Travel essentials for men take on all shapes, sizes, and forms. Ranging from luggage to clothing to must-have personal items, the top travel essentials ensure you have everything you need to stay comfortable and, more importantly, look good on the go. But does every trip call for the same travel essentials?
What I’ve found over the past five years of traveling full time is that travel essentials vary from person to person. Many men may need to pack a foil travel shaver, while others are fine with a plastic hotel razor. Some guys can’t survive a flight without a travel pillow, while other dudes just sleep on a sweatshirt.
Regardless of personal preference, I’ve rounded up the best travel items that prioritize function over anything. When it’s time to pack your bags, these are the top ten travel essentials I recommend for any man.
After asking all my frequent flyer friends and reviewing what those on the internet had to say (and, as always, it’s a lot!) I’ve come up with this list. In terms of the top travel essentials for men, you’ll be hard pressed to find an item as practical as a sturdy backpack. The Tropicfeel Shell Backpack expands to suit different trip lengths, making it a versatile packing option for the rest of your gear.
Keep reading to discover all of the other items I deem the best travel essentials for men.
Why It’s Great: The Tropicfeel Shell backpack is a travel essential you’ll take on every trip – near or far, long or short. It’s one of the most practical backpacks on the market, and I’m an especially big fan because the weatherproof body transforms from 20 to 42 liters without batting an eye.
Because of its versatile nature, it’s ideal for any kind of travel, whether a quick road trip to a neighboring state or a journey spanning several continents. It has multiple attachment points all over the bag, and even a packable kangaroo pouch on the bottom for travel shoes or wet clothes. Use this in place of weekender bags or duffels for men to keep your hands free.
How to Use It: Outfitted with unparalleled organization, there’s space for everything in the Shell backpack, including a designated 17” laptop sleeve. There’s a chest and hidden hip belt to balance heavy loads, and to really make the most of this comfy backpack, pair it with accessories like Tropicfeel’s wardrobe system, the magnetic toiletry bag, or a camera cube.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: While this backpack has lots to love, it can be improved with more padding on the straps and hip belt to increase comfort.
Why It’s Great: As someone who travels internationally multiple times a year, a passport wallet is one of the top travel essentials. Sure, it protects your passport, but also has room for credit cards, a boarding pass, and receipts. This option from Lundi is my personal favorite because instead of having a bifold design that makes the passport hard to get to, it has a slip pocket with a pull strap for quick access. No more fiddling with your cover in the immigration line.
How to Use It: Load up this supple leather wallet with your passport in the main compartment and cards in the front slots. Pull gently on the cotton tab to access your passport, which will slide it up. When you receive your boarding pass, tuck it into the back pocket for safekeeping.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: The only dealbreaker with this item is it probably isn’t necessary unless you’re traveling internationally. The large center pocket is great for holding travel documents, but you can likely stick with your regular wallet if you’re traveling domestically or by land.
Why It’s Great: Out of all the headphones on the market, these are the top travel essentials for men. They have a noise canceling option, unmatched sound quality, and Bluetooth for cordless listening. However, what really makes them great is when you’re ready to throw on a movie, there’s a cable that allows you to connect them to non Bluetooth compatible devices (hint: in-flight entertainment systems).
How They Feel: As far as comfortable headphones go, these are top tier. The over the ear design is heavily padded, giving solid cushioning for the ears without sacrificing sound quality. I’m pretty sensitive to pressure on my head and I’ve found that these are light enough to prevent discomfort, even if worn over a long period of time.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: These Bose QuietComfort headphones are an older model. But as someone who has tried the most recent pair, this earlier rendition reigns supreme in terms of comfort and sound.
Why It’s Great: When it comes to travel essentials, slim is superior. This laptop sleeve will keep a MacBook safe from harm without taking up precious space in a bag. The faux leather design is sleek and stylish, while the soft felt interior protects the computer from damage while on the go.
How to Use It: This laptop sleeve couldn’t be any easier to use. Simply slip the computer inside and tuck it in your bag. There are no niggly straps or buttons, making it easy to access your laptop as soon as you need it.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: If you’re looking for extra protection, you may want to opt for a more robust computer case with additional padding or a hard shell. This case is also for Mac laptops, rather than PCs.
Why It’s Great: No, you do not need to take your entire shaving set up with your traveling. Yes, there is a worthy alternative. As far as travel essentials go, you’ll likely get the most use out of this Manscaped shaver than anything else on this list. With a compact design specially created for portability, this is the mobile man’s best friend. If you’re traveling for business, this is one essential you won’t want to forget.
How to Use It: Use this foil shaver the same way you would any other electric razor. It’s waterproof so you can rinse off any stray hairs, and has an hour of run time before needing a USB-C charge. When you finish your grooming, snap the magnetic cover on and throw it back in your bag.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: Like most electric razors, it’s a bit finicky and can be a bit loud. If you have sensitive skin, you may experience some redness after use.
Why It’s Great: It’s about time the classic neck travel pillow got an upgrade. I love the Infinity Pillow because it can be used in many different ways to sleep on the go. It’s lightweight and the best headrest for long rides, flights, or grimey hotel rooms.
How it Feels: Made from bamboo fabric, this pillow is super breathable and highly adjustable to be exactly what you need it to be throughout your travels. Whether you wrap it around your neck or lean against it in a window seat, it’s ultra plush and supremely comfortable. No matter how you use it, it feels a whole lot better than the traditional U-shape headlock.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: The Infinity Pillow is definitely pricer than classic neck pillows. But you can’t put a price tag on a comfortable headrest. Trust me on this one.
Why It’s Great: Nice nails on the go are a must, especially if you’re traveling for business. God forbid you extend a nail bitten hand to a client… Yikes. This manicure set is among the best travel essentials because it’ll keep you looking sharper than a hangnail. It has seven tools in a TSA approved compact case and even includes facial care tools in addition to the nail set.
How to Use It: Whip out this bad boy any time your nails or eyebrows need a little TLC. There are two sized clippers – one for fingers and one for toes, in addition to a nail cleaner and a file. If your brows are in need of a touch up, use the tweezers to shape and the scissors to give them a trim.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: Some reviewers report that the nail clippers aren’t as sharp as some others, but they do the trick in a pinch (literally).
Why It’s Great: Dopp kits come in all shapes and sizes, but I’m partial to this one because of its compact nature. However, just because it’s compressed doesn’t mean it has a limited capacity. This toiletry bag has an insane amount of space in a tiny package. There are multiple compartments, a designated dental pouch, and an extra secure hanging strap. Given that it’s only a little larger than an iPhone, it’s a really remarkable piece of travel gear.
How to Use It: Load up and go, baby. There are tons of pockets in this dopp kit to keep toiletries in their rightful place. Elastic bands lash down small items like floss, while the front mesh pockets make it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. There’s even a back pocket for quick access – keep your razor here to nab stray hairs without opening up the entire case.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: This is definitely a dopp kit for minimalists. It has just enough space for all the essentials without much else. So if you’re traveling with your entire bathroom cabinet, you may need something larger.
Why It’s Great: As a full time traveler, I have used pretty much every luggage brand under the sun. The only one that didn’t wimp out on me? This Tumi roller bag. As one of the best luggage brands, this bag is dependable, expandable, and carry-on compliant. Not to mention it has all the extra bells and whistles like a TSA lock, built in USB port and internal compression straps. It’s lightweight, spacious, and easy to maneuver with four spinner wheels, ensuring the bag moves with you instead of having to drag it behind you.
How to Use It: The interior of this carry on luggage has multiple zippered compartments to easily segment your belongings, while the compression straps ensure nothing is sticking out when it’s time to zip it up. Use it for years to come without struggle – this bag is made to last.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: This carry on is definitely on the pricier side, but you’re paying for quality. That said, it’s worth noting that if you purchase the bag off Amazon, rather than from Tumi directly, you’ll need to pay for the warranty.
Why They’re Great: Nothing is worse than wearing jeans on long travel days, which is why it’s worth having a pair of designated travel pants in your wardrobe. This pair has a cargo style with front and back pockets, along with zippered cargo pockets on each leg to keep valuables stowed safely. They’re great for exploring new cities in comfort without looking like a slob, and have a really reasonable price point given the quality and functionality.
How They Feel: These Lee cargo pants look like slacks but feel like sweats – even the waistband is designed with extra stretch. As a men’s travel essential, these pants have a sophisticated straight leg, with a super soft, stretchy material. With seven colorways to choose from, these are the only pants you’ll ever want to wear, on the plane and off.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers: Since the fabric is a solid mid-weight, these pants are a bit light for cold weather wear, but are a dependable option if you’re looking for men’s stretch pants to travel in.
Travel Essentials for Men: What to Consider
Type of Traveller
The type of traveler majorly impacts what qualifies as travel essentials for men. For example, a barebones traveler may opt to forego a travel wallet for men or neck pillow, while a more upscale traveler might enjoy these items.
Additionally, casual jet-setters will make good use of comfortable items like men’s travel pants. But business travelers will likely focus on appearance-based essentials like nice attire, a travel razor, and a manicure set.
As you can see, the type of traveler will impact what is considered essential. It’s all about leaning into what makes the most sense for your unique purposes.
Trip length will also impact travel essentials for men, because there’s no point in packing a passport wallet for quick domestic travel. If you’re going away for a couple of days, you can often get away with the basics like a backpack, laptop sleeve, and headphones. Since you won’t be gone long, you can probably leave essentials like a travel razor and manicure set behind.
However, if you’re going on a lengthy trip or a well deserved vacation, you’ll want to pack all of the essentials on this list in order to stay comfortable and well-groomed when away from home.
Finally, it’s worth thinking about how travel essentials factor into your personal comfort while on the go. Travel days are brutal enough as they are, so it’s always wise to make them as easy on yourself as possible.
This likely includes investing in comfortable essentials like a sturdy backpack and breathable travel pants. Additionally, items like noise canceling headphones and a soft neck pillow will make your trip much more comfortable, making them choice travel essentials.
Why You Should Trust Us
Over the past five years, I’ve traveled to five continents, over thirty countries, and more cities than I can count. Because of the high amount of movement in my life, I’ve had to be conscious of what I pack. Since I live out of a backpack and don’t have room for everything, I’ve had to get serious about travel essentials.
Drawing on my own personal experience, the advice of my boyfriend (who’s been my travel companion for half a decade), and the other voyaging men in my life, I’ve been able to determine the best travel essentials in hopes of helping guys really understand what they need to be successful and comfortable on the go.
At the end of the day, you can have all of the travel essentials in the world, but nothing will serve you quite as well as a backpack. My top pick is the expandable Tropicfeel Shell Backpack, which has gear attachment points, a roomy interior, and padded carry straps. It’s also worth bringing along a travel wallet and noise canceling headphones, no matter the trip length of destination.
The must have travel essentials for a man include a dependable backpack, a passport wallet, noise canceling headphones, versatile trousers, and a dopp kit. If you have some extra room, you can also bring along extras like a laptop case, manicure set, travel razor, and lightweight pillow.