9 Must-Have Travel Essentials
Updated: Mar 1, 2020
A list of my favorite products, gadgets and everything I need to make travel effortless, comfortable and hassle-free.
We all know that travel can be trying at times. So why not have the right products and tools to make it easier, stress-free and more comfortable? Often times for me feeling comfortable means having my favorite beauty or toiletry products that I use everyday in travel size. As I've discussed before (see my "How to Pack Like a Pro" article), I purchase all of my everyday beauty products in travel size and have a separate makeup and toiletry case with all of these items, so whenever I travel I don't have to pack any of the things I use everyday; I simply add my travel kits and go. This makes it so that I can pack days or weeks ahead of time since I won't be needing to use any of those items in the days leading up to a trip.
Comfortable to me also means hassle-free travel and just making my life easier in general. That includes being able to block out noise on a plane, things things that will help me to sleep and arrive at my new destination feeling rested and refreshed, or gadgets that make travel easier. Below is a list of my 8 must-have travel essentials.
1. Noise-Cancelling Headphones
I never—I repeat, NEVER—travel anywhere longer than an hour plane flight away without my noise-cancelling headphones. Have you ever been on a long-haul flight with a crying baby or snoring old man next you? Oh, you haven’t? Well then you’re either really damn lucky or you must only fly private. Cause I certainly have, and I can attest to the fact that I’ve had at least one screaming infant on every single international flight I’ve taken. So how am I able to still sleep like a baby with all that raucous going on in the background? The answer is: noise-cancelling headphones my friends. If you know, you know. If you don’t, well—you need these in your life.
Noise cancelling headphones are the solution to blocking out screaming babies and other disruptions, and frankly, I am not sure how people travel without them. I will even bring earplugs so that if the noise on the plane is really loud, that I can put earplugs in, then wear noise-cancelling headphones over my ears with ambient noise playing. Trust me: you do this and you will not hear a thing.
I like the Beats by Dre Solo 3 over-the-ear headphones. They are noise-cancelling, comfortable, and super stylish—you can get them in just about every color to express your individuality. I have the matte navy blue ones, but I’m eyeing the new royal blue and gold headphones in Warriors colors. Be sure to invest in a good headphone, because quality does matter.
2. Dry Shampoo
Embarrassingly, I probably rely on dry shampoo a little too much when I travel. Though I'll shower regularly, I will go pretty much as long as I can without washing my hair because it's time consuming. This is pretty easy in tropical destinations when I'm in saltwater a lot but if I'm doing city, mountain or desert travel and don't want to wash my hair everyday, dry shampoo is a lifesaver. I like this one by Ouai, which gives my hair some pick-me-up, eliminates any oil and gives it a nice, refreshing smell.
3. Travel Size Deodorant
Full-size deodorant bottles are bulky and take up a lot of space. And it's often hard to find healthy, aluminum and magnesium free deodorants in a travel size. But this one by Lavanilla not only works great, but also smells great and comes in a .09 oz travel size miniature stick.
4. A Comfortable Eye Mask
Every international traveler needs an eye mask, and those that have used plenty in the past know that those flimsy freebies that most airlines give out complimentary just won’t do. Or for people like me who have eyelash extensions, a pair that sits away from your eyes but still blocks out light are imperative. I like the the one from MantaSleep, but you can purchase a similar pair like these HERE. It's only 7 bucks!
5. A Good Neck Pillow
Unless you’re flying first class (if so, lucky you!), you also will need a neck pillow for a long-haul flight, as most are redeye and the key to avoiding jet lag is to get a full night’s rest (Note: for tips on how to avoid getting jetlagged, read my post How to Beat Jetlag). I like the ones that use memory foam instead of that weird styrofoam filler (I mean, what the hell do they put in those things anyway!?) because they're not only more comfortable for your neck and head but they can squish into a little carrying pouch so you don’t look like one of those idiots walking around the airport with a pillow around your neck for like 5 hours before your flight. You can check out the one I use HERE, which has an added eye mask as a bonus.
6. Hydration Packs
We all know that airline travel dehydrates you. This is one of the many reasons people typically arrive in a new destination and end up feeling jet-lagged. Well, one way to combat jetlag is to make sure you're well hydrated, and an easy way to do that (opposed to drinking tons of water and therefore having to get up to pee every hour) is to drink one glass of water with a hydration packet in it. I like Liquid IV, but there are plenty of similar products out there that do the trick.
7. Jetlag Tablets
Since we're on the topic, I should add that I also like to take supplements or any vitamins that help with Jetlag. I like to give myself every opportunity to arrive feeling great, and even if I don't feel great, I take solace in the fact that at least I did everything I could to give myself a leg up. These tablets from 1Above have vitamins and antioxidants that are proven to help combat jetlag. And they're all natural. Bonus.
8. Compression Socks
Yep, these aren't just for old people. Compression socks are commonly known to help people with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), varicose veins, lymphedema and Post-Thrombotic Syndrome (PTS), but can also help prevent blood clots from forming in the legs when in high altitudes. They help to increase blood flow in the legs, which is important if you're in one place for several hours on a long flight. I like this pair, which can be purchased on Amazon for only 10 bucks.
9. A WiFi 'Smartspot'
I know what you're thinking: "But all the hotels I travel to have WiFi". Or maybe you're thinking, "But there's free public WiFi just about everywhere." Well let me tell you how problematic those two statements can be. I find the latter of the two to be most problematic, because although it is true that you can find "free" WiFi in public places like airports, museums or large-scale event centers, that "free" WiFi comes at a price: often times your data and your personal information is more easily stolen while connected to these, so I make a point of never using any free or public WiFi. Plus, it's almost always slow and never fast enough to actually get any work done (if that's in fact what you're using it for).
Second, although it's true that all the reputable hotels have free WiFi, most of the time it is slow. Even if you're just surfing the 'gram, hotel WiFi is often unpredictable, logs you out all the time, and can be slow because you are sharing it with so many other people.
So what is the solution to this? A WiFi Smartspot. I use one by Skyroam, which is a new company that provides 4G LTE WiFi on the go. It offers 100% secure, completely portable WiFi to use in over 130 different countries. You can rent or buy your hotspot, which means you can rent one if you travel infrequently or even just want to just test it out on your next trip. But if you travel more than a few times a year, purchasing the Skyroam device is well worth the investment since it's only $159. It will charge your phone, is super lightweight, and even has a camera. You can choose between a monthly plan for $99 a month or pay a daily rate of $9 per day. The Skyroam is the perfect way to ensure you can be connected anywhere you travel. This is honestly one of my favorite travel gadgets and one I don't travel without.
Use code "SKYROAMISTHECURE" for 10% off your purchase! Have questions? Feel free to reach out any time: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Happy travels friends!
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