Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My Travel-Product Recommendations

Every time I take a trip, I get a little better at it—whether that means packing a suitcase, haggling over prices or finding my way around. Here's the thing: I've had a little help this time. Here are some products that deserve praise for their service over the last ten weeks:

Technology Schmechnology

While I would try and sell no one on the iPad or iPhone, I will say that having my phone, mobile device and home computer (Mac notebook) all synced up and married to one another is an incredible travel convenience. Here is an example of how I make use of this:

Pull up a few sites and landmarks I want to see on googlemaps in my iPad while milking the guesthouse for all the wifi I can get. Screen shot. Plan walking directions between various points. Screen shot. Pull up the subway/bus/tram routes and schedules in case I grow tired of walking. Screen shot. Let all the devices get married and share the photos...As I navigate the city sans internet connection, instead of painting a giant tourist bullseye on myself as I wrestle with a 16-fold map, it looks like I'm simply reading a text. The iPhone-Pad googlemaps GPS is not foolproof, but it has come in handy several times as well.

White-Noise App

It's no secret that I'm a troubled sleeper, and sleeping in a different bed every night while switching time zones weekly does little to soothe my insomnia. I was raised by parents who slept with a fan to drown out noise and I adopted that habit early. In fact my entire family sleeps with a fan—not to cool down, but for the noise. The white noise app is free, and it sounds exactly like a fan. I was able to sleep most of the night on a bus while listening to the fan in my ear buds, and it sounds great coming out of my tiny iPad speakers. Other available noises: ocean, rain and jungle, just to name a few. It's the most life-changing app I've downloaded, with the exception of...

Blogsy Blogging App

I don't know what's wrong with the mobile version of blogger. It's truly terrible and practically impossible to use. Blogsy has saved the written version of this trip.

Smart-Wool Socks

These babies are warm when they need to be and wicking/cooling when they need to be. Hand-wash them in your guesthouse sink and they are dry in as few as five hours. I brought along two mid-calf pairs and a running version that has worked great for the extra-cold nights.

These Gosh Darn Crocs

You can probably guess how I feel about the original crocs. You know, the original ones with the sling back and the vents. They say they're supremely comfortable and this and that, but I don't care. Comfort is no excuse and those vents make no sense! What gardener wants dirt in his shoe and what surgeon wants guts staining her socks?

However the Marnie has seen me through some tough times.


This, my friends, is a black ballet flat, which happens to be made by the same people who make the incredibly offensive vented rubber version. These have been a lifesaver. They worked with tights and dresses in Paris and they're rescuing me from poo and pee and stubbed toes in India. They offer great arch support and all they ask for in return is the occasional scrubbing.

A Day Bag and Extra Tote

In addition to my carry-on luggage, whose hideousness I have yet to write about, I brought along a small day bag that houses anything valuable (iPad, iPhone, camera, wallet, passport) and is kept close on my person at all times. For good measure I also threw in a tote—think: reusable grocery bag. This has been perfect for occasions that call for a change of clothes or a small blanket in addition to my daybag. When not being used, both bags fold up compactly and have a home in the larger carry-on.

Lush Godiva Shampoo Bar and Jungle Leave-In Conditioner Bar

The reasoning behind these solid hair products was to save room in my liquids-and-gels bag since I carried on for most of my flights, but I just love these products regardless. Granted, as a curly-haired person, I wash my hair less often than most, but these products are still going strong with only two weeks left in a three-month trip.
Now these are just a sampling of things that have come along with me. In addition to these hits, there have been several misses and space wasters that also made the cut. Stay tuned for my post about what actually made it on the first flight with me...and what's making it home.

Meanwhile...what did I miss? What are some great products you can't live without when you're away from home? What would you want as your trusty three-month sidekick?



  1. Lately, whenever we go on a shorter, domestic trip, I've been carrying around a Field Notes notebook. It's the perfect size for the back pocket. I like to write down all flight info, hotel info and the address, price and hours of attractions/shops/restaurants we want to visit. Cuz I'm a big organized nerd like that.

    Did you bring your Kindle? I loved having it when I went to Europe for 2 weeks. I read 2 books and didn't have to charge it once.

  2. As a fellow insomniac and user of a fan for noise not temperature at night, I also LOVE the white noise app. If I still wrote the overwrought poetry like I did in my teen years, a poem would definitely be dedicated to that app.

  3. I love the solid shampoo/conditioner from Lush - it saves room in my liquids bag for mini-boozes I buy at the liquor store for $5 cheaper than on the plane :)
    I've been coveting those crocs as travel shoes for awhile too. I am a new convert to patterned scrubs from Koi (they have styles that are less scrub-looking) for incognito pockets and cement-sink-scrubbing durability!

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  5. I thank you for the information and articles you provided


Your comments are why I get out of bed in the morning. Just kidding. But I do like them.