Travel, whether an overnight trip nearby or a weeks-long trip abroad, nourishes our souls. Taking us out of our day-to-day lives and exposing us to new people, places, experiences, and ideas, hitting the road hits our refresh buttons like nothing else. I have been to about 60 countries, which represent about only 29% of the world, so I still have lots of exploring to do! Joanne has been to 36 countries, 14% of the world, and is always planning her next adventure.
We are both light travelers, more often than not taking carry-on luggage only, plus a daypack to ensure no lost luggage and ease of transport. But because we don’t carry a lot, what we do carry has to be important. So what are the key things for our travel success? Here are each of our Fab5 lists.
- Wrap/Pillow: MERSEA Charleston Wrap This cashmere/cotton blend wrap is the perfect travel companion for on the go and upon arrival. It is shaped like a wrap, ie curved/not just a rectangle, and is lightweight but soft, warm, and cozy. And it comes in a little drawstring pouch of the same material, turning it into the perfect travel pillow as well. I use it as a blanket on flights, as a pillow on flights when leaning against the window, and upon arrival, it’s the perfect wrap to toss in your bag for cool nights. Win Win Win.
- Airplane Tray Table Organizer: The Serenity Organizer products (reusable, washable) are great at keeping me organized on a plane. I love the seat cover, which protects me from the airplane seat, but also has pockets to hold my water bottle, book etc so everything is reachable. The tray table cover/organizer is my favorite though – it means I can store my phone, book, etc right in front of me instead of in the disgusting ‘seat pocket’, and I don’t have to touch the tray table that a million other people have been eating on and touching. On a flight last week two flight attendants were asking me where I got it and called it ‘genius’. I store it in my travel wrap/blanket ‘bag’. Our friend Audrey is the founder :).
- Neck Support ‘Pillow’ – by Trtl. For long flights, this is the neck support that is great! Not bulky, tall enough to hold my head upright/at a slight angle, and soft. I like mine in a bright color so I don’t leave it behind.
- Away Carry On Flex Suitcase: Suitcases are a very personal choice (hard vs soft, etc, etc), but this is the one that works for me. It fits overhead (they don’t guarantee that it fits in all planes given it’s a bit bigger, but I’ve never had a problem even on smaller planes), it expands if you need it to, and just fits more stuff in it than the normal tiny ones that seem to barely fit my shoes alone. And Eagle Creek’s packing cubes are also a must and they are one of the few brands that haven’t had zippers break on me.
- Cosmetic/wet bags by Aloha: A friend gave me one of these as a gift and I now have them in both small and large sizes. They are totally waterproof and can be used for a variety of items (I put all my ‘shower stuff’ for travel in the small one so if there’s a leak there’s no problem), they are a great weight and have some fun designs. Not for the person who wants pockets and fancy compartments though – none of that here.
- I can’t resist adding a 6th item – the AirFly Pro! This little gadget lets you use your own wireless earphones (earbuds or larger noise-canceling headphones – any will work) wirelessly with in-flight entertainment. No more maneuvering around cords when someone needs to move past you or having to use the cheap, uncomfortable airline-provided ear buds anymore!
- Ottoman. On long-haul flights, I will pay extra for the bulkhead so that I can use this blow-up, lightweight, footrest. It inflates to an 18″ x 16″ x 12″ cube so you can elevate your feet and rest easily hour after hour after hour. It easily inflates and deflates, weighs less than a pound, and has improved my in-flight sleeping 100%.
- Compression Socks. If you get tired legs and swollen ankles when you fly, compression socks are your friend. I don’t leave home without them on any length of flight. They aren’t that attractive (they’ve started coming out with more decorative options these days) so I put them on at take-off and remove them upon landing. These socks promote blood circulation and oxygen flow, preventing fatigue and swelling so you can hit the ground running!
- Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones. These never miss a flight! These super comfy wireless headphones keep your ears warm while canceling out all the ambient noise. They also have Bluetooth connectivity so you can use them to listen to music and watch your screens. I’ll admit I sometimes wear these around the house when I need some peace and quiet as they put you into a very tranquil space!
- Apple AirTags. AirTag lets you know where your luggage is at all times. I put one in my suitcase and another in my carry-on and I can track these items in the Find My app, where you can also track all your Apple devices!
- Down Blanket. For long flights, I throw in a down blanket/throw. They are super lightweight, provide superior warmth, and are water-resistant and washable. Rumpl makes great ones, but Costco carries them from time to time in affordable two-packs.
Bonus: Nuun Hydration: Electrolyte Tablets and Powerful Hydration Products. Proper hydration will help you beat jet-lag. Keep hydrated by dropping an electrolyte tab into your water bottle and you’ll notice a difference in your flight recovery!