The things we love as full-time travelers
When we first began this journey, we made several assumptions about what we’d need in the way of travel gear, electronics and other needs. We’ve since come to rely on a list of non-clothing must-have items that adhere to three critical criteria:
- They are essential for a specific use, or they serve 2 or 3 uses
- They are light weight
- They take up very little room
Introducing our featured products that have been road tested and approved by Travel.Work.Do:
luggage and travel accessories
We didn’t start out with one of these, but decided a scale is critical for staying within airline weight limits, which can vary tremendously. Though we bought a different scale, I have to say, I like those that have a built-in tape measure. You know me, anything that can serve two purposes in one item is good in my book.
SILK TRAVEL MASK
Who can't use a sleeping mask for those long haul flights or bus rides. And this one is incredibly lightweight, soft, and comfortable. I love the super soft silk material. You can read more about it here.
Super practical travel bottles are a must. I like that these are leakproof, silicone, and squeezable. This set comes with two sizes (3oz or 2oz), and bonus little pill or cream holders.
compressible travel pillow
I actually didn't go in search of a travel pillow for airplanes. I searched for one because there seems to be a definite lack of decent pillows most Airbnbs. The beauty of this pillow is that there are four sizes - with the largest ones being a full-sized pillow! Packs down pretty small too.
home and kitchen items
international power adapter
An essential item that you don't really want to be without (just ask Jay about his Chile experience;) is a universal or international power adapter. This handy little item allows you to adapt to outlets in the UK, US, Europe, Australia and Asia. It also has a couple of USB slots for charging.
A companion to your power adapter is the PowerCub 4-Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip. A consistent problem while traveling is finding enough power outlets to plug in and charge our stuff. This compact puppy gives you quadruple the plug-ins, and even acts as a surge protector! They also come with a cord!
office clips - assorted sizes
OK, so I know office clips seems like a funny thing to recommend, but honestly, these have been one of the handiest things we own. We've used them as bag clips for chips, to clip curtains into place, as money clips and as makeshift hooks when there aren't enough. Seems like we never have enough.
There are a handful of spices that we travel with so that we're not replacing them everytime we land somewhere. For awhile we stored the spices in zip lock bags, which was a pain. Here's a tip for you, for spices you can't live without, store them in pill organizers. I recommend the extra large size so that you can store enough for more than just a recipe or two.
SILICONE CUTTING BOARDS
If you're going to bring along a really good knife, then you're going to want to also ensure you always have a cutting board. You'd be surprised how many Airbnb's and apartments don't have cutting boards, and you're not going to want to buy one at every stop. Silicone lightweight, flexible mats not only serve as great cutting boards, they're also super handy to cover often less-than-desirable kitchen surfaces.
Another one of those everyday items that has come in handy at every single apartment/Airbnb we've stayed in. Tripping through unfamiliar places in the middle of the night is no fun. Opt for a light that has dusk to dawn auto sensor like this Emotionlite Night Lamp.
yoga socks and gloves
I bought a yoga mat at our first destination as we were going to be there for seven months. But I regretfully had to leave it behind, and buying a new one at every stop just wasn't practical. Then, I discovered yoga socks and gloves. Now I can do yoga anywhere without worrying about slipping.
Anyone who travels a lot knows how hard it is to keep up with a physical fitness routine. There are lots of creative ways to use available items to work out like water bottles and soup cans as weights, for instance. I travel with resistance bands. They are lightweight and pack small, and I can use them in very small spaces for a variety of routines. Get your own here.
Another handy item is the Hydro Flask. love this water bottle. It's insulated, so it keeps the hot liquids hot and the cold ones cold...seemingly forever. And, it never sweats. Be sure to get one with the straw in the cap as the opening is a bit large for drinking straight out of the bottle.
HYDROPACK STASH WATER BOTTLE
If you're running short on space, check out this collapsible water bottle. The Stash 750 flattens for maximum room in your suitcase or pack, yet expands for use. It's also 50% lighter than a hard bottle.
Electronics and Accessories
portable laptop stand
Traveling from place to place means never having the same workspace. Ergonomics can be a problem, and I started experiencing back and neck pain. The answer came as a gift from my kids -- a Nexstand Laptop Stand, a fold-able stand that raises the laptop off the desk to 11 inches (eye level).The stand is compact. It fits in my laptop bag and takes up very little space, yet can be unfolded and set up in seconds.
Just For Fun
FireTV s a small luxury that we allow ourselves to indulge in (OK, so we're admitted geeks). Most of the places we have stayed in come with local television in the form of cable or satellite. English programming is rare though, so it's nice to have the option to access programming from home. With Fire TV, you can watch much of your favorite programming on the TV by way of an HDMI connection.
The Chromecast by Google does not provide content directly. Instead, it allows you to stream content from most any device to the TV. Say you are watching a cool YouTube video on your tablet. You can “cast” this content to the TV screen via Chromecast. Almost any content you can get on your phone, tablet, or laptop can be “cast” in this way. Chromecast comes in two flavors: Original Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra.