It is true, we all love to travel, but it's fair to say that none of us really enjoy the planning and preparation that goes into traveling. I've been traveling domestically and internationally for over 10 years for work and leisure, so I've decided to compiled a list of products you shouldn't leave for your next trip without. These items can help streamline your packing process and give you a little extra time to for other pre-planning activities like laundry and turning on your 'out of the office' auto-response message.
The tablet is so many things - a TV, book, computer substitute (with keyboard), webcam, and camera. You can download a historical fiction book set in the place you are visiting, you can start a new TV series you've been meaning to watch, or answer those personal emails you've been meaning to get around to. It's also good for when you have airport delays, your in-flight monitor is broken on an oversold flight, or when you want to video with your family so they have physical evidence you've actually made it to your destination. My tablet has yet to let me down; unless I've failed to charge it.
When you are on the move, the last thing you want to happen, is run out of battery. As much as you want to unplug from the world while traveling, you still need to handle logistics, scan your boarding pass, and look up a last minute review on TripAdvisor or Yelp. Make sure to find one that isn't too bulky, but still will give you a few full charges, because someone always forgets one and you'll definitely end up sharing. Mophie packs have saved my life!
NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES
Whether it's the baby crying a few rows ahead, or the couple next to you having an argument, you will learn that its better to turn the world off and have a few moments of zen, or to be able to watch your movie without interruptions. Look around a long-haul flight, every business man will have on pair of Bose headsets, and once you get them a try, you will become a believer of peace in public spaces.
NOTEBOOK & PEN
These old school items still find their way into our uber digital worlds. Your notebook can be used like a doodle pad, address book or journal. Even though you plan on keeping your devices charged, sometimes things happen - phones and tablets get stolen, dropped into toilets, die, and everything in-between. I travel all the time, and somehow people still ask me to borrow my pen. Avoid having to ask things from strangers and bring your own. When you travel abroad, you will need to fill out customs and immigration forms, and maybe give your email to the cool stranger you've just sat next to and talked with for 8 hours to Spain. I always opt for a classic notebook that looks like Ernest Hemingway or James Baldwin would have used it!
Unless you are flying for less than 4 hours, you need to have your travel pillow. You never know when you'll end up in the middle seat, or need a nap because you stayed up all night in Miami. If this is any proof, my boyfriend owns 4 of them because he keeps forgetting them, but ultimately ends up needing it. Once you find one you like, you'll never go back to sleeping uncomfortably on a plane.
They are very multi-functional! Use them as a fashion accessory or a blanket when the plane gets too cold. It's not like the olden days when airlines would offer them up for free, also you never know when you'll get delayed and want to take a quick nap in the airport. This unisex scarf is simple, easy to pack, and extremely affordable.
You can buy one of these, or just make your own. It should have first aid items like band-aids, and disinfectant wipes, as well as medicine for allergies, pain, sleep, stomach aches, motion sickness, and any the medications you may already take (do not check them, they may arrive late or get lost). Outside of medical emergency items, you will need a travel toothbrush and toothpaste, lotion, a comb and brush, stain remover, and cleansing towelettes.
In most airports there will be a water fountain, or area with purified water, stop wasting your money on $5 bottles of water in the airport. Also, you may want to participate in outdoor activities like hiking or playing sports, and you don't want to have to buy that item all over again or continue to use disposable plastic bottles. I'm a fan of REI, even if the water bottle costs a little more, it will last you a long time.
Just like your mom kept granola bars in her bag while you ran countless errands with her all day, you should keep a little something in your bag too. Delays are so common these days, you don't want to be the hangry person that snaps on flight attendants and the person who keeps asking you to get up because they need to use the restroom. I keep a KIND bar or a piece a fruit, and it always holds me over until my next meal.
I meet people all the time who say they can't sleep on planes, and I'm pretty sure they never tried an eye-mask. If you get the right material (soft) and one that makes it completely dark, you will sleep like it's nobody's business. It's also useful when you are traveling overseas and dealing with a new timezone, it can be used to signal your brain for when its time to go to sleep. This may be the solution to you waking up and not missing the walking tour you scheduled on your first day after traveling.
Brittany is the CEO + Founder of Everyday Globetrotter. She is a reformed travelholic and nomad, who now loves HGTV, and hosting dinner parties at home. You can follow her on IG @BrittaUrban