Like anyone who travels, Stephanie and I have a few specific things we make sure to pack whenever we head out on a trip. We thought it would be fun to share our favorite travel gear that makes life a bit easier on the road.
Putting aside some of the usual “must-have” items like laptops, smartphones, electrical adapters, and iPads, we came up with the following list of gear and accessories.
Some of the products we mention below are obviously more essential than others, but they can all help to make your trip more enjoyable.
We did a lot of research before deciding to buy this camera. There are so many options out there, but the Canon EOS Rebel series seems to have the best options for amateur photographers and hobbyists. This is an excellent camera with a huge amount of options. It has great battery life, takes high quality pictures, isn’t too heavy, and it even includes a fold-out screen to take travel selfies.
If you’re spending a lot of time on planes or even trains, you definitely need a good set of noise cancelling headphones. Beats by Dre are hugely popular, but we’ve found these to be the best overall. They have an excellent battery life and they’re specially optimized for Apple and Android mobile devices. Also, unlike some other noise cancelling headphones, these operate on only one AAA battery. Noise cancelling headphones are excellent for movies and music on planes, but they can also be extremely useful for creating some silence when you need to get some sleep.
Access to a good book is a nonnegotiable for Stephanie, and Amazon’s Kindle has been a lifesaver since her first extended trip through Southeast Asia and Europe in 2009. Kindles can store tons of eBooks, which means boredom won’t be an issue during flights, train rides, layovers, or unexpected bouts of free time- and you won’t have to give up precious space in your luggage for all that reading material! While Kindles have tons of options, you can get a great basic one that will meet your reading needs for under $100.
When we travel, we try to walk as much as possible. We thought it would be fun to see how much we’re walking during our trips, so we picked up a couple Fitbits. It snaps onto your belt and can be easily concealed (as opposed to other wristband-style trackers). It can monitor your steps, distance walked, calories burned, and even sleep quality.
Even though we love our Canon camera, sometimes it’s just easier to pull out the iPhone and snap some photos with that. Smartphone image quality doesn’t always compare to DSLR cameras, but this mobile app can help you get pretty close! Take pictures with your iPhone and use the Camera+ app to clean them up, boost colors, adjust shading, and make them look amazing. This is one of the apps we definitely need for our travels.
Bags and Luggage
Once we found a camera we knew we needed a case for it. We went with this nice padded case from USA Gear. It’s lightweight, has a weather resistant neoprene exterior, includes a shoulder strap, multiple interior accessory compartments and the top loading zipper makes it easy for us to stow in our backpack (below).
We’ve used a few different backpacks over the years, but we’ve decided the drawstring backpacks are the best for our travels. The strings aren’t as heavy or bulky as most backpack shoulder straps, so they don’t make you sweat as much and the bag is very lightweight. We love this adidas backpack because of the added front zipper pocket and side mesh pockets for holding water bottles or drinks. We still prefer traditional backpacks (we love The North Face) as a carry-on option for flights, but drawstring bags are perfect for day trips or when we’re out exploring.
We’ve gone through a lot of luggage over the years, but this hardside spinner has been our favorite. It’s made of super lightweight polycarbonate that is also tough and durable to protect your things. We loved the brushed pattern on the exterior; it kind of helps to hide scratches. It comes in a variety of sizes and colors and it even features a built-in TSA approved security lock right on the zipper.
A handheld battery-operated fan is an essential item for us. This O2Cool fan is inexpensive and runs on just two AA batteries. It has a carabiner that makes it easy to clip onto your backpack or belt. The pocket fan is a lifesaver when you’re outside walking in the heat all day or stuck somewhere without air conditioning. It’s quiet and the soft foam blades can push enough air to cool you down anywhere.
Stephanie found these toe separators and they’ve been a nice addition to our travel accesories. When you walk as much as we do (our Fit Bit has averaged almost 10 miles a day on some trips) your feet can get pretty sore. Put these on your toes at the end of the day to relieve stress and tension in both feet and legs. They’re great for increasing circulation on flights as well.
Every airport sells headphone splitters, so they’re easy to find and inexpensive. We went with this set from Monoprice because of the nice individual volume controls. These are perfect for the times when we want to watch a movie together on the iPad or laptop. Certainly nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. If you’re looking for headphone splitters with more than two jacks, Amazon has a huge selection to choose from.
What do you always take with you when you travel? Is there any additional travel gear you would recommend to us? Leave us a comment and let us know!
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