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5 Surprising Things I NEVER Travel Abroad Without

*Affiliate disclosure: I may receive commissions if you buy via the links below. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

As a frequent international traveler, I’m going to give you a peek into the international travel essentials I NEVER leave home without! Whether it’s living in Peru, vacationing in Paris, or volunteering in Italy, these are the items I always make sure to pack.

International Travel Essentials: 5 Surprising Things I Never Leave Home Without

#1 Cold-Eeze Zinc Lozenges (Sugar Free)

WhyNothing is worse than coming down with a cold while you’re on the road, and when I feel a cold coming on, Cold-Eeze stops it in its tracks! I use it all the time, and it works amazingly well. If I feel a tickle in my throat, I go ahead and pop one of these in my mouth before going to bed. I use sugar free because it’s not good to have sugar on your teeth while you sleep, but you can also get the regular kind with sugar if you’d like.

Still not convinced? I hired a designer last year to design my blog’s logo, and during one of our video meetings, she mentioned she thought she was coming down with a cold and had a sore throat. I told her to get Cold-Eeze, and at our next meeting, she said that her husband brought her home some Cold-Eeze. She used them, and her sore throat was gone and she felt amazing! I’m telling you, it works.

#2 Spin Pins

Why: I have hair past my waist, and Spin Pins keep it locked into the perfect spiral bun.

What the heck are Spin Pins? UM, ONLY THE MOST AMAZING INVENTION FOR LONG-HAIRED FOLK! For my fellow long-haired ladies (or gents!), you’ve got to have these. I wear them almost every day, and I of course never travel without them. They’re basically like screws for your hair, so you just twist your hair and roll it up into a bun, then screw the two Spin Pins in and voila! You’ve got the perfect bun that holds all day and keeps hair off your neck. They work better than anything I’ve ever tried for my hair!

#3 Fiber packets

Why: It’s extremely common to get “backed up” while traveling because you’re not eating your normal diet, and you’re probably indulging in fatty, sweet foods and not enough fiber. I like to bring Benefiber travel packets with me. I just pop 1 or 2 packets into my water bottle while I’m on the road, and it helps me stay regular. (Did I just go there? Oh yes, I did! I don’t know why toilet issues are taboo subjects!)

#4 Portable smoke and fire alarm

Why: Many places internationally don’t have smoke detectors, which of course, is dangerous. My dad bought me this portable smoke detector to bring with me when I travel. It’s super easy. You just stick the battery in and place the smoke detector somewhere high, like a window sill. You can press that little rectangle button to test it too (just cover your ears if you can first!). Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t bring this with me on my most recent trip to Europe. Not sure why, I guess I didn’t have much room. But I probably should have brought it to be safe!


#5 Superglue

Why: It amazes me that people don’t know this hack! Superglue is PERFECT for sealing up blisters on your feet, so they don’t hurt or get worse! It’s also ideal for sealing cuts, so they stay clean and don’t reopen. When you’re traveling internationally, you may find yourself in situations where you get cuts in unsanitary places and can’t get medical attention right away (I once cut my foot on a rock while doing the Limbo in the slums of the Philippines! Haha. Long story), so superglue is perfect for sealing it up (AFTER you clean it up!). On my most recent one-month trip to Europe, I brought these single-use superglue packets, and they are the best for travel because you can use them one-time, and throw them out. It’s tough to reuse big packets of superglue because it doesn’t keep well; it usually hardens.

Now for My Not-So-Surprising International Travel Essentials

Timbuk2 Aviator Travel Backpack

Why: I travel carry-on only, and this backpack is the BEST one for traveling light and staying comfortable.

If you need more details, check out my full Timbuk2 Aviator review. This backpack has all the things I look for in a travel backpack: Carry-on sized, padded hip belt, front-loading, water resistant.

Encircled Chrysalis Cardi – A convertible travel scarf dress that can be worn 8+ ways!


Why: This beautiful, versatile travel scarf saves so much space in my carry-on because I can wear it 8+ ways! I practically lived in my Chrysalis Cardis (yup, I have two!) on my one-month trip to Europe. People constantly complimented me on it!

Running belt

Why: It’s the best way to keep your passport hidden and secure, without looking like a fool. I wore this exact running belt all throughout my Eastern Europe train trip, and I felt so much better knowing my passport was always on me and hidden well. The belt was comfortable (though it did get hot since it was May/June) and MUCH better than those bulky belts or neck pouches. It stayed hidden really well, even when I wore form-fitting clothing.

MacBook Air 13 inch

Why: I often work when I travel, and need a lightweight and reliable laptop. When I’m too nervous to bring my pricey MacBook abroad, I bring my cheaper Lenovo laptop.

Kindle e-Reader

Why: Because carrying a lightweight Kindle e-reader is way easier than carrying 10 heavy books! I actually have the regular Kindle, but the Paperwhite is way nicer. On my last trip I loaded my Italian phrasebook onto this so I could have it handy while volunteering in Italy. It was wayyy easier to search for words on the Kindle then to flip frantically through a paperback book.


How to Get Free Two-Day Shipping

All of my international travel essentials I listed above are available on Amazon (with the exception of the Chrysalis Cardi), AND if you have an Amazon Prime membership, you can get FREE two-day shipping on eligible items so those items arrive at your doorstep in time for your next adventure! I actually use my Prime membership almost every week and a TON before I go traveling. Having a Prime membership is the fastest and easiest way for me to get my last-minute travel items before my flight. You can get your free Amazon Prime membership 30-day trial here.