I'm a frequent traveler, so I thought for my gift list this year I'd recommend my favorite products that make traveling easier, more comfortable, and less stressful. I'm not a materialistic person and I don't like to have a lot of STUFF... but there are certain items that are super convenient with my lifestyle, and that's something I'm willing to pay for!
We all have those products that we purchase over and over again and just can't live without... these are mine! Check them out for yourself or the avid traveler in your life.
Most of the links in this article are affiliate links and I'll earn a small commission if you buy using this link (there's no extra cost to you). Please know that I only recommend things I use myself and absolutely LOVE!!!
I'm always getting asked what kind of luggage I have. If you're looking for VALUE and not just the cheapest option, this is the Victorinox suitcase I bought for my trip to East Africa in 2009. It hasn't failed me since, over long distances with approximately one trip per month. Compare this to Target suitcases that get a dent in them after one use (sorry Target, you know I love you but...) After having a suitcase zipper break mid-flight and my belongings start to fall out on the conveyor belt (worse yet, it was the outbound flight and I had to purchase a suitcase during my trip to be able to get home), I made a decision not to cheap out with luggage anymore. If you do the same, I'm certain you won't regret it!
If you bring shampoo and conditioner with you when you travel, you won't be able to live without these TSA-approved silicone travel bottles. They're sized appropriately for carrying on... If you're not checking a bag, make sure you don't forget that you can't take full-size toiletries through security with you!
For longer trips, it's important to bring full-sized bottles of sunscreen and bug spray. If you try to buy this at your destination, you'll have less selection (so won't be able to be picky about ingredients) and you'll pay an arm and a leg since they depend on unprepared tourists who have no choice but to pay exorbitant prices! This is my favorite sunscreen (a good balance of somewhat natural ingredients but also effective and absorbs well). For bugspray I've been using Natrapel, with picaridin as the active ingredient. While I believe DEET is safe (and I don't use it that frequently anyhow), it annoys me that it melts the paint off plastic and I find picaridin to be less messy.
Once I get to my destination, sleeping soundly is a big priority. I want to feel my best to enjoy exploring this new place! But just being in an unfamiliar bed can make it hard to sleep—and often we don't have complete control over the conditions. Street noise, shared sleeping quarters, a lack of blackout curtains—there are very few situations that a good eye mask and earplugs won't help you tune out. I love this natural silk sleep mask that is gentle on the skin around your eyes, and for earplugs I use these soft foam ones—I find they best block out the sound without causing ear pain like the less soft materials can sometimes do.
Of course you'll want to take some amazing pictures of your trip, and for that I find, especially if you're traveling by yourself or will be doing any activities solo, a tripod comes in super handy! You can set it up a few feet away and then set a timer to get in position for your picture. This one actually comes with a Bluetooth remote so you don't even need the timer app!
Staying active on a daily basis is a big priority of mine, and frequent travel can make that hard. The Beachbody on Demand streaming workout video library is my best friend—it contains 700+ workouts, many of which don't require any equipment (and many more can be done with the free weights found in most hotel gyms). There are also yoga and stretching sessions that are perfect for those long travel days when you're back and forth from airplanes to a shuttle bus to waiting in line and just need to work out the kinks at day's end. To go along with those, I've found it super helpful to travel with a yoga mat, and I like the kind that folds up—it's easier to fit into my suitcase or even my shoulder bag versus a rolled one.
Just as important as staying active is eating right. I find that if I'm not careful, a constant diet of restaurant food—often fatty and salty, without enough protein or vegetables—leaves me feeling sluggish and queasy... which makes me just want to rest in my hotel room instead of going out and doing things. My secret weapon is Shakeology... A shake a day supplies my body with essential vitamins and minerals, plus probiotics to keep me regular (which can be a problem when traveling), as well as antioxidants and phytonutrients to help with immune function. Getting sick while traveling can be a big problem, but it seldom happens to me and I credit my daily shake! This gets me one serving of protein; I also like to have these grass-fed, organic beef sticks on hand, since they are high in protein, have a clean ingredient list, and can be thrown in a shoulder bag and pulled out when dinner was smaller than expected or the tour operator expects you to go 8 hours between breakfast and lunch and be fine with it.
Lastly, developing pain while traveling can be a problem because other countries' laws on pain relievers differ—some drugs are over-the-counter that are prescription only in the U.S., but conversely, some drugs that are over-the-counter in the U.S. require a prescription in other countries. Add in a language barrier, and you may have a hard time reading labels or expressing what you need to the pharmacist; better to have what you need along with you. Because I can no longer take ibuprofen or any NSAIDs, I've been experimenting with alternatives and the best I have found so far is CBD oil (I use Blue Ridge Hemp Co. products; use code LIVINGVIBRANTLY at checkout for 10% off). Note that this does come from the same plant as marijuana, but contains no THC (the substance that makes you high, and which causes a positive drug screen). I can't vouch for legality in all locations, but I do travel with my oil blend (accurately labeled in its original container) and I haven't had any issues so far. My post-workout and overnight muscle recovery shakes also contain powerful anti-inflammatory botanicals that help a lot with cramps, so I sometimes take these with me for longer trips or if I'll specifically be gone during PMS week.
That's it... those are my main picks! Let me know if I missed anything or if there's anything you would like to see me include in this list next year... or if you have a travel-related item that you absolutely LOVE and think I'd love too! You can always email me at the address in the footer <3