There is an entire industry trying to tell us we need to buy the latest and best travel gear on the market! Over the years, I’ve learned to keep the travel-specific gear to a minimum and save my money for the trip itself. Below are my favorites that help me pack smarter and stay organized, and necessities I gift to other travelers in my life.
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Delsey Helium Aero International Carry-On. This bag is a little smaller than required, but that means I can fit it into overhead compartments with less shoving. It’s got spinner wheels and it’s easy to get your laptop in and out of the front pocket. Inside, the bag has two interior sections (one zips closed) for clothes. If you don’t need the laptop compartment, the Delsey Aero Carry-On Expandable is a slightly larger option.
Photo courtesy eBags. $110.
Tarriss Jetsetter Luggage Scale. I found this years ago and it’s been with me ever since. I weigh my bags before I travel, then tuck it into a suitcase pocket for the return trip. Check out my Carry-On Size Limits post for carry-on restrictions and links to airline sites for checked bag requirements.
Photo courtesy Amazon. $15.
Vapur Element Water Bottle. A flip top, carabiner clip, and it rolls up when empty. I seriously love this bottle! Perfect for filling from larger water bottles at your destination or airport water stations.
Photo courtesy Amazon. $12.
eBags Packing Cubes. For minimalist packing, use small and medium bags to organize your clothes. Stash breakable souvenirs inside for extra padding on the return trip. Every traveler should be using packing cubes to keep things organized and accessible – and never be afraid to open your bag in the airport again.
Photo courtesy eBags. $10 and up.
Athleta La Viva Women’s Pant. My favorite travel pant! Three lengths plus a lined and unlined version and capris in several colors. Comfy and non-wrinkling for long flights, great for trekking, and quick drying!
Photo courtesy Athleta. $89.
Travelon Anti-Theft Crossbody Bag. A cut-proof strap, slash-proof mesh and an interior organizer, as well as lots of pockets to keep things organized.
Photo courtesy eBags. $48.
Promate Optical Corrective Scuba Snorkeling Mask. I wear glasses, and didn’t have a prescription mask for my first few snorkel trips because thought I’d have to sell a kidney to afford one. Just order based on your prescription and you’ll be amazed at the difference on your next trip.
Photo courtesy Amazon. $55; varies.
BaByliss Travel Dryer. While no compact travel dryer will every fully dry your hair, I think this one is worth the space it takes up in case your hotel doesn’t provide one, especially for winter travel. It can switch between 110 and 220 voltage and has a (small) detachable directional nozzle.
Lowepro Passport Sling III camera bag. I love this bag because it doesn’t look like a camera bag, plus it unzips to expand for souvenirs, etc. Because it’s a sling, it’s easy to access your camera and hold it in front of you to walk through crowds.
Photo courtesy Amazon. $45-65.
Alicia Klein Tour One Wallet. Because I often travel to multiple countries in a trip, this wallet comes in handy with two interior currency pockets and zippered coin pockets plus two exterior zippered pockets. It also has a flap for your passport, slots for 6 credit cards and a window for your driver’s license. There’s even a small pen for filling out customs forms. I bought mine five years ago and it’s been with me on every trip since!
Photo courtesy Alicia Klein. $30 and up.
Travelon Mesh Pouch Set. One day I decided I didn’t want to be all sweaty and frazzled and disorganized in airports, so I got serious. I started by putting all of my cords, chargers and electronics in these bags. I even dedicate one for items I want to keep handy during the flight.
Travalo Refillable Perfume Dispenser. If your favorite perfume has an atomizer bottle, you can fill one of these and take it along. The only downside is you can’t clean it to change the scent, but at $10 I think it’s worth it if you can’t get travel sizes of perfumes you wear. I’ve replaced mine over the years because I lost them, not because they leaked!
Photo courtesy Amazon. $11.
Photo courtesy Amazon. $10-13 for three.
Baggu Reusable Shopping Bag. When traveling, I always seem to want an extra bag for souvenir shopping, a beach trip, etc.
Photo courtesy Amazon. $10.
DreamTime Velvet Lavender Sleep Mask. This mask is the best I’ve found for blocking out light and the lavender is a delightfully snoozy bonus.
Photo courtesy Amazon. $19.
Ziploc Big Bags. I know I’m hawking a plastic bag but hear me out. I tuck a few of these (and their quart-size counterparts) into my suitcase and always find a use – wet bathing suits, bottles of wine, muddy hiking boots.
Photo courtesy Amazon. $7 for 5.
Notice what’s missing? A travel pillow. I’m still looking and promise to let you know when I find the one. Pinky-swear.
Have I missed anything on your list of best travel gear? Leave a note in the comments!