game-changing travel essentials

*This post was done in partnership with Herbal Essences. I only partner with brands I love and trust before outreach and all opinions are my own.


I’m always looking for ways to improve, become more efficient, and make healthier choices. One of my intentions for 2020 is to take better care of my mind and body, which applies to not only when I’m home in Toronto, but also when I travel.

Traveling a lot for work means that I’ve had to become an efficient packer. Press trip itineraries are usually jam-packed with activities from the minute you land. So, you have to be prepared to hit the ground running! Travel can also take a huge toll on you (body, skin, hair, health). That’s why it’s important for me to pack the most essential and helpful items in my suitcase.

With each trip I’ve taken, I’ve picked up a new tip, trick, or hack to bring my travel game to the next level, and I’m sharing those with you today! I’ve curated a list of what I like to call my “travel game-changers”. These are things that help me take better care of myself, save me time and space, and come in handy for any kind of trip that I go on.

Here are my 7 game-changing travel essentials that I simply won’t go anywhere without.

7 game-changing travel essentials

1. Herbal Essences Bio:renew Sulfate-Free Aloe & Hemp Collection

My hair takes a serious beating from travel. Changes in environment and climate, humidity and dryness, swimming in salt water, washing my hair in different types of water, exposure to sunlight, and the heat that I apply to my hair for styling does eventually add up! Unfortunately, I’ve noticed my hair become drier and brittle in the past couple of years.

We all know that aloe does incredible things for our skin. Well, the brilliant folks over at Herbal Essences figured out a way to harness those same healing properties, but in a new hair collection. It’s called the Bio:renew Sulfate-Free Aloe & Hemp collection and it helps to renew and restore my hair. I use the shampoo, conditioner, and hair oil mist which hydrates and adds shine, and helps fight frizz!

7 game-changing travel essentials 7 game-changing travel essentials

The Herbal Essences Bio:renew Sulfate-Free Aloe & Hemp collection is made with responsibly-sourced aloe and real botanicals endorsed by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, PETA cruelty-free, and is free of parabens and dyes. But at the same time, the products smell AMAZING and the shampoo lathers really nicely. So, there’s absolutely no trade-off!

I love how nourishing the Bio:renew Aloe & Hemp Sulfate-Free products are. They give my hair the TLC it needs! Switching over to these products was one very small change that has had huge benefits. I didn’t have to spend a tonne of cash in hair treatments (they’re only $7.99 at Walmart!). Now my hair is renewed, and looks and feels so much healthier!

7 game-changing travel essentials

2. Collapsible Water Bottle

There is no excuse for not staying hydrated when you travel, and in 2020, we really need to be saying goodbye to plastic water bottles! I carry a collapsible water bottle with me in my suitcase or carry-on. It’s made from 100% food-grade silicone, free of BPA, PVC, phthalates, lead, latex etc. The best part: it rolls up for easy storage and transport! This is definitely one of those items that I got and thought to myself, “why didn’t I start using this a long time ago?!”

packing cubes

3. Packing Cubes

If you’re not packing in packing cubes, you’re doing it all wrong! One of the biggest game-changers I’ve ever come across, which is especially helpful for over-packers, like me! When I discovered the rolling method, I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. But using packing cubes can actually help you fit even more items in your suitcase than with rolling alone!

packing with packing cubes

Packing cubes keep me super organized. I use a different cube for different types of items (e.g. beachwear and undergarments), so I know exactly where to find my stuff. They save me from digging all over my suitcase for what I’m looking for and from making a total mess in my hotel room! They fit nicely inside any size suitcase. Genius!

money belt

4. Money Belt

Major credit cards may be accepted in most countries, but I don’t go anywhere without at least some of the local currency. Trust me, it comes in SO handy for things like cab rides, buying snacks, giving tips etc. A money belt is essential to keep your cash, cellphone, and other valuables safe. The one that I own is made from durable, water-resistant nylon, is breathable, comfortable and lightweight. It tucks away discreetly under my clothes and actually blocks all RFID transmissions to eliminate the chances of being scammed!

5. Passport or Document Holder

 It’s pretty common sense to keep your passport in a safe place and all your important travel documents together. My pink passport holder has served me well for the last 3 years, and I’ve gotten so many compliments on it! It has multiple compartments inside and is big enough to fit 2 passports, receipts, credit cards, and luggage stickers. PRO-TIP: I always make sure to keep a copy of my passport with me and snap a photo of it, just in case!

game-changing travel essentials

6. Portable Charger

 My portable charger/power bank cost me a pretty penny, but it was worth the investment! It has ultra high-speed charging for phones (I have two phones, so it’s extremely helpful), tablets and USB-C notebooks. I can actually get more than 7 full charges out of my power bank before I have to recharge it. On all my press trips, I’m the person everyone comes to for a quick phone charge!

 7. Dual Voltage Flat Iron

I rely heavily on my heat styling tools when I travel. It’s really annoying to go abroad and not have the right converter for my styling tools, OR EVEN WORSE, have them get fried on a trip (which has happened to me multiple times!). Hotels have blow-dryers, but don’t usually have flatirons. And with the type of hair that I have, I’m definitely not an air-dry kind of girl! Simplest solution: a dual voltage flat iron. It works the same way that your phone charging cable and laptop cord work, and will be suitable for anywhere between 110-240V. Invest in a good quality dual voltage flat iron and it will last you a lifetime!

game-changing travel essentials

Well, there you have it – my 7 game-changing travel essentials! These are the products that have greatly improved my travel routine and beauty regimen, and I’m confident they’ll do the same for you!

Do you have any travel game-changers to share? Leave a comment below!


Photography by: Laura Clarke Photography