8 Summer Travel Essentials

With summer approaching, we’ll be packing up for road trips, family travel and European vacations. Here are eight summer travel essentials that will keep you covered from head to toe on your next vacation.

Insect Shield

Zika virus may have some of us thinking twice about traveling to locations with high concentrations of mosquitoes, but you don’t have to limit your travels. Instead, think like a Boy Scout and be prepared! My daughter is headed to Costa Rica this summer and I’ll be visiting the Dominican Republic. These locations, along with El Salvador, Brazil, Mexico and Puerto Rico, among others, are known for harboring insect-borne diseases. Insect Shield travel apparel to the rescue. I’ve known about this Greensboro, North Carolina-based company for many years, as I ride horses; which means I come in contact with mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and flies on a regular basis. With its Insect Shield technology, the company manufactures gear and apparel with long-lasting, effective and convenient insect protection. The moms out there will rest easy when you bring along the insect shield outdoor blanket with built-in insect protection. The all season lightweight blanket, measuring 56 in. x 74 in., is durable, machine washable and doesn’t require any special care. I also like the Bugsaway Lumen Hoody and cute black yoga pants. The crew socks are great for equestrians and hikers, and if you are a dog lover, order the insect shield print bandana for both you and your dog. You’ll be fashionable and safe out on the trails, as the insect shield stays in your clothes, not on your skin. By the way, the company offers maternity clothing, as well. FYI, neither Insect Shield, nor any other insect protection product can guarantee complete protection for insect bites.

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Nancy Brown looking fashionable in her Pocket Poppet

Pocket Poppet

My friend and fellow travel writer, Susan Campbell, introduced me to Pocket Poppet on a recent trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. A specialist in caribbean travel, Sue is always hopping on and off airplanes, traveling from Montreal to far flung tropical locations. She swears by the Pocket Poppet travel cardigan, as it keeps her warm on the airplane, looks fashionable going out to dinner with friends when worn over a dress or paired with leggings or pants and travels well. I liked the look and feel of the cardigan style sweater, but the minimalist packer in me loves the fact that the Pocket Poppet folds away into a palm-sized pack for travel with it’s own built in carrying case! The classic poppet travel cardigan retails for $79 and comes in several colors – mine is red.

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Nancy Brown with the Fivesse beach bag.

Fivesse Beach Bag

The Fivesse beach and pool tote bag is ideal for packing on a warm weather vacation. I’m headed to the Dominican Republic on a cruise and will be taking this coral tote with me in my carry on luggage. The pool bag has room for glasses, my phone, water bottle – essential for keeping hydrated on the beach – sunscreen and healthy travel snacks. I like that the beach bag is water-resistant on the interior and includes a pocket for reading materials. The Fivesse coral colored beach and pool tote bag retails for $78. and is available online.

Leather Travel Wallet

With ID fraud claiming a new victim nearly every two seconds, you might want to consider a travel wallet that is certified to protect against data theft. That’s right, Pagalli Project handcrafted leather wallets look good, feel good and keep your passport and credit cards safe. If your wallet doesn’t contain RFID blocking technology, unfortunately, you are vulnerable to skimming, a type of electronic pick pocketing. I’ve had my identity stolen, so I know first-hand how important it is to safeguard my valuables as much as possible. The wallets are TUV and ASTM certified (if that’s important to you) to block all known frequencies. The Vincente passport holder will not only hold two passports, it also has special pockets for your boarding pass, credit cards, money and a slim style pen – you’re taking notes, aren’t you? Personally, I like the fact that it is made using Marchesa leather that is locally tanned and it comes with a lifetime warranty. The travel wallet is priced at $39, check the website for current pricing.

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Buddy Pouch for hands free options

Buddy Pouch

If you have a new puppy like I do, or you simply like to travel hands-free, you’ll like The Buddy Pouch magnetic by Running Buddy. The magnetic, belt-free pouch stores your phone, credit card, cash & hotel room key when you are out for a walk or a run. Currently, I’m using it for dog walks, but I imagine it would be good for travel, as well. Wear the pouch at your hip, or how I’m wearing it in the photo above, in front, for easy access. I asked if the magnets were bad to have next to a cell phone and was assured that it was not a problem. The Running Buddy retails for $22 and up, depending on the size pouch. I wish I’d ordered the larger size, as my iPhone case is thick, which makes taking my phone in and out of the pouch a little difficult.

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Flipslips foldable shoes for travel


When it comes to packing shoes for travel, I wear my boots on the airplane, as they take up the most space in my luggage. I have TSA precheck and CLEAR when I fly out of San Francisco International Airport, so lucky for me, I don’t have to remove my boots going through security. If you are like me, and like to travel light, you’ll want to check out FlipSlips, colorful, foldable shoes. Similar to Tieks ballet flats, FlipSlips come in a rainbow of colors yet with an affordable price tag ($79 per pair when I last checked.) Each set of shoes comes with three sets of interchangeable ankle straps, giving us fashionistas five unique style options. The San Francisco, California-based designer, Esther Flatto, even made the ankle straps reflective for added safety when walking the streets at night. When not being worn, use the FlipSlips straps (say that 10 times fast) to pack up your shoes for travel. The shoes range in sizes from 6-11.

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Zus app allows you to find your car anywhere

Zus Car Charger

The Zus car charger is a clever idea for several reasons; it is able to charge 2 devices with one charger AND it helps you find your car. For those of us who use apps when we travel, download Zus on your smartphone, plug Zus into your car’s cigarette lighter and start the engine. The lights will come on and Zus is ready to connect. Turn on your device’s Bluetooth. The app will search for Zus and automatically connect. It will then save the location of your parked car and lead you back to your car when you need to find it by pointing you in the right direction with an arrow. Just like the pool party game Marco Polo, Zus will shout out when you are close to your destination and reward you with your car appearing before your eyes when you’d given up hope locating it on your own. While the car charger, with a suggested retail price of $29.99, is designed in Germany, Nonda is the Palo Alto, California- based company that creates smart hardware for appcessories.

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Snap Power
The Snappower Guidelight is a nightlight built into the cover plate of your outlet. This isn’t an item that I’d travel with. Instead, it’s a good item to put in your child’s room or install above the kitchen counter for an attractive nightlight that’s built into the cover plate of the outlet. It installs over any standard outlet and leaves both outlets available for use. The Snappower Guidelight retails for $15.