The travel products we have chosen to take with us stay with us 24/7 – so there is little room for error! Making the right choices plays a huge role in maintaining our sanity either by making life easier, more efficient or lightening our loads. Here’s a listing of the travel stuff we absolutely couldn’t live without. For a 2014 update on the latest edition to my travel gear, check out my Travel Gear, 2014 Edition post!
Ever wonder what a globetrotting girl brings with her to travel the world non-stop?
For the complete GlobetrotterGirls packing list, click here!
Traveling and working from the road since 2010, we have gone through quite a few laptop changes! Because we work while on the road, our computers are most important. When we started, I went to Best Buy and bought us two little ASUS Eee PC netbooks for $250 each. These netbooks made terrific travel companions and we used them until they burnt out. We never expected to be running a website full time and putting such pressure on netbooks that aren’t designed for that. They lasted 14 months of massive overuse, though – respect!
My Acer Aspire TimelineX laptop, which weighs in under 4pounds (2kg) was a steal in the ultra lightweight laptop category at under $600! Eventually my Acer slowed down and then completely froze, and now I am in love with my Acer Aspire S3, a very similar model but sleeker, faster and lighter by a pound!
I have finally made the change from in-ear to on-ear headphones and couldn’t be happier with my new LSTN headphones! Not only do they look good with their wooden housing (you can choose between cherry, ebony and beech), but they also have an amazing sound quality. Plus: the company puts a big emphasis on social responsibility and gives back hearing to a person – mainly in developing countries – for every pair of headphones sold. I find my LSTN headphones to be perfect for traveling since they are light-weight yet robust and they are noise-cancelling which helps tremendously on bus rides in countries where the bus driver has a movie blaring at full volume. Moments like those make you want to pick up good headphones before you leave on a long-term trip and at $99, these headphones come at a decent price. You can buy them on Amazon.com.
One of my more most recent purchases, I could never travel again without my Kindle Free 3G + Wi-Fi. I bought it just before the Kindle Fire came out,, so it’s officially already the ‘old school’ Kindle but I’ve now got hundreds of books all in one slim device. Any form of Kindle is perfect for long-term travelers, short-term travelers or even for lazy Sundays in bed.
We picked up our Belkin Rockstar Multi Headphone Splitter in a hi-tech vending machine in L.A for $15., completely on a whim. It has turned out to be one of our best purchases! With this little guy we can listen to music, podcasts, play games and watch movies on long bus rides without sharing a pair of headphones. Genius!
When it came time to get a new portable hard drive, I chose the Transcend StoreJet 25 Mobile Anti-Shock 500 GB drive mainly because it can withstand drops of up to 3 meters / 10 feet and since I don’t climb much, I figure it’ll hold up no matter what pain we put it through.
All the travel tech in the world won’t matter if you don’t have a good international adapter to charge your goodies. We use the Universal Travel Adapter Plug Kit and haven’t had any issues with it.
Smartphone charger: These days, we’d be absolutely lost without our iPod Touches… especially during long bus rides. Sadly, the battery life isn’t all that great anymore – but since Portable Chargers started popping up, my live has been changed!!! A portable smartphone charger was the best piece of travel gear we’ve bought in the last couple of years and we wouldn’t want to travel without one anymore.
What Travel Gear to Bring on your Trip
Pick up a set of eBags Packing Cubes. They entirely revolutionized my packing! These little guys allow me to fit so much more into a smaller place, and more importantly keep me from having to fling out shirt after shirt looking for that pocket knife, or lotion. I could not imagine ever traveling without packing cubes again!!
Even more practical: my new TUO, the ultimate travel undergarment organizer by Origami Unicorn. This is basically an improved version of a packing cube, with three separate compartments for your socks, panties and bras (or other accessories, like belts or ties). With the separate compartments, you’ll be able to find what you need right away. The TUO has snap buttons which form a practical handle and allow you to hang it, which makes it super easy to access your clothes. Another plus: it comes with a small laundry bag. Check out my full review here, or head straight to the Origami Unicorn website.
Toiletries take up a lot of space, especially hair products. That’s why I like to travel with Lush Shampoo Bars. These tiny little organic shampoo bars ($9), and three bars will last six months and take up less space than one shampoo bottle.
For the ladies: After hearing many good things about the Diva Cup, I finally ordered one for myself (they are cheaper on Amazon than in the stores that have them!) and I am so glad I did! This menstrual cup takes a while to get used to but it saves us carrying around tampons or dealing with finding them in countries where they are hard to come by.
Sssshhhh… I am pick pocket proof!
When I came across the pick pocket proof underwear by The Clever Travel Companion, I knew I had to try it! Every time I’m on night buses, I am freaked out about where to stash my valuables without having to be paranoid the whole time that somebody’s going to steal them, and this underwear is the perfect solution. It comes with secret pockets, barely visible, that can hold credit cards and bills (the panties) and even passports (the tank tops). Not only are the pockets invisible to thieves, but they are also in a place where pick pockets wouldn’t expect you to keep your valuables! The underwear starts at $19.90 and can be ordered here. You can read my full review here.
The BottleKeeper: This gadget came into my life at the exact right time: when I was in Arizona, doing a lot of hikes, followed by a road trip to Texas! The BottleKeeper basically keeps your beers nice and cold in the heat, lined with neoprene and padded on the inside. From the outside, it looks like an unsuspicious water bottle, should you ever find yourself in a place where alcohol might not be, ahem, legally consumed. The BottleKeeper fits different sizes of beer bottles, which is awesome, and comes in several colors – of course I opted for the brightest one! You can order your own BottleKeeper here.
Road trip essentials
I am a huge fan of road trips, and have been road tripping at least once a year since I started traveling full-time. To be always ready to hit the road, I carry a number of small items with me that help me make a road trip easier.. and yes, they are all designed to use your smart phone, but frankly – that’s the most important gadget: look up attractions, use road trip apps, the Google Maps GPS direction function, listen to podcasts and music. The following items are all small enough to travel with me at all times:
- ZUS Smart phone charger: This device is an absolute must-have for every road trip – not only does it offer charging at twice the speed of normal car chargers, but it also charges two devices at the same time! If you use the ZUS app along with the charger, you can also use it as a car locator when you park your car in crowded places.
- Auxiliary Audio Cable ($4.99) – To connect your phone to the car’s sound system (if there is no Bluetooth)
- Magnetic Mount Holder ($6.99) for your phone – easy to plug into the car’s air vent and you can see the screen at all times. Especially useful when you’re using a GPS on your phone!
To ensure you choose the right travel insurance for you, I recommend checking out the Ultimate Guide To Travel Insurance for a detailed guide to everything you need to know about travel insurance, including things like what’s included in a typical policy and six important steps to keep in mind when choosing a cover for your trip.
We have tried several travel insurance companies, but in the end we found the packages that Worldnomads.com offer are the best in the market, with several packages for solo travelers, couples or families, and varying lengths of trips, all available for people in 150 countries! You can also select the kind of travel you plan to do (including adventure travel and extreme sports for example) and the packages cover medical, baggage, cancellation costs, dental and liability. Find out more about World Nomads Travel Insurance here.
Travel Websites we couldn’t live without
Without the help of several useful websites, we could never find the great travel deals and insider details that help to save us thousands of dollars. Check out our listing of the top 5 travel websites we couldn’t live without post we put out in late 2011.
Books we like
Traveling as a couple? Pick up our book!
We wrote a book together with the folks from Indie Travel Podcast about traveling as a couple. It’s a super helpful guide to life on the road 24/7 with your partner (and we’re not just saying that because we’re in it) including our two chapters on specific advice for gay and lesbian couples.
Travel the world while earning good money? Work on a cruise ship!
My friends Earl and Liz wrote a fantastic book on how to find a job on a cruise ship – including an overview of all the positions that are available on cruise ships, the relevant contact details of all major cruise lines and example application letters!
The only actual books we couldn’t travel without are guidebooks. Of all guidebooks, we prefer the Lonely Planet series – not because of its focus primarily on budget travel, but because it is one of the few popular guidebooks that informs us about the history, the culture and the local people in each place, plus great info on Dangers and Annoyances and safety for women and LGBT travelers. In our opinion the Lonely Planet covers as many bases as can fit into a book we can actually lug around with us.
If you have any questions or need any more information / guidance on what travel products might be right for you, feel free to get in touch with us at dani [at] globetrottergirls [dot] com or through our contact form. We might have a few ideas for you… .
If you click on any of these links and decide to make a purchase, we do get a small percentage of that for referring you, at no extra cost to you.