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Innovation Insights by Stephen Shapiro

Travel FanEach is less than $50 but will make any trip much more comfortable…

I travel a lot and comfort on the road is important to me. And with the Holiday Season upon us, many of you may be taking to the friendly skies or sleeping on someone else’s bed.

In a previous article I shared four free hacks to increase your comfort while on the road. But sometimes the best things in life aren’t free. Here are five items I never leave home without when I travel for work.

And everything on this list is under $50 at the time of writing.

Travel Fan

I find that hotel rooms have terrible ventilation. I tend to get hot at night. Therefore, I find this portable fan a life saver. Not only does it provide a nice breeze, it also provides white noise that is quite pleasant. This particular one is quite flat and packs easily. What’s also great is this fan will keep you cool on longer plane rides when there is no overhead ventilation. This has saved me many times on international flights in particular.

Portable Bluetooth Speaker + White Noise App

When traveling, I love having a good Bluetooth speaker. Yes, it is nice for listening to music. But for me, the biggest benefit is for playing sounds generated by a white noise app. The sound is rich and comforting and helps me sleep really well. There are so many great speakers on the market. For the past 5 years I’ve been using a Jambox mini (mine is an older and discontinued model). As far as white noise appes, I’ve been using Rain Rain, but there are many others that are equally great. When in a noisy hotel room, I find that white noise (or more accurately for me, brown noise) is a great way to block those pesky sounds.

Travel Thermometer

I think you are seeing a theme here with me. Sound and temperature are critical. On the temperature front, I find that having a small travel thermometer is a nice bonus. I don’t trust hotel thermostats and really like having an objective reading of the temperature. This particular one keeps track of your minimum and maximum temperature over a 24-hour period. Not necessary, but it makes me happy.

Ear Plugs

Here’s one final sound dampening product. A box of 200 ear plugs for under twenty bucks. These are amazing at blocking out sound and they are comfortable. When in hotels, I sleep with them most nights if the white noise isn’t enough to block the sound. I also bought the Bose Sleepbuds before they were discontinued; those are a game changer for me.

Dual Voltage Travel Steamer

And finally an item that has nothing to do with sound or temperature, I would rather not iron my clothes, so a good and small travel steamer is critical. I’ve been using this steamer for years and it works great. It is also dual voltage which means it works overseas without a power converter. This is critical in overseas hotels where irons are typically less frequent. When I can’t fit a travel steamer in my luggage, I bring a small spray bottle that can serve a similar purpose.


There are many other, more obvious items I travel with. For example, a 5-port USB charger or an external battery for recharging my various devices. There are some fashion accessories I always keep in my suitcase. And when I travel internationally, there are special items I bring. But these five items join me on every trip and make my travels a lot more enjoyable.

Please note, I am not recommending any particular brands and am only indicating which items I personally use. There may be better options for you. I do not get compensated in any way, or have a vested interest in any of the items listed above. These are NOT affiliate links.

This article originally appeared on the Inc. website



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