I love trying out new travel accessories and gadgets, but there are a few that I refuse to travel without. These are my top travel accessories of 2017 so far. I’ll keep this post updated as I try out new stuff and they make their way into my must-have list.
HooToo Tripmate Elite
One of Our Top Travel Accessories for Tech Lovers
This travel router/power bank/AC adapter is at the very top of my list for a reason. It’s the one travel accessory I have that is a true multi-tasker. The HooToo Travelmate Elite boasts a generous 6,000 mAh power bank and a WiFi router. The HooToo Tripmate Elite will pay for itself in saved hotel WiFi fees if your hotel offers free wired and paid wireless internet! Read our full review here.
J & U Travel Pillow
One of Our Top Travel Accessories for Plane Travel
You might ask “How much can someone actually care about a travel pillow – aren’t they all basically the same?” and you’d be wrong. I’ve experimented with all sorts of travel pillows: inflatable ones, ones filled with foam pellets, memory foam, buckwheat husks; U-shaped, rectangular, cylindrical; the types that go around your neck like a medical device, and even ones with hoods. (In all fairness, I have not and will not use the Ostrich pillow – sometimes you have to draw a line!) I used to be a total mess trying to sleep on a plane – I had to be at the window seat to sleep in order to prop my head up against the wall. Inevitably about 15 minutes after I was able to doze off I’d wake up with a jerk as my head slid forward since I didn’t have any under-chin support. The J&U pillow solves that by cradling your chin with the third cushioned segment. It’s really a life-changer for me on any long flight, train, or car trip. Another positive: the J&U pillow keeps me from snoring! The same piece that provides under-chin support keeps your mouth shut and bingo, no more snoring, so my J&U pillow can actually help my wife sleep too! Trust me, this is the only travel pillow you’ll ever need.
I used to be a total mess trying to sleep on a plane – I had to be at the window seat to sleep in order to prop my head up against the wall. Inevitably about 15 minutes after I was able to doze off I’d wake up with a jerk as my head slid forward since I didn’t have any under-chin support. The J&U pillow solves that by cradling your chin with the third cushioned segment. It’s really a life-changer for me on any long flight, train, or car trip. Another positive: the J&U pillow keeps me from snoring! The same piece that provides under-chin support keeps your mouth shut and bingo, no more snoring, so my J&U pillow can actually help my wife sleep too! Trust me, this is the only travel pillow you’ll ever need.
One of Our Top Travel Accessories for When You Have To Go While You’re On-The-Go
These individually wrapped flushable personal wipes are amazing. Outside of their intended use, Dude Wipes are great to use to freshen up on long-haul flights, train rides, or car trips. For their intended use, Dude Wipes literally saved my butt on a trip to Thailand. I never leave home without them.
One of Our Top Travel Accessories for Productivity
I used to carry a tablet and a laptop with me when I traveled as the battery life on the laptop wasn’t great and it was hard to stay in touch with work or do much writing on a tablet. Then I found my dream device: the Chromebook. It has enough battery life to keep juiced up on all but the longest of flights and it has a great responsive touch pad with a serviceable keyboard. I love the convertible style touchscreen Chromebooks that can transform from a laptop to a tablet and as part of the appeal of a Chromebook is the value, I stay under $500.
The Chromebook is a great fit for me because of my fanatical use of Google products, but I really think anyone would find a Chromebook to be a great laptop to stay connected while sitting on the couch, 35,000 miles up, or at a coffee shop in Vietnam.
I love the convertible style touchscreen Chromebooks that can transform from a laptop to a tablet. As part of the appeal of a Chromebook is the value, I stay under $500. The Chromebook is a great fit for me because of my fanatical use of Google products, but I really think anyone would find a Chromebook to be a great laptop to stay connected while sitting on the couch, 35,000 miles up, or at a coffee shop in Vietnam.
Pacsafe Venturesafe 15L GII Anti-Theft Daypack
One of Our Top Travel Accessories for Security
I used to carry a regular cheap Walmart backpack on trips abroad to pack with essentials and things we’d picked up throughout the day exploring. That worked great for me until one day in Southeast Asia I witnessed someone get their MacBook extracted from their bag by someone who sliced the bag open with a razor and took off. It happened faster than the owner could even process it and it really opened my eyes.
The answer to this is the Pacsafe daypack. It has a stainless-steel mesh built into the body and cable reinforced shoulder straps to make slashing with a razor blade an ineffective way to steal something from the bag. It also has built-in hooks that retract into sleeves that keep the zipper pulls hidden and secure. The Pacsafe sports a strap that will loop around something like a table leg and lock securely back to the bag so you can take it off to eat lunch or relax without worrying about it being snatched. Inside it has a RFID-blocking pocket to keep things safe from more tech-savvy thieves. All of these features and it is still small enough to use as my personal item when flying.
Pacsafe makes a variety of bags in different shapes sizes and colors to fit a wide array of different purposes. The Pacsafe line of products provides great peace of mind when walking around as a tourist overseas.
A Power Strip
One of Our Top Travel Accessories for Hotels and Airports
A power strip doesn’t take up much space and can come in very handy. The one I carry is made specifically for travelers by a company called UPWADE. It only has two outlets and four USB ports, which is perfect for me. I’ve stayed in many hotels overseas where the outlets weren’t close to the bed or were otherwise in inconvenient locations and the five-foot cord on this power strip helped a lot.
Eat Smart Digital Luggage Scale
One of Our Top Travel Accessories for Avoiding Surprise Expenses
Like the HooToo Tripmate Elite, the EatSmart Digital Luggage Scale will pay for itself. In fact, for us, it paid for itself on the first trip we used it. My wife loves to buy stuff when we’re traveling abroad. Of course, this means extra luggage weight. Coming back from a trip to the Bahamas a few years ago, I used this to help redistribute contents from an overweight bag to an underweight bag. It didn’t occur to me to check until I was in the check-in line, but the EatSmart Digital Luggage Scale helped me figure it out and made the process quick and easy. It’s been a mainstay for us on every trip since that day.
A Smartphone and a Portable Charger
Two of Our Top Travel Accessories for Staying Connected
A smartphone is an invaluable travel companion for all of the obvious reasons: they all have GPS, camera, messaging, and of course a phone if you actually want to call someone. The OnePlus 3 A300 is a particularly good choice. It supports dual sim cards, comes with 64GB of memory and is unlocked from the factory.
A good tip, however, is not to count on getting immediate connectivity upon arrival. Download your important stuff to the phone, take screenshots, or take pictures. This includes pictures of your passport and other critical travel documents, hotel confirmation numbers, etc. Emailing stuff back to yourself is pretty useless if you can’t get on the internet to retrieve the emails.
Also, be on the lookout for apps specific to the area you’re visiting. Narita Airport in Tokyo has an app (and free WiFi!) that includes a guided map to important places in the airport including the bus terminal and underground rail station, currency exchange, baggage check (you can leave baggage at Narita for a small fee if you don’t need all of your luggage with you) and even the SIM card vending machines and desks to pick up WiFi hot spots. Thailand has a great app called GrabTaxi that you can use to schedule a taxi to pick you up. Saves on communication issues and is really handy if your hotel is a bit out of the way.
Since you’ll be using your smartphone so much, you should probably pick up a power bank as well. (If you bought the HooToo Tripmate above you’d already be covered.) Something with enough juice to charge your phone at least once and fairly portable should be the main concerns here. I love this one. It’s 22,000 mAh, which is enough juice to give me a little more than two and a half charges from empty and it fits in my pocket!
Roll-Up Compression Bags
One of Our Top Travel Accessories for Packing Efficiently
Roll-Up compression bags are a great invention. I use them to pack cold weather stuff when I am going to be traveling between areas with different climates. A pair of jeans, a down jacket, and a hoodie or two will pack down to nothing. I also use them to pack all my dirty laundry which saves space and keeps the rest of my clothes smelling fresh.
Let me know what you think of this list. It’s really a set of all of the things I carry with me. I wouldn’t go on a long trip without any of them. Pick one or all of them up and let me know if you agree. Leave a comment if you think I missed something and I’ll give it a shot on my next trip.