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My Favorite Travel Essentials to Pack in My Suitcase

Over 40 Fashion Blogger, Tania Stephens is showing the essential items that she takes when she is traveling

I love hitting the road (or the air or the ocean) to travel to a new location! After years of packing a bag, I have nailed down a list of my must-have travel essentials to pack that you can always find in my suitcase. These are not clothing items, but toiletries, skincare products, accessories, and miscellaneous items that I think make traveling easier. The exact items in my bag may vary slightly depending on my destination and the time of year I am traveling, but for the most part, this tried and true list of travel essentials has served me well on all of my adventures.

Best Travel Essentials for Women

Garment Steamer

This Handheld Garment Steamer is AWESOME! It puts out as much steam as the large standing steamer that I use every day. The steamer produces steam very quickly, and even though it doesn’t hold a huge amount of water, I can usually steam two items before I need to refill. This is lightweight and doesn’t add a lot of weight to my suitcases which can be a big deal when you are flying. I’ve tried other handheld steamers that had great reviews, and this one is hands-down my favorite.

Over 40 Fashion Blogger, Tania Stephens is showing the essential items that she takes when she is traveling 1985


Protecting yourself from the sun is essential when you are at the beach or pool, but it is also important if you are going for a walk or watching your grandchildren play baseball. When I went to Belize a few years ago, I brought three hats with me. The banded straw visor (shop similar here) is perfect for windy days and has a stretchy elastic band to help hold the visor on tight. Plus, the wide brim is great for keeping the sun out of your eyes. The inside of the band has a cotton lining, so the straw isn’t scratchy against your skin. This is the hat that I wore most when traveling on the golf cart.

If you are walking on the beach or lounging by the pool, I recommend a wide brim straw hat! I also love a fedora hat. They are excellent for keeping the sun from beating down on you, but let’s be honest…it is the style factor that we all love. The wide-brim hat is the one that I wore most at the pool, and the fedora is what I wore when we went to eat.

Over 40 Fashion Blogger, Tania Stephens is showing the essential items that she takes when she is traveling 1972

Handbags and Totes

I always try to travel with a crossbody handbag. Crossbody bags make it convenient to keep your bag close by, and it frees up your hands for carrying other things, such as your luggage. The neutral leather crossbody clutch pictured is no longer available, but you can shop a similar option here. I like this size since it will carry my phone/wallet, sunglasses, lip SPF, or any small items that I might need.

If I’m heading to the beach, I always bring a rattan tote. I love the modern style of this tote, and they are plenty big enough to carry everything I need for the pool and beach. Plus, they look great with all my summer outfits because of their neutral color. This exact beach bag is from a few seasons ago, but here is another great one.

Over 40 Fashion Blogger, Tania Stephens is showing the essential items that she takes when she is traveling 1984

Waterproof Shoes

Waterproof shoes might not be something that you need if you are going skiing; instead, you would need warm waterproof boots. The tan pair of Crocs is a pair that I’ve had for a while, and I like that you can walk in the water, etc., without them coming off. I couldn’t find the same pair, but this pair looks like they would also do the same. The white pair is one that I bought this year, and I liked that I could easily put them on and kick them off when I went to the pool. I sized up one size after reading reviews, and they fit me great. Both of these shoes looked fine to wear out to lunch, so I wore them almost the entire time we were in Belize.

Over 40 Fashion Blogger, Tania Stephens is showing the essential items that she takes when she is traveling 1981

Ear Buds

These babies go with me on every trip. I use them to talk on the phone, listen to Audible books or YouTube posts, as a noise-canceling device when others are talking, and I am trying to work and on the airplane for the same reason. When Joe travels with me, we will share headphones and usually listen to a John Grisham book. However, if I’m alone, I love listening to Atomic Habits. It is a great read, and I always find a new nugget each time I listen to it. These get so much use that I even have a backup pair in case they get lost or damaged. I have Apple products, so I use their AirPods, but my daughter uses Samsung Galaxy Buds, and says they are her favorite. I keep mine in a bright red silicone case, so they are easy to see.

Over 40 Fashion Blogger, Tania Stephens is showing the essential items that she takes when she is traveling 1974


When I travel to the beach, I leave my Raybans at home. Instead, I bring cheap sunglasses with me since I know that scratches are inevitable. I know that they might fall in the water or get dropped on concrete or in the sand. The large oversized pair is part of a 3-pack, and the black pair is similar and has a chic and modern look to them.

Over 40 Fashion Blogger, Tania Stephens is showing the essential items that she takes when she is traveling 1977


Sun protection is necessary every day, but especially so if you are at the beach, lake, or pool. I typically use sunscreen by Rodan and Fields, but Supergoop Play SPF 30 Sunscreen and Elta MD Skincare SPF 40 Sunscreen are some other great options you can pack to protect your skin.

Over 40 Fashion Blogger, Tania Stephens is showing the essential items that she takes when she is traveling 1978

Lip Care

If you’ve ever had your lips sunburned, then you understand why these products made my list. I always put the Rodan + Fields Lip Shield (2-pack) in my cart when I’m placing orders. Joe uses these, too, for golfing, so we go through them often. The Dior Lip Sugar Scrub feels amazing on your lips. There is a slight exfoliating scrub when you apply the balm, and then you are left with 24-hour hydration. I have the Glow Pink color that is hardly even noticeable.

Over 40 Fashion Blogger, Tania Stephens is showing the essential items that she takes when she is traveling 1983

Moisturizing Lotion

The sun dries out your skin, and since I already have dry skin, I make sure to take moisturizing lotion with me on my trips. I usually use the Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Lotion, and it does a wonderful job of hydrating my skin no matter where I am heading!

However, I have now discovered La Roche-Posay Lipikar Triple Repair Moisturizing Body Cream, and I am obsessed with rich, thick, and creamy lotion. I’m on my 6th bottle, and I always keep an extra one in the closet.

Over 40 Fashion Blogger, Tania Stephens is showing the essential items that she takes when she is traveling 1976

Dental Hygiene Travel Essentials

At home, one of my very favorite new products is the Waterpik Sonic Fusion 2-0 toothbrush and flosser in one. I have extremely tight teeth on top, but near the base of my gums, they are far apart. I am all of the time cutting my gums because I am trying to get the floss between my teeth and have to use so much pressure to get them between my teeth that the momentum causes me to cut my gums. The Waterpik combo was something I picked up years ago, and I am so thrilled that I did. Joe is a skeptic and refuses to try it, but it works wonders. I used it the first time, and then I went behind the flosser with regular dental floss. The water flosser did a great job and got everything that was between my teeth. You can adjust the water pressure, and you can also draw blood if the pressure is too high, so start with the lower pressure and build up.

Over 40 Fashion Blogger, Tania Stephens is showing the essential items that she takes when she is traveling 1971


My daughter took my Billie Razor with her when she went to the other adventures, so I used Joe’s razor instead. Don’t tell him that I used it; he is very territorial about his razor. Lol! What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him!!!

Over 40 Fashion Blogger, Tania Stephens is showing the essential items that she takes when she is traveling 1982

Waterproof Makeup

When I go to the beach, I make sure to pack some waterproof makeup. I use Essence Princess Lash Mascara all of the time, but on this trip, I brought the Essence False Lash Effect Mascara. Normally, I don’t wear waterproof mascara because it is hard to remove, and I don’t want to pull out any lashes. But I hate raccoon eyes at the pool, so I bring this along if I’m going to be swimming. I also use the By Terry Waterproof Eyeliner so that my eyes show up even in the pool. And, although it isn’t marketed as waterproof or water-resistant, the Brow Defining Boost by Rodan + Fields stays on even if you sweat, get caught in the rain, or take a dip in the pool.

Over 40 Fashion Blogger, Tania Stephens is showing the essential items that she takes when she is traveling 1970

Skincare Travel Essentials

My skincare goes with me on every trip, no matter if I’m only spending one night. I started using Rodan and Fields in February or March of 2016, and I became a consultant with them for the discount in May of the same year. I love their products, and if you’ve seen my photos from 2015 until now, you will understand why. Here are the products that I use daily:

If you are interested in using the same products that I use, I would love to be your consultant. R+F offers a 60-day money-back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.

Here is how you order:

  1. Go to my website
  2. Take the solutions tool or pick your products
  3. At checkout, check the box that says JOIN PC PERKS
  4. Fill out billing and shipping info
  5. Make sure to hit the SUBMIT ORDER button

Shop More of My Travel Essentials:

I have to pack my hair tools when traveling, and this is a great travel bag that includes a heat-resistant mat for my flat iron, etc. The zippered compartment will hold tools up to 13 inches long and 4 inches wide. I like black because it doesn’t show wear, but it also comes in off-white and pink.

It’s more important now than ever to keep your medicine and vitamins handy when traveling. I always keep Vitamin C and D, as well as Zinc with me when on vacation. This is a simple way to bring along Advil/Tylenol and prescription meds, too.

Joe on a golf cart in Belize

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Verse Of The Day

John 13:14

14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.

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  1. So many great tips and ideas! I enjoy reading your posts and have already purchased a few things that I’m really enjoying! It’s great to be able to immediately connect to your Amazon site to purchase items! Lady jackets, alternatives to wearing black, and many more great ideas! Thanks!

  2. Joannie Russo says:

    Love your style.

  3. Love these ideas! I like it because you gave us the list early. I can buy a few items over time instead of everything at once before I go. Perfect way to budget! Always love the Bible verses 🙌

  4. Eleanor Mitchell says:

    Great list!!! I have to get a dryer/flat iron bag. That’s my only hang up. I have learned that lots of things can be purchased at the destination so I don’t go nuts anymore. But my skin care and makeup are the first things to go into the luggage. thanks for the tips and suggestionLove your blogs. Just found you recently and delighted with your take on the “over 50” crowd. I always feel that we are ignored and I refuse to just resign myself to “age”. I have to say I won’t leave my house looking like an unmade bed. Even if we are going to Home Depot or a quick run to the market. I feel that if I am put together first I feel good and then people think “ok this lady cares how she looks and presents herself”. thanks Tania

    1. I love that attitude, Eleanor!!!

  5. sue ann koren says:

    I have always wanted a steamer – I hate to iron!

  6. Stella Gustafson says:

    I prefer a mesh tote bag. They are great for taking to the pool or beach.

  7. Great suggestions! I never travel without my steamer. It’s definitely a necessity!

  8. I’m going to check out the steamer. I need a new one and better than what I have.

  9. When my girls were small, I kept my toiletries packed. We never knew when their daddy would call and say. “Pack a bag and let’s go….”!

  10. I keep a “travel box” full of things I take on every trip, whether it’s an overnight or a few days. It goes with us for our week-long beach trips, too, but with variations since travel sized items don’t cut it. It has everything from Tylenol to Shout Wipes to toothpaste. I fill travel bottles with shampoo, lotion, etc. so I’m not worrying with full bottles (I’m careful to label them; I’ve learned that lesson). It’s got a lid and handle so I can quickly go through it and add to it for the occasion and grab and go. It stays at the top of my closet ready for the next getaway!

  11. NATALIE K says:

    Tania, I have something you’ll want to know!! Never again worry about lashes being pulled out with waterproof mascara!! A famous make-up artist book I read told me to wear lengthening and then thickening then if you want them to be waterproof then wear a layer of waterproof mascara. It will make it waterproof but because it’s not directly on your lashes it’s very easy to remove!!! Have a blessed day!!!!

    1. Sounds interesting. I never apply more than one coat of anything. I feel like my lashes look globby if I try.

  12. Thanks for this post- I’m leaving on a trip in a few weeks and will be referring back to this one!

  13. Great ideas! I need a clothes steamer. I’ve never had one. This one says unavailable so I’ll keep checking back.

  14. Sara Evans says:

    Great tips! We go on a lot of camping trips and I love learning about new travel accessories/toiletries to try. Thanks!

  15. I need to get some of those toothbrush protectors. Definitely better than saranwrap!! Thanks for the great tips.
    Glad Lucy Lu is feeling better-she is adorable.

  16. Stephanie Weeks says:

    Cute crocs .

  17. I need the toothbrush protector

    1. I buy new ones every 4 or 5 months. They are great for when your toothbrush is thrown in a drawer, etc.