I’ve been an avid traveler for many years now. Since 2010, I’ve been to more than 30 countries and taken about 100 flights total. I have tried lots and lots of products marketed specifically for travel. Some of them have been game changers. Some of them have been absolute garbage. Here’s my list of some of my favorite and least favorite travel products.
Disclaimer: I wrote this list targeting when you have a luggage allowence (usually on an airplane). If you are driving somewhere – I totally believe in loading your car up with as much as possible simply because you can.
- Shampoo Bar – I have loved my Lush shampoo bars for years – you can tell as mine has definitely seen better days. My sister first bought them to use when we would go to a cabin in Canada and had to bathe in the lake. They were safe to use in the lake and biodegradable. Ultimately – they also are really good shampoos! I love the blue one and yellow one from Lush but recommend going into a shop and having them tell you what works with your hair.
- Powdered Face Soap (Tatcha rice enzyme shown above) – It’s kind of a genius idea to have powdered grooming products. While I’ve also tried texturizing hair powders, I think that the face soap is genuinely novel. I’ve tried a Boscia version and a Tatcha version as well. Both lasted forever (I still have plenty of the Tatcha powder left and I’ve had it for maybe 3 years of travel). Plus – they are really good cleansers. Highly recommend.
- Sleeping Mask – so I need complete dark when I sleep. It took me years to finally buy an eye mask. Not only is it great for trying to sleep on transport (which I can’t really do but whatever) – it’s also a great way to get people to leave you alone! Plus it’s amazing in hostels where people come in at all hours and turn the damn lights on. Luckily, I don’t really need to use them in my house since I have blackout blinds but when traveling – I always have at least one.
- Passport Wallet – I bought a Cuyana passport wallet ages ago. At least in 2014. Other than maybe one stray string – it’s literally as good as new. While this is the most expensive item on this list – it’s also the longest lasting. $95 sounds steep (and it kind of is) but I use this wallet every day – it fits tons of notes, cards, cash and of course – your passport!
- Small, compact pill containers – These things are my absolute favorite way to travel with medicine. So I would rather be safe with medicine than have to explain to a pharmacist what’s wrong with me in another country. Many pharmacies don’t sell things like Tylenol or benadryl over the counter. You have to go to a pharmacist and explain why you need it. For me – that shit is stressful. My friends judge me here for sort of stockpiling certain medicines before coming to Spain. My school always asks me why I don’t go to the doctor – I have all the medicine I need from the States. Anyways – these little things can hold a decent amount of medicine and keep it well organized. You can get them at the Container Store or Muji.
Onto my Loathes:
- Soap Leaves – When I saw these soap leaves from Tiger – I was kind of pumped. I thought it was a really novel idea to have bar soap in single use form. However, they just frankly don’t work – at least in this form. It’s really hard to distribute the leaves before the shower. How do you transport a thin leaf of soap to the shower? If you take the whole box to the shower it’s a mess. All in all – I just think these aren’t worth the effort – even if they are cheap.
- Travel Sized Razors – Razors are not big. They just aren’t. Travel razors are just a way to make you buy a new razor base. It’s marketing. It’s stupid. It’s such a waste of money.
- Most “travel sized” Makeup, Skin Care and Hair Products – almost every beauty product can be decanted into a reusable travel bottle. From shampoo and conditioner to moisturizer and contact solution (I bought one travel bottle in my life and I just refill it). As for travel sized makeup – unless it’s free, it’s not worth it. I genuinely don’t understand why people would buy a travel sized blush. It’s not that much smaller than an actual one. If you give yourself a size limit for toiletries and makeup – just stick to it.
Caveat: I’m going to give one exception – there are some really decent face cleansers you can buy in small form that last forever and are less costly if you lose them. I also think straight up samples aren’t the worst for travel – I just think you shouldn’t hoard them. If you get a tiny sleeve of moisturizer or hair gel – use it and get rid of it as quickly as you can.
- Noise Cancelling headphones – especially over the ear ones. Unless this is how you always listen to music, I don’t think buying a pair of noise canceling headphones is necessary. I just don’t think they are that comfortable – they give me a headache usually and I can’t sleep wearing them – even if I do have a travel pillow. If you always use them – sure, bring them with you. But if you want to buy headphones just for travel – I think that’s a stupid purchase.
- Travel Pillows – I hate these stupid things. Not only are they not significantly more comfortable than balling up a scarf, they also just aren’t that practical. You only use them on a plane or train. Sure you can connect one to your luggage, but I honeslty just think they are bulky. My friend, Liz, has an inflatible one which works for her but she’s a really good sleeper. I already have a hard enough time sleeping on the road, let alone in a moving vehicle.
- Global Converters – I cannot stand global converters. Why are they so bulky? Other than people who genuinely travel all the time – why do you need one for an entire planet? Why not just get a smaller adapter for the country you are going to? I don’t believe in bringing heated hair appliances while traveling and I can’t think of much else that needs a converter. Personally, I have one tiny little attachment for my Mac and I picked up a European USB plug to charge my phone and tablet. That’s pretty much all I needed. Way less bulky. Way less trouble. Amen.
So – what are some of your favorite travel products? Do you disagree with anything I’ve put on this list? Would love to know your thoughts and opinions below!