12 October 2023
20 Travel Essentials
For a Stress-Free Trip
Whether it’s traveling on a long international flight to Europe, boarding a city-sized cruise ship in port or embarking on a train excursion through the mountainside, there’s a couple of things that remain constant–travel, especially internationally, can be incredibly stressful & anxiety filled. And often times quite uncomfortable.
No one is safe from the infinite number of minor annoyances & aggravations that seem to seek out those traveling from afar. Newbie or a travel veteran, it sometimes can seem like they’re inescapable. Maybe it’s using your favorite hoodie as a pillow for your cross-country flight, only to realize it didn’t come off the plane with you. Maybe its realizing that your luggage seems identical to four other sets going around the carousel, only…wait, that’s not your luggage, is it?
There’s a lot of maybes with travel. I mean, in packing a suitcase alone you are trying to predict what you will need or want in seven days, 2,000 miles from home! How crazy is that? So yes, of course, traveling can be quite stressful and often needlessly expensive. But the payoff…oh the payoff is way worth it.
With that in mind, below are 20 Travel Essentials You Need for your next out-of-town adventure. These are items that, individually or collectively, can help mitigate some of that travel stress & anxiety, increasing your comfort & saving you a few bucks along the way.
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1. Motion-Sickness Prep
There’s only two times that I’ve felt the dizziness, nausea and general unease commonly referred to as motion sickness. The first occurrence was during my first cruise ship experience, which is quite common for those rarely venturing off the “dry land”. And despite dozens of times flying throughout the continental US, the second occurrence was on an initial long international flight from NYC to Europe. It can sneak up on you sometimes. I’m not a big user of OTC meds, so I was looking for an alternative to Dramamine. Despite initial hesitation–sometimes its hard to believe something seemingly so simple actually works–I was impressed with 369 Life Motion Sickness Patches. The best part is you can use them with no side effects, making them a preventative measure worth taking.
2. Jet-Lag Relief
While motion sickness doesn’t effect everyone equally, and sometimes not at all, Jet Lag isn’t picky and, to some degree or another, effects everyone. The human body has an inner clock, and without boring you (I’ll let Mayo Clinic-or just Wikipedia– do that), that inner clock gets all sorts of messed up when traveling long distances. Miers Homeopathic Jet Lag Remedy & Boiron Jet Lag Relief Kit are two of the more well regarded jet-lag relief options on the market.
3. Flight Organization
In a way you could probably group #3 and #4 together, under some sort of “OMG that’s so obvious, why didn’t I think of that?!” category heading. This particular item, Airline Pockets “Tray Table Cover & Seat Organizer”, ironically reminds me of something that used to be a standard for the little back-of-the-seat pockets, right next to the “Your seat is a life preserver” cards (man are those terrifying to a first time flyer). I’m talking about the Skymall of course! Those magazine-style galleries of Seen on TV products. Miss those.
4. Who Needs Tvs in the Headrests?
Yes, at first glance, the Perilogics Universal Airplane Phone Holder seems like a Skymall-worthy product, probably right next to the previous item on this list. But that would be disingenuous–and probably a little bit of a slight to both products. Like the Pocket Organizer/Tray Table Cover, this phone holder is something that seems so simple…yet necessary, in a weird way. Its obviously practical use during a flight might not be enough to get you to click ‘buy’, but its ability to contort & transform depending on the situation is well worth its inexpensive price (under $13/prime members).
5. Wrinkle-Free, Happy Me
True story: For a long time I had a small “travel” iron that I had
stolen borrowed from my mom. I proceeded to take it on several trips, usually of the short weekend variety. It was handy, though I didn’t overwork it much…until one fateful morning in Ohio I had an awesome sweater with a weird clumpy wrinkle on it. I thus realized that: a) irons get extremely hot b) they also leak c) don’t have much for fancy functions-like alarms d) get really hot. I had to say it twice–because it literally burnt a smoldering hole right through not just my sweater but the hotel’s comforter, as it tipped over when I wasn’t looking. Moral of the story: Steamers like the NTAYDZSW Handheld Garment Steamer (yeah, that’s the co. name) are total difference makers. It has everything you need.
6. The Weight Game
Breaking news: Airlines will find a way to charge you for seemingly everything in their endless quest to keep the industry profitable. Some costs are hard to avoid, and some are just plain worth it–but then there are fees like “overweight baggage” that are avoidable, with simple solutions. The Etekcity Luggage Scale is pocket sized and capable of measuring up to 110 pounds (and even tell you the temperature). A luxury item? Maybe. Does the ten bucks save you five, ten times as much in the long run? It just might.
7. So Smart & So Clean
While I’d love to have a list chock full of new & exciting gadgets or accessories for travel, the reality is you can’t have a list of “essentials” without a few, well, essentials. Thus I give you: Tide Travel Sink Packets, quite possibly one the world’s inventions that made you say “You could make detergent into a little pod but it took how long to create this??”
Now that I told you about the obvious option, let me highlight SinkSuds Travel Detergent. Similar in usage to Tide, SinkSuds is highly recommended for delicate fabrics but versatile enough for general use.
Bonus Item: Tide’s Instant Stain Remover (pen sized for travel).
8. Travel Smart, Pack Smarter
As previously mentioned, airlines are known to find creative ways to increase revenues. There is no more blatant example than the checked-bag vs. carry-on bag fees. Packing has never been more of a cost-savings endeavor, and there a whole industry of luggage built upon this. The Lumesner Carry-On Travel Backpack isn’t just a TSA/Airline compliant backpack–it’s a suitcase in its own right, complete with packing cubes, USB cable, anti-theft lock and more. Stylish enough for business trips, with an array of colors to choose from, you will never want another backpack..err carry-on bag…err suitcase ever again.
9. Adapt Anywhere
A lot of people aren’t aware of this–I wasn’t, neither, the first time I traveled to Europe–but electrical outlets are not internationally universal. Of course, now with cell phones, tablets, cameras, laptops, etc. being not just luxury items but absolute necessities when traveling, this has become more than a routine annoyance for millions of travelers. It’s big business, too, for hotels & airport gift shops, where the markup for adapters is insane. There are region-specific adapters like the Meta-Ant European Travel Adapter, but if you travel even semi-frequently you won’t find anything better than the Ceptics World Travel Adapter Kit.
Bonus: Ceptics also has a World Travel Power Strip Adapter for those who may need extra surge protection and such.
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10. Keep Your Valuables Close
One of the stresses of traveling, especially internationally and far from home, is the idea of keeping things like IDs, money, valuables, etc. safe while in unfamiliar terrain. While the name may elicit an initial giggle, the various practical ways to use the Zero Grid Hidden Bra Wallet makes it a useful investment. And because apparently guys may feel uneasy purchasing a “hidden bra wallet”, I’ll also offer you the StashBandz Unisex Pocket Belt.
11. The Do-It-All Pillow
Not much explanation needed. There’s a lot of different types of Travel Pillows, but where does one start when trying to choose? For my money, there’s three things important to me: Comfort, Ease of Travel & Functional Usage. The Dot & Dot Twist Memory Foam Pillow combines all three in a perfectly simplistic way. Its ergonomic, maleable to various shapes & uses, and, oh, yeah–comfortable. Say goodbye to the days of those nasty 6 inch bacteria trap airplane “pillows”.
12-13. Thirsty First Aid
This can be filed in one of these packing categories: 1) Things you never think you’ll need, until you need them or 2) Things you think you should pack, but it’s impossible to pack everything. Simple first-aid readiness is something everyone should probably pack for international travel, isn’t it? But like most people I’m guilty of oversight too. Right until I find myself calling a hotel front desk pleading for a band-aid because I can’t use a travel iron correctly.
“Bonus” (#13, actually): I’m calling this a “bonus”, because its more for camping trips and adventures into the unknown, like the Australian Outback, Yosemite or Staten Island (I’m hilarious, I know). but the LifeStraw might be the coolest gadget you never knew you wanted or needed.
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14. Keep Cool, Keep Lit
A few facts about international traveling: 1) at some point you are going to find yourself on a plane, sweating, screaming at the air vent to start blowing 2) air-conditioning isn’t a common thing in much of the world 3) at some point you will drop your hotel card-key late at night and find yourself re-tracing your steps, trying to get the flashlight on your phone to work. Well, Do-I-Have-A-Product-For-You! Haha. In all seriousness though, little multi-function things like the JISULIFE 3-in-1 Handheld Mini-Fan can be
literally figuratively life savers.
15. Waterproof isn’t Waterproof
If there’s one thing that drives me nuts about cell phone companies…okay, there’s probably millions, lets be honest, as much as I use mine…it’s the whole fallacy of our phones being “waterproof”. They love to promote this notion that the days of drying your phone in rice or setting it in front of a fan on high are over, but the reality is that “Water-Resistant” is definitely not Waterproof. The ProCase Waterproof Phone Pouch isn’t a revolutionary idea, and it won’t change your life. But what it will do is let you take some kick-ass photos and videos underwater. No more spending $20 for a cheap waterproof disposable camera! If you’re going on a cruise, or somewhere tropical…even if you’re going to a random Holiday Inn that has a swimming pool…it’s a pretty cool.
16. TSA’s Got Nothing on You
I’ll keep this short and sweet: You could go to the store and needlessly spend a bunch of money for “travel sized” items, you know, the little 1/5th size bottles that somehow cost the same price as the normal sized ones. Or you could buy the Tocelffe 18 pack Toiletries Travel Bottles.
Bonus: Seems like a good spot to recommend the Steripod Clip-On Toothbrush Holder with Essential Oils. Works better than shoving your toothbrush down the side pocket with your socks, especially when you didn’t bring enough Tide Packs for the return trip and the socks are smelly.
17. The Pocket-Sized Lock
In this kind of new era of Airbnb and rentals, security concerns are increasingly valid. Yes, there are some complex solutions on the market–but some are just plain obtrusive, most are ridiculously cost inefficient. AceMining Portable Door Lock is small (literally fits in your pocket) and adaptable to pretty much all door types. Its an inexpensive solution to a burgeoning issue, and to be blunt, worth it for the peace of mind alone.
18. Lockup the Luggage
There isn’t anything particularly amazing or groundbreaking about a luggage lock. However, the Sure Lock TSA is operating on a whole different level. Stainless steel, its heavy, durable–with a lifetime warranty to boot. It also has an indicator to let you know if TSA has inspected the contents–each lock has a code recognized by the TSA, CATSA, and other security agencies. This code allows them to identify the appropriate secure tool to use.
19. Save the Planet!
Okay, maayyybe using a SPECIAL MADE Collapsible Water Bottle doesn’t necessarily equate to saving the planet. But it does save you from constantly purchasing bottled water on a day to day basis. And specifically as it relates to travel, the convenience of always having a water bottle handy to fill up at drinking fountains, rest stops and even on the way out of restaurants can’t be overstated. Plus, I mean, its a water bottle that collapses like flattened Coke can. How cool is that?!
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