Adrienne McDermott and her husband, Andrew, spend their time traveling around the world, broadening their perspective and sharing interesting stories. Below is the first in a series of guest posts from them sharing amazing travel tips, tricks, and hacks for Top 5 readers. Check out more on their blog A&A Take on the World.
Female travelers (sorry guys!) listen up! Packing for a trip can be daunting. If you’re anything like me, you use a lot of clunky tools in your daily life. When you add them all up, you could easily fill two suitcases. Over the years, I’ve discovered a few packing hacks to make more room in your luggage for the big things you can’t live without. Not to mention a few tricks to make travel a tad more convenient and comfortable. And among all of those hacks and tricks, I’ve come across a number of female travel products that make your life on vacation so much easier.
1.) Reusable Carry-on Liquid Carrier
Gone are the days of using flimsy, easily tearable and wasteful travel-sized liquid Ziplocks. These reusable liquid containers will not let you down. They keep their shape well so your liquids don’t get crushed. The zippers are waterproof, so if spillage occurs it doesn’t muck up the rest of your belongings. They’re TSA-certified AND friendlier on the environment, too.
2.) Travel-Sized Liquid Travel Bottles
I’ve gone through all the cheap-o bottles from convenience stores and they all implode in no time, which is seriously inconvenient. My Go-Toobs have now made it through four years of full-time travel — 75+ flights — they still look great and work perfectly. Plus, you can squeeze every last drop of liquid out of them so your products aren’t wasted!
Buy Go-Toobs here >
3.) Diarrhea Meds
Nobody likes to talk about butt problems, but let’s be real. When visiting a new place, it’s not uncommon for your stomach to go ham over the new bacterias you’re exposing it to. It’s hard to avoid the incredible-smelling street food that may or may not have lived past its prime. It’s 100x more difficult to avoid said street food at 3 am after a boozy night.
Be prepared. Either ask your doctor to call in a prescription for you OR stock-up on over-the-counter meds because runny bum meds aren’t always easy to come by in many parts of the world. And nobody likes to make the trip to the doctor/pharmacy with a turtle head poking out.
Buy Imodium here >
4.) Packing Cubes
If you don’t already know about packing cubes, now you do. They make packing and unpacking tidy and convenient. You can fit considerably more clothes when you use packing cubes. My personal favorites are by Zero Grid because they’re super durable, you can see the contents of the cube through the mesh tops and they have several conveniently located handles.
5.) Menstrual Cup
I recently swapped from tampons to this menstrual cup. It’s a life changer. I used to find myself stocking up on tampons in fear that I wouldn’t come across them easily while traveling. We all know space in our luggage is valuable, and the cup takes up very little! An added bonus, every cup purchased from TheCup.org gives a woman living in poverty a menstrual cup and enrolls them in a reproductive health education program.
Buy The Cup here >
6.) Extra Undies
I don’t know what I did to anger the panty gods, but my undies disappear constantly — looking at YOU, creepy wash-n-fold man. Bring extras! More importantly, you never know when you’ll get that stomach bug (see #3), and poop yourself.
7.) The Neck Pillow
I think I’ve bought every type of neck pillow under the sun. This one keeps its shape, holds your head in place and takes up noticeably less space than average. Plus, the fleece material makes it feel like you’re getting a comfy hug AND you can easily strip the fabric and throw it in the wash.
8.) Shaving Razor and Travel Case
This one speaks for itself. Thank you to the shaving scientists for creating this compact piece of convenience and durability.
9.) Hand Scale
Is there anything more annoying than doing the weight adjustment game at the airport check-in counter? I’ve recently started traveling with an extra suitcase so I can buy tons of artwork and decorations for the home I’ll theoretically own someday. It’s impossible for me to guess if my luggage is under the acceptable weight, so I got this little guy and now I’m always in the clear before getting to the airport. It’s lightweight, small in size and weighs in both metric and imperial units.
10.) Jewelry Organizer
I’ve been on the hunt for years for the perfect travel jewelry organizer, but keep striking out. Last year, I was in a packing fluster and bought a Pill Organizer (you know, the ones you see on every old person’s bathroom sink) and I’ll never go back. All of my goodies are nicely organized, I can see them through the clear lids and nothing gets crushed or tangled! I use two: one for my rings (even my chunky statement rings fit) and one for my dainty chain bracelets/necklaces and all of my earrings.
11.) Deck of Waterproof Playing Cards
You never know when travel delays will occur. When trying to conserve your phone, computer, tablet and power bank batteries, a deck of cards really comes in handy. Boredom hack! These are waterproof and come in a carrying case.
12.) Eye Masks with Deep Holes
I travel with mascara on. The average flat eye mask is the enemy to makeup wearers. This little happiness helper has deep holes, so your eyelashes are smushless. It’s made from a very cozy material with adjustable straps. This particular mask comes in a little pouch with earbuds. A triple win!
Buy an Eye Mask here >
13.) XL Phone Charging Cord
My favorite travel hack ever. I use a 10-foot-long phone charger because eight out of 10 hotels, hostels and Airbnbs have the wall plug on the opposite side of the room from the bed. This used to irritate the hell out of me. Until I got this baby. The reinforced cord has a much longer shelf life than the standard iPhone charger that pulls apart after five uses.
14.) Flying Pouch
Whether I’m on a plane, train or bus, I like to keep my valuables within eyesight at all times. I don’t like having to reach into my bag every time I need this or that. I’ve started using a pouch to keep in the pocket in front of me OR tucked under my arm if I’m going to sleep. This pouch consists of the following: passport, boarding pass, a tiny wallet with my credit cards/cash, chapstick, earbuds, sleep mask, a pen (for customs forms), charging cord and power bank. I don’t have one pouch that I’m in love with, but I suggest getting one that can be washed because most modes of transportation are filthy.
Buy a Travel Pouch here >
15.) Longchamp Purse
I hate myself for suggesting this. A Longchamp nylon tote. Every fiber of my being hates this bag for SO MANY reasons. After years and years of trying to find the perfect purse for travel, I’ve finally given in and it’s actually pretty great.
I’ll make this quick. It’s durable, super light-weight, stands up to rain, is very easy to clean and folds down completely flat if you want to pack it in your luggage. The best part? It’s ugly and not flashy at all, so you don’t attract unwanted attention.
Buy a Longchamp Purse here >
Please find my gear for full-time travel here.