No one can blame travelers for getting caught up in bigger purchases like luggage, laptops, or the right wardrobe. I’ve certainly spent my fair share of time figuring out favorite clothing brands and the fact a Marmot Trans Hauler Pack or Burton Wheelie Flyer are phenomenal carryon luggage options. Yet the small travel accessories, or lack thereof, end up becoming a big headache regardless of how everything at the top of the packing list stacks up.
Travel Packing Tips for Accessories
Consider something as simple as a small spray bottle to carry something like wrinkle spray for those of us who can’t master the art of folding clothes on the go. Time and time again my generic Walmart-variety spray bottle managed to leak just enough liquid to form a sticky residue over my other bottles of liquids. No fun, right? I also remember being annoyed my travel plug adaptor didn’t have a USB port to charge a bigger electronic and my phone at the same time.
I didn’t take action on a lot of these minor problems for years because they were in fact minor if taken individually. The real problem, however, was when 4-5 minor annoyances happened every day because of my unwillingness to invest in the small stuff. Everyone can justify spending money on a nice pack or the perfect pair of travel pants, but what about paying a premium for spray bottles and plug adaptors? I finally but the bullet and shelled out a couple hundred dollars—over the course of a year—to really improve my travel accessories and have never looked back.
Check out my travel packing tips for accessories below and leave comments with other suggestions. I promise even picking up a few of these items translates to less grumbling on the road and more time to fulfill your inner wanderlust.
A Reliable Spray Bottle
Few annoyances rival something in a bag of travel liquids leaking over everything and my issues always seem to center on a spray bottle leaking wrinkle spray. I finally went on Amazon.com and found a spray bottle made from light aluminum and with a much more secure top that does more than fit around the spray mechanism. My problems were quickly solved.
Spill & Leak-Proof Travel Tubes for Liquids
Why spend money on pricey travel-sized liquids when much better travel tubes exist that can be refilled for each trip from whatever larger quantity is available at home? The up-front investment is slightly more expensive, but the re-fill strategy quickly pays off and the bottles reusable for years to come—not to mention spill and leak-proof. Check out these durable Travelon 3-ounce tubes offering two-packs and different color choices.
Individually Packaged Sanitary Wipes
No one likes a sweaty and out of sorts traveler stumbling into a cocktail party or even a casual dinner with new friends. These individually wrapped wipes are biodegradable and contain aloe and Vitamin E. They really aren’t just for dudes, as the name might imply, and are a great idea for quickly becoming presentable after a day of sightseeing when heading back to hotel isn’t an option.
Durable TSA-Approved Bag for Liquids
Zip-lock bags tend to break and wear down after more than week or so of travels. Buy a decent TSA-approved bag for liquids that’s much more durable and make it a staple of any trip.
Compartmentalized Packing Cube
More than one or two packing cubes is overkill for minimal travelers. Most cubes don’t even minimize luggage like compression bags, but simply provide better organization. The only organization I truly care about in this sense is keeping clean and dirty undergarments—talking about you, socks and underwear—separated and together. The Eagle Creek Clean/Dirty Packing Cube is compact and fits about a week’s worth of underwear and socks with two compartments to keep things seperate.
Travel Shoe Bags
Most of us with an active lifestyle unfortunately need two pairs of shoes on any trip; I always bring one pair for nights out on the town and a pair of running shoes for staying fit. Shoes get dirty, though, and sometimes cleaning them off before moving to the next destination isn’t possible. Pick up a dirt-cheap (no pun intended) three-pack of nylon shoe bags and use the other pairs for additional organization like keeping fitness gear together or even as an alternative for dirty clothes.
Plug Adaptor with USB Ports
I used to bring a plug adaptor and another adaptor that I plugged into the first adaptor to charge two USB devices at once. Still following me? Well, the strategy was cumbersome and inefficient. I’d rather be able to plug in my laptop and still have the option to charge a phone. Using a laptop’s USB ports is nice, but for people who work remotely for a living, the ports are often taken up by a wireless mouse receiver, USB drive, etc. This travel adaptor with 2 USB ports from MOCREO not only works in every country, but has a small, durable form factor with plenty of color options.
The World’s Smallest USB 3.0 Hub
Speaking of not having enough USB ports, this ultra-cheap and tiny USB 3.0 hub from Sabrent is perfect for anyone with more than one or two devices requiring a USB connection. Four USB ports might be overkill for those not working on the go, but it’s still a suggestion worth considering for anyone with a lot of gadgets.
Spending $10-$20 on a pen might seem insane, but I write a lot while traveling—even simple notes, thoughts, or to-dos—and don’t want a pen that will leak or can’t take a beating. Fisher makes some compact pens out of space-age material well worth the purchase. Again, think long term—just don’t lose it.