Things that kept me warm and dry, adorned my wrist, and helped me feel fashionable. These are some of my top travel products I’ve reviewed over the past several years that are still available. One of these I wear every day.
Jill-e Designs Bags
The requirements of my travel handbag are many:
- must be large enough to hold my iPad, wallet, headphones, tissues, lipsticks etc. for the plane ride
- must close at the top with a zipper so I don’t lose anything in the security line or during the flight
- must not be too large to carry during the day, and if possible, at night too, without knocking over large trays of food on my way to a table in a restaurant
- has to go with every outfit
I know, an impossible list. But I may have actually discovered a bag that will cover all those bases. The Tablet Messenger Bag from Jill-e Designs is gorgeous, and works perfectly for all of the above. This bag will even hold a laptop up to 10″ and has a separate pocket on the front for my iPad, the source of all my entertainment during the flight. There are plenty of pockets on the inside as well for cosmetics and my phone. The leather can be cleaned with a damp cloth and the strap adjusts to work as a crossbody or regular shoulder bag.
I have this beautiful vanilla color, but the bag also comes in Starfish (dark beige) and black. Check out the website for plenty of other bags for tablets, laptops, cameras and bags for men as well.
I love the water. I love kayaking, canoeing or just riding in a boat. And just recently I added a new activity to my water sports — surfing, which I tried for the first time in Oahu. (That’s a bit harder to practice in my landlocked hometown of Atlanta, but I can always practice the pop-up on my family room floor.)
But I don’t love emerging from my kayak or canoe with a soaked butt, followed by the uncomfortable ride home with a soggy seat. On one recent kayaking adventure on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, we all stripped out of our jeans in the parking lot, wrapped ourselves in towels and begged the driver to avoid any accidents or speeding tickets on the way home.
So I was thrilled to try out a line of active wear and swimwear that is both quick-drying and stylish. I mean, who likes to pack away a wet bathing suit if you’re hitting the road that same day? Dry Dudz are quick drying and also come in a waterproof bag that’s easy to pack.
Dry Dudz makes boardshorts, bikini tops and separates in a variety of cute styles and colors. I wore the boardshorts and bikini top for my debut as a surfer. I had to wear a long-sleeve shirt supplied by the surf shop over the top because you don’t want to chafe your arms when you paddle. (Which by the way, was way harder than I thought.)
After we were done surfing, I just peeled that off and was dry in time for the van ride back to our hotel.
The pieces are affordably prices from $25 to $75 and it’s fun to mix and match the separates. Tell your guy friends. too. They will love the men’s boardshorts, available in five designs.
The rest of me may be shivering as winter arrives but my feet will remain so warm with these Heat Holders, thermal socks touted to keep your feet seven times warmer than cotton socks. It’s all about the feet and the head when it comes to retaining heat, so you have to pay special attention to your tootsies.
Something about the way they are knit with thermal pile makes these socks hold the warm air closer to your skin. Previously only available in the UK, we now can buy them stateside in a variety of colors and styles for men, women and children. Prices start at $16.
When it’s finally warm enough to ditch my boots, I start wearing a pair of Pons Avarcas. I violated a cardinal rule by taking them on a long trip without really wearing them to ensure their comfort. Next to having clean underwear, a comfortable pair of shoes is key to my enjoyment of any trip. I wore these for hours, walked for miles, and had no problems.
I have the beige in the classic style, which also comes in more than 20 other colors. I just counted up more than 80 versions of the women’s shoe, with metallic, glitter, and animal prints, in various styles including wedge and Mediterranean with an ankle strap.
Originally worn by workers in Menorca, a small Spanish island in the Mediterranean, these soft leather sandals are still made there and are now available in the United States, thanks to Noelia and Jose Pahissa. When they moved from Barcelona to California 10 years ago, Noelia brought along a few pairs of Avarcas sandals from her native country. After receiving many compliments, she and her husband decided Americans would enjoy Avarcas and founded Pons Avarcas to sell the authentic versions. The sandals are available for men, women and children. Prices for women’s start at $78.
Lisa Hoffman Fragrance Jewelry
I never travel with perfume. It’s too messy and I don’t really bother with it. But if it comes with a piece of jewelry? Now we’re talking. Lisa Hoffman has a collection of fragrance jewelry that’s perfect for travel. There’s no worries about getting perfumes through security or having it spill in your suitcase. Here’s how it works: the jewelry comes with a pretty filigree charm that is filled with fragrance beads with the scent of your choice. The fragrance lasts up to a month. Bracelets start at $89.
Whether your favorite beach is in California, the Caribbean, or even the Cook Islands, you can now carry a few grains of it in a beautiful piece of silver jewelry from Dune Jewelry. Just select your favorite beach from the company’s extensive Sandbank and then select a necklace, earrings, ring or bracelet and the sand will be added to the design. A few weeks later you’ll be enjoying your own wearable memory.
I chose Rosemary Beach as one of my favorites and wear a beautiful silver bracelet with a sand-filled charm, like the one pictured, every day. When my daughter got married and honeymooned in Hawaii, I selected some earrings with sand from a beach on Maui and gave them to her for Christmas.
Travel Tip. One time I lounged in some hot springs near Sun Valley, Idaho, and my silver bracelets all turned black from the sulphur. My friend suggested rubbing them with toothpaste to remove the tarnish and it worked like a charm!
Pickpocket Proof Pants
I generally don’t get all that excited about new pants — they are like the boring friend who has to come along for the ride but you are more interested in the cute tops and sweaters.
But the Pick-Pocket Proof Pants are something to be thrilled about. They come with lots of secure anti-theft pockets to hold phones and credit cards and they are made out of comfortable, quick-drying nylon but feel like cotton.
I took these with me on a trip to Banff. We did a lot of hiking and with variable weather changes, I appreciated that these pants can also be rolled up and buttoned for a capri-style when the weather got warmer. I didn’t worry too much about pickpockets — I was more concerned about the grizzly sightings — but I did use the pockets to house my camera and other small items. Pickpocket Proof Pants are available in grey, khaki and olive for $99.95. You can also find a skirt and men’s apparel including shorts and pants.