As the holidays are here, everyone is already looking for helpful and interesting gifts for the traveler in the family. Wanting to help, I came up with a list of my favorite travel items. I opted against the usual lists that contain the best cameras, smartphones, headphones, speakers, etc. Too many of these items are personal decisions, and I just went with items that are more practical. Please note, I received no compensation for these reviews and endorsements. They’re just the best travel aids I’ve used and are reasonably priced.
Lightweight Stuff Sacks from REI – I always travel with at least two of these lightweight bags. I always use one for dirty laundry, which provides a much-needed barrier between clean and dirty clothes. REI sells these bags in various sizes and colors. Find them here. Prices range from $11.50-$15 and are even sold in multi-sized sets. I love these bags. You can never have too many, especially if you are a camper/backpacker like me.
Packing Cubes from eBags – These handy packing cubes are actually on my Christmas list this year. My husband uses them when he travels and they are really quite handy! Being organized while you’re traveling is hard. With these packing cubes, at least your suitcase will be in order. You can check them out here. Note there are all different sizes, thickness, colors, and combinations to choose from. Prices start at $20 for a slim three piece set. Prices are reduced for the holidays so buy now!
Camelbak Groove Filtering Water Bottle – I am someone who needs to be hydrated. It’s easy to do at home, but not so easy when traveling. Having this filtering water bottle allows me to fill up anywhere and yet have peace of mind that the water is clean. Note this is not a water sterilizer and is not for backpacking. Find the bottles here. These Camelbak bottles come in a few different sizes and styles. Prices range from $20-$30. These bottles are pretty indestructible too!
BUBM Cable Organizer – This organizer has become our necessary tool for family travel. With everyone’s smart phones, iPads, headphones, and laptops, we needed a place to store all of the charging cables. This organizer can be used for many things as well, even as a toiletry kit. Keeping the cables organized and in one place has taken chaos out of traveling with technology. Find the organizer here. Its cost is currently $12 at Amazon.
Clif Organic Trail Mix Bar (dark chocolate peanut butter) – Not only does this bar pack well (it doesn’t fall apart and crumble like other bars), it also packs a high protein punch, keeping you fuller longer -something necessary while flying. It’s a 200 calorie bar with 6 grams of protein. As a vegetarian, I love to get my protein through healthy nuts. It helps that it tastes really good too. Find them at your local grocery store for less than $2 a bar.
GoToob Squeezable Travel Tubes– These travel tubes are great. They are made from soft yet sturdy silicone which makes them easy to squeeze. They also feature a wide opening for easier filling, are TSA approved for carry-on, and are BPA free. There is a twisting label area where you can write what the contents are, but it’s not too easy to write in that small space. Just use a Sharpie on the whole tube or label with tape. The no-drip valve keeps the tubes leak free and gives you peace of mind. You can find them at REI, Amazon, Target and other major retailers. The tubes come in various sizes and colors and range from $17-$26 for a three pack.
Wide scarf/shawl – I am so happy that scarves and shawls are trendy again. Not only can they add warmth without a lot of weight, but they can double as a blanket, headscarf, and pillow. I used to travel with a lightweight jacket, but it took up a lot of room in my carry-on. Shawls and scarves are super packable and have so many uses. Use them to dress up an outfit or change your look. Travel scarves are now available with pockets inside them. You can see them here. I hesitate to try these because in reality, what are you really going to put in your scarf? You aren’t going to want anything heavy inside a scarf, so I don’t find a lot of purpose for them. Most women carry purses anyway, so scarves with a pocket seems repetitive. Shawls and scarves can be found everywhere in all styles and price ranges to suit your budget.
REI’s Ultralight Backpack – Flash 22 – Now I don’t have this exact pack, but I do have a previous model. This ultralight backpack is only 14.5 ounces and has three pockets, in addition to the main compartment. It’s a frameless backpack with a 22 liter capacity. I love how light, yet study this pack is. I’ll often ditch my purse to carry this bag instead while out sightseeing or day hiking. Check it out here or find it at an REI store for $50.
eBags GripScale Digital Luggage Scale – I particularly like this luggage scale even though there are other good scales on the market. eBags seems to really make quality products after much design, research, and development. Plus all eBags products come with a lifetime warranty! I can’t travel without this scale as I always stuff my bags full. Plus, it’s nice to bring the scale with you to weigh your bags for the way home. Just feed the strap through your luggage handle, lift, wait for the beep, and read the scale. It’s that easy. The scale reads in either pounds or kilograms and has an auto shut-off after 30 seconds. Save yourself the hassle of ever having to repack your overweight luggage at the airport! eBags currently sells this item for $22.50, on sale for the holidays.
I hope these items inspire you or give you some helpful gift ideas for your loved ones. Traveling can be a difficult task. Sometimes all it takes is having the right products to help make your journey an easier one.