Travel Tips by Carrie: My Favorite Things, Part I

Favoritethings. Julie Andrews sang all about them in The Sound of Music. You know, “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…” Oprah still gives her favorite things away, too. Well, I can’t carry a tune and I can’t very well compete with Oprah and give away a parking lot full of cars. What I can do is share my favorite travel items. I actually have a long (and growing) list of favorite products and goodies that make my plane, train, boat, and car rides more enjoyable. For now, I am going to start with my Top 3 Favorite Travel Items that are (coincidentally) for the neck and up. Don’t worry, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I’ll clue you in on my other favorites and those for the rest of the body and beyond. Just keep checking back with Travel Tips by Carrie!1. Eye mask. Okay, I know what some of you might be thinking. Just hear me out. Eye masks changed my life. Well, they changed my quality of life while on a plane. Look, I always thought they looked silly and that those who wore them were likely to be high-maintenance. Then, right before a long trip to Italy, a good friend of mine brought me some bon voyage gifts. One of the items she included was an eye mask. Not just any eye mask…a shiny satin light Travel eye mask with ear plugsblue eye mask with sheep and z’s all over it. I thought it was a joke or in the very least a novelty item. But, this friend knew me well enough to know that I always have trouble sleeping on planes. She told me to try it, so I figured why not and later tossed it in my carry-on bag. At some point mid-flight while everyone else was fast asleep and some were even snoring, I gave it a try. I couldn’t believe it! As soon as I slipped it over my tired eyes, I felt a sense of calm and sleepiness that I had never thought possible while cruising at 35,000 feet. I never realized how much light still permeates through when our eyes are closed, even if the lights are low. Apparently, when your brain senses pure darkness, it causes the production of melatonin, the chemical that regulates our sleeping cycles. Wearing earplugs can also help. The more light and noise that you can block out, the more likely you are to get some restful sleep. Take a chance and take it from me, eye masks can make all the difference.
2. Contact lenses case (with a mirror). This may seem simple or obvious, but this is an item I just came across this year. I have been wearing (and traveling with) contact lenses since I was 14 years old and Travel contact case with mirrorrarely wear my glasses. I almost always ended up wanting (or needing) to take out my contacts on long journeys, especially on a plane. This handy favorite thing of mine is small, lightweight, and makes putting on and taking off my contacts a whole lot easier. It is a cute little carrying case (recently found at Target, Wal-Mart, and other retail stores) that includes a contact lenses case and a mirror all in one. Now, I don’t have to worry about blindly taking my contacts out and risk dropping them only to lose them forever. I don’t have to wake the person next to me or climb over them so I can head to the bathroom and use the mirror. It is the littlest of my favorite things and makes traveling a wee bit easier.
Neck pillow 2-in-13. Changeable neck pillow. I realize that the neck pillow is not something new to travelers. Heck, even my young nephews have a neck pillow for the car. However, the neck pillow that I found worthy enough to make my favorite things list is changeable. Convertible. Reversible. Whatever you want to call it. It changes shape. It is soft and fuzzy, just how I like my pillows, but it also features a zipper on the back. This magical zipper reveals its greatest asset…it can easily turn into a square pillow. This quick change is speedier than Super Man’s in the telephone booth and arguably as impressive. Okay, so that may be a slight exaggeration, but it is convenient and comfortable. I don’t know about you, but I can only wear the curved neck pillow for so long and it is isn’t exactly comfortable to use behind your back. This new and improved pillow changes all that. Just flip it inside out and it becomes a perfectly cozy square-shaped pillow for your back or side. It is larger, firmer, and much softer than the sad little pillows that some airlines still give out. Plus, when you get to your destination you can use it as an extra pillow. It’s a pillow with options.

Stay tuned for more of my favorite things and remember, “When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I’m feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad!”

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