Time was, we’d take money out of the ATM and pray that our bank didn’t charge too much in extra charges. My Natwest card for instance, charges me £1 per transaction for using it in shops abroad. Not to mention the unspent cash I have to come home with.
Monzo is a prepaid Mastercard which doesn’t charge any transaction fees when you pay in foreign currency. It also has a great app that shows you exactly how much you’re spending, and on what -- making it a great day-to-day debit card when you’re back home.
Felix and I love our music, and we’re always streaming Spotify tunes. But is there anything worse than trying to listen to music through your phone’s speakers? Even the exceptional One Plus 5 has pretty tinny speakers. Much better to hook up to a bluetooth speaker like the UE Roll which is lightweight and sounds excellent.
This app allows you to download some basic and very useful info about your destination. And if you want to forgo lugging around a heavy copy of Lonely Planet on your journey, then this could be the answer. Offline City Guides gives you info on sights, restaurants and transport options - all curated by experts (unlike the equally useful TripAdvisor app).
If you’re travelling, there’s bound to be at least one point in your journey when you wish you were able to block out the noise. On the plane, or in a dodgy hotel where the noise outside - or inside - is unbearable. Use these ear plugs to drown it out and go back to sleep.
Another essential for decent sleep. I’ve lost count of the number of AirBnb places I’ve stayed without blackout blinds. This mask totally blocks out light and will stop you waking up too early. Ideal for those who - like me - wake up as soon as it’s light outside.
One thing I miss when I’m on the road is great coffee. Sure, if you’re in a metropolitan area it’s easy to find a barista with a big beard and a caffeine habit to give you a fix, but personally I prefer to have it before leaving the hotel. Probably only really essential for real coffee addicts.
Eminently more practical is this power bank which solves the problem of running out of juice on the road. Want to watch 10 hours of downloaded Netflix to ease the pain of a transatlantic flight and the resulting jetlag? No problem. This is one of the highest capacity portable batteries on the market and will keep you going for days.
A standard in British homes, but hard to get when you’re away. Take a single foreign adapter and one of these; you’ve tripled the amount of things you can plug in. Simple, cheap and very useful.
Sadly we don’t live in a world where all content and websites are accessible to everyone. Whether it’s Facebook in China or Netflix in India - having a VPN helps overcome localisation rules. Proton is reliable and fast, and crucially gives you access to sites you probably couldn’t do without.
There are tons of travel pillows out there. Raising almost $100k on Kickstarter, the Voyage stood out because it has more than one use; it acts as a neck support for sleeping and also an eye mask to block out light. I’m always in favour of taking one thing instead of two. Versatile and lightweight, it looks like the Voyage is the current go-to when it comes to travel pillows.