I was looking at a scratch off world map the other day and in comparing different styles and prices, seemed to go down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland as I started looking at all the stuff that’s out there for travelers. Some have been out for forever, some seem to be pretty new. Most (not all) are REALLY cool. Here are some of my favorites:
There are several scratch off posters out there but I liked this one because it was full color and includes all the U.S. states as individual scratch offs (I’ve visited about 28 so far). It also comes with a guitar pick scratcher, memory stickers, to mark your travel memories, an eraser to clean scratches smudges and a magnifying strip for the visually challenged. Apparently Earthabitats used to make a scratcher map for just the U.S.A. as well, but it appears to be sold out. Pity.
I wrote a post a while back about how simple it is to break into the electronic safes that are in most hotel rooms and when I did the research for that, I discovered Pacsafe brand’s portable safes. I bought one a few months later (click here to see my review) and have since used it on all of our trips away from home. I thoroughly recommend it – it’s large (holds 2 laptops and 2 iPad easily, with lots of room to spare), easy to use, and feels safe and secure. I know that nothing is 100% foolproof, but I believe (hope?) that it would be more difficult to get into my Pacsafe than a hotel safe that you can learn how to break into by watching a video on YouTube.
Joe and I have adapters up the ying yangs, since we’ve accumulated them as we’ve traveled from country to country (and then forget to bring them…or when we thought we lost one and didn’t…or…). So yeah, we have quite the collection. I like this adapter though, because it’s 4 types of plugs (A, C, G and I) in one, covering you for about 150 countries around the world. It allows you the use of the AC Power Socket and Dual USB Ports so you can charge 3 items at one. This adapter doesn’t include a current converter to stop your 110 electronics from blowing up in 220 volt outlets, but even without it, it would save us a whole lot of space that’s being taken up by 8 bajillion adapters.
I’ve had a bag like this since the mid-1990s and it’s probably one of my most favorite things that I have when I travel. It had 10 roomy pockets and holds nearly all of my toiletries I need for long or short trips…Q-Tips, Band Aids, lotion, dental floss, etc. It folds into approximate thirds and fits easily into my carry on or checked luggage, plus the hook on top allows me to hang it in the bathroom. I just keep most of the things in there as permanent residents so when I’m off to travel again, it’s ready when I am. There are all different styles out there so you can pick the one that works best for you.
If you’re on a plane and have a cold or allergies or just a bad sinus issue, your ears could potentially hurt like crazy when you’re ascending or descending, due to the change in cabin pressure. EarPlanes help decrease or stop the pain, as they slow the pressure change, thereby allowing your ears to adapt. This post goes into more detail. I’ve kept EarPlanes with my packing gear since the mid-1990s. I’m happy in that I don’t need to use them often but when I do, I’m so glad to have them readily available to me.
Whether you’re on a road trip or have rented a car at your travel destination, if there’s more than 1 or sometimes 2 people in the car, there’s a fight of who gets to charge their device. This InstaSense car charger fits into the cigarette lighter and voila, 4 people can charge at the same time. Plus it automatically senses how much power your devices need and adjusts the amount being driven through any one of its four USB ports to provide the fastest charge possible for your devices.
I know so many people who swear by packing cubes because they make packing easier, plus your stuff won’t get as wrinkled. They come in all different brands, shapes and sizes and yeah, one of these days I’ll buy some ;-).
I remember going on vacation not all that long ago and standing on a scale while holding my luggage to make sure it didn’t weigh too much. I’m glad those days are over :-). Portable luggage scales are great to ensure your bag hasn’t gone over the limit weight so you don’t get stuck having to rearrange your stuff in the middle of the airport, or have to pay a penalty for having a bag that 50.5 pounds. The Balanzza portable luggage scale has a backlit LED, which makes it easier to read. The only problem for us in the U.S. is that its default it in kilograms and it doesn’t save settings, so you have to press an extra button to put it into pounds. Oh well.
As Joe has written, some hotel rooms will have 2 beds but only 1 nightstand. If you’re a couple that shares the bed, that leaves one person (*cough* Joe 95% of the time *cough*) without a nightstand for his phone, iPad, something to drink, etc. This bedside caddy secures between the mattress and box spring and can hold “all the things.” Pretty cool, huh?
There are a lot of “organize your electronics gear” bags out there and I considered adding one to the list but in reality, that’s not something I think would work well. At least not for me. I have my wires that I use to charge my phone and iPad and I need those available at any time. Yet the wires I need for my computer are only needed occasionally, so I don’t feel the need to have them at “immediate availability status” at all times. So why keep them all in the same place? What I DO need though, are some way to keep my wires organized in the various places I keep them, so I don’t have spaghetti wires everywhere. That’s where hook & loop cable ties come in. They’re simple, they’re cheap and they do the job. ‘Nuff said!
I know the things I listed are just the tip of the iceberg – there’s so much out there to make life easier for travelers. Please add to the list…what travel gadgets do YOU swear by?
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary