As the country begins to reopen, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to start going more far-flung.
Professional athletes are constantly flying around the globe for races and events, so they know a thing or two about traveling and being prepared. Three of our favorite pros shared both the common and slightly odd items they take along everywhere.
What Do You Never Leave Home Without?
Clare Gallagher, Ultrarunner: “Running shoes, usually two pairs. I once had a mental breakdown—my most hysterical to date—after I realized I left a pair of trainers underneath the seat in front of me on a plane.”
Jeremy Powers, Cyclocross Racer: “I always travel with fresh ground Barrington Coffee and a Kuissential SlickDrip Collapsible Silicone Coffee Dripper ($13) that snaps down flat for travel, plus filters and a metal cup. It’s important to have one constant when you’re traveling, and this way I can always have coffee from home.”
Coryn Rivera, Cyclist: “I once scratched my retina because my eyes were too dry on the plane. It was pretty damn painful. Since then, I’ve always traveled with eye drops, like Systane ($11). I put in a couple drops whenever I feel my contact lenses getting kind of stuck to my eye.”
What’s the Most Unusual Thing You Carry?
Powers: “I’ve flown in business class with a set of compression boots. I brought them onto the plane and plugged them in because the seats had power. They pulsate and put pressure on my feet and legs. Normatec makes a great pair, and mine worked out well, but people definitely got weirded out when the machine hummed and my legs grew to double in size.”
Gallagher: Probably my Roll Recovery rolling stick ($119), what with the havoc travel can wreak on already-sore muscles. If nothing else, it’s a good conversation starter.”
Rivera: “I started packing Oral-B floss ($4) after one flight where I ate popcorn and got a kernel stuck between my teeth and gums. It was so painful! I asked the flight attendant and everyone around me if they had a tooth pick or floss to no avail.”
Ever Make an Impulse Buy at the Airport?
Gallagher: “Other than duty-free and food, I try to stay away from the overpriced crap at airports. I guess the last impulse purchase I had was in Cuba, where I bought three cigars for my dad and a Fidel Castro magnet.”
Powers: “I haven’t bought it yet, but there’s a bag on Indiegogo that you can ride through the airport. For a pro cyclist, that’s basically a dream.”
Rivera: “I had a few different plug converters for traveling out of the country, but they were the bulky kind and came in a travel case. One trip, I forgot all of them, so I went to the airport electronics store and splurged on kind of a nice high-tech one, Monster Mobile Outlets to Go Global Adapter ($7). It was just a sleek rectangle with all the different plugs included that just fold out, plus a USB plug at the top. It’s my favorite converter now, so I don’t mind forgetting my old plug converters. But I’ll never forget this nice new high-tech one.”
What’s Your Best Travel Advice?
Gallagher: “Chacos, flip-flops, and Crocs should never be brought on the same trip. Restraint, people!”
Powers: “I always bring a pair of headphones, an eye mask, Mack’s earplugs ($3), and one of those germ masks that you put over your face. I tend to sleep with my mouth a little open, and one time I had someone sneeze on me while I was sleeping on a long-haul trip to Europe. Most things in life I let roll, but that one left a scar.”
Rivera: “Just relax. Shit happens—even on a carefully planned trip—and a good traveler should always be ready to improvise and adjust.”