No one likes to travel in discomfort, and frankly, being airplane and airport experts ourselves, you can trust the HI Travel Tales team when we tell you, acquiring select travel comfort items might be the most important travel item purchases you’ll make. Why? Because airlines and more continue to cut back on the frill and comfort items they used to provide — need a pillow? Good luck. Want a blanket? Only in first class and even then, was that sucker washed recently? If you really want to ensure some travel happiness,  you’ll do well to pack some key travel comfort items to make your trip more pleasurable!

The idea is to put together a selection of items that will help you get to where you are going and then support you while you are there with the least amount of wear and tear, either physically or mentally.

Airplanes, trains and automobiles travel comfort items

  • Travel Blanket — a good one is packable, compressible, made of fleece, can be used as a cushion or pillow, and has a built-in pocket for items like eye-shades and ear plugs.
  • Ear plugs — Noise-reducing ear plugs help to soften the roar of the airplane, the howl of a nearby child waking up the plane, and are made of soft silicone. Some ear plugs are specially designed to also aid in making pressure changes easier to manage – ideal for folks who are constantly battling clogged and painful ears after or during a plane ride.
  • Eye Shades — Can’t find these on a plane at all, yet nothing is better for blocking out the light of the nearby galley or the light your travel mate wants to leave on to read when you want to go to sleep.
  • Travel Pillow — Say ahhhhhhhh. Combined with a blanket and eye shades, this is the perfect addition to ensure a comfortable flight, even if the chairs are stacked one on top of the other and barely recline. Inflatable ones with a soft, fleecy covering are best. They collapse to nothing, can be adjusted for firmness, and help to hold the head in a comfortable position when sleeping while seated. Read our review of the Cocoon Lumbar Support Pillow here.
Cocoon Lumbar Support Pillow provides excellent support for the back when traveling

You won’t find a much better travel pillow in our opinion than the recently tested Cocoon Lumbar Support Pillow.

Keeping the current flowing

  • Electronic converters/adapters will be needed if you want to travel with your own hair dryer, non-battery powered electric shaver, or other electrically powered item. A converter comes with a selection of plug adapters and takes foreign voltages and converts them into U.S. 110 volts.
  • Most laptops are dual-voltage, meaning any voltage worldwide will work. All you need are a surge protector and a plug adapter. Though wireless shops and public Internet locations are more common these days, be sure to pack along an connector for an ethernet cable if your computer doesn’t have one built in.
Nite Ize Gear Ties are perfect travel comfort items

Nite Ize Gear Ties are a HI Travel Tales must-pack essential.

Peace of mind — security

  • Locks to secure the zippers of your pack together are good items, as long as they are TSA approved! We recommend you simply use zip ties to secure zippers in place if you are traveling mostly in Europe or North America.
  • For the ultimate in security, especially for long hauls in and through third world countries, you will love  something from Pacsafe — a stainless-steel web or cage that locks around a bag to eliminate prying fingers from getting into places they shouldn’t, and sharp knives from creating openings in the bag to steal items.
  • Security pouches/wallets are designed to be worn under clothes and are still THE safest way to carry a small amount of money, travel documents and a passport while traveling.
Vapur bottle rolled for added travel compactness when not full of water.

Vapur bottle rolled for added travel compactness when not full of water.

Extra travel comfort items we recommend

  • Extra insoles for your shoes or boots provide additional support and cushioning, which is important for comfort when you spend a lot of time on your feet.
  • A water bottle is nice to have if you’re traveling in an area with safe drinking water and would rather refill from the tap than buy expensive bottled water when you’re sightseeing during the day. But toting a plastic or metal bottle can be a bit bulky. So, we recommend a collapsible one that you can roll up when not in use, and deploy easily when you want and need to add water. Click here to read our review of the Vapur. 
  • Sleeping bag liners are the way to go if you are staying in hostels, since many charge extra for sheets, and those that don’t often have bed linen that, well, looks like it hasn’t seen the good side of a washing machine in ages.
  • If you love coffee like we do, consider packing along a small and compact holder for paper filters, like the Soto Helix Coffee Maker. Click here to read our review. 
  • A small flashlight or headlamp is a must for reading or navigating to the toilet down the hall in dark hostels or pensions at night.
  • A compact umbrella. We recommend the ones manufactured by Euroschirm. Click here to read our review. 
  • A sewing kit with needles, basic thread, a few spare buttons and such is perfect for making minor repairs on clothing when on the road.
  • Nite-Ize Gear Ties are an absolutely essential item for us on any trip, short or long. They help keep us organized, and have worked to hold curtains together, served as a compact iPad stand, organized cables, hung laundry and so much more. Click here to read our review.
Soto Helix Coffee Cone Brewing Coffee

So simple, yet so wonderful. The Soto Helix Coffee Cone brewing an essential cup of morning coffee in the hotel.

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Michael Hodgson

Traveler at HI Travel Tales
Born to British parents in Canada, Michael Hodgson had been schlepped back and forth across the pond since he was a toddler. In college, he took the big leap and spent a few months in Kenya – and never looked back. His biology major somehow led him into a writing career, focusing on the outdoors, hiking and gear testing. Building on his lifetime of travel with travel writing was a natural, although he still loves to seek out the wilder side of a mountain – or a city -- for a good story. Michael also is a partner in a consulting business (www.NewNormalConsulting.com) built on a passion to help specialty businesses and brands succeed both domestically and internationally.
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