Since travel has never been more accessible, many wanderlusters are taking the opportunity to set sail and see the world. No matter where your journey takes you — or which country you’re checking off next — it’s important to be strategic about what you pack for the road. Though there are plenty of travel products that promise to deliver on their ability to make jet-setting or train-hopping easier, few actually meet the demand. After I spent 16 months touring through more than 20 countries with only two bags to my name, I tried-and-tested these products and I’m here to say they work. So, if you’re in the market to upgrade your packing list, consider these solution-focused travel products.
No matter hard you try or how many times you spritz your shoes, day-after-day of sightseeing means lots of sweat. And there’s nothing worse than packing a pair of kicks in your suitcase and opening it back up to a terrible stench. With Rothy’s, a shoe brand from San Francisco, you don’t have to worry about that. Whether you opt for their flats or sneakers, you can toss any of ‘em into the washer after use. Not only do they keep their shape, but they’re ridiculously comfortable, even if you’re on your feet from sunrise to sunset.
I consider coffee a necessity before a long day of travel. Some places you’ll visit have incredible selections (Colombia, Italy, and so on) while others basically use Instant (looking at you, Japan). And although you can find beans anywhere, you won’t always be able to explain how you would like your blend since, hey, language barriers. To ensure you always have the best-of-the-best, consider this travel-friendly French press, which is lightweight, insulated, and most importantly, easy to use. If you’re only gone for a week or so, pack your own coffee just to be safe.
When it comes to high-quality images, we all know that iPhones don’t always measure up — especially when capturing something far, far in the distance or a moving object. But with this clip-on telephoto lens, you can have Insta-worthy images without the stress or the expense of a fancy camera. Just clip one on to your phone to enhance its camera’s perspective with a wider field view, better lighting, and less distortion.
There are plenty of trendy luggage brands these days, but my forever favorite is Samsonite. I’ve had one since I first started flying, and I only have to replace every five years or so. Durable, reliable, water-resistant, and made to stretch, you’ll be amazed at what you can pack in this carry-on. It features extra exterior pockets, mesh interior pockets, and a tri-fold suiter for ultimate organization.
Confession: Before I ventured on my lengthy trip, I didn’t need the sound of a fan. But now? I’ve completely converted to a white noise lover, since it helps to drown out any unfamiliar sounds while I’m in a foreign land or busy city. Instead of running down my battery, I use this small — but mighty! — sound machine that lasts up to 40 hours. It’s great to use as a traveling speaker, too!
Sleeping on planes is nearly impossible for me. However, what makes me more comfortable on a red-eye or a double-digit flight is having a soft, comfortable neck pillow. There are tons out there, but what I dig about this one is it’s super-soft memory foam base and viscose cover that you can remove and wash to cut down on bacteria (because planes are super-dirty). Another awesome feature: It’s naturally thermal regulating to keep you cool in air.
Sure, they feel like a splurge, considering you could potentially buy a plane ticket for the cost. But once you go Bose, you never go back. Once connected to Bluebooth, you can sync up to your phone, laptop, or tablet to listen to your favorite movies, music, podcasts, or audiobooks without being distracted by noisy neighbors. Trust me, that screaming baby in row 22 has nothin’ on these noise-cancelling headphones.
If you’re a type A, organized person like me, you will be amazed by the difference cubes make when packing for travel. To prevent the stress — and mess — of rummaging through your suitcase to track down your stuff, pack all of your trip’s outfits in these clear packing cubes. Along with saving space in your suitcase, they also protect your clothes from unwanted spills during travel. I suggest getting one for toiletries, clothes, undies, and of course, dirty laundry.
Shoulder bags are cute, but when you’re running through a train station with a hot second to make your ride, they become cumbersome. Instead, go for a reliable backpack that can carry a change of clothes, your laptop, and your passport, like this one. The mesh lining and padded straps make it comfortable enough to carry all day long, even though it’s large enough to securely store a 15-inch laptop and other vacation must-haves.
If you have a nut or a gluten allergy, this sensor could be a literal lifesaver. Especially since traveling makes it difficult to communicate your food issues. You simply add a bit of whatever food you want to test and it’ll let you know — with near ideal accuracy — if you’re in danger. It’s lightweight, packs easily and the testing capsules can be re-ordered for every vacation.
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