I’m going to pull you aside and start speaking very intensely while counting things off on my fingers. I’m probably going to send you a follow-up email in which I reiterate everything I told you in that conversation.
I JUST REALLY WANT YOU TO HAVE A GOOD TRIP AND THAT’S A LOT EASIER IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT STUFF.
These are 7 items that I sweaaaaar by. They’ll greatly improve your trip and I’m not going to shut up till you get them – and they’re helpful no matter how long the trip or your destination! Also: none of them cost more than $50 and two are free.
7 travel tools that, no, seriously, just go get them already
Non-negotiable travel tool #1: Packing cubes
If I find out that you’re about to take a long trip and don’t have packing cubes, I’m going to try to lend you mine. I AM 100% SERIOUS. More than anything else on this list, these little buddies will change your travel life.
You know how everything just barely fits in your suitcase? And then you pull your jeans out from the bottom and now you need to spend 20 minutes re-rolling and stuffing everything? That doesn’t happen when you use travel cubes. They’re particularly great if you’re backpacking, staying in shared hostel rooms, and trying to dig things out of your bag very quietly because everyone is sleeping.
Non-negotiable travel tool #2: Face mist
Travel is 80% awesome, 20% dirty/sweaty/exhausting (percentages may vary, depending on your destination/type of transport). No matter where you’re going or how you’re getting there, you probably won’t feel quite as fresh as you’d like upon arrival.
This is why face mist is The Actual Best. I swore by it on my 9,000-mile road trip and I swear by it for long flights. If you’re traveling by land and don’t need to worry about the three-ounce rule, this $7 face mist is lovely. If you’re flying (or prefer to DIY) add a few drops of essential oil to a tiny, empty spray bottle and fill it with distilled water once you get through security.
Non-negotiable travel tool #3: This scarf/wallet thing
One of the biggest bummers about travel is worrying about thieves and pickpockets, followed closely by the bummer that is hauling a purse or bag everywhere. Which is why this scarf thing is so awesome! No annoying bag! (Probably) no pickpockets!
If you don’t feel like shelling out $39 for this scarf, here’s a video to DIY your own!
Non-negotiable travel tool #4: Black Chaco flip flops
Now, I’m sure my glamour puss travel friends would disagree, but if you are even vaguely laid back in your approach to travel style, these flip flops are for you. They have high arches so you can wear them forever without getting that sore, squashed flip flop foot feeling. They have decent grip so you can wear them on wet surfaces; they’ll dry nicely without getting smelly or weird. They last forever. They’re sporty without looking too … river raft guide-esque.
I’m on my second pair in 10 years and I’ve worn them through 15+ countries!
Non-negotiable travel tool #5: Navmii: data-free GPS
Crossing into Canada and discovering that your GPS doesn’t work is a non-awesome way to start a trip. YOU MIGHT HAVE TO — USE A MAP AND TALK TO PEOPLE UGH. (I did it and lived!) If you’d like to avoid this fate worse than death, you should download Navmii. It’s free, it works just as well as any other GPS app and it doesn’t require data so you don’t have to worry about incurring huge overage charges.
Non-negotiable travel tool #6: Microfiber face cloth
If you’d like a bit more luxury in your travel, this face wash bar is lovely (and you won’t have to worry about the three-ounce rule) and these face wipes are classic. But no matter how easy those are, they’re not as easy a microfiber face cloth. It removes all dirt, oil, and makeup without any soap! One less thing to pack!
Non-negotiable travel tool #7: a few dryer sheets
I like to tuck a few dryer sheets into the mesh pocket of my suitcase, to keep everything smelling nice. You can also use them to de-static your hair and clothes or wipe yourself down after the beach. They’re weirdly good at getting rid of sand!
Edited to add: dryer sheets are typically full of crazy, creepy chemicals, so consider getting a hippie brand like Seventh Generation
But I want to know which travel tools you swear by! Leave links in the comments!
P.S. I’m in Mexico for the next 2.5 weeks. You can follow along on Instagram if you want to see me stuffing my face with sikil pak and hibiscus tea!
Related: Airbnb is always an affordable option and if you’ve never used it before, here’s a $40 credit towards your first booking!
photo by Gregory Bourolias // cc