This post may contain affiliate links.
Welcome to the World Travel Chef shop! Our favourite and best products for your kitchen, for travel, and maybe for sports! Most of these items make great gifts too.
An Insulated Steel Water Bottle That Doesn’t Leak
Water tastes better out of a steel water bottle and if its insulated, it stays cool. These water bottles by Super Sparrow are the ones we use currently for sports and travel. They have never leaked even when upside down in a daypack. Having a simple screw lid means they’re easier to keep hygienic, you don’t need a special brush to clean drinking parts. Buy one here.
Always Have Power Backup!
This is a no-brainer, always have emergency power on hand, particularly for travel, and particularly if you have kids. This one is phone or iPad compatible. Buy here.
To Make The Best Pastry, You Need A Good Pastry Bowl
Young chefs and new cooks, will likely want to start out making cakes and bread.
A beautiful, practical, large mixing bowl or pastry bowl is the first tool I’d buy for any wannabee pastry chef. We love the Mason Cash brand of earthenware or stone wear bowls, jugs, and mugs. It has solid, traditional good-looks and hopefully will become a family heirloom.
We don’t use bowls like this in commercial kitchens, but these are wonderful for home use. For smaller children I recommend a good set of stainless steel mixing bowls. My kids aren’t allowed to touch the good stuff yet!
Keep Your Money Safe!
This is a travel basic that everyone should have. We have been robbed several times while travelling, one of these is invaluable. Buy one here.
A LARGE Travel Towel
A Labour-Saving Mini Pull Chopper
These hand-pull small choppers are perfect for making guacamole, hummus, or salsa, they’re also good for quickly rough-chopping eggs, onions, garlic, really, these devices have many uses in a domestic kitchen.
You can even make a quick coleslaw or any chopped salad or sandwich filler in these and I’ve used it to turn hard parmesan cheese into almost powder. It certainly copes well with just about everything I’ve tried, even nuts.
We’ve tried 3 brands now and this one, we think, has been most durable. We dropped two and broke the bowls, over several years. We always replace them because they’re so useful.
These are a great kitchen or cook’s gift for under $20 or so, a perfect stocking-stuffer.
A small hand chopper like this is easier to get out and use than a blender for most of the recipes and food-prep ideas above and is easy to clean. The blades are sharp, take care! I wouldn’t give these to young kids to use.
These things are likely too small for a very large family, and not powerful enough to make pastes for Thai foods, but we find we can easily make enough guacamole or hummus for a family of 4 in ours.
Muslin is what you need for straining yogurt for, for example, tzatziki, but you can also find many other uses for it, including straining home made coconut milk.
It is basically “cheese cloth” and cooks and chefs have been using it for centuries.
We also use it to strain and remove juice from cucumbers or tomatoes, even salted aubergine prior to cooking.
We cut it into pieces to use as a more eco-friendly, washable (boilable) dishcloth for washing up. It’s also useful for covering a jar that needs to “breath” but that doesn’t need flies and dust in it.
It’s slightly abrasive because of the strong, loose-weave fibres, so makes a better cleaning cloth for dishes or surfaces than most synthetic products.
We buy a roll, or good length of muslin, unbleached, like this. It’s extremely affordable and cuts kitchen plastic use.
A Good Quality Salad Spinner
Salad spinners are a must particularly if, like us, you grow a lot of your own salad leaves. They can be used to wash and dry your vegetables fast, but this one is also useful for storage in the fridge.
We really enjoy using the OXO Good Grips range of products, but this tough, large, salad spinner is a particular favourite. The basket also makes a handy light colander or harvesting basket, the stainless steel bowl is handy too.
This salad spinner also looks super-stylish on your shelf. Why use cheap plastic when steel is better?
Peelers and Julienne Cutters
My wife is not a chef, I am. She liked to peel with a small knife, I always use a peeler. I’ve won her round, finally. These peelers are kitchen essentials, I’m never without at least one Y peeler.
A lot of peelers are flimsy and rust or break easily. We once tried a peeler with a plastic blade, never again! It snapped within weeks and was such a waste of plastic.
Again, I’m going to recommend OXO Good Grips. This set of three peelers is proving highly durable at home.
These peelers are also great for finely slicing cheese!
Slice Fast, Easily, A Mandoline or Hand-Held Version
What to get for the home chef who has everything? A mandoline is a useful kitchen gadget for sure. I use one at work, and actually, take it home sometimes to bulk prepare vegetables for fermentation.
At home you may prefer a smaller hand held mandoline like the one below.
These are a real pro-chef secret weapon to speed up bulk chopping.
You can use a mandolin to finely slice pretty much any vegetable for, ferments, coleslaw, salads and garnishes. In Thai food, and Vietnamese, these are pretty much essential for the preparation of green papaya salads and spring rolls.
Mandolins are sharp, and you get what you pay for. This mandoline is well-priced for domestic use, without going for a super-expensive professional version. The Japanese blades are what to look out for in buying a mandoline. Go for a good quality one to last you well.
I would not, ever, let kids use a mandoline. They are extremely sharp.
A Good Carry-On Size Backpack with Laptop Pocket
The big name in carry-on size backpacks is again, Osprey. This 40 L pack which zips open for easy access, has a padded laptop pocket and is the perfect size for European airlines. It is fractionally too big for AirAsia carry on, but we looked at bags and backpacks for the Air Asia size limits and bought the Farpoint 40 anyway.
There was just nothing that came close to this standard. It’s a superb bag and we haven’t once had it checked or weighed on over 12 flights with AirAsia or Air Malaysia.. My 11-year-old child carries this pack and it takes all of his clothes and toys with room to spare. It fits me and my husband.
Check out the Osprey Farpoint Bag Here! (this is the men’s version, which we own and I, a woman, use often, there is also a ladies version of this bag.)
Make Packing Faster with Packing Cubes and Organisers
I’d be lost without my Bags packing cubes. We bought a 3 piece set of eBags packing cubes almost 10 years ago and they’re still good as new, mine are pink, but there’s a huge colour range. These days there are many more brands on the market, like those above, eBags can be hard to find.
They work just as well for backpacks or suitcases and if you’re like me, love to be organised, you probably need to buy a set for everyone in your family, right now. Packing cubes minimise packing stress and help you find things. I also carry a travel organiser in my day pack, every day!
We always used to recommend the sets of 3 packing cubes with small, medium and large, but honestly, 3 mediums is possibly more useful. If I were to buy more I’d certainly buy 3 medium cubes or a selection of shapes and sizes.
Travel Plugs, Power Adaptors, Rechargeable Power Packs
Most families carry a lot of electronics. That makes keeping them powered-up essential and adapters a very important part of your family travel gear.
You don’t need one power bank per person but I’d say at least one per family is essential. You’ll really need them on long travel days by plane, bus or train.
Make sure you have enough travel plugs, leads and chargers for your family, for each country you visit. Electrical sockets vary around the world with most of Asia taking a variety of different types. I should do a post around this.
The European two round pin plug is good for many countries in Asia too. You’ll even find British 3 pin sockets in some countries, for instance Malaysia and Singapore, alongside Asia sockets.
USB chargers are becoming more and more common in airports and even on planes, in Asia and beyond. You can often expect the best tech and superb WiFi in some parts of Asia.
For domestic travel, if you don’t need to worry about different shaped sockets and varied voltages, you’ll still do best if you take some sort of travel multi-plug.
These days we carry solar-powered rechargeable battery packs and we find them great (amazing!) for trekking, camping, or anything outdoors. We also carry at least one regular power bank like the Anker Power Core 26800. Dual input port, double speed recharging, 3 USB ports. (use this link to buy in the US, UK, or Europe, see Australia below) This is a good one, top-end capabilities, and it holds a lot of power or charge (26,800 Milliamphere Hours, is a lot), but it has very limited stock.
We do recommend Anker as a trusted brand in power banks, we use them ourselves when we travel and have done for years.
You can find a full review post on rechargeable power packs and chargers here.
The Best Bag For Wash Kit and Medical Kit
We’ve recently discovered the perfect travel washbag. Why perfect? Because it’s lightweight, light on bulk and it’s flat. Your washbag is usually the last thing you pack and the first thing you unpack on arrival, this washbag is designed to make your life easy.
Our flat washbag is the eBags pack it flat washbag and it’s seriously good, and unavailable. So we’re having to link to a very similar bag in the image and right here to buy. I’ve got this one on order to test it out and I’ll let you know how it fares on an upcoming cruise adventure.
A flat bag is far easier to fit in the top of your suitcase or backpack. On arrival just grab it, unzip the centre compartment, and hang the whole thing from a bathroom hook. When you undo the zipper you’ll find a hanging point inside and every pocket can be accessed easily while the bag hangs.
A wash-bag is much better hanging in your bathroom that sitting on a wet or grubby washroom surface (in shared hostel showers it’s a dream).
The centre pocket is great for small items, even makeup or jewellery and multiple pockets keep all of your wash gear organised and clean. The ebags bag is big enough to take my hairbrush and gel spray in one packet, toothbrushes and paste in another and both stay clean, hygienic and dry, I can’t say for sure if this brand will do the same. My solid shampoo would slot in their easily too.
Solid shampoo not only helps you save the planet through using less plastic, but it also makes carrying it easier, less mess, no liquid bans in carry on. You do have to be careful to keep all solid toiletries dry though, or they disintegrate.
I’ve been travelling with my E Bags Pack it Flat for years now and honestly love it, it’s one of my favourite travel items and makes travelling that little bit easier on everyone.
This is another item that would make a great gift and is loads better than the old-style hanging wash bags. We once owned one of those and threw it out because it was too bulky and heavy. For the mums, yes, it will take the whole family’s toothbrushes if you need it to.
When you travel full time, little miniature travel sized pots and bottles aren’t part of your family travel gear. But, for short trips, where you can decant from your large bottles at home, they are sensational. I own an excellent set from Avon, with lids that seal vacuum-tight and never spill, I used to use them for vacations in our pre-nomadic days.
If you want to travel carry-on only, make sure they are under 100mls and keep them ready in a clear plastic bag. Some airports and countries are doing away with 100ml limits on liquids, but only some, so you do still need to be careful.
These days we buy as many solid toiltries as possible but mostly we’ve cut down our toiletries to absolute essentials only (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, solid shampoo, conditioner, for the one of us with blue hair, also solid, shaving kit. )