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. We have these separated into two sections, Creature Comforts and Geeky Gadgets.
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.
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.
International Travel Surge Protector
Many destinations we visit have less reliable power, power surges and brownouts. So it's important to have a surge protector for our electronics. Between camera batteries, kindles, laptops, phones and iPods, we can be charging a lot of items at one time. So having multiple protected outlets is important. Having used a few different devices over the years our new favorite is the TROND Prime Mini surge power strip. It has two reversed regular outlets that allow us to plug in two camera battery chargers at the same time. Plus it has five USB charging ports to plug our other items into.
It can be used internationally because it is 120-240V input. Most "travel surge protectors" can only handle 120V. Plus it offers 1700 joules of surge protection. We just use a plug adapter for the different countries we are visiting, like this one for the UK.
If there are any downsides to this great device it is that it is not super compact.
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