Travel Essentials For Men | 21 Things You MUST Bring

Below you’ll find one thing and one thing only…what I consider to be travel essentials for men, based on 5+ years traveling around Latin America, visiting over 25+ countries, and enjoying life to the fullest.

Essentials that will not only make your life on the road easier, but also better.

A whole hell of a lot better.

I’m talking about how to pack lighter without sacrificing style points, how to get through airport security with the quickness, what luggage actually makes travel easier, and much more.

In this guide on the absolute best travel essentials for men, you’ll find information and products regarding things like…

If any of those specific sections are of interest to you, simply click the link above and you’ll be taken to that part of the article.

For a general overview of 21 tings’ every male traveler should bring, just keep on reading this bad boy.

¡Vamos!


Travel Essentials For Men | 21 Things You MUST Bring

Enough of my fluff here.

Let’s dig into the meat and potatoes of this bad boy. The rice and beans. The peanut butter and jelly.

Here’s what I consider to be a few travel essentials for men…


Make Traveling Easier…


– Global Entry

If you’re based in the USA and enjoy traveling domestically or internationally, then Global Entry is 100% a MUST.

Skip TSA-Pre and just get Global Entry.

Why?

Because you’ll get TSA-Pre with Global Entry anyway, so might as well get Global Entry first — as it’s the same price, but offers both services.

Global Entry allows you to go through TSA-Pre check lines when going through security in the United States. This alone is well worth the $100 5-year membership fee, as you can save up to an hour every single time you fly.

But you also get Global Entry when coming back into the United States. Instead of waiting in the customs line, you fly through security and often save yourself more than an hour when coming back into the country.

If you plan to take more than 5+ flights around or to the USA each year, this is my #1 travel essentials for men.

Global Entry is a MUST!

Get started here.

Global Entry is a MUST.


– Credit Card Points

Another one for USA citizens and residents only…

You need to be collecting credit card points and miles like a madman. This is an absolute essential to make traveling not only cheaper, but easier.

Here’s why:

In 2019, I’ve booked over $5,000 USD in free travel due to credit card miles and a little bit of “hacking” on my end. That’s a whole hell of a lot of free travel.

Currently, I’m rolling with seven different miles credit cards and this is just one of them:

That’s enough for a roundtrip from the USA to Asia — probably with some points left over too.

Not too shabby I’d say. $900 bucks is a nice little chunk of free flights change if you ask me.

Plus, none of these points come from the bonus, either. I’ve been using that card a good amount this year, as the point bonuses for business expenses are absolutely fantastic.

I’ve booked four free award flights with it as of writing:

$1,300 USD in free flights from just one of my multiple cards.

If you’re from the USA and not taking advantage of miles hacking and free credit card miles, you truly are missing out on free money. As long as you have a decent credit score, you’ll easily rack up hundreds of thousands of miles over the course of a year.

Miles that could get you thousands of dollars in free flights.

Here’s a few cards I’ve personally used or currently use:

  • Capital One Venture Card:This is one of the best “starter” credit cards for people looking to stack miles. You get 50K bonus points after spending $3,000 bucks in the first three months. Capital One will also pay for Global Entry when paying with this credit card and the first year annual fee is waived. Plus, you get 2X miles on everything. Overall, highly recommended.
– Click here to sign up –
  • Chase Business Preferred INK: If you have any type of “business” you run online or off, this card is amazing! A bit harder to get than most, but worth it. You’ll get 80,000 bonus here after spending $5,000 in the first three months. That’s insane! Plus, you’ll get 3X points on all travel and most business expenses — and the fee is only $95 a year. This card is my number 1 recommendation if you can get it.
– Click here to sign up –
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards: This card is only good if you plan to travel more domestically than anything else. Southwest isn’t ideal for international travel. But for USA flights and a little bit in the Caribbean, it’s more than fine. You’ll get 40,000 bonus points after $1,000 spent in the first three months, with a low $69 USD annual fee. Not amazing, but a decent start.
– Click here to sign up –

Travel Clothing…


– Merino Wool T-Shirts

Packing light and quality of life go hand-in-hand when hitting the road, especially on shorter trips and/or when moving around quickly.

Yet no one wants to smell awful when traveling around because they’re wearing the same clothes every single day — nor do you want to look like a backpacking bum when on the road.

Luckily, there’s an easy to pack light, look tight, and never smell bad when traveling.

Enter merino wool travel t-shirts.

Merino wool t-shirts are a man’s best friend when traveling around. These shirts wick away bacteria to ensure you don’t smell — even when wearing the same shirt for 3-5+ straight days.

These merino travel shirts also can be found in fairly stylish cuts these days, which allows you to bring 2-3 t-shirts on a trip instead of 7-8.

Aka a huge space saver when packing.

If you’re looking for a sleek merino wool shirt that looks great and can be worn hiking, at the beach or on a date…

I highly recommend this merino wool shirt.

Rocking a merino wool t-shirt, as usual.


– Merino Wool Socks

Another way to save a ton of space packing, while not sacrificing any style?

Merino wool socks.

Again, the idea is the same as the shirts…

You pack 2-3 pairs of merino wool socks instead of 7-12+ pairs of regular socks. This can save you a ton of space when traveling light, but still trying to look good.

In the past, I used to bring 2-3 pair of “dress” socks for going out, 3-4 pair of walking around low socks, and 3-4 pair of gym socks on every trip.

Now, I bring 1-2 pair of each for most trips and never have an issue.

The merino wool ensures the bacteria from your feet doesn’t absorb into the sock, so you can wear the same socks for 2-3 straight days without any bad odors.

I love these dress socks.

For gym socks…

I wear these.


– Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Low Top Sneaker

I love low top Chucks when traveling around because of how versatile they are.

These chucks go with everything. They’re ideal at the gym, you can wear them to the beach, perfect to walk around the city, and they go just as well with shorts as they do jeans.

For a day-to-day sneaker, you really won’t find anything better than Chucks.

From a fashion standpoint, the all-whites tend to look the best — but they also get dirty super quick. For gym-only wear or maybe some light hiking, the all-blacks will stay clean and new looking the longest.

Personally, I stick with the all-whites and wash them every couple of months.

Highly recommended.

Click here to get your pair of low-top Chucks.

Rocking the Chucks in Asuncion, Paraguay.


– Hybrid Shorts

One pair of shorts, dozens of uses? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about with hybrid shorts.

My favorite hybrid shorts are made by a brand called O’Neill.

They’re ideal to walk around the city in, go to the gym, go on a hike, or hit the pool in. They look better than your average board shorts and cargo shorts, too.

Versatile.

These hybrid shorts are also ideal when going on tours in hot places, as both jeans and cargo shorts tend to be hotter than hades when enjoying the great outdoors in places like the Caribbean.

Click here to see my favorite pair of hybrid shorts.


– Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket

Packing clothing for cold weather can be a b*tch. When trying to travel light but look alright, cold weather truly screws the pooch.

Luckily, I found a lil’ something, something that helps ease the pain of heavy luggage when traveling to cooler destinations.

Enter the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket, an absolute travel essential for men.

This is the ideal jacket for travelers heading to cooler locations. Not only does the Patagonia Nano Puff look great when exploring the natural wonders of the world, but the jacket also looks right with a pair of jeans on, as well.

Plus, it’s incredibly warm for such a compact, lightweight jacket.

I used my Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket to hike around Argentinian Patagonia for over a month and was baffled how warm I felt — with such a thin jacket on.

Not only that, the Nano Puff is super compact and can be compressed down to barely take up more space than a t-shirt in your luggage.

I cannot recommend this jacket enough.

Click here to get yours!

One of my favorite pictures ever – wearing my Patagonia jacket in Patagonia.


– Hiking Pants

Hiking around in jeans or basketball shorts sucks.

There’s no other way to put it. You’re either too hot or your legs are getting scratched on every step into the brush. Luckily, there’s a pretty simple solution here…

Get a decent pair of hiking pants.

Hiking pants are generally breathable, but warm in cold weather. The good pairs are flexible and comfortable too — often made of an impressive “technical” material.

You’ll stay warm when needed, while not getting scratched on your legs when hiking off-the-beaten-path and not having to worry too much about bug bites.

A great investment if you want to spend a good chunk of your vacation in nature.

I found two pairs I like:

The Prana pants are strictly for hiking and tourism — in my opinion. They look great out on a trail and are insanely comfortable. You can even roll the legs up if you get hot. I absolutely adore them for hiking, but wouldn’t be caught dead wearing them out at night.

Outlier Futureworks Pants are ideal for both. You can wear them hiking…where the breatheable, yet warm technical fabric is perfect for any temperature. But you can also wear these pants out at night on a date or to the club. They’re versatile and look great in almost every situation.

If you don’t have much space in your luggage, go with the Outlier Futureworks. If you already have a pair of jeans to go out in, go with the Prana Stretch Zion.

Getting dirty in my Prana pants in Patagonia.


– Waterproof Watch

I get this is a super basic travel essential for men, but a waterproof watch offers huge benefits in certain situations.

For example, if you’re going to the beach alone in Latin America to get some sun and do a little swimming, you won’t want to bring your phone. Why? Mainly because if you leave that thing on the beach while you do swimming, it’ll be gone when you get back.

But let’s say you have plans in a couple of hours. You cant to hit the beach to tan and swim for an hour and a half, then head back to the crib and shower up. Without a phone, you’ll have no clue what time it is — at least for me, as I find it impossible to tell time while swimming. Sometimes 30 minutes feels like 15, sometimes it feels like an hour.

Without a waterproof watch, you’ll have no clue when to head back home. With the waterproof watch, you’ll be able to maximize your “fun in the sun” time.

Wearing a watch also provides me one other massive benefit…

You don’t always have to have the phone on you — or out and about.

Not only is this ideal when you want to take a break from electronics for a hour or two while still staying on schedule, but it allows you to check the time without whipping out your expensive cell phone in dangerous areas. A big deal in certain cities.

This is my current waterproof watch and I’m a big fan.


Luggage & Backpacks…


– Tortuga Outbreaker Travel Daypack

There’s a whole lot of info online about how to pack for a big trip. Some of it is fantastic, while some of it blows.

The reality of packing your stuff, luggage, backpacks, and the like is it doesn’t make nearly as much of difference as the luggage companies claim their products do.

That being said…

There’s one luggage tip I’ve found insanely useful over the past few years.

What’s that?

Traveling with a daypack.

A daypack is a small backpack that you usually carry inside your carry-on luggage. Good daypacks will barely take up any space, but can save you a ton of hassle while on the road. And when a say a ton of hassle, I mean it. Te lo juro.

Here’s how:

First, my rolling luggage and my big carry-on backpack are absolutely awful for day-to-day use. I can’t take that massive backpack with me to the coffee shop, co-working space, or even the gym. The thing looks out of place anywhere outside an airport or a hostel.

But my daypack is ideal for all the above.

I can throw my laptop in there, along with a notebook, then easily head out to the coffee shop or co-working space for a day of work.

Or I can throw my foam roller and blender bottle into the bag before heading off to the gym.

Second, a daypack makes packing before coming back home way easier too. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to buy a whole new bag before coming home because I bought some shit on a 6+ month trip and I didn’t have space in my luggage for it. Usually, this happens around Christmas time when I’m brining gifts back.

With the daypack, I have a ton of extra space to use in these situations.

Lastly, you can also use this bag as a laundry bag when you’re traveling with dirty close. I end up doing this more than I like to admit and the bad odors stay locked in the daypack pretty damn well.

My top recommendations for daypacks are:

Both of these bags do an amazing job. I would know, as I own both. I’d recommend the ‘Setout’ if you don’t need to carry around a laptop. The ‘Outbreaker’ is better for bringing the laptop, as there’s a dedicated sleeve for your computer.


– Away Travel Luggage

I know I said luggage isn’t all that important. There’s a reason why you’ll only see a few of my travel essentials for men in this section.

However, if you have the money…

I’ve found a company that makes some of the absolute best rolling luggage I’ve ever used. Who am I talking about?

Away Travel

Featuring an incredibly sturdy lightweight polycarbonate shell, highly useful interior compression system, and even removable laundry bag — these are some of the best rolling luggage on the market.

There’s even a TSA-approved lock built right into the rolling suitcase and the wheels are built to roll FOREVER.

This is an *optional* travel essential for me, as you can find cheaper bags for short-term travel. But if you’re looking to hit the road for months on end, you won’t find a better suitcase than from Away Travel.

One quick tip though?

Make sure to grab The Bigger Carry-On or The Medium.

Their initial carry-on model is simply too small for most men, even those who travel light. I found myself craving more space when using it.

The Medium is about right…


Electronics For Travelers…


– Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy getting off-the-beaten-path a little bit too much. And anyone who has been out in the middle of nowhere knows it can be hard to find decent Wi-Fi.

Sometimes even at decent hotels.

Or the electricity goes out in your neighborhood and you’re stuck trying to figure out how to finish up that project that’s due this evening.

Or your landlord forgets to pay the Internet bill and heads on a beach vacation to Cartagena for the weekend.

All of these “common” Wi-Fi issues have happened to me in the past, some more than once. As such, I never leave home without a backup source of Wi-Fi…or two.

Portable Wi-Fi hotspots come in handy in these situations.

They also allow you to work in a cafe or airport where you don’t exactly trust the public Wi-Fi or the shady guy with an antenna on his computer in the corner.

These days I’ve found two more than handy portable Wi-Fi solutions, and I bring both with me on every single trip I take.

What are they?

Skyroam Solis is the ideal backup Wi-Fi anywhere in the world. The portable device works seamlessly in 120+ countries around the globe. You’ll get LTE data speeds on your computer and smartphone for as low as $9 USD per day — which comes with unlimited data.

If you’re looking for a once in awhile solution, this is it. Highly recommended.

Google Fi is ideal for American citizens who travel a lot and prefer to never have to switch SIM cards or phone numbers when visiting new countries. It’s basically a pay-as-you-go international phone and LTE data plan. If you’re moving around a lot and have two-factor-authentication needs and occasionally want backup Wi-Fi, Google Fi is a lifesaver.

These are the two premier backup, portable Wi-Fi devices on the market right now.


– Electronic Cord Organizer

If you don’t buy a single thing listed in my travel essentials for men guide but one…make it this.

Seriously.

An electronic cord organizer is so clutch when traveling as a “digital nomad” or remote worker.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got your laptop, cellphone, portable wi-fi, Airpods, Kindle, drone, camera, SD cards, backup batteries, and so much more.

It’s easy to get cords mixed up and tangled, or even to lose them.

Luckily, there’s a super simply solution for cord management.

Enter the BAGSMART Electronic Universal Cable Organizer.

The thing is a lifesaver.

Just imagine a life on the road with no more tangled cords or lost chargers. That’s exactly what this cord organizer has provided me for the last few years.

Highly recommended.

Incredibly useful.


– Portable Bluetooth Speaker

There’s nothing like throwing a little Romeo Santos on the Bluetooth speaker right as you walk into the apartment with a fine mamacita before pouring a lil’ red wine and seeing where the night leads.

Errr, maybe that’s just what I use the speaker for.

You could also use your Bluetooth speaker on beach days or even at the pool. Here’s the thing…

Portable Bluetooth speakers are a social travelers best friend.

Trust me when I say you’ll get a lot of play on your Bluetooth speaker while on the road. There’s many an occasion when the laptop or phone speakers simply won’t suffice.

The best model I’ve found?

JBL Clip 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker

Fantastic sound quality, loud as you’ll ever need, and compact as hell. The JBL Clip 3 is barely bigger than a smartphone. Plus, it’s waterproof — which makes it absolutely ideal for the beach.

If you’re anything like me, this is an absolutely vital travel essential for men.

Easy to fit in your luggage.


– Universal Travel Adapter

When talking travel essentials for men, this is another basic tip — but sometimes the basic save us a lot of hassle.

For example, just imagine landing at midnight in a country you’ve never been to before, you’re phone on the verge of dying, and you arrive at the Airbnb rental

Only to find out your charger doesn’t work!

Been there, done that.

Hell, that exact situation has happened to me more than a few times.

Luckily, I figured things out after the third time and looked up universal travel adapters. I wanted something that would work in damn near every country on earth. One adapter that would give me power anywhere I went.

I found it.

Enter the BESTEK Universal Travel Adapter.

Do not pass “GO”

Do not collect $200.

Just grab one of these travel adapters, throw it in your luggage, and forget about it. Forget about it until the day when you set foot in a new country and completely forget that your chargers can’t be plugged in without an adapter.

Then you remember you grabbed a universal travel adapter awhile back for this exact reason. Crisis adverted!


– Kindle Paperwhite

Reading books damn near a superpower with the average attention span of people these days, and it’s certainly a favorite pastime of mine.

There’s nothing like sitting on a deserted island beach with no electricity and nothing but a book for entertainment. Listening to the waves crash in as you’re engulfed in a page-turner.

Ok, that only happened to me on one trip in San Blas Islands, Panama.

But here’s the thing…

It’s impossible to travel light when you have a handful of books in your luggage. There’s just not enough space.

Luckily, the Kindle Paperwhite completely eliminates that problem.

Barely bigger than a smartphone, you can have thousands of books available to read on your Kindle with the click of a button. Oh, and the newer model is even waterproof.

For avid readers living on the road…

This is a MUST.


– Portable Charger

Phone and camera batteries die…all the damn time.

It’s annoying as hell to get to the top of a mountain after a few hours of hiking, only to realize you forgot to charge the camera last night and you’ll be taking photos with your smartphone only.

Been there, done that.

Luckily, a cheap portable charger is all you need to remedy this all too common situation while on the road.

Pretty much any portable charger will get the job done. No need to get too fancy.

This one by Anker is tiny and can fully charge your phone twice.


Odds and Ends…


– Insulated Blender Bottle

I bring a blender bottle with me on every single trip.

Not only do I use the blender bottle when hitting the gym and mixing protein shakes, but I generally bring that bad boy with me to restaurants, hiking, and even to the beach.

It’s one of the few items I packed that I tend to use multiple times every single day.

For example…

In many countries, you cannot drink the water from the tap. So restaurants don’t offer free cups of water with your meal like they do in the USA. They charge you $2-3 USD for a water bottle with your meal. Now, this isn’t the end of the world — but it does add up, especially when you’re eating at a cheap lunch place for $4-6 bucks. You add in a water bottle and tip, then you’re $6 meal becomes $9-10 bucks.

So I usually fill up my blender bottle with free clean water from my hotel or rental, then go to the restaurant.

But it gets better…

Lately, I’ve been using a blender bottle that’s also insulated and can keep drinks cold for up to 24-hours. Which doesn’t sound like a huge deal, but after hiking for 7-8+ hours, cold water is quite the treat.

This is the model I’ve been using and highly recommend. 

It’s also far sturdier than your average blender bottle, as it’s made out of stainless steel instead of plastic.

This thing is amazing!


– Pill Organizer

I travel with a ton of supplements. An Amazon Prime addict if there ever was one — when I’m back in the States, as I often stock up on supplements before leaving the country again.

And when I leave, I tend to bring a lot of different vitamins, supplements, and pills with me.

You might not do so. I know many a bro who has laughed at me for bringing all my supplements with me.

But if you do have some supplements with you on the road, there’s also an easy way to bring a week worth of pills without taking up much space in your luggage.

Enter a moisture-proof pill organizer.

If you travel with supplements, this thing can be a game-changer. If you don’t, simply ignore this travel essentials for men.


– Travel Towel

Here’s the thing…

Hotels don’t like when guests take bath towels to the beach. Or on a hike. Or anywhere that’s not the shower in their hotel room.

Airbnbs often don’t leave you enough towels for long-stays, especially if you don’t have a washing machine in the apartment.

Luckily, both of these all too common issues are easily solved by simply packing a small travel towel with you on the road.

Microfiber travel towels make it easy to pack a super-light towel that wicks away water and dries quickly.

I never would have guessed it, but I used my travel towel way more than I ever expected. Anytime I’m at the beach, hiking, or even taking a hot yoga class…I bring my travel towel with me.

The thing is super useful.

Here’s my favorite travel towel.

I recommend the medium or large size in a dark navy color.


The MOST Important Thing…

When talking travel essentials for men, this last tip is by far the most important one — at least to me.

See, the tips and tricks above are sure to make your life on the road so much better. the travel essentials above will make packing light far easier, while not sacrificing much functionality on the road.

I’ve tried and tested everything on this list.

If you’re anything like me, a dude looking to enjoy his travels to the fullest, these essentials will improve your life on the road.

Ya tu sabes.

But there’s one thing that’s a little more important than any of the other ideas and essentials on this list, something that will ensure you never forget your trips and travels.

What’s that? My number one travel essential for men?

Document everything!

Bring a decent camera, get some solid Instagram pictures, shoot some GoPro video, make a YouTube video.

Whatever it is, document a little bit of your journey.

You’ll want to remember your travels when you get a little bit older and the easiest way to do so is by documenting a little bit of the trip.

And that’s not too difficult these days. Hell, it’s pretty damn simple really.

All you need is a GoPro and a selfie stick.

Legit, the new GoPro models have insane built-in stabilization, take insane photos, and shoot 4K video. Oh, and they’re waterproof.

You can take all sorts of cool shots and videos on a GoPro — but these aren’t just videos, fam.

They’re memories.

This is the GoPro model I use and it’s absolutely amazing.

If you’re serious about documenting your travels, I can’t recommend it enough.

Traveling is about the people you meet and the memories you make.


Travel Essentials For Men • Overall

That was just a bit…

Excessive.

Ya boy can get a bit wordy at times, but here’s the thing — everything above is sure to make your life on the road better. The travel essentials for men found above are tried and true. I’ve used these methods and products for years on end. The stuff works and ensures you can pack lighter, move around easier, and so much more — without losing any functionality.

But…

I’m just one dude.

So…what did I miss? What travel essentials do you bring with you on every trip?

Questions, comments, concerns? Sound off in the comments below.

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Jake D

Travel junkie turned blogger. Location independent. From the Midwest, but often based in Latin America. Big on beaches, rumba, and rum. Addicted to the gym. Committed to showing a different style of travel - one that involves actually interacting with locals and exploring different cultures.

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