As someone who travels often I'm always ready to go at a moments notice. Travelling for work can be wonderful but it can also be very stressful if you're not prepared. Like anything else in life if you want to do it right you have to have the right tools. Just like athletes need the right shoes and chefs the sharpest knives, you need the tools that'll help you do your best, even on 3 hours of sleep.
I am excited to share this list of my favourite and most essential products that I've found to make travel a bit easier. This list includes both luxury brand items to things you can find Amazon. What you won't see here is anything that would be useful if say, you had your own personal porter. And no travel pillow recommendations I promise.
There are two main criteria to make this list:
1. The item must serve a specific purpose
2. The item must be easy to cary and lightweight
Ok now onto the list, our top 10 best products for frequent travelers.
#1 The best carry on hard suitcase
I've tried every brand of suitcase, Tumi, Victorinox, Rimowa, Samsonite etc., in search of the perfect one and I think I've found it. Lightweight, with compression features on both sides, steers and spins like a dream. It also looks good and has an outer surface that doesn't look scratched after one use. It looks like they are now available online in the US as well. (They are also about half the price of the Away Travel ones!)
#2 The best travel tote bag
I used to buy so many bags, mostly leather, mostly designer, mostly very expensive. One day I was introduced to the Longchamp Le Pliage bag. I'll admit that at first sight I thought it was ugly. It's nylon with leather straps and has this flap thing at the top. I'd estimate that at least one in five women on the NY subway had one so I gave it a try and within a day I was sold, for life. It's literally the only bag I'll use.
It weighs almost nothing and fits way more than you can imagine. The leather straps seem to help lighten the load and the top full zipper makes it super handy at airports, on airplanes and in crowded places where you just don't want a hand in your bag. The best thing about the Le Pliage is that you can simply toss it into the washer and hang it up to dry. I'm not sure if Longchamp would approve but I've never had a problem. They seem to be indestructible and are great value. They also come in several colors and have new ones each season.
#3 The best laptop bag
Head Porter is a Japanese brand that makes all kinds of unisex utility-style bags. Almost like a great dress with pockets, my favourite laptop bag also has two generously sized pockets. Super handy for all the cables, chargers, adapters, USB sticks, pens, post it notes, lip balm etc. Having everything together in one unit makes it easy to get up and go. I usually buy two of everything and keep one set in the bag so it's always there and ready. (Porter now ships worldwide!)
#4 The best shoe bag for carrying your fancy shoes
Of course this list can't be complete without SHOOFIE. If you're someone who gets dressed from their shoes up, practicality is probably a big consideration. Fabulous shoes can help you win the day but you probably want something a bit more flexible for well...less glamorous parts of the day like like subway-ing, cabbing, rain-dodging etc.
SHOOFIE has two totally separate pockets so my shoes stay together but don't bump into each other in transit. The full width zippers make it easy to just pop shoes in and out. Best of all it looks fancy and the strap makes it easy to carry if i don't have room in my bag.
#5 The best double duty water bottle
When travelling, hot caffeinated beverages are just as important to me as water. You might have experienced that the timing of the hot beverage when you're on the road often seems to coincide with boarding, needing to walk very fast or pouring it and forgetting it. S'well aptly named 'Traveler' bottle is shaped somewhat more like a coffee cup and keep your beverage warm and in the cup thanks to the lid. It also doesn't scream 'sweaty workout'. Here again function meets fashion, this one comes in 3 sizes and a slew of different colors.
#6 The best power buddies
A. The universal adapter
Nothing worse than getting to your hotel and realizing you don’t have the right adapter. Definitely not the sexiest of accessories but sexy falls down the list of priorities when your phone only has 3% battery. This all-in-one option is our favourite - it covers the most common voltages (US/UK/EU/AUS) so you're always prepared.
B. The extra long iPhone cable
If you're ever desperate for a charge and find yourself huddled around one of those airport charging posts with 10 other people, having the added 3 feet of cable length can make all the difference. Also for hotels that were designed by people who never actually use them where the outlet is the furthest thing from the furniture.
C. The backup battery
Maybe you prefer to avoid the charging post situation completely or just want to be prepared for emergencies, back up power is getting so much lighter and lasts longer than ever. Like bags I've tried them all and have found the Anker ones last the longest and look the coolest. I like this red one because I can always see it but it also comes in black.
#7 The best travel hair dryer
I know that people who bring their own dryer are often made fun of but if you have a lot of hair it makes all the difference. I've killed a few hotel hair dryers in my time but only because they were trying to kill my hair. I pretty much swear by the T3 dryers and this compact one is the way to go. For shorter trips I can usually stick it out but for 3+ days it really makes mornings so much more efficient. It handles US and EU voltages so you don't need to worry about the adapter situation. This is the only one I own so it's great for home use too if you want just one.
#8 The best hair towel
If you have a lot of hair turban-ing your head with one of those big hotel towels can literally become a pain in the neck. I never ever forget my hair turban and cannot recommend this enough if you have long or thick hair. It wicks out the water so drying time is cut down significantly - very helpful if you'd rather spend more time sleeping. Like the hair dryer, this is another one I use at home too.
#9 The best travel tray
I love trays. Having a place to put small things, like jewelry, a watch, a room key etc, makes a hotel room feel more like home. It gives things a place to live temporarily so they don't roll off on their own or get swept up by housekeeping by accident with the dirty towels.
The best thing about these Longchamp ones is that they have snap buttons on the corners to make them completely flat when not in use. They are super light and take up almost no space. And like the Le Pliage bag they also come in several colors.
#10 The best sleep mask
Perhaps a bit cliche yes and I'll admit I was never really into the whole sleep mask thing. They're always too long or too short and the elastic is in places designed to fit a square box rather than a human head. This one is actually made of silk (not that plastic that's only meant to feel like silk) so it feels nice and definitely helps me relax after a long day of meetings and screen staring. If you wear it with the big plushie hotel robe you can pretend to be a movie star. Just don't forget to set your alarm before you doze off, you're only just pretending remember! If you're someone who needs total darkness to sleep I would recommend one of the darker colors.
If you have a favorite travel accessory or item you can't leave home without I'd love to hear about it! Email me anytime firstname.lastname@example.org
SHOOFIE is not an affiliate for any of the products mentioned in this post, we just really like them a lot.