Be it for business or pleasure (or a bit of both) travel is an unavoidable aspect of life. And with the current state of modern transportation, airlines being a case in point, a comfortable trip hinges on bringing the right accessories along. Here is a list of the top 15 must have travel accessories for your trips.
1. Sleep Mask
Sleep deprivation can have serious consequences on the brain and body of travelers and is a common curse on long distance flights. It can wreck the beginning of what was supposed to be a fun holiday or an important business meeting. Sleep masks/eye masks help block light and stimulate the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls sleep.
2. Noise Canceling Ear Plugs/Earphones
Sounds are the other main enemy to proper sleep, after light. Use some simple ear plugs, or advanced noise canceling headphones to shut out distracting noises. With headphones, there is also the option to listen to soothing music, white noise, or even audiobooks ideal for bedtime listening.
3. Neck Pillow
Reclining seats are an option, but an incredibly unpopular one that is often considered grossly inconsiderate. A neck pillow is a safer alternative to grab some vital shut-eye in a comfortable posture on long flights without arousing the wrath of your fellow travelers.
4. Leak Proof Travel Bottles
The leaking shampoo bottle in the bag is a well-established trope in its own right. There is numerous life hacks out there on ways to prevent this unfortunate mess from happening to you during your travels. But a more straightforward option is to only use leak proof bottles for all your liquid soaps, shampoos, lotions and other grooming products. These bottles are made from soft silicone, which makes them squeezable. Some of them even come color coded, and with labels for easy identification of contents.
5. Travel Trimmer/Shaver
If you have a beard, it needs to be kept in shape. If you belong that tribe of men who prefer their jaw-lines clean and exposed, you need something to remove that early morning scruff. Stay presentable, be it on the beach or in boardroom meetings, with a portable electric razor. Use one with rechargeable batteries for more convenience.
6. Luggage Locks
No lock in the world can stand in the way of a determined thief, or the TSA. But locks can deter a particular class of criminals somewhat: the opportunistic kind. As a rule, it is always better not to carry any valuables in your luggage. But if you have to, secure it with a TSA approved lock, even if it is purely a form of due diligence on your part.
7. Luggage Tracker
Misplaced or incorrectly delivered luggage can be a nightmare on any trip. Harness the benefits of GPS and Bluetooth technology to ensure that you are prepared to handle this all too common predicament. Luggage trackers come in all shapes, sizes, and capabilities. While they cannot prevent the loss of baggage, they can at least give you a good idea of where to look. To keep track of bags in airports and buildings, a Bluetooth based tracker might be enough. But to keep track of luggage across countries and continents, larger GPS based boxes are ideal.
8. Shoe Bags
Shoes can get easily damaged in transit, especially if they are the expensive kind. It is always a much better option to swathe them and keep them protected inside a proper shoe bag. Shoes are awkward items to pack anyway. A shoe bag removes this hassle and also protects the footwear from dust, moisture, heat, scratches, and scuffs.
9. Travel Irons
This is more of a necessity for business travelers than holiday seekers. Creases can ruin a crisp looking business suit. And hotels charges for using their laundry and ironing services can be ludicrous. Having a travel iron in your bag can help you save cash while keeping your formal attire crease-free and impeccable. These irons are designed to stay compact and lightweight, making them ideal travel companions. Here is a list of 5 of the best travel irons you can purchase.
10. Ziploc Bags
These are ideal accessories to prevent potential messy situations. Damp clothes or towels opened food containers, and other such items can cause a mess inside your bag. Resealable pouches are an excellent way to securely stow them away when you are on the go, especially if in a hurry. They have been around for decades, but in case you didn’t know who designed these useful contraptions, check out this NY Times piece on the topic.
11. Portable Water Purifier
These days, water purity is not just a concern exclusive to the Third World. It doesn’t matter where you go, availability of pure water will remain a primary concern in the coming years. For domestic travel, a portable water filter is a very viable choice that can remove particle contaminants and bacteria. These come in different sizes and designs, ranging from bucket sized filters to bags, bottles, and even straws. For handling viruses in tropical climates though, an additional purifier may be necessary.
12. Portable Luggage Scale
All trips, be it for business or pleasure, often end up involving at least some local shopping. And if you get carried away, your luggage weight can be affected. And as well all know only too well, airlines do not take kindly to baggage that exceeds their weight allowances. Carry a portable luggage scale if you want to stay on the right side of the limit even before you enter the airport. Petite electronic options can be easily found online.
13. Powerbank/Portable Battery
Even iPhones will eventually run out of juice, especially the latest iteration. And these days, we also use a lot of other devices and portable gadgets, not to mention the trusty laptop/Macbook. Having a mobile charging option can be handy, especially in situations where charging outlets are not available.
14. Universal Charger
And when power outlets are available, they may not be the proper fit for your charger plug. This can be a pervasive issue during international travel. Power outlets in the US are different from those available in Europe. The UK has their system as well, a situation mirrored by other Commonwealth nations like Australia and New Zealand. The best option is to carry a well-designed charger adapter that can fit all these different systems equally well. Just ensure that the model has adequate safety features like surge protection.
15. First Aid/Medicine Pouch
Travel throws up all kinds of challenges at your body. From fatigue to motion sickness, exposure to the elements, as well as the potential for all sorts of infections. No travel packing is complete without a well stocked first aid kit. This becomes all the more important if you have any prescription medications as well. Keep all the vital stuff in one place with a compact pouch specifically designed for the task. Check out this CDC guidance page for some helpful tips on the different types of medicines and pills to be carried during travels.