What to Pack? Travel Gear You Need for Productivity and Convenience
There are times when I’m on the road a lot. To maintain balance, I try to arrange my schedule so that I have at least one full week at home every month. The other three weeks I’m usually in airports and hotels about 2-3 days each week. As a result, I’ve discovered what I really need to have with me to make my trips as productive, enjoyable, and convenient as possible. This list of travel accessories is great for domestic trips. International travel requires a few additions that I’ll write about another time.
Any of these would make a great gift for the frequent traveler in your life (perhaps wrapped along with a printout of this post!)
Phone Holder/Card Case with Wrist Strap
As I walk through airports and navigate rental car pick-ups and hotel check-ins, I need a few things immediately accessible:
- My iPhone (it’s where I keep my boarding passes and confirmation numbers, and I also use several travel apps and the clock.)
- My driver’s license
- Cash and/or credit card
I need these things handy, but I also prefer to have my hands free to wheel my suitcase and/or carry my purse, flip through a magazine, etc. Traveling in an outfit with pockets definitely helps, but I find that my favorite travel clothes (usually yoga pants or a maxi skirt) don’t have pockets. I also tried a hip pouch, but it’s not that fashionable. A purse with a couple of outside pockets works, but not all of my purses are set up that way. I think I’ve finally found the answer in the “Phone case with storage space” from Eyn. It’s available at Amazon, and it holds all of those things well, plus it has a wrist strap so that it keeps my hands free. You might think this is only helpful for a woman, but a man could add a belt clip to it, or use the strap to attach it to a briefcase.
Portable Gadget Charger
This has proven invaluable because I’ve found that my iPhone 5 with iOS 7 doesn’t have nearly the battery life of previous versions. I even employ all the battery-saving tips like shutting off the bluetooth, setting email checking to “Manual,” and disabling the automatic app-updating. And still my phone needs a charge by the middle of the day. Sometimes it’s easy to find a plug, but sometimes it just isn’t. These chargers are portable and handy, plugging in to your device via USB (just make sure you have the proper connections for your devices.) The one I bought offers more than two full phone charges before it needs to be charged itself, and they are easy to find most everywhere now, including the Container Store or any electronics store. I bought mine on Woot for $15 and it works great. There are several at Amazon, such as this one and this one. (Just check for compatability with your devices.) I’ve seen many styles for under $20, so don’t pay too much. In addition to charging my iPhone, it can also charge my iPad and my Kindle.
For those trips when you have a laptop or other smaller bag sitting atop your wheeled suitcase, a Bag Bungee is very handy. It keeps everything together and prevents the top bag from sliding off. It’s also great for holding a coat or plane accessories like a blanket and neck pillow. They are available in many places that sell travel accessories, and here on Amazon.
Essential Oil Spritzers
I know, you probably didn’t see this one coming. I’ve been learning how to use essential oils and certified pure therapeutic grade (CPTG) oils are extremely versatile. This CPTG distinction is important. Most commercially available essential oils are only for external use. If they aren’t safe to enter your body, then they have limited usefulness. I use doTerra CPTG oils which are safe to put in food and beverages, to rub directly into your skin, and to inhale. The exceptions are oils made from plants that aren’t safe to eat, such as eucalyptus and cedarwood. I have two travel-sized spritzer bottles that I purchased at Sally’s Beauty Supply. One is peppermint and one is lavender. I made them by mixing distilled water with a few drops of the oil. Lavender and peppermint are both very versatile. The former is calming, the latter is invigorating. To re-energize after a long plane ride, the peppermint spritzer can be sprayed on pulse points, or directly on the face (being careful not to get in your eyes.) You can also spray it into your hands and inhale it. It can even be used as a breath spray. If you can’t get to sleep in your hotel room, or if jet lag is an issue, you can use the lavender the same ways I described above, but with the opposite effect (you can also spritz your pillow with the lavender.) Incidentally, I keep these in my purse or car all the time, not just for travel, as they come in very handy. Peppermint is helpful for an upset stomach, and lavender helps ease bug bites and stings. Spritz a wet cloth with either and put it over your eyes or forehead to ease a headache. There are dozens of uses for these essential oils, and mixed with distilled water in a spray bottle is a great way to dispense them. (For other ways to use essential oils, email me at maura at regainyourtime dot com and I’ll send you a document with tons of ideas.)
I use this every trip without fail, although I also travel with my stainless steel bottle, and a lot of airports are starting to offer purified water “fill stations,” which is great. So I carry both types of “holders.” I have water with me 24/7, and in fact, I often have two bottles on me at any given time. It’s great to be able to clip them to something and not have to carry them, or have them take up room (or potentially leak) in a bag. You can get them both on Amazon. The “Built” one is here. And here is a slightly different version of the other one.
One thing I didn’t explicitly mention but that helps with some of these is a carabiner or S hook. They enable you to keep your hands free and clip just about anything (a carry-out bag with your lunch, a travel pillow, another bag, your iPhone holder, your water bottles, etc.) to your suitcase or other bag.
What’s the best travel accessory that you hate to be without? Share it in the comments!