I’ve been on 12 trips in one year — these are my 10 favorite travel products

4 months ago 99
Pixel 6 Pro connected  array  showing Wanderlog question   readying  app, with respective  metropolis  magnets adjacent  to it from Koln, Brussels, Amsterdam, and more.

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Over the past 12 months, my hubby and I person gone connected 12 abbreviated vacations (three to 4 days connected average) crossed France and a fewer neighboring countries. From smaller towns similar Amiens and Montreux to cosmopolitan capitals similar Madrid and Amsterdam, we’ve tried to support things amusive and varied. On paper, 12 trips successful 12 months dependable rather excessive, but we had our (many) reasons to spell connected this bout of tourism. So we fto ourselves beryllium seduced by the easiness of question crossed Europe and the simplicity of the train-hopping and backpacking question lifestyle.

But what benignant of geek would I beryllium if I hadn’t utilized those question opportunities to trial each kinds of products, devices, apps, services, and features? And what benignant of writer would I beryllium if I didn’t study connected the ones that made a important quality successful my experience? That’s wherefore I’m present present talking to you astir my favourite discoveries of them each — these are the 10 products that person wholly changed the mode I travel.

Wanderlog

There is nary question planner similar Wanderlog. Trust me, I’ve downloaded astir each of them. The app (Android, iOS, web) lets maine make trips, stock them with others, and we tin each edit astatine the aforesaid clip — yes, a small spot similar Google Docs. I tin adhd accommodations, flights, trains, autobus reservations, and car rentals, past make aggregate lists (with antithetic colors and icons) of things I’m mostly funny successful checking retired arsenic good arsenic itineraries of places I’ve already decided to sojourn connected a circumstantial day. And it pulls spot information from Google Maps, including opening hours, images, websites, and abbreviated descriptions.

Wanderlog saves maine clip astatine each measurement of the travel-planning process. It is my 2nd encephalon earlier and during trips.

If that isn’t enough, Wanderlog won maine implicit with each of its tiny but incredibly utile extras. I tin adhd formatted notes to each spot oregon database with my ain bullets, bold/italics, and hyperlinks. I tin delegate budgets to each visited place. The app automatically calculates the region betwixt immoderate 2 places successful my itinerary and tells maine however agelong it’ll instrumentality to get from constituent A to B portion driving, walking, oregon taking transit. And for astir cities successful the world, Wanderlog offers an Explore conception that brings blog posts and lists of recommended places and activities from each implicit the internet, puts them connected the map, and lets maine adhd them to my lists oregon itineraries. All without maine having to probe thing successful Google oregon Maps. How madly chill and utterly frictionless is that?

Basically, Wanderlog replaces Google Maps lists, Chrome bookmarks, Calendar events, email reservations, and abstracted notes, and it saves maine clip astatine each azygous step. It has go my 2nd encephalon some portion readying trips and portion connected an existent trip. Now, it’s simply indispensable to me.

Wanderlog utilized to beryllium disposable successful the Play Store, but was precocious removed. I anticipation it comes backmost soon, but until then, you tin download the APK and instal it.

eSIMs (Mobimatter and Airalo)

Airalo USA information  SIM tariffs connected  telephone  surface  successful  hand

Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

Back successful January of 2015, I landed astatine midnight connected a Sunday successful Las Vegas for CES. I took a taxi to a 24/7 Walmart 30 minutes distant to bargain a SIM card. I needed it to spell online during LG’s 8:00 AM property league without being reliant connected the league hall’s spotty Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, Walmart didn’t person prepaid SIMs, truthful I recovered myself successful the mediate of nowhere-Vegas with nary taxi adjacent and nary telephone enactment astatine 3:00 AM wondering however the heck I could get backmost to my hotel.

A prepaid information eSIM is simple, convenient, and an implicit game-changer portion traveling.

Stupid jetlagged decisions aside, planetary question has agelong been a situation for the always-connected among us. I utilized to probe the destination country’s prepaid SIM paper plans and operators for hours, past I’d effort to find a store that sells them successful the airdrome oregon adjacent my hotel, hold successful enactment astatine said store, get the SIM card, navigate foreign-language SMS oregon websites, and fig retired wonky top-up systems, conscionable truthful I could beryllium reachable successful a caller onshore without paying a kidney successful roaming fees.

Last year, I discovered Mobimatter and Airalo, 2 sites that merchantability prepaid information eSIMs for astir immoderate state successful the world. Now, I conscionable browse these 2 to find the champion offer, bargain my information eSIM online earlier leaving, “download” it arsenic a secondary SIM connected my Pixel 6 Pro, marque definite the entree constituent is acceptable up properly, and power information to it erstwhile I onshore successful the caller country. The full process takes 10 minutes tops and I’m bully to go. I’ve already utilized MobiMatter doubly successful Switzerland and erstwhile successful Belgium, and I tried Airalo erstwhile successful Turkey. My workfellow Dhruv got an Airalo eSIM successful the UAE. We person thing but bully things to accidental astir them. Absolute game-changers.

Dig deeper: As a predominant traveler, I’ll ne'er bargain a telephone without an eSIM slot

Osprey Fairview and Farpoint

About a twelvemonth ago, my hubby and I moved from Beirut to Paris, which opened up this full satellite of bid question and abbreviated play trips. Before this, I had ne'er imagined myself arsenic a backpack traveler — excessively heavy, excessively uncomfortable — until I started reasoning of however easier and much applicable a backpack would beryllium for play trips. It’s decidedly simpler than lugging a roller suitcase down maine each the time.

We started by getting my hubby an Osprey Farpoint 40 (starting astatine $150 connected Amazon). He loved it. Thanks to the enarthrosis straps and hep belt, it’s truthful comfy for him to transportation crossed bid stations and airports. The plan provides stellar enactment — adjacent erstwhile the backpack is full, it feels astir weightless. Plus, it’s made from a resistant material, the zippers are smooth, and there’s abstraction for a laptop, tablet, and immoderate different random tiny things.

Osprey makes 1 of the fewer backpacks with enarthrosis and thorax straps designed for a pistillate body.

After concisely trying his backpack and realizing however bully it was, I decided to get the pistillate mentation for myself. The Osprey Fairview 40 (starting astatine $130 connected Amazon) is fundamentally the aforesaid backpack, but the enarthrosis straps are attached and angled otherwise to relationship for a larger chest. Having tried some backpacks, I tin archer you the Fairview is overmuch much comfy and amended suited for a pistillate body. I’ve already carried it connected trips to Amsterdam, Montreux, Berlin, Turin, and Chantilly, and I wouldn’t commercialized it for immoderate different backpack.

Bobby Pro backpack and Karry 3.0 drawstring

While our Ospreys are large for carrying covering and essentials connected a bid oregon plane, we inactive request a time container to usage erstwhile we scope our destination.

When we’re lone carrying 1 Osprey, our go-to is the Bobby Pro backpack ($130 connected Amazon) from XD-Design. It’s been with america connected dozens of trips already since 2019, from the Himalayas to Meteora, passing by Abu Dhabi and Barcelona. The anti-theft plan is cleanable for engaged cities, airports, and nationalist transport. But the sturdy material, comfy balance, other zippers and organizers, and pass-through USB-C charging; each of these are utile nary substance the destination. City oregon nature, MWC oregon tech conferences, it’s done it each and it’s inactive kicking. If it ever dies, I’m buying different one, nary questions asked.

Pick one: an anti-theft time container for bustling cities oregon a airy drawstring container for speedy trips.

But since we lone person 4 shoulders, we sadly realized we couldn’t bring the Bobby Pro connected trips wherever we’re already carrying our 2 Osprey backpacks. So we’ve gravitated toward the Karry 3.0+ drawstring from Anvi Original to lick that. I bought the archetypal mentation of this connected Kickstarter and loved it truthful overmuch that I grabbed the 3rd 1 too. (They’re present astatine their fifth iteration.) Why the Karry? Because this drawstring container is dissimilar immoderate other. It’s much comfy to transportation for a full time acknowledgment to its ample and fluffy strings. It besides has 3 ample zipped pockets and comes with an other flap to support your stuff. And it’s made from an extra-resistant material. The champion portion is that it tin laic level wrong the Osprey erstwhile empty, truthful we tin easy battalion it and past power to it aft dumping our luggage successful the hotel.

Zendure Passport II Pro

travel products zendure passport 2 pro

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Like immoderate self-respecting geeks, we transportation immoderate tech gadgets portion traveling. Phones, power banks, Fitbits, an enactment cam, and sometimes an iPad oregon a laptop. To complaint each of these, the Zendure Passport ($75.99 connected Amazon) is our jack of each trades. It is simply a cosmopolitan adapter with 100-240V DC input/output for aggregate plug types and it works successful the US, UK, remainder of EU, and plentifulness of different countries too. But that’s lone fractional the story. The different half? It’s a multi-port charger too.

It's a question adapter and a 61W PD charger. The 1 powerfulness adapter to regularisation them all.

On 1 side, there’s a 61W USB-C PD port. On different side, determination is simply a secondary 12W USB-C larboard and 3 12W USB-A ports. Power is divided betwixt each ports erstwhile they’re utilized astatine the aforesaid time, with a full output of 61W. It mightiness not beryllium the astir almighty PD charger, but it’s the astir convenient 1 of all.

We conscionable support this successful our Osprey backpack and we cognize it’ll enactment everyplace for everything — nary questions asked. For much portability, we bought a fewer abbreviated cables to spell with it and present we person a setup that is precise portable and susceptible of topping up thing from a Galaxy Watch 4 (check this little USB-C puck) to a laptop. It’s fundamentally the 1 charger to regularisation them all.

We recommend: The champion multi-port USB chargers you tin get

Too Good To Go

A fewer months ago, I discovered Too Good To Go, the anti-food discarded app that lets you reserve baskets of near-expiry items from bakeries, market stores, and restaurants. At first, I was lone utilizing the app successful Paris, but past it occurred to maine that I could besides payment from it portion traveling. And that has been an astonishing idea.

You prevention nutrient from being thrown away, and you prevention a fewer bucks.

Before going connected a trip, I cheque the country astir our edifice oregon immoderate of the activities we’re doing to spot what stores and baskets are offered and astatine astir what time. Then, depending connected our schedule, I’ll reserve immoderate baskets and marque definite we prime them up for our dose of caller fruits and veggies oregon bully baked goods, each for a fewer euros.

My favourite hack? Some hotels connection baskets connected their meal spread. If you’re already staying astatine that edifice (or adjacent that hotel) and you don’t privation a precise dense breakfast, conscionable reserve a $4-5 handbasket alternatively of a $10-20 breakfast. Go determination astir 10:00 AM, prime up immoderate items from their spread, and you’re good. You’ve saved nutrient from being thrown away, and you’ve saved a fewer bucks too. Win-win.

Citymapper

No substance however overmuch I admit Google Maps successful a overseas metropolis oregon town, I person to admit that it’s not the implicit champion solution for walking oregon nationalist transit. For that, I’ve gravitated to Citymapper wherever it’s available. Sometimes Citymapper adjacent supports towns wherever Google Maps doesn’t person immoderate information — this was the lawsuit erstwhile I went to Montreux successful Switzerland a portion ago, but it seems that Google has caught up now.

Having utilized some apps broadside by side, I’ve besides recovered Citymapper to person much close timings successful immoderate cities, easier-to-read instructions (especially entrances and exits, whether to thrust successful the beforehand oregon mediate oregon back, and sometimes adjacent clearer names for trains and directions). It besides adds up sidewalk crossing times portion walking, and clip wrong the presumption (to enter, switch, oregon leave) — 2 features Google Maps conscionable wholly ignores. And it integrates with Calendar, pulling up each my events and offering a database of each their locations for speedy directions.

Google Maps wanted maine to hold for a autobus successful a thoroughfare with roadworks. Citymapper had the caller impermanent autobus halt location.

Fun story: Citymapper wholly won maine implicit 1 nighttime successful Berlin. We were heading backmost to our edifice astir 11:00 PM and Google Maps suggested we locomotion a fewer minutes to instrumentality the bus. As we did, we realized the expected halt was connected a thoroughfare closed by roadworks. Surely nary autobus could get there, but Google Maps was adamant. Citymapper, connected the different hand, suggested we spell backmost and hold astatine different halt (a deviation from that bus’ route). We followed it and, definite enough, determination was a impermanent halt close wherever it indicated, and the autobus came connected time. Because of that azygous incident, Citymapper has gained a imperishable spot connected my phone.

Want to cognize more? When Google Maps struggles, Citymapper comes to my rescue

Trekology inflatable pillow

Two Trekology inflatable question   pillows, 1  is inflated, the different   is deflated and successful  a transportation  bag

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Look, if you’re traveling an mean of erstwhile a period connected a writer’s salary, you’re not booking five-star hotels with each the luxury and comfort. Affordable 3 stars are much similar it. And if you’re successful your precocious thirties to aboriginal forties similar we some are, past you can’t slumber connected immoderate random aboveground and get up the adjacent greeting without backmost oregon cervix ache.

Since we can’t transportation our ain mattresses, we’ve resorted to solving the adjacent occupation we brushwood successful cheaper hotels: impossibly bladed pillows. You cognize the kind, it’s fluffy but flattens to a bladed insubstantial erstwhile you laic your caput connected it. One pillow is excessively thin, 2 are excessively high; there’s nary mediate ground.

An inflatable pillow makes each the quality betwixt a bladed edifice pillow and a supportive one.

Our solution to that is frankly genius. We person 2 Trekology Aluft 2.0 inflatable pillows ($17.99 connected Amazon), which we inflate arsenic needed and spot inside the pillow cover beneath the hotel’s provided mediocrity. This provides other enactment and tallness portion removing the annoying feeling of a hard inflatable pillow. It (almost) fools america into reasoning we’re sleeping connected a mean compressible pillow. And erstwhile it’s not successful use, it conscionable goes backmost to a small, portable size.

Travel-friendly cutlery, straws, and bottle

Quechua h2o  bottle, packable cutlery set, and GIR silicone straws connected  a table

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Another mode to prevention immoderate dinero portion traveling is to drawback meal and different nutrient essentials from adjacent market stores oregon bodegas alternatively of eating retired for each meal. The archetypal clip we did that, we realized that portion precut mango is casual to drawback with your fingers, yogurt isn’t.

So we looked for travel-friendly cutlery and recovered this white-label stainless alloy acceptable connected AliExpress for a fewer bucks; you tin besides get it connected Amazon for $16.99. It contains a fork, a spoon, a knife, and 2 chopsticks, each divided into 3 pieces. Everything tin beryllium taken isolated oregon enactment unneurotic successful a fewer seconds. They’re washable, casual to transport, and cleanable for store-bought yogurt, fruit, and salads.

You can't devour yogurt with your fingers and you shouldn't transportation a h2o vessel that spills.

Taking the thought to the adjacent level, we besides got these bendable and washable silicone straws from GIR ($8.95 connected Amazon). No much ocean-polluting integrative straws oregon quickly-melting insubstantial straws. (Side note: GIR makes immoderate of my favourite room tools, I urge you cheque them out. I’m successful emotion with the Spoonula.)

Our past point is this insulated 13oz / 400ml Quechua h2o vessel from Decathlon ($12.99). It’s bulky, heavy, inconvenient, and time-consuming to unfastened and close, but we bought it due to the fact that it has 2 screw caps, making immoderate spills adjacent impossible. We’ve had it successful our backpack for a year, and, arsenic expected, it has ne'er fto a azygous driblet retired nary substance however overmuch we tossed, dropped, oregon flipped the backpack. This no-spill diagnostic makes it an implicit winner.

Kindle Paperwhite (2021)

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2021 with the surface  showing a publication  cover, connected  a table, adjacent  to a cupful  of coffee

Rita El Khoury / Android Authority

Traveling for maine utilized to beryllium each astir euphony and sleep, but erstwhile I got the Kindle Paperwhite, I decided to effort speechmaking connected a bid ride, and I’m a convert. For thing from a abbreviated travel of an hr oregon 2 to longer 5 to six-hour trips, speechmaking is an fantabulous mode to dissociate until I scope my destination.

Books tin transportation you to different satellite and marque immoderate multi-hour travel consciousness similar a snap.

What I realized was that portion euphony is amusive and immersive, I inactive get bored each present and then, cheque the time, and get annoyed that we’ve inactive not reached the destination. A bully book, connected the different hand, takes my caput wholly distant from reality. Passengers, time, distance, everything dissolves, and I get sucked into different world. I’ve been connected a six-hour bid thrust from Turin to Paris wherever I didn’t look astatine the clip until fractional an hr earlier arrival.

The Kindle Paperwhite is important to that experience. It’s light, casual to pack, lasts weeks connected a charge, provides a readable surface nary substance the airy concern (dim nighttime trains oregon sunny autobus rides), and tin transportation thousands of books. I’m presently reigniting my teenage passionateness for older French escapade publication bid — Maurice Leblanc’s Arsene Lupin and Henri Verne’s Bob Morane.

Our verdict: Kindle Paperwhite (2021) review

Notable mentions

woman preparing for a travel  with a map, pen, question   tickets, passport, hat, camera, and assorted  different   items.

I recognize I already cheated by combining immoderate products unneurotic and mentioning much than 10 total, but erstwhile I find thing that works and works well, I perfectly emotion talking astir it and sharing it with the world. So I’m going to cheat a spot much and adhd immoderate other products worthy of being connected this list.

  • Get Your Guide: A tract wherever you tin publication tours but besides entrances, transit tickets, and different random activities successful astir cities crossed the world. Prices are comparatively the aforesaid arsenic the authoritative source, but you tin usage the codification GET10 successful the mobile app for a 10% discount connected anything. The codification changes each truthful often, but determination ever seems to beryllium a 10% disconnected promo. And conscionable similar that, I saved you a fewer bucks.
  • Tiqets: Instead of creating an relationship for each depository oregon attraction you privation to bargain entranceway tickets for, you tin usage Tiqets. It doesn’t person everything, but it fills a fewer gaps from Get Your Guide. There’s nary imperishable discount code, but if you look, you should find a 5-10% promo code astatine immoderate constituent successful time.
  • Fever: It offers a premix of unsocial activities and events but besides immoderate restaurants, museums, and different random things — but it’s constricted to prime cities worldwide. The crushed I’m recommending it is you tin get up to 20% cashback with Fever Club rewards, which is thing to sneeze astatine erstwhile you’re trying to bash chill things connected a budget.
  • Groupon: In countries wherever it’s available, Groupon is the simplest mode to prevention wealth connected activities and restaurants. In my experience, the enactment conception is beauteous mediocre with constricted choices, but you tin find immoderate fantabulous two- to three-course meals for 2 astatine highly affordable prices. My 2 other tips: cheque Google Maps ratings to marque definite a spot is truly good, and opt for places with reservations connected Groupon alternatively of by telephone to debar calling internationally.
  • Atlas Obscura: Wanderlog is awesome for uncovering each kinds of things to do, but if you privation to locomotion a small spot disconnected the beaten path, Atlas Obscura is simply a large mode to research the astir peculiar and little touristic places to visit.
  • Location Scout: If you similar taking unsocial photos from peculiar angles, this tract lets you spot each the chill spots successful immoderate metropolis oregon town, arsenic submitted by different photographers. The nonstop determination is down a paywall, but if you cognize your mode astir Google Maps and Street View, you whitethorn beryllium capable to conjecture these connected your own. (Alternatives see Flickr, 500px, Shot Hotspot, and galore more.)

And determination you person it. While this database is obscurity adjacent exhaustive, it’s a postulation of the products that person positively influenced my question acquisition implicit the past year. However, arsenic you indispensable person guessed by now, I don’t instrumentality my question lightly, and I’m definite this database volition germinate with time.

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