9 vital travel accessories you can afford but can’t ignore

There are obvious things to pack — like clothes, camera, and toothpaste — and not-so-obvious things to pack.

The less obvious things are tricks and hacks you learn along the way to make you more prepared and comfortable without overloading your baggage. Here are 9 suggestions to get your started.

Portable fan

Have you ever been caught overseas, walking for waiting for the train/bus/taxi/subway in sweltering heat, with nothing to do but…pant and sweat? I have, in many places, and how I wish I had brought a portable USB-powered fan.

They are super cheap and lightweight since they don’t use batteries. All you have to do it switch it on, stick your face in front of the modest but cool flow of air, and relieve your suffering.


A VPN is a “virtual private network” that allows you to access the internet from a designated location. This works great when you’re in a place that restricts access to certain services or content like Netflix or Spotify.

With the VPN, you can log in to a server based in the United States (Seattle, for example). When you open Netflix, your internet connection thinks you’re in the US and you will get all the programming available to US customers. Tip: this works in reverse, too — you can not use the VPN and see what your current offers for programming.

Mosquito repellent

“If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” —the Dalai Lama. I can’t stress this one enough, mosquitoes have been the single biggest irritation (and risk) to my comfort and well-being when I travel.

Mosquito repellent is cheap and easy to travel with. I’ve also noticed that what we can buy in the US is usually stronger than other places, so you can get by applying smaller doses.

Coffee brewing setup

Like taxis and chocolate, coffee is one of those items that nearly all people around the world consume daily. But not all coffee is created equal — some places will not serve coffee the way you like, so you’ll have to take matters into your own hands.

After years of traveling and searching for consistently great coffee, I created a hack: the portable pour-over, and the coffee is as good as what you’ll find in any world-class cafe.

Pocket flashlight

It’s late at night and you’re dead tired. You’ve been in planes and airports for 23 hours. You finally make it to your accommodations and there’s no light to guide you to the front door.

This is where a small flashlight can quickly become your friend. In addition to finding your way in the dark, flashlights are excellent for keeping on when you’re walking at night so cars, bikes, and other pedestrians can see you.

Portable Bluetooth speaker

You never know where you’ll be when some music can bring a little joy, break an awkward silence, or bring people together. This is where a portable and reliable USB-powered Bluetooth speaker can deliver small miracles. There are many great ones on the market, I personally have the JBL GO 2, and it’s worth it’s weight in gold.

Single strap shoulder bag (aka “messenger tote bag”)

Everyone has their favorite day travel bag. I am huge fan of the single-strap shoulder bag:

  • ulta-simple design and open top for easy access to your things
  • takes almost no space in your luggage when rolled up
  • stays secure on the front of your body, unlike a backpack
  • easy to clean and won’t overheat your body like a backpack
  • comfortable

Multi-purpose tool

If you’re checking in a bag, slip in a well-made multipurpose tool. It should have a knife, pliers, scissors, bottle/can opener, and both types of screwdrivers. I can’t tell you how many times my Leatherman Juice tool has gotten me out of the potentially awful situations on the road!

Back scratcher

This is a kind of a weird one, but if you’re in a place where you get hot and sticky and bitten by mosquitoes, there will be fewer pleasures in life than having a way to scratch your back — without having to constantly (and awkwardly) ask your travel partner.

The simple flat bamboo back scratchers are the best — they’re strong, lightweight and cheap, and take almost zero space in your luggage.

Image credits: Petter Lagson, Hung Pham

Need a hand with your next Maui vacation? Please contact the Sunny Maui Vacations team at info@sunnymauivacations.com or call 808-240-1311, ext. 21. We’ll find you the best vacation rental condo or rental home in South Maui and help you with any and all recommendations and activities across Maui.

Need a hand with your next Maui vacation? Please contact the Sunny Maui Vacations team at info@sunnymauivacations.com or call 808-240-1311, ext. 21. We’ll find you the best vacation rental condo or rental home in South Maui and help you with any and all recommendations and activities across Maui.