Update: The winner of the $25 Amazon gift card is Esha! Congratulations Esha and thanks everyone for participating! I loved hearing your favorite travel products and I think I might be adding a few to my own list. Happy shopping!
I love to travel, and I love to shop. When these two activities combine, I get pretty excited about it. So I decided to compile a list of my favorite travel gadgets and gear for your Black Friday shopping sprees and holiday wish lists.
But I also want to hear your favorite travel products to give me some inspiration. If you participate, you just might win a $25 Amazon gift card!
So, how do I win?
- Once you’ve checked out the list of my favorite travel gear, use the links below to go to Amazon, and find your own favorite travel product. It can be one I recommend, or a completely different item, as long as it’s travel related.
- Come back to this post and leave a comment telling me what that product is and why you like it.
- Everyone who participates will be entered into a random drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card, announced one week from today on the blog. Subscribe here to make sure you don’t miss it!
My Travel Gear Favorites
Everything on this list is something I highly recommend. While I’m not being paid to mention any of these products, I will receive a percentage of any Amazon purchases if you use the links below, at no extra cost to you. This helps keep this site up and running. Thank you for your support!
1. Canon Powershot S95
My Canon Powershot S95 is an impressive little shooter that takes quality images and fits in my pocket. It’s been a great camera for getting started experimenting with manual settings. With an aperture that gets as wide as f/2.0, it takes great shots even in low light and allows you to get creative with depth of field (to get that blurry background and sharp foreground). It has the full range of shooting modes from automatic, scenes, aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual mode, and shoots JPGS as well as RAW files. There’s a newer model out with enhanced features and performance, called the Canon S120. It even has Wifi!
|Canon PowerShot S95||Canon PowerShot S120||Spare Batteries|
If you want to see examples of what this baby can do, just peruse the blog. Some photo heavy posts are here, here, and here. Almost all the photos were taken by my Canon S95 with the exception of a few iPhone photos. The S95 is my favorite travel camera I’ve owned.
2. Joby GorrillaPod Travel Tripod
If you want to take low light photos (think sunsets) or blur movement (think waterfalls) then having a tripod is essential. No one wants to carry a big, bulky tripod everywhere they go, but the Joby GorillaPod fits in a medium-sized purse, or can be plopped in a backpack without taking up too much space. Plus, its flexible legs can wrap around light poles, hang from tree branches, and cling to corners. How cool is that? I’ve never regretted bringing this along.
|Joby GP3 GorillaPod|
Asus Zenbook UPDATE: No Longer Recommended! I love my Asus UX31E Zenbook and it has served me well for three years of intense use. Read the update here. Since my laptop travels with me everywhere, it has to be extremely thin and lightweight and also be able to take a beating. Asus Zenbooks come with solid state hard drives to protect your data from bumps in the road, and are so incredibly thin, the case is literally an envelope. This laptop is essentially a Windows version of the Macbook Air without the Apple price tag.
Bonus: I still get over 3 hours of battery life after 3 years of intense use.
My laptop is a few years old, so here is a newer version. It even has a touchscreen!
|ASUS Zenbook 13.3″ Touchscreen Laptop|
4. North Face Thermoball Jacket
This is a fantastic jacket for travel if you’re spending any time in cold climates. The Thermoball insulation is incredibly warm and it scrunches down to fit inside its own pocket. Great from 40°F all the way down below 0°F if you have a shell and other essential cold-weather layers. For those of you not from the frigid climate of Minnesota, that means a hat, gloves, scarf, sweater, and leggings (to go under your pants, not instead of pants).
Believe it or not, I brought my thermoball jacket to Hawaii to stay warm on the Mauna Kea Summit, and tucked it in my suitcase the rest of the trip. I was so glad I had it!
|The North Face ThermoBall Women’s Jacket||The North Face Thermoball Men’s Jacket|
5. North Face Venture Jacket
The Venture jacket is a lightweight waterproof rain shell that I wear as a light jacket, rain jacket, or cold-weather shell (to go over a warm coat like the thermoball). I’ve had it for a year and it still keeps me dry even in heavy rain. In warm, tropical climates, you can unzip the armpits to let those babies breathe.
|The North Face Women’s Venture Jacket||The North Face Men’s Venture Jacket|
6. Universal Power Adaptor/Surge Protector
I couldn’t be happier with this universal plug adaptor and surge protector. It’s nice knowing my electronics aren’t going to get blasted by power surges, and its small size makes it easy to bring anywhere. This adaptor doesn’t convert voltage, but all of my electronics (and probably most of yours) have built-in converters in their charger. Just be sure to double check that your charger accepts 110V – 220V before plugging in abroad.
|All in One Surge Protector Universal Plug Adaptor|
7. Osprey Backpack
I’ve used my Osprey Ariel 65L backpack on two trips now: once on a canoeing backpacking trip through the Boundary Waters and again for the Inca Trail Trek in Peru. After putting it to the test – I seriously LOVE it! First and foremost, it makes very heavy loads feel like nothing thanks to the even weight distribution and the ability to scrunch the top over your shoulders (super helpful if you are short). Osprey packs have a tensioned mesh back panel that allows air to flow freely between you and the pack, preventing nasty backsweat on long, hot hikes. The Ariel can be loaded from the top or the front and also has bottom-access to pull out your sleeping bag without unpacking everything else. My favorite feature? The little pockets on the hip belt. One held my camera, the other held my snacks. What more does a trekker need?
Garren has the same basic pack but the men’s version: Osprey Aether 70L. His review: “It’s a good pack.”
|Osprey Women’s Ariel 65 Backpack||Osprey Men’s Aether 70 Backpack|
8. Leather Messenger Bag
I have gotten so many compliments on this bag! I use it every day for work, and as my second small carry-on bag when I travel. It fits my laptop perfectly, plus room for plenty more. The leather is gorgeous and has worn really well over the past year. This makes a great book/messenger/laptop bag that is incredibly functional with a unique vintage style I haven’t seen anywhere else. Each one is hand made in India from soft goat leather, and available in a few sizes. Mine is a 14″ version.
|15″ Leather Messenger Bag||13″ Leather Messenger Bag|
You can find these on Ebay as well. Here’s a link to a 14.5″ leather messenger bag that’s closest to my 14″ bag.
9. Ful Convertible Carry-On Luggage
I got this bag before a trip to Spain a few years ago when I flew an airline with smaller-than-normal carry-on limits. This suitcase is small and sleek without big handles or bulges to stick out and prevent you from fitting it into tight spaces. An added bonus is the extra bag that zips onto the front of the suitcase, or can be removed and worn as a backpack (even if it is a super dorky backpack).
|Ful Double Time 21″ Upright Carry-On|
10. Lush Solid Shampoo
When I fly, I always have trouble fitting all of my travel-sized liquids into that quart-sized bag. Recently, I found a way to ditch one of those bottles. Solid shampoo bars, from Lush, are like bar soap for your hair, and they will suds up as well as normal liquid shampoo. Plus, they smell amazing. Now I have one less thing to worry about when it comes to the liquids rule, and it won’t spill all over my suitcase.
Not sold? Alex Baackes from Alex in Wanderland swears by this stuff, and doesn’t her hair look amazing?
Don’t buy this on Amazon – you will pay double. Here’s a link to the Lush website instead: Lush Solid Shampoo. I like the jumping juniper.
Wrap it Up!
That wraps up my list of travel gear favorites. Now it’s your turn! Peruse Amazon and find your favorite travel product, then tell me what it is and why it’s great in the comments below. Participate and you’ll be entered into my random drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card.