I have spent years as a travel writer and blogger trying out various accessories to help make my trips easier and even managing to get some sleep on a long haul economy class flight!
Here is my list of must-haves and some extra things that are useful to have - and I have tracked down the best of these accessories to bring into stock right here, to help make your next trip easy peasy.This is an absolute must if you hope to get some good sleep on a long haul flight! I have three types in here in the travel store: 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 carry 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. You can tighten the toggle in front so your head doesn't tilt forward, or undo it for eating.
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 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 from the pharmacy 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 raucous.
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. Think of these as the styly bum bag!
Ok I’ll admit, I’m not completely used to these. Yet. I have started taking one or two with me on trips and putting undies and bras in one and the other started off with my leggings (I pretty much live in black leggings when I travel because they’re comfy and go with all my pretty tunics). However because my black leggings also look like my black singlets and slips when everything is rolled up, it was very handy having them in a packing cell.
Organised people are loving these and I am now constantly getting new stock in to keep with the demand!
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. This plug has three separate international plugs locked together for easy packing - and so you won't leave one behind!
You might say “what the heck?!” but some people truly miss their healthy shakes when they travel, especially those on a regime, or people going camping. 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!
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 the Travel Store, both little handheld battery operated. Also handy for weighing things like babies and items to go in the post… 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!