Packing lists will vary based on where you’re going and how long you’re traveling for, but the best travel accessories can improve every trip. From tech gadgets to keep your electronics powered up and luggage accessories that ensure you’re not hit with an overweight baggage charge to today’s essentials—face masks and vaccine holders included—having the right gear means a smoother journey, every time. Below, we’ve rounded up more than 20 of our go-to travel products to pack inside your carry-on, weekender, or checked bag. Consider these the staples you won’t want to travel without.
Even if you’re not the type of person with a multi-step in-flight skincare routine, a few basics can go a long way in keeping your skin happy and healthy after a long day of travel. We love a refreshing face mist, like this Lumin pick, to wake you up after a red-eye flight or cool you down on a long summer drive. And since hand sanitizer is coming with us everywhere these days, a hand balm to apply once or twice a day is equally important to keep your hands moisturized. Aesop’s smells incredible, and will last for several trips to come—a little bit of the thick, creamy balm goes a long way. Store everything in a water-resistant toiletry bag like this fold-up option from Paravel.
There’s nothing like a dead battery to slow down a trip. Keep all your accessories charged up with a power bank—Anker is our go-to. Some other favorites we’ve recommended time and time again: Sony’s noise-canceling headphones, the ultra-lightweight Kindle Paperwhite, and Tarriss’ digital luggage scale, so you know what you’re working with before arriving to the check-in counter. Speaking of luggage accessories, the Tile Pro can help locate lost bags (or wallets, or keys, depending on what you attach it to).
For a comfortable journey at 30,000 feet—especially one where you hope to get some shut-eye—a sleep mask and neck pillow are crucial travel accessories to have on hand. And if you need some peace and quiet, swap your noise-cancelling headphones in for ear plugs. We also love a good pair of compression socks to fight that pins-and-needles feeling that comes for sitting still for too long, be it on a plane or a road trip.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good organizer. Senior editorial operations manager Lale Arikoglu has waxed poetic about her love of Paravel packing cubes (other editors swear by Eagle Creek’s sets), which come in a range of sizes to store everything from bathing suits and socks to T-shirts. Herschel’s pouches come in a few different sizes, too, and won’t add weight to whatever bag you put them in. Keep cords wrapped up in Bellroy’s tech kit, and necklaces, earrings, and bracelets neatly organized inside a Mark & Graham jewelry case.
Rounding out our collection of the best travel accessories: some must-have odds and ends, like a good reusable water bottle, so you can stop buying overpriced bottles at the airport (and be kinder to the environment), a quality passport case, and luggage tags that double as portable chargers. For trips where you plan to shop, Paravel’s fold-up bag is a smart addition to your packing list; stuff it with souvenirs on your way home, or use it for overnight or weekend trips within a longer trip.
Finally, as travel resumes amid the ongoing pandemic, don’t leave home without a face mask. For longer flights or extra-crowded areas, you may want to consider a face shield, too (read more about articles director Stephanie Wu’s favorite shield here). Other helpful accessories: a face mask chain to keep your mask close by (and out of the bottom of a tote bag), and a small, clear holder for your vaccine card; senior social media manager Mercedes Bleth uses this plastic sleeve from Amazon for her card, which can be strung on a lanyard, clipped onto a keychain, or slid into a wallet.