Essential Summer Travel Gear

The summer travel season is in full swing. Here are a few essential products that will help make your fun in the sun — and time spent getting there — a little more pleasurable.

Block that noise!
The thought of a noisy plane, train, or bus making your stomach do flip flops? Then you need to get the In-the-Ear Bluetooth earphones ($299 with iPod adapter) from Etymotic Reasearch. They’re lightweight, wireless, and can fit right in your ear. Plus, they can be used with your iPod. Looking for something cheaper? Sharper Image offers Traveler’s Noise-Cancellation Headphones for $69.95. The extra-large “earcups” are comfortable — perfect for long trips. They run on one AAA battery. Or you could always go the cheap route and pick up a box of Quiet! Please foam ear plugs from CVS. It’ll only set you back $7.79 for 25 pairs.

TSA-approved
The TSA’s restrictions on liquids and gels might make you want to pull your hair out, but with Solutions airline-approved travel kit you won’t have to worry about the mean man at security throwing away your favorite shampoo or hand lotion. The 14-piece kit ($12.95) comes with two 1/8-ounce jars, four quarter-ounce jars, two half-ounce jars, two half-ounce bottles, two one-ounce bottles, one one-ounce spray bottle, and one two-ounce bottle, which all fit in a one-quart plastic zip bag that is included. What will you fill the containers with? We suggest Dr. Bonner’s liquid soap, which comes in a variety of scents. (Our favorite is peppermint.) Though Dr. Bonner’s claims the soap has more than 18 uses, we’re more than happy to use it as laundry detergent, shampoo, toothpaste, and soap. Unfortunately, wash cloths are hard to find on the road. Fortunately, the Body Shop offers a Flannel Face Washcloth that’s washable (read: reusuable) and dries quickly (read: packable). Plus, it’s a wallet-friendly $6.

Waterproof and sweatproof!
Summer means bug bites and sunburn. But who wants to pack all those stinky, leaky bottles? OFF, the makers of everything bug repellent, now offers individually wrapped disposable Towelettes. There are 12 in each box and you can buy them at your local drug store. Walgreens sells them for $5.49. Unfortunately you’ll have to deal with sunscreen in a bottle. But, if you purchase Hawaiian Tropic Ozone Sport Sunblock 60+ SPF ($9.85 and www.drugstore.com), you’ll get a bonus travel-size bottle; it’s only two ounces! The sport block is a great option because it’s sweatproof and waterproof.

The essential traveler
A good traveler is a prepared traveler. And with the Avid Traveler Essentials gift set ($49.99), prepared you’ll be. The kit comes with two clear vinyl zipper bags and includes every product you’ll need: Purell hand sanitizer, Imodium, Neosporin, duct tape, four single-use thermometers, toilet paper and a seat cover, and lots of other stuff. Plus, everything’s in TSA-approved sizes. The Large Ready Organized First Aid Kit ( $14.99) by Johnson & Johnson is a less expensive option that includes 170 items, including Imodium, a cold pack, a variety of band aids, cleansing wipes, antibiotic ointment, Tylenol, and more.

Alexis Kelly