10 Remarkably Useful Travel Items to Invest In

This is a guest post for AubreaLouise, written by John Ashe

Travelling can be stressful. Between deciding what to pack and actually making travel plans (booking hotels, catching flights, renting cars, and finding entertainment), the hassle can often detract from the excitement of your trip. But fear not! Travelling can be a cinch if you know how to do it right. Investing in the appropriate travel gadgets can make journeying to a new destination all the more satisfying and relaxing.  Here are some items that are worthy of your attention.  We have included links to these items for reference, but you should always shop around to ensure you’re purchasing products that will ultimately meet your needs the best.

  1. Collapsible Luggage

Most travelers love to purchase interesting souvenirs. Nothing says “I’m a world traveler!” like a fridge full of magnets or a snow globe with Big Ben in it. Even if you don’t purchase personal souvenirs, your family and friends would probably appreciate thoughtful gifts from the destinations that you’ve explored. The trouble normally comes at the end of your vacation when you’re trying to fit all of that sweet loot into your already jam-packed suitcase. This is where collapsible luggage comes in. Just pack these collapsible containers in your suitcase at the beginning of your trip and when you are ready to return home you can easily check one extra piece of luggage, full of your souvenirs. This eliminates the need to check an extra bag on the way there or to omit packing necessities so that you have extra space in your luggage. You can also transfer your dirty clothes into the collapsible bag and use your regular luggage for any delicate souvenirs. There’s nothing worse than a bottle of local tequila shattering on the trip home.

  1. Neck Stash Bag

Storing your passport, tickets, credit cards, and cash can be both a hassle and a liability when traveling internationally. If you keep these items in your pocket or purse they could slip out while you’re snoozing on the plane or sitting in an airport. Leaving them in your carry on isn’t a better option, as you may find yourself digging through your bag at the airport with a line of impatient travelers tapping their feet behind you, or accidentally leaving them behind at your hotel when you’re out and about. A neck stash bag is a great solution to this problem. You will always know where your important documents are, and they won’t be in danger of getting lost or stolen. When crime is a concern, the neck stash bag doubles as a security measure. Pickpockets will have a tough time taking your most valuable items if they are stored safely around your neck.

  1. Shoe Bags

When travelling, many people love to get back to nature with outdoor activities. Hiking around Macchu Picchu or trekking up Mount Fuji is an incredible experience, but figuring out what to do with your mud-caked or sopping wet shoes afterwards is significantly less fun. Instead of potentially ruining your clothing, invest in some shoe bags. Just like the collapsible luggage, empty shoe bags take up very little space in your suitcase. When full, they take up about the same amount of space as the shoes themselves do. These bags are a great way to keep the muck from your adventures separated from the nice button-ups or dresses that you have packed.

  1. Phone Camera Lenses

Do you want to get a jaw-dropping pic of that Thai temple, but don’t have the cash for a professional camera? Well you’re in luck, because now you can spice up your pictures with attachable lenses for your phone. These can help increase the quality of your pictures, and add personality that your phone camera alone cannot. Popular lenses include the fish-eye lens for some 90’s style action shots, or you can go for one of the lenses that give extra zoom capabilities. Just be sure to buy one that works with your specific phone!

  1. Compression Packing Cubes

One of the eternal struggles of the long distance traveler is deciding what to pack in a very limited space. This can be an especially tense process with couples. You may not understand why your significant other needs to pack a fifth dress or so many baseball caps, but you can eliminate part of the problem by saving precious space with compression packing cubes. These little bags allow you to pack clothes in them, then remove the air and zip them up tight to create a dense, compact package instead of wasting space.

  1. Foldable Flats

Lots of ladies love wearing heels. It’s a fact of life. They’re almost as beloved to them as cheese and carbs. However, they tend to lose their appeal while in the airport or walking around a foreign city for an extended amount of time. Many women will wear heels while traveling or when they are on vacation only to deal with regret later while staring at an angry blister. Instead, try bringing a pair of fold-able flats with you. They may not be as fashionable, but these shoes fold up small enough to fit in any nearly purse and are a godsend when your feet can’t handle another second crammed inside those stilettos.

  1. International Outlet Converter

This one may seem obvious to the well-traveled, but international travel newbies might not realize just how many different types of outlets there are in the world. An outlet adapter will be extremely useful for all of your international trips. Seeing that your phone is on 1% battery and then realizing that your charger won’t fit into the wall outlet without some power tools is a real drag. This also applies to the many electronic items you might bring with you on your travels, such as your hair dryer, laptop, or portable stereo.

  1. Power Bank

While we’re on the topic of cell phones, you should consider getting a portable power bank. International flights can be long. Longer than any of your awesome electronics are going to last. Nobody will be happy when their iPad dies 3 hours in to a 12 hour flight, and while some planes have outlets available to recharge electronics, many still do not. With a portable power bank, your battery life can be extended dramatically and you won’t have to worry about the availability of outlets. Now you can play Angry Birds for hours while your travel partner binges on some episodes of E.R. that they downloaded for the long flight without fear of your batteries dying. You and your fellow travelers will appreciate the calm peace of mind that comes with your savvy power planning.

  1. Luggage Scale

Nothing sucks quite like finding out at the airport that your luggage is overweight. Watching the clerk shake her head at the digital scale readout can definitely throw a wrench into your plans, especially if you’re on a tight schedule or budget. If you don’t want to worry about running back to your car to abandon items at the last minute, or ponying up for additional baggage fees, do yourself a favor and plan for the unplanned with a digital luggage scale. Gone are the days of standing on a bathroom scale with and then without your suitcase, praying that your scale is accurate.  Luggage scales come pretty cheap, usually around ten or fifteen dollars, making them a luxury that even the thriftiest travelers can afford.

  1. TSA Approved Liquid Containers

These handy bottles are designed specifically to hold the maximum amount of liquids that TSA allows through the security check for carry-ons. Pre-measuring your soap, hair products and other toiletries is a painful, and often futile endeavor. This is especially true if you tend to buy your toiletries in bulk. That tub of hair gel that you use every day is never going to make it past the conveyor belt. Investing in pre-measured, pre-approved bottles will ensure that everything you need to feel your best will make it on to the plane with you. Just be sure to label your bottles to avoid any product mix-ups.


Travel can and often will be brutal, especially the international variety.  However with a little forethought and some handy travel gadgets, you can spend more time enjoying your destination, and less time worrying about getting there.

What are your favorite travel gadgets?  Let us know in the comments!

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