14 essential travel accessories to take on your next trip
Share this article
When packaging, there are things we are all looking for: toiletries, clothes, chargers. But there are also various travel accessories that some of us would never leave home without. The little things we don’t consider essential like, say, our passports, but still make it easier to get around. Things that solve (or at least alleviate) little problems that crop up along the way, like sleeping in uncomfortable airplane seats, dealing with tangled cords, or keeping your electronics charged.
At AFAR, our staff have spent many hours researching and testing travel accessories that help us every step of the way, many of which are sustainably made, many of which are from small businesses. This list reflects our tried and true favorites, the items that, now that we’ve traveled with them, we never leave home without.
Whether you’re flying to a distant destination or taking a short road trip near your home, consider adding one of these travel accessories to your packing list.
Travel accessories for packing and preparation
Eagle Creek Pack-It Packing Cubes
- Problem he solves: Stay organized on the go
- Buy now: Pack-It $ 55 Starter Kit, eaglecreek.com
If you’re not yet converted to a packing cube, give it a try: cubes really keep your luggage contents neat, folded, and organized. While there are many options to choose from, several of our own editors cite Eagle Creek’s popular Pack-It packaging cube system as their go-to choice. The starter kit includes a clothes shirt, a rigid-backed cube, and a half-size cube – everything you need to try it out. Extra Bonus: Eagle Creek designs its products to have minimal negative environmental impact by keeping them PVC free and incorporating recycled materials.
Paravel Shoe Cube Duo
- Problem he solves: Keep your dirty shoes separate from everything else
- Buy now: $ 55, tourparavel.com
“I don’t let my boots, sneakers, flats or flip flops touch anything else in my luggage,” says Lyndsey Matthews, AFAR’s destination news editor. “It’s not that I’m convinced the germs on my shoes are going to make me sick. . . . It’s more about the thought of all the dirt on your soles coming in contact with your clean clothes, your toiletry bag, or even a hat touching your head. ”
His thing? Use of a shoe bag, such as the Paravel Shoe Cube Duo ($ 55, tourparavel.com). Made from recycled plastic water bottles, this structured cube is large enough to accommodate two pairs of shoes and comes with a sheer top so you can easily find the pair you want to wear. If the price of $ 55 is a bit steep, she also recommends a simple cotton shoe bag (set of three cotton shoe bags, $ 13, amazon.com).
This is Ground Cord Taco
The article continues under advertisement
Whether it’s headphones or chargers, we all travel with one or more cords – cords that get tangled too easily in knots or between themselves and other small items in our bag. To keep them in order, Laura Dannen Redman, AFAR’s Digital Content Director, recommends This is Ground Cord Tacos. Handcrafted in Los Angeles, these tiny leather “tacos” wrap around your cords and close to keep them clean and rolled up on the go.
Matador FlatPak Toilet Bottle
- Problem he solves: Leaky single-use travel containers for gels, liquids and creams
- Buy now: $ 13 for one, $ 34 for three; matadorup.com
Rather than buying travel-size disposable toiletries that could leak or explode in your bag, invest in good-quality reusable bottles for your lotions, shampoo, soap, and other liquids. For that, AFAR contributor Maggie Fuller recommends the Matador FlatPack toiletry bottles, which, despite the name, are more like bags. These TSA-approved three-ounce bottles are compact, leak-proof and easy to fit into your wash bag.
En route and destination travel accessories
TRTL travel pillow
- Problem he solves: Sleep comfortably on planes, trains and long car journeys
- Buy now: $ 30, trtltravel.com
Finding a travel pillow that actually works can be difficult, but AFAR’s social media manager Rosalie Tinelli swears by the $ 30 Trtl travel pillow – both for her person who “can sleep n ‘anywhere’ and for her ‘never sleeps on a’ plane boyfriend. Although it looks like a neck brace and might look a bit odd, this compact, machine washable travel pillow has been mechanically engineered for maximum neck support and comfort, allowing travelers to sleep peacefully and avoid straining. neck stiffness. Available in a variety of colors, as well as a children’s version (ages 8 and up) and the adjustable and more breathable Trtl Pillow Plus, this travel pillow is easily one of our favorites.
Aesop Resurrection Leave-In Hand Mist
Hand sanitizer has always been an essential travel accessory, but it is even more so when traveling in the COVID era. Luckily for travelers, Australian brand Aesop offers an aerosolized version of their popular Resurrection Leave-In Hand Wash. With the same refreshing citrus scent, this alcohol-based hand sanitizer also contains aloe vera so your hands won’t dry out.
Apple Airpods Pro
You may have heard rave reviews of Apple’s Airpods Pro for everyday use before, but they are also fantastic travel headphones. These compact, wireless earbuds come with travel-friendly features like noise cancellation, 24-hour battery life, and flexible silicone tips that help the earbuds stay in your ear (and not, say, get lost in your ear). inside your airplane seat).
Finella Smith Blue Palm Print Sleep Mask
- Problem he solves: Sleep comfortably, wherever you are
- Buy now: $ 43, wolfandbadger.com
Whether you’re trying to sleep on an airplane or in an overly bright hotel room, we love the Blue Palm Print Sleep Mask. Designed by British brand Fenella Smith, the tropical palm print sleep mask is made from luxurious silk against your skin. You may need to wear this one every night, even when your PTO days are over.
Vapur Anti-Bottle Water Bottle
- Problem he solves: Stay hydrated on the go
- Buy now: $ 7 (instead of $ 12), rei.com
The article continues under advertisement
We always pack a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated while reducing waste when we travel. For those of us who don’t need a bulky 32-ounce bottle that takes up precious space in our carry-on luggage, the Vapur Anti-Bottle – a BPA-free plastic water bag that can virtually roll in nothing once empty – is our go to. “It’s one of the few things I bring on every trip, regardless of destination or duration,” says Nicole Antonio, AFAR employee.
Scarf by Travel Tube Blankets
- Problem he solves: Planes, buses or cold destinations
- Buy now: $ 48, etsy.com
Why take a blanket and a scarf when you can have a blanket scarf? To stay warm on planes, to dine out and everywhere in between, opt for one of the versatile blankets from Seattle-based, women-owned Travel Tube Blankets. Made from a soft, stretchy knit, the Classic Travel Tube blanket can be worn as an infinite scarf when rolled up. Untangled, it transforms into a 4.5-foot-long tubular blanket (much like a sleeping bag without the bottom seam) or a shawl to throw over your shoulders.
Hedley & Bennett Wake Up and Fight Masks
You already grab a face mask every time you go out, but when traveling you’ll want to pack a few for flights, transit, and public indoor spaces. For a durable, comfortable and well-fitting mask to take on trips in the COVID era, try cotton masks from Hedley & Bennett. Not only are they well made, but the California-based brand will also donate a mask to a frontline worker for every mask you purchase.
Reusable Cutlery from Snow Peak
Reusable cutlery might not be the first thing you use when packing, but they can be surprisingly handy – for taking out, picnicking, or eating an emergency packet of ramen in a hotel room afterward. that all restaurants are closed for the night. “I always pack my Snow Peak cutlery set, while my husband picks up his collapsible chopsticks, so we can avoid disposable utensils,” says Jessie Beck, SEO manager at AFAR. Both come with a dedicated carrying case so you can keep your cutlery separate from the rest of the stuff in your bag.
Castries Universal Travel Adapter
- Problem he solves: Loading electronics in other countries
- Buy now: $ 20 amazon.com
For international travel, an adapter like the Castries Universal Travel Adapter is a must have accessory. This compact, universal adapter comes with plugs that you can use in over 150 countries, including the US, Australia, England, and most of the EU. With an AC outlet and four USB ports, it also lets you charge up to five devices at a time, so you don’t have to use multiple adapters.
Anker PowerCore Fusion
- Problem he solves: Keep phones and other electronic devices charged
- Buy now: $ 26, anker.com
A portable charger for your electronic devices can save your life, especially on long days of sightseeing or outdoor adventures. Among Anker’s line of plug-and-play chargers, the Power CoreFusion stands out for its versatility: the two-port, two-port, credit card-sized charger functions as a wall charger and a battery portable. Replace your regular charging block with the CoreFusion, then toss it in your day pack on the go.
The article continues under advertisement
The products we write about are independently vetted and recommended by our editors. AFAR may earn a commission if you buy through our links, which helps support our independent publication.