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I did more traveling this summer than I think I’ve done any other summer of my life. Some trips were long stays in faraway places (like my two-week Spain vacation) and some trips were short, weekend road trips. But no matter where I was going or what I was doing, I relied on these travel necessities to keep me comfortable, sane, and organized:
P.S. These recommendations would also make great, practical holiday gifts for the travel enthusiast in your life!
Packing Cubes – To be honest, when my dad was all excited to buy me these, I didn’t get it. I thought, “What’s the difference between packing my clothes in piles and packing them in pouches?”. However, I relented to his enthusiasm, and it turns out they make a huge difference! Not only does packing your clothes in packing cubes keep everything organized, but it also helps save space in your suitcase. You have no idea how glad I was during my Spain trip (when we trekked through six different cities) that no matter how much my suitcase got tossed around, I could unzip it and still easily locate a specific outfit because everything was in its designated pouch.
I love this set from Amazon because it includes 4 different sized cubes, plus a shoe pouch and a laundry pouch! The mesh and opaque linings, as well as the clothing symbols visible on the front of the packing cubes, make it super simple to remember where everything is and keep things organized. If all that isn’t great enough, they also offer these sets in five different colors (I have the purple one)!
Price: $20.99 – $24.99
Audible – I use this app even when I’m not traveling, but what I realized on some of my recent trips is that Audible is a much more reliable form of entertainment than say Netflix because your downloaded audiobooks can be listened to offline (and Audible will never deny you the right to download content because there is too much downloaded on other devices like some apps..). This means I can listen to a book for hours, whether I am on a plane or driving through places with slow internet speed. It’s the perfect way to relax and tune the world out for a while.
Neck Pillow – An oldie, but a goodie. I have been traveling with one of these since I was a little kid, but they’re practical at any age. We all need a little extra neck support when we’re trying to nap on a plane or in a car. Sleeping in either of these scenarios isn’t ideal, but with a neck pillow, it’s at least possible. And if you really want to treat yourself, get one with memory foam for cushion-y support.
TripIt App – I don’t think I am exaggerating when I say this is the best travel app ever! At first, I only downloaded this app because I wanted to create an itinerary I could share with my family so my brothers wouldn’t ask me what we were doing every single day of our vacation (even though they still did). However, housing your itinerary is just one of the amazing things this app is capable of. It also has a navigator function that gives you transportation options between destinations, a safety rating of every location, and a “nearby places” section that suggests nearby parking, restaurants, etc. Plus, the app stores important contact information and other details about every item on your itinerary. To make creating an itinerary that much easier, you can even sync your email with your TripIt account so that hotel reservations, flights, etc. found in your emails are automatically uploaded to your itinerary. It is seriously such a helpful way to plan trips, big or small!
Price: Free (or Pro version for $49/year)
Baby Loofah – A plain old washcloth or bar of soap just doesn’t cut it for me. My skin needs the gentle exfoliation of a loofah, which makes a small, travel-sized one (aka a baby loofah) the perfect solution.
Carry-on Backpack – This is a very recent purchase of mine, and I am so excited about it! Not only is this backpack hole-free, but it is also in my favorite color! Some of its key features include a charging port, versatility of bag handles or backpack straps, and plenty of space to hold the rest of my travel necessities. The nylon material also makes it super lightweight and durable, the perfect duo for long travel days.
Podcasts – Similar to Audible, podcasts are a great way to entertain yourself while traveling. I listen on Apple Podcast, which makes it easy to download shows for offline listening. Some of my favorite podcasts right now are The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, Truth’s Table, Thirty Minutes with the Perrys, and Don’t Keep Your Day Job.
Silk Pillowcase – This is actually a daily necessity of mine, but it’s even more useful when I am traveling. On any vacation, I don’t want to spend a lot of my time washing and styling my hair so being able to preserve my curls as long as possible using one of these pillowcases is the best! Plus, if you have sensitive skin like I do, you don’t have to worry about getting any weird rashes from the hotel’s laundry detergent.
Pro Tip: Buy a pillowcase in any color other than white (the brighter, the better) so it won’t camouflage easily into the hotel bedding and you don’t forget it.
Bonus: As of November 18, 2019, coupons on Amazon are available for most of the products listed on this page.