Oh, the travel gear I wish I’d had!

I saw this lonely red suitcase on the tarmac and alerted an airport employee. She said they would send someone out for it “right away”, but a half hour later, as we boarded our plane, it was still there. #AirTags

After this fast-paced and somewhat nutty summer of travel – a long essay if not a full book on this one will surely be forthcoming – there are a few travel items I really wish I had had. Some of these I own but in the haste of running to Morocco to bury my aunt, I forgot at home. Others I didn’t know I would need until it was too late. This would have saved me many headaches, and I’ll be sure to have them with me on the next flight.

If you buy directly from my links I will get a small affiliate commission – so I hope you do! Regardless, some of these items could have saved me and traveling friends hundreds of dollars this summer. Hopefully they can save you lots too.

The first is a handheld luggage scale. My favorite, having borrowed one from my friend in Mexico is an ultra-small Etekcity that can weigh a bag up to 110 pounds. I kept promising myself I would buy one after the Mexico trip, and there I was in Morocco at the luggage counter cursing myself as I frantically tossed items from one bag into another (that ultimately had to be checked for an additional $85; another time for $150, but that didn’t have to do with weight). For a mere $11 the thing is seriously worth its weight in gold. They did make a more recent model with a bigger hook, but the original is really quite perfect and small. I will forever have it with me from here forward.  

Next is a bag tracker.

At least these cases weren’t sitting on the tarmac. But this was only a fraction of the lost luggage filling the airport halls in Bordeaux.

This summer saw a rash of lost luggage, among many other headaches. While I try never to check luggage, this summer, while clearing out items from my aunt’s house, was an exception. I not only had to check many bags but without the above scale, had some extra headaches and fees at the check-in counter. Recommended by a fellow traveler, I purchased Apple AirTags to keep track of my bags. These small bluetooth trackers are great when you’re faced with a sea of stranded bags, like the one I photographed in Bordeaux, or if someone else took your bag off the carousel mistakenly. It can ease your stress while flying over the Atlantic to see the small blue locator dot on your phone (or increase stress if you can’t see it!). In fact, there have been some recent cases of airline handlers stealing bags which were ultimately tracked down using the AirTag. These particular trackers cost $29. They only work with iPhones, and use the same system as find my phone or find my other devices. These days, every bit helps.

Two other devices I could have used are popular among traveling families and I foolishly left them at home this summer. That’s a Scrubba in the event you have no washing machine and cannot find a laundromat. These rubber bags are great for smaller items and pack easily.

The house washing machine inoperable, Aiden took advantage of some of my aunt’s clothing.

Other items include headlamps  with an extra battery pack, because, wow, there are a lot of electricity outages in other parts of the world. Plus, I had to do a lot of work at night and with poor lighting. My iPhone flashlight was not a good substitution, as I couldn’t use both hands while working and holding the light. I did get one of those iPhone lanyards for around the neck, but I still wouldn’t have been able to direct the light as needed.

I also wished I had a 7-Port USB hub to charge multiple electronics, and definitely an adaptor for Morocco. Though you’ll need this one for the UK, Scotland and Ireland. I had one at home for which I paid a nominal $11. At the airport, when I realized I had forgotten mine, it was $25! So don’t leave home without it.

I have many more recommendations to share – like my favorite traveling coffee paraphernalia – but for now check out these travel accessories before your next trip.

Life begins at coffee.


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