Over the years I’ve tried and tested a number of travel accessories and gear that I’ve both loved and hated. Below are 20 products that have won me over and are now incorporated into my travel routine (and my luggage). Do you have a favorite travel essential to add? Please share in the comments below.
I’ve told you guys before how I take selfies on the road, and it typically isn’t with a selfie stick (although I’m a fan of those, too). It’s partially with my Joby GorillaPod, a mini tripod that beds into myriad positions and can hold my DSLR (and any camera to 6.6 pounds if you get the SLR Zoom GorillaPod). It weighs less than half a pound and takes up less than a foot of space. If you’re looking to take great travel photos having a stable camera is key, so this piece of gear is essential. While there are a few models I recommend the SLR Zoom, which retails for about $45.
The other half of the equation for my selfie-taking is my intervalometer. This handy gadget gets shoved into the side of my camera and allows me to set a timer to take as many photos as I want, as quickly or slowly as I want, with as many seconds in between each as I want. Basically you can have a full photo shoot with just one click. I typically set up it with the GorillaPod, but you can use whatever sturdy props you have available. On Amazon these go for about $15-$25.
Wondering how to never get pick-pocketed again? Clever Travel Companion’s pickpocket-proof undergarments contain hidden inside pockets for your valuables, so thieves won’t even know you’re carrying cash and cards. Even if they did, it’s doubtful they’d want to dig in your private parts to retrieve them. These garments are also budget-friendly, ranging from $12.90 for cotton underwear to $34.90 for long johns. Boxers, tanks and tees are also available.
4. GoPro HERO4
I’ve been using GoPro cameras for a few years now, and am always in love with the high-quality wide angel and underwater shots as well as action video I’m able to capture. I have numerous accessories, but I especially love the GoPro Headstrap Mount (not meant for uber high impact activities), as I can throw it on my head and get a nice high perspective. That being said, it makes sense to buy an accessory bundle so you can change where you mount the GoPro based on the activity. Note: I’ve found that while GoPros take amazing footage in well-lit scenarios, low-lighting and evening requires a tripod (like a GorillaPod!).
5. Nikon D7200
I’ll admit I’m still using the Nikon D5100 due to funds; however, I really love my DSLR and will upgrade when the time comes. I love using a DSLR over a phone or point-and-shoot due to the fact I have full control over the exposure, white balance and focus. What’s nifty (yes, I used the word nifty) about the D7200 over the D5100 is it has built-in Wi-Fi, better performance in low light and touchscreen capabilities. While the D7200 with 18-140mm lens sells for $1,396.95, you can get the D5100 with four lenses, tripod, cleaning cloth, SD card and card reader and a number of other accessories for $644.80. Not a bad deal!
Here’s a bit of shameless self promotion as the Travel Quote Collection is my own line of tote bags and travel quote-adorned accessories; however, I use them all the time — my favorite is the Wanderlust Tote, shown above — and am constantly getting asked about the destinations shown and where I got the bag. Custom orders are possible if you have a favorite destination or quote, just email me at jessieonajourney (at) gmail (dot) com, and tote bags are $20.33 each.
LUSH is a brand I love to support, as they don’t test on animals and feature products that are handmade (as is the furniture it sits on in the shop), natural, fresh, 100% vegetarian, don’t use packaging at all when possible — such as with the above-mentioned shampoo bar — and are typically void of preservatives (although some of their cream products use parabens to stop microbial growth). What I love about the LUSH Godiva moisturizing shampoo bar in particular is it’s vegan, takes up almost no space (it’s about the size of a Chips Ahoy cookie), weighs only 1.9 ounces and features nut oils and shea butters to be extra moisturizing. I’ve also gone on 3-month backpacking trips and had one bar last the entire time. Price: $11.95.
TOMS sells uber comfortable slip-on shoes made from canvas with suede insoles that are durable and perfect for exploring in — among other awesome accessories. The slip-ons start at about $48. The company also has a philanthropic edge, with their One for One program where a pair of shoes is given to someone in need for every pair you buy, with locals hired to create the shoes in the destinations where they give. Moreover, giving is done through humanitarian organizations to ensure it’s done in an ethical fashion. They have similar model programs for their other products, too, like eyeglasses, vision medicine and sight-saving surgery when eyewear is purchased; clean drinking water when their coffee is purchased; and birth training and birth kits when bags are purchased.
If you’re on a budget, I also love the Airwalk brand of canvas slip-on shoes — $10-$20 at Payless — though note there is a quality difference and they stretch so I usually buy them a little snug.
Sustainable travelers will love that these pants are made from recycled PET plastic bottles. Moreover, they’re moisture-wicking, wrinkle-free and can be worn as lounge pants or dress pants, making them very versatile.
For travelers who hate spending money on bottled water or find themselves in places with questionable tap water, this product uses ultraviolet light to destroy 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and protozoa that would otherwise make you ill. It looks like a pen and simply gets placed in your water to sterilize it, with a single charge lasting up to 50 treatments. A display keeps you posted on treatment status and success as well as battery life.
The SteriPEN Handheld Water Purified sells for $79, although SteriPEN sells a number of makes and models with different pricing.
The SteriPEN was one of a number of water purification gadgets highlighted in my post titled, “Never Spend Money Again On Drinking Water.”
For something budget-friendly, lightweight and highly useful, the Grand Trunk Ultralight Travel Hammock is perfect for those going on camping or long distance hiking/biking trip. It’s 12 ounces, easily fits into a backpack or carry-on, and allows you to sleep wherever your heart desires (although in certain outdoor spaces you’ll need a permit). Price: $19.
This is my personal backpack of choice. Featuring back contouring and ventilation (to help stop drip sweating down your back when you’re scrambling trying to find your hostel), an adjustable hip belt, padded load-adjusting shoulder straps, numerous compartments for staying organized, a detachable rain cover and top loading packing. What I really love about it, compared with other backpacks I’ve owned, is how sturdy and comfortable it feels, like it’s hugging me instead of trying to pull me down to the ground. Price: $169.
This connected carry-on is controlled via a smartphone app, tracking and locking/unlocking your luggage with the tap of a finger. Other cool features include a built-in scale (never be overcharged for luggage weight at airline check-in again), the ability to charge up to two gadgets at a time and complimentary luggage service through Uber if your bags get lost. Price: $395.
If you’re more of a backpack person, the Energi+ charges up to three devices at one time (with specially-designed straps keeping gadget wires tangle-free), has soft pockets for fragile items, numerous compartments for staying organized and can open fully for immediate access to all your things. Price: $195.32.
As a blogger I love to write about my travels. Despite it being 2015 and the age of touch-screen-WiFi-app everything I do have a nostalgic side, not to mention it’s nice to have something to pass the time when Wi-Fi isn’t available before bed or on bus rides. Which is where a beautiful travel journal comes in. I’ve had a few over the years, but think the one mentioned above ($13.34) is quite whimsical for those of us who are in love with the road. There’s also a gorgeous Old World Travel Journal ($9.05), which lies flat and has beautiful gold foil tracing the continent lines depicted.
This stylish, slim and effective organizing wallet comes in black, olive and blue, and holds an impressive amount of travel items, like credit cards, USBs, iPad minis, headphones, pens, passports and other essentials. There’s also a unique code on each wallet that you can register so that if it gets lost and reported you’ll get it back. Price: $59.
As many of you know I’ve been dealing with a lot of debilitating sinus issues this year. While I ultimately ended up needing surgery to fix my problems, one item I recommend for others who suffer from sinus and pressure issues when flying is Earplanes, special earplugs designed for fliers that you put in your ears before the cabin doors close. I’ve certainly felt a difference when using them vs when not. Price: $18.95.
When traveling I’m not a huge makeup person. In fact, I often wear nothing other than lip balm (Hurraw! Balm is a nice vegan option); however, when I’m wanting to give myself a bit of a beauty boost I love, love, love Josie Maran Argan Illuminizer. It’s 1 ounce so you can get it through TSA in your carry-on. Moreover, a little goes a long way so it will last awhile and gives you a beautiful glow.
While this particular illuminizer is $46.50, there are more budget-friendly options (although I haven’t tried these), like the It Cosmetics Airbrush Illuminizer ($39) and the Cate McNabb Cosmetics Natural Illuminizer ($18).
As a traveler I love finding accessories that help me make a statement about how much I love exploring the globe. This necklace makes it perfectly, especially as I also have birds tattooed on my back to symbolize freedom and limitless boundaries. Price: $19.99.
Especially as I listen to ASMR while drifting to sleep, AcoustinSheep SleepPhones let me comfortably listen to relaxing sounds or music while blocking out unwanted hostel noise. While the classic SleepPhones that plug into your music device are $39.95, AcoustinSheep also offers a wireless version which syncs via Bluetooth for $79.95.
Also Check Out:
How A Trip To Thailand Inspired One Traveler To Start A Nonprofit [Blog Inspiration]
51 Awesome Travel Hacks to Save Money & Time and Eliminate Stress While Traveling by Guidora Team [Travel Reads]
Global Gal Travel Wallet [Travel Style]
Note: Some of the above links are affiliate links, meaning I make a very small percentage of money on sales at no extra cost to you to help keep this site running. That being said, all products mentioned are ones I genuinely love that have enhanced my travel experience.