Should you get it? Travel Edition

We tested travel-related products to find which you should pack for your next trip!
By Avital Norman Nathman  Published on 04/17/2018 at 12:00 PM EDT

I recently took a two-week vacation to the other side of the world. I couldn’t wait to traipse through Thailand, and the planner in me immediately started reading up on “must-have” travel items for the trip itself and the 20+ hours of traveling it would take to get there. I consumed a number of articles, each purporting to know what I would need for my trip, made my own list of overlapping suggestions, and purchased items I felt had a good chance of being used. Were they all winners? Read on to see for yourself!

A note: I purchased all of these items myself. None were gifted or given to me by the companies. Unfortunately.

Packing Cubes

I pride myself on my packing skills. I was rolling up my shirts to save space before it was a hot trend. However, I had yet to try packing cubes: flexible/mesh bags that are supposed to make packing —and— unpacking a breeze. I figured that going into a two-week vacation with only a carry on for all my gear would be the perfect time to test these out.

VERDICT: Get it.

These are great! It’s not so much that they helped me pack more things, but they helped me stay far better organized during a trip than I’ve ever been. I used three different cubes for myself. One included all the toiletries that weren’t liquid, another my main clothes, and the third had socks/underwear/swimwear. Since we were only spending a few nights in each hotel, and traveling in between destinations, I didn’t feel like unpacking the suitcase with each stop. However, it was super easy to pull out each cube and just place those in a closet or drawer. They kept mess down to a minimum, and made repacking my bag a snap. Plus, the cubes also helped my husband and son keep better tabs on their items. A win all around.

DIY Plane Facial

Much of my pre-trip reading involved how to stay comfortable on a long flight (one leg of the trip there was 13 hours!), and the one tip I repeatedly found was to keep everything hydrated — including your skin. It didn’t take much convincing. I was already sucked into the Korean 10-step skin routine, so I had many of the products I would need. My DIY facial consisted of the following:

24K Gold Eye Mask

Yes To Facial Wipes

Rose Water Facial Toner

Maracuja Oil

Collagen Face Mask

Hydrating Face Cream

VERDICT: Get it.

While I was too jazzed up with excitement to do much of anything on the plane ride to Thailand, returning home was another story. After almost a day and a half of traveling (including three plane rides and an almost seven hour layover), I needed some pampering. I made my way to the airplane bathroom and used the Yes To wipes to wash my face. The wipes had come in handy throughout the trip. Not just for cleaning my face, but for a quick hand wipe before enjoying some street food when a restroom wasn’t available. And, I used everything except the masks daily for my routine skincare. Back on the plane, the rose water toner perked me up with its cool spritz and floral scent. And I’ll be honest. It actually was super relaxing, resting in the dark plane with a face mask on, though I’m not sure that folks walking past me had any idea what was happening.

I landed completely jetlagged and exhausted, but my skin looked incredible.

Foot Hammock

Multiple sites recommended getting a foot hammock, one to hook over the tray table in front of you so your feet can effortlessly float while you sleep on the plane. It sounds amazing in theory, and the affordable price nudged me into trying it. Anything to get more/better sleep on a 13-hour flight, right?


Unfortunately, this wasn’t as awesome as I had hoped. One issue was that there just wasn’t enough space for a comfortable leg hang between me and the seat in front of me. We were in economy, and it was tight. Also, the majority of planes we flew on had foot rests that can move up or down, which serve the same purpose. While this product didn’t take up much space in my carry on, it ended up being completely useless.
Travel Journals

I have always loved the idea of journaling, but it’s super intimidating staring at a book of blank pages. Yes, even for a writer. That’s why, when I ordered a travel journal with prompts for my tween son, I ordered a second one, for me. Both also have blank spaces to doodle, and some structure. I’m hoping they will encourage us to write down our memories of the trip.

Mine: I Was Here

I was here travel journal

The tween’s: Lonely Planet Kids

VERDICT: We didn’t use them, but that’s on us.

We rarely took these out once while on our trip. To be fair, my son did write up a bucket list of things he wanted to do in his journal, but we mentally ticked them off as we traveled. If something significant came up, and I wanted to memorialize it right away, I quickly voice recorded or typed out a note in my phone. They’re just bursts of thoughts, but reading back over them, I can tell exactly what I was experiencing and feeling at the time. I’m still glad we have these books, however, as I’ll definitely try again on our next trip (or perhaps gift one to a more verbose, traveling friend).

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