9 Items I Won’t Travel Without

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I’ve been traveling a lot for work over the last couple of years. My TripIt data shows 52 trips covering 181,000 miles from October 2014 to March 2017, to be exact. It added up to 221 days away from home during that timeframe! Let’s just say I’ve learned what makes traveling easier and it helped me seek out these nine things I won’t travel without. 

If anything is to be known about me, it’s that I hate inefficiencies and I want to optimize everything to the best of my ability. I quickly found a bunch of little annoyances about frequent travel that I started to optimize.

Because of all the travel, I felt really burned out on the road more often than not. I quickly discovered that frequent traveling can negatively affect your quality of life and your health if you aren’t careful! Little items can go a long way in making the experience of business travel (and personal travel) much better.

I wanted to share what has had a positive and beneficial impact on my travels! Here are some of the top items I won’t travel without.

Quick Links

9 Items I Recommend For Making Travel Easier

1. Bose QC35 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Crying babies, multiple loud conversations, the noise of the jet engine, and my personal favorite (for the introverts) is the guy sitting next to you that just wants to talk for three hours straight. Traveling is full of loud noisy environments and sounds that you don’t want to hear. The Bose Quiet Comfort QC35 wireless headphones are a lifesaver.

The benefits to using these headphones are both mental and physical. Airplane cabins are very loud and using regular earbuds requires you to crank up the volume just to properly hear dialog or music. Prolonged periods with noise at high volumes causes hearing loss over time (permanent and non-repairable hearing damage). The Bose QC35 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones help bring down the ambient noise around you and make it easier to hear your music or movies at lower, safer volumes. I describe the noise reduction as “a significant amount” since Bose doesn’t publish the decibel reduction. The mental aspect is the benefit I have found to improve my travel the most – reducing the noise hangover. All the ambient loud noises make it harder to focus, which doesn’t go away once you get home (just like an alcohol hangover, it sticks around for awhile). Having these headphones on while traveling lowers my stress levels, allows me to focus while sitting in loud environments, and makes the whole travel experience more bearable.

I’ve been an advocate for Bose Quiet Comfort headphones for several years. I started with the QC15, then had the QC25, and finally upgraded to my Silver QC35 wireless set when they were released. I highly recommend the QC35 because of the Bluetooth wireless feature. It allows me to answer calls, connect to multiple devices at the same time (ie a Macbook and an iPhone, two devices at the same time is the max), and it has a rechargeable battery vs the standard AAA battery in the previous versions. It still allows you to plug the headphones into a headphone jack if your device doesn’t have Bluetooth, or you prefer a wired connection in certain situations.

Check it out on Amazon here.

2. Away Travel Carry On Suitcase

 

I love this carry on suitcase. Away has designed their suitcases to improve the user experience of traveling, while solving some of the common issues everyone faces. My favorite feature is the built-in battery that allows you to charge a smartphone up to 5 times without recharging the suitcase battery. Pure genius. I hate searching for airport outlets and this has saved me from a dead battery more than a few times. It also features a built-in laundry bag and a built-in TSA approved combo lock.

When my old carry on Samsonite kicked the bucket, I replaced it with this suitcase. Even though I ended up with a smaller carry-on, it’s still the best suitcase I’ve ever had. The hardshell does flex a bit, and the internal construction with zippered pockets makes it easy to pack a lot in one small space.

Get $20 off of your first order by clicking on this link.

3. Roost Laptop Stand

I work at a computer most of my days. Good ergonomics is really important for me to maintain good health, especially since I have had some back and arm pain from years of working on computers. Working on the road, though, makes it next to impossible. Working on just your laptop for hours causes you to look down at the monitor and keep your hands at an angle that can cause arm pain.

The Roost Laptop Stand is the best portable ergonomic solution I have found. It puts your laptop at the proper height, it’s height adjustable, it is really lightweight at 5.8 oz, and it’s fully collapsible to easily fit in your bag. Combine it with a wireless keyboard and mouse, and you have a completely portable ergonomic solution.

Check it out on Amazon here.

4. Allbirds

Allbirds are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. Yes, I am recommending shoes.

While I wear my All birds all the time, I have found I particularly enjoy them the most when traveling on airplanes. Typically when I’m wearing gym or dress shoes I become uncomfortable and then take off my shoes during the flight. After a while, my feet get cold and dry so I put the shoes back on, and so the process goes. With these shoes, I never have that issue.

The only time I don’t recommend wearing these shoes is while it’s raining or when it’s below freezing. Other than that, I’ve been wearing them for 6+ months and love them.

Check them out on allbirds.com here.

5. Mountie Side Clip

The Mountie Side Clip was one of those things I didn’t realize how great it was until I purchased and used it. It allows you to clip a phone or tablet to the side of your laptop monitor. Cool, eh?

I commonly use this when trying to clip my iPhone and my iPad mini to the side of my laptop. For the iPhone, it’s simply a way to keep my phone near me but not have to constantly pull it out of my pocket. It’s useful in airports or when working on airplanes, and we all know how little room there is on the tray tables and in the seats.

With my iPad mini, I use it as a second monitor clipped to the side of my laptop by combining the use of the Mountie Side Clip with Duet Display, a software solution to turn an iPad into a second monitor for your computer. While the Mountie Side Clip works great with the iPad mini for this use, I don’t recommend using it with a full-size iPad. The regular iPad seems to weigh too much, and the setup becomes cumbersome to use.

Check it out on Amazon here.

6. AmazonBasics Universal Travel Case

Chargers, adapters, phone mounts, flashlights, and cables. Turns out with all the tech we have these days it requires an arsenal of little accessories. Especially if you have the new MacBook Pro and all the dongles (grumble…). Because a lot of those items are small, a lot of the things I need on the road can quickly get misplaced or lost.

I picked up this AmazonBasics Universal Travel Case and tossed everything in there I would need on the road. Many of the items, such as USB and Lightning cables, are purposeful duplicates of what I already have, so I never have to think about searching for the cables before I hit the road. I put my Mountie Side Clip, Anker Powercore+ Mini, and Car Mount in this travel case too. Everything I put in here is dedicated to traveling only, so I can just toss the case in my bag and go. Works great when trying to stay organized.

Check it out on Amazon here.

7. Anker Powercore+ Mini

One of my main fears about staying in hotels is bed bugs. I always make sure to do a thorough check of the hotel room before settling in, and having a compact powerful flashlight is key. The Anker Powercore+ Mini is a rechargeable LED flashlight that packs a powerful punch without the need to worry about replacing the batteries. The rechargeable battery lasts a long time, which makes it even better to toss in my AmazonBasics Travel Case and not have to worry about it.

Another seemingly unrelated problem is battery powered tech gear running out of power when you aren’t near an outlet. The Anker Powercore+ Mini solves both of these issues. It has a powerful LED rechargeable flashlight that doubles as a USB power source for any rechargeable battery.

Check it out on Amazon here.

8. Belkin Car Vent Mount for Smartphones

I found that anytime I rented a car, I ended up having to navigate to my hotel, sometimes late at night, and there was never a spot for my phone to safely rest. I even tried setting my phone against the dash cluster, but it kept moving around or falling out.

The car mounts attach to a vent and are great travel accessories. They are small, simple, and fit easily into my travel case. I have found that the Belkin Car Vent Mount is well built and I recommend it. However, I don’t think the brand isn’t as important and any knockoff would probably work well too (I had a knockoff previous to this one and found it worked fine).

Check it out on Amazon here.

One side note: This type of mount is great for rental cars and short trips, but I don’t recommend it for everyday use since it covers a vent. I have the Just Mobile Xtand Go setup on the windshield in my car and it is excellent.

9. Anker SoundCore Bluetooth Speaker

Headphones are great while traveling, but once I am stationary somewhere, like in a hotel room, it feels good not to wear any. The bedside radios in hotel rooms are mostly useless, and listening to music through my phone or computer speakers left something to be desired. I found the perfect solution – the Anker SoundCore Bluetooth speaker. It checked all of the boxes for me. It’s affordable, it has a long battery life (24+ hrs!), it has a microphone so you can answer calls while it is connected, and my favorite is that the design is simple and minimalistic. The only tradeoff is the sound quality isn’t the best, but since I didn’t care about the quality as much as just having a decent speaker on the road, it didn’t matter to me.

Check it out on Amazon here.

P.S. it’s also great for camping trips!

Item’s I Won’t Travel Without – Conclusion

Those nine items have been great for me on the road, and I recommend them if any of you have encountered the same situations. Like I mentioned, I like to optimize my life by making things easier or creating a better experience, and these items have done that for me on my travels. I may not be at the “business class” travel level (and I don’t want to be), but for all the average business travelers a few of these items should make your life easier on the road.

To make it easier, I put together a recommended travel accessories list on Amazon for all of the items which can be purchased on Amazon. I’ll keep adding items to the list  as I come across anything new in the future! Allbirds and Away Travel are both available directly on their websites and the links are below.

How do you think these items would help your travel experience? Has anyone else found other physical items that have made their travel experience better? Post your suggestions in the comments below!