Finals week is rapidly approaching, but after the pain of exams comes the joy of spring break! If you are planning on traveling during spring break or even during the summer, here are some of my favorite travel essentials that I can't live without.
Definitely something I bring with me on a regular basis is a battery pack to charge my phone at all times. I am addicted to all my electronics, and it is definitely an inconvenience to have my phone die when I need it most. It can also be unnerving to be in an unfamiliar place with a dead phone. There are many affordable battery packs you can find on Amazon, but the price ranges depending on its charging power and capacity. For those of us that travel often or have more than one electronic device, I recommend investing in a power bank with a larger capacity that can sustain multiple charges. These power banks are multipurpose, and can be used to charge a plethora of items that have a usb or micro-usb cord. Definitely remember to bring your regular chargers for all your electronic devices as well though!
I was once opposed to electronic books for the longest time. As someone who lived at the library for pretty much all my childhood, I’m simply accustomed to the look and feel of physical books. I love traveling, but carrying around books while on vacation is just too heavy and bulky to be practical. After being gifted the Kindle Paperwhite by a generous relative, I was enlightened to a new experience of book reading. Not only can you store hundreds of books on one device, you can also check out e-books from your local library to “borrow” and read for a few weeks at a time. You can also trade and exchange e-books with friends for the ultimate reading experience. There are also different variations of the kindle, and there are definitely fancier versions you can look into. Best of all, they make reading while traveling so much easier. If you are a book-lover and travel frequently, definitely check them out on Amazon!
I prefer to use micellar water to take off my makeup at the end of the day as opposed to a makeup wipe. My personal favorite is the Garnier Micellar Water in the blue bottle, which both cleanses the face and removes waterproof makeup. This is great for removing stubborn eye makeup, dark lipsticks, and foundation all at once. Even if you do not choose to wear makeup, this is a great alternative for a wipe down on-the-go, and it also comes in a small travel size!
I also use makeup remover wipes to freshen my face and remove any traces of makeup on trips. They are easy to throw into a bag and are very lightweight compared to liquid removers.
My favorite body lotion is definitely the Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion. I love how moisturizing this product is and I have been using it for years. This can be used for sensitive skin, is fragrance free, and is super gentle so it can be used on the face to double-up as a moisturizer! I also use the small version of this lotion and carry it around as a hand cream during the winter season. If you are planning on flying or traveling to anywhere where the environment is typically quite dry, I recommend bringing a travel size lotion in your backpack for convenience.
After suffering the worst hay fever known to man during spring quarter my freshman year at Davis, my friend recommended I try out the Flonase nasal spray to combat the high pollen count in the area. After seeing drastic results, it quickly became something I could not live without in the years that followed. I bring it in my backpack everywhere now just in case I go somewhere that triggers my allergies immensely. This nasal spray combats various triggers such as pet hair, dust mites, and seasonal grass so it can also be used year-round.
After traveling with my family and being forced to listen to my dad’s constant snoring within close proximity, I started bringing ear plugs to block out unnecessary noise to maximize sleep on the plane or in the hotel room. They are also effective at minimizing baby screams on the plane which I know can be not-so-cute when you are trying to sleep.
Lately I’ve been addicted to buying these thick fluffy socks from Daiso. They are super affordable, ultra soft, and are perfect to bring on a road trip or on a long flight!
International flights are definitely a hassle, and going through customs is not something I personally enjoy doing. A handy app I utilized this past summer when I was flying back to the states from Taiwan is the Mobile Passport app. It is relatively simple to use, and allows you to skip the long line for customs and pass simply by scanning your phone. Just upload a photo of yourself (honestly you can just take a selfie on the spot), enter your passport information, answer a few questions, and be ready to show the app to someone at customs! This app has been authorized for official use by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, so make sure to ask where the mobile passport line is so you can skip the long customs line. Definitely check it out if you are planning to go out of the country. The Mobile Passport app can be found in the iOS app store or Google Play Store and can be used at 24 major international airports.
Public Transportation Apps
I also recommend doing some research about the public transportation in the area you will be exploring! A lot of countries have excellent public transportation systems, and I’ve used several apps abroad that helped me navigate subways, trains, and buses. These apps are especially useful by providing maps, highlighting different train/subway lines, and providing real-time schedules that can help you navigate unknown areas or cities you’ve never been to. A few examples include the trainline app, navitime, etc. If you have Google Maps on your phone, you can download the general map area of where you will be going ahead of time so you can navigate even when you are offline.
It can be difficult to keep track of all your items when you’re traveling with a lot of baggage. I like to bring a clear folder bag of some sort that can be easily thrown in my backpack and hold all of my documents. The transparent material makes it really easy to see all of my items and make sure everything important has been put away. These are really handy especially for traveling abroad, and I make sure to throw a few pens in there too for easy access when filling out forms at the airport. I also stumbled upon the existence of travel wallets when shopping online, and these are especially useful for holding passports, boarding passes, phones, credit cards etc. all at once. They come in multiple colors and keep everything organized and in one space.
Safe travels everybody! <3
Written by: Tiffany Huang