I went on Facebook and posed the question “Traveling friends out there – what’s the one thing that you always bring with you to make your travels better?” And, I got a variety of answers. I left the question fairly open ended because I wanted to see where people’s minds would go – not where I would direct their minds to go. If I had posed the question: “What do you bring to make a flight more comfortable?”, I’m sure I would have gotten a different set of answers than what I got.
While I asked people for one thing most did not go for just one, or some did one’s that somewhat relate to each other, for instance “portable charger and headphones”. With portable chargers if you do not have one of these, go get one now – bonus – get one that can be charged through a solar charger for environment points! For headphones, A set of earbuds you can keep in your purse or pocket for every day use – and a noise cancelling set for while you are on the plane. (they are worth the purchase. Stuart and I have Bose headphones – however; a few generations older. They are expensive but they have been a game changer. Extra bonus – if Stuart goes to sleep in the cabin I can watch something on my laptop with these and they drown out his snoring which is quite the impressive feat.
I had one person answer quite philosophically with “an open heart and mind”, which at first glance almost frustrated me because in my mind I was asking for tangible things, but when traveling having an open heart and mind – an ability to be flexible and kind to those also traveling – it truly is imperative.
You can tell a bit about what the travel experiences of those that responded were based on what they said. I’m confident that my friend that responded with “A really cheap rain poncho in case of an unexpected downpour!” I happen to know she has been caught in an unexpected downpour as I was with her when we ended up using bright yellow trash bags in Barcelona when we hadn’t brought rain poncho’s with us.
I had a sarcastic response of “Bail money” from one person. I will say I haven’t seen this person since college, but unless a drastic amount has changed in their life in the past decade, no way is he someone that needs bail money on a trip. The comedy was appreciated though.
One friend commented with baby wipes. Certainly a useful travel companion. You can wipe down your seat to avoid germs on the plane, clean your hands, or freshen your face after a long day of traveling. Nearly the Letherman of travel tools.
A woman in a similar life situation to myself (husband works on ships – she, however, has a land based business and is not looking to go back to work on ships), responded incredibly thoughtfully. She went for what makes traveling well for your soul and your wellbeing. With this includes “the things that continue whatever healthy routines I do at home. Because when you travel frequently there is always an excuse to get off of your routine and kill your good habits that you spend so much time cultivating at home. For example my morning time is my sacred time. So I bring one big blank notebook for appreciation writing, one or two travel notebooks so that I can keep a daily travel journal and pre-downloaded materials (audio-books, Spotify song playlists, podcasts.) and my favorite workout clothes and shoes so I can walk and listen.”
She was one of two respondents that mentioned audio books. One of my besties wrote to me saying that she brings two audio books. One she hasn’t read before because it will keep her mind engaged and awake. Also – her eyes get dried out on planes, so she doesn’t want to plan on having to watch the TV all of the time. The second audio book is one she has read many times, so it can be some nice background noise that she will still be able to fall asleep to it.
The first response I received from someone who flies enough he can go in the Business Lounges without a Business class ticket said “DJI Osmo Pocket. Single best thing I’ve bought in AGES! Best way of capturing everything.” Which, after a bit of a research is a GoPro type camera (continuous recording), but with some more movie-ish qualities and is not advertised to be so rugged to survive an avalanche. This person is also quite good at marketing himself and putting his brand out there… so maybe worth noting for myself as I try to make myself more hirable.
While no one specifically mentioned this, I want to toss in reusable water bottles. I used to always bring a Nalgene for this but found that carrying a smaller one was easier to maneuver in my bags. Fill it before you leave home – make yourself drink all of it before security (airplanes are so dry and you will get dehydrated, drinking it before security means you will go pee before you get on the plane). Fill it up once you’re through security. Drink it during the flight. Get over your fear of airplane bathrooms/airport bathrooms. Use the aforementioned baby wipes to disinfect should you feel so inclined.
And, my darling college roommate in all her wisdom said: “An empty small stuffable backpack you can take out and about for day ventures”. So necessary. Plus, it helps prevent you from having to unpack your perfectly packed backpack carryon!
So, here is a breakdown of some responses:
- Audiobooks/spotify/podcasts/things to listen to pre-loaded onto your phone so you aren’t trying to download them on unreliable data/wifi
- Portable charger
- DJI Osmo Pocket/Camera of some sort for your traveling needs
- Baby wipes – I’m going to toss in a small thing of hand sanitizer as well.
- Rain poncho
- Small backpack or travel bag – bonus if it is waterproof and can double as a dirty laundry/wet laundry should the need arise (because you didn’t bring your previously mentioned rain poncho)
- Oversized scarf! This is one of my travel go to’s as it doubles as a blanket! The more snuggly the better
- Lip Balm – with this I am going to toss in things to help you stay hydrated. Lip balm, hand lotion, face lotion (unless you are like me and always stop at the Clinique duty free store to put on some 72 hour hydrating face cream)
- Reusable water bottle
- The things to keep you sane: Whether that be a journal, a coloring book, a sudoku book, a travel yoga mat to do yoga in the airport terminal. Whatever you need to keep you being you.
- An eye mask. It makes sleeping on the plane SO MUCH BETTER.
- And lastly, an open heart and mind. The people working at that airport counter are not responsible for everything that is going wrong at the whole airport that day. Cut them some slack. Don’t be an asshole.
What’s the one thing you won’t travel without?