Throughout my travels, I’ve used products that I found were great – and others that were terrible. These are the ones that I recommend. I have either purchased them myself or borrowed someone’s to use – these are not just products I think look cool. If you have products that you recommend, leave a comment below so I can check them out.
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My favorite suitcase ever! I bought this Travelpro 21″ Expandable Spinner a few years ago and it still looks like new. It holds a surprising amount of clothing and paraphernalia – in fact enough for a three-week trip. The bag is small enough to work as a carry-on for international flights which sometimes have tighter regulations.
This is a spinner bag, which means that it has four wheels instead of two. On a smooth surface, I can push it along side of my body with almost no effort. On rougher surfaces, I can pull it behind me, using just two of the wheels. It has a mesh pocket in the lid, a small pocket in the back of the lower compartment, and a large flat pocket on the outside. It has an expansion zipper so I can fit in my souvenir purchases.
It is sturdy and well-made – overall a great bag.
I use a Lewis and Clark Deluxe Neck Stash to keep my passport, credit cards and money safe. It is comfortable enough to wear it next to my skin without irritation, but I usually wear it over a camisole. I wear it cross-body (over my head and around one arm) and under my shirt or sweater.
Wearing it under my clothes (except the camisole) keeps it hidden from view. When I need to use a credit card or money, I can discreetly remove it from the pouch by lifting the corner of my shirt.
The neck wallet has an adjustable length strap. It has two zippered compartments and a two-sectioned pouch compartment that closes with velcro. It is hand washable, although mine has been through the washing machine several times.
The backpack I use if I’m just traveling for a weekend is the Apera Active Pack.This is the bag I used on our trip to Japan. Although not extremely large, the bag packs well because it zips all the way around, opening wide so you can see all that is inside. It has a wet pocket in the back so you can separate a bathing suit or wet towel from the rest of your clothes.
There are two shoe pockets which can also be used for water bottles or umbrellas – one on each side. The front pocket is large enough to hold an iPad, tablet or small computer. There is an additional small pocket on the front which I use for cords and plugs. The straps are padded and comfortable. The bottom is covered in a waterproof material so if you set the bag on the ground, it can be easily wiped off.
I have an inflatable neck pillow that is extremely uncomfortable, so I wasn’t expecting too much when I ordered the World’s Best Air Soft Microbead Neck Pillow. I was pleasantly surprised, though, because it is very comfortable, while still providing support – it is not too hard or too soft. The cover of the pillow is made from two different fabrics – fleece on the top and a smooth polyester on the bottom – to help regulate the temperature.
The microbeads are flexible and can be easily squished into place. It comes with a snap connection, so it can be attached to the strap of your luggage or backpack.
Although some reviewers complained that the cover was not easy to clean because it isn’t removable, I didn’t find that a problem. My pillow was still clean after I finished using it, but if it gets dirty in the future, I think I’ll be able to wipe off any spots. Now I’m ready for a nap.
I ordered a Lewis N. Clark Comfort Eye Mask before our trip to Tokyo – the flight was long and I did what I could to get some sleep. The mask lived up to its name in that it was definitely comfortable.
Unfortunately, and because it was new, I forgot that I had brought it along and did not get it out of my bag. Maybe if I had, I would have slept better. I will try the mask again on my next trip, but for now, I can only say that it feels comfortable. The fabric felt soft against my face. I would recommend this mask if you are looking for one.
This Rainleaf Microfiber Towel comes in several sizes, from 16 x 32 inches to 40 x 72 inches. It is soft and absorbent, while packing down to a small size. I comes with a hang loop and a carry bag.
I recommend the X-large or XX-large size for the most versatility. Besides the intended use, I have used my towel as a blanket (when we couldn’t find the extras in the apartment where we were staying), a picnic blanket, and most often a beach towel. It dries quickly and can be machine washed if it gets dirty.
Last year I decided to purchase the Totes Raines Compact Umbrella – my original one is about 12 inches long, while the compact one is only 7 inches by 1 3/4 inches. Despite its small size, it has a 32 inch spread wen opened. Last fall we experienced torrential rain and wild wind while we were walking to dinner in Paris. We had to walk several blocks, but the umbrella kept me as dry as I could have expected. I’ll never travel in the spring or fall without it!
Most of the time I wear my hair straight and don’t use a hair dryer. Sometimes where we are traveling,though, I want my hair to dry quickly before we go out for the day. In those cases, I’ve borrowed my daughter’s Babyliss Pro Travel Hair Dryer.
The hair dryer is small and lightweight, but still has lots of power – 1000 watts. The handle folds to make it more compact. There is a switch on the front to change the voltage from US standard to European standard, and another switch to choose from a high or low setting.
Instead of taking a laptop with when I travel, I recommend taking a tablet. Although I have an iPad, my daughter has a Kindle Fire that I have used occasionally. If you are purchasing your first tablet, the Kindle Fire is a great choice because of its low price and multitude of features.
The Kindle Fire can do many things that a laptop can, even though it is smaller and weighs only 11 ounces. You can check your email, keep a journal, or read a book – including a travel guidebook. You can listen to music, play games and watch movies.
I purchased a hat to protect myself from the sun on the cruise I took earlier this year. The hat I chose was the Women’s Oasis Sombrero by Outdoor Research. The hat is lightweight and cool on my head. I like that it has a chin cord – we had a few sunny, windy days on the ship.
The best advantage of the hat is that it offers protection from the sun. If I am vigilant in wearing it, I can use less sunscreen on my face. The hat is a casual hat, but looks nice with shorts or dresses.
My favorite water bottle is the Brita 20 Ounce Sport Water Bottle. I’ve had mine for years, but it’s still like new. The bottle usually comes with an extra replaceable charcoal filter, while filters are also available on their own. The filters remove chlorine and odors from the water, but it does not replace a water purification system. It is recommended to use with tap water.
I like the clean taste I get when I drink water from this bottle. The Brita bottle is lightweight and travels easily.
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