Don’t you just hate those travel magazine “gift guides” filled with overpriced or impractical items like $900 silk pajamas, $3000 watches, and travel pillow into which you stick your entire head like an ostrich? What about those silly “carry on cocktail kits” that don’t even include the booze? Seriously, make your own, I did.
Below are some of the practical things I love and actually use during my travels. These are items I’ve purchased myself and put to the test on the road.
I’m ashamed to admit I own about a dozen of these (including many duplicates) for all over the world. But when you need them, they are invaluable. I particularly like these because the bright color makes them had to miss when you are packing up and they have two outlets in each plug.
There seem to be as many travel pillows out there as there are travelers, and sometimes I feel like I’ve tried them all. Ultimately, I’ve had really good luck with the Travelrest Travel Pillow. Yes, it looks a bit funny, but it can help keep you from falling asleep on your neighbor’s shoulder. Because I prefer an aisle seat, it gives me something to lean on.
Cooling towels are a necessity and can be a lifesaver in super hot climates. These towels only need to be saturated in water to help cool you down. Just shake it out and put it around your neck, over your head, or on your face, for instant relief. We’ve used these all over the world and now won’t go without them in hot destinations. Tip: make sure you rinse them out and allow to dry overnight or else they can get stinky.
If you want to pack light enough to go carry on only, but are concerned about airline weight restrictions, you need a luggage scale. I bought this one for my last trip and I love it. It’s accurate and fast, and light enough to take with you to check the weight of your bags before you fly home.
I bought this bag for my trip to Egypt and it was fantastic. It was roomy enough for my camera, a scarf, some snacks, my wallet and just about anything else I wanted to carry. I loved that it had RFID blocking, but also the small clasp locks that secured the zippers when I was in crowded places.
These lightweight cubes can help keep the inside of your luggage organized and make things easy to find. While I’m a fairly recent convert to packing cubes, I now don’t go away for even a weekend without using them. They come in all sizes but I’ve found that I like the small, medium and oblong shaped ones for the most flexibility in packing. See this post for how I utilize them to travel carry on only.
I am forever on the hunt for the perfect toiletries bag. This one comes close and works well for my husband and me when we travel together. It’s roomy and durable and has a pocket that zips off that I use for my makeup.
As soon as I sit down on a plane I wipe down everything I might touch including the tray table, video screen, and armrests. In hotel rooms, I always wipe down the remote which is known to harbor more bacteria than the toilet seat (ewww…). You can also buy them in a pack of 24 singles.
My cashmere pashmina is my one real luxury travel item. A friend gave me one like this for my birthday last year and now I almost never travel without it. It’s a blanket on the plane, an elegant wrap for a night out without a coat, and an extra layer of warmth on top of a coat in frigid weather. I love real cashmere because it’s extremely lightweight, packable, soft, and very warm.
The one I have is most like the one above, though mine is slightly wider (it came from Bloomingdales). The style is versatile because it has clean edges and no fringe.
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