As you read this post I'm off on an adventure to road trip around Portugal for the next two weeks. I'll be doing my best to share the adventure on Instagram whenever I find a wifi connection - so make sure to follow me there for the latest updates.
As I started packing for the trip about a week prior to take-off, I found myself packing in an entirely new way than in the past. Specifically, I've been packing based on what my travel essentials are versus what I think I'll need for every single day of the trip. Instead of planning each outfit to wear, I just bring my best tried and tested travel gear. It's been remarkably less stressful to pack this way since it's just a matter of bringing the best of the best.
So as I'm off adventuring, I thought I'd share with you some of my all time favorite travel items which are helping make this trip awesome.
Gramicci NPT Tops
I've never been a willing t-shirt wearer until I discovered Gramicci's Natural Performance Technology (NPT) fabric. Every other shirt I've tried with claims of wicking and quick drying fabric has never come through - until Gramicci. It's made of a 55% hemp and 45% organic cotton blend and no matter how much I sweat, they always dry comfortably without any significant odor. I've built up a collection of tanks, t-shirts and long sleeves in bold colors which even manage to sneak their way into my day-job outfits once in awhile.
While it's probably the most talked about travel underwear on the web - ExOfficio's Give-N-Go line lives up to the hype. I first bought a pair to try for hikes on hot days, but their washability and quick drying fabric make them perfect for traveling. Instead of buying the full priced ones, shop the sale section for the past seasons colors. ExOfficio's Camina shorts have also recent stolen my heart with their flattering fit (shocking for shorts) and their lightweight fabric (perfect for dunking yourself in a river with).
Reliably Comfortable Shoes
I've been wearing Merrell's Siren hiker for over a decade now - in that time I've had two pairs. Hopefully that says volumes for how durable and comfortable these have been for me. For flats, I've come to love Freewater's Travel Bug - incredibly comfortable, no blisters during the wear-in process, great support, and they can take anything the elements throw at them. Drying very quickly and not at all uncomfortable when filled with sand. For sandals, Sanuk's Yoga Sling is my go to for the extraordinarily comfortable food bed made of yoga mats.
Ethnotek Raja Pack
Admittedly, this bag is a bit of an investment but it's so versatile I can't imagine a better travel pack. Plus it's down right cavernous - I've stuffed so much into this thing and it fits perfectly into an overhead bin. I'm particularly a fan of the roll top and the padded laptop sleeve which is actually separate from the main pocket. If you ever have to travel with two laptops (sigh, curse of the day job), it also has an interior pocket in the main bag to slide a second computer into.
Brookstone Travel Pillows
I'm that person on the airplane with as many pillows as possible wrapped around me. In order to stave off the low back pain I get from sitting for too long or the pain I'll have in my neck from nodding off - these two pillows from Brookstone are essential. They're made of memory foam, so they squish down quite small. Also the covers are easy to remove and wash to get all those icky airplane germs off. I use the mini travel pillow (not the neck one) behind my lower back on the flight, wash the cover once I get to my destination, and then use it as my primary pillow.
REI Camp Towels
Since I have ridiculously sensitive skin (seriously, keep your Tide washed towel away from me) I always bring my own towels. The basic camp towels from REI fold up small, don't overly cling to dirt or dust, and come in all sorts of sizes. I have the super large one and then a smaller one to dry my hair with turban style.
My favorite new facial care line; Evan Healy - all their products smell like something I want to eat. The plus for traveling is they make care kits made to last for two weeks with miniature sizes of the products. For a daily moisturizer, I use Juice Beauty's Organic Oil Free SPF 30 Moisturizer. For sun protection, Alba Botanica sunscreen is the only one that doesn't feel greasy to me. Other essentials include EO Hand Sanitizer, Dr. Hauschka mascara (which doesn't seem to give me raccoon eyes after jumping in a lake), and dry laundry soap to do some sink washing.
Health & Sanity Items
Ah tennis balls, my new favorite addition to my carry-on. I bring them with me to keep my muscles relaxed on the flight - it's basically like free massage therapy. In the naturopathic department, I like No-Jet Lag and Bach Rescue Remedy to keep me chilled out. An infinity scary and head sock (these two are RambleGood prototypes) can be used for all sorts of purposes, as a pillow, an eye cover, or hood. Last, a neoprene ankle brace if I need extra support on a rough hike.
While I don't have Celiac Disease, I'm still very sensitive to any cross contamination with gluten or cows milk dairy. Since often stay at self catering spots while traveling, there are a few items I like to bring with me from my own kitchen (or camp kitchen actually). Joseph Joseph's Nest Utensils and part of the 9 Plus set help with preparation in the face of wooden utensils and dirty colanders (notoriously hard to clean). I also bring my own cutting board, picnic knife, camp utensils, and Squishy Bowls.