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Travel Hacks: Don’t Leave Home Without Them

Travel Hacks: Don’t Leave Home Without Them

Frequent travelers have learned to pack efficiently, yet there are some items you don’t want to leave behind.

Sunscreen.  TIZO Sheer Botanicals SPF 45 is free of chemical sunscreen filters and is reef-and planet-friendly. The silicone-free formula uses only mineral sunscreens titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to reflect UVA/UVB rays away from skin rather than absorb UV rays like chemical blocks. The tinted lip protection is effective and smooth to apply.

Another sunscreen I like a lot is CōTZ, because it, too, uses only the minerals titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to reflect UV rays away from the skin, rather than absorbing them. CōTZ® offers broad spectrum UVA + UVB protection and is also free of preservatives, oils and fragrances. Plus, the lightweight formulas feel pleasant and blend every nicely with my skin tone

Tenth Street Hats

A hat. Wherever I go, I want the protection of a hat, along with my sunscreen. Tenth Street Hats make fashionable, high-quality travel and event hats. The company has been family-owned and operated since 1921, and the hats are not only fashionable, they are handmade of fine quality materials that will last and last.

Organic Soap and Lip Mend. As I often don’t like the soaps provided by the hotels I stay at, I like to travel with soap that is organic and soothing to my skin. The Soapcreek Company offers a line of products that look beautiful, have a delightful smell and are American-made. The company uses sustainable cultivated food-grade plant oils, exotic clays and minerals, along with pure therapeutic grade essential oils sourced from farms all over the world. The soaps come in many “flavors,” including Lemon Crème. The Lip Mend is always in my purse, to counteract the dry air in airplanes and chapping that can happen on the road.


Good Shoes.  By “good” I mean shoes that are kind to my feet wherever I go. I have been a fan of the footwear by Portuguese brand Arcopedico since this past winter. The company’s lightweight (vegan) faux suede bootie was my number one everyday choice—whenever I didn’t need my big clunky UGG to plow through heavy snow. So when I’m traveling to warmer climes, my no-brainer packable is super-lightweight Arcopedio’s slip-on Lolita shoe.  Like the bootie, it has the company’s famous arch support and textile insole, which makes for all day comfort. It’s made of a vegan (washable) four-way stretch Lycra material which forms to my foot—and it is stylish enough to wear for most activities. The Lolita has a durable polyurethane outer sole which absorbs impact and provides grip for a confident stride—perfect for walking on slippery sidewalks and cobblestones while touring. I travel with the black shoe, but the style available in a variety of fun colors for summer.

A good night shirt. I usually pack one of these rather than pajamas, which take up more room. My current choice, especially good when I’m traveling to warmer climates, is a stylish night shirt from Lusomé, which is lightweight and made of a unique fabric that moves moisture away from the body and keeps you cool and dry all night. Even when the air conditioning conks out.

A good toothbrush. At home I use an electric toothbrush alternating with one of Dr. Plotka’s Mouth Watchers. Developed by Dr. Plotka as part of his 40-year dental practice, this unique toothbrush has antimicrobial bristles infused with silver to naturally eliminate the bacteria that grows between uses, leaving the brush clean and ready for the next use. Mouth Watchers have long-lasting dual layered polyester bristles. While the outer bristles ensure complete cleaning of teeth and gums, the inner bristles, which are as thin as a human hair (ten times thinner than those in most other brushes), gently brush away food and plaque in areas that other brushes miss.

For travel, Dr. Plotka has a foldable toothbrush that has all the same cleaning features, but still fits easily into a toiletries bag.

Steeped Coffee

Good coffee. Anyone who travels a lot knows that you can’t always count on getting a good cup of morning coffee in your hotel room. Even some overpriced room service brews disappoint. Now comes a brand new product that I truly love. It’s called Steeped Coffee and it’s brewed similar to tea. Fresh roasted, pre-portioned, precision ground, micro batched coffee is packaged in customized full immersion filters. Just add hot water, let the coffee steep—then sit back and enjoy.

The Steeped Coffee brand is available in five roasts: light, medium, dark, French roast, and a single-origin Swiss Water Process decaf.

I am so happy that this product exists and plan to take a handful of the steeped bags with me on every trip.

P.S. Steeped, Inc.’s kind-to-the-earth philosophy means they have created the convenience of a single-serving brew with premium, ethically sourced—but without the environmental dilemma created by billions of un-recyclable coffee pods that accumulate in landfills every year. The nitro-sealed Steeped Bags, along with their packaging are made using renewable and compostable materials.

About The Author

Lillian Africano

Lillian Africano, Managing Editor. Lillian Africano is the cruise editor at Jax Fax, editor-in-chief of and the author of 17 books, including an award-winning business guide to the Middle East, travel guides to New York and New Jersey and several best-selling novels (using a pseudonym). Her articles have appeared in many print and online publications, including AOL and She is past president of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), past president of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and a member of the Authors Guild and the American Society of Journalists & Authors (ASJA).

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