12 Game Changing Self Care Travel Essentials

Cut the clutter and stay calm with these self care travel essentials!

Between TSA regulations, liquid toiletries exploding in your luggage, and remembering every item you need to get through the day, packing for a trip can be one big mess. But don't let your packing woes get the best of you. Consider packing this list of self care travel essentials before you dump your shoes and clothes into your bag.

Carrying around all your daily must-haves can be a real challenge when traveling. No one wants to bring their whole bathroom with them. These 12 travel essentials help you cut down the clutter and stay calm.

Here's a guide to help you figure out what self care essentials to bring with you when traveling--

1.) Lavender Hand Sanitizing Wipes

When you're traveling sanitizing wipes are essential! Public bathrooms, airports, trains, and busses can be an absolute nightmare and not just for germaphobes.

Wipes are more convenient than liquid sanitizer because they're multi-purpose. Sticky-toddler hands coming at you? Wipe them. Airplane bathroom seat looking questionable? Hold your breath and sanitize.

These lavender wipes from EO smell delicious and are good for your skin and the environment. They come in a box of single packs perfect for traveling. Throw a few in your carry on and wipe on the go.

self care travel essentials EO Lavender Hand Sanitizing Wipes EO Essential Oils

EO Lavender Hand Sanitizer Wipes: $13.99 for 24 pack

2.) Green Tea Cleansing Stick

Traveling is no time to skimp on a good skincare regime. It's actually when your skin needs a little extra love. Just because the TSA won't let you bring your favorite full sized liquid cleanser through security doesn't mean you should just wash your face with any soap you find at the hotel.

This cleansing stick from Neogen was named one of the coolest creations to come out of Korea last year. It's an all in one cleanser with 13 natural oils that break down makeup, balance your skin's pH, and seriously brightens your skin. The solid stick makes it carry-on approved and you won't have to worry about it exploding in your bags!

self care travel essesntials Neogen Real Fresh Green Tea Cleansing StickNeogen Dermatology

Neogen Real Fresh Green Tea Cleansing Stick: $22

3.) Rose Hair & Body Oil

Multi-purpose products are a life saver when traveling. This rose hair and body oil from OUAI is a multi-purpose oil that's perfect for traveling and using on the go. With rose hip oil and shea oil as the main ingredients it's also a good moisturizing and anti-aging oil for your face.

After cleansing with your green tea stick, lather this luxurious oil on your face and body, and then comb it through your hair. You'll have glowing skin and smooth, frizz free strands. It comes in a convenient travel size. You can also try the OUAI full travel kit.

self care travel essentials Travel Sized Rose Hair & Body OilOUAI Haircare

OUAI Rose Hair & Body Oil Travel Size: $13.94

4.) Immune Support & Sleep Aid

Traveling can leave you feeling sleep deprived and take a serious toll on your immune system. If you're going to be dealing with jet lag make sure you pack a natural sleep aid! Give your body a boost when traveling with Zarbee's Immune Support & Sleep Aid. This natural drink mix combines vitamin C, zinc, and honey with melatonin to help you get a peaceful nights sleep while supporting your immune system. You'll wake up feeling fully refreshed. Even in another time zone.

self care travel essentials immune and sleep support Immune Support & Sleep Drink MixZarbee's Naturals

Zarbee's Immune Support & Sleep Aid: $8.79

5.) Natural Sleep Mask

This all-natural, silky eye mask is the perfect self care travel companion. It's lined with organic cotton and infused with ultra fine charcoal powder to help relieve tension, fatigue, and pressure around your sinuses. It also enhances circulation, helping to reduce under eye circles and puffiness.

Use it to block out any light when you're trying to sleep on a flight or pop it on for a quick meditation before boarding. To enhance the relaxing effects, spray the mask lavender oil. You'll be sure to drift into a peaceful sleep, just don't forget your ear plugs!

self care travel essential charcoal eye mask goop Morihata Binchotan Charcoal Eye Mask Morihata

Morihata Binchotan Charcoal Eye Mask: $26

6.) Ginger Flight Therapy

If you get anxious on planes or when traveling in general rub this pulse-point ginger flight therapy on. This calming essential oil mix combines soothing ginger, relaxing lavender, and uplifting geranium to help combat anxiety and tension. Apply it to your neck, temples, wrists, behind the ears, and even on your belly when you're feeling stressed.

You'll feel more relaxed within minutes. Despite the name, this essential oil isn't just for travel. Bring it to work, leave one in your car, roll it on your kids when they're acting up. This stuff really works.

self care travel essentials aesop ginger flight therapy Aesop Ginger Flight TherapyAesop

Ginger Flight Therapy: $31

7.) All in One Body Wash

You can use this energizing natural, multi-purpose wash on your body or in your hair. While it might leave your hair a little dryer than your normal shampoo and conditioner combo, it can do the trick if you forgot yours at home. It lathers up nicely for shaving and has a refreshing scent.

self care travel essentials kiehls all in one body fuel All in One Body FuelKiehl's

Kiehl's All in One Body Fuel: $8.00 for 2.5 fl oz

8.) Organic Concealer

A good, easy to use concealer is an absolute essential when you're a little sleep deprived from all that travel. Pack a small, hard working cover up like this one from RMS. It's formulated to reveal natural looking skin even if you've piled it on.

Swipe it under those tired looking under-eyes after a red-eye. The best part about this "un" cover up is that it's free of any chemicals or parabens. This organic product doesn't just conceal, it also helps heal your skin.

best self care travel essential RMS cover up concealer RMS "un" cover upRMS beauty

RMS "Un" Cover-Up: $36.00

9.) Organic Lip & Cheek Stain

Aside from a natural looking concealer this Lip2cheek stain from RMS is the only other makeup product you need when traveling. It's formulated with hydrating ingredients to moisturize your lips and your cheeks while leaving a pretty, subtle color behind. Try it in the paradise shade. It's a tropical, muted coral with red undertones perfect for lips and cheeks.

best self care travel essentials RMS lip2cheek stain RMS lip2cheek stain in paradise RMS beauty

RMS lip2cheek stain: $36

10.) Mineral Powder Sunscreen SPF 30

Mineral powder sunscreen comes in handy when traveling for two reasons; it's a no-mess way to get your sunscreen on board and it helps evens out your complexion. After applying your RMS "un" cover up under your eyes and over any redness, brush this mineral powder on for extra coverage and sun protection.

The Tarte Tarteguard Mineral Powder comes in a convenient brush to make applying a one step process. It's vegan, oil free, and all natural. It also won't mess up your makeup when reapplying throughout the day.

best self care travel essential tarte mineral powder sunscreen Tasteguard Mineral Powder Sunscreen Tarte

Tarte Tarteguard Mineral Powder Sunscreen SPF 30: $28.00

11.) All Natural Deodorant

Schmidt's all natural, award winning deodorant is a favorite of wellness guru Gwyneth Paltrow and Kourtney Kardashian. The reason? It actually works! It's harder than you'd think to find a 100% natural deodorant that doesn't leave you smelling like B.O by midday.

Throw this in your bag and you'll be smelling fresh throughout your travels. No chemical freshness involved. It's scented with essential oils like ylang-ylang and calendula.

best self care travel essentials schmidt's natural deodorant Ylang-Ylang Calendula Natural DeodorantSchmidt's Natural Deodorant

Schmidt's Ylang-Ylang + Calendula Natural Deodorant: $8.99

12.) Fluoride Free Natural Travel Sized Toothpaste

Pack this mini, everyday whitening toothpaste that's also natural and fluoride free. It whitens teeth with silica and helps fight cavities and bad bread with peppermint leaf oil. The 3.0 oz travel size is TSA approved, making it the perfect travel companion.

best self care travel essentials tom's natural toothpaste Travel Sized Natural ToothpasteTom's of Maine

Tom's Travel Sized Natural Toothpaste: $2.79

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It's no secret that the restaurant scene in New York City is one of the most impressive in the world.

Whatever you could want to eat, you can find it in New York—meaning that even if you have a slightly restrictive diet, like veganism, there's plenty of options for you. Local fast-casual chains like By Chloe and Superiority Burger are making New York one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world, but the deliciousness doesn't stop there.

Between Manhattan and Brooklyn, there's been a boom of vegan restaurants that'll satisfy any craving. Here are just a few of our favorites.

Blossom(Upper West Side + Greenwich Village)

vegan restaurant

With two locations serving both Uptown and Downtown, Blossom is a go-to for local and tourist vegans alike. They offer an elevated dining experience (and a wide-spanning takeout radius) that puts a cruelty-free spin on classic main dishes like chicken piccata, rigatoni, and grilled salmon. Complete your dinner with a fresh, fruity cocktail and tiramisu—but reservations are strongly recommended beforehand.

Jajaja (West Village + Lower East Side)

vegan Jajaja

Jajaja is the ultimate heaven for Mexican food addicts. Get your fix of south of the border staples like burritos, street tacos, and enchiladas that'll make you second guess whether or not it's actually vegan (pro tip: The nacho portion is large enough to be a meal for one person). They also have a small but mighty menu of tequila and mezcal cocktails to kick off a night of LES bar-hopping. It gets crowded here quickly, though, so try to schedule your dinner early.

Urban Vegan Kitchen(West Village)

Urban Vegan Kitchen

We get it—eating vegan can get kind of bland sometimes. But that's not an issue at Urban Vegan Kitchen, the type of restaurant that'll have you wanting to order one of everything on the menu (but we recommend the "chicken" and waffles). Co-owned by the founder of Blossom, they boast a menu that's just as edgy and exciting as their decor. Their space is large too, making it a crowd-pleasing option for a slightly larger group.

Champs Diner (Williamsburg)

Champs Diner vegan

Located near the border of hip neighborhoods Williamsburg and Bushwick, Champs is a favorite of many young Brooklynites. Their menu is full of vegan alternatives to classic diner fare like breakfast plates, cheeseburgers, and even milkshakes that taste mysteriously like the real deal, while the decor puts a quintessential Brooklyn edge on '50s digs. Who said going plant-based had to be healthy all the time, anyway?

Peacefood (Greenwich Village)

vegan Peacefood

Conveniently located just a stone's throw from Union Square—near both NYU and the New School—Peacefood is a hotspot for college students, but vegans of any age are guaranteed to enjoy their menu. They specialize in comfort food items like quiche, chicken parmesan, and chili with corn bread—all plant-based, of course. While their "chicken" tender basket is to die for, make sure to save room for dessert here, too; Peacefood's lengthy pastry menu is a dream come true.

Buddha Bodai (Chinatown)

Buddha Bodai vegan

Dim sum restaurants in Chinatown are a dime a dozen, but Buddha Bodai takes the cake for the best veggie-friendly experience in one of New York's most bustling neighborhoods. Bring your family or friends along with you to enjoy this massive menu of buns and dumplings stuffed with any type of mock meat you could want. This is also a great option for gluten-free vegans, too, as much of their menu accommodates a gluten-free diet.

Greedi Kitchen (Crown Heights)

Greedi Kitchen vegan

Crown Heights might not be the first neighborhood people think of when it comes to dining in Brooklyn, but Greedi Kitchen is making the case for delicious restaurants in the area. Inspired by its founder's many years of travel, Greedi Kitchen combines the comforting flavors of southern soul food with the added pizazz of global influences. Try one of their po'boys or the crab cake sliders. Trust us.

Screamer’s Pizzeria (Greenpoint + Crown Heights)

Screamer's Pizza vegan

We know what you're thinking: Pizza without real cheese? Call us crazy, but Screamer's does vegan pizza to perfection. If you're into classic pies like a simple margherita or pepperoni, or you want to branch out with unexpected topping combinations, Screamer's is delicious enough to impress carnivores, too (pro tip: the Greenpoint location is small and serves most pies by the slice, while the Crown Heights location is larger for sitting down).

Learning a second language is one of the coolest and most rewarding things you can do in your spare time.

However, if hopping on a one-way ticket to your country of choice isn't an option for you, it can be difficult to find an immersive experience to learn, especially past high school or college.

The next best thing is language-learning apps.

We wanted to look at the top two: DuoLingo and Rosetta Stone. Duolingo is the new kid on the block; one of the top downloaded, this free app is a favorite. Then, there's the legacy option: Rosetta Stone. For over 20 years, they've been developing their language-learning software, and their app is the most recent innovation.

They're both great options, but keep reading to figure out which one is the best for you.

Key Similarities

  • Both claim you'll expand your vocabulary
  • Both are available as an app for iOS and Android users
  • Both have a clean user interface with appealing graphics
  • Both have offline capabilities (if you pay)

Key Differences

  • DuoLingo has a popular free version along with its paid version, whereas Rosetta Stone only has a paid version
  • DuoLingo offers 35+ languages, and Rosetta Stone offers 24 languages
  • Rosetta Stone has an advanced TruAccent feature to detect and correct your accent
  • DuoLingo offers a breadth of similar vocab-recognizing features, and Rosetta Stone offers a wider variety of learning methods, like Stories

DuoLingo Overview

DuoLingo's app and its iconic owl have definitely found a place in pop culture. One of the most popular free language-learning apps, it offers 35 different languages, including Klingon, that can be learned through a series of vocabulary-matching games.

DuoLingo offers a free version and a version for $9.99 a month without ads and with offline access.

Rosetta Stone Overview

The Rosetta Stone app is a beast. There are 24 different languages to choose from, but more importantly, you get a huge variety of methods for learning. Not only are there simple games, but there are stories where you get to listen, the Seek and Speak feature, where you go on a treasure hunt to photograph images and get the translations, and the TruAccent feature, which will help you refine your accent. Whenever you speak into the app, you'll get a red/yellow/green rating on your pronunciation, so you can fine-tune it to really sound like you have a firm grasp of the language.

Rosetta Stone costs just $5.99 a month for a 24-month subscription, which gives you access to all of their 24 languages!

Final Notes

Overall, these are both excellent apps for increasing your proficiency in a new language! They both feel quite modern and have a fun experience.

When it comes to really committing words to memory and understanding them, Rosetta Stone is king.

DuoLingo definitely will help you learn new words, and the app can be addicting, but users report it as more of a game than a means to an end.

With Rosetta Stone's variety of features, you'll never get bored; there are more passive elements and more active elements to help you activate different parts of your brain, so you're learning in a more dynamic and efficient way.

The folks at Rosetta Stone are extending a special offer to our readers only: Up To 45% Off Rosetta Stone + Unlimited Languages & Free Tutoring Sessions!


So You Want to Try Workaway

Want to travel cheap, meet locals and kindred spirits, live off the land, and possibly change your life? It might be time to try Workaway.

Sitting in a house on a hill in Tuscany, Italy, watching the sun set and listening to the sound of music coming from the house in which I was staying almost rent-free, I wondered how I had gotten this lucky.

Actually, it was really all thanks to one website—Workaway.info.

Workaway Workaway

Workaway is a site that sets travelers up with hosts, who provide visitors with room and board in exchange for roughly five hours of work each weekday. The arrangement varies from host to host—some offer money, others require it—but typically, the Workaway experience is a rare bird: a largely anti-capitalist exchange.

I did four Workaways the summer I traveled in Europe, and then one at a monastery near my home in New York the summer after. Each experience, though they lasted around two weeks each, was among the most enriching times of my life—and I'd argue I learned almost as much through those experiences as I did in four years of college.

There's something extremely special about the Workaway experience, though it's certainly not for everyone.

Workaway Isn't for Everyone: What to Know Before You Go

I loved all the Workaways I went on, but the best advice I can give to anyone considering going is: Enter with an open mind. If you're someone who doesn't do well with the unexpected, if you're not willing to be flexible, if you're a picky eater or easily freaked out, then it's likely that you won't have a good experience at a Workaway.

There are exceptions to all of this. At the Workaway I stayed at in Italy, one of the travelers was suffering from stomach bloating, and the host helped cure her with a diet of miso. (I'm not saying you should go Workawaying if you're ill—this traveler's mother also came to oversee everything—but still, you never know what you'll find).

Workaway WoIsango.com

You should also probably be willing and able to actually work at your Workaway. These aren't vacations, and some hosts will be stricter and less forgiving than others regarding your work ethic. If you're someone who has no experience with difficult farm work, for example, it might not be a good idea to do a Workaway on a farm.

How to Choose a Host

The Workaway website boasts a truly overwhelming number of hosts. You can narrow your search down by location, but you can also search key terms that can help guide you in the right direction. You might search "music," for example—that's how I found the Italy location. You'll find hosts in busy cities and in the most remote mountains of India; you'll find opportunities to tutor and explore. You'll find shadiness, too, so trust your instincts.

Take time to actually read the host's entire bio before reaching out. Read all the comments, too, and if you're nervous or a first-timer, only reach out to hosts who have exclusively glowing reviews. I had the best experiences with hosts that had left extremely detailed bios—that showed me they were likely going to be dedicated hosts.

I also chose hosts whose bios gave me a good feeling, something like a spark of electricity or recognition. This instinctual method might not work for everyone, but it certainly led me in the right direction in all of my Workaway experiences. My Workaways gave me some of the best memories and deepest relationships of my life, and that was partly thanks to the fact that I chose places that were good fits for me.

For example, I chose to stay alone with a wizened academic in France. Something about his bio and descriptions resonated with me enough to trust him. (I also read some of his many thousand-page-long treatises on peace and compassion and decided that if someone could write this and be a psychopath, this wasn't a world I wanted to live in anyway). It was the right decision—and the two weeks I spent there were some of the most enlightening of my entire life.

When you reach out to a host, particularly if it's someone you really want to stay with, it's a good idea to frame your initial contact email as a cover letter of sorts—make sure you explain who you are and personalize your letter to fit each host.

Ixcanaan A Workaway painting experienceWorkaway

Travel Safely

Especially if you're traveling alone, it's always a good idea to choose a host whose page has tons of good reviews. Aside from that, a quick Google search and a scan of any social media pages related to your potential host can't hurt.

Ultimately, Workawaying requires a certain amount of trust and faith on both the host and the traveler's parts—you're either trusting someone to stay in your home or trusting a stranger to host and feed you.

But that trust, in my experience, also results in rapid and deep connections unlike anything I've experienced in the "real world." When you go and share a home with someone, you're also sharing yourself with them, and in that exchange there are the seeds of a powerful bond.

Participate Fully

Wherever you go, you'll want to open your mind and participate fully. Adjust yourself to your host's lifestyle, not the other way around, and take time to get to know your host and the others around you.

You might find that you become someone you never knew you were. As a lifelong introvert, I somehow managed to develop close relationships with many of the people I was staying with.

This might be because most people who are at Workaways are seeking something for one reason or another. In my experience, you find lots of people who are at junctures in their lives, seeking connection and meaning. With the right Workaway, you might just find it.

Workaway The Broke Backpacker - WorkawayThe Broke Backpacker