There are plenty of choices for travel essentials at stores across the country, but it can be hard to select reputable gear that can actually enhance your travels, whether they're around the corner or the globe. James Barnes, a buyer at AAA, shared his advice on the travel essentials you should consider for your adventures.
ROADSIDE EMERGENCY ITEMS
When disaster strikes at the side of the road, it's essential to have the right gear with you. Aside from your AAA Membership, Barnes recommends keeping some additional items in your vehicle at all times, so you're prepared for the unexpected. The 64-piece AAA Premium Traveler Road Kit features all of the key things you'll need for a roadside emergency, including booster cables, a reflective triangle, an LED flashlight, and other emergency essentials. In addition, Barnes recommends always keeping emergency booster cables and a digital tire pressure gauge in your car.
There is one item Barnes specifically recommends every driver consider keeping in their vehicle for emergencies.
“I’m really excited about the Mobile Spec USB Charger that provides three roadside solutions,” says Barnes. “If you’re ever in an accident and need a quick emergency escape from the vehicle, the USB charger for your 12-volt adapter will break your windshield so you can escape and will cut through your seatbelt.”
A member favorite, the is perfect for staying organized when you visit the grocery or farmer's market and helps cut down on plastic bag waste. According to Barnes, the five reusable bags fit neatly into the top of your shopping cart. Some bags include special pockets for items like wine or eggs, while others provide insulation to keep your cold items chilled.
As dip and chip credit and debit cards become increasingly popular, the need to protect your identity also becomes increasingly important. Because these types of cards use radio-frequency identification (RFID), having a wallet or bag that can block criminals from getting access to your data is essential. Barnes recommends solutions for passports and credit cards but notes that the Travelon Anti-Theft Crossbody Bag might be the best overall solution.
“It’s a very high-tech bag that has a main pocket that is RFID safe,” says Barnes. “It’s also slash and cut resistant, so if somebody were to run up behind you with a box knife, they can't cut it open and spill the contents or cut the strap."
If you're in the market for new luggage, there are plenty of new options Barnes advises you to explore.
If you’re short on space to store luggage at home, Barnes recommends the Biaggi Zipsak, which is available in several sizes, styles, and colors. The “Underseat Boost!” model folds from a 15” underseat bag to a 20" carry-on in a matter of a couple of folds and even features four multi-directional spinner wheels for easy navigation.
“This comes in three different sizes,” says Barnes. “Each size upscales into the next one.”
For those looking for a more traditional suitcase, Barnes recommends IT’s World’s Lightest Luggage. Available in several sizes and colors, the rugged fiberglass frame provides ample protection while the lightweight fabric is stain-resistant. IT also promises a ten-year warranty. The luggage is truly lightweight, with a 31.5" checked bag coming in at only 5.29 pounds.
Another traditional luggage line Barnes suggests is the Ricardo Beverly Hills Montecito collection. Available in multiple sizes, the collection is made from weather and abrasion-resistant polyester and features a USB port for charging, with the addition of a removable power bank. The carry-on model features a removable 3-1-1 bag perfect for removing during TSA screenings at airports.
“There are four pockets for your passport and travel documents,” says Barnes. “but the built-in luggage tag and USB port help you avoid looking for an outlet at the airport once you store your battery pack.”