A Week in a Carry-On: The Travel Essentials You Can’t Live Without

travel essentials you can't live without
Ah, the extras. Exactly as their name implies, these are tricky. It’s so easy to say “oh well I might need…” and throw it into the bag. Which is easy when you have a huge suitcase, not so much when you’re fitting everything in a bag thats 17x13x10in and 22 lbs. Because yes, you might end up needing it. Then again, you might also end up carrying around a few things you’ll never touch. Fortunately, with extras, you’ll probably be able to buy “that thing” when you’re at your destination, if it turns out you absolutely do need it and didn’t bring it.


Extras I always pack:


  • compact umbrella (especially for Ireland and London)…not so much for Brazil
  • Sunglasses
  • A few good accessories
  • Plug converter. I recently got a new one that I really love, the Pors-ella. It’s a small cube that has everything you’ll need within itself (pending destination). No parts to change! USB ports! Plus, it’s a smaller company and the owner will send you a few emails to make sure everything is exactly how it needs to be.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones. They take up a lot of room, but so necessary for international flights.
  • iPad. Because, books (I use the Kindle app rather than iBooks).


Things that should be obvious include: relevant chargers, phone, wallet / money / credit cards (you did put a travel notice on them right?), passport.


Now, here’s an important note. If you plan on working out on the trip, your pieces will increase dramatically. Be realistic with yourself with what you are going to do and how much…are you dropping into a box? Planning on using the hotel gym? Will you really workout, taking into account how tired you’re going to be and all the other things you want to see? Be honest with yourself in terms of how many WOD outfits and other pieces of gym gear (tennis shoes, jump rope) you will need (and how sweaty you get…I have friends that could wear a shirt more than once and be fine…that’s not possible for me, though).


This is super hard for me because fitness is a priority in my life, and I love dropping into boxes around the world. It’s crazy how easy it is to integrate into a CrossFit class taught in French, even when you speak zero French. Of course I would drop in the day they decided to program Murph…

Clockwise from upper left: CrossFit Ireland, CrossFit Waterford, Hangar 193 CrossFit, Reebok CrossFit Lourve


That said, I chose to use my last two trips as break / active recovery weeks and rely on tons of walking (upwards of 40 miles in London). Coming back to my home gym is always super painful (in a good way?) after 8-10 days off. It kind of feels like starting all over, but I also think it’s good to take a break sometimes. Anyways, being realistic about my workout schedule while away has helped to keep my packing list focused and light.


What are the essentials you can’t live without while on the road? How do you balance your workout gear vs the clothes you need for daily activities?


Check back soon for the finale to the “A Week in a Carry-On” series, where I show you how to put it all together in the lightest, most compact way possible!


And if you haven’t checked out the rest of the series, catch up here: Intro | Travel Capsule Wardrobe | Shedding | Toiletries


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  1. […] A Week in a Carry-On: The Travel Essentials You Can’t Live Without […]

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