Our Essential Travel Products - General Travel Products
Outside of COVID rules and ESTA issues, this is probably the number one question asked in our DMs - "With all the travelling you've done, what are your must-have travel products?"
I've put off answering until the blog was ready as Instagram isn't ideal for lists - though of course I've shared items like our Trtl travel 'pillows' and the mind-blowingly awesome Bose noise-cancelling headphones as I've used them when travelling.
I also wanted to answer other, more important questions first, once the blog was set up. But we finally made it to the first in this series of articles!
However, before I carry on, I want to make one thing very clear:
Whilst some of the links will be associate links, I will not recommend a single product, EVER, that we don't own, use, and love ourselves.
If I wouldn't recommend it to my friends & family, I won't recommend it online. So if I share it, please know it's a tried, tested and good 'un!
So let's do this - here's the start of our absolute must-have products that make travel easier, more comfortable or more enjoyable - sometimes all three!
I'm splitting the recommendations into 6 categories across several blog posts, starting with 'General Travel Products' in this article:
**If you don't want to read the full description/review of each product (I like giving you all the details to help you make an informed choice #sorrynotsorry), just head to the bottom of this post for a simple list of all the products featured and to where to find them**
GENERAL TRAVEL PRODUCTS
Many of the items in this category are not the exciting, high value products you expect to find on a travel essentials blog post - that's because making affiliate dollars is at the bottom of my priority list!
Some are very basic but they're SO useful and they work - and that's at the top of my priorities.
I'm sharing them because they make our travel go more smoothly - and they'll hopefully do the same for you...
One of the hero features here - you can open them up with one hand, which can prove invaluable when travelling.
The Medium Go-Tubbs are fantastic to take medications away with you, pop jewellery into, stash coins in, or fill with small amounts of face cream, moisturiser or similar.
Sidenote, they are the only tubs I've ever come across that are actually leakproof (the Humangear Go-Toob bottles, below, are likewise the only 100% leakproof bottles I've ever used for liquids - and I've tried SO many)
We use the Large Go-Tubbs for packing nibbles and snacks for the plane/while we're out and about in the US, as well as earphones, larger amounts of medication, lip balms & lipsticks, the list is endless.
The boys even love to use them to pop crayons, lego and small toys in to take onto the plane!
You can write on a clever flat area around the base to label then contents - a must if you're using them for medications of course.
As with their tub-shaped siblings above, the Go-Toobs are now the only travel-sized bottles I'll put in my toiletry bag.
Why? They're amazing quality and they do not leak. Ever.
You probably don't need to tell me what to use these for - shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash and the like - but what I will comment on is their features:
- Soft silicone makes it easy to squeeze out every last drop
- Their large openings make filling easy, and they have a handy flat part on the bottom, meaning they can stand unsupported for hands-free top ups
- Wide necks make cleaning between uses much easier than other refillable bottles
- The 'LoopLock' feature works as a handy hanger, so you can store it on a hook or a shower rail in a hotel bathroom
- It can also be pushed over the flip cap, lowering the odds of it accidentally opening in your bag
- There's a textured area on the collar to write in the bottle contents
- Made from BPA-Free and FDA food-safe silicone - you could even use them to travel with your favourite hot sauce!
Small, medium and large are TSA approved and perfect to slot into a liquids pouch.
Once you click through any of these links you have a pretty wide choice of colour too - my favourite is the vibrant teal shown above!
Breaking into this article here because I just stumbled across this great deal and we don't have the Electronics blog pst live yet - an Amazon Echo Dot and a month of Amazon Music Unlimited for less than £20!
I know these aren't exciting, but they're sturdy & reliable and I use them for 2 things:
1. Instead of a ziplock bag for my liquids pouch
Bottles & tubs fit in more easily thanks to the flat bottom, but because they're totally clear and well within the size limits they're always accepted by security (I've flown maybe 70ish times with mine, typically full to bursting, and they've never given them a second glance).
Even though they're only 17 x 14cm, because of the 5cm width you can squeeze way more into them than a 20x20cm freezer bag!
Reusable bags are more environmentally friendly, reducing consumption of single-use plastic, and these are the best I've ever found.
I've been impressed by how hard-wearing they are - mine get thrown about all over and haven't yet suffered any damage.
b. As toiletry & makeup bags
When I first started business travel I wanted designer everything. Seriously, I had branded toiletry bags that looked sooo pretty hung up in swanky hotel bathrooms.
But as a seasoned traveler I realised they take up FAR too much space in your suitcase and typically add a fair bit of weight. Nah!
By contrast, these bags are almost weightless and there's zero wasted space.
When travelling I have one as a liquids pouch, one for my sink toiletries, one for everyone's shower toiletries, one for the bedroom (perfume, deodorant, basic makeup, etc), and one for all the kids bits and bobs like inhalers and so on.
They're zipper fastening, and sized 170 x 140 x 50 mm.
Bet you didn't see this one coming! Cheap and cheerful eh?!
However, I honestly never travel without a pack.
I'll try to keep it short - no-one's excited to read about wipes...
We first had these when the boys were babies - using cotton wool & water is all well and good at first but the novelty soon wears off. However, I knew using chemical-laden baby wipes was asking for eczema - enter WaterWipes.
They're 99.9% water with just a splash of grapefruit juice, and once the babies were bigger we used them for SO many things - they're absolutely full of water, you can literally wring it out - nothing like traditional baby wipes.
This means they're great at mopping up spills & dribbles from kids of all ages (seriously, do boys ever grow out of this?!), but are also fab for a quick refresh after a hot day in the Orlando parks or walking around a stuffy NYC in summer.
I won't lie - I've used them to quickly refresh stinky pits before heading down to dinner when travelling!
I also use them to... quickly clean mud off shoes & the boys' football boots, wipe clean handbags or suitcases, cool down on a hot day, wipe down fingerprint-covered table tops, clean up after a spillage, the list goes on.
Okay, I'll stop. You get it.
5. Expanding 7 Section Accordion Document Folder
Again, cheap and cheerful but whilst this beauty has only been on one international trip with me so far, with all the COVID regs requiring excessive paperwork, it really stepped up my organisation.
I wasn't one of the (sadly many) people I saw at check-in and the boarding gate scrabbling around for paperwork.
How I used the sections travelling to America back in November 2021:
- Passport*, vaccination proof and negative test certificate
- A printed copy of my U.S. Attestation Form (even though I used Verifly I will always travel with a printed copy of the latest CDC version, just in case) and my Irish Passenger Locator Form (I connected in Dublin)
- Documents for flight number 1...
- ...and number 2...
- ...and number 3
- My itinerary and tickets for while I was overseas
- Everything else! (Including documents for my return flights)
* When going through security, passport control and boarding I now keep my passport in a Kipling bumbag - 80s throwback or not, it's a game changer for your passport, boarding card, phone and wallet when you're in the airport!
It's slim, light, wipeable and easily slots into a bag or the front pocket on your cabin case.
6. Trtl Travel Pillows
Let's get something straight right out the gate - yes, they look a little bit like you're wearing a neck collar! However, the wraparound soft fleece 'scarf' element does hide any double chinnage, so I'm a big fan of the style!
I'll let Trtl's words describe them better than I could -
The Trtl neck pillow combines super soft, hypoallergenic fleece with a hidden internal neck support to hold your head and neck in the best position for sleeping.
Our neck pillow has been scientifically proven* to be better than a U-shaped neck pillow and has been strategically designed to prevent stiff necks and sore shoulders. This means that you will never need to struggle to find a comfortable sleeping position again.
I have since upgraded to the Trtl Pillow Plus, because it is slightly better sized for my long neck (with adjustable height), is more breathable, and comes in a funky travel bag that I attach by carabiner to my personal item.
This doesn't seem to be on Amazon at the moment, but again is available direct from Trtl here - though I haven't decided yet if it's worth it compared to the original, at double the cost (watch this space - taking both to the US to directly compare)
I've also bought a Trtl Pillow Junior for each of the boys - once they've used them across the 5 flights we'll take during the April/May holiday I'll update this article with our thoughts.
7. Rechargeable Fans from EasyACC
I'm 99% sure I first came across these back in 2019 on one of Brogan Tate's Youtube videos about her travel to Orlando, and she swore they were the best fans you could get.
I've since tested many of their different designs against alternatives and can concur!
Their charge lasts far longer than any other rechargeable or battery powered fan, and boy are they powerful on full power! There are also designs to suit every use.
Here are the ones we have and love:
This is a really small handbag sized version of the one below which we originally bought, and was perfect for an Autumn trip to North Carolina in November 2021.
It was particularly refreshing while wearing a mask for the nearly 28hrs of travel!
I used it on a stuffy JetBlue plane that we later had to de-board, in an over-heated JFK airport, and even in the bedroom when drying my hair after a hot shower. I give this one 4/5 stars, and it definitely exceeded the advertised usage time per charge.
The original 'big daddy' as the boys cal it! This is also hinged, so you can stand it up, and actually we ended up even using them at home during the hottest summer days of 2020 and 2021, on the shelves above the boys' beds, pointing down at them!
These are SO powerful, 5/5, come in several colours, and a charge lasts such a long time - but they're a little weighty, so might be a bit much to carry around the parks if you only have a small bag. They're great in hotel rooms or while travelling however.
They are hinged, so they can stand on a flat surface, and also come with a neck lanyard so you can wear them blowing up at your face - it goes without saying we've all used them like this on our hottest days in Orlando!
I even use one on the desk where I get ready in the summer, as they're more powerful than our mains powered small fans and take up such a tiny footprint! I only charge them once a week too.
Here are also bonus mentions of two alternative EasyACC designs - I haven't tried either, so want to clearly flag that, but based on the performance of those above plus the amazing reviews on Amazon I have no reason to believe they wouldn't be equally awesome and wanted to include them as they could be perfect for many of you.
This one is to clip to prams/strollers to keep babies cool in warm weather, and the other is to be worn around the neck with twin fans pointing up at your face. I've seen cheap versions of both these product types but imagine the EasyACC versions will be much more powerful and have a far longer lasting battery - if anyone tries them let me know and I'll update the blog!
8. The Ultimate Carabiner Hook - HEROCLIP
Hmm, how to describe this one...
Okay. Have you ever needed to use a public toilet cubicle, in an airport, theme park or anywhere else, and there's been no hook to hang your bag or coat on, and let's just say you really didn't want to put it on the floor...?
Yep, me too - even on a plane - and that's one of the may ways that my HEROCLIP has proven itself worth it's weight in gold over the past few years!
It's essentially a strong carabiner with a fold out hook - so in this scenario you unfold, pop the hook over the cubicle door or wall, and pop your coat or bag strap into the carabiner part. A pad on the end of the hook means it doesn't slide off.
There are so many other use cases that I won't bore you with, but I genuinely always have one in my handbag or personal item.
The medium can safely hold an astounding 60lbs/27kg at only 9cm long/18cm long when fully extended!
Even the mini can hold 40lb/18kg at just 11cm long when fully extended. They're seriously good quality and there are so many ways they come in handy (though the public toilet scenario is definitely what I've used mine for the most!)
9. Peeps Glasses Cleaner Tool
This Peeps gadget is hands down 100% easier than faffing with a cloth while you're out, and is equally good for glasses and sunglasses.
It has a brush at one end to dust off loose debris (on kids glasses this is nearly always crumbs...), and at the other end dual carbon cleaning pads so you can clean and polish both sides of your lens at once.
I have to admit I used to be rubbish at cleaning my glasses - only really tackling them when they got bad - but now I find myself almost absent-mindedly doing it throughout the day, and *SHOCK HORROR*, I see so much better!
It's super compact so ideal for travel, and available in various colour options.
10. Infinity Scarf with Hidden Zip Pocket
A great one for a chilly New York or Chicago winters day - or here in Sheffield for that matter!
This is a thick, snuggly scarf in my favourite infinity style, and if you follow us on Instagram you'll have seen this in many Stories as it's my favourite scarf.
Added bonus - the hidden zipper pocket!
(I've seen some cheaper ones with rubbish white zips that aren't remotely hidden, but this one is so well disguised I sometimes need a good feel to find it myself when it's empty!)
It's a secure storage space for a passport, small purse or phone etc - I can even fit in my iPhone 13 Pro Max, but it would take careful arranging for something of that size not to be visible if you were trying to hide it.
It's great for secure storage of valuables, even in a hotel room, and is warm and comfy to boot, and I like that I can pop even just some cash in there as a backup in case I lose my bag or fall foul of pickpockets.
I also love the original leopard skin pattern - though you can also order it in a blue, yellow or red version of the same print.
And that's it! Travel Essentials Blog Post Number 1 complete. Though below is a quick recap of the products I've covered. Next up will be the 'Electronics' list.
Essential Travel Products - General Category
1. Humangear Go-Tubbs:
2. Humangear Go-Toobs:
- Small (44ml) - here
- Medium (74ml) - here
- Large (100ml) - here
- XL (177ml) - here
- 3-pack small - here
- 3-pack medium - here
- 3-pack large - here
3. Air Travel Clear Toiletry bags - here
4. WaterWipes - here
5. Expanding 7 Section Accordion Folder - here
6. Trtl Travel Pillow - here
7. Rechargeable EasyACC fans:
- Small handheld - here
- Large handheld - here
- Hinged neck fan - here
- Buggy fan - here
- Double neck fan - here
9.Peeps Glasses Cleaning Tool - here
10. Infinity Scarf with Secret Hidden Zip Pocket - here
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