by Nancy Bestor
Seeing as how we own a travel store, we can’t travel to a foreign country like Vietnam and not take a bundle of great travel accessories to try out while on the road. Here are a few of the items I was delighted we brought with us.
Ex Officio Travel Underwear—Bob and I each brought two pairs of travel underwear from Ex Officio and boy were we happy with them! The nylon/spandex fabric combination makes for a very comfortable fit, and even more important, a very quick drying time. We’d wash out our pair in the evening, and by morning both would be completely dry. Bob even washed a pair out once then wrung them dry in a towel and put them right back on. In fact, these undies are so comfortable, I wear them at home all the time now. They’re available in many different styles and colors for both women and men, including bikini brief, and are a great space saving travel purchase.
Woolite Soap Packs—To wash out our underwear (see above) and other quick drying clothes, it was great to have individual packs of liquid Woolite. These slim packages don’t take up much room and a burst proof-they won’t make a mess of your luggage. Travel Essentials offers a 10 pack of Woolite with a plug stopper, so you can easily wash some underwear and socks, and a shirt or dress, in the bathroom sink of your hotel.
Eagle Creek 22 inch Tarmac ES Rolling Suitcase and Tarmac Flight Bag—We did quite a bit of moving about on planes, buses, taxis, and boats within Vietnam. Having our handy rolling suitcase with a tote bag conveniently slipped over the handle sure made things easier. In addition to the wheeled suitcase and flight bag, we also traveled with a backpack each (amazingly also from Eagle Creek) in which we stored our snacks, water and books. We always checked our bags, and kept the two backpacks for on plane items. It’s always funny to see people who are so surprised that our family can travel for so long in so few bags, and we in turn are astounded when we see one person traveling with huge suitcases that don’t roll well at all! To each their own I guess!
Lonely Planet and Rough Guide to Vietnam—I never take just one guidebook when I travel. I find that each line of guidebooks has it’s own style and opinions, and I prefer to compare them when looking for a restaurant or hotel recommendation. One might have better historical information than the other, and it was great when Bob would read one and I would read the other and we would compare notes and discuss the history or background of different cities or sites. I can’t tell you how many times these guidebooks led us to places, restaurants, hotels, sites, we would have never found on our own. Guidebooks save an incredible amount of time as well, and who wants to waste time trying to find somewhere to eat or sleep when on vacation? A couple of guidebooks are worth their weight in gold for any trip.
Eagle Creek Money Belts—Bob and I each took a different kind of security wallet/money belt on this trip to Vietnam, and that worked out great, because we were able to switch belts depending on what we were wearing or what our scheduled activities were for the day. I am surprised when I hear from customers who don’t carry their valuables in a money belt/security wallet. Keeping our passports, traveler’s checks and credit cards in these belts makes me comfortable and secure when I am out walking on the streets. If someone steals our backpack, they’ll find a water bottle, some snacks, and our guidebooks, all replaceable. They won’t get our passports, our digital camera (which Bob kept in a zippered pocket in his Ex Officio pants), or our travelers checks, which are replaceable, but who wants to waste time getting them replaced.
Steripen Water Sterilizer—There were times on this trip where bottled water was not readily available, and we DEFINITELY did not want to drink or use tap water at any time on this trip. We took The SteriPEN Traveler, which uses UV light to sterilize your water, exceeding the EPA’s highest standards in water purification performance. All you have to do is stir the Traveler in a bottle of water for about a minute, and you’ve got drinking water. We used the traveler when we drank water, and even when we brushed our teeth. We were taking no chances!
Here are a couple of items I wish we had brought on the trip but for some reason thought we didn’t have a need for.
A Watch—Yes a watch. Neither Bob nor I wear watches at home, and we forgot to bring one on this trip. It was an inconvenience to have to find the time when we were out and about, and we actually began taking our travel clock with us while we were seeing the sites!
A Compressible Pillow—Travel Essentials sells excellent compressible pillows from Thermarest, and I was disappointed we didn’t bring one, particularly for the girls. We had many days where we were up very, very early to catch a flight, or to take a three-hour bus ride, and a pillow would have been nice for their naps. Planes don’t seem to be giving out pillows like they used to, and the buses in Vietnam were not the most comfortable.