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Fashion & Beauty Travel Technology Travel Trends

9 Great Crossbody Bags for Travel

Crossbody bags are the ideal daypack for travel—they are more secure and foil pickpockets better than over-the-shoulder purses or backpacks, and they don’t immediately mark you as a tourist. The best crossbody bags for travel are ultra-lightweight or have anti-theft features, like these nine great bags.

Travelon Anti-Theft Crossbody Messenger

Travelon’s versatile Anti-Theft LTD Crossbody Messenger can be worn as a crossbody bag, or you can detach the strap and carry it as a clutch. Either way, it’s lightweight (weighing just over nine ounces) thanks to its travel-friendly and easy-to-clean stain-resistant nylon exterior. Like all Travelon bags, this one is designed to be hard to steal, with slash-resistant construction and locking compartments. There’s even RFID-blocking material built into the credit card and passport slots. An internal clip holds your keys securely, which is perfect for travel.

M.Gemi Crossbody Bag

A sharp, sophisticated crossbody optimized to stay in style season after season is a splurge any woman should be willing to make. Handmade in Tuscany, this crossbody from M.Gemi is detailed with sharp linear accents and dressed in rich tumbled leather. It’s a statement piece for sure—and one that’s absolutely worth it.

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag

Timbuk2’s Messenger Bag is a classic for a reason: It has a padded, air-mesh strap to prevent shoulder pain (even if you overpack it), padded compartments for electronics, specially designed flaps that help keep out rain, an internal water bottle pocket, and a removable cross-strap.

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Pacsafe Metrosafe Anti-Theft Crossbody Sling Backpack

Pacsafe’s Metrosafe Anti-Theft Crossbody Sling Backpack is a unisex option that holds a ton (including electronics in a special padded organizer pocket). Although lightweight, this bag has a hidden stainless steel wire embedded in the strap, which prevents thieves from slashing it. There’s also a security buckle built in that can be attached to something solid (like a table leg) so you can put it down without worry during a meal.

Baggallini Big Zipper Crossbody Bag

Baggallini quilted big zipper bagg with rfid

Never dig around in the bottom of your bag for an elusive item again with the Baggallini Big Zipper Crossbody Bag. This purse has five external pockets (including three secure zipper ones) and multiple interior compartments to keep everything organized. The nylon fabric is lightweight and water-resistant, so it will stand up to the rigors of travel.

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Travelon Anti-Theft Classic Slim Double Zip Crossbody Bag

Travelon anti-theft classic slim dbl zip crossbody bag

As its name implies, this bag is designed to keep your stuff safe, with anti-theft features such as a security flap, steel-reinforced strap guards, and RFID-blocking pockets. You can even fit this slim-profile crossbody bag under your jacket for extra protection.

Healthy Back Bag Microfiber

AmeriBag small classic microfiber healthy back bag

AmeriBag’s Healthy Back Bags have a unique, ergonomic design that contours to your back and distributes weight evenly. The microfiber version is the lightest and is also water-resistant. Inside, there are spots for your water bottle, pens, cards, and anything else you need.

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Sechunk Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Crossbody Bag

Sechunk canvas messenger bags shoulder crossbody purse daypack

For days when you need to carry just a little bit more, the Sechunk Cotton Canvas Leather Messenger Crossbody bag is just 8.46 inches by 1.57 inches by 10.24 inches,  so it fits all without being oversized. Fill the leather-trim canvas bag with all your in-flight essentials.

Dagne Dover Andra Crossbody

The Dagne Dover Andra Crossbody is one of the trendiest crossbody bags on our list and comes in a variety of colors. This minimalist bag has lots of organizational pockets to store all your belongings on the go. Wear it as a shoulder bag or across your body.

Don’t see one you like? Check out more crossbody bags from Amazon here.

Looking for Our Favorite Footwear for the Season? Check Out Allbirds

For info on these editor-selected items, click to visit the seller’s site. Things you buy may earn us a commission.

More from SmarterTravel:

Caroline Morse loves crossbody bags for travel. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline and on Twitter @CarolineMorse1 for fashion and travel photos from around the world.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

Categories
Money Security Travel Technology

The 9 Best RFID Wallets to Protect Your Identity

Protect yourself from being electronically pickpocketed with these RFID-blocking wallets that look like normal wallets.

Tumi Alpha Global Wallet

Tumi Alpha Global Wallet.

Made out of a water-resistant tech fabric, Tumi’s Alpha Global Wallet will protect your stuff from both rain and RFID thieves. Inside, everything stays organized with a currency pouch, an ID window, pockets, and card slots.

Travelon RFID-Blocking Wristlet Clutch

Travelon RFID-Blocking Wristlet Clutch.

Use Travelon’s RFID-Blocking Wristlet Clutch as a wristlet, clutch, or wallet—the strap detaches so you have options. Made out of a nylon fabric, this wallet is lightweight and easy to clean. It features four card slots and a zippered pocket, plus a main compartment that’s large enough to hold your phone.

Vera Bradley Iconic RFID Ultimate Card Case

Vera Bradley Iconic RFID Ultimate Card Case.

Made out of Vera Bradley’s iconic quilted microfiber and topped with her fun seasonal prints, this RFID wallet will stylishly protect your information. Snap and zipper closures keep everything secure, and there are seven RFID-protected card slots, one ID window, and two slip pockets inside.

Timberland Genuine Leather RFID-Blocking Trifold Security Wallet

Timberland Genuine Leather RFID-Blocking Trifold Security Wallet.

Made out of 100 percent leather, Timberland’s RFID-Blocking Trifold Security Wallet is just as rugged as its famous boots. Available in black, brown, and cognac, the wallet’s leather ages with use to look even better over time. The trifold design has six card slots, two slip pockets, an ID window, and two cash pockets.

Bellroy Hide & Seek

Bellroy Hide & Seek.

For the perfectly sized RFID-blocking wallet, look no further than Bellroy’s Hide & Seek. Available in two sizes (LO for bills shorter than 74mm and HI for bills taller than 74mm), this wallet holds up to 12 cards. There’s also a hidden coin pouch and designated section for business cards. Made out of an environmentally certified leather, the wallet is covered under a three-year warranty.

The Ridge Metal Aluminum Cash Strap

The Ridge Metal Aluminum Cash Strap.

Minimalists will love this ultra-sleek, RFID-blocking card case that can hold up to 12 cards (plus cash via the external elastic strap). Like to change up your wallet to match your outfit? The case’s color plates can easily be changed out to update your look.

Fossil Logan Leather RFID Bifold Wallet

Fossil Logan Leather RFID Bifold Wallet.

Keep your coins, bills, and cards neatly organized with Fossil’s Logan Leather RFID Bifold Wallet. This compact wallet hides plenty of storage space, including a zipper pouch for coins, one ID window, and five card slots. This wallet comes in lots of fun colors and patterns like hearts, colorful stripes, or rose gold.

Herschel Supply Co. Charlie RFID Wallet

Herschel Supply Co. Charlie RFID Wallet.

Just bringing the essentials with you? Keep everything streamlined with Herschel Supply Co.’s Unisex Charlie RFID Wallet. This slim cardholder has three card slots, plus one in the middle for cash or extra storage. It weighs just one ounce, so you really can bring it everywhere.

Columbia Leather Extra Capacity Slimfold Wallet

Columbia Leather Extra Capacity Slimfold Wallet.

Columbia’s Leather Extra Capacity Slimfold Wallet holds a ton of stuff without bulging out or being too bulky. This large capacity wallet has six credit card slots, one slip pocket, one removable ID window, and a large bill compartment.

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Caroline Morse Teel is a Principal Editor at SmarterTravel. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline for travel advice and inspiration.

Categories
Air Travel Airline Industry News Health & Wellness Travel Technology Travel Trends

So Long, Middle Seat? What Plane Seats Might Soon Look Like Due to COVID-19

Plane seat manufacturers have released some crazy iterations of new cabin designs in the past, typically aiming at increasing the number of already-cramped seats on board. You might remember the standing Skyrider 2.0 “seats” conceptualized for short flights, or these stacked lie-flat beds from hell for longer flights—both of which saw hypothetical designs that never materialized.

But now, with a global pandemic in full swing, it seems the same seat makers are focusing more on protecting passengers than packing them into plane cabins. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s an interesting focus on banishing the middle seat.

Aviointeriors, the same manufacturer that designed those standing plane seats in 2018, is revealing its latest plan for post-coronavirus cabins: Shields for personal space and a reversed middle seat.

Janus plane seats Aviointeriors.

It’s a far cry from riding an airplane like the subway a la the Skyrider 2.0’s standing design, and looks almost (dare I say it) comfortable, considering there’s no sharing arm rests, accidentally invading what few inches of personal space your neighbor has, or dealing with a coughing or sneezing neighbor. It does, however, beg the question of how larger people who require more than one plane seat would be accommodated, and whether or not seats would be able to recline.

Aviointeriors says “this arrangement allows all three passengers to be separated with a shield made of transparent material that isolates them from each other, creating a protective barrier for everyone. Each passenger has its own space isolated from others, even from people who walk through the aisle.”

Studies have proven that aisle seats are more likely to be subject to passing germs that can get you sick—window seats are exposed to fewer germs. It’s also worth noting that this new Avio design somewhat echoes Spirit airlines’ pre-pandemic switch to staggering middle seats on some aircraft, which gives middle-seat passengers more elbow room.

Aviointeriors has also designed a more simplified solution for plane seats: Seat-attachable glass shields called Glassafe. This simply adds dividers between the aisle, all three existing seats, and the window:

glassafe Aviointeriors plane seats.

These shields seem like an easier short-term solution, which begs the question of whether or not airlines could employ them soon. Video and photos posted by passengers in the U.S. have recently shown crowded planes are still flying, even with passengers in middle seats, and have recently made waves online. And with airlines and flight attendant unions speaking out about the need to protect passengers and themselves, this may be one quick-to-deploy option. Social distancing will likely need to go on for longer than just these few months—infectious disease expert Deborah Birx recently said distancing measures might be essential through summer 2020.

In the long-term, though, we may see the need for plane seats to be redesigned to divide passengers more—which could be just one of many ways travel could be changed forever by the COVID-19 pandemic.

More from SmarterTravel:

SmarterTravel’s Shannon McMahon is a former news reporter who writes about all things travel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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At Home Experiential Travel Family Travel Fashion & Beauty Holiday Travel Travel Technology Travel Trends Women's Travel

The Best Gift Ideas for Mother's Day

Check out the best gifts for your favorite female traveler to give this Mother’s Day—bonus, most of these Mother’s Day gifts are under $100.

Travel-Related Mother’s Day Gifts

Bellroy Travel Folio

Help your mom stay organized while traveling with this chic passport holder and travel wallet. She can keep the whole fam organized since it fits two passports, four to eight cards, cash, and multiple boarding passes. This zip-up style also has RFID blocking technology, which protects documents, cards, and passports from RFID skimming, i.e. electronic pickpocketing. The environmentally-certified leather wallet also comes with a three-year warranty.

LifeProof Wake Phone Case

Give mom a protective and sustainable phone case, no matter what model phone she has. This case is both drop-proof (from two meters), easy to grip, and helps the environment through a donation on the company’s behalf to select charities.

iLive Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

If mom isn’t the most tech-savvy, then these affordable wireless earbuds might just be the perfect gift. This pair supports true wireless and Bluetooth capabilities and comes with a charging case of its own.

Keebos Crossbody Phone Case

Go totally hands-free with this useful and inexpensive phone case; it’s a crossbody bag, wallet, phone holder, and protective case all in one. This Mother’s Day gift is perfect for walking the dog, circling the park, or grabbing a coffee.

Mother’s Day Gifts for the Home

YETI Lowlands Waterproof Outdoor Blanket

From beach picnics to lining the back seat of the car for your family pooch, YETI’s outdoor blanket is an ideal gift for the no-fuss mom. It even comes in a convenient carrying case and is machine-washable. Other standout features are that this comfy blanket has a waterproof layer and that it easily shakes off pet hair.

Artifact Uprising Wood Block Prints

gift ideas for mother's day

Gift mom a personalized photo album with this simple yet beautiful woodblock stand. Send 12 of your favorite travel photos to Artifact Uprising and the company will print them on thick card stock and voila—you’ve got a personalized gift within days.

Other places to shop customized prints include Etsy, Framebridge, and Shuttterfly.

COSORI 12-in-1 Air Fryer Toaster Oven

Whether she’s cooking for additional family members in quarantine or perfecting some of her favorite recipes, this multi-purpose toaster oven will be a delightful surprise. Not only is it reasonably priced, but it serves as an air fryer, toaster oven, broiler, rotisserie, and more. The 12 presets include: pizza, roast, airfry, toast, bagel, bake, broil, cookies, rotisserie, dehydrate, ferment, and keep warm. Plus, there’s an included recipe book (featuring over 100 ideas) for even more cooking inspiration.

EcoVessel Wine Tumbler

Take your favorite drink on-the-go with these triple-insulated, stainless steel tumblers. Priced under $20, it’s an ideal gift for the mom who loves a park picnic or day at the beach.

ChappyWrap’s Places Blanket

While the jury’s still out on our summer vacations, remind mom of one of her favorite places with an ultra-plush blanket from ChappyWrap. With maps of locales like Cape Cod and San Francisco, you can keep her cozy during stay-at-home orders.

Mother’s Day Gifts, Clothing & Accessories

Keds Women’s Clipper Jute

This pair of stylish slip-on shoes from Keds make for the perfect understated, yet practical gift for mom. Wear them now around the house and save them for the next family beach vacation. The versatile style means they match with almost anything and the slip-on style makes them ideal for errand running and city walking.

Rothy’s Bag Collection

We’ve already expressed our love for Rothy’s latest bag collection, and we think the line of bags and pouches also make for great Mother’s Day gifts. All of the accessories are stylish and practical for both future travel and use around town.

Hari Mari Sydney Slides

Keep mom comfy and fashionable with these spring and summertime sandal staples. Between the premium leather, memory foam footbed, and on-trend style these shoes have it all. Not only do they match almost everything, they’ll be her go-to pair of shoes all summer long.

Plaka Slipper Socks

I’ve already raved about these in my review, but these slipper socks are the perfect inexpensive gift for mom this Mother’s Day. The sock-like upper is flexible and soft while the cushy rubber bottom lets you grab your mail, take the dog out, etc. without having to put real shoes on.

Cotidie Evelyn Drape Waist Shirt

Gift mom this classic shirt, with a twist. The moisture-wicking and stretchy material mean this shirt is the queen of double-duty. Whether she’s a frequent flier or just likes to look chic (but make it comfy) at the grocery store, this athleisure brand has got you covered.

Ministry of Supply Swift Wide Leg Pants

These lightweight pants are the stylish ideal travel pant, but can also be worn easily around the house. The stretch crepe material is airy and breathable and will look good with either a sweatshirt or blazer.

Bleusalt

Fair warning, you may want to steal this gift, but know it will bring the utmost coziness to your mom. So, let her enjoy it. Bleusalt’s environmentally-friendly and sustainable beechwood fabric is literally a dream, so anything you pick will be a win. But, if you need help choosing, The Classic Shirt and The 2 Yard Wrap are my go-tos.

MZ Wallace Metro Pouch

It’s a clutch, it’s a pouch, it’s a diaper holder, it’s anything you need it to be. We adore this line of bags (also available at Nordstrom) for its waterproof nylon quilted material and packability.

State Cashmere

Spoil mom with high-quality cashmere, but not at the expected price tag. State Cashmere offers dozens of styles under $100 as well as a wallet-friendly and lightweight spring line, made with cotton cashmere. Or pick something out from the travel section, think socks, blankets, and wraps.  

Mother’s Day Gifts, Beauty

Dyson Airwrap Hair Styler

Gift mom the latest in hair styling innovation, with Dyson’s minimal heat hair styler. It’s a smoother, curler, styler, and dryer all in one.

Pro Tip: Also check this product’s Amazon listing for potential price reductions and Dyson will price match.

TULA Skincare Best Sellers Travel Kit

Cult-favorite skincare brand, TULA, offers some of their best-selling products in a convenient and reasonably priced, travel-sized kit. It’s a perfect way to test out the facial cleanser, day and night cream, sugar scrub, and moisturizing primer. And while you’re at it, throw in the brightening eye balm and sunscreen to your cart for yourself (we won’t tell).

DW Home Candle

Remind mom of her favorite scent with a budget-friendly candle from DW Home. We love the Calming Waves and Tranquil Lotus scents for uber relaxation during this crazy time.

Athena Club the Go-Tos Set

Help mom make her skincare routine healthier with Athena Club’s the Go-Tos set. At just $25 this gift set includes the brand’s Dewy Body Lotion, Soft Face Wipes, and All Day Deo. Each product is made with good-for-you ingredients and smells fantastic.

Subtl Beauty Stack

Mom will thank you for this life-changing makeup gift. Meet Subtl Beauty’s stack, the ultimate travel-friendly makeup on the market. Build her a custom stack by choosing a lip stain, concealer, highlighter, bronzer, and/or shine control powder and voila, all her makeup’s in one place.

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Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.

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At Home Travel Technology

8 Smart Home Products That Will Save You Time, Effort, and Money

Make your house work for you with these smart home devices that will save you time, effort, and money. From a robotic trash can to a WiFi extender, these gadgets will make staying in just a little easier.

Townew Self-Sealing Trash Can

Townew Self-Sealing Trash Can

We don’t yet have a robot that takes out the trash, but technology has advanced to the point of a self-sealing and self-changing trash can. All you have to do is press a button and the TOWNEW trash can will seal the full bag (which puts an immediate stop to any odors, unlike tying a bag). Pull it out, and the TOWNEW closes the lid and automatically pulls a new trash bag into place.

A built-in motion sensor automatically opens the lid as you approach to throw away trash, so you never need to touch the can.

Tineco Pure One S12 Smart Cordless Stick Vacuum

Tineco Pure One S12

Make vacuuming a chore that you look forward to (or at least don’t dread) with Tineco’s Pure One S12 Smart Cordless Stick Vacuum. This super lightweight vacuum comes with two rechargeable batteries (that can be charged simultaneously with the included wall-mounted dock), so you’ll never have to wait while one battery charges. Not having to deal with the hassle of a cord makes vacuuming take much less time, and the trademarked iLoop Smart Sensor Technology automatically adjusts suction power so you don’t have to switch settings when going from carpet to hardwood.

The vacuum comes with a variety of attachments (like a dusting brush and crevice tool) that makes it simple and satisfying to vacuum everything from your ceiling to your sofa.

Best of all, the Tineco has a self-cleaning filter tool that doesn’t require you to rinse it out in the sink like most other bagless vacuums.

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eero 3-Pack Wi-Fi System

eero 3-Pack Wi-Fi System

Does your Wi-Fi give up on you every time you move to a certain spot in your house, or someone else logs on? Never suffer through a buffered video chat or painfully slow movie again, with the 3-pack Wi-Fi System from eero. The system is made up of three tiny, discreet boxes that you place unobtrusively around your house to blanket up to 5,000 square feet in fast and reliable Wi-Fi.

eero works with your existing internet provider and is incredibly easy to set up (the plug-and-play setup takes less than 10 minutes). The system includes free encryption and other security measures that are updated automatically to keep your data safe.

Plott Cubit Smart Virtual Reality Measuring Tool

Plott Cubit Smart Virtual Reality Measuring Tool

Tackling some home improvement projects? Make measuring a million times easier with the Cuibt Smart Virtual Reality Measuring Tool. Instead of fumbling around trying to hold a measuring tape and write down your measurements, this smart home gadget automatically saves measurements straight to your phone. The Cubit uses dual lasers to take ultra-accurate measurements, and the wheel measurement feature makes it easy to size up irregular objects and corners.

The Cubit’s app works like a free interior designer—snap photos of your space, use Cubit to measure it, and then play around with your project until it looks exactly how you want it. Then Cubit will provide step-by-step directions to implement your project in real life, making it easy to do everything from creating a gallery wall to hanging a shelf.

Lockly Secure Pro

Lockly Secure Pro

Never lock yourself out again with the Lockly Secure Pro smart lock. This smart home gadget is easy to install on your existing door (and comes in a deadbolt or latch version) and can be opened via Bluetooth, keypad, or with your fingerprint.

Lockly’s patented keypad design switches the placement of the digital numbers with each use, so even if someone is watching, they’ll never be able to guess your pin.

You can set one-time codes for deliveries, workers, or guests, or even let in someone remotely via the app.

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Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight

Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight

Arlo’s Pro 3 Floodlight Camera keeps an eye on your property for you. The bright, motion-activated light will instantly illuminate a wide area when it senses movement. The built-in security camera with a 160-degree viewing angle captures full color, 2K HDR footage (even at night) so you can clearly zoom in on objects or faces. A hidden speaker allows for two-way audio, so you can hear and speak to visitors.

For extra security, you can program the built-in smart siren to be triggered remotely or in case of an emergency.

The floodlight camera is easy to set up and includes a rechargeable battery so you don’t need to worry about wires.

Amazon Echo Show 8

Amazon Echo Show 8

Manage your home with the Amazon Echo Show 8. With an 8-inch HD screen you can set up the Echo Show anywhere in your home and use it all day. The Echo Show 8 lets you make video calls, stream the news, listen to podcasts/audiobooks, control all your smart devices (including security cameras, lights, and thermostats), display photo slideshows, give you step-by-step cooking directions, display your to-do list, check the weather/traffic, and more.

Concerned about privacy? You can disconnect the device’s microphones and camera with one press of a button, or use the built-in shutter to cover the camera.

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Phillips Hue Smart Light

Phillips Hue Smart Light

If you always secretly wanted The Clapper but never got one, you can now achieve your turning-off-the-lights-without-getting-out-of-bed dream with the Phillips Hue Smart Light. These Bluetooth-enabled bulbs can be turned on and off or dimmed via voice command with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or the Google Assistant.

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Airport Fashion & Beauty Health & Wellness Travel Technology Women's Travel

9 Travel Kits That Will Make a Long Flight Bearable

Before you resign yourself to suffering through your next red-eye or long-haul flight, consider packing something that can make the experience better: a comfort travel kit. With multiple travel essentials in each kit, it’s like opening a gift to yourself mid-flight.

The Best Travel Kits for Your Next Long Flight

Here are nine travel kits that will make your next flight more bearable.

Cashmere Travel Set

If you take frequent long-haul flights, consider investing in an ultra-soft cashmere travel set. Jet&Bo’s comes with a blanket, an eye mask, socks, and a carry-all case that doubles as a pillow. Bonus: You can use the blanket as a scarf if you’re headed somewhere cold. 

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Pinch Provisions® Tech Kit

Containing eight essential items to ensure you’re bringing everything you’ll need on your next trip, the Pinch Provisions® tech kit is an easy-to-pack bestseller that’s designed to be thrown in your carry-on bag.  From earbuds and charging cables to a phone/tablet stand and microfiber cleaning cloth, being bored and accessory-less for a long flight will be a thing of the past with this compact kit.

Perricone MD The Jet Set Kit

Because a full-on skin-care routine can be quite the burden in the air, the easiest way to keep your beauty regimen in check is to have it all in a single kit. The Jet Set Kit from Perricone MD features a collection of its best-selling and top-rated formulas, so you can make sure your face, neck, and eyes are getting the treatment they need on your flight.

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Scentered Aromatherapy Travel Kit

Scentered makes one of the best aromatherapy travel kits for long flights, especially if you get claustrophobic or are prone to headaches. This travel-friendly set includes one of each of its aromatherapy balms that have various uses, ranging from stress alleviation to inducing good moods. They all come in an easy-to-pack tin that you can toss in a carry-on or personal bag.

Pack Simply Customized Travel Kits

Make a DIY travel kit with Pack Simply. Choose from hundreds of products to create the ultimate in-flight kit that suits your particular needs. With everything from toiletries to hair ties to Advil, you’ll love the convenience. Select your products and the company puts together your travel kit and ships directly to you.

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Tisserand Essential Survival Kit

Essential oils are a popular natural remedy to fight everything from jet lag to insomnia—which is why roll-on oils can be a frequent flyer’s best friend. I love Tisserand’s Essential Survival Kit; this vegan oil kit comes with a de-stressing oil, an energizing oil, and a sleep-improving oil.

Snack Packs

Check out Amazon’s snack packs for when those stale peanuts just won’t do. Options include everything from energy bars to gourmet trail mixes.

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The Laundress Travel Pack

Designed to combat wardrobe malfunctions on the go, the travel pack from The Laundress has everything you need for fast-acting attention. Containing crease release, stain remover, air freshener, and even a special detergent for delicate fabrics, stains don’t have to be the travel-wardrobe ruiner they used to be.

The Carry-on Cocktail Kit

You’ll get to a different level of comfort with this Carry-on Cocktail Kit. Its tin case is filled with everything you need to make an Old Fashioned: a muddler, bitters, cane sugar, and a recipe card. Order the booze from your flight attendant, mix, then sit back and relax.

More from SmarterTravel:

Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2018. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

Categories
At Home Booking Strategy Miles & Points Security Travel Technology Travel Trends

Non-Emergency Passport Applications Have Halted

Were you planning to apply for, or renew, a passport this spring? With the rolling governmental measures in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to do so. The State Department is limiting in-person service at passport offices to emergencies in which travelers need a passport for an international trip within 72 hours because of a “qualified life-or-death emergency.” And mail-in renewals are being discouraged due to “significant delays.”

The State Department defines that emergency in-person service as only for “serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in your immediate family (e.g., parent, child, spouse, sibling, aunt, uncle, etc.).” A more complete list is available on the State Department’s website.

However, if you have travel plans on the far horizon (or hope to) you can still apply for renewal by mail, with some caveats. Expedited service is not available, and the State Department notes that you can “expect significant delays.” It’s unclear how long that delay will be, and it’s worth noting that for a renewal you’ll need to mail in your current passport with the renewal application. The department urges travelers to “please consider waiting to apply until we resume normal operations.”

Even if you qualify for emergency in-person service, options are currently very limited: The State Department says that passport offices in Atlanta, Connecticut, New Orleans, New York, and San Juan (Puerto Rico) are among those completely closed until further notice. And many of the other acceptance facilities, such as court clerks and post offices, are either closed or no longer accepting in-person passport applications.

At any in-person facility you will need an appointment, which you can make through the National Passport Information Center here, or by calling your local court or post office. For that appointment, you’ll need a completed application, supporting documents, proof of the life-or-death emergency, and proof of international travel specific to the emergency.

If you have an application in process, the State Department will continue to process it, but you can expect those undefined delays. Check the State Department’s website for details and application tracking.

The State Department says these current limitations will remain in effect until “normal operations” resume, which is clearly a very uncertain deadline at this time. If you will need a new or renewed passport in the near future, bookmark the above links for up-to-date information.

Our Favorite Items for the Home

For info on these editor-selected items, click to visit the seller’s site. Things you buy may earn us a commission.

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Consumer advocate Ed Perkins has been writing about travel for more than three decades. The founding editor of the Consumer Reports Travel Letter, he continues to inform travelers and fight consumer abuse every day at SmarterTravel.

Categories
Food & Drink Health & Wellness Packing Travel Technology

8 Must-Have Filtered Water Bottles for Travel

With what they’re charging for bottled water at the airport these days, nobody should be traveling without their own water bottle. However, it’s fair to be a bit wary of drinking from the tap, especially when you’re traveling to a place that doesn’t have a great reputation for clean water. This is why filtered water bottles make the most sense for travelers.

Filtered water bottles can be a little more expensive than regular reusable bottles and may involve a little more maintenance, but they’re worth it for the peace of mind you’ll have with every sip. Here are some of my favorite water bottles with filters for traveling.

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LARQ

If you’re the kind of person who would buy a filtered water bottle but never get around to changing the filters, a LARQ could be the bottle for you. Instead of filters, this bottle purifies water using a UV-LED light hidden in the cap. The light is powerful enough to kill germs, and the same kind of light is even used in hospitals to disinfect surfaces. The best part? It’s as easy to charge as your phone, with a universal charging port that will plug into any USB port.

Brita Filter Bottle

Fans of Brita, rejoice: You can take the 36387 Premium Water Filter Bottle on the road. The 26-ounce bottle is sleek enough to slip easily into car drink holders. The BPA-free hard plastic bottle has a carrying loop and an enclosed straw for ease of use. The chlorine-reducing filter improves the taste of tap water, and the filters are easy to replace.

The Escape

Glass isn’t necessarily travel-friendly, but at the same time, every drink tastes better when you’re drinking it from a glass. Why else would airlines go the extra mile to use them when serving their first-class customers? If you like glass but are worried about it breaking, check out The Escape, a glass water bottle that is protected by a silicon sleeve and uses a multi-stage filtration process to keep your water clean and tasting good.

Kiddo

The Kiddo is a filtered water bottle designed with kids in mind. From its fun design to its wide-flow straw, which makes it easier for kids to use, this is a great choice for parents who want their kids to carry their own water bottle. The filters are also interchangeable with those of other Epic Water Filters bottles, so you can stock up for the whole family.

GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier

If you will be spending time outdoors and might need to drink from a fresh water source, consider the GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier. With its press-down filter design, this travel water bottle can filter sediment as well as chemicals like chlorine without leaving an aftertaste.

LifeStraw Go

LifeStraw is one of the most trusted brands for water filters. Its LifeStraw Go bottle has a heavy-duty filter built in, making it super easy to filter your water on the go. It is also available with a one- or two-stage filter, so you can choose the one that fits best for the trip you’re planning.

The Outback

If you have an affinity for stainless steel water bottles, The Outback might be the best choice for you. With an easy-grip design and a non-slip rubber base, this is a sturdy water bottle with a filter that will last. You can use it on the road or at home to purify both tap water and natural water.

Seychelle

Whether you’re going camping or building a disaster kit, the Seychelle Water Filter Bottle is a good addition to your arsenal. Its super strong filter removes everything from bacteria to agricultural run-off, so you can be 100 percent sure the water you’re drinking is safe. It’s a squeeze bottle, but it’s made of durable plastic material.

More from SmarterTravel:

Jamie Ditaranto is a writer and photographer always looking for her next adventure. Find her on Instagram @jamieditaranto.

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Arts & Culture At Home Entertainment Travel Technology

Get Two Months of Free Books with Kindle Unlimited

Running out of things to read? Amazon is currently offering a free two-month trial of Kindle Unlimited.

Kindle Unlimited normally costs $9.99 per month and gives you unlimited access to over a million e-books, magazines, and audiobooks.

You don’t have to have a Kindle to use Kindle Unlimited, as the service works with any device that can download the Kindle app.

All genres are available on Kindle Unlimited, including mysteries, thrillers, nonfiction, and romance. Click here to browse the titles that are free on Kindle Unlimited.

Use this link to sign up for two months of Kindle Unlimited before the offer expires at 11:59 p.m. PST on April 30. Note that you’ll need to cancel your free trial before the two months are over if you don’t want to be automatically charged $9.99 starting in the third month.

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Fashion & Beauty Packing Travel Technology

13 On-Sale Items to Help You Get Comfy While You're Stuck at Home

As proud globetrotters, we’ve never spent quite as much time at home as we’re doing right now. And truthfully, our digs could use a bit of sprucing up. If you’re looking to brighten and improve your home base too, there’s good news. Loads of sales are going on right now to help you stay connected, entertained, and ultra-cozy at home. Just keep in mind everyone is online shopping these days, so the sales we list below will sell out faster than a six-pack of toilet paper.

1. Fire HD 8 Tablet

Fire HD 8 Tablet (8" HD Display, 16 GB) - Red.

These days, screens have become our lifeline. If you’ve been making do with an old, out-of-date model (or worse—a cracked screen), upgrade to Amazon’s Fire and get back to swiping and tapping with the rest of us.

2. L.L.Bean Washable Wool Throw

L.L.Bean Washable Wool Throw, Plaid.

This L.L.Bean throw is everything we want in a blanket: It’s crazy-cozy, handsome, and machine washable. And since L.L.Bean backs everything they make with an astounding year-long return policy, we know it’ll hold up for the long haul.

3. UGG Fuzzette

UGG Fuzzette.

Looking to level up your slipper game? Ugg’s fluffy Fuzzettes are made with the coziest shearling ever, plus feature soles with traction for secure padding around the house. Pair them with the cozy knit joggers also on sale below.

4. Plantronics BackBeat GO 600 Noise-Isolating Headphones

Plantronics BackBeat GO 600 Noise-Isolating Headphones.

There’s never been a better time to invest in a pair of solid headphones. Consider them an audio cocoon. This pair from Plantronics have an outstanding price—even before going on sale—and we love their bright, cheery blue color.

5. Rose Bath Soak

FRENCH GIRL Rose Sea Soak Calming Bath Salts 10 oz.

Elevate your bath to the stuff of claw-footed, soaking tub dreams with a scoop of these rose-laced bath salts.

6. Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera (2-Pack)

Nest Cam Outdoor Security Camera (2-Pack).

Expecting a lot of packages in the coming weeks? These Nest Cams can show you what’s going on outside your front door, and you can talk and listen to people through them, ensuring contact-less deliveries. Plus it can act as added security when you do get back to traveling.

7. Lightweight Compression Leggings

Mid-Rise Elevate Lightweight Compression Run Leggings for Women.

These days, we’re living in our leggings, and this pair by Old Navy delivers on everything we want: four-way stretch fabric, hidden zip pockets, light compression, and a crazy-cheap price. (Use the promo code HURRY.)

8. Apple AirPods With Case

Airpods with Charging Case.

Apple products rarely go on sale, so we’re happy to see $30 knocked off these earbuds of the moment, which reviewers rave are “worth every penny.” Charge them up and work your way through our favorite podcasts or audiobooks.

9. Dining In Cookbook

Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes: A Cookbook.

This debut cookbook from food phenom Alison Roman may be from 2017, but it is absolutely perfect for the current 2020 #StayHome moment. Her self-described “lo-fi” recipes are simple, unpretentious, and unbelievably tasty, with many starring freezer-friendly and shelf-stable ingredients.

10. GoWeave Essential Jumpsuit

The Japanese GoWeave Essential Jumpsuit

Say hello to the ultimate work-from-home uniform for casual professionalism. Everlane’s jumpsuit is made from 100 percent Japanese GoWeave fabric, a silk alternative that’s resistant to wrinkles—perfect for work days on the couch.

11. Levoit LV-PUR131 True Hepa Air Purifier

Levoit LV-PUR131 True Hepa Air Purifier.

If knocking out germs and other contaminants from your home has become a part-time job, you might appreciate the added security of a Hepa air purifier. (If you’re wondering, Hepa filters can theoretically capture Covid-19 particles. But consider it a bonus, since it’s no substitute for social distancing.)

13. Alphabet Embroidery Kit

Wool & The Gang™ Alphabet Embroidery Kit.

Planning on scrapbooking, knitting, and origami-ing your way through self-isolation? Allow us to suggest adding embroidery to your list of crafty conquests. (Use promo code VERYRARE.)

14. Eufy RoboVac

eufy [BoostIQ] RoboVac 30C, Robot Vacuum Cleaner.

Being home means you start to really notice those dust bunnies. And since your home may also be multitasking as an office, school, or day care, you’ll want to keep it tidy. Leave it to this handy, reliable robot vacuum cleaner, which reviewers rave is “life-changing.”

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Ditch the Wallet: 7 Phone Cases to Hold Your Essentials

Travel as light as possible with a phone case that does double duty as your wallet. These cases not only protect your phone from drops and scratches, but also hold the essentials you’ll need on a day out. Below are the best phone wallets to protect your device and save you space.

Smartish Vault Slim Wallet

Billed as the “wallet slayer” by phone case company Smartish, the Vault Slim Wallet lives up to its nickname. It holds three cards plus cash (or, if you’re like me and you rarely carry cash, you can cram in four cards). The case has grip-textured sides that have helped me drop my phone significantly less since switching to this case.

Incipio Stashback

Keep your cards and cash hidden yet easily accessible with the Incipio Stashback phone wallet. It looks like a standard phone case but has a secret compartment that hinges up to conceal up to three cards. The case has been impact-tested for drops up to seven feet high, so even the clumsiest phone owners can feel safe using it.

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Under Armour Protect Stash Case

Designed by Under Armour for tough environments, from traveling to hitting the gym, the Protect Stash Case can stand up to a lot of abuse. It has a shockproof case design with a padded interior and a “self-healing” exterior coating. The back is textured to give you a better grip while using or carrying your phone, and it won’t interfere with wireless charging. This phone wallet can hold up to three cards, but it’s still slim.

Smartish Q Card Case 

Need your phone case to pull triple-duty as protection as a wallet, protective layer, and a kickstand? The Smartish Q Card Case has a little slot built-in that allows you to use any card as a kickstand, so you can watch movies on your phone hands-free—which is perfect for airplane tray tables or simply relaxing in bed.

[st_related]How to Make Your Purse Lighter[/st_related]

LUPA Wristlet Wallet

Want to replace your entire purse with a phone wallet case? The LUPA wristlet wallet holds your phone, up to four cards, and cash, plus it has a handy strap so it can be carried on your arm. It’s also super affordable, so you can stock up on all of the fun colors to match any outfit.

Spigen Slim

I’ve received more compliments on the Spigen Slim phone case than any other travel tech accessory—the sliding door feature that holds your cards garners lots of jealous attention. This is probably the slimmest phone wallet case out there, which is a trade-off because it only holds two cards. You can fit three in there, but I ended up breaking the case by overloading it.

Card Buddy Stick-on Wallet

If you prefer to keep the phone case you already have but still want the benefits of a phone wallet, the CardBuddy is a good solution. It’s a removable pocket that can hold up to three cards plus cash, and sticks on to any existing phone case (or the back of your phone, if you like to live dangerously).

Stuck at Home? Stay Comfy and Productive:

For info on these editor-selected items, click to visit the seller’s site. Things you buy may earn us a commission.

More from SmarterTravel:

Caroline Morse Teel prefers a phone wallet case over a purse for travel. Follow her on Instagram @TravelWithCaroline for style and travel photos from around the world.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2018. It has been updated to reflect the most current information. Codey Albers contributed to this story.

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Active Travel Adventure Travel Fashion & Beauty Health & Wellness Outdoors Packing Travel Technology Travel Trends Women's Travel

10 Best Workout Clothes and Tools for Travel and Home

Finding the motivation to work out while on vacation is no easy feat. I try and stick to my normal exercise routine as much as I can while I travel, and this list of the 10 best workout clothes and tools helps me stay in shape on the road—and at home between trips.

Vi Headphones and Fitness Tracker

Say goodbye to tangled headphones, wearing a Fitbit, and paying for expensive fitness-tracking apps—the Vi headphones and corresponding app are the ultimate travel workout companion. With a variety of earbud sizes and clips, these wireless headphones are comfortable and won’t fall out once you get the right size.

If you run outdoors at home and on the road, the Vi Fitness app is a great way to track your runs and mileage. Hikers and cyclers can also benefit from the activity tracker. Dubbed a “personal trainer,” the activity monitor tracks things like speed, heart rate, and distance. It also adapts to your fitness level and personalizes workouts. Plus, the app links to your favorite music streaming service.

Takeya Water Bottle

A reusable water bottle is an essential workout item for travelers, and I especially love Takeya’s insulated stainless water bottles. The handle is great for travel, since you can hook it onto the outside of any bag, and it’s easy to carry around the gym. The double-wall vacuum insulation keeps water cold for hours, and the narrow mouth is great for grabbing a quick sip mid-workout.

Zella Live In High Waisted Leggings

Built from moisture-wicking fabric and fitted with a no-slip waistband, these stretchy, figure-sculpting leggings keep you cool as your workout warms up. They’re comfy enough to wear in other situations as well, including on the plane or while working from home.

Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Wipes

Don’t forget one of the most important things to do after working out, even on vacation: taking care of your skin. I am obsessed with these facial cleansing wipes from Burt’s Bees for a post-workout refresh. Whether you don’t have time to hit the shower or you need some immediate rejuvenation, these wipes, made from white tea extract, cucumber, and aloe, are a must. I even use them over my whole body sometimes if I need to skip a shower.

Adidas by Stella McCartney Sports Bra

This mesh-backed sports bra is one of the best workout clothes you can travel with because it doubles as a bathing suit top. The full coverage bra is quick-drying and moisture-wicking, so it won’t stink or stay wet for long after sweating or swimming.

 

Nike Dri Fit Head Tie

Nike makes a great moisture-wicking headband that fits any head size. I typically find myself shifting any sort of headband during a workout because it sits too far forward or back—but you won’t have that problem with this one because it ties.

L.L.Bean Coolmax Nano Glide Multisport Socks

I swear by L.L.Bean socks (with styles for both men and women) for working out. The quick-drying, breathable fabric and thoughtful cushioning on these moisture-wicking socks will keep your feet cool and dry during any activity. These socks are also designed to reduce friction inside your shoe to prevent blisters.

Hoka Bondi 6 Running Shoes

I always travel with my Hoka Bondi 6’s, because I can wear them to the airport with a travel outfit or put them into my carry-on, where they don’t take up too much room. These shoes (available for men and women) are extremely flexible and comfortable for workouts and provide incredible sole support; that’s actually part of Hoka’s mission as a shoe company.

Salomon Agile 250 Running Belt Pack

I cannot say enough how much I love this running belt pack from Salomon. It miraculously fits a phone, keys, and some cash or cards. It doesn’t move while running, and I’ve worn it for stationary workouts as well to hold my phone. It takes up zero room in your suitcase and helps make your workouts annoying armband-free.

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Lululemon Break a Trail Jacket

This Trail Jacket from Lululemon is an ideal choice for hikers and others who love to exercise outdoors. The fabric is both water-repellent and wind-resistant, so the jacket will hold up in any climate. The hood is designed not to bounce when you move, and there are vents in the fabric so you don’t overheat. There’s even a hidden pocket for your phone.

More from SmarterTravel:

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information. Codey Albers contributed to this story.

Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.

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Travel Technology

The Best Travel-Friendly Cases for the New iPhone 11 Models

With the release of the three latest iPhone 11 models, we rounded up the best cases you can get for the new buzzed-about phone. This iPhone update might be the best yet for travelers, as the new and improved camera systems are great for mobile photo and video shooting while on vacation. Plus, these models are supposed to have much longer battery life and are splash-, dust-, and water-resistant. So, if you’re investing in the latest phone craze, make sure you protect it with a travel-friendly case.

Otterbox Cases for iPhone 11, 11 Pro, & 11 Pro Max

iphone 11 cases.

Otterbox has already released new cases for most of its already-popular lines like Commuter, Defender, Symmetry, Viva, and more for the new iPhone 11 models. The Otter + Pop series offers both standout protection and a secure grip that’s built in. Or, combine your wallet with your phone case with one of Otterbox’s tough but slim folio cases. No matter which case you choose, pair it with the ultra-strong Amplify Glass Edge-2-Edge Screen Protector which covers every inch of your phone’s fragile screen.

Incipio Stashback 2.0 Case

Incipio Stashback 2.0

Incipio’s Stashback 2.0 case slides down to reveal a secret storage space that can hold up to three cards or cash. The case itself is made from a slim, shock-absorbing material that will protect against any drops.

Lifeproof Cases for iPhone 11, 11 Pro, & 11 Pro Max

iphone 11 cases.

Lifeproof’s Flip case has a hidden back panel with two card slots plus a cash pocket. This rugged yet slim case will protect your phone, but won’t interfere with mobile payments or wireless charging. Looking for a simpler phone case? Lifeproof has a wide variety of options for all models of the iPhone 11, from minimalist to colorful. 

Ekster Cases for iPhone 11 & 11 Pro

iphone 11 cases.

Get your hands on one of the sleekest wallet phone cases out there for your new iPhone. Ekster’s leather wallet cases can hold one card and some cash.

Casetify Cases for iPhone 11, 11 Pro, & 11 Pro Max

iphone 11 cases.

New iPhone model cases are available now in the brand’s fun prints. Casetify has up to 9-foot drop protection, so these cases are durable for travelers.

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Grip2u Cases for iPhone 11, 11 Pro, & 11 Pro Max

iphone 11 cases.

Grip2u’s multi-functional cases are available for all three new models. The case has a built-in grip handle and some models also have a built-in kickstand. I use this case on my older iPhone model and most definitely will be purchasing this case with my upgrade.

Nomad Cases for iPhone 11, 11 Pro, & 11 Pro Max

iphone 11 cases.

For rugged toughness, look no further than Nomad’s new iPhone cases. Available in all three new models, these cases are tough and come in a variety of wallet options.

smartish Cases for iPhone 11, 11 Pro, & 11 Pro Max

iphone 11 cases.

These affordable cases are available in plenty of travel-friendly options: crossbody cases, wallets, and more.

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Zagg Brands’ Cases for iPhone 11, 11 Pro, & 11 Pro Max

iphone 11 cases.

For all of the new accessories and cases you’ll need for the latest iPhone, check out Zagg brands which have everything from shatterproof screen protectors to innovative cases. Always running out of phone battery? Invest in the mophie juice pack, a case with a built-in battery.

More from SmarterTravel:

Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.

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Packing Travel Technology

12 Best Travel Gadgets for Any Trip in 2020

When it comes to travel, I am overall anti-gadget; like many independent travelers, I’d rather pack light than lug tons of stuff around in an attempt to carry every convenience of home with me on the road. That said, some travel gadgets are essential to just about every packing list. Besides your smartphone—which is a given for just about all of us—I’ve come up with the 12 best travel gadgets that deserve inclusion in your carry-on.

Universal (All-in-One) Plug Adapter

NEWVANGA international universal all in one worldwide travel adapter wall charger

After years of thrashing through a bag of adapters before every international trip, I was thrilled when all-in-one adapters started appearing on the market—that is, until I tried to use one in actual wall outlets.

Some outlets are recessed, requiring an extender that seemed not to be included in most adapter sets. Some adapters didn’t seem to correspond to the shape that you found in the guidebooks for the country you were visiting. Others were poorly made and came apart after a few days’ use.

That is mostly over, as today’s all-in-one adapters address most of these issues with a built-in extender on the European adapter plugs. Most have enough options that you will never be out of luck, and they tend to be better made to boot.

A couple of well-reviewed choices include offerings from NEWVANGA and Unidapt.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

Cudy ac1200 dual band smart wifi router

Noise-canceling headphones were probably the best travel investment I have made,” says pro photographer Erik Dresser, who logs tens of thousands of air miles each year for his work. Dresser notes that the headphones let him shut out the general din of the aircraft so he can relax more easily, permit him to sleep in flight without getting woken up by chatting passengers and crying babies, and signal to others that he is not up for socializing.

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USB Flash Drive

Fire hd 8 tablet

A USB flash drive (also known as a thumb drive) can come in handy on any number of occasions while traveling, such as sharing a document with the hotel front desk so they can print it for you or accessing a photo of your passport if it’s lost or stolen.

Amazon lists thousands of these; most work pretty well.

Portable Phone Charger

Anker powercore 10000, one of the smallest and lightest 10000mah external batteries,

On two separate occasions in the past few years (a company party and a fundraiser), the “party favor” was a small, rechargeable USB phone charger, probably the most useful and welcome party favor in history. The only thing about “party favor” quality chargers is that they tend to fail pretty quickly, so purchasing a good one is probably worth the money.

This one from Anker will give you a heap of charges, which beats buying drinks you don’t need at a coffee shop just to be able to plug in.

For more recommendations, see SmarterTravel’s list of the best portable chargers.

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Car Charger

powerbear fast car charger.

If you will be renting a car or driving your own vehicle on a road trip, bring a car charger/adapter. Recharging your stuff while driving helps combat the “not enough accessible outlets in the hotel” factor and allows you to use your device to map your route, play a podcast, or distract your kids in the back seat without running down the battery.

Some car chargers are designed to charge your phone very quickly; the PowerBear Fast Car Charger seems to be the leader in this realm.

Weatherproof Phone Case

"Lifeproof

In my informal gadget survey of friends who travel frequently, the one thing that few of them owned but many were thinking of getting was a weatherproof phone case. At home, such cases often seem overly bulky, but when traveling they’ve found it more common to get caught out in bad weather.

Ziploc bags work to protect the phone, but actually using the phone through a wet plastic bag is a mess,” one noted.

LifeProof cases are the go-to for many hardcore travelers, while PunkCase is a well-regarded option at a lower price point.

Tablet

Fire hd 8 tablet

Bringing a tablet as well as a phone had always seemed like just too much stuff to me—until newspaper and magazine apps started getting good. I used to leave home with more than five pounds of paper reading material, which I left behind for other potential readers in airplane seatback pockets, gate areas or hotel lobbies; now I download magazines and books to a tablet.

Tablets come in a wide range of price points; click here to browse.

Kindle

Kindle paperwhite

For heavy vacation/travel reading, many hardcore readers swear by the Kindle because it’s so easy to read outside in strong light. If you read a ton while traveling, and in all kinds of places, a branded Kindle e-reader is probably the way to go in lieu of a tablet.

Solar Charger

Goal zero yeti 400 lithium portable power station

For hardcore travelers who might spend long periods of time away from plugs of any kind—such as backcountry hikers, climbers, and campers—solar chargers are a useful addition to a packing list. Sure, part of the point of heading into the backcountry is getting away from connectivity, but that doesn’t mean that GPS devices, cameras, or even smartphones are completely verboten.

Leading brands for solar chargers include Goal Zero and Suntactics.

Mobile Hotspot

huawei mobile hotspot

Depending on which cell phone plan you use, a mobile hotspot can save you money on international plans and data charges. These devices broadcast a secure, dependable Wi-Fi signal you can use in any country, without having to rely on sketchy public Wi-Fi signals or use your own pricey data. Well-reviewed options include devices from Huawei, GlocalMe, and MightyWifi.

Sun-/Insect-Repellent Shirt

This isn’t exactly a gadget, but clothing has become quite technical in nature and can provide more than just routine cover. Many companies make pants, socks, and shirts that provide specific protection from both sun and insects, including measurable UV protection as well as EPA-certified insect repellent properties. Many are lightweight and breathable as well, making this a “tech” purchase perfectly suited to travel.

Smart Suitcase

Away carry on suitcase

We’re in the early days of smart suitcases, but the idea is extremely compelling—being able to check on your smartphone where your bag is, how heavy it is, and whether it has been opened. Many smart suitcases even provide the ability to charge devices through a USB connection.

There are also simple tracking devices you can put into your luggage, so that might be another way to tap into this type of tech without going all in on an expensive bag. As this tech comes into its own, soon enough tracking our own bags might seem almost routine.

Away’s The Carry-On will charge your phone and comes recommended by gear review sites, including SmarterTravel.

More of Our Favorite Travel Items

For info on these editor-selected items, click to visit the seller’s site. Things you buy may earn us a commission.

Which travel gadgets do you consider essential? Let us know in the comments below.

More from SmarterTravel:

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

Categories
Active Travel Outdoors Packing Travel Technology Women's Travel

The 9 Best Travel Hoodies

There’s nothing cozier than a hooded sweatshirt, especially on a long flight (or even just on the couch at home) when all you want to do is curl up and get comfortable.

What’s the Best Travel Hoodie for You?

My favorite travel hoodies have nifty features such as extra pockets, sun protection, or built-in pillows. Discover the best travel hoodie for your next trip.

Ugg Nancy Zip Fleece Hoodie

Ugg Nancy Hoodie

Lined with a stretchy cotton fleece, this easy-going hoodie will keep you warm and cozy. Available in neutral colors, the Ugg Nancy Zip Fleece Hoodie will go with any outfit.

The North Face Take Along Pullover Hoodie

The North Face Hoodie

Always cold? Try The North Face Take Along Pullover Hoodie, a sweatshirt with plenty of extra length to keep you warm below the waist. This thick hoodie was designed for camping adventures, but works just as well inside a chilly house.

SCOTTeVEST Chloe Glow Hoodie

From the outside, SCOTTeVEST’s Chloe Glow Hoodie looks like an ordinary, if attractive, microfleece sweatshirt for women. It’s not until you put it on that you realize just how much you can fit into its 14 pockets, cleverly designed to hold phones, tablets, glasses, passports, and other small items. Many of the pockets are on the inside of the hoodie, making them less accessible to potential thieves. Bonus: The main zipper goes all the way up to the hood, so you can protect all or part of your face in windy conditions.

SCOTTeVEST Hoodie Cotton

Men looking for a similar travel hoodie can try this sweatshirt from SCOTTeVEST, which has a whopping 21 pockets. Besides all the storage space, the best feature for travelers is the “Do Not Disturb” eye mask that flips down from the hood to block out the world—perfect for a long flight or train ride.

[st_related]SCOTTeVEST’S Hoodie Cotton Review: A Hoodie That Has It All[/st_related]

BOMBAX Zip Up Travel Hoodie

Do you have trouble sleeping on planes? If so, the Zip Up Travel Hoodie just might help. The hoodie comes with an inflatable neck pillow you can pack into one of the pockets. With 10 pockets for your passport, tablet, and other travel accessories, getting through airport security will be a breeze. If you’re traveling in a colder climate, you’ll appreciate the built-in gloves and eye mask.

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Aros Inflatable Hoodies

Another intriguing option for sleep-challenged travelers is the Aros line of unisex hoodies, which includes both pullover and zip-up models. Instead of lugging a bulky travel pillow onto the plane, wear one of these travel sweatshirts; inside the hood is an insert that you can inflate and turn into an instant pillow. (Don’t forget to remove the insert before washing the sweatshirt.)

Woolly Clothing Merino Wool Hoodies

woolly clothing men's merino wool hoodie.

On planes, the only person less popular than a screaming kid is a passenger with bad body odor. Don’t be that guy. Instead, give the Woolly Clothing Men’s Merino Wool Henley Hoodie a try. This travel hoodie for men is made of fabric that wicks away moisture, fights odors, and dries quickly, making it ideal for stressful sprints through the airport or for active excursions during your trip. Find a similar option for women here.

[st_related]7 Reasons You Smell Bad When Traveling[/st_related]

Coolibar Sun-Protective Travel Hoodies

If your vacations typically involve lots of time outdoors, shield your skin with a travel hoodie that includes sun protection. Coolibar offers a full line of sun-protective clothing, including the Seaside Hoodie for women and the Packable Jacket for men. Both feature an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50+ and are made with soft, lightweight fabrics.

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ORORO Unisex Heated Hoodie

This multi-purpose heated hoodie has a battery pack that can both warm you up and charge your phone. Core-warming zones on the front and back of this unisex travel sweatshirt keep you nice and toasty no matter how low the temperature falls. The battery lasts anywhere from two to eight hours, depending on how high you turn up the warming zones. Supply your own USB cable and you can plug your phone or other device into the battery pack for an emergency charge.

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Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.