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What are your favorite travel accessories?

Hello Everyone, I was wondering what your favorite travel accessories are, besides electronics/cameras? I'm am getting ready to start packing for my Turkey tour and I'm wondering if there's anything I should add to my list? Travel pouches? Ear plugs? Etc, etc. Basically, what do you find "necessary" that you make sure to always take with you? I can't wait to see what people post! Thanks! :)

Posted by
175 posts

Turkey? Easy - imodium; enough for your tourmates too!

Posted by
2703 posts

You might also want to look at the RS Travel Store elsewhere on this web site just to see all that he offers.

Posted by
1799 posts

Sleep mask, ear plugs (handy for the plane and for noisy hostels or hotels with thin or missing curtains/shades). Packing cubes if I am using a backpack as it's easier to keep stuff organized (don't use them if I have a wheeled suitcase - but don't use a suitcase in Europe, only in the US or other trips were I won't be moving around much. Flip flops (if I am staying in a hostel where the cleanliness of the showers may be questionable, and some hotel carpet is also something I may not want to walk barefoot on). Hair dryer - this is my personal choice to take one. Yes, I know most hotels have one but they usually suck. Mine is dual voltage, handle folds and I've never had any problems with it not being just as powerful as when it's operating in America. I subscribe to the whole 1 bag theory and I don't travel with every electronic gadget I own and their multiple chargers so I've got plenty of space for a lightweight compact hair dryer. Take only what's important to you, don't add stuff just because other people can't live without something.

Posted by
1812 posts

Besides the obvious, my pocket notebooks in which I record what, where, when, who, and why.

Posted by
1164 posts

An elastic clothesline with both hooks and suction cups on the ends.

Posted by
11196 posts

Stuff that I always take, and always use, is pretty mundane.. but I won't go without: :blow up neck U pillow,, I take two, one for neck , one I under inflate and use in small of back. Got them for 3 bucks at a dollar store, and they have been to Europe twice! :another dollar store find,, they look like cheap plastic clothes pegs, with hanger tops attached,, they are the most wonderful things in the world,, they do break,so if you see any ,, buy them and send me more, lol ;earplugs, just cheap foamy ones : drugs,, my stuff, you know I know they have stuff there, but trust me, where to goand buy it if you need imodium or pepto at 2 am,, lol

Posted by
6092 posts

Favorite accessory, notebook and pens.
I was a little surprised to see the following "Turkey? Easy - imodium; enough for your tourmates too!" because we spent two weeks in small Anatolian towns and a few days in Istambul last summer and never had stomach problems, nor did anyone in our group. It was delightful and the cooking was lovely. All drinking water is bottled for everyone.

Posted by
281 posts

dI am also surprised to hear immodium was needed but it is always a good to carry it for emergencies. I thought the food in Turkey was great and had no problems. You may want to include a washcloth and a few zip
lock bags.

Posted by
3360 posts

Ziploc bags of all sizes! LOTS of uses. Including protecting fragile items- partially seal a small bag, inflate slightly, totally seal. Do this for several bags. Place fragile item in larger bag, surround with smaller ones! Also for keeping food items for snacks, picnics, etc. As a substitute for packing cubes. And for damp/wet clothes, swimsuits, wash cloths, etc. Doing laundry.... list goes on. I also take some twist ties- have used them in a variety of ways- and a few rubber bands. My sewing 'kit' has been very important, too. Fixed umbrellas, luggage, day bags, clothes, shoes.....

Posted by
4788 posts

Ear plugs, door stop, twist ties, zip lock bags, tea bags, nail clippers, Altoids, moleskin, gaffer's tape, kleenex, Burt's Bees lip balm, well worn and traveled leather coin purse, rubber bands (used to hold the rolled up zip locked bags), travel journal, scotch tape (used to secure business cards, post cards, brochures, etc) inside the journal, Airborne, Alleve, Neosporin, Neva travel tins, clothespins, Woolite travel packets, extra pens and two tiny pencils like you can find at IKEA's or Golf Courses. Travel pouches are a MUST! Turkey is fabulous. Food is wonderful. Only place I ever experienced "problems" was Florence, Italy. Immodium wouldn't have helped. Only sleeping through New Year's Eve, tea and toast for the next two days did. Haven't had gelato since.

Posted by
4318 posts

My Ipod Touch, Go Toobs, Noise cancelling headphones, Cork screw, knife/fork/spoon, reusable shopping bag (for trips to the market), flashlight, ziploc bags, compeed

Posted by
1613 posts

Noise cancelling headphones, packing cubes, ziplocs, picnic supplies (foldable & insulated lunch bag, plastic cutting board, serrated knife & wine bottle opener), first aid kit with what I deem necessary, a zippered blue pouch for all electronic cords & chargers, and protein bars. And how do I travel light packing it all into a small roller suitcase, it's not easy.

Posted by
2193 posts

Does anyone recall a post here from a couple of years ago, where someone attached a link to a news story that had a photo of a TSA x-ray of the contents of a traveler's bag? I think the story may have been about packing light...can't remember. Anyway, there was a very unique travel accessory in there that everyone saw but nobody mentioned until way late in the day. Some brave soul finally asked if anyone else noticed the device/accessory. It was pretty funny, and I bet that particular traveler would say that it's her favorite accessory.

Posted by
22266 posts

You guys must travel high on the hog. Nobody mentioned toilet paper? Clearly Turkey must have better facilities than France ;-)

Posted by
778 posts

Definitely zip lock bags in all sizes-they serve as packing cubes, organizers, laundry bag, clothes washers (2 gallon size)...My phone with the data roaming turned off-besides the regular uses this is my alarm clock, watch, reading material and flashlight.

Posted by
375 posts

I like those dry, disposable washcloths that have soap imbedded in them and all you have to do is wet them, then throw away after use. I find this more convenient than carrying wet, real cloth washcloths in a ziplock baggie.

Posted by
11309 posts

A good, small camera is my favorite accessory. I was really happy with my Ipod touch this last trip. I could save documents that I might need later, access email, make Skype calls, and use a translation app - all in one small package.

Posted by
11196 posts

I needed Imodium in Rome, on a RS tour, ( lunch was on our own that day mind you, lol ). I hadn't packed any( Europe isn't Mexico is it,, ) but just a few pepto,, which were useless. Thank goodness,, the Tour Leader had some imodium in HIS personal stock. And , another passenger , a doctor had some also,, guess they know the fact is ,, food or water borne illness can happen anywhere. I was unable to go into Florence,, ( I was alone with my child,, thank goodness a nice tourmate took my daughter in with her daughter,, as i was near death( in my mind only, lol )
The staff at the Agritourisma Rick used were so nice, visited my every few hours in room, brought me juices and clear broth.. made boiled plain noodles for my dinner. Can't say enough about the places Rick uses.

Posted by
307 posts

My iPhone with Skype installed. With the prevalence of free WiFi these days, it makes these, and similar, devices very convenient and useful for a variety of things. A toiletries kit with a hook attached. I love being able to hang it up in small, counterless bathrooms.
One large ziplock bag ( about 2 gallon capacity). Makes and excellent portable wash tub.

Posted by
410 posts

I also travel with imodium and other basic medications, and some bandaids - easy to get most places but good if you need at a time when pharmacies are not open. Other essentials to me are notebook and pens, couple of rubber bands, a small bulldog clip (useful for many things, generally curtains which don't close), ear plugs and eyeshade, ziplock bags, nail scissors and tweezers. Small packs of tissues - generally available but easy to have some. I also take a hairdryer - compact, dual voltage and any other hair related things which are small and easy to pack - hair ties for instance. Some envelopes and plastic sheets for storing documents. I pack things in various size 'bags' of like items. I also take flip flops, track pants or shorts and a tshirt - we are generally in apartments and I want something comfortable. Cooler or in between weather - several large scarves or pashminas. Finally, any toiletries, including sunscreen - all is available in Europe and it can be fun buying there but if you are fussy about a certain brand, take your own. I always take 3 - 4 lip balm as I am fussy about that.

Posted by
629 posts

1) Tilley travel socks & underwear - comfortable and always dry overnight. They cost a bit but I only use them for travel and they've lasted quite a few years so far without any signs of wear. 2) Travel Kleenex - small flat packages. 3) Packing cubes - keep my bag organized, it can be quickly unpacked and repacked (ie airport checks). 4) Travel laundry kit - small ziplock bag containing: 2 inflatable hangers, 1 clothelines (hooks & suction cups), detergent and sink stopper. 5) Assorted ziplock bags, bubble wrap, duct tape, moleskin, bandages and alcohol swabs. 6) Notebook, pen and post-it notes. 7) Spork, water bottle (packs flat) and a mesh laundry bag.
8) Noise cancelling headphones, neck rest and eye mask.

Posted by
175 posts

Bets and Paula - Needing imodium in Turkey seems to be a case of the 'luck of the draw'. On the RS tour we took half of our group really needed it - I am a 'just in case' packer so I had a supply which I handed around - increasing my popularity. lol. The tour before us had some very very serious cases - well documented on the RS tour comment site. Konya seems to have problems with food-borne nasties. At least two years ago - hopefully, not now and it wouldn't
keep me from going back in a heartbeat!

Posted by
1068 posts

Well aside from the "usual" clothing, toiletries, guidebooks etc and my "necessities" (camera stuff): 1) small sewing kit (literally the size of a matchbox) 2) my med kit (a "souped up by me" REI special-including a few things for "traveler's tummy") 3) washing kit (line, wood fibre based microfiber towel, Dr. Bronner's soap from REI and drain stopper) 4) combo flashlight, whistle, compass 5) moneybelt 6) adaptor plug and a strip to give me more plug in space for charging (great for the rooms with one outlet) 7) well equipped cell phone with several books and games 8) map (I usually buy a decent city map before I leave and quasi orient myself before arriving in a new city) 9) various zip lock bags 10) tube for artwork/posters (had the hardest time finding that several trips ago....although sometimes it is easy)
11) hand sanitizer There may be something else, but I think that's the bulk of it. Going to Turkey in Sept....can't wait! Enjoy your trip there!

Posted by
964 posts

Earplugs; ziplock bags (at least one large; and bubble wrap.
Enjoy Turkey!

Posted by
6730 posts

I remember that thread. If I remember correctly, it wasn't about packing light... it was about the "unusual" things people pack. :)

Posted by
2703 posts

binoculars extra batteries for anything that takes one sunscreen wash cloth handy wipes address book a few nonprescription items out of the medicine chest
prescription items in their original bottle

Posted by
5416 posts

A very small flashlight. Definitely ear plugs. A reliable alarm clock if you can't use your phone. I love having packing squares so I can organize my bag. Midges can be a buggy problem in Scotland, so I'm always prepared for them. I'm not so sure about Turkey, except to point out that when I visited Greece, we ran into mosquitos and all we could find to deal with them were those coils that you light that put out smoke. We probably shortened our lives using them in the bedroom, but at least we didn't get bitten. Pam

Posted by
1994 posts

A free white noise app on my iPod has been really helpful.

Posted by
13 posts

I most certainly second the ziplock baggies and ear plugs. The probably not so necessary but handy things I've packed are a spyglass (great for paintings when you can't get to close and for reading street signs) and the compass app on my phone (I am directionally challenged and get lost coming out of the Paris metro). I have also been pleasantly surprised by the goo Dr. Sholls makes that you rub on the back of your heel to prevent owwies from shoes. That's coming with me on my next trip -- I prefer it to moleskin -- but bandaids are a good plan, too. And q-tips. I ALWAYS forget q-tips and always need them.

Posted by
65 posts

Gretchen, One of my favorite things to pack is a travel journal and a pedometer. It is fun to get back to your place at night and record what you have done, ate, got lost etc. I also like to know how many miles I have walked. It always seems like a lot and it is fun to know actual. My Wife and I logged 14.5 miles each one day in Paris. That is our personal record. Kind of fun to remember it all. You are getting some good ideas. Have a Great Trip.
Nate

Posted by
423 posts

I take a "white noise" machine that's also an alarm clock. Started taking the noise machine after a trip to Kauai when the chickens started making noise before daylight.

Posted by
1710 posts

Hello Gretchen. Nalgene bottle - blue color, holds 17 Fluid ounces of water. Tourists can easily become dehydrated. I do not want to buy a small glass bottle of water in a cafe every time I want to drink water.
Black leather pouch (wallet) for coins, see it at "Travel Store" at this web site.

Posted by
2831 posts

I think what a lot of people don't realize about travel is that there's a difference between "traveler's tummy" - mildish cases of gastrointestinal distress, and actual food poisoning. You'll probably want immodium AD in case you get either, but the former is far more likely to happen than the latter, and isn't necessarily caused by food that was prepared in an unclean manner, but just that your stomach is used to certain "bugs" bacteria/etc that is present in all foods where you're from, and there's slightly different stuff abroad, which your body isn't used to. Hence, distress. A lot of people associate Mexico for instance with "Montezuma's revenge" but what people don't realize is that Mexicans who travel to the U.S. often suffer the same fate - because there's stuff in our food their bodies aren't used to. And of course both ailments can strike anywhere in the world. Also just the fact of eating more rich foods, more cheeses or dairy, or spicier foods you're not used to can also upset the stomach. I recommend both Immodium AD and Pepto Bismol tablets, and heartburn medication as well. Take ANY kind of OTC medication you're particularly fond of (i.e. only Tylneol makes your headaches go away? take plenty!) because you probably won't be able to get the remedies you want overseas.

Posted by
1010 posts

We bought foam, foldable hangers for hanging out our wet clothes. We bought them at the Magellan Travel store in Santa Monica, Ca. You can also get them on-line through Magellan.com. They are so handy. I also take powdered, cold water soap. I buy it at Macy's or Nordstrom, in their lingerie dept. It doesn't foam up too much You can use it in cold water or wam water for any type of fabric.

Posted by
3696 posts

In summer I carry a silk sleeping bag (it doesn't take up any more room than a pair of socks) Also a small down travel pillow. In winter I usually bring a fleece sleeping bag. Both have greatly added to my comfort on many trips. Also noise cancelling headphones and CDs that I make for specific trips. Always a journal or trip log. Winter or summer I bring a black pashmina that I use on the plane as a blanket as well as a wrap for chilly evenings. Favorite travel purse is a Maruka bag. Lots of styles, small and they do not look like 'travel purses.' It crosses over your body and is small and can be held close as I do not use a money belt.

Posted by
7178 posts

Elaine mentioned foam foldable hangers. I always take inflatable hangers. Blow them up when you need to hang clothes to dry. When you are done with them, deflate, fold and pack them away. I can fit 4 in a sandwich baggie.

Posted by
118 posts

d.d. from england - i had no clue disposable washcloths even existed. im so glad to discover them, thank you! ziplock bags have been mentioned a few times in here and i just want to add my vote.

Posted by
13017 posts

For me it's plastic: credit card, ATM card, driver's license (for photo ID). For everything else, there's . . . .

Posted by
8 posts

We just returned from 17 days in Europe. "Lucky Line" key chains sold on Amazon were fabulous for discouraging pickpockets and cheap to buy. My go anywhere pashmina was used everyday. My LL Bean lightweight, packable, easy to layer rain jacket was worn quite a bit. Lastly, the eye mask was very necessary in almost every place we stayed. Have a great trip!

Posted by
251 posts

An adventuresome spirit, a friendly smile, and a willingness to roll with the punches! Other than that I second earplugs, eyemask and valerian to help you sleep.

Posted by
1335 posts

Noice cancelling headphones, neck pillows, ipod, charge pod, packing cubes, travel toilet paper (tine rolls available at target), kindle, compass, and insoles with arch supports.

Posted by
6734 posts

@Lanna...How did you use the LuckyLine key chains to discourage pickpockets?

Posted by
104 posts

I just got back from a trip to Turkey in mid-March and would add/emphasize these items: sunscreen, sun hat or umbrella (for a sun shade...me and all those Asian ladies had the right idea!), and sun-protective clothing. We went to Pergamon and Ephesus and they will blow your mind, but the sun was really intense and will be more so in the summer. Not to mention on the beach and so on. Also a synthetic travel towel...besides the obvious towel uses, they are great for wringing out hand laundry because they can be wrung out and used over, unlike cotton towels. I have one from REI I really like, but there are several brands. I second (or third) the flashlight suggestion. I like the small clip-on LED kind. They barely weigh anything but are great (I sure wish I'd had one years ago when I was walking back to my room in Florence and all the lights in the city went out...including the streetlights). I did have one when the power went out in Greece once and I wanted to take a shower and brush my teeth before bed...just enough light to see with that little flashlight. I had a student from Turkey who told me power outages can be frequent there, although we didn't experience any. But anywhere (even the town I live in in the States) may not have as much street lighting as you are used to, so very handy to have one of those clipped to a zipper. Turkey is fantastic! You will have a wonderful time.

Posted by
972 posts

My journal, a small flashlight, hand sanitizer, ziplock bags and a few small white envelopes.

Posted by
104 posts

@ Laurel: What do you use the small white envelopes for? Letters, or something else?

Posted by
251 posts

If you have an iPod Touch or iPhone (or equivalent) with apps, you can load a free flashlight app onto it and use that if necessary--light beams out of the camera lens and works great as an emergency flashlight!

Posted by
523 posts

I pack at least two hangers. Either the free wire hangers my laundry uses for men's shirts, or the fuzzy ones that grip the clothing. They are both light weight and take up almost no space.

Posted by
7386 posts

Turkey isn't Europe and no, you can't drink the water there. Bringing along a refillable water bottle is a waste of space, unless you want to buy cheap water at the grocery store and fill it up each morning. You also can't go into a restaurant and pull out your water bottle to drink. I was never so sick in my life, as I was in Turkey and we were at a large, lovely resort hotel on the Turkish Riviera. The hotel Dr. had to come hook me up to an IV in my hotel room I was in such bad shape. After 2 bottles, and some meds, it still took me a couple of days to feel ok. My best guess was salmonella, but it could have been the water, though I was pretty careful. The line to get into his office in the hotel, was pretty long the morning I was ill, so perhaps the hotel made some bad food and it hit all of us. Immodium goes on my packing list for countries like Turkey or Morocco.

Posted by
11196 posts

Well having just returned from this years visit I am just going over in my mind what was most useful for this 26 day trip . Baggies, larger and smaller. A plastic hanger and a few clothes pegs.
A few purse size packs of kleenex as emergency tp ( yes they sell them there , but they cost more) And I second bringing over the counter meds for upset tummies etc. Yes, they sell them there , but you may discover you need them at 2 am,, and yes, they cost more if you are in a touristy area. .I bring pepto and immodium .. as well as advil and bandages. Ron, in France I merely ask for tap water, and have never had an issue with it, or getting it, free and easy , no need to lug around a water jug for me! I do realize in some countries they do not like you to ask for tap water and may refuse( I think Italy is bad for that, ) so this is just for France.

Posted by
221 posts

Ear plugs: for cheap hotels on busy streets and no A/C. Also to combat snoring room mates, long lay overs in big airports
and long plane flights with small kids as passengers.

Posted by
281 posts

Turkey is a country that does not "nickel and dime" you on water. The hotels we stayed in offered complimentary bottled water in the room each day. I was surprised to see that the restaurants also offer free water as do most tour companies. This was a pleasant surprise after paying 2 or 3 euros in most
of Europe.

Posted by
713 posts

One of those rubber universal sink stoppers. I always seem to end up in at least one place where the stopper in the basin or bath is missing. Ear plugs are essential everywhere.

Posted by
740 posts

Great topic. I take a headlamp from the camping store. Great for being able to use two hands with a flashlight. I keep it in the clear bag that has my alarm clock, earplugs, wrapped in warm socks in case I need those to sleep. Another great time saver is my microfiber towel to help wring my hand washed clothes. I use it at home everyday to toweldry my hair, I never use a dryer.

Posted by
7386 posts

Free Flashlight Ap on my i-phone. Has come in handy on numerous occasions, like in dim restaurants, or exploring Burg Rhinefels.

Posted by
2098 posts

Travel journal - generally I just record hotels, restaurants, and activities/sights, but sometimes for ideas or observations. Also, a glue stick so I can glue ticket stubs and such inside it for memories. A wine opener (not always easy to find in tourist areas, while wine always is. Although not sure about Turkey...) The large ziplock bags (gallon size, I think). I bring a bunch of them for whatever may come up. Good for holding wet clothes or umbrella, can keep leaking toiletries or muddy spare shoes from messing everything else up, use as a portable trash container in your bag if you can't find a trash can in a park, can put clothes in it and use to keep suitcase organized (underwear in one, shirts in another, etc)...

Posted by
2831 posts

Just to keep in mind for people saying "corkscrew" - I agree, lord knows I've had to buy too many overpriced ones while traveling and finding them can be a PITA - but only carry it if you're doing checked luggage, at least if you're coming from the U.S. I've had to throw mine away at security before. Within Europe, they've let us travel with it in carry on but they usually spend a few minutes inspecting it first as if they'd never seen one before (then again in Germany all the wines are twist off caps, so maybe they don't remember what a corkscrew looks like!)

Posted by
4 posts

This may be quite late but my cell phone acts as an alarm, calender, tip calculator, world clock, memo holder, nightlight etc... I find my Tom Bihn bag and packing cubes keep me very organised and easy to spot what I need quickly. I also think Advil, Immodium, gum, candy, rubber bands or clips do nice to have at hand. A few pens, pencils a highlighter and a few souveniers from the States to leave behind with my hosts are always appreciated. I always bring along a Moleskine since I'm a writer. I don't carry a house with me on my travels but minimal makeup, a comb, headscarf and a pashmina helps me trememdously as I get colder than most people. I almost forgot sunscreen because with my very pale complexion I need it.