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Welcome back to Friday Favorites! I’ve been MIA for a few months, but I’m excited to share some new finds with you that I will be using on our upcoming trip to Ecuador with G Adventures. If you haven’t heard of them yet, G Adventures offers Insanely affordable tours that cater to small groups instead of huge tour buses and you get to interact with the local culture in genuine ways rather than just sticking to the areas overrun by tourists.
Trtl Packing Pods
You have probably seen the Trtl travel pillow on all the “10 items you MUST pack” lists, but did you know that Trtl just came out with these new HANGING packing pods!? Brilliant! I love using packing pods to keep items organized in my backpack or suitcase, but the shape of these pods is ideal for fitting rolled clothing! You can also use the strap to cinch them down to save even more space. But wait, there’s more – they’re also adaptable to be able to take on their own as a day bag, if needed. These are a huge win for versatility and for helping you pack light. Did I mention they’re made from recycled plastic bottles? Sustainable, practical and so smart. They were selling for $70 for a pack of 3, but right now they are reduced to $40 on Amazon, so go snag your own set before the price goes up!
Free United Club Passes
Thanks to my United Explorer Card, I get 2 free United Club passes immediately upon approval for the card and upon each card anniversary. We are looking forward to using those passes in the airport as we will have several hours with nothing to do while we wait to board our flight. If you’ve never been to a United Club Lounge, they offer you free food, drinks, wifi, plentiful charging stations, free newspapers and a quiet place to avoid the hustle and bustle of the airport. Some even have reclining chairs so you can take a nap in a darker area if needed. If you’re interested in signing up for the United Explorer card and receiving 40,000 miles after the minimum spend (which equals at least one free flight), you can sign up here. If United isn’t your thing, you can get into over 1300 of the best airport lounges for free (regardless of airline) when you sign up for Priority Pass. If you don’t travel often, it won’t be a good investment, but if you travel internationally and have layovers of at least an hour or two, it’s definitely worthwhile.
Dr. Bronner’s Mini Liquid Soap
As you know, I opt for travel products that pack a punch as far as being versatile, and this soap is a wonderful travel companion. You can use it for doing laundry, hand-washing, and even as a shampoo. It’s perfect for use when camping as it is fully biodegradable and plant-based, so it will not harm the environment. I know some people that also use it as toothpaste! All the scents smell good to me, but my favorites are almond and peppermint!
This is such a helpful app to make sure you are prepared for your destination. You plug in your destination(s), dates, activities you will be doing and whether you want to do laundry, and it will generate a comprehensive packing list of all you should consider bringing and in what quantities based on the projected weather forecast and location specifics. I usually have a decent mental list of what I need to bring, but it’s reassuring to be able to use this to make sure I’m not forgetting anything crucial!
GRAYL Geopress Water Purifier Bottle
My husband got me this water purifier for Valentine’s Day this year and I’m so thankful we will have it for our trip since the water in Ecuador is not safe to drink. We didn’t want to keep buying single-use plastic water bottles, and this allows us to have the water filtered in only 8 seconds, with no waiting on pumps or gravity bags. Also important for remote areas – it removes all pathogens including viruses, bacteria, and protozoa from freshwater and also filters pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals, and microplastics. It is nice to have the security of knowing we will have safe water no matter where we travel!
Merrell Hiking Shoes
I’ve owned several varieties of Merrell shoes over the years for hiking, running and playing volleyball and have had nothing but good experiences. I like shoes that are fairly minimalist in their design but that still provide enough support. Also crucial, especially for hiking, is that they don’t give me blisters or pinch my toes. I wear my Merrells almost every day and can’t wait to take them for a spin in Cotopaxi National Park soon!
Travel Money Belt
I’ve tried these and these before but I like this travel money belt for times when I don’t need to carry my Passport and just want to have money on me securely with my hands-free. When we are traveling on public transportation or in an unfamiliar place, it’s always nice to keep a low-profile and not be carrying wallets or purses that make us easy targets for being pickpocketed.
Matador Pocket Blanket
I love that this gem can fit in the palm of your hand and doesn’t take up much space in luggage but folds out to a 63″x 44″ blanket. It comes with built-in stakes so you can keep it secure almost anywhere – sand, grass, dirt, etc. It’s also waterproof which will come in handy in for hiking and camping or the times when you run into an impromptu concert and just want to plop down onto the grass to watch!
I’m grateful for all the travel innovators who have created these products to make our trips easier and more efficient. What do you think will be the next travel trend? What is one travel product that you find indispensable? I’d love to hear about it.