If you have plans to go abroad this year, there’s one thing that you’ll have to do to get to your final destination: actually travel.
I love the process of packing and driving to the airport (the earlier in the morning, the better). I even love checking through security, and the strange sense of nostalgia that I get every time. But I hate–I hate–the actual act of travel.
I hate sitting on planes, trains, and automobiles. I hate waiting for hours on end to finally reach my destination. I hate never knowing who I’m going to be sitting next to, or if they’re going to be chatty and messy the whole way there. I’ll tolerate a sleeper train, because what’s better than a sleeper train? But all other travel just kills me.
That’s why it’s so important to get all of your travel accessories in order before you take off, leave port, or hop into the car. Travel is going to be a hassle–but that doesn’t mean that it has to be uncomfortable.
Stay on top of TSA regulations
The first thing I like to do when I’m packing is make sure my luggage will be in accordance with TSA regulations. That means not carrying on any liquids or gels over 100 ml (to a collective 1 quart), which doesn’t apply to medications, baby food or formula, or breast milk.
I like using a set of reusable bottles like the Austin House TSA-Approved Travel Bottle Kit to sort out my liquids, because then I know that what fits into the zip-top bag will be ok to go on board. Plus, if I’m transferring products into small containers, I’m not losing space in the 1 qt bag to empty bottle space.
Next, I like to think about security right off the bat, so I won’t have to worry about it later. A TSA-approved lock is a great way to keep your luggage (both carry-on and checked) secure from other passengers and staff while letting the TSA inspect your bags, so they don’t need to cut your locks. The simple Go Travel Sentry TSA Combination Lock does the trick for this, and you don’t even need to carry around an extra key for it.
Travel accessories for him & her
Once you’ve finished worrying about keeping on top of TSA regulations, you can focus on the fun stuff: packing! I always get to use my cutest bags while travelling, because so many of my pouches and organizers are too small for everyday use, but perfect for keeping things separate in my luggage.
I’ve picked out two sets of travel accessories for this post. One’s a “For Him” set and one’s a “For Her,” but don’t let that stop you–it’s a bag, not a person, and it deserves whatever gender YOU choose to assign to it.
For “him,” I love the Fossil Single Zip Shave Kit and Mancini Manchester Leather RFID Card Case. The Shave Kit will keep all of his shaving essentials and toiletries in order (so he doesn’t have to ask if he can put his toothbrush and tweezers in with yours,) and the RFID Card Case will protect his digital data from being stolen while abroad.
For “her,” my top travel accessories pick is easy: it’s this JanSport Pixel Accessory Pouch in the Multi Navy Mountain Meadow print. It’s by JanSport, so you know right off the bat that it’s going to be both affordable and durable, and it’s so cute. The flowers contrast perfectly with the navy background for an overall girly feel (but not girly girl, you know?), and it’s great for storing all of her essentials: toothbrush, toothpaste, spare battery, power cords, emergency cupcake fork…
My last pick could be for her or for him, or, optimally, both. The Mancini Ripstop Polyester Packing Cubes comes in a variety of different colours, and they’re all equally durable. I hate having to throw all of my belongings into one big compartment when I travel, and travel cubes are just the perfect accessory for my OCD–they sort everything out and let you lift each layer independently, so it’s always easy to access what you need without having to fully unpack your bag.
Have a comfortable trip!
Once your bags are packed, locked, and weighed, you only have one job: to enjoy your travels to the best of your ability! It’s no fun being cramped in a car or plane for hours on end, but there are little adjustments that you can make to ease your endless suffering.
(Endless, I say! Endless! I can make it about three hours in a car or plane before I start going stir-crazy. After five, I start to cry.)
The one trick that I learned from my dad, growing up, was to always bring a neck pillow along for the ride. If you had space in your carry-on or you were travelling by car, you were always to bring a memory foam neck pillow, like this Go Travel Memory Foam Neck Pillow. If you didn’t, you were to bring an inflatable one and make do.
The one trick that I learned from my mom, on the other hand, was to always bring an actual pillow along for the ride. If you were travelling by car, it didn’t matter if you had space–you’d make space. The only guarantee when you travel is your destination, and there’s no saying how good the pillows there will be… So you had better bring your own.
If you’re travelling by plane, though, there are a few other cool travel accessories that you can find at Best Buy that’ll make your trip a little easier. The Go Travel Quiet Zone Sound Filtering Ear Plugs will help you rest easy despite the constant drone of the engine and the wind, and the Go Travel The Nightshade Sleeping Mask will darken your view even if your seat-mate has a book in their lap and an industrial-strength headlamp to read it by. (A good sleeping mask is a great way to get an excellent night of sleep at home, too, so don’t think that it’s just a one-time-use purchase!)
And, for shorties like me, there’s this magical Go Travel Inflatable Foot Pillow. You guys, I need one of these for my everyday life! I haven’t been able to reach the floor in a chair (be it office, wooden, or metal) since I was in pre-school and they sat us in those tiny chairs for little kids, and the discomfort is most evident when I fly. If you think sitting in a cramped airline seat for seven hours is uncomfortable, try doing it with swollen feet and legs that are continually losing their circulation because they’ve just been dangling for hours on end.
The right travel accessories can really help you make the best out of an uncomfortable situation, but if they aren’t cutting it, just remember this: pretty soon, you’re going to be in a destination you’ve been dreaming about.