The Top Innovative Travel Accessories You Won’t Be Able To Travel Without

Travelling is something we get so excited for and are always counting down the days until take off. But once our adventure has begun, things can go wrong that can taint some of our vacation days. And who wants that? Many people have gone through the same experiences and have decided to create the smartest little accessories to carry with them on their trips. We’ve compiled a list of items you won’t believe exist, and once you buy them, you’ll wonder how you survived without them.

1. Shelfpak

Suitcases can get a little cluttered after you try shoving as many pairs of shoes and sweaters in as possible. You can never be too prepared. The Shelfpak organizes your suitcase in a way that makes it easy to unpack once you’ve reached your destination. Stay organized and keep those wrinkles out of your clothes!

Photo By: Shelf Pack

2. All-In-One Leather Pop Clutch

Trying to juggle your purse, carry-on, luggage, jacket, phone and passport can get a little crazy. This Pop Clutch is an amazing way to stay organized and keep everything in the same place. You can even purchase a wrist strap to ensure nobody snags your most important items.

Photos By: Mochi Things

3. Travelrest

Sore necks on a plane are super normal. But it doesn’t have to be your normal! Travelrest is an inflatable pillow that can keep you comfy no matter what seat you’re in! Use it while you wait in the airport, and after take-off!

Photo By: Amazon

4. Scrubba Wash Bag

Shoot! You just spilled Italian pasta sauce on that shirt you were going to wear again on Friday! How do you manage this mini vacation hiccup? The Scrubba Bag will wash your laundry no matter where you are and it barely takes up any space in your suitcase.

 

Photo By: The Scrubba

5. Bluesmart One

Bluesmart One is truly the most secure bag we have seen. It is secured and controlled by an app on your phone. It will notify you if you have walked too far away from your suitcase, and it will automatically lock as well. USB ports are one of the coolest features for this piece of luggage so you can charge your phone anywhere. Just remember to charge your suitcase the night before you travel.

Photos By: Bluesmart

6. ThermaCell Rechargeable Heated Insoles

Chilly feet in the airport and on the airplane is something a lot of people experience when they travel. These warm ThermaCell insoles will keep your toes toasty until you land at your vacation destination.

Photo By: Amazon

7. Trakdot

The most genius invention for travel everywhere. Pack TrakDot in your suitcase and keep tabs on its whereabouts before and after you arrive at your destination. By checking the app on your phone, you’ll be able to immediately see if your suitcase has safely arrived. If it hasn’t, you can see exactly where in the country your bag was delivered.

Photos By: Trak Dot

8. A6 Memobottle

How have we not thought of this before?! Round water bottles take up so much space in our bags. Now, you can refill  the A6 flat water bottle that will fit in perfectly with your wallet, book and passport.

Photos By: Jet Setter

 

9. Steripen

Say goodbye to sickness when you travel to a new country! Don’t risk your health, and test your water with Steripen before you drink it. If it’s okay to drink, a little smiley face will appear on the digital screen.

Photos By: Steripen

10. Digital Luggage Scale

No more dragging your suitcase onto your bathroom scale before heading to the airport. This easy little scale can hook around your suitcase handle and tell you if it makes the cut for weight. No need to guess how much clothing you can bring, keeping weighing it as you pack!

Photos By: Amazon
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10 Great Gift Ideas for the Travel Obsessed

If you haven’t yet started your Christmas shopping, it’s time to get in the game! Of course this list will be helpful at any point in the year when you’re faced with finding the perfect gift for the traveler in your life, but it will be particularly helpful for the Christmas season when it seems that finding the right gift is an almost impossible task. From outdoor gear to travel tech, to things designed to make your journey more enjoyable, here are some of the best travel gift ideas we’ve seen this year:

1. Sumo Air Inflatable Lounger

Chances are you’re familiar with this type of inflatable air lounger already as it became a huge sensation this past summer. As such, it was pretty difficult to get your hands on one as suppliers were barely able to keep up with the demand. The Sumo Air is a fun and practical gift and it’s great for a few reasons; firstly, it travels well since you can fold it up, pack it in its travel bag and bring it virtually anywhere you go, including camping, cottaging, picnicking and to festivals. The second reason is that it’s super easy to use, simply hold the bag into the breeze and let the wind do the inflating for you. Roll it up and sit back and relax. The Sumo Air also has some cool features to note including a cup holder, phone pocket and bottle opener.

Photo by: Sumo Air
Photo by: Sumo Air

2. Fly Legs Up

One of the biggest challenges with long haul flights is getting comfortable. We all know this, and traveling with children can add an extra twist since you’ll help them get comfortable as well. Many companies are looking to help make air travel easier but one product called Fly Legs Up has taken a creative approach to air line comfort. Essentially a flight hammock, the product attaches to the tray table in front of you and includes inflatable pillows which elevate your legs and legs allowing you to achieve a more comfortable flying position. A children’s version is also available that allows little ones to sleep in an almost flat position. Perhaps the best thing to note, is that Fly Legs Up is super compact as the pillows deflate and can be stuffed into the hammock and stored in its small travel bag for easy portability.

Photo by: Fly Legs Up
Photo by: Fly Legs Up

3. Skross Power Adapter

It’s a consideration that we sometimes forget until the last minute before a trip, but it’s an important one to remember; what’s the power situation where you’re going? If you’re heading to a different country, chances are you’re going to need a power adapter in order to use or charge your electronic devices. Rather than starting a personal collection of global adapters consider the Skross Power Adapter Pro Series World and USB. This universal adapter makes a great gift since it’s compatible in over 220 countries and features not only an electrical outlet, but also a USB port so you can be charging your laptop and phone all at once.

Photo by: Skross
Photo by: Skross

4. Heys 5 Piece Packing Cube Set

If you know of a meticulous traveler in your life, consider this the ultimate gift for travel organization. Packing cubes are becoming increasingly popular because they allow you to organize and easily access your belongings without having to tear your whole suitcase apart. This five piece packing cube set from Heys is great not only because it offers 5 different sizes of cubes to organize all your clothes, shoes, tech and more, but their Ecotex material is made of 100% recycled water bottles so you can feel good about your purchase.

Photo by: Heys
Photo by: Heys

5. Sand-Free Beach Mat

Everyone loves a trip to the beach, but if we had one complaint about the whole experience it would be the sand getting in everywhere. For the beach lover in your life, give them the gift of a sand-free beach experience (well, almost) with this Sand-Free Beach Mat from CGear. The unique weaved design allows sand to fall right through the mat which means to piles of sand build up on your mat while you enjoy the sun and sand. The sand-free mat comes in four beachy colors and you can even buy a beach tote made of the same weaved material for the ultimate beach-lovers gift.

Photo by: CGear
Photo by: CGear

6. Scrubba Wash Bag

The ultimate travel accessory for the nomad in your life, the Scrubba Wash Bag ensures that wherever you go, you won’t have to be without clean clothes. Essentially a portable mini washing machine, the Scrubba is a waterproof bag with a flexible internal washboard that allows you to scrub your clothes clean using only a few liters of water and some liquid soap. It makes for a practical gift for anyone that loves to do any camping, hiking, trekking, cruising or any other situation where laundry amenities are limited.

Photo by: Scrubba
Photo by: Scrubba

7. Travel Wine Bag

For the traveler who can’t be without their vino, the Baggy Winecoat by Scandinavian design company Menu makes for one thoughtful gift. This design company clearly knows it can be difficult if not completely inconvenient to try to bring glass wine bottles to places like camping trips or picnicking, so the bag provides an easy and attractive solution to this problem. A must have for the traveler and wine aficionado in your life.

Photo by: Menu
Photo by: Menu

8. Portable Power Bank

Finding power on the go can often be a travelers worst nightmare. It always seems the the airport charging stations are either occupied or completely isolated from where you need to be. The solution to this problem can be found in a portable travel power bank, a perfect gift for anyone who travels or takes their electronic devices on the go frequently. The Mophie Powerstation XL is at the forefront of portable charging technology and is currently the longest lasting battery available today. It’s so powerful in fact, that you could actually charge up to two tablets simultaneously with the fastest output possible.

Photo by: Brunch News
Photo by: Brunch News

9. Zagg Pocket Keyboard

Sometimes when you’re traveling, it’s easier not to break out your laptop and instead just try to get some work done or emails sent using your phone. The only problem with this is trying to be productive with that teeny tiny keyboard, let alone the possibility for some embarrassing auto-corrects to be sent to important contacts. For the frequent business traveler, consider the Zagg Pocket Keyboard which is a foldable pocket keyboard that connects to your smartphone via wireless Bluetooth technology. This pocket keyboard uses 85% of the space of a normal size keyboard making communication quick and easy, yet it folds down to a slim profile that you can fit right in your pocket on the go.

Photo by: Zagg
Photo by: Zagg

10. Away Carry On Luggage

There have been many advancements in air travel in the past few years and this includes upgraded design and features for airline luggage as well. If you really want to spoil the traveler in your life this year, consider giving them one of Away’s pieces of carry-on luggage. These pieces are all designed with ease of travel in mind and include features like a break-proof hard shell exterior, built in battery and USB charger, an included laundry bag for dirty clothes, a built in TSA approved lock and 360 degree spinning wheels for an effortless glide.

Photo by: Away
Photo by: Away

9 Signs You Were Born To Travel

We all love a good vacation, with all the food, drinks and relaxation, how can we not? But there are some people out there for whom no vacation (no matter the length) is ever enough. Those who constantly have travel on the brain and wanderlust in their veins. If you can relate with any of these 9 signs, chances are you’re a natural born traveler. Better get used to it.

9. You find old plane tickets all the time

In your suitcase, purses, bags, books… you name it. They just seem to pop up and they always bring a smile to your face.

ticket
Photo by: Cinemaven

8. Travel gear gets you excited

You always have a pair of noise cancelling ear buds in your bag. You love hearing about the latest in compression packing technology and you have an unspoken bond with your backpack.

Photo by: 20 Liter Life
Photo by: 20 Liter Life

7. There’s no country that isn’t on your Bucket List

And every time someone talks about their trips, you seem to add a new destination to the list. You’ll get to them all eventually right?

travel

6. The thought of your passport expiring causes chest pains

We’re talking actual anxiety because the thought of being stuck in your own borders should the opportunity for travel occur, is simply not an option.

passport

5. Anytime someone says they’re traveling, you automatically think of restaurant recommendations

Because you not only remember destinations by experiences, you remember them by flavors.

Sunflowerey / Shutterstock.com
Sunflowerey / Shutterstock.com

4. You have tiny toiletries packed and ready to go. Always

The essentials like shampoo, conditioner, sanitizer, toothpaste, wet wipes and moisturizer are always on-hand for spontaneous travel.

travel toiletries

3. Your phone is loaded with travel apps

You know the value of having information on the go and know how to make the most of it. Currency converter, maps, restaurant app, itinerary manager…you’ve got it all.

Photo by: Cool Things
Photo by: Cool Things

2. You enjoy planning the trip just as much as taking it

Taking the trip is only HALF the fun. The other part is the planning, research and build up that gets you oh so excited. So much so that you’ve even offered to plan other people’s for them.

Photo by: Twirl The Globe
Photo by: Twirl The Globe

1. You’re constantly checking for ‘good deals on flights’, because you know…just in case

Because a good deal is a good deal and you wouldn’t want to pass that up. It’s doesn’t even matter the destination, it’s somewhere new right?

Photo by: Air New Zealand
Photo by: Air New Zealand

7 Tips to Help Canadian Travelers Stretch Their Dollars in the U.S.

Depending on what side of the coin (literally) that you’re on, you may view the slide in the Canadian Dollar with glee or with dismay. When it comes to the U.S. dollar in particular, the gap is wide, with economic signs suggesting that parity is but a distant memory -and that this lopsided relationship is set to continue (and even deepen) over the months to come. This has some Canadian travelers rethinking that cross border journey altogether. Regardless if the dollar is up or down, you may need to travel to the U.S. though -whether for business or to escape from the Canadian winter to linger on a South Florida beach (yes that qualifies as a need). Here are some tips to help your tight dollars go further:

7. Book Directly With Hotels

Calling around to hotels directly to get the best prices is a great way to shave off of your overall travel budget, but becomes an even more important strategy with the current currency pressures. At the very least, hotels will almost always match what prices you find online. More often than not, they’ll give you an additional small discount because you are dealing with them directly. There is always the option when you are talking to a real, live person that you can negotiate with them as well. If they won’t wiggle on price, try to get other things thrown in, like free breakfast, free parking or a break on resort/hotel fees. Every little bit helps!

Hotel front desk

6. Put In On My Card

If you don’t have one already, you should consider getting a U.S. dollar credit card, if you are going to be traveling to the U.S. frequently (i.e. more than about three times a year). You are generally able to get the best exchange rate that way. Your second best choice for favorable currency exchange? Use your regular CDN credit card wherever you can. You’ll still receive a decent exchange rate and it’s easier to track your expenses- so is especially good for larger costs- like your hotel room, for instance. Third choice for the best rate? Your debit card- both for purchases, and a way of securing cash through the ATM.

Alexey Rotanov / Shutterstock.com
Alexey Rotanov / Shutterstock.com

5. Think Outside the Holiday Box

Granted, you may have little choice on your days for travel if you’re traveling for business, but if you’re on vacation, your best bet to not getting hammered by the falling loonie is to try to be off-peak with your dates and days. Weekends are often cheaper than weekdays. If the school year doesn’t affect you, consider taking your summer holiday in September or October. The weather is still mild (downright warm in some U.S. destinations), crowds have dissipated and deals are plentiful. Depending on where you are going, the risk of hurricanes and seasonal storms peaks through September, but historically dip towards October. Either way, hotel managers are more aggressive in trying to fill their rooms in the off-season, and you could really benefit.

Calendar

4. Europe?

Maybe you’ve gone to Florida/South Carolina/California/ etc. etc. every year for years for your holiday downtime, but with the dollar being what it is, this might be the year to consider another destination. Maybe this is the year to scratch that European tour off of your bucket list, for instance. While the Canadian dollar has slipped slightly against the Euro, at the writing of this article, it still has some traction against that currency. Brazil and New Zealand are also Canadian currency friendly as well.

Paris Map

3. Park It

Don’t forget all of the other expenses that you’ll incur while traveling- like gas and parking. Select a hotel that offers free parking. If you are staying in a major center where parking is at a premium, consider staying on the outskirts (where rooms are cheaper and parking is likely free) and hop on local transit to get into the city (Boston, Washington D.C. and New York City are good examples for this. If you are driving yourself, pick a central parking spot and use public transit wherever possible. Better yet, walk as much as you can, and save on health club fees for the gym at your hotel. You’ve already had your workout.

New York parking lot

2. Cut Down Your Meal Costs

Meal costs are one of those variables where you can seriously save some money- or not- depending on how much planning you do. It is well worth it at the moment to book accommodations that have a kitchen. This will cost a little more upfront, but you will more than recoup the cost over the duration of your holiday. If a full kitchen isn’t possible, settle for a room with a fridge and/or microwave. You can pack up your leftovers at the restaurant, and reheat the next day.

Photo by: Club Quarters Hotels
Photo by: Club Quarters Hotels

1. Get The Point

Have you been saving those rewards points for a rainy day? Today’s the day! Cash them in now to defray the amount of cash coming out of your pocket. Dollar for dollar you may not get as much as you used to, but cashing in points is a great way to leverage yourself against your own personal currency fluctuation.

dean bertoncelj / Shutterstock.com
dean bertoncelj / Shutterstock.com

How to be Productive on an Airplane

Many of us live fast paced lives where just about every minute is planned and calculated in order to maximize productivity and get as much accomplished in our daily schedules as possible. We all know there are many ways to ‘kill time’ on an airplane (like consuming a few beverages from the cart, sitting back and watching 3 movies in a row) but what about using this essentially free time to your own benefit. It can really be a chance to do some of those things you always have on your list for self-betterment but never really seem to get to. Here are a few suggestions of ways you can actually boost your brain, all from the comfort of the plane:

Listen to a Lecture:

If you’re traveling on Virgin America in the near future you might be surprised to find something new available on the in-flight entertainment system: full A/V lectures! That’s right, a lecture company called The Great Courses’ has teamed up with Virgin to offer some awesome, IQ raising lectures and it’s all for free! Some of the interesting lectures available include High Stakes Decision Making and Ancient Egypt with many more in such categories as history, health, science, literature or whatever else your eager little mind can think of.

If you’re not flying Virgin (because hey, there are plenty of other airlines out there), you can still achieve the same cranium expanding results; it will just take a little more work. You can download your own lectures or Ted Talks or if all else fails find some interesting podcasts to download ahead of time. They won’t have the added sparkle of the in-flight system but you’ll be expanding your knowledge none the less.

Read:

Reading on an airplane isn’t exactly a new idea. In fact many, many people choose to spend their in-air time this way but the truth is that most of this reading is contemporary crud. Reading about vampires and steamy sexcapades hardly qualifies as knowledge enhancing material so instead, use the opportunity to be literate.

Bring along a classic book you’ve always wanted to read but never found the time. Catcher in the Rye and Wuthering Heights may be hard to get through at home but on an airplane where there are no distractions and nothing but time, you can easily absorb some classic literature. Alternatively, read up on something that interests you but you don’t know much about. Want to become well-versed in American History? There are books for that. Want to learn how to start an indoor hydroponic garden to grow your own vegetables year-round? There are books for that too.

Learn a New Language:

It’s hard to count the number of times I’ve heard people say “oh I really want to learn to speak…” –insert any non-English language here, but how often do we actually go ahead and work at this? Learning a new language such as French, Spanish, or Mandarin usually involves signing up for classes and committing to losing another one of our precious weekday evenings for at least a few months.

While you likely won’t step off the plane upon your arrival speaking fluent Spanish, it’s very possible to learn some basics that can be used to get your point across or help navigate a foreign city. It also might serve as a starting point for actually signing up for those weeknight classes and becoming fluent down the road. You may feel a little silly about practicing words out loud next to your neighbour but planes have enough distraction noise and they’re probably sleeping or watching a movie anyway.

Airplane Meditation

Meditate:

Slowing down and becoming ‘zen’ might at first sound like the opposite of productive but when you dig deeper and look at the benefits of meditation on the body and specifically the brain, you’ll see why this lands in our list. One of the number one reasons people do not practice regular meditation is time. Well, on a long haul flight you’re going to find yourself with a lot of that so try a meditation or 2. If you’re new to the practice, consider downloading an assisted meditation recording to your phone/music device to help guide you on the path to enlightenment.

Since meditation is usually done in an upright position, there’s no better place than right in your seat. What are the productive benefits of this practice? Well studies have shown meditation can actually increase grey matter in the brain as well as increasing happiness, quality of life and memory and decrease blood pressure.

Work/Plan:

We’ve all seen those people on airplanes who have their computers out and look to be deep at work and wondered “are they really that busy?” and while the answer may be no, you don’t have to be swamped to warrant some in-flight work time. You may not be able to get your inbox in order if wifi isn’t available but there are plenty of other ways to work offline. One suggestion is to download whatever you need ahead of time, if it’s reading this is easy. You can also draft emails and save them to send until you’re back online.

The possibilities are endless if you think about it ahead of time. You don’t have to be a business person in order to do this either. Busy parents can take this time to plan their family’s schedules for the coming weeks (or months), create meal plans, or work on family finances/budgets. All the little things that frequently get pushed to the back burner in a busy life.

Crocheting

Be Crafty:

Who has time to do crafts in today’s busy modern world? The answer: people who make time for them. If you’re like us, you’ve seen someone working on a knitting project while in a waiting room and as you look up from your Facebook app you think “hey, I should be doing that!”, and with hours flight time ahead of you, you can.

If you’re already into knitting, crocheting or the growing trend of felting, this is easy to do. Just pick a project, gather your materials in your carry on and you’re all set. By the time you land you might have a brand new hat. If you don’t know how to do any crafty things already, bring a long a book and learn to do it while you sail over the Atlantic. There are beginner books out there for every crafty hobby you can think of and you’ll have plenty of time to make mistakes and then learn from them, over and over again. Make sure you check airline safety regulations as things like scissors can be prohibited in carry-on luggage but most crafts can be modified to meet these rules.

So the next time you’re planning a big trip (or even a short one) that requires some time in the air, consider one of the above activates and capitalize on the chance to be productive and expand your ever growing mind.

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