Nothing makes me break out in hives more than
clingy people, and cats and dogs, waiting in a checkout line inside a crowded retail store while sweat dribbles down my face. ‘Tis the season to be dressed in five hundred layers of clothing; despite the mobs of people and extreme heat blasting through the vents. You anxiously bob your hips up and down and take small steps to inch forward in line as you await your turn to check-out the four or five items you sort of liked. The truth is that you’ve guilted yourself into shopping because of all the promo that you’ll save money during that one joyous day directly after (and now, thanks to consumerism coming before family, sometimes during) Thanksgiving. Don’t believe the hype. This scene, coupled with my over the top jet-lag from Thailand, are a few reasons why I avoided Black Friday and am saving my shopping, sanity, and money for today, Cyber Monday.
Why shop on Cyber Monday?
Are there a lot of deals and savings? Yes. Will you be able to shop in your PJs whilst holding a tub of Nutella and honey-oat twisted pretzels without receiving judgement, cause you’re in the comfort of your own home? Yes. But the number one reason to shop during Cyber Monday is because it’s great to end the year with new travel gear. After traveling all throughout summer and fall, your shoes are probably losing their grip, your skin and hair are as dry and flakey as a d@mn desert, your t-shirts have so many yellow pit stains and holes in it, that they put swiss cheese to shame, and your neck pillow is so flat that it could win a “who’s flatter and floppier” competition with someone who has a pancake butt.
It’s Cyber Monday which means it’s time to shake your plastic like a Polaroid picture, or use your plastic to buy a Polaroid camera…
I’ve crafted shopping lists of things that I use every single time I travel, and tips that might save you on your next trips. The categories are: backpacks and bags, travel friendly shoes, fluffy scarves, sweaters, and beanies for planes, hair and skin items, and some of my personal favorites. They’re all budget friendly, and if they’re a little pricier, are completely worth their cost. Most importantly, these are all things I highly recommend you check out on Cyber Monday.
Day Backpacks, Crossbody Purses, Totes, Toiletry Pouch
and everything else you might need to be a certified bag lady.
Things to consider about buying bags:
- Backpacks are crucial if you’re heading out to explore for the day; you’ll always benefit from carrying things like umbrellas, a light jacket, your camera, travel journal, and a water bottle; all things that fit perfectly inside if a small backpack.
- Toiletry bags are the MVP of my packing this past year; I don’t leave the house without at least two. You’ll usually need a toiletry bag for your “in the shower” items, and another one for your daily routine items; face lotion, hair creams, etc. The ones I’ve listed all have hangers, making them super convenient to store in closets, or even hostel lockers when traveling.
- The burrito bag will have all of your travel buddies jealous due to its awesomeness. But aside from that, the rain cover and “big bag” are useful for emergencies including torrential downpours and ripped bags.
- Totes and extra bags are always so useful because it’s multifunctional. A tote is perfect to organize your items inside of your suitcase, but also to be used on days you’re tired of lugging around your backpack; which trust me, those days do come.
- Small crossbody bags are a must for travel days. They cling onto your body to prevent pickpockets from jacking you; and they’re small enough to put your passport, money, and phone inside of ready for the stressful flight-check-in process. Bonus perk: if the bag is small enough, the airline won’t recognize it as a personal item so you’ll get away with getting on the plane with three bags instead of the usual two allowed. Suckaz.
- The “Travel Stuff” pouch is something I’ve used for the past two years. If you need to keep receipts, ticket stubs, and like to feel organized, it’s a brilliant item. It’s small enough to place in your carry on, and better yet, you’ll always know where the important things are.
Spend on shoes because they’re your vehicles
as a wise woman once said.
My mom jokes saying that my shoes are like my car, at least that was her justification for buying me shoes instead of a car when I was a teenager. But if you think about it; there’s nothing truer than thinking of your feet as your main mode of transportation when you’re a traveler. All those days spent exploring unknown streets, all those steps add up to more than just a high calorie burn count. If we didn’t have feet, we wouldn’t even know what wanderlust was to begin with. Keep in mind that the shoes we buy should be bought to treat our precious transportation devices like they’re always flying first class.
If you decide to play it cheap, and get the economy ticket, or janky sneakers, be aware that over time, your body starts forming certain postures that your shoes influence; crappy shoes, crappy posture. Which is why I’m never afraid of splurging on sneakers, and shoes in general for their support and comfort. Nothing puts a damper on a day of exploring like a chafed achilles, neck pains, and blisters.
Things to consider about buying shoes:
- You’re going to need a good pair of running shoes on any given trip; hiking and backpacking should be considered synonymous.
- Boots are stylish, and useful for trips; keep in mind though, that boots that are heavy, and cumbersome should be avoided.
- Flip flops are always necessary to walk around inhostels, take showers in less-than-glamourous bathrooms, and because I’m Brazilian and need flip flops on my feet to feel at home.
- Invest in shoes with a zipper; you’ll be able to slip them off and on for quicker security line times.
Sweaters, Scarves, Socks & Beanies
remember the SSSB combo, and you’ll be toasty on those freezing flights.
Beyond the fact that we all love sweater weather, fall gear comes in useful for plane rides even if you’re heading to a warm destination. The reason being is that planes will often keep the cabin cool throughout the night and will have you feeling like your name is Princess Elsa if you’re not prepared. I’ve started traveling with these four items in my carry-on that save the day every time.
Things to consider about buying the SSSBs:
- It doesn’t matter where you’re traveling, you’ll need at least one granny sweater and a fluffy scarf to keep you warm on those plane rides, they even double as a blanket or neck pillow.
- I’ve started using beanies to block the light when I’m trying to sleep on early flights, or flights that take forever to dim the cabin lights; it saves me from having dark circles every time.
- Socks are overall great to have in your carry-on bags; I pack at least two pairs in case I get sweaty feet and need a fresh pair. Trust me, if you’re a nervous flyer, it happens.
Hair and Skin Care
products that will make your body stop sounding like it needs an oil change.
As stated in the intro, taking care of your hair and skin becomes a daily challenge as a traveler. Here are some items that I genuinely use and recommend to keep yourself feeling like you’ve been dipped in a jar of cocoa butter at all times.
Things to keep in mind about buying hair and skin products:
- TSA requirements include checking in liquids that are 3.4oz or 100ml or less to be considered travel size friendly. You can always pack bigger liquids into your checked-in bags.
- Try buying multiple use items; like wet wipes, coconut oil, leave-in conditioner that doubles as regular conditioner and shaving cream.
- Never get stingy with buying a facial moisturizer with SPF 30-50 ; you’ll thank me in 30 years.
Backpacking Bags and Suitcases
aka your mobile home.
I’ve purposely tried experimenting with several different backpacking bags, and suitcases to see what really helps, and to tell you what bags break down on you after one use. Here are the goodies:
Things to consider about buying backpacking bags and suitcases:
- The cheaper the bag, the more likely it is to fall apart on you, or be extremely uncomfortable. Think of a bag just like you think of your home; it should be modest in size, worth the price, and a comfortable investment.
- Bags with loops on the outside are great for attaching extra bags, shoes, neck pillows, water bottles, etc. Buy some carabiner clips and you’re set.
- 360º luggage sets are the way to go. 360º is just a fancy way of saying a bag with four wheels, which is amazing because you don’t have to carry the weight of the bag when you wheel it around due to the fact you never have to tilt it. I’ve started using a small four wheel bag as carry on and as a cart for my backpack while in airports.
- Try to avoid buying hard cover suitcases and opt for cloth bags instead; hard covers usually break from the airport staff’s less than gentle way of handling baggage. Don’t be that person who’s underwear is chilling on the conveyer belt of baggage claim because you bought a crappy hard cover suitcase that bust open post flight.
Random Items That I Always Use
and items that you might think are pointless, until you try them.
As a traveler, I avoid buying junk that takes up space, and look at everything from a practical perspective; does this item genuinely change my day-to-day experience? If yes, then I’m not afraid to spend a little extra to have a better quality of life. Instead of spending a bunch of money on a bunch of cheap things, I’d rather spend money on a few, quality things that impact me positively.
Things to consider about buying random things:
- By now, you should know how I feel about neck pillows; they’re everything. Always look for “double decker” or neck pillows that offer more support than just your standard memory foam, beaded, single level pillows.
- Also look for ones with a clip in the front; it closes your head in snuggle to prevent sleeping with your mouth wide open, and actually keeps your head in place.
- I’ve become a dive who sleeps with a sleeping mask and sometimes even ear plugs; man why did I ever underestimate these things?
- Passport covers are a great gift for a traveler; it keeps your passport from getting ruined which saves you big bucks, but also makes you look like a citizen of the world since people can’t spot where you’re from in the airport.
- Moka pots have become my favorite way to drink coffee.This Bialetti pot is originally from Napoli, and is perfect for 1 cup of coffee solo travel life. Take advantage and buy local coffee to taste, and save money while on the road.
- Charging cases are key for keeping the battery in your phone during long travel days.
- Wireless headphones have randomly because my favorite; not having a wire is so freeing, especially when you’re already tangled up with all of your bags and are constantly on the move.