Six Essential Travel Items for Comfort and Sustainability

Hey Coffee Shop Nomads!

Stacia here.

As you may know by now, I’ve been nomadic for the past 2.5+ years. In my case, this means I’ve been traveling the world staying with friends, house-sitting, staying at hostels, hotels, and airbnb’s.

To give you some context, I’m more of a city traveler, so I take my life with me in a suitcase or two and a small backpack.

Over the years I’ve gotten good at sustaining my own standard of living in terms of cleanliness and comfort–from the remote villages of Nicaragua to the modern hotels of Tokyo.

So for anyone who’s interested in traveling more, whatever the type of travel, I thought I’d give you some of my best tips about things I bring with me that have helped make my long-term travel lifestyle comfortable and sustainable.

1. Ear Plugs

A good pair of ear plugs have truly been lifesavers during my travel life. They’ve made me way more adaptable since I’m able to get a good night’s sleep under a wide variety of circumstances. Here are the ones I use. The key points are to make sure they’re soft (so they don’t hurt your ears after extended use) and block noise really well. I always have to cut the ends off ‘cause they’re too long and stick out of my ears, making them get pushed in too far while I’m sleeping. Just snip the ends to get a comfortable length. 😉

2. A Pillowcase

You may laugh, but I always carry a pillowcase with me and it’s saved my butt numerous times. Uses for a pillow case:

  • Can become a towel when needed–I’ve stayed multiple places where there was no bath towel or face towel, or sometimes even no hand towel. I now carry a small high absorbency dish towel from Mexico with me, but I’ve definitely used my pillowcase as a bath towel multiple times before.
  • Can be used as a pillowcase–especially in Asia but sometimes other places I’ve stayed there just haven’t been pillowcases on the pillows. Everyone’s culture is different, but for me that’s really gross. So I just pop on my pillowcase and rest easy knowing that my face isn’t laying on the same fabric as hundreds of other people.
  • Can be used as a laundry bag–this is actually the main thing I usually use my pillowcase for. It makes a great laundry bag, especially if you need to take the laundry to a laundromat. It’s easy to carry and hides your unmentionables.

Who knew pillowcases could be so useful, eh? 🙂

3. Hanging Toiletries Bag

I was nomadic for a couple years without one of these and holy cow do I love the hanging toiletries bag that I use now! What a difference.

You know that cabinet or drawer in the bathroom where you usually keep all your odds and ends and personal care products? Well, this is like your mobile version of that. These are useful for organizing lotions, jewelry, and other personal care products. You can make yours more of a shower bag or keep a toothbrush/toothpaste inside if you like.

I just use mine for personal care products such as deodorant, hair brush, Q-tips, hair ties, lotion, sunscreen, contacts case and solution/glasses, and jewelry.

The stuff stays nice and organized inside thanks to the many pockets, and it’s great ‘cause it’s hanging so even when there’s no space to set your stuff in the bathroom (which is all too common) you can always find something to hang it on. Plus, then it’s not touching anything dirty or getting wet.

Here’s a link to the one I use and love–there are lots of fun color/pattern options for men and women. I have the light pink one with pineapples.

Flip Flops

Let’s not beat around the bush, there are some nasty floors in the world. Having grown up in Japan I’m used to wearing slippers inside. I especially hate stepping on wet or hairy floors. So now I carry flip flops with me all the time so that I can wash them off and wear them as ‘indoor slippers’ or pop them on to wear outside in hot countries. Also, they’re great for public or outdoor showers where you maybe don’t want to walk around barefoot.

Universal Power Adapter

In case you weren’t aware, there are currently 15 types of electrical outlets in use in the world so you should definitely have a power adapter with you for any international travel. Not being able to watch Netflix in London because you can’t charge your laptop is the worst. ;P

I always carry 2-3 universal power adapters with me… I’ll admit 3 is probably a bit excessive, but I lose track of them easily. Don’t judge~

Here’s a link to the one pictured above.

Portable Battery Pack

Whether you travel or not these are super useful, but especially if you travel and might end up bored on a long bus ride, unable to contact people or use maps in an unfamiliar place. I’d definitely recommend snagging one of these and keeping it charged. I also recently learned there’s such a thing as a portable battery pack for laptops!

There are many kinds of travelers, but for myself, these are some simple things that I use to gain control over my environment and maintain my personal comfort no matter where I am.

Adaptability is the name of the game: be empowered to get creative and shape your travel to your own lifestyle needs and desires so that it doesn’t affect others negatively and is sustainable for you.

Did any of these items stand out to you? Do you have a favorite travel item that’s been super useful during your travels? I’d love to hear!

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