5 Travel Amenities I Always Pack 🧳

5 essential Travel Amenities I always pack. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I try to be smart about packing, and have learned over time to leave some of those “just in case” items at home. Whatever I do pack has to earn its keep. But I’m not about making travel an ordeal either, so like to pack a few little luxuries, essential travel amenities that don’t weigh me down.

My 5 Essential Travel Amenities

Wrapped in comfort…

Large cashmere travel wrap from Bloomingdales. Details and more travel amenities at une femme d'un certain age.

Even during the warmest months, I always include at least a lightweight cashmere or cashmere-blend scarf or wrap in my carry-on. I find the temperature in airplane cabins can swing from tropical to frigid within a matter of minutes, so it’s always good to have a scarf on hand that I can wrap around my neck or drape over my shoulders. It can also serve as a blanket in a pinch.

Why cashmere? It tends to combine softness with light weight and warmth. If you are sensitive to animal fibers, a modal-silk blend is an option. (It may not be as warm as cashmere, but is breathable and can at least block drafts and provide an extra layer.)

In cooler seasons, scarves are a great way to add color and visual interest to your travel wardrobe. Don’t limit yourself to just one! 😉

Powered up

Portable phone charger for travel. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

If you rely on your smartphone or tablet while traveling to take photos, get directions, read books or guides, stay in contact with your group, or store tickets/boarding passes, the last thing you want is that “low battery” warning halfway through the day. (I’ve learned this lesson from experience! 😫) It’s worth making room in your day bag or pack for an extra power source. The one I’ve used for the last couple of years is bigger/heavier and not as powerful, so I’ve just ordered this one to try.

To sleep, perchance to dream…

A silk eye mask is one of my essential travel amenities. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I don’t fall asleep easily on planes, or in any situation where there’s ambient light. I’ve found one of these silk eye masks can make all the difference when trying to grab a few hours of sleep on long flights. (Earplugs, too.) And at your destination, they’re also great to have handy if your travel companion likes to stay up late to read, or those “blackout” drapes don’t quite block the street light right outside your window… 😬

I like silk because it doesn’t irritate my skin, and doesn’t cause creases. It can also be hand-washed if needed. (These make nice gifts, too, just saying…)

Scrub-a-dub

Konjac cleansing sponge, one of my travel amenities. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I always wash my face before bed to remove any makeup or dirt/sweat from the day. In some regions, hotels may not always provide a washcloth. Some people pack their own washcloths, but I prefer to bring a konjac sponge. It’s gentle but very effective at cleaning, and will dry out overnight when hung. I use with my cleanser, but some people use without. (I like this “hydrating clay” version, but there are other varieties for different skin types and needs.)

A little night music

BlkBox popup wireless bluetooth speaker. Details and other travel amenities at une femme d'un certain age.

While there are always headphones for individual use, le Monsieur and I both like being able to listen to a little music in our hotel room to relax. There are lots of fancy bluetooth speakers out there, but I’ve had this one for a few years and am still quite happy with it. It doesn’t take up much room, weighs almost nothing, and runs for hours and hours on a charge. And the sound quality is quite good too.

(And one necessity…sanitizing wipes! I’ve developed the habit of wiping down my armrests, tray tables, and any handles or other surfaces on the plane I’m likely to come in contact with as soon as I sit down. While they don’t kill viruses, at least I’ve got a fighting chance against bacteria.)

What are your favorite travel amenities?

Stay in touch.

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34 Comments

  1. Lynn
    February 26, 2020 / 4:42 am

    Susan-I agree about always traveling with an extra power source. What I don’t like is traveling with a bunch of cords And chargers. So, I use MyCharge (you can find it on Amazon) It has built in lightning and other cords. It plugs directly into the wall. So convenient. You will love it! No, I dont work for the company Whenever people see it at meetings or whatever, they decide to order one. It is a travel must! I also see a less expensive option called Jackery. It looks similar.

  2. Lynn
    February 26, 2020 / 4:47 am

    Forgot to say—my recommendation will be larger and heavier than the one you ordered. After trying a lighter one and the all-in-one piece one, there is no contest for me. I would way rather have something a little bulkier, but not have to carry additional cords, wall plugs, etc.
    -Lynn

  3. Rachel
    February 26, 2020 / 5:44 am

    I always look hopefully for a washcloth when traveling- going to try this sponge, thanks for the tip!

  4. Patrish
    February 26, 2020 / 5:45 am

    FYI: ‘Hydrating Clay’ is an oxymoron.
    Clay dries out your skin and is best used on oily skin and not on a daily basis.
    Clay is also alkaline and too much use will remove the skin’s natural acid mantle.
    It’s good that you use that sponge with a cleanser which may compensate.
    I always pack cotton squares and use them to remove makeup with my cleanser.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      February 26, 2020 / 6:20 am

      I haven’t had any issues, but there may not be enough “clay” in it to make a difference.

  5. February 26, 2020 / 6:20 am

    I always carry individually wrapped hand wipes. They are hard to find (ah, for the old Wash ‘n Dries!!) But they don’t dry out and are so convenient for even a small purse. I often use Herban Essentials and love the lavender scent: https://bit.ly/38Xpd6u A bit expensive but worth it!

    • Kelly
      February 26, 2020 / 11:27 am

      Ah, but they DO dry out. Maybe you don’t keep yours long enough, but even individually packaged wipes will dry out after a year or so. I have a tendency to buy on sale & store- so I’ve been writing purchase dates in sharpies on things to help me remember to rotate & use!

  6. Lynn
    February 26, 2020 / 6:29 am

    I also carry wipes to use on planes and hotel rooms or for unexpected spills etc. They do still make individually wrapped ones, like Wet Ones. These days, i may switch to alcohol wipes…

  7. Carol Montanti
    February 26, 2020 / 6:38 am

    When travelling with carryon only to Europe, with limited space for liquid toiletries in the customs-approved bag (Especially if you need to carry contact lens solution) I find a package of facial wipes handy for removing makeup, especially eye makeup. Just try out the brand before you go to check for skin sensitivities.
    And my hairdresser knows that I will squeeze in an appointment with her right before a trip, especially overseas. I can arrive with hair clean and styled and I find it tides me over for a good number of days! The only hair product I ensure I take is leave-in conditioner, decanted into a small container. It’s easy to find shampoo etc at your destination but not always a small size leave in conditioner which helps tame my hair while travelling.
    Eye masks are a must on a plane especially if you can’t control the nearest window shades! Thanks for the silk suggestions Susan, going to order those!

  8. Linda Lennon
    February 26, 2020 / 6:51 am

    We’re traveling to Scotland in May. It will be our first trip to Europe from California and not NY. I’m already stressing about the extra hours on the plane! Bringing a cashmere shawl and I’ll pick up an eye mask for sure. My cousin recommended compression socks; any thoughts? Your travel advice is the best. Thank you!

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      February 26, 2020 / 6:55 am

      Hi Linda, yes, I do recommend compression socks, especially if you’re in an upright seat the entire flight. Have a wonderful trip!

    • February 26, 2020 / 7:21 am

      Compression socks are wonderful. My feet didn’t swell and I felt more rested. I ordered the SB Sox Lite from Amazon. They come in black with colorful trim colors (I have the black with hot pink; Hubs has the black with light blue). Highly recommend.

  9. Jill Ann
    February 26, 2020 / 7:01 am

    My favorite travel toiletry item is the Olay Daily Facial cloths. They are one-use disposable mesh cloths with the cleanser built in. Just get them wet and they cleanse and mildly exfoliate. True, they aren’t the most environmentally friendly, but I love that I don’t have to bring a separate liquid cleanser; so important when traveling by air! My daughter took them on a medical mission trip to Honduras and used them as body washcloths too.

    Another favorite item is a small plug-in nightlight, which comes with an assortment of plug adapters, and has 2 USB ports. You can have a nightlight in your hotel bathroom, and charge your phones at the same time! And it only cost about $12

    • Kate
      February 26, 2020 / 7:13 am

      I also love the Olay facial cloths for traveling. They aren’t as heavy as other “wet” facial remover cloths. I agree that they aren’t as environmentally friendly, but I only use them for European travel where washcloths aren’t readily available.

      • Lagatta de Montréal
        February 26, 2020 / 3:26 pm

        Buy a gant de toilette, much more practical than a washcloth. There are luxe versions, but you can buy them at Monoprix or HEMA, often found even in airports and railway stations concourses. For a couple of Euros.

    • Meg
      February 26, 2020 / 10:57 am

      The night light is a super idea and I will look for the one you mentioned. I got a horrible and painful black eye smacking into a door in the middle of the night at a hotel. I’ve been leaving the bathroom light on since but it’s often too bright.

      • Jill Lauter
        February 26, 2020 / 12:25 pm

        The one I got is called a KeeKit USB wall charger, got it on Amazon. It comes with adapters for Europe, UK, and Australia plugs. The only problem is not forgetting it when you leave the hotel!

    • Ariss
      February 27, 2020 / 2:29 am

      Hi, do you have a link for that nightlight?

  10. Tracy
    February 26, 2020 / 7:40 am

    I always pack the flat-folding travel tray from Magellan’s. It goes flat in your suitcase, but the corners snap together to make a small catch-all tray in your hotel room. It’s good for keeping jewelry, coins, keys, and other little bits and bobs all together. I’m less likely to overlook something small when I’m packing up again. (I don’t leave coins or jewelry sitting out in it during the day while I’m out sightseeing.)

  11. Elizabeth
    February 26, 2020 / 8:09 am

    Yup, I bring sanitizer wipes, and wipe down the arm rest, tray and seat belt on plane. I feel a little weird doing it, but am seeing more people do it.

  12. Karen
    February 26, 2020 / 8:35 am

    I have short legs and my heels don’t rest on the floor on the airplane. I now use Sleepy Ride Airplane Footrest for comfort. They are such a game changer I’ve bought four more for gift giving, including to a friend who flew from the US to India who now raves about them.

  13. February 26, 2020 / 9:04 am

    Thanks for reminding me about those Boscia sponges. I really like them. I think the one I used was black but I’ll switch to your pink one. Thanks for all of your suggestions.

  14. Sarah
    February 26, 2020 / 9:22 am

    I always pack a camping washcloth. It’s a scratchy, knitted nylon thing. I don’t use it on my face, but I like to be able to scrub clean in the shower. It takes up less space and dries faster than a loofah. After I’m done using it in the shower I rinse it and then wash it clean with some fresh soap, rinse again, and hang to dry.

    For my face I just use my fingers and some gentle cleanser– I’ve tried konjac sponges and they consistently make me break out, so they’re a no go for me.

  15. Kay
    February 26, 2020 / 11:00 am

    I use the eye mask with the contoured shape (available on Amazon) because the flat kind irritates me and defeats the purpose. I can’t sleep with something pressing on my eyelids. I read that the contours allow for eye movement and thus REM sleep, but I don’t know if that’s scientifically accurate.

    • Diana
      February 27, 2020 / 6:55 am

      I use the contoured eye mask as it keeps my make up from smudging. In my carryon, I also pack a small “necessity” bag with hand sanitizer, wet wipes, Aquaphor, and a small pack of tissues.I don’t bother with a cashmere wrap; instead, I wear a lightweight sweater or jacket on the plane. I also pack an inflatable neck pillow which I use either for lumbar support or my neck on long flights.

  16. Leslie
    February 26, 2020 / 11:04 am

    I always bring a small book light that clips onto my book. Great for when “monsieur” crashes before I do! It serves as a flashlight too.

  17. Annette Bertelsen
    February 26, 2020 / 12:23 pm

    Great suggestions. I bring a pillowcase and washcloth because I’m allergic to fragrances in laundry detergents and fabric softeners — my face is the most sensitive. I used to bring a scarf but now I like to wear a full-zip Columbia fleece vest on the airplane — can zip all the way and raise collar if feel a draft, plus it’s easy on and off if gets hot or cold. The vest layers well under a packable down jacket or a rain jacket for hiking or sightseeing; it rolls up to stuff in a backpack and it can double as a pillow.

  18. Téa
    February 26, 2020 / 9:04 pm

    I like to bring a kaftan – it can be used for after a shower when I’m drying/before dressing, over my PJ’s when room service comes a knocking, throw over a bathing suit for a cover-up, mid-day nap when I want to cuddle in my bed…so many times it’s come in handy! Mine is black gauze with embroidery – rather chic, IMHO

  19. Mary
    February 27, 2020 / 6:24 am

    I roll a good size length of clear packing tape onto a slim pen I keep in my suitcase. Good for emergencies–such as keeping hotel room curtains closed, quick fix for a drooping hem, alternate to a lint brush or sealing up items in other bags when a ziploc bag isn’t available. Although I keep a stock of various sized ziploc bags in my suitcase, too; everything from snack size to 2 gallon ones for dirty laundry.

    • Blyma Wolpin
      February 27, 2020 / 10:30 am

      What a great idea!

  20. Suz
    February 27, 2020 / 11:49 am

    I bring a flat valet too (felt) – so useful.
    I also bring this Lee Valley motion sensor night light:
    https://www.leevalley.com/en-us/shop/home/lighting/night-lights/69885-controlled-beam-pir-light

    I bumped into a “great idea” travel hack which I have not used yet but will (if I remember hahaha)
    For those pesky hotel drapes that don’t close properly in the center, use one (or two) of the hotel pant/skirt hangers to clip them together!

    Thanks for posting
    Suz from Vancouver

  21. Mary
    February 28, 2020 / 8:57 pm

    I use a Jane Iredale microfiber washcloth to remove makeup. No need for cleansers. Easy to wash and dry afterward. Love your blog Susan!

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