Travel Products we Love
A lot of sites out there have a bunch of different tips and tricks for managing your budget. And frankly they all kind of suck (the tips, tricks and software — not the sites) so we’re not going to talk about budgeting. Our recommendation is don’t spend more than you have otherwise you will be swimming in debt! Instead there are a few options to help you save a few bucks here and there and make international travel a breeze.
Capital One Quicksilver Card – we like it for three reasons. 1. no annual fee 2. no international transaction fees (some cards charge 3%, fuck that.) 3. 1.5% cash back on ALL purchases. We think that it also helps that it’s a Visa (vs say Discover or American Express) because Visa (we think) is more widely accepted.
Charles Schwab High Yield Investor Checking Accounting – DO NOT let the name fool you. It sounds fancy and scary, but this is simply an awesome checking account. In fact we’re a little sad we didn’t stumble across this earlier in our lives. This could be the most no-brainer product of them all. No minimums. No fees. Nothing is hidden. The best part: No ATM fees …drumroll… WORLDWIDE. It’s honestly that simple. So if you are OK with not having a branch on every other corner (do you really need to physically go to the bank anyway in 2015??) then this is the checking account and debit card for you. And especially if you travel abroad. If you’re ready to enroll in the program, be sure to provide my personal referral code REFER56W9G while signing up.
ebates – This one isn’t a tangible product. It’s how you should be doing all of your online shopping. Think of ebates as an online mall of sorts that gives you access to a ton of stores that you are familiar with. (Walgreens, Gap, Macys, etc..) When you shop these stores through ebates you will receive a percentage of your purchases back in the form of a rebate. The percentages vary (average is probably 5%) so you will not get rich, but if you shop online why not start your shopping experience at ebates. If you are wondering how this works essentially all the retailers are paying ebates a “finders fee” for sending customers to their site. The finder fee is typically larger than the percentage that you will get back. The difference is what ebates keeps for itself. They will pay you in either a check or Paypal.
Do not let this list of only 3 necessities fool you. There are plenty of other things that you absolutely have to bring with you when you travel. Your passport, underwear, money and luggage are not mentioned, but again, are necessary. We’re simply highlighting some unique and uncommon travel items. Are we missing something? Let us know.
Packing Cubes – We had no clue what these things were or there purposes. But because we’re a little weird and we randomly read somewhere that they were awesome we put them on our Christmas list. And we got them. And then we took a trial run at packing our backpacks worth of stuff to last of 6 months and the light bulb went off. So simple, so obvious and just so dang useful. We bought ours from eBags. They have a bunch of different sizes and colors to meet whatever need you have and are honestly the most competitively priced. Go into REI and you will pay almost double.
Travel Insurance – You can read a little more about World Nomads on our post Everything we think you need to know about Travel Insurance – Pros vs Cons. When the dust settled World Nomads made it so easy and their reputation was just about flawless on every site that we read. Under the ‘Con’ section in the blog post we put the lack of options or lack of ability to customize — but we’re starting to think that was a blessing in disguise and actually helped with our decision.
Travel Towels – This one will always make me chuckle because of how obsessed Lindsay was at getting travel towels. That girl knows so much about travel towels it’s unbelievable. One night after work she told me about them, she was very excited. I just sort of was like “Oh, nice..” and didn’t think much of it. Lindsay never stopped talking about the towels until they arrived. Turns out she was spot on. These things are pretty badass and in a situation where we can’t afford to take up any more space in our luggage than absolutely necessary these might be the most used product out of everything.
The Mobile Foodie Survival Kit – LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this. Perfect if you are planning to stay in a place for an extended period of time that has a kitchen. I know even back at home when a recipe called for something like ginger or dill it would get expensive if you didn’t have that in your cupboard already. Imagine not having all the basics and being somewhere like the Galapagos – you could spend a fortune trying to buy this. And not only is this super convenient the herbs and spices themselves smell awesome and are super fresh.
Amazon Kindle eReader – Don’t give me any of this Sony or Barnes N Noble Nook BS. Get real and get an Amazon Kindle. They are lightweight, you can read in the sun and you have access to the largest ebook assortment in the world. Heck, why you are at get Amazon Prime – Listen to Over a Million Songs – Start Free Trial Now too you goof. After the free trial it’s $99/year but you get a bunch of perks with that like Free Shipping, Free streaming movies and TV shows and access to Amazons Prime Kindle Lending Library where you can access ebooks for no cost, just like a library. And speaking of libraries…make sure you check your local library out. I was amazed at how genuinely awesome ours was. Admittedly I hadn’t been in one for almost 10 years. Our library has a free ebook program to check out it all your favorite books right to your Kindle.
Apple Macbook Air – If you look around at travel blogs enough you will find there are plenty of travelers who advise not to bring valuable electronics due to the risk them being lost, stolen or damaged. Those people need to do a couple of things. 1. Relax, it’s weird if you are going on this long-term travel and you’re petrified of losing a specific electronic 2. Get insurance. And buy it off eBay. I was originally looking at Chromebooks which are Googles cheap slightly-bigger-than-netbook laptop alternative thinking that it would be nice to have something to bring with us that was “cheap” (about $250). Then I looked at eBay and found a Macbook Air for $450 delivered from a reputable seller that also excepted returns. 128GB, connectivity to all our other products, 6hr battery life, light-as-a-feather, fast, awesome.
GoPro HERO – We only decided to get a GoPro due to our travels, but if you like shooting video you really should check this out. They are so tiny. It’s incredible the type of video and pictures that these cameras can take. There is a very slick app that you can download to your phone that you can control the camera with. I cannot wait to post some of the videos that we take.
Packable Down Jackets – These have been popular for a while not. For whatever reason I never quite jumped on the trend which made my “discovery” of these that much more exciting. Simply put: these are awesome. Very light (my mens jacket is less than a pound), can squeeze into one of it’s own pockets for easy stowage, very warm and extremely versatile. I expect that while were in the rainforest and it gets down to 40 degrees at night and when were skiing in Patagonia in sub-freezing temperatures this will be my go to. There are a ton of different varieties and price points that you can get. I went cheap-o (clearance at Land’s End) and so far have been extremely happy with the purchase. $45 delivered.
Smartwool Socks – or wool socks in general, but there is something about Smartwool that I really like. Wool socks in general have natural wicking and antimicrobial properties that allow you to wear them longer without them stinking more – very important. They will hold up and last longer than traditional cotton socks as well. But…buyer beware, you will pay for them. $8-$18 per pair. That is not a typo. If you’re not in a rush bounce around online or in stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods for last season clearance styles and sales. They are worth it.
ExOfficio – Pronounced like this. The boxers are magical. I hadn’t been familiar with anything besides traditional cotton boxers of varying degrees of quality. From your run of the mill Wal-mart purchased Hanes to some more premium boxers from the likes of Banana Republic & Calvin Klein. There is a dam good reason that I hadn’t been familiar with anything else too – cause they are so fricking expensive. The cheapest I have ever seen these boxers go for…per pair…is $13. They typically for for between $18-$26. The weirdest part is it is money well spent. It’s bizarre how good they feel. I’m not entirely comfortable describing what it feels like on this blog. If you don’t feel like dropping the $20 for a pair throw them on your wedding registry, christmas list, birthday wish list or whatever list you want.
Do you have any products or things that we should look into? Let us know!