Throughout the pandemic, 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.
For most U.S. trips, you can usually get by without designated “travel” gear. But when a passport is required, pack of few of these basics to make your journey safer, easier, and more enjoyable.
Zenure Passport Global Power Adapter ($50)
After spending far too much money at an airport travel store for what claimed to be the best adapter in the world, I realized that despite its price and million attachments, it didn’t work in Japan and short-circuited when I plugged in my blow-dryer. So I embarked on a mission to find one that really checked all the boxes. Enter the Passport Global Power Adapter. It works in more than 150 countries, and has an auto-resetting fuse that allows it to recover from overloads without service or replacement. Plus, with one three-prong U.S. plug and four USB slots, it can charge multiple devices at once.
Herschel Search Passport Holder with Tile ($85)
Sure, this sleek leather passport holder looks great and holds all your cards and documents in a small, 3.5x4.4-inch package, but what really sets it apart is the slim Tile Bluetooth tracker embedded in the front pocket. If your lost passport holder is within 100 feet of your phone—or any of the 10 million Tiles that have been sold globally—you will be notified of its location.
Kindle Oasis E-Reader ($249)
I love the printed word, but after lugging four books around Europe in my small carry-on, I finally understood why travelers love e-readers. The newest version of the Kindle is a feathery 6.8 ounces, waterproof, and has a seven-inch display with an adaptive front light, making it possible to read glare-free just about anywhere. Amazon also makes it easy to download almost any book instantly, and with Kindle Unlimited, you have access to more than a million books for just $9.99 a month.
Trtl Neck Pillow ($30)
If you struggle to grab some mile-high shut-eye even with a standard neck pillow, relief is here. This strange contraption looks like a soft fleece scarf but contains a lightweight metal support that rests on your shoulder and holds your head in the perfect position for a comfy night’s sleep. It’s also machine washable and packs into a 7x7-inch case that straps to your carry-on.
Google Translate App (Free)
If you’ve yet to use this app, you’re in for a treat. Just hold your phone over signs or menus, and foreign words are instantaneously translated right on your screen. It also features conversation mode, with real-time dialogue translation. You translate written words while offline, and the app will read them aloud so you can avoid embarrassing mispronunciations.
‘New York Times: 36 Hours Europe’ ($40)
If you’re on a quick trip or bouncing between a lot of different destinations and want to tackle the essentials sights, activities, and restaurants, the New York Times: 36 Hours guidebook series is a great place to start. But as is the case with most handbooks, once published, the great spots are quickly overrun with tourists, so ask your Airbnb host or server to get more off-the-beaten-track restaurant/bar recs.