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My New Favourite Travel Gear

My favourite new travel gear

Before every big trip I think “I must have everything I need. I don’t need to buy anything.” and yet every time, I buy stuff. Usually it’s clothes. Sometimes it’s gear. Often it turns out that I didn’t really need the things I bought. This time though I actually made my travel ife easier with these new purchases. If you’re doing some traveling soon and haven’t yet refined your gear list down to the essential must-haves, let me show you what worked for me.

Merrell San Remo sandals

Merrell San Remo sandals

Merrell San Remo sandals

24 days, endless miles, not one blister. I didn’t break in these sandals the way you’re supposed to before I took them on a big trip. I packed band-aids figuring I’d be in for a little pain since I broke the cardinal rule of traveling with new shoes. I have since walked miles upon miles upon miles and my only complaint is that the footbeds are getting a bit stinky. These are the most comfortable sandals I’ve owned and they still have some style to them. I could wear them with a sundress and get away with it. In fact, I have. Even after a dunk in the Adriatic Sea they look a little bit worse for wear but the beauty of these shoes runs more than skin deep.

Microfiber towel

A microfiber towel dries fast, takes up little room and can double as a blanket.

Outgo Microfiber Towel

I’ve never been one to stay in hostels and my hotels have always provided towels so I never traveled with my own before. I had beaches in mind when I bought this one and then the owner of the travel store mentioned all the other things I could use it for which sealed the deal. This towel dries quickly, soaks up water like a sponge and doesn’t take up a lot of space in my bag. It can also double as a blanket or pillow on airplanes. I only wish I had the longer size so that more of me would fit on it when using it as a beach towel. I’m tempted to also pick up a smaller one so that I can sit on one and dry myself with the other at beaches or wrap my hair up after showers. Wet hair on my neck seriously drives me.

Breathable laundry bag

A breathable laundry bag keeps your dirty clothes separate but not fousty.

Laundry bag

Before now I’d always either stuck my dirty laundry in the top pocket of my suitcase or I’d stuff everything into a shopping bag. Lovely, eh? For this trip I bought a breathable, foldable laundry bag and it’s great. Anything damp doesn’t get musty like it would in plastic and it’s infinitely more stylish. When it’s laundry time I just dump the whole thing, bag included, into the washer. No sticking hands into suitcase pockets to fish out dirty socks. That alone was worth the money to me.

Anti-bacterial wipes

Not all public washrooms will have toilet paper. Sometimes pineapple juice runs down your hand. Sometimes you just really really need to blow your nose and have no tissue. I hadn’t traveled with wet wipes in my purse before but now I won’t go out without them. The anti-bacterialness of them was a bonus when dealing with washrooms but otherwise, any wet wipe would’ve done. I’ve actually started keeping a back in my purse all the time, at home or abroad. You don’t need to cart around a giant container of them either since many brands have travel sized pouches of them.


This will keep your cords from looking like they’ve been doing the nasty in your carry-on.

Grid-It Organizer

The first time I saw the Grit-It on Pinterest I knew I had to have it. It’s a lifesaver for keeping cords and chargers in order. Easy to pack, easy to find. Just slip your things under the elastics and they stay put. No more untangling masses of cords that look they’ve been getting it on in your carry-on when you weren’t looking. The Grid-It makes it so much easier to pack since you have this one neat rectangle and there’s less chance I’ll forget a cord somewhere. There’s also a zippered pocket on the back for things like SD cards, USB drives or any papers you might want to keep handy.

Honourable mention: Compression sack

I bought a compression sack for my trip to Costa Rica when all I took was a backpack and needed to maximize space rather than weight. This was the first time I decided to use it with a suitcase. I put things like undies, pjs, camis and bikinis in it. Things that, if they wrinkled, I wouldn’t care. The sack kept the inside of my suitcase neat and freed up some space. Weight is usually my problem though so I had to be careful that I didn’t use the sack to load more than 50lbs of stuff into my suitcase. Even if you’re not backpacking I’d recommend these for the neat factor alone.

What’s your experience with pre-travel shopping? Do you get carried away like I tend to or do already have everything you need?


  1. Alyson says:

    October 30th, 2012 at 4:54 pm (#)

    Hi! Nice post, I love the way you’ve laid it out. As a traveling Mum, may I recommend baby wipes instead of Wet Wipes, they’re cheaper, bigger, softer and nicer, I take them everywhere! And hand gel is indispensable for me too, I’ve never had any tummy bother in all the usual hotspots. Saw you on TBX. Keep blogging, I’m following. Alyson@worldtravelfamily

  2. IsabellesTravel says:

    November 2nd, 2012 at 5:37 pm (#)

    Great tips! I`m the same, I think I have everything, but I usually don`t. I didn`t know about the Grid-It, definitely going to look into that one. Thanks for the tip!

  3. Melissa Hogan says:

    November 12th, 2012 at 10:22 pm (#)

    Heys also make a simliar product called The Web: Looks like The Container Store in the states carries the Grid-It as well as a bunch of places online. I seriously love mine.

  4. jill says:

    November 5th, 2012 at 5:31 pm (#)

    I love my packing cubes! I also love shopping for travel gear: new backpacks, gadgets, and more. Unfortunately I already have everything I need. But it still doesn’t stop me to gawk at the latest microfiber towels, daypacks, and other travel stuff at the stores.

  5. Erica from LivingIF says:

    November 7th, 2012 at 10:54 am (#)

    Great products, thanks for sharing. We have been traveling for two years, so it can be hard to re-stock on travel gear, but loved some of these items. The Grid-It is really neat and something that I have never seen, thanks for introducing it to me!

  6. Melissa Hogan says:

    November 12th, 2012 at 10:23 pm (#)

    I really love mine. Everything stays so neat and tidy. Heys also makes a version they call The Web.

  7. Christine |GrrrlTraveler says:

    November 10th, 2012 at 5:55 am (#)

    Big big BIG fan of baby wipes! Never travel without it! It is the best multipurpose product in the travel world. I wipe train berths down with them, when I have my girlie moments or have to pee but there’s no toilet paper I use them and the best– when I need to freshen up or shower but there’s no shower (or only freezing cold water) available!.

  8. Melissa Hogan says:

    November 12th, 2012 at 10:25 pm (#)

    I can’t believe I’ve done this much traveling without them before, especially in Costa Rica. Not something I’ll go without again. They even worked well at getting sand off my feet and from between my toes when I couldn’t find a foot washing station at the beach in Busan.

  9. 2012 Travel Gift Guide - Suitcase and Heels | Suitcase and Heels | A travel blog about walking the line between budget and luxury says:

    December 5th, 2012 at 11:39 am (#)

    […] ($9.99-$49.99) – In October I mentioned this as one of my new favourite items of travel gear and for good reason. Its basket weave of elastic bands keeps small objects secured to a rigid […]

  10. Three Way Thursday: St. John’s | Suitcase and Heels | A travel blog about walking the line between budget and luxury says:

    February 21st, 2013 at 8:08 am (#)

    […] 10pm & 1am. The Rob Roy has the same deal on Thursdays. Try not to touch anything or pack some antibacterial wipes with you. If you just love dive bars swing by the Inn of Olde in Quidi Vidi. The pub is connected […]

  11. BiblioNinja says:

    March 25th, 2014 at 9:44 pm (#)

    Hi Melissa,

    First of all, hello from a fellow Newfoundlander! :)

    Second, I love the blog which I only recently discovered. Do you have a good, wheelie suitcase that you recommend? One that expands, ideally, and isn’t a hard shell?

    I had an Eagle Creek with a zip-off bag that fell apart after one trip. So, I’m in the market for another one to take on my honeymoon in May.

    Much appreciate any advice you may have on this matter.


  12. Melissa Hogan says:

    March 27th, 2014 at 12:03 pm (#)

    I’m currently using a 25″ Briggs & Riley BRX suitcase that I picked up at Travel Bug in St. John’s. It’s taken a beating and held up really well. It also has a lifetime warranty.

    My backpack is an Osprey Farpoint 70 that I got from The Outfitters (also in St. John’s). My favourite part is that it opens like a suitcase and has a panel to stash the straps if not in use. Osprey also have some great wheeled backpacks like the Meridian line.

  13. BiblioNinja says:

    February 28th, 2015 at 2:27 pm (#)

    Hi Melissa,

    Oops, I should have said I’m a Newfie who currently lives in DC.

    I ended up getting the Briggs & Riley BRX Explore 25″. You were the second person who recommended that brand.

    I used it during my honeymoon, last spring, to Portugal and Spain. Overall, it was great.

    I always pack way too much (hello, I need to join the chronic over-packer club) but I found this bag worked really well. I also brought one other back-pack for my DSL camera and purse.

    One new thing I bought for the trip, which was really useful, was the Scrubba Bag: We didn’t want to lose too much time to making 1/2 day laundry pit stops (we were travelling for almost three weeks). It works really well and cuts down significantly on the amount of water you need if you’re just hand-washing in the sink. Highly recommend it.

    Love the blog!

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