The Unexpected Travel Essentials You're Probably Forgetting

A viral Reddit thread is revealing the underrated vacation gear avid travelers swear by.

Most packing lists are pretty standard. You gather your toiletries, some pants and shirts, and the amount of underwear you deem necessary for the length of your trip. But outside of those basic necessities, what should you be stuffing into your carry-on bag and folding carefully into your checked luggage?

A new viral Reddit thread crowdsourced the answers to this question in the r/Travel subreddit. "I am wondering if there are any travel essentials that people swear by for long trips (7 days) that aren't on the basic list that people usually go by," Reddit user @anonymousquestions56 posted.

While the post earned hundreds of responses, the most upvoted comments drew a clear consensus. Here are the top five underrated items Redditors agreed were essential gear for long trips.

Ziplock bags

This was by and far the top tip for packing. One Redditor got into just what makes them so great. "They're very multi-use. They make amazing compression packing cubes, they're great for separating wet/dirty things, they're handy for snacks and loose items, and they're so thin and light that packing extra doesn't negatively affect your bag." Other comments also pointed out they are great for separating smelly items from the rest of your luggage. You can get classic Ziploc bags here, and reusable ziplock bags here.

Laundry detergent sheets

One of the toughest parts of packing for long trips is making sure you've got enough clothing to cover your whole trip. Getting laundry detergent sheets makes washing clothes easier, and the sheets are much easier to pack compared to liquid options. "This is incredible and allowed me to go on a 3 week trip with only a carry on," one Redditor commented. You can find some here.

Empty reusable bag

For laundry, shopping, and unexpected additional stuff, a small foldable bag is essential. "You can just fold it and put it in a purse or daypack. It can double as a beach bag or be used for grocery/snack runs. I always bring one when I travel," one Redditor shares. You can find some here.

Dry bag

Got soggy swimwear? Damp clothes from rain? Taking soft-sided luggage through inclement weather? Sounds like you could benefit from a dry bag. It can protect your electronics and dry clothes, and also extend the life of your clothes and goods on trips. A second use? Take those laundry detergent sheets, fill your dry bag with warm water, and voila! You've got a portable washer.

One Redditor outlines the process: "Fill the dry bag (with dirty clothes) with warm water, add detergent, close, and knead/agitate around for a while. The agitation is what really cleans the clothes, and that is something that is difficult to achieve (just) in a sink. When done, let the soapy water out and rinse the clothes. Hang the dry bag along with the clothes to dry it, so it's ready to use again." You can find a dry bag here.

Door stopper

For solo trips, long trips, or really any trips at all, a door stopper is an added layer of security that can help keep you and your stuff safe. The utility here is obvious. While you're inside your room, you can put it under the door, and it will prevent it from being opened, even if the person has a key. This seems to be a particularly popular tip from people who backpack for long periods of time, and are staying in more communal-style accommodations. Check out travel-friendly door stoppers here.

Looking for more travel tips?

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. She holds a bachelor's and master's degree in Journalism from NYU's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She's worked in digital media for eight years, and before working at Thrillist, she wrote for Mic, The Cut, The Fader, Vice, and other publications. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.