travel essentials

Travel Essentials: 7 Hacks to Make Your Trip Better

Whatever kind of digital nomad you decide to be, traveling is going to be part of your schedule. Sometimes it’ll be a matter of bearable hours; other times, more of a long-haul nightmare. If you’re a digital nomad on a budget, chances are you’ll book flights with multiple layovers or interminable bus rides. Traveling can be exhausting, uncomfortable and boring at times. So let’s see how we can make your journey more pleasant, shall we?

1) Get mentally engaged

Mental games for the plane

Say you’re tired of looking out of the window; say your bus is driving into the night, or your plane is simply cutting through clouds. You absolutely need something to put your eyes on; otherwise, you’ll just start to pull pranks on your seat neighbor. Now, at the risk of sounding like an old lady, old-fashioned crosswords and sudoku simply hit the spot. I’m personally a big fan of good old paper magazines when it comes to fun puzzles, but we’re digital nomads here, and often it’s just not practical to bring extra weight with you. So take out your phone, clear some memory space and make sure to download a few puzzles before leaving. There’s plenty of free, offline sudoku and crossword puzzles you can get for both Android and Apple devices. And let me stress it again: always look for versions that work when your device is offline! Can’t always get that wifi up there in the clouds. If you’re not an old soul like me, there are still tons of games to download, so you can easily swing from kicking some butts to challenging your seat neighbor with some trivia. Because of its gorgeous visuals and relaxing sounds, Alto’s Odyssey has been an obsession of mine for quite a long time.

Reading never goes out of fashion, and once you’re trapped in a vehicle, there’s not a lot of excuses to get distracted. For many travelers, an e-reader has become an essential companion. Even a nostalgic person like me can clearly see the appeal to it. As many books as I want, on one single device, as light as the air? Of course I’m sold. If you’re familiar with the e-books market, you’ll already know that the Kindle Paperwhite is the most appreciated e-reader of our times, as well as the entire Kindle line. Waterproof, adjustable lights and fonts, and even provided with a Bluetooth feature for audiobooks – the Kindle Paperwhite stands out. However, there are cheaper options, like the Fire HD 8, which is not simply an e-reader but a proper tablet. Even if it’s not solely designed for reading, it still works pretty well with e-books. Moreover, it has some extra ‘tablety’ features – hey, you can even watch movies offline on this one, with Amazon Prime. Alternatively, you can always scout for.

Discover our best books for digital nomads!

2) Juice it up!

Power source

A quick note: any electronic device is doom to die at some point. If you’re in for a long-haul, it’d be unfortunate to have your phone battery empty halfway through the journey. The tragedy is easily solved by investing in a power bank. A portable battery can truly save lives. The prices of power banks vary, but you can easily find good, affordable options. Just remember to charge the power bank before taking off – it’s a game of giving and receiving!

3) Cut yourself off from the world

Off time

I know, you’re a nomad, you’re trying to conquer the world. But this world is still populated by crying babies and snoring passengers. Hence, get a hold on a pair of noise-canceling headphones! This type of headphones is definitely the best, even when your travel buddies are all good and quiet. In fact, they tend to reduce all external noises – that airplane engine roar will sound like a faintly purring kitten. And if you look out of the window with music blasting out, you’ll feel the protagonist of a movie. A little tip: if you travel in good company or you plan to make friends on the journey, headphone splitters could be of help.

4) Prepare for the slumber

Cold Cabin

Some people have it easier and fall asleep anywhere, in any conditions. But if you’re part of the unlucky side of the world like me, you’ll need a bit of adjustments before drifting off. Earplugs, sleeping masks and pillows are excellent partners in crime. Accordingly to your needs, you can buy them separately, or get your hands on a good deal. Another thing you should consider getting is a warm blanket. Some planes, buses and trains would just blast uncontrollable air con: you don’t want to freeze to death in the arms of Morpheus.

Here’s another tip for you: if you’re traveling to a coldish location, save some space and use a large scarf as a blanket! It’s a great hack that saved me from hibernating on a plane more than once. Multi-tasking items, yes please!

5) Doing splits on board

splits

How do you expect to curl up like a smitten kitten if you wear tight denim? Comfort is a number 1 priority for long trips. Hence, find the way to your seat with functional travel clothing on: yoga pants, leggings, sweatpants and cozy sneakers. You might be heading to a warm location, but the temperature in your transportation of choice is always an enigma. As my grandma would say, you should dress like an onion: layers on layers, and you won’t go wrong. T-shirts and zipped hoodies always did the trick for me.

6) Snacks and water: stock up like a squirrel

travel nuts

What kind of trip would it be without snacks? A bit of a wasted one, if you ask me. This is your chance: you have the perfect excuse to buy delicious treats leaving guilt back home. Time to go wild like a 10 years old boy on Christmas day! Were you to take a plane, this is a great way to avoid overpriced meals. Of course, packing up fresh food might be a hard task. Also, don’t go too crazy on sugars: you’ll risk a rollercoaster of energy and lethargy for the whole duration of the trip. Better choose some mixed nuts, dried fruit packs or popcorn. You can easily find healthy options at any supermarket. Don’t forget to stay hydrated; unfortunately, on planes it’s not possible to bring your own water on board. But you can still take a reusable water bottle with you and fill it up after the security check.

6) Keep the germs away

Hand Sanitizer

Don’t take me for a paranoid freak. Whenever you travel, you’ll get in contact with all kinds of germs; and while our bodies do a hell of a job to keep us healthy, you can never be too safe. What if your luck strikes again, and your seat buddy starts a worryingly coughing concert? Hand sanitizers are pocket-sized solutions that really do the trick when water and soap are not available. I’d say don’t bother too much with antibacterial wipes, which do not seem to be that effective. Generic tissues are also a great idea – and a great peace offer to the guy in row 21 with a running nose.

7) Smart wallets for smooth transitions

Travel Wallet

A trip is not only a one-way ticket to the dead butt syndrome. Boarding on a vehicle, passing through checkpoints, getting off, buying an extra snack at the vending machine are all steps of the experience. So many times I stupidly stressed out while looking for my passport in the pocket, my boarding ticket in the bag, my debit card in the wallet – all with my arms tangled in the headphones wires. Travel wallets these days are pretty convenient and affordable, and will reduce your stress levels to the bare minimum. You can even opt for neck wallets – they may not be the most stylish pieces of fashion, but it’s a comfort beyond compare.

And if you’re curious to know more about what I pack when I travel, I suggest reading my digital nomad packing list. I hope you enjoyed our travel essentials list.

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