We are all bitten by the wanderlust bug, whether it’s a quick trip to another province or halfway around the globe to explore other countries and cultures. With air travel being what is is with checkins and myriad security rules, it helps to pack wisely but not forgo the essentials.
Here are 10 terrific items to help organize and simplify your traveller’s next trip.
1. Platypus soft bottles
In this age of hydration, why bother with a bulky plastic or metal container when you can pack a Platypus soft bottle that flattens for travel and is light enough to carry everywhere? It flattens to fit in any pack: simply brilliant. Choose from a range of sizes and features, and throw in a cleaning system for $13 as well.
How much and where: Prices start at $9 from Mec.ca and in stores.
2. Personal organizer toiletry bags
Too often, companies assume we all have similar amounts of stuff to complete the transformation for each day. LLBean has travel organizer bags in four sizes, from a small one, which is suitable for a few days, to a large one for a family. Durable and made from water-resistant nylon — and tested to minus 20C — these organizers will get your travel on track.
How much and where: $40 for the small bag; $80 for the family size at Llbean.ca
3. Carry-on luggage
We’ve all witnessed the hapless passenger trying to cram a hard-sided chunk of luggage into an overhead bin on a plane, but several options from MEC make carryon baggage a breeze. The Rolling Continent Carry On pack is sturdy and has skateboard wheels — not the flimsy ones so typical of rolling cases. The bonus is this bag doubles as a backpack. The Rolling Convoy 2 has a strong frame and features inside compartments.
How much and where: The Rolling Continent Carry On is $195 and the Rolling Convoy Roller 2 starts at $149.
4. JOTO universal waterproof pouch
An essential item, particularly for any travels that take you near water, this pouch is compatible with specific iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and Sony MOTO phones up to six inches.
How much and where: From $13.99 at Amazon.ca.
5. Cactus Creek dual electric converter
You’re set no matter where you go with this compact kit that converts voltage and has different wall plugs and pins for Africa, Hong Kong, Singapore, Ireland and some areas of Great Britain. There are two round pins for Europe and Asia, the Middle East Caribbean and some areas of Africa, and two angled flat blades plus two flat parallel blades — that will cover much of Australia, new Zealand, Fiji and China.
How much and where: $39.50 at Mec.ca
6. Trtl pillow
This unique pillow — although it looks more like a scarf — supports your neck with inner ribs that create a better ergonomic position for the neck and is designed to prevent neck and shoulder soreness. The pillow, which doesn’t need to be inflated and takes up much less room than a U-shaped pillow, is one-size-fits all and is covered in soft fleece.
How much and where: In a variety of colours for $39.95 at trtltravel.com.
7. Packing cubes
Savvy travellers swear by packing cubes because they not only keep all your things organized, but make that puzzle-like fitting into a pack or suitcase much easier. From small to large, there is a cube for every purpose, so no more scarves or underwear snagged in the zipper of your suitcase.
How much and where: Priced from $8 at MEC.ca and in store.
8. Comforts of home
Herschel makes a tidy little pouch with a few choice items that can make travel a little easier. If your traveller is a five-star stalwart accustomed to comfort, this pouch contains ear plugs, a sleeping mask, slippers and an inflatable neck pillow — all in classic heather-grey colour.
How much and where? $34.99 at Chapters Indigo.
9. Travel tote
Stylish and practical, the Lululemon Out of Range tote is the perfect size to fit everything essential — including a laptop —for a carry-on bag that can double its duty for day trips in city centres and markets. The tote has roomy and zippered pockets to keep everything in its place.
How much and where? The tote in black is $128. At lululemon.com and in store.
10. An epic read
We saved the best for last: Paul Bowles’ The Sheltering Sky. Bowles’ cautionary travel tale of Port Moresby and his wife Kit is set in northern Africa in the early 20th century. While the couple has a snobbish view of themselves as travellers — as opposed to common tourists — this beautifully written novel reminds us that whether traveller or tourist, we are really all just visitors who believe we know much more than we do when it comes to travel.
How much and where: We’d urge the Kindle version, naturally, for $8.24 from Amazon.ca. But if your traveller is old-school, the paperback is $17.99.
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