Staff Packing Favorites: What We Don't Leave Home Without

A couple wearing backpacks

When packing light and right, each item in your bag must be ruthlessly scrutinized. Our travel savvy staff has spent years fine-tuning their packing practices and winnowing their lists to only the essentials. Recently, we asked our team to share which light-and-right must-haves they don't leave home without. Here are a few of their favorites and why:

  • Julianne likes gliding through the airport with her spinner carry-on bag at her side.
  • Gabe fastidiously divides his clothes into our packing cube set — designed to fit neatly inside any Rick Steves' Europe carry-on. Light-weight and perfectly sized, they ensure his entire bag doesn't explode into chaos every time he grabs a pair of socks.
  • Heather always takes a hide-away tote bag to unfold, fill with souvenirs along the way, and check on the flight home.
  • Julie slips on Wellow compression socks for circulation and warmth on long flights.
  • Aggie cozies up with a silk eye mask and noise cancelling headphones on the plane to get a jump-start adjusting her circadian rhythm.
  • Robyn makes room for a Hydroflask travel mug and instant coffee so she can get out the door early without having to wait for the hotel breakfast room to open.
  • Marta keeps her Shiseido clear sunscreen stick handy for a mess-free way to touch up on sun protection throughout the day.
  • Cameron likes how Matador's foldable soap bar case keeps his soap not-too-wet and not-too-dry and shrinks along with the bar.

And none of our staff leave home without a Rick Steves guidebook!

Check out all our tips for packing light including packing lists, videos, and more.