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Recommendations for must-have travel accessories for budget travelers and backpackers. 

As a budget traveler, I only buy and pack the absolutely essential items to fit into carry-on sized luggage. So, when I put together this selection of must-have travel accessories, I featured my favorites which have been personally tried and tested.

The following list includes eco-friendly products as well as practical travel accessories that can save you from getting into tricky situations. Use as a gift guide or a list of budget travel gear for yourself. Enjoy!

Get your printable packing list as part of the free, online Budget Travel Bootcamp.

Best travel gear for budget travelers - CabinZero backpack

Sustainable clothing

As a minimalist who has been living and traveling with less than 30 items of clothing for the past seven months, I am very fussy about what I buy. I always try to invest in high-quality, fair trade and sustainable clothing whenever possible.

That’s why I love prAna because they are Fair Trade certified and have a collection of clothing that was made with environmentally-friendly practices in mind. I have five items of prAna clothing in total – a pair of stretchy jeans, a comfy sweat, two pairs of amazing yoga pants, and a pretty yoga top. All items are durable and versatile for the life of an adventurer.

Collapsible food containers

On our recent backpacking trip to Thailand, Max and I were eating street food on a daily basis. As much as we loved the cheap and delicious local food, we began to feel guilty about all the plastic waste that came with it. Each meal was usually handed over in a plastic container with plastic cutlery, within a plastic bag.

However, for our next trip, we prepared with Collapsible Food Storage Containers that we can stash in our carry-on backpacks. That way when we go out to eat, we can ask for the meals to be paced into our reusable containers and even take the left-overs back to the hostel.

Trtl Travel Pillow

I’ve never been a big fan of travel pillows because I found them to be too bulky but the Trtl Pillow is half the size of the traditional U-shaped travel pillow. Trtl pillows are made out of fleece so they are super soft but also have hidden neck support. I have used mine on two flights now and slept like a baby on both!

Havaianas Flips Flops

When traveling, a pair of flip flops are essential! Whether you need them for the beach, taking a shower in the hostel, or just wearing them as your everyday shoe.

As it is a pretty important part of your packing list, it’s not something you want to skimp on. Wearing cheap flip-flops means risking rubbing or the tread getting worn too quickly. I bought my current pair of Havaianas in Spain over a year ago and they are still in great condition – even after four months of backpacking Southeast Asa.

His and her drink bottles

One of the presents that Max bought me for my birthday was a matching set of water bottles. Now, you may think that this is cheesy but it is actually a very practical gift. Traveling with a water bottle will help you save money, as well as keep you hydrated.

Travel mug

Want to know how much I love my travel mug? I took it from Argentina to Chile to Australia and I am drinking from it right now. It’s my daily buddy who keeps my coffee warm and adventure buddy during my travels. When Max and I travel by car, we pack a thermos with hot water, instant coffee, and soy milk so we can enjoy sweet caffeine on the road without spending extra cash.

Pacsafe RFIDsafe Anti-Theft Wallet

One of the travel accessories that I think every budget traveler should have is a wallet with a chain that connects to your bag. The Pacsafe RFIDsafe Z50 Anti-Theft Wallet only helpful against pickpockets but can also avoid the mistake of accidentally leaving your wallet behind.

Scrubba Tactical Wash & Dry Kit

If you love camping or are planning to go backpacking for a long period, then the Scrubba Tactical Wash Bag and Dry Kit will be your best friend. Scrubba comes with a portable washbag, clothesline, inflatable hangers, and packing cell so you can easily scrub your clothes clean, hang them, or even pat them dry.

The wash bag also doubles as a dry bag for any boat trips or passing through rivers. Also, the towel is one of the best travel towels that I’ve ever used (really, my current travel towel sucks but I am too eco-friendly to dump it).

Women’s Sarong

Sarongs are so multi-purpose which is why they are one of my must-have travel accessories. I use my sarong as a towel, skirt, dress, wrap, scarf, and sometimes a light sheet when I am sleeping on public transport. My best advice is to just buy one sarong with colors that match your travel clothes.

Travel-themed Laundry Bags

One of the best gifts that I ever received was a pair of cute travel-themed laundry bags. Up until that time, I had always used plastic bags to hold my dirty clothes while backpacking. Not so trendy or eco-friendly. However, with a set of travel laundry bags, you will be the coolest kid in your hostel dorm room.

CabinZero Classic 44L Backpack

Now that you have collected all the budget travel gear on this list, you will need something to carry it in.

The CabinZero Classic 44L Backpack is a popular and affordable choice for a carry-on backpack. The bag has been designed to meet most airline’s hand luggage specifications to save you the time and hassle of checking a bag. Plus they have a crazy amount of color choices. I chose the Original Purple because I loved the way the color popped.

CabinZero delivered to me while I was in Thailand and after opening the bag, I was amazed by how much space was inside. It is also great for taking on day trips.

Check out how to choose the perfect carry on luggage (suitcase or backpack).

This article contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 


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