Gear & Services

My 12 Must-Have Travel Products

Over the last few years, I’ve found some great gear that makes traveling easier and more comfortable. Add these items to your packing list and sail through your next journey.

1. ACIL Bluetooth Headphones

After trying on-ear and over-ear headphones, I decided to stick with something smaller. Although noise-cancellation is something to appreciate on those larger headphones – its use while traveling is mostly relegated to airplanes. I found these ACIL headphones to be the perfect balance of size and strength. The earbuds are low profile (something I recommend while traveling abroad) and easy to keep around your neck with a built-in magnet. Most importantly, they’ll run for about 10 hours on a single charge. If you need noise-cancellation, I suggest old-fashioned ear plugs.

2. Yoozon Wireless Selfie Stick

This wireless selfie stick, tripod is an ingenious bit of engineering. It has a small, built-in remote that slides out of the stick and tripod legs hidden in the handle. By most accounts, this is on the higher-end of selfie-sticks. But it’s made for an ample replacement after upgrading to a Pixel 3 with no aux input for a traditional wired self-stick.

But if you have a headphone jack on your phone, I suggest using this stupid, simple selfie-stick for those pictures when you need an extra hand. The aux cable connection is straightforward and no-nonsense, so there’s no battery strength to worry about or Bluetooth connection to make.

3. Aukey 20100mAh Portable Charger

This monster of a mobile battery has two ports and it’s big enough to charge your phone three to four times, with enough room left over for headphones – or anything else that’s USB-powered, including laptops and tablets. For that reason, it weighs just over a pound (still worth it). But has the added bonus of Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, which will give compatible devices a extra-fast fill up. This is something I don’t suggest skimping on.

4. Osprey Koby Daypack

I was determined to get the cheapest ticket possible on my WOW Air flight to Iceland – which meant the only thing I could bring onboard at no charge was this Osprey backpack. Two years has passed since my week-long journey to Iceland, but I’m still carrying the Osprey bag on every trip. Despite my six foot stature, this small backpack does the trick. It’s big enough for my laptop, a jacket, water bottle, snacks and toiletry bag.

5. Ac.y.c Toiletry Bag

This exciting item can fit your most-needed toiletries. It’s got multiple compartments and a front zipper for easy access. Plus, a handy hook that’s perfect for keeping it off the ground in your lovely hostel bathroom.

6. Rainleaf Travel Towel

It’s hard to outdo the toiletry bag, but this microfiber towel puts up a good fight. Towels, unfortunately, are not always a given at hostels. Bringing this quick drying cloth with you will make showers a little more straight forward. The medium size variety is appropriate for me and it’s big enough to wrap around the waist without adding much bulk to your luggage.

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7. Chase Sapphire Preferred

I covered this credit card in a previous article, but it deserves a second mention. I’ve netted close to $1,000 in free travel, mostly thanks to the extra 25% in value when redeemed for flights. I’m not a credit card nerd, but these people are. If you’ve got the financial freedom, a travel-specific credit card is the single biggest factor that can help you travel more.

8. Canon Powershot G9 X Mark II

There are still times when a phone camera doesn’t cut it. In these cases, my compact Canon camera fits the bill. In searching for the right fit, I wanted something under $500 that could fit in my pocket. A DSLR will always offer more options, but it’s hard for me to justify in terms of size. The G9, with a 3x optical zoom, image stabilization and low-light capabilities, has been the perfect camera for my travels. And it’s extra helpful to have Bluetooth built in, so I can go from camera to phone to Instagram without ejecting an SD card or attaching cables.

9. 12-Inch ASUS Chromebook

For many, a phone is enough. But if you need a better way of connecting abroad, this ASUS Chromebook is perfect. If you haven’t used Google’s operating system — then it takes some getting used to. But for me, the most important thing was a full-size keyboard with good depth on the keys, followed by a long battery life. For the purpose of writing and web browsing, it’s hard to find a better deal. At 2.65 pounds, it’s exceptionally light and easy to pack.

10. Ring Video Doorbell

When I’m away from home, I can monitor my front door with this affordable Ring doorbell. After more than one run-in with a package thief, this video doorbell became necessary to help me keep an eye on at home while I’m away. Unlike the more expensive version, this doesn’t have to be wired with a preexisting doorbell. Just stick it up and keep it charged.

11. YI Indoor Dome Camera

For an extra level of security at home, I turn this indoor camera on when I walk out the door. It’s perfect for watching over pets at home.

12. USA and World Wall Map Set

Looking back is one of the most rewarding aspects of travel. Keep track of your adventures with these two wall-sized maps. It’s basically what you’d find in a classroom and you can pretty it up with these red stick pins. It’s a fun conversation piece and dominates a pretty big piece of real estate at home. I’d argue it has a little more character than your average tapestry.

What do you think? If there’s something you can’t live without when you’re living abroad, let me know!