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What Luxury Item Can You Afford to Pack?

luxury items to pack

As backpackers or budget travelers, a common goal is packing as light as possible. Keeping our possessions to a minimum is a necessity when we’re limited to how much we can tote (on our bodies especially) or can afford to mail home.

It only takes a few conversations with fellow ladies on the road to know that most of us pack relatively similar items. What differentiates our packing lists the most, perhaps, are our luxury items – the one or two things that you could have left at home but knew it was worth creating space to bring.

Why bring a luxury item when space is so limited and precious?

  • You’re unlikely to find the item on your travels.
  • You want the comfort and familiarity the item provides.
  • You know it’s important to treat yourself, especially if you’re not on a luxury trip budget.

You can survive with the bare necessities, and taking only what you truly need makes it easier to move across the globe. So whatever extra items you plan to pack, be sure they give you enough pleasure to be worth taking up extra weight and space in your luggage.

pack a bath bomb
Pack a bath bomb for a little luxury on your travels.

Luxury Items You May Want to Pack:

Former HPL team member, Heather, packed some “extras” to make herself feel comfortable and pampered while traveling around Australia. This is her list:

  • Tempurpedic travel-sized pillow — I have back and neck problems and this always comes with me. It takes up some room, sure, but it’s never been a problem.
  • An electric toothbrush – While it roughly takes up the same amount of space as a regular toothbrush, I also have to make room for the charger.
  • A travel-sized hair dryer – I let my hair air dry while road tripping around Australia, but when I’m not camping, I prefer to avoid frizzy hair and dry it!
  • Foot scrub – I packed a small bottle of lovely smelling, exfoliating foot scrub on my last trip. After hours of walking, it felt wonderful to give my feet some attention.

Hair Items:

Items like a straightener, curling iron, and hair dryer usually get used less on the road making them dead weights in our luggage. Also, many hotels and even hostels have blow dryers for guests. But, if one of these makes you feel amazing and pampered, it might be worth making room for in your backpack.

Beauty Items:

If you’re outdoors and active on your travels, make-up and beauty items can pretty much remain at home. For that same reason, they also make a great luxury item for some. Extra make-up pieces (beyond your low-key beauty kit), scrubs and masks can make you look and feel amazing after a week in the jungle!

Shoes:

Shoes cause a lot of drama for women trying to pack light. Packing multiple pairs of shoes or a pair of heels might be the luxury item in your backpack.

Spa-like Treatments:

After hours of walking, and sweating on public transport, adding some comfort to your budget accommodation is a godsend. Slipping into a pair of slippers and a light robe creates the perfect relaxing ensemble. A travel candle, or even a string of fairy lights, create a calming environment. And for the tired body, a bath bomb or the right essential oils soothes and refreshes.

Electronics:

Since most digital tasks can be completed with a compact and convenient smartphone, items like laptops and D-SLR cameras become more like luxury items. They take up a lot of extra space and weight, so definitely need to be justified by the joy you receive. The same goes for an additional tripod.

Comforts of Home:

Some sachets of tea or your favorite food (many Aussies pack a tube of vegemite!) can bring you all the comforts of home. Perhaps a pillow or a silk pillowcase to transform your hostel bed into a familiar abode. And of course, a stuffed animal to snuggle with.

And don’t forget about things like art supplies, musical instruments, perfume, and yoga mats.

The little things that can definitely make all the difference. Remember, whatever luxury items you pack, the benefit must outweigh the cost… the cost of carrying more stuff, the cost of more luggage (potential checked luggage fees), and the cost of worrying about the safety of said items.

What’s your favorite luxury item to take on the road? How have you made time to treat yourself well on a budget?

P.S. The Moment That Inspired You to Pack Light

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luxury items you pack
can you pack luxury items

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Written by Brooke

I run the show at Her Packing List and love packing ultralight. In fact, I once traveled for 3 entire weeks with just the contents of a well-packed 12L handbag. When I'm not obsessing over luggage weight, I'm producing episodes of The UnPacking List or just snuggling with my pet rabbit, Sherlock Bunz.

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Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Nicole says

    If I include the things listed above (laptop, travel pillow), then I guess I brought several luxury items with me to Australia, but I think of them more as necessities. 🙂 I can be a bit of a luxury spender at times during my travels – food is often a priority & lately I am really wanting to treat myself to a massage. Oh – and some new summer sandals! 😉

  2. Christine says

    I have a battery-operated electric toothbrush, which is gold! No charger necessary but still so much better than a normal toothbrush (mostly because it forces me to brush for a full two minutes!). And I don’t go anywhere without a straightener… 🙂

  3. Kirstin says

    Electronics are standard for me; two laptops, my DSLR and lenses, external harddrives, and all of my audio recording equipment. My husband even brought his big screen iMac desktop as a carry-on when we first flew to Kyrgyzstan, but now he just carries an iPad on smaller trips. Luxury items seem to be whatever else fits in our suitcases!

  4. kim says

    Wow, I must not be a light packer.

    I almost always travel with my ipod, kindle, laptop for electronics.

    In my overnight bag I have a travel-sized special face wash, toner, moisturizer and night creme. My makeup bag has a little bit of everything (foundation, powder,blush, eyeliner).

    • Heather says

      I think electronics have become standard, but just 6 years ago, I never saw someone with a laptop overseas in the hostel!

      I’ve known a few ladies who travel with minimal makeup depending on the destination — I know I’m the exception to the rule with just bringing foundation (but I don’t wear anything else!).

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