Best Travel Accessories for 2021

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With 2020 now behind us, it’s a good time to look ahead with positive thoughts for the new year. For me, this includes wishful thinking about traveling again (beyond a quick road trip), planning future escapes to new destinations and revisiting a few familiar ones, and using those new travel items I purchased or had a chance to review over the last year.

While some of us may feel comfortable to start traveling again in the spring or summer, or even later this year, others may be more inclined to stay closer to home for the foreseeable future. With that in mind, this list of travel accessories includes a few items that you can use at home, while on the road, or when traveling further away by plane. There’s even one option that will inspire future far-flung trips by taking you around the world and connecting you virtually from the comfort of your own home.

So, let’s take a look at these travel accessories and get excited about packing your bags again!

Delsey’s Montrouge Beauty Case 

This cool throwback beauty case reminds me of a past era when travel was more glamorous than it is now and almost hassle-free. Those days were pre-9/11 (and long before) and when travelers could bring all of their toiletries onboard the plane with them. Back then, people could carry a chic train or beauty case and not be limited to a quart-sized baggie filled with 3-ounce plastic bottles shoved into a carry-on piece or handbag. I owned a hard-sided beauty case that was a favorite luggage piece of mine many years ago, so when I saw this one online, I couldn’t resist. Delsey does make an attractive hard-sided version, but I went with this black soft-sided construction since it would pair better with our other soft-sided pieces.

This beauty case is the perfect size for taking road trips and weekend getaways. I appreciate having all of my make-up, skincare, and hair items in one place instead of them being stashed throughout various zippered pockets in my suitcase. As a carry-on (following the TSA guidelines regarding liquids), it’s quite spacious (12.25″ x 8″ x 8.75″) and well-constructed with two interior pockets and elastic straps to hold your bottles. It has a rear smart band that slides over a rolling luggage handle, and there’s also a padded strap if you prefer to carry it separately.

I highly recommend adding this beauty case to your luggage pieces if you carry as many toiletries as I do. It’s also perfect for packing jewelry or an expensive item that you don’t want to check in a larger bag. I know it won’t get much use once we start flying again unless you happen to be so lucky to travel by private jet, but it’s a great piece to make you feel fancy right now.

OOO (Out of Office) Traveling Luggage

Can I just say I love these pieces?! And don’t I wish I were OOO traveling right now?!

When I was going nowhere, and we all thought the pandemic would be over in maybe, say…six months, I purchased two of this company’s suitcases – the medium and large bags in vanilla. Now I know what you are thinking about the color, and typically, I would never buy anything other than a dark grey, navy blue, or black suitcase, but this light-colored shade made me feel better about the current situation, so that’s what I chose. It’s actually quite lovely and refreshing to have a lighter-colored suitcase.

And while we all know what happens to luggage at the airport and en route on a plane, at the time of purchase, I was thinking primarily about future road trips (and I have used the medium piece on a few excursions). Looking further ahead to flying again, I also purchased these protective suitcase covers to prevent some of the inevitable damage. I may even shrink wrap this luggage at the airport when that’s an option.

For the essential details – these pieces are comprised of a sturdy German Bayer Makrolon Polycarbonate Shell (I did my research on the hard case luggage options) and have 360-degree smooth gliding wheels. Both suitcases feature YKK zippers (the medium size is expandable), TSA approved locks and an interior compression system. Dimensions for the smaller bag are 16″ x 17.5″ x 11,” and it weighs 9.4 pounds. The larger version is 30″ x 20″ x 12″, and it comes in at 12 pounds. The interior is exactly what I was looking for in a new piece of luggage – clean and spacious with two zippered dividers and pockets for organizing small items. I’m delighted with these pieces.

OOO Traveling Luggage also makes a carry-on bag, a garment bag, and an accessory bundle that includes packing cubes.

WOZEAH Women’s RFID Blocking PU Leather Wallet Clutch

I purchased this wallet in pink before my last international trip to South America in February 2020. I had planned to be gone for about a month and would be in several large cities over that time and I was concerned about having my credit card information compromised. While it hasn’t gotten much use since then, I have to say that for the price ($14.89 at Amazon), I am impressed with the quality and appearance of the wallet. I purchased it based on the reviews, and while I would not usually buy a non-leather wallet, I was pleased with environmentally-friendly artificial leather. I was also thrilled at the amount of space and capacity to hold my large iPhone and easily carry my passport along with a few credit cards and cash.

I look forward to pulling it out of its current storage space when we can all get back to traveling again.

QuietOn Sleep Earbuds

Quiet On Earbuds

When a representative contacted me from QuietOn Sleep, it didn’t take but a second to respond with a resounding “YES!” to trying a pair of their noise-canceling earbuds. Their selling point is that they cancel out snoring sounds, and since I’m married to a husband that makes “adorable little noises” at night, I was all in to try these. I really could have used them a few times when traveling over the last several years. Like the time I spent every night awake in a hotel in Mexico City thanks to all-night-long rooftop parties when nothing would cancel out the noise, including listening to music through earbuds with my iPhone and a pillow over my head.

Created by a Finnish designer, these are the world’s smallest noise-canceling earbuds. They are unique because they use analog technology for the best possible cancellation – with no DSP, no digital, and no radiation. They come packaged in a compact case which also houses the battery. The battery lasts for about 20 hours with a single charge, ensuring that you are not woken up in the middle of the night by your snoring partner or, hopefully, people partying all night long in a Mexico City hotel.

I have worn these almost every night since I received and charged them and I cannot imagine a night without them now. They take some getting used to when it comes to the fit and how to sleep with them properly. When you’re a hard side sleeper, like I am, they can be a little uncomfortable when you wake up, but they have made it possible to sleep through the night. I can’t wait to try them out on a rowdy, noisy plane or in a loud hotel room when I have the opportunity to travel again. 

Rheos Nautical Eyewear 

Image credit: Asia Brynne

After moving to the beach in Florida three years ago, I realized that owning objects with the ability to float is very important. Sunglasses may be one of the most important of these objects for me since my eyes are very sensitive to light, especially when it’s incredibly bright outdoors. I’m a serious squinter, so I never leave home without my sunglasses.

After losing a pair of my favorite designer sunglasses on a cruise in the Mediterranean in 2009 (thanks to the person helping me off the banana boat), floating sunglasses are a priority. This is especially true when traveling to the beach, fishing on lakes, kayaking along rivers, or hanging out by a pool. I am still traumatized by that image of the cruise director as he leaned over to lend me a hand, and I watched my glasses fall out of his shirt pocket and into the deep, dark sea. I never wanted that to happen again. It’s a similar situation that inspired this company’s beginnings in Charleston, South Carolina.

I have personally tossed my pair of Rheos into a pool, and yes, they do float. I also appreciate that they are lightweight and polarized, making my East Coast Florida waters look bluer than they are. They also offer 100% UV protection, which is very important, especially in Florida. The company claims they are “tough as a rock,” and they must be since I always throw them into my handbag uncovered, and they manage to survive unscathed. That’s impressive. 

I have the Eddies in tortoise and amber, and it’s a classic style and color combination, but they offer other types as well. If you spend a lot of time outdoors on the water and are looking for a pair of durable and lightweight sunglasses that won’t disappear into the depths of the deep blue sea, then check out Rheos Nautical Eyewear.

Context Travel – Context Conversations

This international tour operator offers a unique online program called Context Conversations. You can literally travel the world without leaving your cushy armchair or sofa with their impressive lineup of courses, seminars, and cooking classes. They are continually adding new options and cover topics ranging from art and architecture to history, culture, food, religion, and politics, and more. 

I took an Italian cooking class where we prepared Cacio e Pepe and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m on a quest to perfect this dish and was excited to work with a chef in Italy, Gina Tringali, to try her version of this classic Roman pasta. I learned a trick or two that I didn’t know from trying other recipes, so it was beneficial in my ongoing pursuit to prepare a version similar to the one I had in the Prosecco region of Italy in the fall of 2019. 

It’s tough to choose just one course or class when you look at the offerings and read the stellar reviews. My suggestion is to book several and experience parts of the world you’ve yet to visit to inspire your future travels. You can book Context Conversations through this link and save 15% with the code PDL.

I wish you happy and safe travels, no matter where you travel to or how you decide to get there, in the coming months and in all of 2021.

Stay well.

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