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As a travel advisor, I travel often. Here are my favorite, must-have travel accessories to level up any trip:

1) Noise canceling headphones. One long international flight surrounded by a gaggle of screaming babies is one noisy trip too many. I always wear noise canceling headphones when I fly in order to be blissfully unaware of the chaos, crying and chatter around me.

2) A portable footrest that attaches to the airplane seat in front of me. I'm short, so long flights where my feet don't exactly touch the floor means I frequently experience low back and butt pain. This led me to buy a hammock/sling type of footrest made of fabric that attaches to the seatback in front of me. Using this device means I can comfortably lounge in my chair, and the pressure on my back is lifted. These hammock-like footrests are flexible and easy to adjust, so you can choose the optimal height for you.

3) Toiletry bottles with screw on lids. I've tried every possible toiletry packaging, and the only ones that reliably work for me are bottles with screw tops, which I buy on Amazon. The flip top toiletry bottles always leak on me (even when they claim not to), so these are a godsend.

4) My waterproof Kindle. I always have something to read when I bring my Kindle. Instead of packing four beach reads for a weeklong trip, I can store unlimited books on my little Kindle, which saves a ton of space when packing. The fact that it's completely waterproof means I can lounge in the water at the pool or at the beach, and read without worrying about water damage. (I know; I've dropped mine at the bottom of a pool before). My idea of heaven!

5) Self-test COVID test kits. After testing positive for COVID in Italy earlier this year, I now bring my own COVID self-test kits with me. This means I can always test myself before getting an official test.. This comes in handy if you're stuck in a foreign country waiting on that negative test result; by testing yourself in your hotel room you're saving major bucks by not going to a foreign pharmacy repeatedly to do so. You're also limiting exposure to others if you are symptomatic.

6) A paper hand-held fan. I can't tell you how many times I've been unbearably hot while traveling. Carrying a small, hand-held paper fan is a lifesaver. It's tiny, so you can pop it in your purse. And when you're uncomfortably hot, you'll be glad you have it.

7) A "sleep sounds" app for my phone. At home, I use white noise to go to sleep in the form of a ceiling fan. Because many hotel rooms don't have fans, I rely on an app on my iphone that lets me fall asleep to white noise in the form of ocean sounds, nature noises, and even fan sounds!

8) Motion sickness/nausea medication: Unfortunately, I've been sick to my stomach while trekking the sand dunes of Sossusvlei in Namibia, driving the bumpy roads of Costa Rica, and languishing on the deck of a catamaran in Croatia. I now know to carry anti-nausea medication with me in the form of a patch or a pill that dissolves under my tongue (no water needed!). This medication has "saved" me more times than I can count.

9) While we're on the subject of medication, I've also started bringing constipation packets with me when I travel. My apologies for TMI, but traveler's constipation is a thing, and having these packets on hand means I'm prepared when it strikes, without the need to go to a foreign pharmacy. Trust me, I've tried to explain this issue before to a pharmacist when there's been a language barrier, and it made for a pretty colorful conversation.

10) Blister band-aids. It doesn't matter how "sensible" the shoes I pack are. Inevitably, I'm going to get a blister from all the walking I do when I travel. I love these bandages because they adhere well and won't fall off, no matter what. They're also very comfortable and can be used on other parts of the body if necessary.

by Meaghan Clawsie, Elated Escapes (


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