Travel-enhancing accessories

It really is the little things that make a difference: a silk sheet, a hot cup of coffee, a germ deflector — all portable and packable, and ready to enhance any journey.

“Traveling in any capacity has a way of making you miss certain comforts of home — like soft sheets,” said avid traveler Nichole Alden.

Alden is the creator of the Brave Era 100 percent Mulberry Silk Travel Sheet ($99), a lightweight sleep sack made by women, for women. Weighing less than six ounces, it easily folds into an included pouch about the size of an iPhone, ready to be slipped into purse, bag or brief.

The sheet is naturally hypoallergenic, temperature-regulating, machine-washable and critter-resistant, making it among a traveler's most coveted possessions whether backpacking across Europe, cruising the Caribbean or just intent on having a little bit of luxury that is fully trustworthy. A roomy fit for sleepers up to 6 feet 6 inches tall, the sheet comes in sharkskin gray and natural white. (

Is there anything better than a freshly brewed cup of coffee — especially when you’re off roughing it on an outdoor adventure? GSI Outdoors’ Gourmet Pourover Java Set ($39.95) is a handy way to enjoy a fresh cup of morning joe anywhere, anytime outdoors.

Grind the coffee beans in the ceramic coffee grinder, then set the expanding silicone cone on top of a favorite mug, wide-mouth water bottle or small pot. Add any brand of No. 4 filter and spoon in the freshly ground coffee. Pour water over and — voila! —– enjoy aromatic and eye-opening drip coffee just like home.

The convenient cover doubles as a trivet for the cone after brewing and keeps everything clean during transport. The cone collapses to just one inch high, and the grinder handle nests and locks in place. (

Thousands of people fly in any given plane every single week, sitting, eating, drinking and sleeping in the seats. Some commercial airlines clean their planes only every three to four weeks. Some bacteria can live up to a full week in a plane. So travelers are basically sitting in someone else’s germs — dandruff, dried sweat, hair strands, hair oil, seat grime and other harmful microbes. Grossed out yet?

Protect your most vulnerable body parts — head, neck and face — with a HeadDEFENDER ($19.99/standard; $24.99/deluxe extended). This award-winning, patented headrest cover zips open and slips over the top of most standard size airplane seats and puts a shield between traveler’s head and seat headrest.

HeadDEFENDER has an integrated non-toxic, hypoallergenic and environmentally-safe antimicrobial barrier that destroys 99.9 percent of disease-causing microbes, including MRSA and Staphylococcus. It helps block the transfer of bacteria and a host of other nasty particles left behind on seats to the head or scalp of the user. Breathable, washable and reusable, it is also lightweight and compact, about the size of a slim wallet, and can be zipped back into its self-contained pouch when not in use. (