So in light of the recent holidays, I wanted to take time to reflect on some of my brand new travel-related gadgets I received (thanks, Santa!) as well as the tried-and-true products I've been using for years. Every single one of the items listed makes my travels easier in some way – from protecting my skin and electronics to allowing me to dance around the kitchen to my favorite tunes.
1. iPod Touch
Gone are the days of combing the streets for sketchy internet cafés and waiting for ancient hostel computers to load; my iPod Touch has made traveling so. much. easier. I use it to take notes, listen to music on the metro, snap photos, surf the web, set my alarm and translate words into French.
My favorite apps: Google Translate, TuneIn Radio, Feedly, and okay, I can't help but love Instagram. I also like iMessage for texting friends both in Paris and back home.
Tip- there’s almost always free wifi, and air-conditioning, and bathrooms, at Starbucks or McDonalds. Don't hate.
2. Classy leather notebooks
I actually use three different notebooks when I'm traveling: a lined notebook for diary entries, a pocket-sized book for writing down new words and important information and the recipe journal to document new recipes I learn.
3. Pepper Spray
Call me crazy, but as a girl who often travels alone, carrying a small, discreet can of pepper spray gives me a lot of peace of mind.
4. My Passport External Hard Drive
At left: my most essential travel necessity, obviously. At right: the external hard drive which is actually smaller!
Another thing giving me peace of mind? My external hard drive. As an avid amateur photographer and travel blogger, I love having an external hard drive that fits in the palm of my hand. I bought the WD My Passport Portable with 1 terabyte of space because I shoot in JPEG and doubt I'll ever need more space than that!
Now that I have an e-reader I have no idea how I functioned without one before. In my pre-Kindle days, I used to waste about a third of my suitcase for books and spend precious travel time hunting down English-language bookstores. Now I simply click “download” and English books appear on my e-Reader like magic! I have the older Kindle Keyboard 3G which I like because the battery lasts about a month. No, for serious.
Also, I would advise paying extra for the 3G – it is really helpful to be able to use the web on it in case of emergency, and unlike the iPad there is no extra charge.
6. Mini Speaker
The X-Mini Capsule Speaker is my go-to Christmas gift for loved ones of all ages and genders because everyone loves it. For a speaker so small it has surprisingly great audio and a battery that lasts 20 hours. You really can play it anywhere; a hostel bathroom, a beach… I play it all the time when I'm cooking or working out at home.
Thank you Susan from Travel Junkette for writing about this amazing creation and thus bringing it into my life!
7. Little locks and big padlock
I use little locks to lock my backpack or suitcases while on the move and a big padlock to lock my luggage in those caged hostel luggage cubby thingies.
8. Jo Totes Camera Bag
I love, love, love this bag. After seeing it featured on about a million blogs I finally bought one- and it is the best camera bag ever. The leather is faux but so, so soft (plus you don't have to worry about water damage) and the interior compartments allow for a camera as well as several lenses. Jo Totes makes beautiful, affordable and high-quality bags… I really can't say enough good things about them!
9. PacSafe Portable Safe
Okay, I admit I haven't had the chance to put my new safe to use just yet, but so many travel bloggers rave about it that I couldn't help but buy it. I already know that I can fit my MacBook AND huge dSLR in it (I checked) so I'm already pleased!
10. Moisturizer with sunscreen
I'm admittedly kind of crazy about my skin, but really, everyone should wear sunscreen. I've used basically all of them at the drug store and department store and I would still have to recommend Olay. With SPF 15, mind you.
Disclaimer – if you buy from some of the links above, I will get a small commission. But these are all products I honestly love so don't worry – I wouldn't steer you wrong! Also I was in no way compensated by any of these companies.
What are your favorite travel products?