Exploring our beautiful world is liberating and exhilarating. No doubt, travel is one of my biggest passions and I never miss a chance to pack my bags and hop on a flight.
Those long haul flights.. wait times at the airport.. 24 hour bus rides (Yes! I have done those too).. can take a toll on your physical and mental well-being.
That doesn’t mean you stop traveling. It only means you travel smarter. This is where travel comfort products come into the picture.
It is ultra important to carry that ONE item which makes you feel comfortable and helps you relax during those long commutes. So if you don’t have a travel comfort essential in your suitcase yet, here are 20 ideas from avid travelers to help make your travels more comfortable.
Must-Have Travel Comfort Essentials
Dr. Cacinda Maloney from PointsandTravel
My Ooloom face blanket is something I never leave home without on a long haul flight! What is a face blanket? Well, it is really just a sleeping mask, but face blanket does make it sound better! My face blanket is of a plush owl design and it is great for blocking out ambient light and letting me have a good rest while traveling on a plane. I invested in a slightly pricier one that sits away from my eye sockets, and it is larger and softer than the typical eye mask. Also with this deep eye cavity mask, I don’t have the material pushing on my eyelids, so that my eyes are unobstructed during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. At least, somehow it makes me feel like I get better sleep and helps me block out the rest of the plane activity!
Kirstie from Venga, Vale, Vamos
I never took a liking to travel pillows until I tried the J-Pillow. It may look a little funny, and I’ve definitely had a few people approach me to ask what it was, but I’ve found it to be an incredibly comfortable pillow for sleeping on planes, trains, and buses. Shaped like a J (hence the name), it provides head or chin support, depending on how you rotate it. No more jolting awake when your head drops or waking from a nap with neck pain! I’ve also used it as a regular pillow, and being able to fold the “legs” on top of each other makes for a cozy way to curl up on an airport floor or in a tent. I used it for about eighteen months of constant travel (until I sadly left it behind in a hostel), and it never wore out, so the quality is great as well. I’ve gotten so much more rest while on the go thanks to my J-Pillow!
Jub from TikiTouringKiwi
Every time I’m about to board a plane, train, or bus the one thing I always dig out of my checked bag is my HAT SCARF. A dig through the Facebook leads me back to 2008 when the hat scarf and I were united in a Tui (my favourite beer) promotion at the rugby, best freebie ever. It’s essential as I only travel with a hoody so the scarf wraps my whole head up nice and snug when the crank the a/c on the bus. It’s also essential for long transport as I can tie the scarf section to my seat if I have to sleep sitting up without the window seat. This prevents the dreaded head nod and me drooling on my neighbor.
Ruben Arribas and Rachel Pregunta from Gamintraveler
We travel light and simple but one thing we don’t travel without is our Sonopillow – one of the new discoveries we had a few months ago. Sonopillow allows you to travel well and pretty much sleep everywhere as it takes into account your position in sleeping and your back – helps so much with my backpains, too. The Sonopillow founder and CEO, Zach, is a real traveler, and discovered the itch once when he had a long flight delayed and pretty much had to sleep in the airport. It’s very amazing how travelers know how to make the best things for travelers!
Rohan from Travels of a Bookpacker
I always travel with a pair of Icebreaker merino wool socks in my bag. Socks are an essential on any journey, especially if you have poor circulation like me. And merino wool is the perfect material for travel and comfort. It is light-weight, quick-dry, super cosy and doesn’t hold odour! The wool is warm but also breathable, making them comfortable to wear in most temperatures.
Merino wool is made from a special type of sheep mostly found in New Zealand. Ice breaker do a great range of merino everything and their socks are brilliant for hiking, travelling or cosying up on a long journey!
My Travel Comfort Pick – Kip-Kit 🙂
A good night’s rest is essential to get us through the next day without being grouchy, especially when you are on the move. Hence, my choice for the ultimate travel comfort essential is Kip-Kit.
This new innovative device will completely change the way you travel, whether it is by bus, train or plane. It is also fab to whip out at those endless waits to board your chosen means of travel. Kip- Kit has developed the almost perfect travel aid that takes comfort levels to a new high, and helps me reach my destinations without the inevitable sore neck (Thank god).
The new Kip-Kit travel aid, gives just the right support to my chin, by maintaining the correct posture while sitting. This not only reduces stress on the muscles of the neck and keeps the head upright, it also allows the body to relax and subsequently even sleep peacefully. As a person who suffers from cervical, this is indeed a god-sent for me.
The compact design, helps to fold and unfold Kip-Kit in a jiffy, and also eliminates the use of the travel pillow. Yay for my new travel companion – Kip-Kit!
Kip-Kit is due to launch a crowdfunding campaign soon, so make sure you sign up on the Kip-Kit website to be the first to know when you can get your hands on one. Your body will thank you.
James from Portugalist
They’re far from cheap (at around $350 on average), but after you’ve taken a few relaxing long-haul flights with these on, these babies will have paid for themselves.
Lauren Owen from The Traveller’s Guide By #ljojlo
Birkensocks are the epitome of travel comfort! Just to clarify I am talking about Birkensocks, which is a slight variation to the ever popular Birkenstocks. So, what is the difference? As the name suggests, Birkensocks is a combination of socks and Birkenstocks. And before I sense the disgust about how uncool it looks can I just tell you that comfort 100% wins out over looking fresh.
For a week in Iceland as we drove around Birkensocks were my choice of footwear, except when hiking of course, (however I think I even did a couple of really short strolls in them and they worked a treat). Why you might ask would I wear such a type of footwear? Well for one it was cold and two, when you are living out of a tiny camper being able to slip shoes on and off with no laces, is the ants pants. For these reasons alone I love Birkensocks and know once you try them you will too.
Sudipto De from Salt&Sandals
The human sleep cycle is very much dependent upon the number of hours of darkness it experiences. This all goes for a toss while traveling on long haul flights as the airlines only switch off the lights after their service is over. An eye blanket plays the perfect role of helping you sleep by cutting off your visual stimulation.
This eye blanket from Chumbak is my favourite because of its twin vivid colours of baby pink and patterned green on the other side. The lining of the eye blanket is also very comfortable with it’s soft lining which is soothing to the eyes.
Alana Tagliabue from Family Bites Travel
As I travel ‘solo’ with three small kids, there is little room left for my comfort items. One item though is non-negotiable, every trip there is a large shawl or wrap in my carry-on bag.
We mostly fly budget airlines, so that means BYO blanket but I cannot justify the bulk. I despise being cold, and for some reason, the ambient temperature on a plane is always -10470 degrees. So, a shawl is a perfect solution. Warmth and will not add weight or bulk to your luggage.
A shawl has versatility; I have used mine as a breastfeeding cover, as a cover-up item (eg.visitng temples), as a sarong, as a sheet and even used it once as a towel! I have so many shawls and collect a new one in most places we visit and will choose one with an intricate design. I do this on purpose; so I can hide stains and marks. After a flight, I inevitably covered in crud. I can easily rearrange my shawl then Wallah I instantly look less dishevelled.
Mia Herman from Travel With Mia
The Inflatable Travel Footrest by Go is my “go-to” item. It’s easy to carry and it doesn’t take up much space since it’s inflatable. Use it as a footrest by placing it under the seat in front of you and stretching out with your feet up. If you’re worried about having enough room for your bag and the footrest, place the footrest under the seat and the bag underneath your legs. If you want to switch things up during the flight, you can use the footrest in a few different ways. Place it on the armrest between you and the window for something to lean on, use it as a pillow, or even as a table for your tablet or book. The possibilities are endless and it’s only $15.99!
Janine from FillMyPassport
I am an anxious traveller. Can’t sugar coat it. I just deal with it the only ways I can in order to arrive to my chosen destination with all my hair, unbitten nails, and my wits. In order to keep my attacks at bay, I have tried medication, homeopathic methods, deep breathing, meditation, prayer, you name it. But one thing that does somehow work every time while others work on occasion, is the art of puppetry and not just with any puppets, but the characters from Fraggle Rock.
Meet my puppet BFFs Mokey and Wembley. These two characters are my favourites. They have travelled with me all over the world, seen all the landmarks, UNESCO heritage sites, and been in helicopters, jet boats, and fine-dining establishments. I have lost count of how many hotel rooms they have graced.
Somehow when they are brought to life in my presence, the comforting voice acting brings my anxiety to a halt and makes for a remedy to stop the attacks at the knees before they reach my head. I don’t know why the imaginative personalities of puppets have this effect on my traveller’s psyche, but instead of questioning the method and its success rate, I roll with it and bring the Fraggles everywhere, incorporating them into the adventure. They work. They are a piece of my childhood memories, and they just are the most comforting item for an anxious girl to pack along with her camera.
Megsy and Tommo from FoodFunTravel
There is one thing that has been in our backpacks for the last 4 years of travel – and that is our Dream Essentials Eye Masks. We couldn’t imagine going anywhere without it. Sleeping in tents, on buses, in rooms that seem to have forgotten the importance of curtains….we always have our trusty eye masks. It’s a funny thing, people always ask us what the most important thing in our backpack is and we always reply “eye mask and ear plugs”. If you can’t get a good night sleep on the floor of an airport, waiting for your early morning flight…then how will you ever survive travel! We prefer the Dream Essentials masks as 1. they provide good coverage and really keep the light out 2. They are well made and don’t leave any marks on bed sheets like many lesser quality products. We love our eye masks!
Skye Gilkeson from TheFitTraveller
I’ve had my Patagonia Down Sweater Hoodie for a couple of years now and I don’t know how I have ever lived without it, let alone travelled without it. I first took it out on to the streets of Paris to ease the Autumn chill, paring it with jeans, tights and boots to remain traveller chic, since then it’s travelled with me to ski fields, up hiking trails, through rain showers, snow storms, all while keeping me cosy, dry and warm. The best thing though is that it appears to be quite bulky as a puffy jacket, but rolls up easily into my carry on or suitcase. It is often pulled out to be used as a pillow or doona on a plane too and to clean it I can throw it in a washing machine and even the dryer (with a couple of tennis balls) and it’s a good as new. Patagonia products are made with a lifetime guarantee so this has to be one of the travel accessories I will ever own and I will continue to carry it around the world with me.
Natasha from The World Pursuit
My travel comfort essential is a Youphoria Travel Towel. I never travel without a towel meant for traveling. Travel towels are lightweight, small, and heavy duty towels that are great for traveling because they dry fast and are very thin. Most of these towels are comfortable, anti-microbial, and easy to travel around with. They are perfect for backpackers who need to shower then dry themselves and have a dry towel the next morning to fit into their backpack. I personally have traveled all across Europe and Africa with one of these towels and refuse to ever get a new one!
Tim Kroeger from Universal Traveller
I always try to travel as light as possible. However, one item I can not travel without is a Sarong. It is super light and really diverse. You can use it for example as beach towel or towel to dry yourself, as a blanket for example on a flight or in one of the super air conditioned buses in Asia, to wrap fragile items in your backpack or suitcase, as a picnic blanket, as a headscarf, or as a scarf when you want to enter a temple. You see, a Sarong is really small and light and at the same time helpful in so many situations… and the best, it costs almost nothing when you buy it in Asia. I paid for mine never more than 4 USD.
Gemma and Craig from Two Scots Abroad
After 17 months travelling around 16 countries, there is one item that I can’t travel without – a baseball cap. This cheap yet worthy accessory hides a multitude of sins such as ugly sleeping faces pulled on planes, trains and buses as well as terrible next day hair. My hair is normally very styled (I know, not your typical backpacker’s look) and is guilty of ‘the flop’ without some love. The flop makes me look like a greasy mess so a baseball cap is my saviour, helping me appear to look sharp when underneath my barnet is actually a two-day mess. It also helps keep the sun out of my eyes which I think is its intended use. I like my MotoGP Rossi hat, it’s a good conversation starter.
Inma Gregorio from A World to Travel
As the light sleeper I am, I could not live without my ‘Aqua Ears’ soft silicone ear plugs. Whether it is a music festival, a long-haul flight or a noisy dorm; I use them almost daily when traveling unless I am sleeping in upscale hotels with almost no noise pollution. The silicone ones squish into the ears just right to keep out the sound and believe me, I tried a few other but none are as comfy as these. You can find them in almost every drugstore or pharmacy and they usually come in a little box to keep them clean and away from the mess that backpacks are.
Olga Maria from Latinas Who Travel
As I’m constantly on the road for my work (as a travel and lifestyle blogger), or just to fulfill my passion for traveling, I want to feel as comfortable as possible, especially when on longer flights or trips. For my comfort, I cannot travel without two essential kits. One is my sewing kit which has invisible tape and a stain stick for all of my fashion needs, plus any wardrobe emergencies. It has truly saved my life when my dress or pants have torn, a button has come off or something has happened in the middle of a trip. The other kit, which is always in my carry-on or purse, is a small first-aid kit (with bandages, alcohol pads, painkillers, etc.) because you never know when you will need to deal with a boo-boo. I am always running around, since I have a big sense of adventure and love to explore places usually off the beaten path. Both of these kits have allowed me to enjoy myself worry-free!
Natalia from MyTripHack
I really wish I could always carry with me my pyjama, home clothes and bathrobe, however this kind of stuff takes space and doesn’t really enter in the category of travel essentials. Still, I always find it challenging to dress jeans right after taking bath or constantly sleep in leggings, thus I do prefer to carry one item that is comfortable, not skinny and can serve several purposes. This is my version of multipurpose “home” dress. The shoulders and knees are covered which makes it a decent piece in many countries in Asia. It’s also light and takes the same space in the bag as a long t-shirt.
So, what’s your travel comfort item you simply MUST carry? Tell me in comments below.