Before I start: I am not receiving money from any of these companies.  This is all stuff I really like and use regularly, and I just wanted to share the love.  Also, I shop on Amazon.  A lot.

Yu-Be lip balm

You know those lip balms that are kind of waxy and just sit on top of your papery, dry lips and make them feel worse than they already did?  Not fun, especially when you’re parched from the dry air on planes.  This Japanese lip balm absorbs into your lips, yet doesn’t disappear the first time you lick them.

Available on Amazon and Sephora.


Yu-Be hand cream

The glycerin-based formula absorbs quickly and easily, has a pleasant (although a bit medicine-y) scent, and works great on really dry skin.  With all the hand washing that comes with two little ones, my hands get really dry - this provides immediate and lasting relief.  Even the hubs was impressed and stole one of my tubes.  

Available on Amazon and Sephora.

Bucky eye mask

Yes, they give out eyeshades on international flights, but not like these.  Unlike the scratchy ones you’ll find in your seatback, these are soft AND block the light extremely well.  Great for flying and napping.  

Available on Amazon.

Portable speaker

If you’re an NPR, podcast and music junkie like I am, you will go nuts without having a way to listen to your shows and jams without being tethered via headphones to a device.  One day, maybe doable.  Two weeks? FORGET IT.  This little round speaker from Altec sounds way bigger than it is, takes hardly any space, and is always on our packing list.

Another speaker we use and like is from Zooka.  It can double as an iPad stand (also works with other tablets), and we mostly use it for watching shows and movies.  A bit of a non-travel bonus: I use this speaker paired with this over-counter iPad rack in my kitchen so I can check in on Mindy Lahiri while unloading the dishwasher.

Zooka available on Amazon.

Altec available on Amazon.

Headphone splitter

Not digging the in-flight entertainment?  Snuggle up with your boo and get your House of Cards fix together with this splitter.  If your final destination is a foreign country and you don’t speak the language fluently, you’re probably going to just want to hear or watch something in English at the end of the day (learning a new language is hard!).  Super cozy to do it with boo before you drift off.

Available on Amazon.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Decent ones are expensive, but so worth it.  You will actually be able to hear the movie you’re watching on the flight without your ears ringing for days after you land.  Hubs got me a pair of Bose headphones for Christmas one year, and I LOVE them.  Or, I did.  Now that we have Monkey and Sweetpea with us when we travel, the days of blissfully watching hours of movies and eating snacks on the plane are long gone.  My point: get some nice headphones for yourself and enjoy the shit out of an excuse to binge watch Curb Your Enthusiasm and munch airline cookies.

Available on Amazon or Bose

Flight 001 shoe bags

I used to put all my shoes into ugly Kroger bags, until I found these.  They’re nice and thick (so no worries about your kitten heels poking through) and keep my shoes from getting everything else dirty.  And, let’s face it - stinky.  Plus, look at that shoe.  Does it deserve to be in a Kroger bag?  No, it does not.

Available on

Flight 001 laundry bag

This is really generously sized - probably enough for a small to medium load of laundry.  Instead of letting dirty laundry pile on the floor at the vacation rental, I put this on the back of a bedroom or bathroom door until I have time to do a load of laundry.  And on the way back, you don’t have to worry about those nasties stinking up everything in your suitcase.  As a side note, we almost always stay in a place where there is a washer, because I absolutely hate coming home with a suitcase full of dirty, stinky clothes.

Available on Flight

Flight 001 liquids bag

A ziplock would technically get the job done, but doesn’t last very long.  I like this because it’s clear, it’s sturdy, and it’s the size allowed by the TSA.

Available on Flight

EO sanitizing hand wipes

Even before I had kids, I always traveled with these.  They smell good, are organic, and can come in really handy when you take your tray table down and...ewww.

Available at Whole Foods and Amazon.


When I travel, I always bring something that I can wear inside the apartment we rent - and I also want to have something other than shoes to slip on during a long flight.  Usually, though, it’s nothing nearly as comfy as the Uggs or Wicked Good Clogs I like to shuffle around in at home.  I can’t really justify the space those take up.  Enter Mahabis.  I bought a pair for the hubs for Christmas and ended up getting a pair for me, my mom and my stepdad.  These slippers have a double sole.  The outer one (in the pic, Aqua) is heavy enough for outdoor use and snaps on.  Underneath is another sole that isn’t quite as heavy, but fine for indoors.  These are perfect for travel because you can pack away the heavier outer sole for later use, and squish the slipper part into your carry-on so that you can keep your feet warm during the flight AND not have to walk around the plane in your socks (yuck).  Plus, they’re cool looking.  The soles are available in a variety of colors, and the slipper part comes in most grey and black.  Other colors are available depending on what model you buy.

See below for giveaway details!

Available at

Toiletry samples

You know those free samples you get from Sephora and other beauty shops?  They're awesome for your carry-on. They take up hardly any space, and if your luggage gets lost or delayed, you still have a way to pamper yourself until you’re either reunited with your beloved toiletries or can run to the store.  Believe me, I’ve had to rely on these more times than I can remember.  Being able to smooth on some great-smelling and great-feeling product can make all the difference when you arrive 12 hours late, with no luggage, all the stores are closed, and all that’s in your hotel bathroom is “beauty soap” that may as well be at a truck stop.

Portable/lipstick charger

Don Draper’s genius pitch is just getting started when the screen goes blank. NOOOOO!!  Unless, you have one of these.  Instead of waiting until you get to your final destination to find out how Don and Peggy are going to sell burgers, you can smugly whip this thing out and continue hunching over your precious.

If you’re traveling with small children, do your fellow passengers a favor and bring a few of these with you on the flight.  You do NOT want to see what happens when a tired, sick-of-being-on-this-plane, jet-lagged, cranky 3-year-old has to stop watching just when Curious George was about to roll the Man with the Yellow Hat’s car off a cliff.

Available on Amazon, or at just about any store that sells electronics.

Benefit Roller Lash Mascara

I know that mascara is a highly personal choice, but I bought my first tube of this recently and have to share.  My lashes are long but fine and light.  Most mascara just clumps on and instead of looking like my friend Laura (who has the market cornered on creating an awesome eye), I look like I put it on with a butter knife.  This mascara doesn't do that - it lengthens, thickens AND lifts them.  I didn't have to use an eyelash curler, which means I'll have that much less to bring with me on our trip to Italia in a few weeks.  

Available at Sephora.

Bonus: kids’ headphones

Look, I am pretty strict about screen time with Sweetpea.  The iPad a sometimes thing.  But on a plane, forget it.  Strict mommy gets left at home and is replaced with whatever-will-get-us-through-the-flight-with-our-sanity-intact mommy.  But the little ones in your life will need some headphones in order to hear what they’re watching or playing, and these are great.  The volume is set so it won’t go any higher than a certain decibel level (to protect their hearing), and they’re just the right size for those cute little curly heads.

Available on Amazon

YAY!  Giveaway!

Here are the details: I’m giving away one pair of Classic Mahabis to one lucky member of our community.  Here’s how to qualify:

  1. If you haven’t already, join the email list.

  2. In the comments section for this article, tell us what item you never travel without, and why, and where we can get it.

You have until April 10, 2016.  I’ll pick my favorite on April 11.  If that’s you, you’ll get an email from me asking for your shoe size and color preference, and I’ll have your pair of awesome slippers mailed directly to you from Jolly Old England.

Just remember, you have to be on the email list AND hook us up with your go-to travel essential in the comments to qualify.


Since I've recently commuted my entire site to a new platform, you can't see the comments associated with this post - but congrats to giveaway Kristin Moore for her zip-tie tip:

"my must have for Travel actually started BECAUSE of traveling to Lucca... On the way to Lucca the airlines lost all out luggage. ( duh) so of course they had to shlep it to us from the Milan airport. When my bag finally got to Lucca, of course, they had also gone through all our bags during security and left all my compartments unzipped. my fave white bikini bottoms ( J.Crew-NOT CHEAP) fell out of the side zip compartment in my luggage. Of course, I secured them, but I never saw them again. Since then, I haven't travelled once with out a ziploc full of zip ties, & a tsa approved pair of nail clippers. I simply secure all the zippers closed on my checked bag, throw my security zip lock baggies in my carry o and clip the zip ties off once I arrive. It's TSA approved, cause unlike a lock they can easily cut them off. You can immediately see if they've been through your stuff if the zip ties are missing, and until then all your sexy Italy clothes stay put! I grab a couple small packs of brightly colored ones at Home Depot so I always have some ready for travel."

You might also like: 10 Things You'll Miss on a Jam-Packed Itinerary