Tools For Less Travel Stress
I travel a lot. If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that my regular office hours involve many airports nearly every week. In fact, I keep a list of how many airports I'm in each year - I've done this for 4 years and average over 100 airports per year!
With all that travel, I've become pretty expert at keeping travel stress free. I'm not one to spend tons of money of travel gadgets, but there are a few budget-friendly must-haves that I'm about to share with you!
If you're currently travelling and would rather listen to me TALK about these awesome travel tools- you can check it out on the Ride or Die Tribe Podcast as well! CLICK HERE to listen and subscribe on iTunes and everywhere else you listen to podcasts!
I should add that this is NOT a paid promotion - I simply love each of these products and want to make travel a little easier on you! And because I'm all about efficiency, I've compiled all of these items into one Amazon shopping list . You're welcome.
BEFORE YOU GO!
On my recent two week trip to Africa (8 hour time difference), I gave this app a try with the hopes that I wouldn't experience the sometimes debilitating effects of jet lag. I read some articles about the app and decided it was worth the free download to try it out and I was not disappointed.
Bascially, you enter your roundtrip flight schedule and Timeshifter does the work. It creates a schedule that starts 3 days prior to your departure. The schedule advises you when to sleep, when you should see light, when it's advised to have caffeine or not (if you're a coffee drinker, etc). I followed it to a T and had ZERO jet lag. It was really amazing! I was able to completely engage in everything once I arrived in Africa and when I got home. I really can't say enough great things about Timeshifter and I'll be using it going forward, for sure!
If you want to try it - it's a free download and your first trip within the app is absolutely free. After that, you can pay per trip or go for the annual option, which is super affordable at just $24.99/year.
BONUS: The kind people over at Timeshifter learned I was a fan and are offering 50 FREE "Jet Lag Plans" to my readers- ah! All you have to do is download the app from iTunes or Google Play, sign up in the app, then go to Settings>Account Manage and use the code RODT when you sign up for the Jet Lag Plan. Amazing! Don't miss out!
I loathe checking bags but also hate being committed to just a few wardrobe choices. Plus, as much as I travel, I don't like giving up all of my creature comforts when I'm on the go - enter Packing Cubes!
The Packing Cube system I use is comprised of several different size cubes. I'm not entirely sure WHY it works, but I can pack twice as much when I'm using my cubes as when I'm not. For example, nearly two weeks' worth of clothing, toiletries, snacks etc, without doing laundry, all in this 21" international travel size roll bag - made possible by Packing Cubes!
They also help keep me organized when I arrive at my destination. Nothing flies out of my suitcase when I open it up and I'm able to keep my things in category order (all socks together, pants together) with the help of my cubes!
Pro-Tip: Rather than folding your clothes, roll them tightly to fit more into small luggage!
3. Vitamin Wheel (not official name)
Allow me to set the stage...you arrive at your destination and open your bag only to find alllll of you vitamins, medications in a scrambled pile in the bottom of your bag. Yep, your pill organizer has once again opened on its own, just to bother you, and make a crumbly/oily mess in your luggage.
Maybe it's just me? No? In any case, if you're an avid vitamin-taker or need your meds when you travel, you need something that will keep you organized and the little pills secure, without taking up a ton of space, breaking, or opening up.
This little vitamin wheel is inexpensive, space-saving and is the only case that's never opened in my bag. They even come in different colors so each person in your family can have their own! Sometimes it's the small things in life that make a huge difference.
Being an efficient packer comes with its unique problems. Mainly, I can fit well over 50 pounds worth of packing into a very small suitcase, which makes checking a bag problematic on work trips. The $12 I spent on a digital luggage scale has saved me many thrown away items and last minute baggage fees. You may be inclined to leave it at home; but stop right there! Bringing this gem with you will ensure your thoughtful souvenir purchases don't push you over the weight limit edge for checked bags! I keep it in the pocket of my suitcase so I always have it.Well worth the little bit of money spent.
READY, SET, TRAVEL!
Travel footwear is always an important decision. you want to be comfortable and something you'll wear the rest of the trip so they aren't a useless space-waster the rest of your trip. If you're like me, I get really hot when I travel and my feet are a source of a lot of that. I randomly discovered Oofos at a tradeshow at the beginning of the year and it changed everything!
The first time I put them on they felt really weird; but, i wanted to give them a fair chance so I kept wearing them. Once of my better decisions, they are literally the most
comfortable footwear I own- not just in the sandal/flip flop category - all around! I accidentally wore them for an entire day of a tradeshow and was amazed at how much less my feet and back hurt at the end of the day.
Ok - they're great but why travel in them? If you aren't a TSA PreCheck traveller, you have the dreaded security line and the super gross shoe removal experience. Oofos slide off/on like your run of the mill flip flop for ease at security without compromising on comfortable footwear and help you keep the "feet on ground" time to a minimum. If you ARE among the TSA elite, then you'll be glad to have a comfy pair of zapatos that have no metal and wear like a cloud. PLUS! They are super easy to wash so you can get all the airport ickies off of them.
In all my years of travel, I've become an expert airplane sleeper. In the early years, I thought I'd never find a comfortable way to sleep on a plane; but, I am SO glad that I was WRONG!
At the beginning of 2017, I spent a week backstage at the Grammy's in LA- rubbing elbows with the stars and seeing some realllly cool products that were part of the gift lounge. It was there that I first encountered the Trtl Pillow. The name was a little different and the shape of the "pillow" was - well - unconventional. Not one to shy away from trying new things, I was willing to give it a go.
I am happy to report that not only is it the most comfortable travel pillow I have ever tried (and I have tried ALL of them - foam, inflatable, bead filled...); but, it is also just plain comfortable.Don't be fooled by its un-pillow-like appearance! It wraps around like a scarf and I like to roll essential oil on the inside of the scarf-like part for extra good sleep and protection from the weird and unwelcome smells that often sneak up on you mid-flight. It also makes a great gift for the hard-to-shop-for!
Not only is this one of my favorite travel items for staying healthy - it's one of my favorite health items when I'm at home too! Nuun is an electrolyte drink tablet that comes in a super handy and compact tube making it simple to stay hydrated no matter how many flights and convention halls I'm in (notoriously dehydrating environments).
They are low calorie and easy to use. I like to drop one in my water bottle before I leave the house. Then, fill my bottle up once I'm through security. This does a couple things for me. The obvious - keeps me properly hydrated. The not-so-obvious: They are slightly effervescent with a clean, fruity flavor (and like, a gajillion flavors to choose from) that makes it easier for me to drink the sometimes wonky-flavored drinking fountain or tap water. Sure, I could buy bottled water - but that gets expensive and I'd rather not use the extra plastic. Nuun gets me the electrolytes I need without the high sugar content that electrolyte drinks have. I use Nuun when I'm home and definitely never take a trip without my little tube of hydration delight!
AT YOUR DESTINATION
In case you forgot to use the Timeshifter app and you're feeling tired, or maybe you just like the taste... coffee is a part of your life and your trip. Rather than load up on sugary coffee creamers and compromise your health while you're on the road, I highly recommend the Vital Proteins Coffee Creamer. I use it at home and refuse to give it up when I travel. It's like VP knew I'd become addicted, so they made these super convenient stick packs!
Each pack is one serving of collagen creamer and gives me the daily collagen I love for joint and skin health, along with a boost of protein. VP Collagen creamer is dairy free; but, collagen comes from animals, so.... sorry my vegan friends. Everyone else - go order the canister for home use and a box of travel friendly stick packs so you can stay healthy no matter where you go! Comes in three flavors - my favorite is coconut ;)
9. Resistance Band
It's no secret that hotel fitness centers aren't exactly well-stocked with all the equipment you need to keep with your fitness regimen when you're travelling. Even if you're lucky enough to be staying at place with a fancy fitness room, you may not feel like dragging yourself in there before or after a day of hard work or so much fun on the beach. I never
leave home with out my resistance band(s) for this very reason! They are light-weight, super easy to have in your carry on, and can provide an amazing, whole-body workout! If you happen to be on a long, international flight - keep the band nearby for simple movements that you can do in your seat or the aisle!
Bands come in a variety of colors, lengths, toughness and more. Amazon, sporting good stores, even super stores have these in their fitness equipment section - give a few a try to figure out how much resistance you like/need and make use of online searches for ideas on how to use these, simple, but powerful little bands. To get you started with some ideas, check out these Resistance Band Exercises.