Must Have Travel Products
After interviewing world travelers and doing a bit of globetrotting myself, I’ve complied my epic list of hot travel products, swag and gear that will make your life on the road infinitely more comfortable and stylish. Please note that some of these links are affiliate links, which means if you choose to purchase via that link, you are awesome. It also means that I may make a small commission at no cost to you. Have I mentioned how much I love you?!
In interviewing travelers, several factors determine how and what they pack:
- Business vs. Personal
- International vs. Domestic
- Solo vs. Family
Let’s start with the right bags. I’m on Team Carry-on Only, so this is my most important gear.
Ogio Half Dome Duffel Bag – This carry-on bag has magical powers. It’s dome shape helps it fit either above in the overhead bins or slip below the seat in front of you. My travel partner swears by it and says it has but one flaw – no pockets.
Messenger Bags/Travel Purses – my bag varies depending on the type of travel. If I’ll be hiking or outdoors a lot, I use a crossbody bag of some sort. If I’m in the city with short durations walking through the streets, I might use a large over the shoulder purse that can also hold my camera. (I just got a Nikon D3400 and I LOVE it.)
Packing Cubes – This set of 7 cubes + shoe bag compresses and organizes all your stuff for the trip. Love these.
TSA locks – I don’t use these personally (I go through life with a naive sort of blind-trust that nothing bad will ever happen…) but my world-travelin’ travel partner uses these. TSA officials are issued codes/keys to access TSA approved locks. Non-TSA approved locks will be cut off.
Passport Covers – basically a temporary tattoo for your passport, because why the heck not!? It will also give your passport an extra layer of protection in your bag. I crunched up my passport in my purse while in Japan and the TSA agent on the return trip to the USA was NOT happy with me because it didn’t scan properly. I often give passport covers as part of a travel themed gift or as a stocking stuffer at Christmas. You can also purchase RFID blocking passport covers that help prevent cyber-theft of your document information.
Organizers – I use the File & Fly organizer when I’m flying overseas or with my whole family (I’m in charge of all the travel documents). If I’m flying solo domestically, I just use my phone and purse. This document and currency organizer is cheap and fits nicely in my bag.
Makeup Case – Get and stay organized with your makeup, toiletries or other small items. This one is Amazon’s #1 best seller for good reason.
Verb Hair Products – I get asked a LOT about my hair. So here’s a line that I use (I use other products too, but this line is awesome – cruelty-free, made in the USA, and affordable).
Skin Care – I’m fond of Paula’s Choice products although not all products are available in convenient travel sizes. The products are cruelty-free (not tested on animals), are safe and effective.
Sunscreen – I feel like the sunscreen category deserves several exclamation marks. !!! As a freckly redhead who used to go tanning whose mom has since developed melanoma, sunscreen is paramount. I basically try to put it on in layers. A base cream sunscreen, a tinted moisturizer or makeup with SPF and a brush on sunscreen like this for traveling.
International Travel Adapter – you’ll need one, at least. I have a few depending on whether I need a converter and adapter or just an adapter. Basically, this just depends on whether or not I plan on curling my hair! The coolest thing about modern adapters is that you can simply plug in a USB cord for your devices, rather than have to use the plug.
Stuff you never bring but wish you did + Misc.
Travel Umbrella – The Rain-Mate Travel Umbrella is so compact that you can always find room for it in your suitcase. It rained in Bora Bora. It rained in Japan. It rained in Paris. It rained in Alaska. It rained in the Azores…so pack an umbrella.
Essential Oils Rollerball Travel Case – Okay, so I’m not an essential oils “believer”, but every time I start to get sick on a trip, my travel partner does her witchdoctor thing with essential oils and I love it. So…if ya’ll have any interest in essential oils (or any other medicinal liquid that can be applied roller ball style), snag this kit.
What should you have in your bag anyway?
- A fan (for summers and tropical climates)
- Hand sanitizer
- Clorox wipes (at least for the plane)
- Water bottle
- Lip balm
I used to be hardcore on flights with a ‘just suffer through it’ mentality. Now, I’m all about that comfort, baby! Being comfortable on a flight will reduce physical pain (back aches, leg spams), increase your liklihood of getting some quality sleep and reduce your fatigue once you’ve reached your final destination. Don’t care what you look like, just get comfortable! This is an order, not a request…
Inflatable Foot Pillow – inflatable is the way to go for your travel swag. It’s not as comfortable as a cushion or memory foam, but it collapses into next-to-nothing. And if you travel carry-on only like I do, that matters. You can read about my backpack trick here, but if you’d rather not have your feet on your bag, get an inflatable pillow. Many airlines don’t have footrests, so this way you’ll be prepared for comfort.
Travelrest Neck Pillow – if you have room, grab the memory foam version. If you don’t have room, inflatable is the way to go. The cross body portion allows you to rest your arm so you can get in a slightly more natural sleeping position.
Sleeping mask – Yes. Yes. Yes. I use these ALL the time and they have transformed the quality of my sleep. The darkness will help you sleep on the flight and help you adjust to your new timezone on your trip. (I just mentioned to my husband that they should create one that looks like a Batman mask and fits over your entire face when you sleep. He was dubious and unimpressed.) This sleep mask package is inexpensive, contoured over your nose and comes in a pack of 3 (for when you leave one in your hotel room).
Noise Cancelling Headphones – I’ve heard from multiple travelers that these are life savers on international flights. The amount of ambient noise from the plane (without wearing the headphones) taxes your senses and leaves you much more tired when you arrive at your destination. With the noise cancelling, you’re able to sleep more soundly and are more rested. Especially if you’re riding in Economy, give yourself the upgrade of proper headphones.
Books and Travel Guides
For starters, I’m a Kindle fan. Get yourself a Kindle or just use the free app on your iPad. I’ve recently joined Kindle Unlimited so I can get my nerd on more effectively for a monthly membership (it’s convenient and encourages me to read more, which is always one of my goals).
I’m crazy about the Slanguage books. You will NOT be speaking like a local, but you’ll have a better grasp of pronunciation and you and your new local friends will have a great laugh when you try to speak. I have both the Portuguese and Japanese versions. (I also just started Japanese lessons on Duolingo, which is a totally free app for learning languages at your own pace.)
What are your favorite or must have products for when you’re traveling? Let me know! Either drop a comment or email me!