Ten Essential Travel Products

Ten Essential Travel Products

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There are a lot of different things I could live without when I travel, but I don't want to. Here are ten essential products I use on the road. 

  1. Sleep headphones. Hotels are noisy. Toilets flushing, people talking loudly in the halls. I can't handle the noise and earplugs annoy me. I discovered AcousticSheep SleepPhones* years ago and LOVE THEM. I recently upgraded from my corded Classic sleepphones to the Simple and then again to the Effortless. This way I can use them for running as well. Click here for the review for the Classic version. Click here for the review for Simple. Click here for the review for Effortless.
  2. Sleep Mask. Any light can be disruptive to sleep. The photoreceptors on our skin can detect light in our room, and pure darkness puts us in the best state. Since hotel curtains never shut entirely and there is light coming in from under the door, I wear a sleep mask. My mask of choice is the super affordable Dream Essentials Contoured Eye Mask (buy on amazon*). It doesn't lay flat on your face (it's a bra for your eyes!), is adjustable, and lightweight. Click here for the review.
  3. Meditation app. Calm.com has hundreds of meditations, sleep stories, music tracks, and masterclasses. I have an anxiety issue when I can't sit on the aisle. It's a little ridiculous, but also serious. I'm not just being a diva. They have several off-line meditations just for plane anxiety. I use this to keep me calm (no pun intended!).
  4. Travel chopsticks. I eat with chopsticks as often as I can at home because it slows me down and makes me feel fancy. For travel, I use the Titaner Titanium Foldable Chopsticks*. I pull these out so I can avoid plastic ware or picking things up with my hands on the plane.
  5. Magnesium. I don't recommend a lot of supplements, but feel completely safe recommending magnesium. About half the US and European populations are deficient, and we need it for over 600 reactions in the body. Taking it in the evening can help with sleep and also contribute to a healthy poo in the morning. Admit it, you get hotel constipation too, right? I like Natural Calm* packets to travel without the mess.
  6. Cleaning wipes. Any kind will do. Pre-COVID people would snicker at me when I would wipe down the plane seat and lap tray (did you know they only cleaned those things once daily, if at all?). Now it's not so funny. Don't forget yours!
  7. Laptop backpack. As a professional speaker, the eBags Pro Slim Junior laptop backpack is THE. BEST. BAG. EVER. I can count eight other speakers who use this backpack. There are just enough pockets (too many and things get lost), padded areas for your laptop and tablet or e-reader, a holder for your drink, and outside pockets to stow your passport and global entry card for easy access. 
  8. e-Reader. I don't go anywhere without my Kindle Paperwhite. I like the paperwhite because it's easier on the eyes and terrible to go online with so I don't get tempted. If I had to get a new one, I would pick the Oasis* model because it's waterproof and has an amber lighting option to cut down on eye strain.
  9. Portable standing desk. There are many affordable, lightweight versions of portable standing desks. I've been using the StandStand bamboo model for over five years and wrote most of Beyond Travel: A Road Warrior's Survival Guide on the desk while on the road or at a state park!
  10. Travel charger. I like the Belkin 3-outlet USB travel charger. Even when my husband and I are traveling together, it's easy for us to both charge our devices. I also use it in airports when there isn't a USB port available.

There you have it. Ten things I can't live without when I travel. What can you not live without when you hit the road?


*Indicates an affiliate link where I make a few coins at no extra cost to you.

How to avoid pound packing when traveling for business.

How to avoid pound packing when traveling for business.

There aren't any healthy options.
The company is paying for it.
It's a tough life on the road. I deserve this.

Are you “pound packing”?

Extended Stay America released results of a survey of 2000 of their frequent travelers. Eighty-six percent (86%!!) gained an average of three pounds when away from home for two or more weeks. If you are a frequent business traveler, that adds up fast. When I first started my job as a Clinical Research Associate, I called it the Travel 20. Similar to the Freshman 15, but we have something different to blame it on.

Here are five things to be aware of that can make you pack more than clothes.

  1. Limited access to healthy options. I'm not going to pretend for one minute that eating on the road is a breeze. It requires purpose and planning. Eating in airports is a crapshoot. Only 76% of the busiest airports even offer one low-fat, high-fiber, low cholesterol vegetarian entree with vegetables, fruit, whole grains or legumes (Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine).  When we eat near an airport or hotel, often it's one of a handful of same restaurants with different names – Ruby Tuesday's, Applebees, and Chili's. Restaurants are getting better and the requirements to report nutrition information is helpful, but it's still not easy to find ingredient lists. Who in that restaurant is determining that the meal is healthy enough to put an icon next to it? Someone that doesn't realize that soybean oil isn't a health food and that there is barely one serving of vegetables in the entire entree?
  2. Fast Food. In airports, there isn't much of an option, which is why I try to bring my own food or stop at a grocery store on the way (yes, they still exist, even when you travel!)
  3. I'll have what she's having. You eat what your spouse fixes you. I get it. Your spouse doesn't like vegetables. That doesn't mean that you can't prep some veggies on Sunday and throw on top of whatever is served. My husband makes grits on Sundays. I throw sauteed onions, spinach or whatever else I have prepped on Sunday on top. Voila. Vegetables added, and he didn't have to do anything.
  4. No time for grocery shopping.  A gynecologist or grocery is pretty much a toss-up for me in the fun category. However, I make 75% of my meals, and most of them are from scratch. How do I handle my anti-love for the supermarket?
    1. Amazon Subscribe and Save –  I've turned several clients onto this beauty. I get all of my paper goods and a LOT of my dry goods here. I save at least 15% off the already low Amazon price, it comes to my door on a schedule I choose, and I can easily change it if needed. My next order consists of cayenne pepper, single-serve bags of almonds for Hangry snacks, Wild sockeye canned salmon, miracle shirataki noodles, Julia's organic grits, Kleenex, hemp hearts, toilet paper, Jyoti canned dal, chia seeds, nutritional yeast, tahini, pre-cooked individual servings of quinoa (great for mobile work and lunch-packing), coffee and supplements. Whew! It also saves me from buying unnecessary stuff that I always found ended up in my cart. I love it so much, I'm shocked when people don't use it once they know about it!
    2. Community Supported Agriculture – I use Papa Spuds, local to Raleigh-Durham. I consider them one of the best because I have full control over what comes in my box, delivered to my door every Wednesday. I can choose from a variety of fruits and veggies but can also get chicken, beef, fish, pork, eggs, cheese, milk, mushrooms, coffee, chocolate, honey, and condiments. There are even pasta, bread and pizza crust options.
    3. What's left? Frozen and refrigerated foods like fruit, yogurt, kefir, and my beloved rice flour tortilla shells. I order these online and pick up during a designated time or use Instacart and have them delivered to my door. Most stores now have this amenity.
  5. I don't know what's healthy. There's too much conflicting information?!?!?!? Set aside time 1-2 days a week. I choose Sundays to turn on a timer and do as much food prepping, cooking, steaming and baking as I can. There are also assistants that you can hire to do this for you! Yes, it's true! I have an angel that comes in on Thursday and chops all my veggies from my CSA box. There are now even meal-prep services that make meals at your home, like FoodFairy.com or deliver food to your door, like myfoodprepper.com.

Are you willing to try any of these methods to improve your nutrition and avoid pound packing?

How to eat by the latest nutrition trends when traveling.

How to eat by the latest nutrition trends when traveling.

Are you a Paleo devotee and break down at the mere sight of that Auntie Anne’s Pretzel or Cinnabon?
Are you a vegetarian who gets bored with the airport ‘salads’ that have a few pieces of carrot and one unfortunate grape tomato?
Do you eat gluten-free but trust no one and end up eating bars the whole time?
Download these apps and store away these tips to eat by the latest nutrition trends when traveling.


Struggling with how to eat healthy on the road?

Check out this excerpt from Beyond Travel: A Road Warrior's Survival Guide

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