The Travel Essentials Skylar Marshai Can't Jet Off Without

The Instagram-famous traveler talks Black representation in the industry and several must-have items, including an Away suitcase and GoPro.
As a seasoned traveler, Skylar Marshai knows a thing or two about the best items to travel with, including the Sony Alpha A7 III camera which she uses for a lot of her footage.
Left to right: Away, Skylar Marshai, Amazon
As a seasoned traveler, Skylar Marshai knows a thing or two about the best items to travel with, including the Sony Alpha A7 III camera which she uses for a lot of her footage.

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A study released in 2020 showed Black Americans spent an estimated $109.4 billion on leisure travel in 2019, representing roughly 13.1% of the U.S. leisure travel market. The study also revealed 54% of Black travelers in the U.S. agreed that they are more likely to visit a destination if they see Black representation in travel advertising.

With such large buying power and the seemingly easy fix of simply showing more Black faces in travel imagery, many Black travelers are becoming the change they want to see. One of them is Skylar Marshai, a New York City-based content creator and frequent flyer.

“I love seeing myself in different spaces. I feel like I found some of the most beautiful pieces of myself in the pockets of the world,” Marshai told me.

“I love the surge and visibility of Black people traveling the world and taking up as much space as possible and reclaiming ground that was taken from us,” she said. “It is such a privilege to take up space and to see myself in spaces, but then allow other people who don’t look like me to see me.”

Marshai’s vibrant, often viral Instagram photos show her traveling with her partner, Temi Ibisanmi, in various scenic destinations including the Maldives, France and Puerto Rico.

“When I first started to travel, Black people were not a part of these travel and hotel agency campaigns; even for tourism boards and Instagram pages, we didn’t see ourselves,” Marshai said. “When it came to influencers and bloggers, it wasn’t the norm to see Black skin across the world, even though it is. We live in these spaces, but for some reason the representation of how it was being captured wasn’t there. So when my partner and I started traveling, people just ate it up and they were such avid fans of it.”

Marshai’s Instagram followers are also fans of her travel accessories and outfits, as evident in the many comments under her posts asking where she gets almost everything. And to spread the wealth, I asked her her to share the must-have travel essentials she can’t leave her house (or country) without. Check them out below.

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Away's cult favorite carry-on suitcase
"Our luggage is from Away and we got both the checked bag and the carry-on. I really want the [aluminum] set," Marshai said.

The Away carry-on suitcase comes in colors like lavender, navy, asphalt, white and sand. It's lightweight, but made with a durable polycarbonate hard shell. It also has ultra convenient 360-degree spinner wheels, an interior compression system and a hidden water-resistant laundry bag to store dirty clothes separately from your clean ones.
Calpak Hue toiletry bag
Marshai said she uses Calpak's toiletry bag to store her makeup and other small items. It comes in colors like moss and pink sand, is made of scratch-resistant faux leather and has multiple pockets to store your tiny essentials.
"We always take our GoPro HERO8 when we travel. I think we'll keep it for a while," she said.

The GoPro Hero8 has three levels of stabilization — on, high and boost — so you can choose the setting that's right for your on-the-go filming.
A GoPro dome port
Speaking of the GoPro, if an underwater excursion is on your itinerary, you're going to need some protection while filming — like this dome port.

"You put your GoPro in it, and then it lets you shoot underwater without getting water on the lens. Even though the GoPro is waterproof, we found that the screen, when it gets water on it, looks a little weird. The dome keeps it from getting on the lens," she said.
A first aid kit
"We usually will bring a first aid kit of sorts because Temi and I have been caught slipping too many times and I'm now scarred because of this. We also place within that Dramamine, Advil or Tylenol, because again, it can be a trip or a tax to get medication in different places. Or sometimes, if it's a different language, you might not know how to read to know which medication you need or it's just really expensive."
Marc Fisher's Chiara strappy sandal
"I love sandals that have a little heel, like the Marc Fisher ones," Marshai said. "This is also why I take a first aid kit because I stay messing up my feet wearing sandals, and I need Band-Aids all the time. That is the part of Instagram you don't see: my limping around after."
Black Girl Sunscreen
"I always take sunscreen and it's always Black Girl Sunscreen," she said.

Made for melanated skin, this sheer sunscreen has an SPF of 30 and doubles as a moisturizing lotion and lightweight base for protection all over your body. The best part is that it doesn't leave a white cast.
Topicals skin care
"I recently got literally every one of Topicals' products for all the women in my family, because I was trying to only shop Black-owned for Christmas. They have a brightening and clearing serum, that's what I use on my face. And then for my body I use the hydrating and soothing mist," she said.
Riot Swim swimwear
"I feel like [Riot's] swimsuits were made for Black women's bodies. They're so good and they just they fit every curve."

Riot Swim, including one-pieces, bikini sets and cover-ups, is available at Revolve.
Sony Alpha a7 III mirrorless 4K video camera
This is the primary camera that Marshai and her partner use during their trips (aka the magic machine behind many of her high-quality Instagram photos). It's packed with a ton of handy features like continuous shooting, Bluetooth capability and 4D focus wide coverage. Some of the lenses they use are the Sony 85mm, Sony 10-18mm and Tamron 28-77mm.

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