5 Items I Always Take When Traveling Internationally

I discovered something new on this last international trip. I discovered that I much prefer taking the longer 8-9 hour flights during the daytime, instead of at night. This was the first trip I’ve been on where the longest flight took place during the day time. I always thought I’d be bored to death on a long flight, but I purchased the in-flight WiFi and that, along with some interesting reading, made the time pass amazingly fast.

1. Travel Pillow

During the last few hours of the flight since my body was still on Morocco time, I became really sleepy. The two glasses of wine I had on that flight may have contributed to that a bit. πŸ˜‰ I pulled out this pillow that I had just recently purchased, blew it up with 4-5 puffs and put it to the test.


It worked perfectly and has definitely become my new favorite travel pillow for sleeping on flights. When I awoke, the guy who was sitting beside me wanted to know where I had purchased it. I guess he noticed how well I had slept.

There are several ways you can use it. I decided to try what the makers of the pillow call the Freestyle Method, and it worked great. You can see that method at the end of THIS short video. I did loop my hands through the bottom as they mention in the video. I was out like a light and slept soundly for a couple of hours, never having to readjust the pillow at all. It didn’t budge. If it had been a night flight, I have no doubt I would slept for many more hours. It was that comfortable!


When I was done with the pillow, it only took 2 seconds to let the air out. Then I rolled it up as shown below and stowed it back in my carry-on bag. I love this pillow and definitely recommend it! I bought mine here: Travel Pillow.

2. Adapter Set

I always Google to see what type adapter I will need before leaving on a trip to another country. For my trip to Morocco, I took along the Type E/F adapter shown below. I purchased this set of adapters a couple of years ago when I first began traveling. It has worked great since it has all the types needed for international travel. I purchased my set here: Adapter Plug Set for World Wide International Travel.


3. My Holy Grail Travel Item, I Will NOT Leave Home Without It!

The most important thing that I ALWAYS carry with me on every single trip I take no matter where I’m going is this International Voltage Converter. I LOVE this thing! I’ve had fellow travelers tell me that laptops and cellphones are designed to handle any voltage and all I need is an adapter. That may be fine for them but there is absolutely no way I’m going to take a chance with my $1,800 laptop and my Samsung smart phone. They costs too much to risk damaging.

This Voltage Converter gives me complete peace of mind, plus it lets me charge everything I need to charge all at once. It’s perfect for couples who are traveling together because you can have 7 things charging at one time. At night when traveling, I always have my laptop and phone charging. Sometime I’ll also have my Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones plugged in, especially if I’ve used them on the flight over or I’m staying in a noisy hotel and have used them for sleeping the night before.

I’ve also used it to charge my Kindle and my iPad when I’ve taken those along on trips. And I always use it when I style my hair with my electric curling brush/blower. The one time I tried to use the blower/styler with just an adapter, it would not even run despite the instructions saying that it would work on any currency. It works perfectly when plugged into my converter, though.

If I had to choose between taking clothes and this voltage converter when I travel, I would choose the voltage converter. I simply will NOT travel without it! It’s the most important thing I take on every trip I go on. It’s really like an old friend now. It’s the first thing I take out of my suitcase when I get to a hotel and it’s such a comfort knowing that it’s keeping all my electronics safe. Can’t sing its praises enough!  I purchased mine here: International Voltage Converter.


Update: After I wrote this post, I ordered a second one of these converters. My first one is still working great after using it on trips to Kenya, Italy, Holland, Belgium and Morocco, but I don’t ever want to be without it. So I ordered a second one just in case they ever stop making it or I accidentally leave it behind somewhere.


4. Sun Hat

I shared a bit about the sun hat I took on this trip in a previous post here: Hat Storage That’s Both Functional and Decorative. When I travel in the future, one of the two sun hats with the bows will definitely go with me.


I loved wearing the navy one in Morocco, including on a ride through the Sahara Desert.


This was the nice camel that took me for my Sahara Desert ride. It’s really amazing how they crouch down so we can get on and off. When I first got on, my camel turned his head around and rubbed the side of his face very firmly against my ankle. It almost felt like he was marking me, although he may have been telling me that I should have lost that last 10 lbs I was hoping to lose before my trip. πŸ˜‰

I’m holding the sunhat I wore and it’s available here: Sunhat. It packed beautifully for the trip. I just stuffed the hat with clothing I was taking, placed it in the center of the suitcase and packed all around it, including placing clothes on top of the brim. So it didn’t take up any space in the suitcase and looked perfect when I removed.


Our camel ride took us to a small desert village…


…where we spent the afternoon touring a farm where they grow all kinds of crops, including dates. Those are Date Palm trees in the photo below. Such an amazing trip! Will definitely be traveling with OAT again sometime in the future.


5. An Anti-theft Travel Bag or Purse

I thought I’d try another style bag for this trip, of course sticking with an anti-theft bag. I ordered this one a few days before I left. Unfortunately, per my house sitter, it arrived about an hour after my driver picked me up for the airport. They didn’t have it in the color I wanted when I ordered it initially, so I purchased it in the “pewter” color. I returned it once I got back since I had really wanted it in their Indigo color anyway. You’ll find it available in three colors here: Anti-theft Travel Bag.


So the bag I took on my trip was the one I’ve used on all my previous trips. I like this bag a lot because just like the bag above, the strap can not be cut off your shoulder, the sides are slit-proof and the credit card slots inside are RFID protected so a bad guy can’t scan your purse and get your credit card numbers.

I always wear it cross-body so it can’t be snatched off my shoulder. It really is worry free. The other bag I had ordered was a little bigger. I may order it the next time I travel, although this one below is still working great. You’ll find this bag available here: Anti-theft Travel Bag.

You’ll find a previous post where I shared how it looks inside and what fits inside here:  A Peek Inside My Travelon Travel Purse.


So, those are my 5 essentials that I always take when traveling internationally. Won’t leave home without ’em!

What do you always take when you travel internationally? What always makes the trip with you?

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  1. I had not heard of that type of purse. The items for electronics is important. I found this interesting and informative.

  2. Susan. I am thinking of you tonight, we are sat watching a tv programme all about luxury hotels around the world, tonight it is all about Giraffe Manor, I know you have been there. πŸ™‚

    Ann in Scotland.

    • Ann, don’t how I missed this comment. Loved visiting Giraffe Manor! I need to see if I can find that program on YouTube since I don’t have cable TV…or maybe I can stream it online.

  3. I just ordered the sun hat with the navy blue bow. It’s adjustable and fits perfectly. I can’t wait to take it to Florida at the end of the month.

    • I love how it’s adjustable, that really came in handy when I was in super windy locations. Hope you enjoy yours as much as I enjoyed wearing mine, Kay! I need a beach vacation! πŸ™‚

  4. Frank Shackleford says

    Great suggestions; I did ditch the current converter years ago for using with iPhone, iPad, and computer; have been using for years with all voltages, no issues; one other essential my wife and I both travel with is ScotteVest jackets. They are great, got all of these pockets; I have two and she has one; I have no affiliation, just love the product for any trip; and sleeves zip off (easily) and it becomes a vest; always a must; thanks for your blogs;

    • I had my laptop built by Lenovo, it’s a ThinkPad. I just feel safer having it plugged into the converter. I wonder if it acts as a surge protector, too. I’ve heard good things about the ScotteVest…they are really smart looking, too. Thanks for that suggestion, Frank!

  5. Great post. I put a couple things on my Amazon list.

  6. Vee Spivey says

    I’ve traveled internationally a lot lately and love my tiny portable fan that I ordered off Amazon. Last month I ordered the travel pillow and can’t wait to use it on my next trip. I travel with my Tom Bihn purse and love to wear my Merrill sandals in the summer. I take my NutriWise Caramel Crunch bars along for extra protein between meals! My favorite pillow at home is very small so I take it in my suitcase so that I always feel “at home”.

    • Vee, I think I’m going to starting packing a very small pillow that I’m currently using to stuff a tote bag. We stayed in several hotels/riads and only two had a pillow that was low enough for me. I definitely need to start packing my own pillow. Great tips!

  7. I also use a blow-up pillow (Samsonite)–so much better than those big things people lug around with them. All you need is something to stabilize your head. It’s your head tipping too far that wakes you up.
    As for your hair dryer and curling iron, give it a good look. There should be a little round thing, like a flat screw. It will say 110 and 240. You use a small coin to turn the screw to the correct voltage. Europe is 220, but 240 works. Remember to turn it back when you get home.
    I’ve never had a problem with phones or computers. I even bought a desktop iMac in the U.S. before they were sold in Europe and brought it home in my luggage. Just used a plug converter and it ran great for years.
    Another thing to consider: a second credit card (with a different account number). You take two, and leave one in your hotel safe. If your bag/wallet/card is stolen, you still have a backup card you can use. And tell your bank you’re traveling; some use software to detect unusual purchases, and you don’t want to find your card blocked for your legitimate vacation.

    • Mine does have that little thing that you turn, and I did turn that the one time I tried it while traveling, but it would not come on at all. But it works fine when I use it plugged into the converter. I’m not sure why it wouldn’t work.

      • Everything I use has always worked well with just adapter plugs except hair dryers. No matter what they claimed, they either wouldn’t work or flames came out! I finally found one on Amazon by Brookstone that works perfectly. It’s and ionic dual-voyage fold up travel hair dryer.

  8. Thanks Susan for the information! I added these things to my basket as I’m leaving for London in two weeks. Love reading your posts!

  9. Love, love, love my TravelOn purses which I first learned about from you!
    I have four of them. We visited London and Scotland just last week and my TravelOn purse is my favorite travel item. Thanks, Susan!

  10. I used my Scottevest women’s trench coat when we travelled to Madrid and other parts of Spain in early March. Thanks to you, had my TravelOn purse! Sure appreciate your list of travel necessities, I will get the converter, sounds reassuring as I never use my own hair accessories overseas in fear of burn-out! And was in Washington DC last week, while in Tuckernuck shop in Georgetown, (none here in Midwest), I ordered the hat you recommended! Thanks again!

  11. Because of your recommendation, we purchased the international voltage converter. It’s been all over Europe and then to/South Korea. Like you, we would not travel to a foreign country without it. Thanks for the tip.

  12. Great recommendations! I’m going to order one of those travel pillows.
    Love the photo of you on the camel. You are really making me wish I had insisted on the desert trip when we were in Morocco.

  13. Dear Susan, We won’t leave home without our GPS because most of our trips involve driving. I know that most rental cars have GPS installed but owning your own and not having to re-learn different models saves time (and money).
    After many years of flying to the Paris airport we have now decided to look for another airport from which to connect to our final destination. CDG is getting too large and the long lines are frustrating, especially the Passport Control Gates.
    Our recent trip to Portugal was a most wonderful surprise. The people are friendly and helpful. The highways are new, with little traffic. Traveling from Pousada to Pousada, the beautiful historic Inns of Portugal was a most wonderful experience, a lesson in living in total luxury without paying for it.
    I love the way you pack your hat. I’m ordering one for my next trip and for the upcoming gardening season. I travelled with your newly recommended bag and it worked beautifully.

  14. Susan, I bought a Travelon purse last year for my trip to New Zealand and loved it. Not only did I feel safe, but it was light to carry and I could quickly change the strap from shoulder to cross body. I’ll definitely be getting the voltage converter too, because I had the same issue you did with my blowdryer and using the plug converter. Thanks for the great advice!

  15. Susan, I’m confused. If you have the converter, do you still need to carry the international adapters? I’ve done a lot of travelling with adapters and also had problems with a curling iron and never knew why. I’m going to Israel in the fall and want to make sure that I can charge my iphone, camera, and use my curling iron!

    • Yes, because the converter just converts the electricity to the kind needed for the products you’ve purchased here in the U.S. which are designed to run on 110-120 Volts. In most other areas, the electricity is 220-240 which will destroy some of our electronics.
      The adapters are needed because the outlets are all different in different countries, so you won’t be able to plug in the converter if you don’t have the correct adapter.
      Check out this article: https://www.adaptelec.com/index.php?main_page=document_general_info&products_id=281
      Notice all the different outlets. You won’t be able to use the converter unless you have the correct adapter so that you can plug it in. So before I travel, I always google to find out what adapter I need to take with me to the area I’m going. If you get to a country and you’ve forgotten your adapter at home, you can usually buy them there. They know that travelers often forget them at home. But I like to take mine with me so I’m not stressing looking for one once I’m there.

  16. We always travel with “Vatican Pants”. Actually, they are hiking pants with zip off legs, that become shorts. Great for when the weather changes during the day. The legs zip off and stow in the side pockets. In 2006, we were traveling in Rome in August (hot!!!) and the men in the group wore shorts all day, except for when entering the Vatican and were required to cover their legs. We’ve called them Vatican pants ever since.

    • That’s super “Vatican Pants”. I have several Columbia pants and they are a must travel item for adventure. Dry quickly, don’t wrinkle, easy to clean. I like the ones that have strings so they lift to capris. I’ve zipped off my pants and then managed to lose them – like socks. My 5 must haves on international travel: extra pair of glasses, converter & adaptor, (3) no foreign fee credit cards, underwear for everyday, kit of little goodies for onboard travel – so I can just pull it out of my carry-on – eye shades, earplugs, Tylenol, toothbrush, lipbalm, handcream,pen, highlighter, good book, Kleenex, sanitizer and my small “nap” blanket scented with lavender. Writing this makes me want to google a new adventure!

      • Great list! Those sounds similar to some pants I took to Kenya, I think they were by Columbia. Not sure they had the strings, though. I was so worried about getting bitten by the tsetse fly on safari, I would probably have been too chicken to roll them up. lol

  17. Just returned from a 15 day grand tour of Italy. It was fantastic. I read your post about your Italy trip. I was prepared for cold, rainy weather, but we had beautiful, sunny days. I took my hat that my grandchildren gave me. It has a wide brim, chin tie, and can be rolled up and put in my suit case. It stayed on during the wonderful boat ride around Capri. I could not have done without throughout the trip. I bought my converter and money belt at Marshalls in their travel dept. I also ordered the “not all who wander” necklace and wore it each day. Thank you for all your travel tips.

    • Becky, I’m so glad you had great weather! Our guide kept saying, it’s never like this in October. lol That was cold comfort for us! Sounds like you were well-prepared! I love that cute necklace! πŸ™‚

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