When it comes to traveling, I have to exert lots of willpower to not buy all of the cool and trendy travel products so effortlessly and luxuriously displayed on my favorite travel blogs, by instafamous adventurers, and throughout every nook and cranny of Pinterest. The truth is that I’m a girl on a budget who, at least at this point in my life, can’t afford Patagonia and Osprey every time I jet set. Maybe one day.
But until then, I will share with you a list of my travel must-haves, all of which are low cost. Having these items when I travel is like a comfort blanket; I know I’ll be happy, clean, and well fed and because these things are cheap, I always have a little cushion for spending during my trips.
Jersey Infinity Scarf
Perfect for cool and changing climates and beyond its obvious purpose, a soft scarf can also serve as a pillow or, if hearty enough, a blanket, on your plane ride. You can ditch the reusable pillows that airlines provide on long flights (something about them has always grossed me out), and ball up a scarf to rest your head. H&M sells a great one and it’s currently on sale for $7.
Thanks to my stylish and one-step-ahead-of-everyone-else’s mom, here’s another scarf-like product perfect for long trips. My mom has recently started using a scarf with a built in zipper pocket, where she can store her passport, boarding pass, and extra cash. It’s like a trendy version of a fanny pack. Way to go, Mummy!
Before a trip to South America I took a couple of years ago, I thought it would be proactive to bring a lock, as I knew I was staying in shared rooms at hostels. The only issue, which I found out upon my arrival, was that my lock – the kind commonly used in middle and high school – was too big to fit through the lockers. Although none of my valuables were stolen during the trip (I slept with my passport on my body every night) since then, I make sure to bring with me a mini lock wherever I travel. You can find these for $10-$15 at Target. The mini lock tends to fit in most lockers and will provide you with extra peace of mind when falling asleep in a new place.
Some of my lowest travel moments have been when I realize that the person next to me on a 10-hour international flight is a full on, without a doubt, mouth-wide-open, SNORER. Goodbye to any hope of sleeping on the plane! Now, I always pack earplugs (grab em’ up at any Walgreens or CVS). I prefer the wax kind because they’re great at keeping the noise out, but the choice is up to you. You won’t be sorry.
Breakfast of Champions!… and perhaps lunch and dinner and midnight snack. You never know what food an airline will serve on the plane (Is it meat? Fish? Neither?) or when you might be stranded in airport where food is ridiculously overpriced (a $14 iceberg lettuce salad, no thank you!) or a hostel that promises catered breakfast and then bails on providing any food (yes, it’s happened). It’s never a bad idea to have oatmeal around. All you need is hot water and I find it more filling than granola bars.
There’s nothing worse than feeling oily and gross on a long plane ride. I like using Neutrogena Naturals Cleansing Towelettes and for stanky breath, I keep a mini mouthwash in my carry on. Super refreshing!
Whether you use iTunes, Spotify, or even a collection of mix tapes, who wants to set out on a journey without the right music? Definitely not me! I make sure to have my adventure playlist, top 40s/pump up playlist, and sleepyplaylist ready off-line on Spotify, my music platform of choice. A long flight with a good tunes sets the right tone for an incredible trip.
A backpack you love.
If it were socially acceptable I would carry around my Northface daypack with me wherever I go. I’ve had it for seven years and it’s seen many countries and adventures! It’s got multiple pockets of varying sizes and depths, buckles at the chest and the waist, and is the perfect size for a day outing, whether hiking or exploring a new city. My sincerest recommendation is investing in a backpack you love and that you know you can rely on.
By Reby Silverman.