Over the years we have found some favorite travel gear and gadgets that really make traveling to and from snorkeling destinations more comfortable and enjoyable. All of the products we share below we use ourselves, or something very similar.
Note: Our suggestions come from hands-on experience. We hope you find them helpful. You can help us if you purchase from the links below. We may make a small commission, from Amazon or other companies, at no extra cost to you. Thank you.
We used the same bright colored, very tough but very heavy, hard sided luggage for years. But recently we upgraded to soft sided luggage that weighs five pounds less for each bag, which makes a huge difference when you have a long walk, and makes overweight charges less likely.
We love our new Eagle Creek Load Warrior 22" carry-ons for our snorkeling trips, but we got closeouts on those. We then checked out the newer Eagle Creek Gear Warrior 22" bags and they are even better. They also make the bag in a smaller international carry-on size, and also in 26", 30" & 34"; four wheeled spinner versions are also available. We use a similar 28" rolling duffel by Eagle Creek for checked luggage. Our carry-on bags only weigh about five pounds, and roll much better than our old bags. We prefer two wheels over the four wheeled spinner bags. Osprey makes a similar bag called the Ozone, but we found it to be much more likely to tip over.
A more affordable option, but of very good quality, and also very lightweight is the Travelpro Maxlite 5 22" Carry-On. At about half the cost of the Eagle Creek bags, they are a much better value. And there is a reason many flight crews use them.
They are expandable. The two wheeled versions are called Rollaboard, which they also make in a 26" size. Four wheeled spinner versions are also available.
We also love our L.L. Bean Stowaway Day Pack. We use this as a personal carry-on bag, and it comes in really handy on trips as a day pack. We did a silly amount of research on stowable day packs, and found that although it is not the lightest, or most compact, we don't mind compromising weight for padding on the shoulder straps and the addition of sternum and waist straps. The side pouches are big enough to hold water bottles and the front pouch is excellent for bulky items like coats.
Cabeau Evolution Travel Neck Pillow
We have tried many types of travel pillows in an attempt to get some sleep on longer flights, none had passed muster. But in anticipation of some 12 and 16 hour flights to the Maldives we once again researched and bought a variety of the best reviewed travel pillows, tested them out, and ended up keeping the Cabeau Evolution Travel Neck Pillows. They really are an improved design compared to what is commonly available in airports and online.
What makes them better? They are made out of memory foam, with a higher section close to your neck that really helps keep your head upright. They also have a unique drawstring in front with quick disconnect that keeps the two sides from spreading apart, for better support. And they compress down into a fairly small size.
They work great. We both tend to have our head fall back or to the side when falling asleep, giving a crick in our necks. If you tend to fall forward, this pillow is not the best choice.
Downsides to these are that they are not particularly lightweight, they can be hot, and you cannot use full sized headphones with them because they come right up to your ears.
Klymit Static V 3/4 Length Air Mattress - For Hard Hotel/Resort Beds
More often than not the beds are so hard at hotels and resorts that we wake up with sore hips and shoulders. Well, not anymore! We each take one of these Klymit Static V Junior (3/4 length) camping air mattresses with us in our luggage. We tuck it under the sheet of the beds in hotels and resorts. They weigh only 13 ounces, and pack down to a small 3" x 8", so they are no problem in our luggage. We find we do not need a full length mattress. The only trick is getting the right amount of air in the mattress. We have found it takes very little air to keep our hips and shoulders from hurting.
Lewis N Clark RFID Tri-Fold Travel Wallet
When traveling we like to use very small travel wallets that we can put in our front pockets to avoid theft and accidental loss. They are also compact enough to put in our waterproof box that we take on the water with us snorkeling.
The ones we use are the Lewis N Clark RFID Tri-Fold Wallet. These are super lightweight, and made out of rip-stop nylon. They have performed admirably for years.
Silicone Travel Bottles
We had travel size shampoo-type bottles with little flip tops that we traveled with for years and about half the time we would open the ditty bag after a flight and one of the bottles had leaked. So, we went searching for no-leak travel bottles for our shampoos and other liquids. While pricey, we think the silicone travel bottles are worth the money for peace of mind that they won't make a mess. We got this kit of 2.5oz size travel bottles and they are great; we highly recommend them. Maybe they would be a good gift idea for the traveler in your life.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
OK, these are expensive! But the Bose QuietComfort 20 headphones are wonderful! These are in-ear headphones you can listen to music, movies or tv with. But they also have noise cancelling circuitry inside. Turn them on and the background noise of the airplane engines virtually disappears. Your eyes will pop open in surprise when you experience it. The benefit of ear buds versus the more popular noise cancelling over ear headphones is that you can use the buds with a travel pillow, and they also pack away very small.
Note, these cut background noise, but are designed so you still can hear and understand people talking on the plane.
IMPORTANT: If you are going to get some of these there are many fraudulent copies being sold that look nearly identical but do not work. Be careful where you buy them and make sure they are authentic and work when you get them.
Sure iPads are better. But the Amazon Kindle Fire tablets are an insanely good bargain for all they can do for you while traveling. You can store an entire trip's worth of books to read on them, including our eBook snorkeling guides. Additionally you can browse the internet, watch movies on the plane, listen to music, download useful apps (like currency conversion), do some writing, and so much more, for less than $100. Galen loves his. The new Fire HD 8 seems to be the best value, with a slightly better screen than the 7 Galen has.
Portable Hard Drive
We take a ton of pictures on our trips. And if an SD memory card were to fail (they have) or we were to lose or get a camera stolen, it would be a disaster. So every day we backup those pictures and our writing to a portable hard drive. We typically use a 1TB portable hard drive. They are normally very affordable. But the new SSD solid state drives are smaller, faster, and more durable, so we would get something like the Samsung T5 in the future.
Caribbean Fishes ID eBook