The most experienced travel gurus know that the key to smart traveling is efficiency. Packing lightweight, compact items that help you navigate your travel experience is best. While everyone knows to pack climate-appropriate clothing, toiletries, and necessary electronics, there are certain items that every seasoned traveler would benefit from owning. Having these items on hand eliminates some of the stress associated with traveling under-prepared.
The Swiss army knife of power adapters, Kikkerland’s Universal Travel Adapter works with power outlets in 150 different countries. Power adapters are a must-have when traveling so you don’t ruin your electronics with foreign wattage. The Kikkerland adapter packs to a slim, compact piece that can easily fit in your purse or backpack. It folds down to three-fourths of an inch, smaller than any other adapter available.
Regular maps are not only susceptible to wear and tear, but can be a pain to fold back up. Crumpled City Maps are designed to be wadded up and stored in a pouch. They’re durable, easy to read, and completely water-proof. Crumpled Maps are available for 31 different major cities in the United States and abroad. Not only does the map contain an index of all the typical monuments, museums, art galleries, parks, and historical places, but each map also lists 10 different “SoulSites.” Palomar’s website defines “SoulSites” as “places that are chosen to excite you.”
Shoes often take up a lot of bulk in your bag when packing, with their hard rubber soles. A good tennis shoe is a staple for any travel that involves moderate amounts of walking. The Radler Trail Camp shoe is a water-repellent, fleece-lined shoe that literally zips up into itself to take up minimal amounts of space in your luggage. Designed for both men and women, it has substantial traction for hiking on all kinds of terrain. Its looks sleek, like your average tennis shoe, and comes in black, light green, red, and alpine blue.
Designed by Sam Hecht with Industrial Facility, the Jetlag Alarm Clock is a tiny, traveler’s alarm clock with a simplistic interface displaying the current time alongside the time the alarm is set to go off. For a jetlagged traveler, the display is incredibly easy to decipher, and requires no manual to comprehend. I.D. Magazine named the Jetlag Alarm Clock as the “Best Travel Product of 2008.” It comes in red, black, and off-white and is about the size of your palm.
If you’re traveling with clothing that is susceptible to wrinkling, cramming it into a suitcase pretty much guarantees that your clothes will be completely unwearable by the time you reach your destination. You may be in luck if you’re staying in a hotel with an iron and ironing board, but when camping, staying at youth hostels, or just in a rush, Downy Wrinkle Releaser Spray can get the wrinkles out without having to take an iron to the garment. Simply spray the clothing directly, tug from the top and bottom so that the garment is taut, and smooth it out. Within minutes, your clothing will be wrinkle-free and ready to wear.
The Point It: Traveler’s Language Kit was created by Dieter Graf and is a three-by-five inch booklet containing 1,200 photos generated from the author’s own experiences in 100 different countries. The photos contain busy spreads of everything from foods to camera equipment to bug spray, helping the traveler communicate simply by pointing to the item if they don’t speak the country’s native language. Point It is easier to use than a foreign language dictionary, and the images are completely universal for easy interpretation.
The Balanzza Digital Luggage Scale is about the size of a walkie-talkie and serves as a scale for your luggage. After you clip it onto the luggage strap and lift from the scale’s handle, the digital display will show your bag’s weight. This takes the guesswork out of traveling with potentially overweight luggage, especially now that airports charge for overweight bags so easily. The scale can weigh up to 100 pounds and will easily fit in with your luggage. It is easy to use and comes with a one-year warranty.
The iPhone can take some seriously high-quality photos, compared to most point-and-shoot cameras on the market, and it’s extremely portable for use on any vacation. Now Photojojo has developed a set of tiny, professional-grade lenses for your iPhone, enhancing the quality of your cellphone photographs even further. The Fisheye, Telephoto, and Macro/Wide Angle lenses are each sold separately or in a bundle for $49. They work just as well for Android phones and iPads, or any other product with a similar camera function. The Macro/Wide Angle lens comes as a combo, enabling you to take both close-up shots and full-frame shots.