I’ve been mulling over the idea of starting a series or two for my blog as a way to add some continuity to an otherwise broad spectrum of posts. It’s partly for the reader’s sake to know what’s coming, and it’s partly to give me some framework to stay on track. I’m starting with Wanderlust Wednesday; the idea is to share some of the behind the scenes of how and why I travel the way I do.
For this first installment, I’m talking about some of my favorite travel accessories. You know, the little guys that don’t usually get much credit. I’m super excited to be partnering with Lily and Laura bracelets for this post. They have beautiful products that I’ve been wearing for a while, so I was thrilled when they reached out to me about working together to share their story. Along with their versatile bracelets, I’ve included two other things that I don’t like leaving home without: a great travel tripod and packing cubes.
If you’re serious about travel photography and/or have a travel buddy that hates solo pics as much as my husband, a travel tripod is a must-have. I’m not committed enough to lug my “real” tripod across the world at this point, but some extra stabilization is necessary at times. I’ve used the heck out of my GorillaPod SLR Zoom Flexible Tripod with Ballhead. At around $50, this bundle is very affordable compared to quality, full-sized tripods. It is lightweight and packable–less than 1 pound and about 1 foot long–and it can handle an SLR camera up to 6.6 lbs. The flexible legs can wrap around railings and trees and rocks (as pictured on the Golden Gate Bridge and on a volcano in Ecuador). The ballhead attachment allows you to reposition your camera and turn it to a portrait orientation without having to mess with the footing of the tripod. In addition to using my camera’s self timer mode, a remote control comes in handy for couples shots when a stranger or a selfie stick won’t do (I use this Nikon Wireless Remote).
I kept reading about packing cubes on other travel blogs, but priding myself on being a great packer, I didn’t want to spend the money on them. I finally took the plunge (a whopping $22.99) before our Italy trip last year since we had three different stops, and it was worth the price! I’m definitely a packing cube convert.
I find them most helpful when I have multiple destinations–all of that packing and unpacking and repacking gets tiresome on the road. With these cubes, I know exactly where my shirts or socks or underwear are in my bag, and I don’t disrupt everything to pull one item out. I’ve had great luck with this AmazonBasics 4-Piece Packing Cube Set in Sky Blue. I started with the mixed size set so I could get a feel for which sizes work best. I was afraid the large size would be enormous, but it fits perfectly into the bottom of a carry on bag. I plan to buy more of the sizes I use most and maybe another set in a different color for my husband.
I’ve never been someone who owns tons of accessories and jewelry, so I value pieces being versatile, especially when I’m traveling. When I first spotted Lily and Laura bracelets at my Pure Barre studio, I knew they were in my wheelhouse. They’re easy to mix and match. They stay on my small wrists, unlike many bangles. And luckily, the reasonable price ($12 each) isn’t a budget-buster. For traveling, these bracelets are ideal: they’re easy to pack, a stack will match multiple outfits, and they are easy to replace if lost or stolen.
It wasn’t until after I started wearing these bracelets that I learned about the inspiring back story. All Lily and Laura bracelets are hand crocheted by women artists in Nepal. The company is committed to improving the lives of the women they employ, paying more than a fair wage. With a lot of questionable tactics involved in fashion industry today, I’m happy to know I’m supporting a brand that cares about its workers. When you order from their website, each bracelet comes with a card signed by the woman who made it–a small but meaningful step toward closing the gap between producers and consumers.