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My Top 10 Travel Essentials

A well-packed suitcase sets the tone for adventure. Here are some travel essentials that can help to make your next adventure even better.

Click HERE if you'd rather see all of these items on one page -- without Holly's stories to distract you.

Holly Winter Huppert's list of ten travel essentials.

Hello My People,

You've sked for a list of my travel essentials. Here it is. A list of the things I travel with.

I regularly share these items with friends and readers and decided to make a post to save time for all of us. 😎

Some of these links are affiliate links, meaning that I will get a small commission if you purchase--a few pennies.

(I'm trying to figure out if I can also get that same commission when I purchase. Because, hello? I need more beef sticks.)

Please note: I am not a partner with any of these brands.

1: Big INIU Power Bank

I spent hours researching power banks so I might find the best one for my travels into Ukraine where electricity would be limited. I had a lot to learn.

If you buy a power bank that's too powerful, the airline may not let you bring it onto the plane--which goes against the whole idea of traveling with it. Many power banks aren't precise about how much power is left. Many power banks lose power when they're not in use. Many power banks have only one kind of USB port.


I just wanted a trusted brand that I could rely on.

This INIU power bank hit every need and did it with style.

I tested the bank at home before I traveled. This bank was able to charge my phone over 4 times -- from zero percent to full.


On the overnight train from Lviv to Kiev in Ukraine, there was one electric outlet for the other three passengers, all strangers, and I to share. One outlet for four people? (Normally there are two: one was broken.) What a relief that I could charge my phone, camera battery and earbuds with my power bank, rather than stressing and waiting in line for my turn to charge.

I will be using this same power bank for years. Highly recommend.


  1. Holds a charge when not in use.

  2. Powers my phone more than 4 times.

  3. Shows a number as a % for how much power is left.

  4. Has different sized USB ports.

  5. Fast charging


  1. Heavy

  2. Large

2: Smaller Anker Power Bank

This is not one of those microscopic power banks the size of a credit card. Nope. But this Anker bank is powerful and reliable. It charges my phone more than 2 times.

I carried this in my purse all summer as the battery on my phone was old. Several times I needed to charge my phone while I was away from my daypack, this was the perfect answer for me. The one day I didn't carry it, my phone died. I was lost. Couldn't find my people.

Never again.

I still carry this in my purse. Why? Why? Because the small chargers I have tried (from no-name companies) aren't reliable. When my phone gets low, I want something reliable to charge it. This works. (I haven't replaced my phone battery yet.)

AND: I also got the travel case.


  1. Reliable

  2. Comes with connector cable.

  3. Can charge my phone two times.

  4. Holds a charge even when not using often.


  1. Heavy

3: Beef Sticks

Last summer as I traveled through Ukraine delivering humanitarian supplies, I had trouble finding gluten-free snacks in the small villages we visited. Luckily, I brought a pack of these beef sticks.

I always travel with these, and have been known to drop a few into my purse to save me if I go to a restaurant that has zero gluten-free foods -- I can munch happily on these.

I am about to order these beef sticks for the 14th time. (Yes, I love them that much.)

These snacks are 100% grass-fed and Grass-finished, non-GMO. They have no added nitrates, are free of gluten, soy, MSG, dairy and nuts. Yes, they are friendly for paleo and keto diets.


  1. Individually wrapped

  2. No refrigeration needed

  3. Tasty

  4. 8 grams of protein in one stick

  5. All-natural ingredients

  6. Paleo and Keto friendly


  1. So easy to carry, you might forget to bring other snacks and end up eating nothing but beef sticks for days at a time. (Sigh. I learned my lesson.)

4: Raincoat

Years ago, I bought this raincoat for my summer travels through Vietnam during the rainy season. Though I normally wear a size small, I sized-up to a large. It was big enough to fit over me and my daypack.

Though the raincoat is inexpensive, my first one lasted years. I replaced it before I traveled in 2023.

In Ukraine last summer, we arrived at the Lviv train station just as it started to rain. I was able to pull this out and put it on over me, my daypack and my purse so fast that I remained dry, which was a good thing. My ten hour train ride would have been uncomfortable if I were wet.


  1. Knee length

  2. Pockets have protective flaps

  3. Ventilated underarms

  4. A draw string around the hood

  5. Adjustable snaps on the sleeves

  6. Affordable


  1. When wearing it over my body, my purse and my day pack, I feel like Eeyore, the large creature from the show Sesame Street or like a hunchback. In photos it doesn't look bad, but if you're used to form-fitting rain coats, you'll hate this one.

5: Memory Card

Call me old-fashioned, but I still travel with a camera AND my phone and do my best to take photos with both.

I snap thousands of photos and videos, so it's important that I have enough storage for my entire trip.

This is the memory card I use. I usually travel with an extra one, too. Just in case I fill the one I brought. (Yes. It's happened.) (Don't ask about how much storage I need on my laptop.)

I always say that the more memory you bring with you, the more memories you bring home.

Tip: Remember to format the card when it's new so you don't have to pay a random computer geek at a Colombian computer store to recover thousands of files. (Sigh)


  1. Fast

  2. Reliable

  3. Lots of storage


  1. Can be pricey, depending on when you buy them. I usually find sales around Christmas time.

6: Medium-Sized Notebooks/Journals

I take a lot of notes when I travel. I write snippits of conversations, advice from others, thoughts about my day, addresses of the people I meet, travel plans and anything else that comes to mind.

I've tried different journals over the years and fell in love with these. I always choose a purse that's large enough for me to carry one or two of these notebooks and a pen. They are the size of an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper that is folded in half.

I used these notebooks when traveling and writing the books, Cheese for Breakfast, My Turkish Summer and Unimaginable: Volunteering for Ukrainian Refugees.


  1. The set comes with 8 notebooks

  2. Lightweight

  3. Sewn centers

  4. Light lines

  5. Inexpensive -- so I feel comfortable jotting down ideas that are in flux.

  6. Easy to save in travel file after I return home.


  1. Soft cover

  2. Gets tattered from constant use

7: Soft Washcloth

Call me a primadonna, I don't mind. What I do mind is using cheap, scratchy wash cloths. I always travel with one bamboo washcloth from this company.

When I was traveling through Colombia with my friend Shirley, she complained that our swanky hotel didn't have decent washcloths. In a moment of pity, I gifted her with mine.

That's when I learned: always bring a washcloth for your people.

Before visiting the Jersey Shore with friends, I placed one wet washcloth into a small ziplock baggie for each of us. I left the clothes in the truck of the car where they heated up beautifully. At the end of the day when we were ready to clean up before going to dinner, I handed one package to each friend.

This warm and soft cloth is as close to a spa treatment as you're going to get while traveling.


  1. Small

  2. Easy to carry

  3. Soft


  1. Needs to dry before you travel

  2. Tough to keep white while traveling. (Clean is enough for me.)

  3. Some people have reported that the quality has changed, others insist it hasn't. (I bought mine several years ago.)

8: Liquid Soap

I know. I know. It has to be love if I'm willing to lug liquid soap in my carry-on.

It's worth it.

The soap is concentrated and powerful--I only need a few drops at a time. I use it to wash my clothes in the hotel room's sink. (See sink stopper below.) In a pinch, I use it to wash my hair. When feeling grungy (like after visiting Auschwitz in the summer of 2022), I add it to my bath water.

I seal the bottle in a small ziplock bag for extra protection.


  1. Concentrated

  2. Healthy ingredients

  3. Great for cleaning everything


  1. Another liquid in my carry-on bag.

9: Tub and Sink Stopper

This is the stopper I travel with. It is so thin that it takes up almost no room in my luggage.

The apartment I rented in Krakow during the summer of 2023 had a bathtub.


But the tub had no stopper.


But wait, No problem. This 5-inch sink stopper worked perfectly.

And.... it makes hand washing clothes in the sink easier, too.


  1. Thin

  2. Easy to pack.

  3. Works with every tub and sink I've used.

  4. Inexpensive


  1. Remember to dry it before you pack it.

10: Book: Essays After 80

I like to read at night, but not on a device where the screen's light can interfere with my sleep. Choosing the right paperback book to travel with is hard for me; I like to read many different things. If I bring a novel, I'll get so immerced in the story that I ignore the people and places around me. (Not the travel experience I'm looking for.)

The best book for me is a book of essays, where each essay is short and well-written. Enter this gem of a book by the poet, Donald Hall. His writing makes the smallest things interesting and reminds me to observe the travel road carefully so I might write about it, too.


  1. Small

  2. Light

  3. Well written

  4. Paperback

  5. Can gift it to a friend before you return home.


  1. It takes up room in luggage.

  2. Gets heavier when left out in the rain. (I know. I know.)

  3. You have to be in the mood to read these slow and meandering thoughts.


I know what you're thinking.

"Um Holly, no luggage on you list of travel essentials? No shoes? No sweaters?"

Nope. I'm always changing my mind when it comes to suitcase or daypack. Sneakers or sandals. Sweater or light jacket. So you're on your own, for now, when it comes to these things.

My shoes change with each trip, so does my suitcase. But every time I hop on a plane, I have a fistfull of beef sticks hidden away for hungry moments.

Maybe I'll share one with you the next time we meet on the road.

I hope our travels be safe, exciting and fun. May we return home rejuvinated with a story or two to share that doesn't include hunger or the inability to charge devices or the story of how you left your favorite book out in the rain.

If you'd rather see these items all at once, go to my Travel List on Amazon by clicking HERE.




Day 21: Trauma Talk part 2

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Thank you from Holly Winter Huppert

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(C) 2023 by and Holly Winter Huppert


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Dec 20, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I need that raincoat.


Dec 20, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

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