02/18/2015 10:27 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Packing Tips From Travel Experts

By Shoko Wanger, Condé Nast Traveler

Whether it's a scent, a special snack, or a specific pair of shoes, everyone has something they're always sure to bring with them on a trip. Here, seven frequent travelers (and expert packers) share what they'd never leave home without.


Photo by Tahiti Huetter

High-quality headphones

"I never travel without a book and my headphones," says film and media producer Tahiti Huetter. "These are Frends, which are not only stylish, but noise-canceling, too." As for music? "I love to listen to an album in its entirety when I'm on a flight," Huetter continues. "Some favorites include Emily Wells's Mama, Alt-J's An Awesome Wave, and Fink's Perfect Darkness."


Photo courtesy of C.O. Bigelow

Essential oils

"I swear by essential oils," says California-based photographer Jennifer Young. "My must-haves are lavender, which is very calming, and peppermint, which can help with headaches or nausea. When you're on the go, deep breathing and aromatherapy are so powerful in smoothing over any bumps in the road along the way. Being well-rested helps, too -- my secret is Pharma Gaba as needed, and this charcoal eye mask, which helps with circulation."

See more: The Toiletry Kit that will Simplify Your Packing Routine


Photo courtesy of MoMA

A home-cooked lunch

"Because I'm gluten intolerant and airplane food is never very good, I always pack my own lunch, usually something with grains and vegetables," says Aran Goyoaga, a food writer and photographer. For those looking to follow suit, we love the clean design of these San Yoshi bento bowls, which are non-breakable and easy to spot in the dark depths of a carry-on.


Photo courtesy of Nike

Two pairs of shoes
Says travel photographer Jinna Yang, whose packing routine has been streamlined to include only the essentials, "I bring one pair of sneakers for comfort during the day -- I swear by Nike Roshe -- and a pair of flats or ankle boots for night. I look for pairs that are waterproof but still look classic. Aigle makes great ones."


Photo by Bethany Salvon

Smart accessories

"On any given travel day, you'll find us wearing our Speakeasy travel scarves, which have a hidden pocket where we keep our phones and passports," say travel bloggers Randy Kalp and Bethany Salvon. "We also like ExOfficio underwear, which is designed to be easily packed, washed, and dried while on the go. To carry it all, we use the Tom Bihn Packing Cube Backpack, which doubles as a daypack or market bag."


Photo courtesy of Osprey

A dependable backpack

"My first backpacking trip took me to seven countries with various climates and cultural norms over the course of six months," says Lauren Kilberg of the blog Double Takes. "My Osprey Ariel 55 backpack never did me wrong and held everything I need -- and it's come with me to over 25 countries since. I keep it organized by packing everything in mesh laundry bags meant for delicates. It makes taking things out and putting them back in again so much easier."


Photo by Oneika Raymond

A roomy carry-on

"I rarely check a bag," says travel blogger Oneika Raymond. I like to pack light -- one rolling carry-on, and one of two leather bags I bought on a trip to Europe a few summers ago (both are pictured here). They're everything I need them to be: easy to carry, durable, and roomy enough to hold my 11-inch Macbook Air, toiletries, makeup, wallet, phone, and Canon 600D DSLR. They're also versatile enough to serve as an everyday bag while I'm on my trip."

More from Condé Nast Traveler:
The Best Cities in the World
Top 25 Cities in the World: Readers' Choice Awards 2014
15 Places You Won't Believe Actually Exist
The Friendliest and Unfriendliest Cities in the U.S.
The 10 Best Small Cities in the U.S.
How Not to Look Like a Tourist in Paris