Top Five Travel Essentials For 2024

What should I pack in my cabin bag? What are your top five travel essentials? They’re not unusual questions – in fact, they’re pretty common ones. And now that we’re well into 2024 and working on those resolutions to see more of the world, top travel essentials might just be the question on your lips, too. Well, I’m here to help. As someone who travels for a living, I’ve figured out what I don’t need in my bag, and what I do need. Here are my top 5 travel essentials for 2024.

top five travel essentials

hydration - one of my top five travel essentials for 2024
skin hydration © Courtney Smith via Unsplash

Hydration isn’t just about drinking water – although that’s important too, and I definitely recommend a reusable water bottle that you can refill in the airport, on the aircraft, and when you’re out and about at your destination. It’s just as important to keep the outside of your body hydrated. On long flights especially, the air is dry in the cabin due to the pressurisation and air conditioning systems, so a good hand cream, eye drops and facial mist are a must.

For an extra hydration bonus, I like to add a hydration tablet to my water bottle. You can buy these easily in either tablet or sachet form, online or from supermarkets or pharmacies, and they provide faster and more effective hydration than water alone!


layers - warm socks, a sweater or blanket - are another top travel essential for 2024
always travel with layers © Julia Zyablova via Pexels

In addition to the air being thin and dry in the cabin, it can also be pretty cold! It’s understandable, given that at 41000ft the outside temperature is probably around -70 degrees, but it’s amazing how many people are surprised that they’re cold onboard. That’s why one of my top five travel essentials is an extra layer. I like a light cardigan or sweater that can fold easily into my bag, or a thin blanket. Bonus points if, like this one, it folds into a handy pillow and slides over the handle of your suitcase!

(PS. fuzzy socks are great for keeping your toes warm on board but definitely put your shoes on before walking through the cabins, galleys and toilets!)


offline entertainment is always a top travel essential
a man reads on a plane © Mpumelelo Macu via Unsplash

Most long-haul carriers will have some form of inflight entertainment, whether it’s movies, music or games. But those systems are fallible and sometimes, they don’t work. Onboard wifi is notoriously unreliable, too, as it relies on communication with satellites which aren’t always in range when you’re halfway across an ocean. So it’s always a good idea to bring something a little more analogue – a card or other travel game, a puzzle or reading book, or a sketchpad – even a portable DVD player with movies you know will hold your interest.

top five travel essentials: portable power banks
don’t forget your portable charger! © Steve Johnson via Pexels

If you’re in the air for an hour or two, chances are your phone will still have plenty of power by the time you’re back on terra firma. But when you’re crossing oceans and in the sky for hours on end, your phone – and your tablet, airpods, smartwatch and other gadgets – can easily run out of juice. Many airlines provide in-seat power for customers in the form of universal power sockets in the seat areas, but there’s no guarantee they’ll be there – or that they can provide enough power to adequately charge everything. That’s why portable power packs and pocket chargers are always one of my top travel essentials!

snacks are one of my top 5 travel essentials!
whether you bring them from home or buy them at the airport, snacks are a must © SnackMagic via Unsplash

It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? You’d be surprised how many people still travel without bringing snacks! Flights can be long, and in today’s political climate, with so many airlines avoiding certain airspace regions, they’re getting even longer. Your premium or full-service carriers will offer onboard meals, even in economy class, but portion sizes are typically small, and there’s no guarantee you’ll like the available choices.

If you have dietary restrictions, it’s even more important for you to bring snacks. Special diet meals are usually available on a pre-order basis, but these usually only cater for one dietary requirement (eg. vegan OR gluten-free). Whether you bring them from home or buy them at the airport pre-departure, snacks are an absolute must.

So – there you have it. As someone who flies several times a week, I can look you right in the eye and tell you I keep all five of these top travel essentials in my bag at all times. What are YOUR top travel essentials?

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Sammie White
Sammie White
A photographer and writer from an early age, Sammie now spends most of her time flying, writing about flying, or sat in traffic on the way to the airport. At Travel Radar she is VP of Content & News, responsible for leading all frontend content teams, including Editorial, Photography & Videography/Production.
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