Travelling well means getting the most out of your travel experience. It means exploring new places and connecting with new people. Having the right equipment can enhance or diminish your travel experience. The wrong gear can result in heavy luggage, misplaced items, stress and frustration. The right travel gear can cut down on weight, providing lighter, less bulky items, and reduce redundancy.
Travelling well doesn’t necessarily mean having the best tech, the coolest electronics, and the latest gadgets. No, but a few well-functioning items can make the travel experience more enjoyable, and certainly more fun. Having the right gear is a fine balance between having the best equipment to maximize your experience while keeping you grounded in familiar, functional gear.
In this recurring post my goal is to bring to your attention some of the best travel products in the industry. Anything that will help enhance your travel experience is fair game. We will be featuring everything from electronics to books, helpful apps, tools, cloths, luggage and computer programs.
Read on for these segments suggestions to make your next travel experience more fulfilling, if not a little more fun!
Tortuga Air Carry On Backpack
The Tortuga Air is my current go-to travel luggage. This bag looks and wears like a backpack but opens with a flat clam-shell style. The best thing about this bag is its size. I have been searching for a bag that will force me to travel light. If you have a large bag you will inevitably find something to fill it. Buying a bag that’s smaller than you think you need forces you to only carry the essentials. The pack is a little on the pricey end for this category but it is very well made and worth every penny.
Some of my favorite features:
- Low key, this bag is top quality but the simple design and color does not draw attention from thieves.
- Clam shell design opens like a suitcase allowing easy access.
- Large zippered mesh inside compartment allows easy storage of smaller items.
- Expandable zipper pocket adds an additional 8L of storage capacity.
Memrise Language Learning App
Language learning apps are a great way to brush up on your language skills or learn the basics of a new language before traveling to a new location. For several months now I have been using Duolingo but there are some features I have found lacking. Specifically Duolingo lacks context for new words. For example it says the definition for Comienzo, empezar, but doesn’t give any information or context. I found myself constantly having to look up definitions. If you are in the same boat as me you will be interested in trying out Memrise.
The app is basically an interactive user-driven flashcard app, the greatest feature is their use of user created mnemonics, words or photos to help you remember. Similar to Anki flashcard program, Memrise uses a strategy of spaced repetition; bringing a word back to your attention just before the moment you are likely to forget it.
New Outlander Packable Daypack
At under $20 this thing is a steal. It’s tiny and folds up into its own pocket, yet it is plenty big enough to carry enough for a day out. All in all it is a great daypack for the budget and weight conscious traveler.
Leatherman Style PS
For me it’s really great to have a small tool while on the road. Unfortunately few options exist for a TSA friendly multi-tool. Enter the Leatherman STYLE PS. At under 3” long and weighing in at just over 1.5 oz this fits the bill perfectly. This tool contains only the essentials: pliars, mini sissors, screwdriver, tweezers, and a bottle opener. Do not confuse this with the similarly named STYLE CS, as that tool contains a knife, and is not TSA friendly.
The biggest issue with this multi-tool is increased checks at airport security. The Style PS resembles many non-compliant multi-tools so your bag has an increased chance of being searched. Ironically the only time I have been searched is during in-country flights in the US.
Eagle Creek Spector Quick Trip
Eagle Creek is well known for their travel organization products. A long-time fan of their Pack-It Cubes I have recently been using their Pack-It Specter Quick Trip toiletry organizer. So far I love it, it weighs in at only 1 oz yet is spacious enough for a full set of toiletries, granted you are traveling light and using mini-bottles. It has a spacious main pocket and 2 separate side pockets, it also has a handle for hanging it in a shower or bathroom. If you need a little more room try out their slightly larger Wallaby Small.
This was the site that found me my non-stop round trip flight from Los Angeles to London for $600! The sites best feature is the flexibility in search options. If you are flexible in your travel dates or destination you can search your destination as “Everywhere.” You can then further narrow your search by the cheapest country. The site also allows you to search travel dates by entire month, or the cheapest month of the year. This is great as it allows you to plan your travel well in advance and opens up options for locations you might never thought you would visit.
Unfortunately Skyscanner app has removed some of the great features that make their website so useful in their latest update and I cannot recommend it at this time. Stick with the web version.
Kindle Fire 8 HD
The great allure of bringing a tablet while travelling is the ability to carry as many books as you like all without the weight. You can carry dozens of novels for those long cross-country bus rides and as many guidebooks as you like, you can even download them on the go for that unexpected side trip.
Amazon offers a full range of Kindle tablets starting at only $49.99 for the 7” non-HD version. For me the resolution of the non-HD kindle was a little grainy and the tablet is heavy and thick.
I opted for the Fire HD 8 Kindle tablet, it has great resolution for the e-reader, it’s beautifully designed, thin and lightweight and it has an expandable memory of up to 128 GB.
So far I have taken the Kindle on several trips so far, it has worked fantastic, it has also become my primary e-reader at home. The extra cost to upgrade to the 8” HD version still makes this product a bargain for weight conscious travelers.
At Home by Bill Bryson
Consistently one of my favorite travel authors, Bill Bryson is known for such magnificent travel books as In a Sunburnt Country, A Walk in the Woods, and A Short History of Nearly Everything. In his 2011 book At Home Bill Bryson offers a unique perspective on travel writing, the setting for the entire book takes place entirely from inside of a single home. Based on the rooms and layout of Bryson’s English countryside home he brings the reader on a journey through the history of hygiene from the bathroom, private life in the bedroom. A great book with an interesting perspective, and charming and witty in true Bill Bryson fashion.