I have been thinking about writing this post for quite a while! I'm excited I had an opportunity while in the flow of writing to get it out. I'm a long time user of organic clothing, sustainable products, eco and rechargeable items for over 12 years now. I've also been living off-grid on solar power for close to 6 years now. You might say I'm a bit of a nerd when it comes to my gear. I've been traveling alone and with children since I was a teenager, and I've definitely refined things over the years! I like keeping things organized and accessible, there's just no time for frantically searching for things while running into a store or chasing after kids in airports.
Below I share a few tips and a few favorite gear items. I'll be writing more articles like this in the future, so let me know if there is a topic you are interested in! :-)
To-Go Ware Bamboo Utensils
This one should be pretty obvious. Whenever you get food to go (often on a trip) or you whip something out from the cooler, you’re going to need utensils to eat from daily. If you eat out twice a day on a trip for 5 days, you’re using 10 or more throw away utensils just during that time. And many people eat out more than that. There’s something helpful for me as well to know that my utensils have been in my mouth only and I’ve seen them get washed (and not dropped on the floor or from a dusty restaurant container) and I’m able to freely enjoy my food more just knowing those things. If you’re someone who enjoys beverages that might be more enjoyable through a straw, then a stainless steel straw is another great tool to have in your Utensil kit.
An obvious eco-friendly choice, to have a reusable drinking vessel with you. I generally always have one in my car just even if I’m going to town. Then I know I have the option to get a green juice or smoothie to go, or an organic coffee or tea from somewhere without having to throw away containers. I prefer the Yeti brand because it’s ability to hold the temperature of a drink (hot or cold) is far beyond anything else I’ve experienced, and believe me I’ve owned quite a few travel mugs and drinking vessels.
Klean Kanteen with Sport Cap
I love using water bottles that I can drink from and access with one hand. As a busy mama, traveling, etc - I often have a baby on a hip, am breastfeeding, or driving, and water bottles that require 2 hands are just not available. If there’s one extra step that prevents me from drinking water, I am so much less likely to do it. It’s completely ESSENTIAL to stay hydrated while traveling for so many reasons. It’s way too easy to get dehydrated while traveling because of many more factors, so if there’s any way to simplify and encourage hydration, I go for it. Also being someone who enjoys spring water fill ups while traveling, it’s helpful to have a water bottle ready to be filled. I make sure each family member has their own water bottle as well, so that we are all staying hydrated.
Rechargeable Lights & Chargers
One of my favorite tools for years now is the Waka Waka. It is a solar pack/flashlight/usb charger all in one. I’ve charged it in the dashboard of my car while driving many times (it’s charged by the sun). It has a handy stand for setting up as a light anytime, even with a hole to hang on something or stand up on a water bottle or wine bottle.
I have also recently fallen in love with the Xtar headlamp after the company sent me one to try out. I use it every single day at home plus it’s been super helpful and convenient while traveling. It is a rechargeable headlamp, and comes with a USB cord to charge the battery. Anytime a company creates a product that is rechargeable instead of using batteries, I am often a fan. At home we are off-grid and our electricity comes from our Solar panels. Meaning we can keep all of our devices charged using the power of the sun. This light is extremely powerful and can light up our entire back yard on it’s highest lumens setting. You can also remove the light from the headlamp attachment and put it in a mounting attachment (for a table, book, etc).
I have another battery pack that can support 2 USB cords, made by YooBoo. It was a relatively inexpensive purchase from Amazon, and has saved me many times. I keep a 3inch lightning cable with it, and keep it charged and in my purse. It can charge my iPhone fully several times, charges bluetooth speakers, the family ipad, and anything that takes a USB cord (including the above mentioned headlamp).
Jar of Mashup (Fatty Fuel)
This one is not an obvious one to all. I have been known to keep a jar of some sort of “fatty mash” around me for literally 12 years. I have been able to sustain myself with my “fuel” so many times, when the only other option was a less healthy food option. I’ve used it as a meal replacement when needed and a bonus snack between meals many times, at home as well. I usually add raw cacao (nibs or paste) for extra energy that is generally always needed while traveling. Sometimes I'll make a more dry batch, roll into balls or cut into fudgy squares for the trip.
Silver & Essential Oils
A necessary part of traveling anywhere in my honest opinion. I make a spray bottle with disinfecting essential oils in water, and spray it pretty much anytime I go anywhere. You can replace any hand sanitizer with something like this. I also find that it’s especially helpful to spray something like this around my head and neck area anytime I travel somewhere during the seasonal illness months. It’s definitely a key item to take on an air travel trip any time of year. Some essential oils that are good to add are cedar, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, thyme, grapefruit, and pine. I personally can attest to the superb quality of essential oils from Living Libations and it is the only company I recommend for them. You can check out their selection here.
Aside from my normal supplement protocol, I have found it super helpful to take Sovereign Silver when traveling to help keep my immune system fighting infections and illnesses. I travel with a spray bottle for under the tongue application, as well as their nasal spray bottle for more protection.
Have the Right Bags
I have learned this lesson the hard way so many times. Trying to throw the belongings in a quick to grab food tote or a basket that spills out all the time, it just doesn't work. Every time I go back to my tried and true Patagonia bags. I've had the same mini backpack for almost 10 years now and it is still in perfect condition. I've had a laptop bigger purse bag made by them for over 6 years now. Both are super helpful with lots of slots and pockets for keeping things organized. When I travel with my bags, every single thing has it's own place and stays accessible and my bag isn't a mess. I can stop and bust out the laptop and get work done wherever. Often I do this while someone else is driving.
Entertainment for the Kids
Whatever is that necessary and essential item to keep your kiddos happy and entertained, is the right one to bring. During long car travel days, I tend to be more flexible around screen time for my older one, and will download healthy/education children’s shows or movies to help with entertainment. I find educational shows and movies from PBS are great, as well as documentaries on animals are a big hit around here. We tend to steer away from “junk shows” as we call them, or “brain melters” as my girl Gabrielle calls them - which are generally shows that include mean characters and have no educational value. Playing “I Spy” in the car, the Gratitude game, are also family favorites.
I will generally always bring small containers of my 6 year old’s favorite items to create with. A few small pieces of modeling clay, and a container of multi-purpose legos. I throw in a drawing pad and markers as well, and we are good to go.
Other helpful thoughts
Try to keep up similar routines for self care and body nutrition while you’re on the road. Whatever you can do to keep your body functioning at high levels are all great ideas. I know that when I travel I tend to eat different foods and have some wine here and there, but who wants to be feeling the side effects of that when you’re trying to enjoy your trip, no matter if it’s for work or pleasure or both. I tend to a handful of activated charcoal capsules and probiotics at the ready for helping.