Author Archive | Annelise Schoups

A menstrual cup among other travel essentials

3 Reasons Female Travelers Should Use Menstrual Cups

I’ll preface this by saying I understand that menstrual cups can be a sensitive topic. Not everyone wants to have an open chat about the details of menstruation. If you’re among those people, I’d ask you kindly move along. For the rest of you, I promise not to get too graphic.

But let’s face it: periods are an essential and annoying part of life for most women (apologies if you don’t fit into this generalization). I got mine at 11 years old—yikes!—and I took to wearing tampons almost immediately. Of course there are other options, like pads, sponges, and, now, absorbent underwear.

Up until three years ago, I’d officially been wearing tampons for more than 15 years. Fif. Teen. Years. Now let’s think about that for a minute. That means, if I follow the recommended usage, I’m using somewhere between 18 and 36 tampons EVERY MONTH.

This Huffington Post article actually suggests that a woman who uses tampons will spend, on average, almost $2,000 dollars on them over her lifetime. And we haven’t even gotten into the environmental implications of cotton production and plastic packaging.

chart showing how menstrual cups can save women money

3 Reasons Female Travelers Should Use Menstrual Cups:

I bought my first menstrual cup three years ago, and I’ve never once regretted it. And while I was already motivated by cost and waste, the thing that finally sold me was travel.

Of course I’d traveled plenty of times on my period before and survived. But this time I was getting ready to take my first extended backpacking trip through a few African countries. I’d be gone a total of nine weeks, which meant at least two periods.

I had two major concerns. The first was that I wasn’t sure how easily I’d be able to get feminine products in some of the more rural areas. The second was that there was no guarantee I’d have access to a bathroom every four hours (I’ve been on some very long, cozy bus rides). In addition to cost and waste, convenience was what finally sold me.

Diva Cup menstrual cup for periods

1. You can keep cups in for longer periods (hah!) of time

Doing my research, I learned that you can keep menstrual cups in for up to 12 hours. The difference between every four hours and every 12 hours is huge. That’s twice a day versus six times a day. And no worries about leaving it in overnight, or on absurdly long bus rides.

2. Menstrual cups will ultimately save you heaps of money

Like a lot of money. I opted for the Diva Cup, simply because I could find it in a store nearby. And at $30, I’ll admit that there was a bit of sticker shock at first. But then I realized I’d make my money back in about three months by giving up tampons. I mean, duh. At this point I’ve probably saved around $300 in just the last three years.

3. Menstrual cups are better for your body and the environment

Most are made of high-grade silicone, which means there’s a lower risk for allergic (latex) reactions or toxic shock syndrome. Plus, they’re reusable. That means less cotton and plastic consumption and way fewer chemicals. Little wins for you and the environment! I can’t even imagine all the waste I’ve saved by skipping tampons.

Person holding a menstrual cup

Still need convincing? I get it. The thought of using menstrual cups can be gross and intimidating at first. It’s bigger than a tampon, for sure. But they make smaller ones with softer walls, and even variations for women who have already given birth. And there are lots of tutorials and reviews out there to help you find the right one.

Despite being three years old, my cup is still in perfect working condition. I just clean it every few cycles in a hydrogen peroxide bath, and voila—it’s good as new. On the extremely rare occasions my menstrual cup has leaked, it was only because I waited more than 12 hours on a heavy day. And since then I’ve learned a lot about the proper placement.

In the end, dealing with the ickiness was a small sacrifice compared to benefits. I wear it regularly, and I’d encourage women who don’t travel to get one, too. But I can’t stress enough how much easier it makes life on the road. Because even when your adventure cup runneth over, your menstrual cup won’t.

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Best Backpacking Backpack

How to Choose the Best Travel Backpack

I began traveling long before I can remember. I must have been only a week old when I took my first trip to Antwerp, Belgium, where my extended family lives, and I have gone back to visit almost every other year since. In between these reunions, I’ve also managed to explore at least 14 other countries as well as a handful of states within the U.S. And it goes without saying that I’ve had to pack a suitcase for each of these trips. Well, except maybe the first few.

In nearly 30 years of traveling, it’s safe to say that I’ve probably tried every variation of suitcase on the market: small and large duffel bags with and without wheels, hard-frame carry-ons, full-sized hard-frames, luggage backpacks, and travel backpacks… you name it, chances are I’ve tested it. Through it all there has been an undeniable evolution of my preferences when it comes to what kind of luggage suits my needs.

Of course, what suitcase I choose usually depends on the type of trip I’m taking. If it’s just for a long weekend, then I still reach for my beloved carry-on duffel. Though anything longer sends me straight for my travel backpack. After trying many other variations, I’ve come to prefer backpacks for a few reasons. The most important being convenience. You can usually get all your things into one place and still have free hands. They’re much easier to haul around than duffels or even wheely suitcases, which is important if you’re taking public transport.

Still, sorting out which backpack is right for you is a challenge all its own. I myself have been through a few experiments before finding what I now refer to as my stuff-soulmate. Luckily, unlike some adventures, you don’t have to go at this one alone. I’m here to lend my experience and expertise to help you sort through the mud and muck so that you can find the right pack for you and be on your merry way. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

In the coming pages, we’ll explore why you should get a pack, and what types work best for what, as well as the best steps to choosing your own. Eventually I’ll even throw in some personal recommendations for good measure. By the end, you’ll know everything you need to know about choosing the best travel backpack for you, and you’ll be ready to hit the road. Alright, let’s get started!

A Guide to Choosing the Best Travel Backpack

Why Get a Backpack for Travel?

I see your question and raise yet another: Why not? Seriously. We use backpacks for plenty of other things, like to hold our school supplies for approximately 20 years or to take our laptops to work or even when we need to carry food and water up and down a mountain. Why, suddenly, when we need to carry more things a little farther than usual, should we turn our backs (pun intended) on such an obviously useful tool? The truth is that travel backpacks are ideal for so many reasons.

I’ve already mentioned the first: convenience. Take an imaginary walk with me. We’ve just gotten off a plane in a new city, and we’re not exactly sure where our hostel is or how we’re going to get there from the airport. We’ve looked at some options (bus, taxi, horse-drawn carriage) but we didn’t book anything. We pick up our bags, me with my backpack and you with your wheely, and decide to take the bus. But we find out we have to walk a half mile to the stop across cobbled streets. We’re starved so we also grab a sammie on the way out.

Here we are, approaching the bus… Well, actually, I’m approaching the bus, sammie in hand, pack on, digging for my change with my spare hand. Meanwhile you’ve stopped, because with one hand on your food and your other on your suitcase, you couldn’t possibly gather change (and I’m obviously not nice enough to pay for you—we’re not that close). Boom. Convenience.

Best backpacking backpack South america

The second reason to get a backpack for travel is storage. These things come in all shapes and sizes (more on that later) and most of them with more ingenious pockets than you can possibly imagine needing. Not only do you need them – literally all of them – but you will soon realize how much you love them. Some travel backpacks come with pockets that are more subtle, making them better places to store things you don’t want to misplace or be within reach of the general public (read: money and/or identification).

Speaking of keeping things safe, backpacks in general are less likely to be swiped than other types of luggage, considering you wear it snuggly on your person. It’s much harder for pickpockets to grab a pack strapped to both of your shoulders than it is for one to grab one out your hand or loosely draped over your shoulder.

And after safety we have: health! The weight distribution of bags is not something we often think about but it turns out long hauls with heavy weight can be really hard on your body. Throwing a strap over just one shoulder can cause overuse of that muscle, and wearing a backpack evens out the distribution of weight across your body. More evenly shared weight means less back pain or muscle tension, which, let’s be honest, you’ll get enough of from the flight alone!

Now that you know why you should get one, let’s talk about which type is right for you in the next phase of our travel backpack review!

Types of Travel Backpacks

Sometimes it seems like there are as many types of backpacks as there are people to carry them. And, well, you probably wouldn’t be wrong if you thought that was true. But the truth is there are really only four main types of backpacks, and the rest are all variations on the same models. When I went on my first trip around Europe, I made the mistake of getting the wrong type of backpack. Now I want to help make sure you don’t make the same mistake!

Lets cover some basics when choosing the best travel backpack

The four main types of backpacks suitable for travel look like this:

  • Hiking
  • Travel
  • Convertible
  • Ultralight

Now, that’s a list we can wrap our heads around. Once you decide which type you need, then you can get into the details, like size and features. But we’ll take it one step at a time, so as not to overwhelm ourselves. Because this, like your trip, should be fun! If you get this right, you’ll have your backpack for years to come. A fully-fledged, tried and true, stuff-soulmate to call your own. So, onto the specifics.

Hiking Backpacks

A hiking backpack is also known as a top-loading backpack. Because they were originally made for thru-hikers and campers, they tend to be lighter in weight and better fit to the body. They’re designed to hold a lot of weight, and are built with solid supports so that you can carry them comfortably for long distances or periods of time. Often, there is no zipper for the main compartment, just a drawstring opening toward the top of the pack. This can make packing and unpacking frustrating for some, but I promise you’ll get the hang of it if this is the route you choose.  This is a very informative guide on the healthiest way to pack your hiking backpack.

Travel Backpacks

On the flip side, travel-specific backpacks are often comparable to hiking backpacks except that they usually have a front or side zipper instead of the opening at the top. This can make it easier to access more things at once, which is especially helpful if you’re not a particularly organized packer. The other way in which they differ from hiking backpacks is that they can be a little heavier. Since they aren’t intentionally designed to be carried for extended lengths, the general design isn’t quite as lightweight. But because, in most cases, you’ll only be moving it to and from accommodations and transportation, the weight shouldn’t be a problem.

Convertible Backpacks

More recently, convertible backpacks have stepped up their game to compete with hiking and travel backpacks. These guys are the ones that have multiple strap options that you can add or remove as needed. In addition to the two standard backpack straps, you’ll often find an extra side handle or an over-the-shoulder option you can stow depending on your mood. Sometimes they even come stock with a removable day pack for those who, like me, get immense satisfaction out of perfectly fitting things into other things. In theory, with these you can put the essentials in the day pack pockets, drop your main pack, unzip and hit the road without even waking your hostel mates. Everyone will want to know how you did it.

Ultralight Backpacks

While we’re on the topic of day packs, this is the last type of travel backpack we’ll cover. And we’ll start with this: these are not for the faint of heart. Day packs, or ultralight backpacks, aren’t really meant to serve as suitcases. They are, for all intents and purposes, meant for day use, like carrying your wallet and your water plus maybe a book and a sweater. You get the idea. However, the advantage of these guys is that they are light and compact, and I almost always want some variation on my travels in addition to my suitcase, so I can bring along my lappy or whatever I need for the day. Or if you’re a magician and can pack a weekend into a day pack, this might be the type for you. And more power to you.

By now, you hopefully have a general feel for what would be the best travel backpack for you. These four types, though basic, should give you some idea as to what would best suit your needs. That said, these categories are incredibly basic, and there are still several other things to consider when buying a travel backpack. We’ll unpack that next.
More Travel Backpack Considerations
At this point maybe you’re thinking, “I either want a hiking backpack or a travel backpack, but I’m not totally sure yet.” Don’t sweat it. There’s still a lot more to explore, and it may help you get clear about what you want. Some of the most important considerations, no matter what type you go with, include size and fit as well as an assortment of other features.

Backpack Fit

When it comes to fit, it’s worth noting that some packs are made gender-specific. And by this I don’t just mean they come in different colors, though some do. What I mean is that in some cases the frame of the pack will be smaller to accommodate for a feminine build. In general, backpack frames are designed to fit a certain torso length, not a certain height, and it’s important to get this right because your comfort depends upon it.

In any case, at this point many backpacks offer adjustable heights, so even if you don’t rely on a gender-specific option, you can find something that works for you. Some of the most important features to look out for include:

  • Shoulder straps – You want to make sure you can adjust them to your comfort with some room to spare. Don’t max anything out before you take it out of the store.
  • Hip belts – Make sure this sits on your hips and is well-padded. The majority of your pack’s weight should rest here, so you want this to feel good.
  • Ventilation – Some travel backpacks offer additional boning or padding in the back to keep your pack from making direct contact with your back. This creates some air flow so you don’t overheat.
  • Compartments – You’ll want to consider how you normally organize and what you usually bring. If you like your water bottle handy or a secret pocket for your money, make sure to look for those options.

And, last but definitely not least, you’ll want to pay special attention to the size. No matter the brand or the gender-specification, backpacks come in a wide variety of sizes, usually ranging from around 30 litres up to 100+. Yet the size of your travel backpack will depend primarily on two things: 1. Your size and 2. Your needs.

Even if you have a tendency to overpack, the last thing you want is to get a backpack that’s too big for you. Actually, this is especially true if you overpack. If you try to carry too much on your back, you run the risk of struggling to get it on, toppling over, or worse, injuring yourself.

For reference, I’m about 5’6” and I have a 45 + 10 litre backpack. That means the main frame of the pack holds about 45 litres and there is some extra fabric at the top that extends to provide another 10 litres of storage should I absolutely need it. Meanwhile, Justin, who is about 6’1” has a 75 litre + 10, but he almost never uses the extra ten.

In general, somewhere between 40 and 50 litres should suffice. Any less than that and you’re essentially looking at day packs. But if you find something that fits well, but you think you’ll need more space, I’d sooner recommend taking another bag or, if you’re backpacking, planning for some caches. Plus, you always learn a few packing techniques to help you take advantage of less storage space.
In all reality, the backpack lifestyle isn’t for everyone. If you’re fairly certain backpacking suits you, let’s carry on (Hah! I just can’t help myself). Next up: we cover the process of picking your pack!

How to choose the best travel backpack for you

So far, you’ve learned about why you should get a travel backpack, what kind is right for you, and what features you should look out for. All that’s left to talk about now is how you go about choosing one. Where should you buy a backpack? When is a good time to get one? And what kind of accessories might you need?

Let’s start with where. Because the fit of a backpack is so important, I’d always recommend visiting a sporting goods store first. Even if you ultimately make the purchase online, you want to try these things out in real life first. It goes without saying that REI has a great selection, but there are many smaller, local shops where you can get an idea of what’s out there.

Make sure that wherever you go, they give you the option to add some weight to your pack during your trial run. REI, for example, has bean bags they can throw in to give you a more accurate feel. Realistically, you’re never going to be carrying an empty backpack anyway. So as a general rule, you’ll want to test the comfort around with around 20 – 30 pounds of weight.

Don’t be afraid to mess with the settings, including the shoulder straps, hip belt, or adjustable frame. And take some time to walk around with the weight, so you can see how the backpack settles in after a while. Whatever you do, definitely don’t rush the decision!

Best Travel Backpack

While we’re on the subject of timing, let’s talk about when you should get a backpack. The only real rule here is that it shouldn’t be the day before you leave. Because in that case, you’ll be in a hurry and you may end up with something you don’t like. (Been there, done that!) Otherwise, the best time to buy might just be around a holiday sale so you can get a good deal.

If you want something to last you for more than a few years, you’ll probably have to spend between $150 and $200 USD, which is exactly why sales come in handy. Travel backpacks aren’t cheap, but they should be seen as an investment—one that will make your adventures easier in the long run.

Accessories are another way to make your backpacking easier. If you’re hiking, or will be somewhere with inclement weather, I’d recommend getting a rain cover. They pack up small and will keep your stuff safe in a pinch.

On the other hand, if you’re one of the aforementioned overpackers, you might want to consider getting packing cubes or compression sacks to keep your stuff organized inside your backpack. Dry bags, a Pacsafe, and water bladders are also worth looking into depending on your adventure.

And with that, you have almost all you need to know to make an informed decision when buying a backpack for travel. Still ahead: we’ll share some of the best travel backpacks we’ve come across.

Our Favorite Travel Backpacks

I’ll cut to the chase. My personal favorite is the one I have: the Deuter Women’s ACT Lite 45 + 10. In addition to being light, it has an adjustable frame, plenty of padding, and pockets in all the right places. Plus it comes in my favorite color. This bad boy isn’t my stuff-soulmate for nothing.
Justin’s personal favorite, and the one he’s had for more than 10 years, is a Gregory. He has top and front access, as well as a coveted rubber bottom to keep everything dry in any sticky situations. Seriously, TEN. YEARS.  His pack is no longer for sale, but the updated versions look fantastic!

Other popular packs include:

The Osprey Fairpoint, which comes in a 40, 55, 70 or 80 litre capacity with unisex dimensions and optional straps, meaning you can store them when not in use.

The North Face Terra

Want more to choose from? Quechua, Patagonia and Mountain Hardwear South Col 70 OutDry Backpack all make reputable gear worth exploring.
Remember: find somewhere you can see them in person and try on several, if not all, of them!


Still reading? I’m impressed. Or, TL;DR:

Why you should get a travel backpack:

  • It frees up your hands for easy mobility (and eating)
  • It’s better for your back and body in general (plus you look cool)
  • You get to join an elite club of backpackers (and you look cool)

What kind of backpack should you get:

  • It depends on how you’ll use it, but generally either something that:
  • Opens at the top (mostly for hiking)
  • Opens at the front or on the side (hiking and / or specifically for travel)
  • Converts (not recommended for extended wear)
  • Is small enough for day use (or wizards and minimalists)

What features are important in a travel backpack:

  • The size, both frame and capacity (because it has to fit)
  • The shoulder straps (which should fit comfortably with room to spare)
  • Comfortable hip belts (this is where you bear the most weight)
  • Ventilation (so you don’t sweat through the one shirt you brought at the airport
  • Size (again, in case you skimmed over it the first time & because: crucial!)
  • Compartments (for organized and messy packers alike)

How to choose the best travel backpack for you:

  • Try them on. Lots of them. All of them.
  • Make sure you add weight and walk around in it
  • Do this well in advance of your trip
  • Bring a friend or ask an employee for an opinion
  • Compare prices online or wait for a sale if you’re patient

What are our favorite travel backpacks:

There. That wasn’t so much to think about, was it? All you need know is a flight and, well, a backpack. If you still have questions, feel free to write us. Thanks for reading and, as always, bon courage!

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Riad in Morocco

Hostel vs. Hotel vs. AirBnB: When and Why to Choose Where to Stay

There are a lot of decisions to make when preparing for a trip. (Yes, we’re talking about planning AGAIN.) One of which, and perhaps most important, is where to stay. Usually you want something easily accessible from the airport or metro and centrally located. You almost always want something affordable, unless, of course, you’re celebrating something major or that’s just how you roll. But these are the things I think most about when I’m getting ready to hit the road.

No two destinations are alike, and neither is it necessary for your accommodations to be the same. I have stayed in a hostel, a private guest room, and an AirBnB all on a single trip, each for different reasons, and it’s important to consider all the options before deciding where to stay. Sometimes things like size, location, or price will automatically exclude one or the other from your search. If you’re on a shoestring, for example, hotels will likely be the least budget-friendly option. (Though I do recommend treating yourself once in awhile.)

Hostel vs. Hotel vs. AirBnB

I almost always start with hostels. They’re affordable, they usually offer ideas and discounts on sightseeing, and they leave you less secluded in a new place. You get to meet people and cook your own food (most of the time) and they’re usually strategically located. They cater more-specifically to the backpacker types and they do a damn good job. (Side note: Justin has been known to couchsurf but I’ve never had the chance and need to try it.)

hotel vs. airbnb

When we were backpacking through Portugal, for example, Justin and I stayed at the Ahoy Hostel in Porto Covo, where Nick, the owner, gave us super useful information on where to stay along the rest of our journey. He even arranged a private guest room for us in the next town when the rest of the hostels were booked – something we wouldn’t have been able to do on our own because of how shockingly bad our Portuguese is.

Guest houses, or pensions, are usually more common where hostels are fewer. You can find them in smaller towns, where there is a train station or a port, but perhaps not much else. Sometimes they are just a room in a private residence (that was the case in Portugal) but sometimes they are a small boarding house.

I’ve stayed in two others, once in Mozambique, when we arrived in Metangula late at night via the ferry and once in Miranda del Ebro, Spain, when I missed a train connection. All were found not by Google, but through local recommendations upon arrival. In these cases, there was neither continental breakfast nor any English spoken. I simply needed somewhere to sleep for the night and they served their purpose.

When I’m abroad, I look to hotels on rare occasion. Like when it’s the only option, or when I’ve been on the road for a while and I could use a good, long bath and a solid night’s sleep. I usually find them too expensive for what little they offer beyond a hostel. It’s unlikely that I’d be able to prepare any of my own meals or meet other travelers, but sometimes it’s a necessity. Traveling can wear on the body after a while, and it can be worth the extra cost to restore a little.

AirBnB also comes in handy for restoring the spirit. In many ways, it is the best of both worlds between a hostel and a hotel. You often get a little extra space and a little more quiet, with amenities like a kitchen and the company of others if you so desire. Though, I’ve never rented an AirBnb when traveling solo, I wouldn’t recommend against it. Frankly, I’ve never had a bad experience. In most cases, I default to AirBnB when I’m going to stay somewhere longer than a few days.

Lobster in an Airbnb

Justin and I rented one when he arrived in Lisbon, so we could have a few days to ourselves to figure out our plans. We stayed in another for a week in Tofinho, Mozambique, when we were nearing the end of our trip and really wanted to relax near the beach. The owner was remarkably accommodating, as I couldn’t make the reservation from my mobile, so we had to shift a night on the schedule. Plus, the casita was amazing.

I rented another while traveling with my friend Ashley in Barcelona, Spain. We were staying a week and wanted somewhere we could cook and do laundry and still be in the mix. We found Fran, who lived right on Las Ramblas and rented two rooms. He was a spectacular host, always giving recommendations when we asked and even made us a full Spanish meal one night. We even wound up going out one night with the other renters and remain Facebook friends to this day.

Spanish meal at an AirBnB

These kinds of experiences are not something you would likely find in hotel, but they are the kind of experiences that make travel more enjoyable, because it’s not just the places, but the people who make a destination. So, wherever you go, keep an open mind about where to stay and why.  When it comes to weighing benefits of a hostel vs. a hotel vs. AirBnB make sure that your accommodations are as unique as the location.

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Annelise backpacking in the U.K.

Beauty Products on the Go: How to Stay Fly While Traveling

As a woman, travel, and packing for travel, always seem to take a little extra planning than it does for my male counterparts. Even on camping trips, I have to remember things like bras or extra underwear (which I have admittedly forgotten at least once). When you start taking beauty products and toiletries into account, the matter becomes even more obvious. If I’ll be gone for an extended period (pun intended) of time, I need to account for feminine products and pills as well.

But then there are things I often bring even on short trips, like makeup and hair care essentials. By some standards, I’m actually somewhat of a minimalist in this area. I don’t usually wear thaaaaat much makeup day-to-day and I wear even less when I’m traveling – mostly because I sweat easily. It’s also worth noting that I don’t always feel the need to take much because I know that I can get products almost anywhere I go. Though this assumption holds less true when I travel to more remote places, like Morocco or Zambia.

Beauty Products Intended for Travel

Still, because I fit it all into a backpack, I aim to travel light. I focus only on what I absolutely need and things I really like. For example, I prefer beauty products I use to be fragrance-free. Otherwise I overwhelm myself after using only two or three strongly-scented products. I don’t go anywhere without Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap and I use it for literally everything: face wash, body wash, quick laundry, dishes, and sometimes shampoo if I’m running low. Justin has even used it as toothpaste in a pinch. (Literally everything.)

It’s a good example of the types of beauty products I choose because it’s natural, cleansing, and not overly potent–a little goes a long way. When I traveled Europe for a few months two years ago, I took only Dr. Bronner’s, toothpaste, and deodorant, plus shampoo, conditioner, and baby powder for my hair. Mind you, my hair is not unruly by any stretch of the imagination. It gets a little frizzy when I let it dry naturally and a little fluffy when I blow dry it, but I’ve learned some tricks to tame it when I don’t bring heat tools (and I almost never do).

fly girl travel products

I’ve recently become a fan of Fly Girl beauty products for the same reasons I love Dr. B’s. They come sans parabens, sulfates, sodium chloride, or gluten and are compact enough to fit in a small tote. They don’t smell overwhelmingly like chemicals or fragrance trying to mask them. Of the things I’ve tried, the intense calming balm has been my absolute fave, but I could totally see myself taking the dry shampoo, conditioner, or hairspray on my next trip as well.

At the end of the day, the moral here is that even though we women sometimes have to put in a little extra effort when it comes to travel accessories, we can also get exactly what we want from them. We don’t necessarily have to give up looking good or feeling good for the sake of shedding pack weight. So go ‘head with your fly self.

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in the village

Plugging In After Checking Out: Top Three Travel Chargers for any Trip

When you stop and think about it, travel balances a number of very fine lines. It straddles comfort and growth, expectations and reality, disconnecting and tuning in. Sometimes we take trips solely to put some distance between ourselves and our everyday lives, often needing a break from our jobs and the routines that keep us plugged into electronics. In the last couple of years, even taking a virtual vacation from social media has become key to maintaining sanity.

Though, when traveling, many of us rely on the very devices we seek to escape to keep in touch with friends and family at home, to meet up with new friends we’ve made on the road, and to share our enlightening experiences with everyone who might enjoy them vicariously. Depending on where you travel, staying connected through your devices can either prove very easy or especially challenging. Some countries have vast infrastructure and free wifi to support your social escapades, while others barely have the cell service, much less the power, to keep you connected.

No matter the circumstances, there are a few handy devices that can help you prepare for whatever kind of electronic network you’re met with. Because, without a charge even readily available wifi is useless, we’re highlighting three travel chargers to keep you plugged in wherever you are.

An International Power Adapter

First things first, a charger of the more traditional variety, but, like, on steroids. This guy will be your best friend whenever your road map is a little unclear. Universal adapters work in almost every country, and while they are bulkier than other varieties, you’ll be happy to have just one to keep track of rather than having to pack two to five for each place on your list.

phone charging

A Quick Car Charger

Regardless of where you find yourselves, most cars come stock with a standard AC outlet. If you’re on a long road trip or simply shuttling from the airport to your hostel, having something like this handy will give you enough charge to get you where you’re going. Chargers like the ZUS are especially helpful because it comes with two USB ports and fast-charging capabilities, providing enough juice to power two tablets at once.


A Portable Power Bank

AKA the battery life-saver. Seriously, don’t go anywhere without one. The Lumsing, for example, is fairly compact, though admittedly a little heavy, and comes with dual charging ports. You can get up to four full smart phone charges before it needs recharged itself, making it perfect for long bus rides, airport delay, or just your run of the mill rolling blackout.

Wherever you take your technology, we want to hear about it! Tell us in the comments how you stay connected even when you’re well off the beaten path!

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