Experts Reveal 15 of the Best Products for Travelers that are Also the Most Useful Products for Travelers
If you read this blog at all then you know that it is dripping with memes and adolescent humor that both stem from the insane number of travel mistakes that I make, like my most recent debacle at an Airbnb in Naples, Italy. So upon some not so deep reflection about my list of best travel accessories, I quickly realized that I am NOT the person to ask about any and all of the best products for travelers. In reality, I am the person you should ask about the worst products for travelers or all the travel items you should avoid for a hassle-free vacation. Actually, in fairness its probably more my fault than any product design flaws but that is a tale for a different post.
So when I decided to write a post about essential items for travelers, I quickly ascertained that I would need a ton of help, kind of like in my insane non-blogger life. Therefore, I asked some of the travel bloggers that I love, trust, and admire to share their nominations for, “travel products you cannot live without” (If I wrote the list I’d add Lassie. Can’t you just see someone saying, “What’s that girl? Girl with the Passport is trapped down a well because she wore high heels hiking? We’re on our way!” Yup, Lassie is the best).
My favorite part of this list though is that some of these products are totally free, like some of the travel apps mentioned. So even if you’re broke as a joke, you can still travel like a boss and do a free download of some of the best apps for travelers right now. So take a peek and find a free download or bonus, add some of these products to your list of best travel gifts because here at Girl with the Passport, I’m all about reading a blog post and getting some Amazon shopping done because that’s the type of multi-tasking I do. That and buying useless products on Amazon while lifting a spoonful of ice cream to my mouth. Yes, it’s a difficult life I lead.
My favorite travel product is my Sigg Hot and Cold flask. I have had it almost a year now and it comes on many trips with me! Why do I love it? Well, I enjoy hiking and it is the perfect flask for big or small hiking trips. You can drink directly from the flask, which means no messing around with balancing cups on rocks. It also proved very useful on my UK Hiking trip which included climbing the UK’s highest mountain, Ben Nevis in Scotland. The weather at the top can certainly be unpredictable and a lovely warm drink is exactly what I needed.
The Sigg Hot and Cold can also be used for trips through colder countries too. It was fantastic on my trip to Iceland, a lovely warm drink whilst I was hiking on the glacier was perfect (see my photo above!). The flask costs £22.95/ $29.95 for the 0.5 l version, with other sizes available too. While it may seem a little expensive for a flask, you’ll quickly earn your money back when you no longer need to buy hot drinks on your travels.
2. Portable Charger
3. Google Maps
I have always been directionally challenged. In fact, reading a map was one of the biggest challenges that I faced while traveling. That was until I discovered that tiny blue dot on Google maps that told me exactly where I am!!! The next revelation I had was that it would tell me which direction I should walk in.
Getting lost got even more difficult once I figured out how to navigate using the maps directions. As time passed, the more I used Google Maps the more I learned, like how to use this program to plan our trips. I just place pins at all the interesting locations in the country I plan to visit. Shawn then takes my star-studded map and creates a travel route that covers most of the destinations on the list.
Recently I noticed that a friend of mine drops pins at all the locations that she has visited too. I found this idea to be pretty useful when you are taking a taxi or a tuk-tuk in South East Asia. Simply use the directions on the map to your desired location and you can determine if the driver is going in the right direction; a great way to ensure that you aren’t being overcharged.
4. Rooftop Tent
6. Panasonic Lumix G85 (with a 14-140mm Lumix travel zoom lens)
My husband and I are travel photographers who spend a lot of time outside and in the elements. For a long time, we struggled to find a product that was easy to wear, breathable, and that whisks away moisture. That is until we found Buff headwear which is multifunctional and can be worn in a variety of ways (as a hat, ear warmer, neckband, hair band, and so much more).
My husband is a very fair skinned man who shaves his head, so sun protection is a must. That’s why he uses one band as a hat and a second around his neck. But even if you are not in a warm-weather location, they can also help protect against the cold and biting insects. I use my band to keep my hair out of my face or cover my ears when it’s cold. That’s why we never go anywhere without our Buffs! Plus they come in a variety of colors, patterns, and materials with prices between $12 and $30.
Trail Wallet is my absolute must-have app for traveling. Created by travelers, it carefully monitors everything that a traveler needs to know about their spending. As someone who travels long term and through many different countries, sticking to a budget and tracking expenditures in various currencies can be tough. That is until I found this app which is super easy to use and allows me to create different trips, set up a daily or trip budget, and categorize where I am spending my money.
For every trip I take, I just input all the applicable currencies, as well as my home currency, so that I can see how much I’ve spent in Aussie dollars too. This is particularly helpful when you’re paying for certain things in local currencies and then booking tours for example in USD. The app is also used offline so you can even export your spending to a spreadsheet for better budgeting. It’s an absolute must for any traveler who wants to properly track their spending.
Trail Wallet is free for the first twenty-five items and then costs an additional $7.99AUD for tracking an unlimited number of items. It’s seriously the best money I’ve ever spent on an app and I don’t know how I ever survived without it.
9. Backpack on Wheels
When I started planning my year-long trip around the world, I decided I needed a new backpack. During a visit to an outdoor store in search of the perfect backpack, I ran into a backpack with wheels. Not just a duffel bag but a proper backpack with sturdy straps that can be carried or rolled around. I had never seen a bag like this before but because my neck and shoulders are easily hurt, I was immediately drawn to it. The only drawback was that this Osprey Meridian wasn’t exactly cheap… $350, ouch! But I have been traveling with this awesome backpack for four years now and it’s still in great shape, so it was worth the investment (don’t worry there are cheaper alternatives with wheels too).
In most of the countries I’ve visited, I use the wheels most of the time and then those few times that I can’t use the wheels, like at the beach, I just unzip the back, pull out the straps, and carry it on my bag. Oh, and the best feature of this bag is that it has a daypack that you can attach to it. I love this bag and highly recommend it since it makes traveling around the world a lot more fun and a lot less sweaty.
10. Inflatable Unicorn
There are all sorts of travel bits and bobs out there designed to make your life on the road a little bit easier. Yet, sometimes, you just have to throw responsibility out the window. It’s big, it’s heavy, it takes up almost an entire suitcase (because you have to pack an electric pump as well), and I would never consider a trip to the beach without it – my magical inflatable unicorn! While I wouldn’t take it backpacking across South America, I do take it on camping trips or to Maui.
And if a relaxing float on the gentle ocean waves isn’t enough for you, it also makes a great bed for napping on the beach. I have even made anchors out of rocks and rope so I can nap on the water without worrying about being swept out to sea. On our last trip to Maui, we discovered this magical beast can even surf! It’s almost like riding a mechanical bull, but in the water. We are talking serious, very serious, amounts of fun. Plus, carrying a giant unicorn floaty down the beach is guaranteed to catch some eyes and provide you with ample opportunities to make new friends. “Hello stranger. Would you like to meet my unicorn?” HELLS YA!”
Well, you first hear about UNO cards, it seems like an obvious way to have fun with friends and family either at home or at a picnic. But I have to admit that it has proven to be my favorite travel accessory over the past years.
Be it those long boring hours waiting for a delayed flight or a dull train journey with no spectacular views or even a long haul flights that seems to never end, UNO cards have always kept us entertained. Not only that but we also manage to become friendly with several strangers who eventually become our travel companions throughout our trip.
The best part about UNO Cards is that they are sold everywhere. They are also easy to pack and carry. That’s why this fun and efficient travel game should be on everyone’s travel packing list.
Being an avid diver and beach lover, I’m always trying to keep my valuables safe, dry, and away from sand (those pesky grains can cause havoc on electronics). That’s why I was excited last year when I found the perfect solution, a dry bag! These type of bags are specifically designed to keep your belongings dry, and not just from the rain. They can even withstand submersion in water for several minutes. I originally bought a large dry bag (15L) to keep my clothes and towel in whilst on a diving day trip and loved it so much I bought a second smaller one (5L) that is perfect for valuables at the beach. I no longer have to worry about where to put my camera and purse when I go for a dip since I can just take them with me! Available in a wide range of colours and sizes, not only are these dry bags super useful and easy to use but you can pick a color that will match your outfit.
13. Lip Balm
For me, lip balm is one of the best travel products of ALL TIME! It is simply amazing because it keeps your lips hydrated all year round; especially during the winter season when the air is dry and having chapped lips feels like everyone’s worst enemy. And who wants to travel with cracked lips? Definitely not me! Not only that but it causes too much pain and takes some time to heal. Aside from that, lip balm also makes your lips look better and younger because of its healing and protecting properties.
Honestly, I was not really a fan of lip balm before. It all started during my first winter trip when my lips started to crack and the burning sensation didn’t even make me want to smile for a photo. I come from a tropical country so you could say that the cold weather was already too much for me, how much more could I take with chapped lips? It was really a nightmare! From then on, I started investing in a tube of lip balm and bringing it with me everywhere. It’s so cheap that you can buy it for less than $5 but it truly is a lifesaver.
14. Hair Ties
They usually arrive in threes, they cost less than £1, and they do way more than you’d imagine. You can find them at most drugstores, and sometimes you might even get lucky and get them for free. I’m talking about those little hair ties, made from coiled plastic, that are available all over the world.
If you have long hair like me, those hair ties stop you from inhaling your own locks during those wild days at the beach or when you’re taking in the scenic views from atop a mountain or two. They’ve prevented me from ripping my hair out of the velcro on a life jacket and have also kept my hair snuggled warmly inside my hat, while out in the snow. But these little travel lifesavers can also be used to attach your spare jacket to your bag or to corral that tangled mess of tech cables that seem to endlessly run riot through your house. A total travel essential for the less follically challenged travelers out there.
15. GoToob+ or GoToob by HumanGear
My favorite travel product has to be the GoToob+ or GoToob by HumanGear! Now if you haven’t tried this product before or haven’t heard of it then you need to buy it now.
You might be thinking, okay how is this any different from any other refillable shampoo, condition, or lotion bottle out there? Well, what makes this product so special is that not only are these bottles reusable but they are also squeezable, which means that you can get every last drop out of whatever product you are using; so you are actually saving money and reducing plastic consumption at the same time.
Additionally, these bottles have an innovative design that includes a wide mouth opening that makes the bottles easier to refill, a hook that allows you to hang the bottle in the shower, (Only available on GoToob+), a leak-proof design, and labels that you can customize yourself.
15 b. (Because no one likes lists that aren’t multiples of 5) The Upwade USB Extension Cord
We’re currently on a family gap year trip around the world and when we initially packed for our trip, we made quite a few mistakes, including bringing about three hundred different international plug adapters and USB plugs. Needless to say, we ended up either not having enough outlets or not having the right type of adapter. Moreover, we ran into a number of problems with heavy, cumbersome chargers (looking at you, MacBook Pro) that hung precariously from loose plug adapters – raising concerns about safety and damage to our electronics.
During a wistful search on Amazon, I came across a USB extension cord that solves so many of our problems. Now, we only need one good-quality international plug adapter, the extension cord, and a cord for each device. hat’s because this extension cord comes with two US outlets and four USB plugs. Therefore, we can simultaneously charge our iPhones, Amazon Fire tablets, a laptop and a camera! Such a great way to lighten our travel load as we continue our trip and travel to Southeast Asia.
This List of “Best Products for Travelers” is a Wrap!
So has your mind been officially blown (kaboom)? Have you seen the light and a burning bush, or how about Moses parting the Red Sea? If you answered no to all of these questions then that’s a good sign because if you answered yes, then your mental health may be in question. I mean remember what they did to Joan of Arc after she proclaimed she received messages from God? Yeah, she got burned at the stake and that is no Bueno.
Therefore, while all these products and gadgets for travelers are super awesome (After I read this post I impulsively bought a backpack with wheels and downloaded all the apps listed here. I have no regrets, especially since the apps are free. And okay, maybe I have a smidge of buyers remorse because now I’m sorta poor. Boo poverty. Okay, I’m far from impoverished but you get the point. Financially challenged), I doubt that your life has changed because of this post. I mean yes, the unicorn is my spirit animal and I will be rocking an inflatable unicorn floatie this summer, but it’s not like I won the lottery and can quit my job. Ugh, that would be amazing. I loathe my job, hence the blog and my eternal prayers for a mildly lucrative change of career. So while the ladies featured on this list are absolute ballers who have made my travel life way better, I’m really trying to put this list in perspective and not act like you’ve never heard of a hair tie before. A helpful packing list for travelers for sure, but probably not the holy grail itself. Trying to keep it real even though I will no longer purchase airline tickets without checking on Hopper to verify that yes, I do know how to find the cheapest flights.
Okay, I was gonna make this short but per usual, I am talking way too much because I make a joke out of everything. I mean it could be the apocalypse and I’d be sitting here, joking about how I’m sizzling like bacon because I’m getting seared by the hell fires of Hades itself. So that’s my cue to exit stage left before my critics come with the hook of doom, aka a bad Reddit review (FYI this happens all the time but I take virtual hugs and try and roll like a big shot). So read, buy stuff, and be happy because that’s the Capitalist way!
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