Our family sold everything and walked away from small town life to travel the world! Downsizing from an entire house into a few suitcases is definitely a challenge but after doing extensive research we purchased everything on this list to bring with us on our adventures. We hope this helps you if you're planning a trip!
Packing cubes - How I survived 42 years without knowing the sheer supremacy of packing cubes is beyond me. They come in 2 styles - regular and compression which has an extra zipper around the edge so you can really compact them down. Compression bags are great for backpackers because you can get so much more in a small space. The downside of compression bags is you can put so much stuff in them that your bags will weigh more which is not that beneficial since all airline have weight limits. We use a mix of compression bags and regular cubes but the ease of packing is unmatched either way.
Portable chargers - we bought both of these. This one has all the outputs on it which makes it incredibly easy for any and all devices. This one has a solar charger on it, a super bright flashlight, a compass and a carabiner on it making it great to clip to your backpack. It can charge while you’re at the beach which is a handy feature!
Backpacks - a good backpack is essential to any traveler. After lots of research and reading reviews, we settled on these two. I’ve been partial to Swiss Army products for my whole life and just retired a Swiss Army backpack that I bought in 2004 when I had just graduated college. I originally planned to bring that one on this trip but when I saw the newer version with place for laptops, chargers, zippered sunglass compartment, extra pockets and the strap that can go over a carry on, I decided to splurge and upgrade. After extensive researcher my daughter decided on this backpack. She actually added it to her Graduation Wish List and my best friend gifted it to her. Feels like we have a piece of my bestie with us at all times. This bag is amazing. Pockets everywhere, there’s even one on the bottom for shoes. Lots of straps and clips so you can attach things (like hammocks or portable chargers). It also has the back strap so it can slide over the handle of a carry on. If she was going solo backpacking - this bag would be her go to and easily packable. If there was an option as a 6th star - we would give both these bags it.
Hammocks - we have both of these with us. According to Thomas the black one is his and it has a mosquito netting cover attached to it. Super easy to set up and it’s one of his favorite things to do. If we could hang it up in the condo I’m sure he would sleep in it. Kendall has the name brand ENO hammocks and all three of us can actually fit in here if we needed to. Both of them roll up into their own traveling bags which can easily be attached to our crossbody bags or backpacks. I wouldn’t say either of them are super lightweight but they aren’t super heavy either. The return is worth it for sure. We take them down to the beach regularly and lucky for us there is no shortage of palm trees to hang them up from.
Crossbody bag or fanny pack - if you know me in real life you know my ‘Satchel of Surprises’ has been my faithful go to bag for the last few years. I seriously love this thing. You can wear it front or back or even as a fanny pack/hip bag. Several pockets including one outside for a water bottle. Clips, loops and straps so you can attach things to it. I frequently clip a ball cap on mine. I love the back of the bag has extra cushion in case you pack it super full it’s more comfortable on your back. These bag comes in a variety of colors and I really think everyone needs one! We both also have fanny packs which as much smaller but nice for nights out or quick errands. I’m really glad this trend came back - fanny packs are the epitome of convenience.
Content Creation Accessories - whether you’re planning to create content to share on social media or you just want to be able to document your travels having a tripod, wireless microphones and a ring light are small to pack but wonderful to have on hand.
Quick dry beach towels - To be honest I saw these advertised and did not get them. I wrongly assumed that they would be fluffy like the microfiber towels we would use to wash cars or clean house. So I packed 3 large fluffy beach towels (which took up an incredible amount of space). We made friends our first week and they gifted us these when they left to head back to the States. We have used them every day since. They fold up small enough to carry in my satchel of surprises and they are more comparable to a ShamWow shammy that a microfiber towel.
Kindle Fire - I know, I know… you don’t go on vacation to be on electronics but you’re going to have rainy days or downtime or waiting in airport time. Kindles can do so many things, you can play games, stream shows, use the internet browser, read books and they have email. I snagged mine on Prime Day as a last minute purchase and I am so glad I did!
Luggage - remember the days before luggage had wheels?! Then it got wheels but they were pull behinds. The 2023 version of luggage has all wheel drive and you can steer with one hand. When you get a matching set they handles will align so you can actually push both your large and carry on size together with one hand with ease! This Samsonite spinner is TSA approved to fit under the seat as your personal item - that is an incredible selling point for any traveler.