What’s in my bag? For most trips, a few things stay constant for me. Most of these things that I pack have to do with convenience, slim size, versatility and comfort.

Depending on the type of trip I take, the weather will be different, the occasions will be different and the length of travel may be different. Nevertheless, my evergreen travel favorites stay the same.

From a quick-dry towel to a neck pillow I’ve come to love, check out what’s always in my bag so that I can continue to pack light.

Shandali quick-dry microfiber travel towel

Having a quick-dry microfiber towel is something that changed travel for me. Before I found out about microfiber towels (this was many years ago), I was actually taking an old towel that folded up into a square with me on trips.

As you may know, hostels may not provide towels at free of charge (it’s how they keep costs competitive) and provide them for rent. If you want to avoid renting a towel, or, if you prefer having your own clean towel with you (it certainly works well for beach and pool days), a microfiber towel is the way to go.

My quick-dry travel towel folds up to the size of a piece of clothing when it’s in my luggage. I decided to go with a large size that can cover my whole body, but I also use it for hair, and it can even double as a gym towel (or, one of the best ideas for travel-friendly workout gear.)

Women’s FlipBelt running belt or money belt

The FlipBelt is a cool gadget that my mom got me as a gift. This belt goes under your shirt and sits snugly around your waist or hips. It’s mainly good for taking a jog, at home, or on the go. It has snug spaces for keys, a phone, credit cards and money, and you ‘flip’ it toward your body after filling it with your items, to keep everything tightly inside.

The nice thing about the FlipBelt is that it can also double as a money belt when you’re out somewhere that has a history of pickpocketing (Spain, Italy, etc.). You can keep a credit card and some cash in the Flipbelt and fold it against your body, and then keep it under a shirt or dress so that you’re pickpocket-proof.

The Google Pixel phone (and its camera)

I was not an “Android person” until I got the Google Pixel, and I mainly use it for its camera. It makes my iPhone friends say, “Wow,” and it never stops wowing me, either.

I like using the Google Pixel (there’s now a version 3) for photos because the camera takes in so much color. I’ve recently figured out night mode, which takes a longer exposure like a real camera, and there’s modes for photo spheres, portraits and panoramas as well. You can also take high-quality video and make a little slo-mo vid.

Bonus: it’s water-resistant, so I worry less if I let something drip on it or have it in a damp scenario.

Birkenstock unisex sandals

Birkenstock sandals are now my trusty sandal. I like them because they’re durable, meant to last a while, they feel like they mold to your feet and they’re better than other sandals for your ankles.

As someone who has flat feet and needs ankle support, the model of Birkenstocks I have (the Gizeh) is best for spending a warm day walking around a city or town. I’ve been really happy with them and when I’m ready for new ones, I’ll try a different color.

Lonely Planet travel guide books

Call me old-fashioned, but I feel ready for a trip when I have a Lonely Planet travel guide in hand. I started collecting Lonely Planet guides back when I took my first trips on my own during my years in Asia. I soon was coming back with a hefty collection of the Lonely Planet Southern China guide, the Vietnam guide and the China guide, which I refer to as the Chible (China bible).

Since my travels began with Dan, I’m the keeper of the books and I’ll do my research with them, using the maps for planning and always doing my reading of the history and culture of a place we’re going. On the flight to our destination, I’ll brush up on words from the glossaries and I’ll read about the top experiences, using them as a benchmark for what we can get done during our stay.

When I order a Lonely Planet book for an upcoming trip, I’ll start leafing through in order to get excited for where we’re going. There’s something so satisfying about having a book in my hand!

Cabeau Evolution travel neck pillow

The Cabeau neck pillow is the best travel neck pillow I’ve ever owned (and to be completely honest, Dan bought it in the airport when we were in Hong Kong, but he usually doesn’t sleep on flights).

What I like about the Cabeau travel neck pillow is that it’s firm and keeps your head from flopping. Because of this, you minimize the risk of neck cramping. It also comes with a pouch and velcro so you can strap it onto your bag. You can wash the outer cover so that it’s clean before your next trip. See what we said about it in Mashable’s blogger gadget roundup.

Packing cubes

Dan introduced me to the packing cubes, and you could say that these simple items changed my packing forever. I like the narrow packing cubes because I can use a few of them and line them up in my backpack. When I unpack, or when I’m repacking, I know where I’ll be able to find something like socks.

Helpful Tip

Check the prices on Amazon Basics packing cubes.

In addition to organizing all your clothes, socks and other garments, packing cubes help compress your fabrics, so you can pack more! I use a flat packing cube for my shirts and tanks, and I use the longer narrow size for leggings, shorts, socks and my travel towel. I also try to get a scarf in there so that it’s not floating around my backpack or getting caught on a random zipper.

Check out our in-depth guide to know what the best packing cubes are!

Mini travel-size wireless mouse by Logitech

I’m someone who likes to use a mouse when I use a laptop, so whether I’m on a trip during which I’m working remotely like Remote Year or whether I’m away for a weekend, a wireless mouse makes me feel like my hand is going to cramp less.

Helpful Tip

Sign up for Remote Year to join the experience!

The travel-size mouse is so small and light that it’s smaller than a piece of fruit. You could say it’s the size of a mini mango. It’s wireless, of course, so all you have to do is plug in the little USB part and you’re ready to have a workstation on the go.

A super slim stainless steel water bottle

I started using a new water bottle after I left my previous one in a cafe in Hanoi (oops). Everything happens for a reason, though, because I love having a slim double-insulated bottle with a narrow mouth.

I used to have a travel water bottle with a sport cap sipper, but it was harder to clean and sometimes would make noise if I was using it somewhere quiet. My new water bottle has a stainless steel screw top, and what I like is that I can keep coffee or hot tea in there, or, ice water. It keeps cold drinks cold for hours, and it keeps hot liquids hot for a surprisingly long time.

I recommend a good water bottle as one of the best essentials for a road trip.

Helpful Tip

Can’t figure out what to do about a mid-size backpack? I recommend the TOPO Designs 30L Travel Bag, which has big trusty zippers and a convenient front-loading design.

If you’ve got all your compact travel essentials under control, move on to investing in some comfortable travel apparel that you won’t regret! Start with my review of the Public Rec All Day joggers as your default pairs of pants for a travel day.

An ultralightweight everyday cotton tee

If you’re looking for an everyday travel tee that folds up super small, the Mott & Bow Cotton Tee is it.

This essential tee is versatile, meaning you can dress it up, dress it down or even wear it to work out, so it’s a travel must.

With so many ways to wear it and the tiny bundle it can be folded up into, in a packing cube, a shirt that can be worn in so many ways is worth investing in as a female traveler.

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