Top Travel Accessories for 2020
Last week I spoke with a senior corporate executive who travels constantly throughout the year. he shared with me his top 10 travel accessories that he simply can't live without:
I spend around 300 days of the year on the road. The vast majority of that is for business, but I also have several weeks a year of travel for leisure – including skiing in Switzerland, volunteer work in Africa or visiting family and friends in Australia. So believe me when I say I travel a LOT! One of the things I have learned over the years is that having the right gear with you saves a lot of stress and aggravation – which you just don’t need when you are on the road. When you’re travelling, you need your wits about you and you don’t need to be distracted and concerned with things you could have foreseen and planned ahead for.
So I have compiled this list for you of the top travel accessories that I can’t do without when I’m on the road. No matter where you plan to travel, these are the key travel accessories that you will need to take with you on any trip. Whether you are travelling for business or for leisure, having the right gear is so important. Using this list won’t guarantee you a stress-free trip, but it will certainly go a long way to set you out on the right foot!
#1 – Travel Power Adapter
This is the number one item that you will need when travelling to different countries and regions. I never leave home without at least one! In this day and age, we rely completely on our technology and our technology, in turn, needs power to operate. I have one with 4 USB ports so I can keep my phone, iPad, headphones and powerbank all charged up and ready to go!
#2 – Backpack with built-in pocket for powerbank
Perhaps even more important than the things that go into my backpack is the backpack itself! With security always taking a top spot in my priorities, I carry a backpack that is specifically designed to minimize the opportunity for theft. An added side benefit is that the anti-theft design also gives the backpack a minimalist, almost Scandinavian-style look to it. This is a real benefit as I like to look professional, rather than backpacker when I arrive at a business meeting. As I always carry a 20,000mAh powerbank with me as well (refer point #4!) you also want to look for a backpack that has the added convenience of a specific pocket for your powerbank that leads to an external USB power outlet for ease of use.
#3 – 20000mAh Powerbank
We all know how frustrating it is when your phone or headphones or tablet run out of juice while you’re on the go! That’s why I always carry a 20000 mAh powerbank with me wherever I go. You want to look for one that enables you to charge a number of devices at the same time. These get more and more powerful as time goes by and the latest ones enable to you charge wirelessly. I also like to have one that shows the percentage of charge it still has, because the last thing you need is a powerbank that’s out of juice when you need it!
#4 – USB Cables
What can I say – you can NEVER have enough USB charging cables! Around the house, at the office, and definitely in your travel backpack! I once was fleeced USD $75 for a USB cable in the airport at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia! I had left all my cables at the hotel and simply needed to have power – the cunning shopkeeper could somehow sense this and took full advantage of it!
Since then, I always ensure that I have spare USB cables in my backpack.
#5 – Eye Mask
I am fortunate that I do most of my long-haul flying up the pointy end of the plane. Nevertheless, a good, comfortable eye mask is vital to getting a “decent” night’s sleep on a plane. There is always that one person who won’t close their window shades. The breakfast service always starts 2-3 hours before you land in order to give everyone time to be fed and watered before landing – and if you want to grab some extra z’s and take your breakfast in the arrivals lounge, then you definitely need a good eye mask. Now, most of the amenities packs have an eye mask of some description, but like most things, there are eye masks and there are eye masks. You want one that is comfortable, won’t come off the first time you adjust your position, and won’t press hard on your eyes. If you carry your own with you, then you know that they fit, are comfortable and you can control your own sleep cycle on your own terms.
#6 – Noise-cancelling Headphones
Now, these are invaluable! Sitting on a plane is a noisy environment and, if you want to watch the latest movies on your iPad, you will need to have headphones that help filter out the surrounding noise. The more expensive ones use “active” noise cancelling, where they use a microphone to record the ambient noise and then generate an opposite sound wave to exactly neutralize that sound. However, if your budget doesn’t extend that far, there are other options of headphones that use over or on-ear cups to filter out the surrounding noise and give you a vastly improved listening experience. Ideally, you want ones that connect to your devices via Bluetooth so that you’re not wrapped up in cables when you’re sitting in an aeroplane seat.
#7 – Neck Pillow
I saw someone take one of these onboard a 45-minute flight last week! Whilst I do think that’s a little extreme, I do know that if you want to try and get a decent couple of hours sleep in coach, you will need to have one of these in your repertoire. There are a plethora of different types and styles ranging from the very basic to the NASA-grade anti-gravity of neck pillows. Our CEO, Lynn, likes to keep it simple when it comes to neck pillows. She swears by a simple, micro-bead pillow to give her the comfort edge on a long flight. One additional benefit of taking your own pillow is that you always know where it has been!
#8 – Polarised Sunglasses
I have a specific pair of sunglasses that I take everywhere when I travel. These are different from the sunglasses I wear for driving and the sunglasses I wear when I’m at home. The travel ones are lightweight and more robust than the pairs I have at home. That’s because they need to withstand the rigours of being squashed in overhead lockers, jet-skiing in Puerto Rico, hiking in Peru and wandering around the ruins of Chernobyl. Ideally, you want to have a pair that are not so expensive that you’d be ruined if they were stolen from a hotel room or wrecked in one of your more outlandish adventures. Whether you’re skiing in the Swiss Alps or exploring the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan, you will really appreciate having Polarised lenses on your glasses. A Polarised lense will filter out most of the suns harmful rays, and yet leave you with enough light to see very clearly. non-polarised lenses simply rely on making everything very dark - which is not ideal on glary days with low levels of sunlight.
#9 – RFID-blocking credit card wallet
In this day and age, it is so important to protect your digital identity. This is even doubly so when you’re travelling. Nothing will ruin your plans like having your wallet, passport, digital identity or credit cards stolen. It is so easy for someone to walk closely behind you and scan your wallet or purse for your credit card data. Before you know it, you’ll be incurring charges for things you’d never even dream of buying. An easy way to reduce the chance of this happening is to carry your cards in an RFID-blocking wallet or purse. These deflect the RFID waves that are used to ping your cards and record their data. It’s a very simple and inexpensive insurance policy to keep your travel on the right track!
#10 – Travel Scales
Regardless of which class of travel you are in, you need to know what weight your bag(s) are. If you’re in coach, you are usually limited to 20-23kg and if you pack like me, it’s pretty easy to blow that limit without even trying. You can usually get away with an extra kilo at check-in if you’re nice to the check-in folks. But if you’ve ever had to pay excess baggage costs, you’ll know what I mean here. With a set of travel scales, you can arrive at the airport knowing full well how heavy your luggage is and exactly how charming you’ll need to be to the folks there!
Lynn and Andrew Mitchell are 50-something travellers who enjoy travelling in comfort through some pretty interesting places. We started Einhorn Travel Accessories because of our passion for travelling the world, seeing amazing things and enjoying unique experiences together. We believe our extensive travel gives us a unique perspective, and we understand how important it is to have the right gear. We source travel accessories from around the world and offer them on one site. We would really appreciate you visiting our store and making a purchase or two.
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We also have a homewares store, Einhorn Homewares, which offers a range of cool, affordable homewares for any budget.