Top picks for the best travel accessories to take on your next trip:
This is an absolute must if you hope to get some good sleep on a long haul flight! I have three types in my travel store and here’s my view on each of them so you can make your own mind up: the micro bead pillow is the cheapest and I also make sure it has a fastener in the front for two reasons: 1, so it doesn’t fall off while I’m mid-snooze and 2, so I can spin it around and put the flat bit against the seat and rest my chin down on the pillow. I like the memory foam pillows which are firmer and your head is more supported. These also have the dome in front to be able to wear it different ways – and this is how I pack them – around them the handle of my cabin bag. But I have now graduated to the award-winning Cabeau Evolution Pillow which looks more like a neck brace than a pillow, but is also made of memory foam and fits a lot more snugly so you don’t need to find a window wall or a neighbour’s shoulder to sleep on. This is now my go to neck pillow.
Don’t worry about anyone looking at you – you won’t see them anyway! This is essential for sleeping on those long haul flights too, especially when your neighbour or the guy in front of you is reading with his piercing spot light on! Get one that is not too tight and I just push it up like a headband when I get up to go to the loo in the middle of the night!
When I’m done with watching a movie or listening to music, I want as much quiet as I can get sitting between two (or four) jet engines at full roar whizzing us across the sky at 700mph. I can never get those spongey ones to stay in my ears so my favourite earplugs are the silicon ones that you shape like putty and squish in. They’re also very handy to have when travelling if your hotel is on a busy road or your neighbours are a little rambunctious.
You won’t find many bloggers that don’t extol the virtues of a noise-cancelling headset and I have tried a few pairs. Yes even Bose (my husband owns a pair). But my go-to earphones are my iPhone earbuds. I find them way more comfortable to sleep in than a bulky headset, and especially with my memory foam neck pillow, I can have the ear buds in listening to an audio book or music and the sound is still great quality.
Once I’ve loaded myself into my seat, unpacked my book, headphones, neck pillow etc into the seat pocket, I kick off my shoes and put comfy slippers on. I sometimes just travel with woolly socks, the downside being if you use the loo and the floor is wet. With slippers at least the previous caller’s detritus doesn’t seep through to my feet! I just use thin hotel ones that slip into my cabin bag without taking up any space.
If you get swollen or achy legs when flying or on long trips, compression socks will help. They are tighter at the ankle and graduated to under the knee to alleviate blood clots. Note: these ones are not doctor prescribed, so if you’ve had surgery or clots before, please ask your doctor. These ones are sold over the counter in places like chemists to aid against general swelling of the legs.
I take a slimline thermos with me for a few reasons: 1) it fits into the seat pocket in front of me as it’s slim, 2) I can refill it endless times and it keeps my water cold, 3) I don’t have to keep buzzing all night when I wake up from my eyemask/neck pillow slumber parched and needing a drink, and 4) it’s handy to carry around (not to mention eco-friendly) when I’m actually out and about traveling. Just make sure when you take it through airport security it is empty!
I HATE those small passport wallets that slip over the cover of your passport. An utter pain when you need to get it out to go through those passport scanning machines. I prefer a document wallet that holds everything and with that in mind I went on the hunt to find these crossbody wallets. They are deceptively roomy for carrying passport, cash, credit cards, cell phone and documents and can be worn under your jacket/cardy or just over your clothes like a normal hand bag.
These were a revelation! I have just been away for 3 weeks in Italy and took about 6 packing cells of various sizes (and colours) and put things like underwear in one, leggings and pants in another, singlet tops and then there is a double sided one which took all my topics and tunics. Not only was it easy to find what I wanted to wear each day, but the whole repacking process every 2-3 days took about 3 minutes. I’m sold.
Make up removal cloths
These amazing little microfibre cloths just require warm water to remove all makeup – and even do a good job of waterproof mascara! They are perfect for every day use and traveling, easy on the environment with no need for disposable cloths, and you just throw them in the washing machine every two or three days. When travelling just wash them in your hotel room in cleanser (I use cleanser every morning in the shower and these every night) or shampoo.
Portable battery cell
This is a handy device and necessary if your phone battery is useless and you know you’ll be out and about all day. I say this because I use my phone as my camera, as well as for email and all my social media updates when I’m travelling. Having a little portable power pack means I can charge my phone on the go. I like the slimline ones but they need to be grunty and have lots of charge. Of course, it is another gadget you need to remember to charge each night!
This is a must-have so I only need to take one adapter plug and can charge everything together: laptop, camera battery, cell phone – even hair straighteners if such things are necessary!
I have churned through these over the years, initially taking several for each gadget until I had the brilliant idea of the point above! I have tried those international ones where you select the pins for the country you’re in , but were so wobbly I’ve had to support them in the wall with a stack of books. But now I like a multi adapter which also has a USB ports so I can plug it in beside my bed in a hotel and also have my phone there – which is my alarm clock. These ones pull apart and can service 150 countries. I have limited numbers of these ones below in my store now.
These are the newest gadget that I’ve bought for my Travel Store and I trialled it on my wild hair in Fiji to great success! These hair straighteners can also be used as curlers and are perfect for girls on the go. You can keep them in the car and charge them there or from your laptop, or take them in your travels and just use any USB port to straighten that fringe and get rid of the hat hooks!
You might say “what the hang?!” but some people truly miss their healthy shakes when they travel, especially those on a regime! I met the NZ supplier of the Travelmixa who has worked with a manufacturer in China to come up with a robust USB charged smoothie maker. I tried it out last night and made a date shake (from dehydrated dates I brought back from Palm Springs) and it was delicious. Creamy and really well blended. This handy little gadget is light weight, is approved for cabin bags and the battery lasts 2-3 weeks on a single charge if making one drink a day. Buy your fresh fruit at produce markets and start with a healthy shake in your hotel or tent each morning! The next version she’s working on will take ice for cocktails on the go!
I don’t use these often as I usually can tell now by picking up my bag that I am under the required weight, but I do think they are helpful if you are borderline and have an aversion to paying ridiculous excess baggage fees! I have two types in my Travel Store, both little handheld battery operated. Also handy for weighing things like babies and items to go in the post…
Handheld water boiler
A very handy device for when you neeeed a cup of tea while travelling! This is great for cruises or road trips when you’re not likely to have a kettle in your room but you have your tea bags stashed in your luggage because you don’t want to miss your cuppa!
If it’s a new cabin you’re after and you are NZ based, I have a good range in my store to choose from. Both hard and soft shell rolling luggage as well as back packs and satchels.