A Love Letter To My Traveling Essentials

This is my love letter to my travel essentials.


Packing for a trip is always an eye opening experience for me. Usually it begins with me finding the smallest (but still reasonable) bag to take somewhere, opening my closet and asking myself, “what do I need?” Typically, the answer is not much. It depends on the trip of course, but I always find myself grabbing the same few tried and true items that I consider the most important. This is my love letter to my travel essentials.


My Birkenstocks. Thank you for never letting me stub my toe, never breaking, being embarrassingly comfortable and yet, at the same time, somewhat stylish. I’m currently on pair number three of these bad boys and will probably be wearing them into the grave. Also, thank you for now giving me a permanent tan line to remind me of how often I wear them.

My Doc Martens. For traveling in cold weather where hiking shoes just don’t cut it fashion-wise, I cannot recommend these enough. They have nice thick rubber soles, making days of sight seeing or dancing easy on your feet. They also are weatherproof and make you look like a badass.

Tip: when you first buy them, take them into a cobbler and have them break them in for you. Best $15 I’ve ever spent.


My white linen shirt. It makes me able to dress anything up or down, somehow taking a little black dress and making it appropriate enough to wear into a church. It’s also light, yet warm enough to be a good thing to throw on when the wind picks up.

My black Patagonia down jacket. It’s warm and fashionable, can take or hide layers, and packs down to nothing. I’ve brought it on every trip to date and it has never failed me. (For a super traveling pack, pair it with a Patagonia raincoat for warm weatherproofing).

My little black dress. Everyone has to have one, and it can be any style. Right now I have a simple strappy one from Urban Outfitters that I can dress up with some jewelry and a pair of heels, or down with flip flops and a beach hat. It works for any situation.

My Riviera scarf. Because no woman truly completes her looks without a scarf. But more importantly, it’s because scarves let me blend in. Thank you for being a head wrap when I need it in conservative places and a shirt in not so modest ones. But most of all, thank you for letting me feel casually elegant when I am decidedly not.

Other equally important essentials but not as notable items include:

Baby powder. For sticky situations, reducing chafe, and getting sand off.

Hair oil. Sometimes conditioner simply doesn’t exist.

Face wipes. No zits please.

A bandana. You can use it for any occasion from cleaning glasses, to wrapping up an injury.

A good hair clip. Tortoiseshell is always nice.

A couple of gallon size plastic bags. Something will inevitably burst in your bag and it will probably be your nail polish.

A pair of tweezers. My last trip required picking sea urchins out of my boyfriend’s foot; needless to say, these were very useful.

Antibacterial ointment. Infections aren’t good travel partners.

Annie Gray


Annie's travel style is minimal and adventurous with a special love for local farmers markets. Out of all the countries she's been to, her favorite is The Netherlands. A UC Berkeley grad, she can't travel without her pair of Birkenstocks.

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