I love to travel and I love the luxuries, but I have to make sure I have the necessities to make my trip fun as well as adaptable to my unique situation. So, here are my five travel necessities.
Travel Necessities 1: Personal Wireless Wi-Fi
I tend to do a lot of over the road traveling. I do a lot of driving and traveling by train. I can’t tell you how many times having my personal Wi-Fi has saved me time and money. Even in airports I can plug in and avoid the fees. I bought the Virgin Mifi 2200 (currently selling for $19.99) that connects up to 5 Wi-Fi-enabled devices to the wireless internet. It’s smaller than a cell phone. The broadband plans run about $50 a month.
Travel Necessities 2: Scottevest travel clothing
I have a Scottevest travel vest with 22 pockets for hot weather, a fleece jacket with 23 pockets for cooler temps and my 14-pocket Penny Coat for the dead of winter. I think flying with a purse is a waste of a carry-on. I like to travel without or with a minimal purse and this clothing is ideal. They are stylish and comfortable. You can carry anything from an eye pencil to an iPad (really—there’s a pocket big enough for your iPad) hands free. Going through TSA? Take it off and run it through the scanner, no problem.
I also sometimes use Runnur hands-free carryall. It’s a unique, like a messenger bag without the bag. You wear it across the body diagonally, from shoulder to hip. It is ergonomically designed to organize all your essentials along one strap. Again, hands free travel. I love it.
Travel Necessities 3: CPAP Machine
I travel with a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine, or CPAP machine. It helps with my sleep apnea, which can be hell on me by constantly interrupting my breathing, keeping me from getting a full night’s sleep, and hell on anyone within earshot due to my snoring. Before my diagnosis I used to carry extra earplugs for my dorm mates in hostels to cut down on the hostility.
Now I use a travel-size CPAP machine. It has a small footprint to sit comfortably on a nightstand next to a hotel bed and light enough to not add too much weight to my luggage if I choose to put it in my checked bag. It also comes with its own case so I can carry it on. NOTE: A CPAP is a medical device and does not count toward your carry-on limits.
Travel Necessities 4: Travel compression socks
Blood clots are no joke. They can sometimes form in your legs during air travel or on long road trips because you are immobile for long periods of time, often sitting in cramped spaces with little leg room. The clinical term for this type of blood clot is deep-vein thrombosis (DVT). The longer you sit, the more at risk you are for developing a clot. Flights or rides lasting 8-10 hours or longer pose the greatest risk.
DVT is no respecter of age and can lead to deadly pulmonary embolisms. Compression socks or stockings can help relieve foot-related discomforts caused by sitting for long periods of time and help prevent potentially deadly deep vein blood clots that can form during long flights. They can be pricey if you go to pharmacy or medical supply stores, but I like the Futuro brand sold at CVS and similar stores.
Travel Necessities 5: Cordless Hair Care Appliances
I use the Conair Cordless 3/4″ Curling Iron and Flat Iron. What lifesavers they are! They fit in a pocket or the smallest purse. For less than $25 each they can handle a touch-up or a full head of hair. No tangle of cords here. They run on little butane cartridges that cost about $6 each.
Honorable mentions: Smart Phone Apps.
Budget Your Trip: Being a budget traveler makes monitoring my expenses paramount. The good thing about Budget Your Trip is that you can put in your estimated expenses and then put in the actual amount you spent. The app has chart and graph capabilities and can be exported to Microsoft Excel.
Google translate: I only speak and write English, but I can translate words and phrases between more than 65 languages using Google Translate for Android. For most languages, you can speak your phrases and hear the corresponding translations. I also can use my camera to take a picture and brush text to translate something.
So don’t let any kind of inconveniences keep you from traveling. No one size fits all. Make the adjustments you need to make. Take the aids or medications along with you if you need to. But keep traveling.