As seasoned travelettes, our days of overpacking are pretty much numbered; we are far too professional these days to bring tons and tons of useless stuff on a trip. Instead, we’ve trained ourselves to focus on what truly matters – and I can assure you that clothing is not among those things (besides, it’s usually way more fun to shop for clothes in the travel destination of your choosing!).
That’s not to say that one should just bring a tiny backpack with nothing but a credit card in it. Choosing carefully and knowing what gadgets and gizmos the current market holds can really improve any trip – and in turn, the memories of it – by so much. So, without further ado, we present to you some of our favorite travel hacks to pack for your summer trip which we guarantee will make it that much better!
1 Pixter Lens
Pixter lenses are the camera phone accessory we’ve all been waiting for: a super portable little lens that clips onto either the front or back of any smartphone camera, enabling you to take photos far beyond the usual capabilities of your device. The lenses (which are compatible with all smartphone brands) come in a variety of effects including macro, wide angle, polarizer – but our favorite is the Fisheye. Offering a viewing angle of 180°, with a real “Fish-Eye” effect, this lens will revolutionize your vacation selfies, making it far easier to capture a whole picture around you rather than the usual composition of just your face and a tiny portion of the background. The characteristic rounded aesthetic of a fisheye lens will also add a really special effect to any landscape or cityscape shots, turning your ordinary smartphone snaps into something entirely more professional looking. A Pixter lens is also a great way to travel light – it means you can leave your bulky DSLR at home, but still return from any trip with high quality photographs. A no-brainer, as far as I’m concerned!
Pixter Fisheye Lens, 29,90€ incl. tax – buy it here
Available for 11 major destinations (London, Rome, Mallorca, New York, Cape Town, Paris, Berlin, Venice, Hamburg, Barcelona and Athens) the Turbopass is an all-inclusive city travel pass that you can use to access public transport networks, hop-on, hop-off tour buses, boat rides, museums and tourist attractions for a one-off payment. You can purchase a pass for 1-4 days, and within the selected dates all travel and entrance to various sites (such as museums, historical monuments, and galleries) is included in the price. Some attractions won’t be free but the pass will entitle you to a sizeable discount so you can visit them affordably, and the price also includes maps and travel guides to help you plan your day and decide what to see. This is a great option if you’re going to take a city break with lots of sightseeing around town; it means you get to skip queues, save money and time, and it frees you up to just hop on any bus or train and duck into any intriguing museum without having to calculate whether you can afford it.
Turbopass, prices start at approx. $80 – browse the options here
Weighing in at just 4.25 lb (approx. 2 kg), this hybrid tent-hammock is a game-changer for travelettes who love a bit of adventure, giving you the ability to set up camp pretty much anywhere you like. Backpacking solo and need a nap or shelter from the rain? Planning an overnight excursion from your city break? Fancy spending a few nights under the stars on the beach? String up the Blue Ridge camping hammock between a couple of suitable trees, or assemble it as a tent flat on the ground, and relax in your own bug-proof, rain-proof little home-away-from-home. Anyone who’s been backpacking will know how freeing it feels to carry everything you need on your back, and there’s nothing more exciting than heading off on a solo trek knowing you could literally sleep anywhere. The winner of several prestigious accolades and awards, the Blue Ridge has a spreader bar and arch pole system to keep the bed of the hammock flatter and more taut, eliminating much of the uncomfortable “cocoon” effect that we all know and hate, making it the ultimate piece of equipment for comfort and shelter in the wilderness.
Blue Ridge Camping Hammock, $199 inc. tax – buy it here
4 Kapten & Son Sunglasses
The perfect pair of shades is a must for any summer trip. If you’re heading towards sun, sea, sand and sightseeing, you’ll need to protect your eyes from all that UV – and any travelette worth her salt knows you can’t just wear any old pair… well, luckily Kapten & Son have got you covered! If you’re an Instagram addict like me, you may have seen their cute shades popping up all over the place; available in a huge variety of colors, frames and lenses and with an unmistakeable rounded aesthetic, these sunglasses are the hot commodity this summer. They’re also easy on the pocket without compromising on style or quality – prices start from 69€ (around $75), which is pretty reasonable for a product which looks and feels indisputably high-end. The ranges are named after famous cities all over the world, and the website helps you pick a style based on your face shape. Check out their collection – there’s something for everyone!
Kapten & Son sunglasses: prices start from 69€ incl. tax – browse the full collection here
5 A Tinggly experience
Technically, Tinggly is supposed to be bought as a gift for someone else, but personally I can’t see why we can’t buy a present for ourselves now and then! You buy a “gift box” which gives you a huge selection of different experiences in different countries to choose from, and then you have 24 months to decide which one to take. Every seasoned traveler knows that the things you remember most are always those standout activities unique to a particular location – and Tinggly’s got a lot of them! I mean, who wouldn’t find ziplining over the Nevada desert unforgettable? Or truffle hunting in the South of France? Or seeing the parts of Bangkok that tourists never normally find? There are lots of different categories of experience to choose from – cultural, sustainable, flying, water, pampering, European, Asian – and three differently priced collections to choose from. Some experiences are also designed for two people, meaning that you can still give a gift to a friend, relative or partner at the same time – if you’re feeling generous.
Tinggly Essential: $79, 70+ countries, 150+ experiences; Premium: $119, 150+ countries, 370+ experiences, Ultimate: $279, 150+ countries, 320+ experiences – visit Tinggly’s website for more information
6 Fjällräven Travel Pack
I don’t know about you, but I’m always searching for the perfect carry-on bag for trips where I want to travel lightly and efficiently, but still with all the essentials. It needs to be cute, practical, affordable and with lots of compartments and pockets for all my toiletries, clothes and equipment. The Fjällräven Travel Pack is a semi-soft travel bag that can be carried on the back and that has room for everything you need for several nights away. The shoulder straps can be stowed away to streamline the pack for air travel, and the outer shell is soft but tough, with leather handles for added durability. There are lots of little, easily accessible pockets to store travel documents, a phone or tablet, toiletries, valuables, and there’s a special padded compartment for your laptop too. Added to that it’s a pretty neat little model, aesthetically speaking – which is a must for any true travelette!
Fjällräven Travel Pack, 234,95€ (approx. $260) incl. tax – buy it here
7 Fatboy Lamzac
Your own personal, portable sun-lounger, sofa and camp bed? Yes please! Bring the Lamzac to festivals, beaches, parks, take it camping, hiking and mountaineering – and wherever you go you’ll have an amazingly comfortable, soft place to stretch out on. Made from a tough, rip-stop fabric that’s also moisture and dirt repellent, the Lamzac is the ultimate in portable lounging. Though when fully inflated it’s a luxurious 2 meters (6’6″) long, it deflates easily, folding down to a highly packable 35 x 18 cm (14″ x 7″), and weighs in at just 1.2 kg (2 lb 10 oz). And the best part of all is how incredibly simple it is to inflate – simply hold the empty bag and shake it to fill it completely with air in seconds, a process so ingenious it’s got to be seen to be believed!
This is one of those products that you’ll buy and then wonder how you lived with out it. And once you’ve used it all summer and winter sets in, take it with you on your next ski/snowboard trip for a little lounge-stop high in the mountains.
Lamzac™ Original Inflatable Lounge Chair by Fatboy, approx. $60 – buy it here
8 Impossible Project Polaroid Film
As you might know if you’re a fan of travelettes.net, we highly recommend taking a Polaroid camera on your travels for a variety of reasons. Although there are newer models on the market, in my humble opinion you can’t beat a vintage Polaroid, both for the retro, cult appeal of the camera itself and also for the iconic, square snaps with the white border which are nearly impossible to replicate with modern incarnations of the old favorite. But where to buy film? The Impossible Project is the sole manufacturer of analog instant film for Polaroid cameras, saving millions of these models from becoming obsolete landfill and preventing one of pop culture’s most beloved media formats from being consigned to the dustbin of history. You can purchase film in both color and black and white, and it’s available for three models of camera: the Polaroid 600, SX-70 and Spectra, as well as 8×10 film for larger format photos. Impossible Project even make their own camera which links up to your smartphone via an app to produce Polaroids from images taken on your phone – so you can get a true-blue vintage look using modern equipment.
Impossible Project analog film: prices start from 20€ for a single pack of film (8 photos) – buy it here
9 Stowaway Makeup
Remember the last time you actually finished a mascara before it went stale and clumpy? Nope, neither do I. Most cosmetics are much bigger than they need to be, meaning that they start to accumulate bacteria and dry out well before they’re finished. As a result, we end up paying more for a whole lot of product that’ll only go to waste. Stowaway cosmetics aim to change all that; their lipsticks, mascaras, concealers, blushers, liners and eyeshadows are a neat, compact little size – and the prices are smaller to match. The added bonus for a travelette is that you’ll save much-needed space in your luggage without having to leave any essential products at home. You can pick and choose individual products, bundles or buy pre-prepared kits with a range of key items, such as the Every Day Kit, which come to a discounted price for the amount you’re getting. Stowaway products are cruelty free, mostly vegan, free of harmful chemicals such as parabens – and once they’re finished, Stowaway will provide you with prepaid shipping labels so you can send away your empties for recycling! Oh, and did I mention that the whole range is beyond gorgeous?
Stowaway cosmetics prices start from 10$ – shop the range here
10 Scrubba washbag
Clothing shortages can be a real issue on any trip – packing space is always limited, and you can’t take your whole wardrobe and/or underwear collection along. Washing facilities aren’t always available, and who wants to spend precious vacation time at a launderette anyway? That’s where the Scrubba wash bag comes in. Compact enough to fit into the palm of your hand when deflated, and weighing in at only 5 oz (142 g), the Scrubba is basically a tiny, portable washing machine for your clothes that can be used anytime, anywhere – as long as you’ve got some water and detergent. Simply pop your dirty clothes into the bag, fill with water and a cleaning agent, expel any air and seal the bag – then rub your clothes clean on the internal washboard, rinse and dry. It’s twice as effective as hand washing and much more hygienic and efficient than washing your items in a hotel sink. It’s also perfect for camping, backpacking, road tripping – in fact, any travel off the beaten track.