • Packing accessories – stuff that makes it easier to organize your luggage and get around those pesky airline weight limits!

What To Buy

Before you head out on your travels, there will be some items you need to buy. That’s because you usually can’t make them yourself. 

So what should be on your list to help you prepare? Let’s take a look. 

Power Bank


If you can make a DIY battery power bank at home, let us know. Usually, you’ll need to purchase one of these handy devices online. The good news is that they’re usually pretty easy to get your hands on, and you can use them to charge your phone when you’re in the middle of nowhere without a socket. 

Travel Backpack

A good travel backpack is another item you shouldn’t compromise on. These are the most versatile and convenient ways to carry your belongings while traveling. It frees up your hands, distributes the weight evenly on your shoulders and back, and fits in most overhead compartments and under-seat spaces. When you get on the plane, you can whack them in the overhead stowage compartments without any trouble. 

Ideally, you want a backpack that’s durable and waterproof. (Yes, they do exist). If you’re going to be mainly in cities, you might also consider a case on wheels, though these tend to be less practical. 

Wireless Headset

Wired headsets are seriously overrated. Your airline will usually provide you with one, but that’s just for the journey. You can’t take it with you when you land. 

That’s why wireless options are becoming more popular among frequent travelers. When I fly, I can connect my wireless headset to my phone and not have to worry about getting anything caught. 

Travel Pillow

Another essential is a travel pillow. These can help you get some rest on long flights, trains, buses, or car rides. They’re a real do-it-all item that can save you from sleepless nights in foreign lands. 

You can get all sorts of travel pillows such as inflatable ones, memory foam ones, microbead ones, or neck wraps. You’ll want to experiment with these to see which type is right for you. 

Packing Cube

You might also want to buy a packing cube before you travel. These are small bags that help you organize your clothes and other items inside your suitcase or backpack. They can help you save space, avoid wrinkles, and find what you need quickly when you arrive at your destination. 

Travel Adapter

Lastly, you’ll want to buy a travel adapter. These devices allow you to plug your appliances or chargers into different types of sockets. Ideally, you’ll have a selection of them for different places. Europe, Asia, Africa, and America all have different standards. These are available in most airports, so you can grab them before you fly.

What To Skip

So, those are the items you should buy. But what should you skip? 

Hair Dryer

While it might sound like sacrilege, taking your hair dryer with you abroad usually isn’t necessary. Most hotels and accommodations provide hair dryers for their guests, so you don’t need to bring your own. If you desperately need one because you’re staying in a squatter’s house in Mandaue City, you can usually buy them from local stores for cheap. 


It’s the same story with irons. You don’t usually need them when you travel because hotels and accommodation provide them for you.


Taking books with you on vacation can get expensive. They’re heavy and you can wind up spending more on luggage than you anticipated. 

Use an e-reader on your phone instead and save on weight and packing. 


Think twice before packing any jewelry on vacation. While it might be safe to wear it in your home country, the same might not be true abroad. Travel light or take cheap or fake items with you that won’t leave you out of pocket if they get pinched. 

What To DIY

Lastly, we take a look at some of the items you’ll want to DIY before you travel to save money. 

Passport Holder

You don’t need to buy a fancy leather passport holder. Security guards hate them anyway. Instead, you can make your own. Just cut out a rectangle that is slightly larger than your passport, fold it in half, and sew the edges together. You can also add pockets, snaps, or buttons for extra security and convenience.

Toiletry Bag

You can also avoid having to buy a toiletry bag if you’re clever about it. All you need is a waterproof fabric or a shower curtain to make a toiletry bag that keeps your liquids and creams from leaking and spilling. Again, just cut out a rectangle large enough to fit all your items and then fold it in half, sewing the sides together. (You’ll see a commercially-available product do just this). If you want it to be sturdy, use pieces of plastic in pouches on the walls. Then add a zipper to keep everything in place. 

Travel Pillow

Finally, if you don’t want to buy a travel pillow, you can make one yourself. You’ll need to make two cotton-stuffed balls with a strap running between them. You can also add a zipper if you want to refill or replace the stuffing later on. 


Header image credit: Unsplash – CC0 License

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