Spending a semester on an exchange in France has very quickly taught me to appreciate smart, compact and durable products. Here is a list of some of the things I have relied on most this past month and urge anyone planning on travelling to invest in.
1. Magic Eraser Makeup Towel
Probably my favourite item on this list, this product is truly magical. About the size of a face cloth, all you need is to wet it with some water and it will take off all your makeup. This means not only saving space but being more environmentally conscious by avoiding cotton pads or makeup wipes. Just throw it in the washing machine with a load of laundry and it comes out clean and like new.
2. Packing Cubes
Having to pack one suitcase for 7 months abroad seemed like an impossible task but thanks to packing cubes (and some YouTube folding tutorials) I was able to fit way more than expected. They fit perfectly like puzzle pieces in my luggage and then I still had a bunch of room for large items on top of the cubes. I also use the little cube in my backpack so that I can bring the maximum about of clothing with me on weekend trips without my bag bursting at the seams.
3. Foldable Water Bottle
I consume a lot of water during the day but when you are travelling it can be a hassle to carry a decent sized water bottle around everywhere. These folding bottles will be your new best friend because they are such space savers. When folded you can throw them in a purse, a backpack, even a pocket. When full they are surprisingly sturdy and I haven’t had one leak.
4. Ultra Light Sleeping Bag
Way more compact than a normal sleeping bag but also more than blanket. Since I was able to fit this blanket perfectly on top my computer bag I brought it on the plane and was actually able to sleep a few hours. Then when I had to stay overnight in Iceland last minute, I used it as an extra blanket at my hotel. Now in my rez room, I use it as an extra bottom sheet for more comfort. It is also great for when hostels charge extra for blankets or when you would rather use your own.
5. Quick Dry Towel
Used by lots of competitive swimmers, this magical creation is the size of a normal towel but so much thinner and way more absorbent. Consequently, it probably takes up about 1/8 of the space a normal towel would (I’m not kidding).
6. Travel Hairbrush
When every little pocket of space counts, switching from a full-sized hairbrush to this portable one can be a life saver. This travel brush is also great for putting in your purse if you are someone with unruly hair. Also great for day trips to the beach, especially for people with long hair like me.
7. External Phone Battery
I am one of those people who would be lost without their phone. Literally lost. Google Maps has saved me more times than I can count. It is also important safety-wise to have a working phone while in a foreign country. There have been many cases however when my phone has come very close to 0% while being out. External batteries have become more portable and affordable, giving a solution to the phone battery problem.
8. LifeProof Phone Case
When travelling, my phone plays the role of camera, map, alarm clock, agenda and communicator. Since my life is on my phone, however, I want to make sure it is protected not only from being dropped but also from dust and water. LifeProof cases offer that protection and even let you submerge your phone up to 2m under water. I now feel confident my phone is protected wherever my travels take me. Another perk- it’s not super bulky.