7 Non-essential Items that Make Travel Better

The view from Thala Beach Lodge - Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia
The view from Thala Beach Lodge – Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia

I am currently on my honeymoon in Australia.

I really should be doing something romantic with my husband right now… like drinking champagne and eating strawberries. Truth is, he had to send his boss a Powerpoint presentation, so we’re doing a little Internetting (and drinking some wine) after a day spent SCUBA diving at the Great Barrier Reef. I can’t believe I friggin did that… and to think a year ago, diving was by biggest fear.

Up top is the the view from our hotel.

Not too shabby.

Anyhow, we’re settling in Australia, getting ready for dinner on Monday night (ps it’s still early Monday where you probably are!).

I made it here with everything I needed: my passport, a credit card and a change of underwear. But I packed A LOT of things I wanted, which accounts for the other 44 pounds in my suitcase.

Here’s the seven things I don’t travel without.

I've only used it twice, but I am loving the Mini Jambox!
I’ve only used it twice, but I am loving the Mini Jambox!

Mini Jambox

There’s about one million blue tooth enabled, portable speakers. After sampling a bunch, I opted for the Mini Jambox for three specific reasons: One, it’s tiny. Two, it allegedly holds its charge for 17 hours. And three, it sounded pretty darn good compared to that Beats by Dre Pill thing (which I am convinced isn’t all it’s cracked up to be). I tried it out in my kitchen last week and loved it. Hopefully it’ll keep us in tunes throughout this trip.

It's a one man band, in textile form. 
It’s a one man band, in textile form.

Turkish Towel

I love the look of a Turkish towel, but I never really understood them. Are they towels? Scarves? Tapestries? Things meant solely for looking pretty in an Instagram pic? After some Googling, it turns out all of those things are true (and just look at the keyword-laden title on Amazon. Sheesh!). My sister-in-law recently bought me one, and I opted to bring it along. You never know when you might need a towel, a little something to wrap around your shoulders on a cool evening or need a pretty barrier between you and, say, a grody train seat. I think the Turkish towel will be incredibly useful, and the fact that folds down into the size of a t-shirt makes it especially fab for travel.

I'm so fancy, you already know.
I’m so fancy, you already know.

Fancy Travel Candle

I used to think the gift of a candle was a really nice way to tell someone I don’t know you that well. However, I am now way into them, especially when I travel. Nothing jazzes up a hotel room like a beautiful scented candle. I love these small ones from Voluspa—the lidded canister makes them portable and easy to toss into your suitcase.

Comfy Hoodie

I never, ever, ever travel without some sort of comfy hoodie, like this one I splurged on at lululemon. Perfect after a day at the beach, at breakfast, on the airplane, whenever. Definitely not as classy as a cashmere wrap, but who ever said I was classy?

Backpacks: not just for kindergarteners anymore!
Backpacks: not just for kindergarteners anymore!

Cool Backpack

I asked for (and got! Thanks Whitey and Colleen!) a Herschel backpack for Christmas. One that fit my big-ass laptop that I am currently wishing was a light as a feather Macbook Air, not a heavy MacBook Pro. They’re stylish, functional and easy to carry.

Looks like makeup, but it's actually sunscreen. 
Looks like makeup, but it’s actually sunscreen.

Colorscience Mineral Sunscreen

Apparently the sun is one million times stronger in Australia than anywhere else on earth*. Precisely why I am bringing loads of sunscreen with the best of intentions. You’re supposed to reapply that stuff every few hours, right? Right. But I can’t stand slathering pore-clogging sunscreen over my makeup. Yuck! Luckily, I was introduced to this awesome mineral sunscreen (approved by the American Cancer Society!) that lightly sits on top of your skin, sans that gross oil slick appearance. It’s NOT makeup, so my hubby can and WILL be wearing it, too.

(*unsubstantiated fact)

So tiny. So essential. 
So tiny. So essential.

Travel Cribbage Board

And how could I forget the crème de la crème of non-essential (BUT completely essential!) travel goodies: my travel-sized cribbage board. It makes time fly when you’re twiddling your thumbs at the airport, drinking an afternoon beer on the beach or relaxing after a long day of adventuring. If you don’t know how to play, it’s easy to get the hang of, provided you know how to count to 31.

* * *

Whelp, time for me to get back to relaxing. In the meantime, tell me what you always bring with on a trip?

PS Photos from Amazon.com.

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Comments (9)

  • Meg 3 years ago Reply

    I always travel with a scarf of some kind, but I’d never thought to try a Turkish towel. Scarves are indispensable. Warm up in overly air-conditioned places, avoid the sun, cover your shoulders/head for religious tourism, hide from uncomfortably enthusiastic flight attendants and travelers. They are the best!

    Other things I travel with are lots of snacks (my motto is "you can never find food when you need food"), powdered laundry detergent because I tend to pack very light, noise cancelling headphones, and an inflatable travel pillow. I may need to add an nicely scented candle to my list. It sure could go a long way in generic hotel rooms.

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago Reply

    I, too, always travel with snacks… though I almost got charged a $400 fee for bringing a sealed package of almonds into New Zealand yesterday, so… oopsies!

  • Jordan Dockendorf 3 years ago Reply

    I leave for vacation Friday. I am currently Amazon Priming the Turkish towel. Genius!

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago Reply

    Have fun on your trip!! Excited to hear about it!

  • Whitney Smith-Kinnaman 3 years ago Reply

    OMG. We leave Saturday for Jamaica. I’m very pretty fair skinned, and CANNOT use the easy peasy spray sunscreen b/c it makes me break out. I think powder sunscreen would be PERFECT for me.
    Thanks!

    molly mogren katt 3 years ago Reply

    the powdered stuff is amazing! And apparently lasts forever. Advice: don’t get the brush wet (it clogs the whole thing) and you can buy refills if/when you run out.

    Whitney Smith-Kinnaman 3 years ago

    I found it MUCH cheaper from Amazon….and it should get here before we leave! Hopefully it will stand up to the hot Jamaican sun!

  • Zeneda White 3 years ago Reply

    Loomed NOLA (http://www.loomednola.com) sells amazing handmade organic cotton Turkish towels. They’re definitely worth checking out. 🙂

  • Eugeniya 3 years ago Reply

    Hi Molly! Nice articles – so witty, kind and useful! I also love your idea with the list. You know there is a saying "One should go in the direction where one’s fear grows" from the Revolver movie. Have you seen it by the way? It is about outwitting one’s ego and expanding one’s comfort zone. The first step is to acknowledge your fear; those are brave who have fears and fight them; and those who claim not to have them are liars)
    If you are an active social network user and have an iPhone- there a new free photo aggregation app here on carde-app.com. It may save your time for finding other things to do in your list (or complementing your list). If you have some comment on this app or just want to chat feel free to write me on email e.leshchenko@dctology.com.
    Thanks! Wish you to go further in your list!

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