New Gear I Tried On My Last Trip: What Worked, What Didn’t

Hi Frugalistas!  I don’t know about you, but I’m always on the hunt to find gear and gadgets that make my life cheaper and easier while I’m traveling.  On my most recent trip I tried out five new “toys”.  Here’s my opinion on what worked and what didn’t:

The Toys

Firstly I found some soft plastic tubes for liquids called Goo-Tubes.  I bought 3 in a variety of colours and sizes (varied from 30ml to 50ml).

A Travel SIM card – mine was an Australian product called (rather intuitively) a TravelSIM

A dual SIM card phone – in this case a Samsung Duos

A BPA-free plastic collapsible water bottle

Laundry leaves – that came in a little plastic packet a bit like a dental floss packet (and about the same size)

I love giving new things a try to make my traveling life easier

So, how did they do?

The goo-tubes have a valve inside to stop them leaking from the top, and have a little dial with a very limited range of items you can choose for the contents.  They were super easy to fill, and very easy to use, even for the thickest lotions.  On the down side, I found them impossible to write on them with marker pens, so I needed to go by size and colour, and the smell of the contents to work out what was in each – the writing on the dial was too small without my glasses – not what I need in the bathroom!.  The sizing was good – I think I could have traveled for about 2-3 months without refilling.  Most importantly, they did not leak a single drop of their contents.  They are definitely the best tubes I’m yet to try, and I will definitely be using them again in preference to the harder plastic ones I’ve used previously.

The TravelSIM was easy to load a credit onto online.  I loved that the family at home could VOIP call me for free, and it only cost me US$0.21 a minute to talk to them.  The only downside I could see was the lack of data service, but for texting and phoning it was great.

The dual SIM card phone.  This was a disappointment at its most basic function – it was an awful phone with very poor sound quality, to the extent I could barely understand the higher pitched voice of my daughter.  It didn’t seem to matter which SIM card I was ringing from (I did use both to make sure it wasn’t just the TravelSIM service provider).  It was great to have access to all my phone numbers and to take calls and texts from both numbers, but that just didn’t make up for the poor sound quality of the phone.  I can’t recommend it.

The collapsible water bottle.  I didn’t get to use this as much as I expected – the weather was so cold that much of the time it was hot chocolate time rather than hydrating time when I needed a drink.  Where it did come into its own though was for the train.  It was easy to fill under a tap in the hotel bathroom and collapsed down into almost nothing to fold up and pop in my case when I didn’t need it.  I felt confident in its lid – and it didn’t let me down – no leaks.  It had a ring that would easily connect it to a daypack or suitcase if needed.

The laundry leaves.  These take up no room in a toilet bag and contain 50 little leaves of detergent.  They dissolved easily in water, but I found I needed to use quite a few of them to have the basin look like it had soap in it.  They worked OK if you rubbed them directly on the clothes, but at one leaf for each item of clothing, it wasn’t a very economical way of washing.  They did the job they were supposed to, and I’ll happily use them till they are finished, but won’t be bothered to buy anymore – I’d rather just go back to washing my clothes with the soap provided in the bathroom by the hotel!

And the Winner is……

Definitely the goo-tubes, followed by the TravelSIM.  Both winners that I will definitely be taking with me again.

An absolute winner I will definitely be using again

What is your favorite gear that you can’t travel without?

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10 Comments on “New Gear I Tried On My Last Trip: What Worked, What Didn’t”

  1. Lyra 12/06/2012 at 5:19 am #

    Totally agree with your choice of winner. I have these too and love them. My only issue, which has nothing to do with the tubes, is filling them with conditioner or a thick lotion. My conditioner is so thick, it doesn’t want to leave its home container so I have to work hard to get it into the travel bottle. I’ve used a butter knife but that’s not all that effective. If anyone has any suggestions for this problem, I’d love to hear them!

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 12/06/2012 at 6:20 am #

      I ended up using a teaspoon. Must admit for the really thick face creams I use little pots rather than the tubes

  2. www.teresayoung.com 13/06/2012 at 1:39 pm #

    Fantastic blog, Jo. I found you while looking for just that: beautiful blogs to nominate for the One Lovely Blog award. Take a look, and keep up your great work! http://teresayoung.com/2012/06/12/a-blog-award-nomination/

  3. Christine 14/06/2012 at 2:29 am #

    What a helpful post! Thanks for posting 🙂

  4. Marilyn 13/07/2013 at 11:55 am #

    For thick creams you should get the goo tubs by the same company. 2 sizes & can be opened with 1 hand. All my face creams go here. Do wish they made a smaller tube for short trips. For better labeling on the tube, the ring comes off & I make a label with my brother label maker, trim it, put it on the rim and replace the ring – works great & you really can see it better.

    • frugalfirstclasstravel 13/07/2013 at 12:08 pm #

      Thanks for the recommendation, Marilyn. I’ve seen the tubs but never tried them. Will definitely give them a go now!

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