Recently this summer I was able to take a dream trip to Europe with my husband and his family to Lyon, France and Lagos, Portugal. It was an incredibly beautiful experience and so much fun! In my preparation I did quite a bit of research on what to bring and as a notorious overpacker (sorry mostly to my husband who is always carrying my extra crap in his bag haha), I think I narrowed it down to the essentials! However, there are always things you can't plan for, so I wanted to highlight a few travel necessities: things I couldn't live without and a couple I wished I had had for any trips others might make in the future, whether overseas or an extended vacation.
1. A versatile backpack.
Before we left, I combed about a hundred reviews and blogs before we left to find the best and most dependable backpack out there. I ended up purchasing the Osprey Farpoint Backpack and it was perfect. Super comfortable, great return policy and many great features. The front zip opening made for simple packing and unpacking and the packable straps made for effortless storage. One of my favorite things about this backpack is that it has a detachable daypack, which is perfect for extra storage or taking on day trips! The best part of it was it even fit in an overhead bin, so if you want to bring home a few souvenirs, you can check this bag and bring another small one as a carry on back.
(See! Carried it on the first plane. Nifty.)
2. Supportive shoes.
I wore a basic pair of white Keds almost the whole time in France but I did wish I had brought comfier sandals. Being at the beaches in Portugal (or anywhere) you do need something simple you can easily slip on or off. Birkenstocks are ever popular and trendy and perfect for anywhere you travel. I would recommend taking both, especially if you are traveling in warmer months. But break in Birks before you leave!
3. Effective deodorant!
I will say that we found many Europeans to be more casual about this but personally, I couldn't live without my Lone. We walked up to ten miles a few days in 90+ degree weather and having a deodorant I could count on to apply only once in the morning was a lifesaver. My go to was the Lone Bold Creme in Mint and the Citrus in the solid formula.
4. Extra Moisturizing Moisturizer.
I took a small sample size of Josh Rosebrook Active Infusion serum + Khus Khus naturals oil. Both are infused with many healing and rejuvinating oils and were absolutely the perfect size for 2 weeks of travel using every night alternating each one.
5. Convenient cleanser.
I used Lone's Spray Cleanser which was an ultimate for cleansing on the go in airplanes and trains when we traveled overnight. After being in the ocean I literally was brushing salt off of my skin and it was nice to be able to easily cleanse my face with a simple spray. Paired with a bamboo cloth, this will be a lifesaver.
6. Extra SPF.
Unfortunately I didn’t do as much research as I wanted to for a clean sunscreen but one of the best ones I’ve heard about is Beauty Counter or Andalou! It’s absolutely vital to find one you trust and apply it every day, especially when you are out in climates you are unfamiliar with. Often the altitude can be different and the sun can affect you much faster! Great if you want a tan but super important to protect your facial skin especially.
7. Some immune boosters!
Traveling in and out of airports and train stations and buses with little sleep can truly take a toll on your body. My favorite for on the go is Zarbees Naturals Immune System and Vitamin C (available at most any drugstores) and I also took a small package of powdered mushroom powder / astralagus, and a small supply of capsuled Echinacea / Goldenseal / Elderberry. (I know, I know, it sounds like a small pharmacy but hear me out) All of these are powerful immune boosters and filled with antioxidants and adaptogens - meaning they help your body fight off stress and sickness, and especially the Zarbees has so many amazing vitamins and herbs packed into a tiny package. I'll admit I did feel like a weird little medicine woman making concoctions in the airport but you know what - right before we left, and several times when we were on our trip we started feeling a little sick and took a big shot of these in water (about 1 TB of the powders and 1 capsule of each of the others) and I'm not kidding, bounced back in a few hours. Seriously, this could be the most important thing, especially when it's hard to eat well and exercise while traveling as well as perhaps the occasional glass too many of wine (because France, y'all) All that said, nothing is worse than getting sick while you're out spending your hard earned vacation hours: you want to be feeling your best. Note: Something I wish I had brought was probiotics! Eating where you can't easily get a good smoothie, yogurt or kombucha to balance out rich food and keep your gut happy can be tough! A good probiotic would have definitely been a great addition.
8. Travel yoga mat.
This actually did come in very handy, as I love to do yoga and it has wonderful grippers on the bottom that work great for really any surface without moving around. I'll confess I didn't use it as much as I wanted to haha, but you could use it for any at home / resistance workout on any floor - indoor or outdoor - and it takes up little space. Plus, I found it a great cushion for wrapping glass items I wanted to bring home! Even getting in a short workout really helps you feel grounded and strong and ready for your day. This is especially handy if you're staying in an airbnb or hostel, as most do not have workout equipment or gyms.
9. A trusty chapstick (or four).
Planes especially can be extra dehydrating to your skin and your lips, so I kept a Lone balm in my purse, beach bag and a couple of pockets to be safe. Seriously, bring a few. You will thank me. My favorites are the Soothe and the Hydrate, but they all are wonderful.
10. A super comfy sports bra.
This will come in so handy for hiking, relaxing and long walks. I bought Girlfriend Collective's Longline Sports Bra before I left, one because their company is amazing - athletic wear made out of water bottles? Hello, yes. And also because it's super cute, it's long enough to even pair as a crop top with a long skirt or denim. It was so nice to have the diversity of something I could work out in or go out in.
Of course, your essentials list will depend on the season and where you go, but thank you for reading mine and hopefully it will help you get an idea of some things to bring on your next trip. Happy traveling!
PS: Nothing is sponsored! Just my honest opinion of some amazing products you should have in your travel arsenal :)