Except for the masochists among us, we all want to travel with more comfort and style. Whether we’re heading to the mountains or the beach, we’re constantly road testing products to find which of them we need most. So while you may pack a goose down jacket for Whistler and board shorts for South Beach, there are essentials you need regardless of locale. Here are the products you should have no matter where your travels take you.
THIS IS GROUND TECH DOPP KIT
When I’m traveling, I’m practically strangled by all my cables and tech accessories I’m lugging with me. For a while I’ve been looking for a way to tame this beast. Most standard dopp kits just open from the top and you chuck everything into one, undifferentiated mess that usually leaves an annoying, tangled mess when you reach for your iPhone cable or laptop charger when you actually need it. This Is Ground solves the problem with their Tech Dopp Kitt without sacrificing on style. Coming in three sizes and five different colors of leather, the case butterflies open with a straps for your cables on one side, a pouch for smaller items and an open section for larger pieces like your bluetooth mouse or backup battery.
SENNHEISTER PXC 550 WIRELESS HEADPHONES
The German-based audio company is no stranger to producing great sound, but it held off on jumping right into the Bluetooth audio market a few years ago as everybody started to go wireless. It held back until it could deliver sound quality true to its brand, first diving two years ago with the outstanding Momentum Wireless headphones. Now with the PXC they’ve created lighter, more comfortable Bluetooth cans that include noise cancelling and touch controls for easy use. These things are your best friend to combat the crying baby two seats behind you on the plane.
JACK BLACK POWER TRIP TRAVEL SET
getjackblack.com, $52 Just because you may be on vacation, doesn’t mean you should take time off from taking care of that ugly mug of yours. Jack Black has a TSA-friendly set of their most essential skin care products to throw in your carry-on. The pack includes a 2-in-1 body wash and shampoo, Jack Black’s exceptional shaving cream and a facial cleanser. It also features a daily face moisturizer with SPF 20, so you’re also getting UV protection while keeping your skin looking younger.
EAGLE CREEK PACK-IT ORIGINAL CUBE SET
Well, this isn’t exactly a sexy or exciting pick, is it! But these organizing cubes will become the unlikely MVP of your travels. I became convinced of their greatness when I backpacked through Europe for three months with these cubes organizing my overflowing pack. They allowed me to quickly access my gear and clothes without making a mess and helped me pack up my bag fast so I didn’t waste any time getting ready to trek to my next locale. Now I never travel without them.
BRIGGS & RILEY BASELINE SPINNER
If you’re taking more than a few trips in a year, you really want to invest in good luggage. If you go cheap on your luggage, you’ll just end up replacing it faster anyway, so go with a quality bag like this carry-on-sized model from Briggs & Riley. The ballistic nylon means it will withstand you and your friendly airline baggage handlers beating the shit out it. Then Briggs’ CX technology allows you to expand the case so it can handle 25 percent more stuff. And the four spinning wheels make the bag extremely easy to maneuver through crowded airports and tight airplane aisles.
We’ve long been huge fans of the Fugoo Bluetooth speakers. They feature unrivaled sound, durability and battery life when compared with its tiny speaker competition like the Beats Pill or UE Boom. On a recent trip down to Mexico, this speaker replaced the crappy stereo inside my hotel room, then came with me to the pool and beach so my friends and I could enjoy our music anywhere for up to 40 hours on a single charge.
This little brick the size of a deck of cards will pull double duty for you on your next trip. When you’re low on juice to any of your gadgets during extended periods away from an outlet, the Spacestation will quick-charge your phone, tablet or even your wireless headphones. At the same time it acts as an external hard drive, so if you’re taking a bunch of video on your trip and it’s eating up all the memory on your phone, you can drop it onto the Spacestation to make room on your device.
BURTON HIGH MAINTENANCE ACCESSORY KIT
burton.com, $37 There are a lot of shaving bags and dopp kits out there are merely glorified pouches. You pay over 100 bucks for some leather or nylon with a zipper on top and liner to protect the interior. This Burton toiletry bag is much handier than that. It has a two mesh pouches that you can remove easily when going through security. The bag opens up flat for easy access to your stuff and there’s a hook to hang your bag in case counter space is in short supply at your hotel.
AIRLINE POINTS CREDIT CARD
This piece of advice really varies depending on what your primary airline is for racking up frequent flyer miles. Personally, I use Delta because I live in a city where it flies nonstop to the locations I travel to most. For a small annual fee I receive one free companion fare; my first bag is checked free for me and anyone flying with me; I get on the plane before the rest of general boarding so I’m not re-enacting the Hunger Games in pursuit of overhead bin space; I receive a 10 percent discount on all food and booze I buy on a flight; and my I can convert my frequent flyer miles into cash discounts on plane tickets, instead of waiting forever for a reward flight. It’s definitely worth the fee.
Jeremy Repanich is a contributing editor at Playboy. Follow him on Twitter @racefortheprize.