I have a number of things I always bring with me when I travel. I have curated this list over many trips of the things to take with you that you may not be thinking to take already. I share my experiences with you to be helpful. Perhaps some of my time and effort in finding the best products to travel with will resonate with you as well.
I will show you links where you can buy these products. For full disclosure, when you click on a link and buy the product, I will get a small commission that will help support my blog.
My favorite, non-common product is called the HooToo Tripmate. Don’t be embarrassed if you haven’t heard of this product. I am a bit techie, so I look for these types of useful products. This one provides a way to create a secure internet connection when you travel so you can continue to do sensitive work and even access your bank account when traveling.
Most of the time when you travel, you access the internet using Wi-Fi. In case you don’t already know, when you are on Wi-Fi, anyone on the same network and the required technical skill can see everything you do and can even log into your device and access your passwords and login information. It’s one of the prime ways that thieves get your personal data.
Even when you log into the hotel Wi-Fi, you are exposing yourself to thieves. The same is true if you sign into the hotel business center internet. One way to avoid this is to use a VPN (virtual private network). You can subscribe to a VPN service for a monthly fee, but some Wi-Fi is configured to disable VPN access. Verizon has introduced a “secure” VPN that you can subscribe to for a monthly fee if you want to view your private emails safely over Wi-Fi. This is a good VPN option if your cell phone carrier offers it, and you are willing to pay the cost.
Using your cell phone network rather than Wi-Fi is not secure. People can listen into cell phone traffic if they have the right technical ability.
My favored solution is the HooToo Tripmate. This tiny device establishes a very localized router hub with a password. It only relays signals within a short distance, roughly the size of your hotel room. So if someone wanted to listen into the router traffic, they would have to be in the room or right outside the room in the hallway. The HooToo takes the existing wired or wireless signal and re-transmits it using a password protected signal over the very localized network.
The HooToo is relatively easy to use and has good customer care.
You can order the HooToo through Amazon here.
While you’re at it, you should also get this handy cord to plug in where there is wired internet provided at a hotel.
My second “must pack” item is a “Pashmina” cashmere scarf. This is one thing that you can get in New York City cheaper than anywhere else (who says New York is expensive?) I buy mine in New York City from one of many street vendors, where they typically sell for $5-10. They are sold all around the city, but you can find them especially around Rockerfeller Center, 5th Avenue, Times Square, Broadway, and Battery Park during the winter months. These scarves are very warm but fold up to very little space. I use the scarf for warmth below a light jacket or on a cold airplane. It weighs very little and comes in very handy.
My scarf color is black, appropriate with anything I wear. A woman might want a different color. For a woman the scarf can be used as a head cover when visiting religious sites that require a head cover. It is also handy in any number of ways that a scarf can be used to dress up an outfit.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
I find that airplane noise can wear you down. Most people don’t notice it. They get used to the engine noise and learn to ignore it. But that airplane noise constantly making your ear drum move is fatiguing you and making you less ready to recover from your plane ride, even a short one.
I have searched long and hard for the perfect headphones to use for this problem. I have tried many. Too often headphones are advertised as noise cancelling when they are really just noise isolating. Noise cancelling is when the sound wave is offset by a computer chip generated equal and opposite sound wave imposed on top of the noise sound wave. One cancels the other out. The best noise cancelling headphones are made by Sony and by Boise, but both are very expensive (over $200). I want to make a recommendation that isn’t hard to swallow.
You also have two types of headphones, in the ear or over the ear. I prefer in the ear because I wear eyeglasses which make over the ear headphones less comfortable. But you have to make that decision yourself.
Then you have to recognize that true noise cancelling earphones require power to generate the opposing noise wave. So they either need to be charged (like your cell phone) or they use batteries. The problem with charging is that you have to find a power source when the charge runs out, or the headphones don’t cancel the noise.
Finally, there are headphones that work by plugging them into the sound source, and there are wireless headphones that work using Bluetooth wireless technology.
After trying many different brands and types, I prefer the plug in version, but, again, this is a matter of personal choice. Even if you have the wireless version, you won’t be able to use the headphones without plugging them in to watch the airplane movie because the airplane system does not generate the Bluetooth signal necessary for the wireless connection.
The best overall headphone that I recommend is this one here.
This is a wired noise isolating headphone that does not need a power source. Even if you aren’t listening to audio with these headphones, I found them to be 85% effective in eliminating the background noise. They are light and easy to carry. The price is right. Give them a try.
I will continue my packing list in coming weeks. In the meanwhile begin with buying these must have items.