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30 Days to Packing a Better Bag – Day 22: Travel Tools and Other Unnecessarily Necessary Gear

Day 22: Extra Travel Tools

Welcome to Day 22 of 30 Days to Packing a Better Bag.

Being prepared is half the battle when it comes to packing better. We want you to have the least amount of items that cover the most amount of situations. However, there are those extra bits and bobs that may not be 100% necessary but add so much value that they are worth packing. We’re going to call these travel tools for this section, and here is a list and when they might be right.

Headlamp or Mini Flashlight: Staying in hotels? Chances are you won’t require one of these. Staying in a hostel? A headlamp or mini flashlight will help you find your belongings in a dark dorm room at night without disturbing your roommates. Of course, campers and hikers will put these at the top of their list. For everyone else, even a small keychain light can come in handy more often than you think.

Sewing Kit: Hotels will often come stocked with a mini sewing kit, but backpackers and hostel-goers should think about packing a tiny kit of their own to fix random holes, lost buttons and tears. Just a couple needles, buttons, safety pins and tiny bit of thread will suffice.

Umbrella: Umbrellas are generally awkward to pack. There are several pocket-size umbrellas that can be packed or carried in your purse without much space-usage, but if you’re traveling to a place where you know it will rain and you’ll be outside in it, then take one that will offer better coverage. Luckily many hotels these days stock umbrellas for their guests. See other ideas for things to pack to keep you dry.

Pocket Knife or Multitool: A tiny multitool can serve more purposes than you might think. Get one with a tiny pair of scissors, pocket knife blade, and flat head screw driver.

Yoga Mat: Yoga mats are great for those that like to exercise when they travel, but they can also double as a sleeping mat on a long layover in an airport.

Reusable Water Bottle: A reusable water bottle is perfect for the traveler that wants to cut down on disposable plastic bottles and cut back on beverage fees.

Take Action: Pick Your Extras
What extra items do you plan to pack? Let us know which items you choose, and why you think it will add so much value to your travels in the comments below.

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 planning adventures or just snuggling with my pet rabbit, Sherlock Bunz.

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Gear We Use

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Speakeasy Hidden Pocket Scarves


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Splice Reversible Jaisalmer Tunic


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Eagle Creek Compression Packing Cubes


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Tom Bihn 3D Organizer Cube


Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack - Fits in the palm of your hand!
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Daypack


Turkish Travel Towels


Travel Resources

HPL Learnables

HPL Packing Method – Learn to pack your lightest bag ever in this revolutionary packing course by HPL founder, Brooke.

Book Your Trip

Viator – Enhance your trip experience by booking from thousands of tours across the globe.

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

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

Reader Interactions


  1. Bec says

    Along with the reusable water bottle would you recommend a steri-pen?
    I’m considering buying one to save on plastic waste while travelling through S/E Asia, India & Nepal for 3 months.

  2. Kay says

    I bring most of these items along. However, I am not sure you can bring a pocket knife on a plane if you are a carry on only traveler. I would love to bring one, and there have been many times where it would have been useful, but I wouldn’t want to bring a quality pocket knife along only to have it confiscated by security.

      • june lovell says

        i was ‘caught’ by New Delhi airport security with a tiny pair of manicure scissors in an equally tiny first aid kit (which i bought at Zurich a/p). also ‘caught’ by Portland OR security with a small metal flashlight which they identified as a possible weapon. the flashlight resulted in a police ‘incident’ report being created. the flashlight is approx 5′ long and is a miniature of a light i carried years ago as a police officer.i’ve also been escorted to the ‘special attention’ area at LAX so i could explain my flat retirement badge which looks like shuriken on xray. after those incidents i start packing for every trip with absolutely empty bags/purses and check every item. i don’t want hassles OR police reports and i am absolutely not going to argue with security. i leave any questionable items in plastic bag on top of my clothes in checked bag.

  3. Cat says

    Duct tape!

    I roll 10-12 feet around a small pencil and keep it in my toiletry bag. One trip, we used the whole roll for everything from keeping shoes together until they could be replaced, to keeping a door shut during a windstorm so we could “sleep”. On the last night of a cruise, I gave it to a poor lady whose suitcase zipper had busted so she could get it home. And my daughter used her roll when her phone took a leap onto a tile floor in Africa.

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