Travel Essentials

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Sharing a few of my favorite things

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I’m so happy with most of the gear that I’ve used in extensive travel since fall 2019, that I want to share some of my favorites. These are Amazon links, where I’m trying to maintain Associate status. If you are interested in any of these things, I’ll very much appreciate your using my links, which will give me a little commission – even if, after going to Amazon, you decide on a different product. Everything on this page comes from my experience traveling in 2022 and 2023, so my recommendations are solid and sincere. Hope you find something useful!

First Health UV Water Sanitizer, Insulated Stainless-Steel Water Bottle, 18 oz Rechargeable

This water bottle has a UV light inside the cap. It recharges over USB. Fill the bottle with any water, touch the button on top, and in 3 minutes you have safe, sanitized drinking water. Brilliant, I think. Perhaps LifeStraw would be sufficient, but I feel so very secure starting with UV.

LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle with 2-Stage Integrated Filter Straw

Maybe it’s over the top, but I sanitize water with the UV tool, above, and then pour it into this LifeStraw bottle. UV kills any germs, but with the LifeStraw filter I know that any chlorine from treated tap water will be filtered, as will any sort of particulate matter.

What I’m most enthused about this trip are these two water bottles that I use in tandem (and my travel pillow!). I no longer buy water. No more wishing I had more on hand late at night. No more consuming microparticles of plastic. And when I shop, wine can be the only heavy bottles I need to tote! When out for the day, I carry the LifeStraw bottle, full, and because that’s heavy, I put a luggage strap on it and carry it as I would any shoulder bag. When I travel, I pack the UV bottle, and put the LifeStraw bottle in the backpack’s bottle pocket, then clip bottle’s carabiner to a bag strap so it doesn’t fall out – as heavy water bottles easily do when you shift a pack.

LOFE 2.5” Thin Memory Foam Travel Pillow

Put this slender pillow on top of anything and have the most comfy foam for a good sleep. Will squish into an already-full suitcase! It comes with two pillowcases – I put both on for transport use, then remove the outer cover for a clean sleep surface.

Baseus Wireless Earbuds, 140H Playback -48dB Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth 5.3 Earbuds with IPX6 Waterproof 4 ENC Mics 0.038s Low Latency Fast Charge Ear Buds for Android iOS – Bowie MA10

Power Bank, Portable Charger 36800mAh, 3 USB Outputs Power Bank, Dual Input, USB-C High-Speed Charging

This hefty little power bank (13oz), 36800mAh, has been outstanding. Holds its charge for days. Can charge my phones and help fellow travelers, as when the outlets on planes and trains don’t work. (All too common.)

Kensington Laptop Lock, Resettable Combination

I always travel with a laptop lock, and use it. It not only prevents a quick grab by anyone, but is a bit of protection from falls onto a hard floor. This link leads to a variety of lock sizes, including the nano-lock I currently need.

TREBLAB Z2 Bluetooth 5.0 Headphones with Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) and Microphone, Up to 35H Battery Life 

I read a lot of reviews before settling on headphones that would have very good sound but be at a price point that would make loss bearable. Very happy with them!

FOVAL Power Step Down 220V to 110V Voltage Converter with 4-Port USB International Power Travel Adapter

I traveled with this in 2022 – and unintentionally left it behind at my last stop. Lightweight and useful if you travel in Europe with anything that takes only 120V. Comes will all the outlet adapters you could need.

Trond – Surge Protector 1440J 4 USB Ports (1 USB C), Thin, Flat Plug, 5ft Cord

After losing the step-down multiplug, I just packed this unit, as I realize I’m only plugging in my laptop, phones, and electronics that charge over USB. All I need with this is one adapter plug, which you can get with this link. And after this was stolen, I bought a European version you can see on my page for other countries’ Amazon products.

BAGAIL 4 Set/5 Set/6 Set Compression Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are a must; I’ve got 4 sets. Now I buy compression style although I still use my first simple ones. Here’s a link to another Bagail set. And one more from Gonex. I have many things of both brands.

AquaQuest Typhoon Laptop Case, 100% Waterproof

This super-protective laptop bag is snugly waterproof, great for boating and just rainstorms. Padded, removable inner sleeve. Handy pockets where I keep the power bank and a usb cord. Can tuck it in my backpack or carry it alone.

ZOMAKE Lightweight Packable, Foldable Backpack 30L, Water Resistant 

Love these lightweight backpacks that fold into a small pouch. I use one all the time for my laptop, headphones etc, but I also pack a spare because they’re such useful, strong totes. If not overstuffed, 30L is OK as Ryanair underseat item; I also have a 45L for some trips.

Cozysilk 100% Bamboo Travel Sheet / Sleep Sack

The bamboo travel sheet (a sheet sack, actually) that I have is no longer available. This is another 100% rayon-from-bamboo that I expect would be equally silky and delightful to slip into. The downside of bamboo is that it’s heavy – but while mine weighs 2 pounds, this 87×41-inch sheet is said to weigh 21 ounces.

Lusie’s Linen Bath Towel – 100% European Flax Linen – Stonewashed

The linen towel I had – and left in a Mexican hostel – was so nice, but no longer available. This is basically the same. I can’t get used to microfiber towels; linen is wonderful.

Women’s Underwear with Secret Pockets for Passport, Cards, Cash – 2 pair

I have lost 3 passports, so faced stiff extra fees last time, and dread a repeat. Now I try to keep my passport un-thievable. Deep pockets here ZIP and keep a passport on one side (does not stick out!), extra cash and cards in the other. Not a good idea through airport security, but great for trains, buses, other public transport.

LUNATEC Odor-Free Dish Cloths

Such a simple thing, but when something is provided for washing dishes at hotels or airbnbs, it can be awful. This quick-drying cloth can get inside narrow wine glasses, does a good job on everything, and you know it’s fresh.

And thinking of a couple of gifts to take abroad: my favorite vanilla, Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla

and some good maple syrup, not too large: Butternut Mountain Farm 100% Pure Vermont Organic Maple Syrup

Shopping in Europe?

Amazon supposedly will direct a visitor to the closest Amazon website and the nearest match to a product here. But it does not seem to work. So, I’ve added a page with a few items from Amazon France, Spain, Sweden – possibly more to come. Take a look if you’re in Europe.