05 Aug 13 Genius Travel Must Haves
The travel must haves I’m about to share with you have saved me many times.
Despite travelling several times a month I still find packing incredibly stressful. There’s something very final about closing your suitcase and heading out the door, and it never fails to send my brain into a nervous overdrive.
That’s why I keep a list of a few genius travel products to fall back on. What are they? I’m glad you ask…
1. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is the single most versatile beauty product you can pack in your suitcase. It works as a makeup remover, moisturiser, hair mask, lip balm, shaving cream, deodorant… Need I go on?
Aside from being a natural beauty multi- tasker, coconut oil provides tonnes of health benefits when eaten – from preventing high blood pressure and boosting your immune system to increasing energy levels and improving your memory.
2. Electric toothbrush
It seems I’ve been living under a rock for most of my life, because I’ve only recently started using an electric toothbrush. As a frequent traveller I avoided them, frustrated by their poor battery life and lack of portability.
My new Oral-B Genius 9000 electric toothbrush has completely changed my mind though. For one, the battery lasts me about five days without a recharge. Secondly, the toothbrush comes with a white travel case which doubles up as a charging station and – get this – can be used to charge your smartphone as well!
But most importantly my teeth feel cleaner than ever before. This is because a) the electric toothbrush is a lot more efficient than my wrist and b) well, there’s an app for it.
That’s right – the toothbrush connects to an app on your smartphone via Bluetooth and tracks your brushing. It has a cool functionality called ‘Position Detection’ which essentially works like a GPS for your mouth, showing you if you miss any spots.
The geek-slash-overachiever in me loves that I get a score at the end of every session, letting me know how to do better next time and improve my technique.
Your dentist can even identify problem areas and put them into the app for you. I visited Dr. Uchenna, a London-based celeb dentist whom you may recognise from 10 Years Younger on Channel 4, and her advice has helped me stop the occasional gum bleeding I experienced before.
3. Dry shampoo
Dry shampoo is a godsend for anyone who spends a lot of time in transit. Washing your hair isn’t always an option – but neither are limp greasy locks, am I right?
My favourite is the Batiste XXL Volume dry shampoo. Attractive packaging? Check. Travel-sized option? Check. Super effective? Check. Volume boost? Check.
Batiste also offer lightly tinted versions for all you brunette babes and raven-haired mavens, which are ideal if you want to prevent the greyish grandma look.
4. Makeup Eraser
When I first heard about the Makeup Eraser I was very skeptical. It claimed to remove all makeup using only water, including waterproof mascara – a product I sometimes consider taking off with sandpaper because it just won’t budge.
But it works and there are dozens of makeup gurus on YouTube who agree. As for the science? The specially knitted polyester/silk fibre of the cloth breaks up the oils that bond makeup to your skin and just wipes it all off.
It costs $19.97/£16.99 which may seem steep for a small piece of cloth, but think how much you will save on makeup remover! Even more importantly, if you’re travelling with hand luggage only you will not need to worry about any pesky liquids which is always a bonus.
5. Face brush
You could easily stop at just removing your makeup, but if you have problematic skin you might need to give it a little more help.
I use the Braun Face 851 – a beautiful rose gold cleansing brush which exfoliates my skin, removes all the remaining impurities and helps my creams sink in better.
It also comes with a facial epilator head which is perfect for little lady moustache touch ups and even eyebrow maintenance, giving you up to a month of hair-free skin.
Speaking of epilators… they’re my go-to when it comes to most body hair removal.
Now, I’m very much a do-your-own-thing kinda gal and I fully understand that not every lady wants to suffer for hairlessness. During winter I usually fall into that camp myself. But when it comes to beach time I like a smooth bikini line.
I use the Braun Silk-épil SkinSpa 9 which is cordless and waterproof, so can be used in the shower. The set also comes with two exfoliation brushes which are great for preventing ingrown hairs.
I won’t sugar coat it – epilation hurts. So much so that not even singing Destiny’s Child Survivor through gritted teeth as I rip through my bikini line can make me feel better. But this epilator is the best and most painless I’ve ever used.
I wouldn’t travel anywhere without a big scarf – chunky knits for cold climates, colourful silk for beach getaways. Scarves are incredibly versatile and they keep me from getting a sore throat on long-haul flights.
If your scarf is big enough you can transform it into anything from a summer dress to a cute top, just by tying it around your body in different ways. It’s the most practical, not to mention portable, item of clothing you can pack.
8. Eye mask
And eye mask may not be super versatile, but it’ll prove invaluable on that long bus ride through the Indian wilderness. Make sure your mask is made from a soft, non-artificial material – the cheap ones will carve red lines into your face and irritate your skin.
9. Real-time translation app
In 2014 Google bought a humble app called Word Lens. Except, it isn’t very humble at all – it has powerful technology which allows you to point your phone’s camera at any text and have it immediately translated into another language, which then appears live on your screen.
Long story short, your free Google Translate app can now instantaneously translate the world around you – and it also works without a data connection, which makes it optimal for us travellers.
10. Offline maps
As much as I hate to admit it, I’ll never be one of those people who seem to magically know their way around a city the second they hit the tarmac. That being said, offline maps have saved my butt many times.
From wandering around the streets of Brussels last week, trying to find a hole-in-the-wall restaurant serving seventy different kinds of moules frites, to biking around Miami in search of a surfer beach, I use them all the time.
The best part? They’re free and you probably have all you need at your disposal already. Open your Google Maps app, making sure you’re online and signed in. Search for the place you need, like “Miami” or just “South Beach”. At the bottom, tap the bar that has the name of the place you searched, select download and you’re done!
Later when you’re lost, just turn on your location services – you don’t need data for this – and let the blue dot lead you to your destination.
11. Portable charger
Being a blogger I need to be
plugged into the Matrix connected to the Internet at all times, but unfortunately my iPhone 5s has a tendency to run out of battery at the most inopportune moments.
It used to be a big source of frustration for me (as well as anyone trying to get in touch with me) until I realised that I live in the 21st century and can easily just buy a portable charger.
I use the Anker PowerCore+ mini ($13.99) which adds over a full charge to my iPhone 5s. It’s portable, powerful and pink. Don’t worry, it comes in other colours too.
12. Laundry detergent
I won’t lie to you – I’m one of those people who always find a way to get dirty. No, not like that. I mean chocolate ice cream on my white sundress, mud on my jeans or eyeshadow on my shoes. Don’t even ask.
While I wouldn’t normally do my laundry on the road, sometimes I want to re-wear certain clothes. I just pop my dirties in the sink, use a drop of concentrated liquid detergent, manually wash them and then hang to dry.
Oh, and don’t forget to bring a separate bag for all your dirty laundry. This simple hack will save you the pain of trying to determine which socks are clean.
This goes without saying for many people, but until recently I wasn’t one of them. Sneakers are the perfect travel shoe because they’re comfy, tend to be relatively light and can also be used to exercise, obviously.
Although I’d be lying if I said exercising was my sneakers’ primary use.
My current go-to is a pair of glittery pink Converse. I found them in the kids’ section, but they had them in my size so it was clearly destiny.
What are your genius travel must haves? Let me know – I’d love to learn some new hacks from you!
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Oral-B and contains affiliate links. But as always all tips, opinions and silly puns are my own.