Traveling is fun, and half the fun is all the cool gadgets you get to use when you take a trip. The market for travel accessories is saturated, and it’s easy to get carried away with all the little extras. We’ve sifted through everything from travel pillows, to travel toiletry bags, to travel wallets to find the best 13 travel accessories to invest in before your next trip:
1. Collapsible water bottle
Staying hydrated is the number one rule of travel and it’s one that often falls to the wayside when you’re making your way from Point A to Point B. Who has time for water when you’re running to catch a plane, or road tripping without a rest stop for miles? Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, bus, or car, consuming enough water isn’t always easy, but investing in a collapsible water bottle might inspire you to hit your H2O quota. Ditch your beloved steel bottle in favor of a travel-friendly one, like Nomader’s Collapsible Water Bottle or HYDAWAY’s eco-friendly version.
2. Cross-body phone case
The majority of us use our smartphones for taking photos these days, and let’s face it, some phones are just as expensive as professional cameras. It makes sense that you’d want to protect it and keep it handy for taking quick pics when you tour a new city. Pop your phone—and other small essentials like cash and credit cards—into a crossbody phone case that’s as fashionable as it is practical. Bandolier makes super chic leather options with adjustable straps.
3. Portable charging dock
Between phones, tablets, watches, and earbuds, today’s traveler has a lot of items they need to keep charged. This USB charging dock helps you stay powered up and organized with its sleek design, multiple charging stations, and built-in silicone dividers to keep your items neatly stacked on top of the device. Satechi’s version can charge 5 items simultaneously and features a Qi charger, two USB-C PD ports, and two USB-A ports. You’ll never be left on low battery again.
4. Portable lock box
Ever wanted to go for a swim at the beach but didn’t feel comfortable leaving your valuables unattended on the sand? This has always been a problem for beach-goers, and unfortunately, unattended belongings create an easy opportunity for someone to pinch your stuff. Enjoy a stress-free swim by using a portable safe (like this one from Safego) that loops around your lounge chairs and keeps your valuables out of sight and inaccessible to anyone who doesn’t know the combo (or how to crack a safe). And this lockbox isn’t just your newest beach accessory; you can loop it around the arm of a chair, a bike frame, a fence, and just about anything else you can think of to keep your personal belongings safe on a daily basis.
5. Dry bag
Planning to do any boating, swimming, scuba diving, kayaking, or anything other water activity on vacation? You’ll want to have a roll-up dry bag by your side to keep your valuables and electronics safe and dry. Sea to Summit makes a roll-top dry bag in bright colors that are lightweight enough to tote around behind you on your adventures while still keeping your belongings dry. And don’t worry if you drop it overboard–these bags will float and are 100% waterproof (as long as you don’t completely submerge them).
6. Ostrich travel pillow
If getting some decent rest is a priority on a long-haul flight, investing in an ergonomic Go Neck Pillow should be your next move. Wrap-around support from the memory foam core is all you’ll need to drift off to sleep on your next flight. The cozy outer liner is washable and the entire pillow packs down into a compactable travel pouch. It’s the perfect travel companion, made to follow you wherever you roam.
7. Travel wallet
Instead of taking your overstuffed wallet on holiday, transfer your essential credit cards, cash, passport, and travel documents into a convenient travel wallet. Paravel’s passport case holds your passport plus multiple cards in a sleek compartment and comes in trendy colors with the option to personalize it with a monogram. For those visiting bigger cities where petty theft and pick-pocketing can be more prevalent, Pacsafe’s RFID Blocking bi-fold wallet is a great choice. Finally, the minimalist chic traveler might be more attracted to this simple, stylish bi-fold wallet and card holder that comes in eye-catching colors and fits in your back pocket.
8. Clear toiletry bag
Taking toiletries through security is a breeze when you use TSA-approved cases. Options run from $10 – $100, so whichever case you settle on is up to you and your budget. Some of the higher end picks include the Clarity Jetset Case from Truffle (a women-owned small business that specializes in TSA travel cases), sized perfectly for TSA and made with clear panels so you can quickly double check that you remembered everything with one glance. If you’re looking for lower price point pick that accommodates everything you could possibly need, Amazon has some great options, like this clear make-up and toiletry organizer. Guys, we didn’t forget about you – Carhartt comes through with their rugged and practical Legacy Travel Kit in the brand’s signature brown and Lululemon nails it with a roomy, water-resistant bag that comes with a clear plastic pouch for additional storage.
9. Compression packing cubes
These are an absolute must for the hyper-organized traveler and a game changer for those who need to finesse their packing approach. If you’ve never used packing cubes, think of them as drawers for your suitcase, helping you keep similar items together, neatly folded, and easily accessible. Compression packing cubes not only store your clothes and accessories in tidy little compartments, they also maximize the space in your suitcase by condensing the contents. Once you try them, you’ll never go back.
10. The Airhook
It’s about the journey, not the destination. Chances are you’ve heard this expression and maybe even related to it at some point. But honestly, sometimes it IS about the destination and the journey to get there can be a long and tedious one. Watching movies or videos on your tablet or phone can help pass the time and the Airhook makes zoning out even easier. Gone are the days of holding your tablet in just the right position, propping it up on your folding tray, or balancing it on your knee. The Airhook mounts onto airplane tray tables and the back of headrests so you can use this genius invention on road trips, too. Built-in drink holder included.
11. Noise canceling headphones
Between fussing babies, loud talkers, and roaring jet engines, airplanes are anything but peaceful. Make your own Zen Den by blocking out the noise and tuning in to your favorite music with a trusty pair of noise canceling headphones. Apple’s AirPods are among the most popular on the market with their spatial audio (3D sound) capabilities, water-resistant packaging, and most importantly, the ability to cancel out all that racket.
12. Single-serve French press
Coffee lovers tremble at the thought of sacrificing a good cup of coffee while on the road. Even worse than a mediocre coffee is settling for a cup of instant Joe. Thanks to a number of travel French presses and espresso machines, caffeine fiends can now rest assured that they can wake up anywhere in the world and their favorite brew will be there to greet them. Bodum’s compact, stainless-steel, leak-proof single-serve French press is a slam dunk.
13. Turkish towel
Save space in your suitcase by swapping out your regular beach towel for a lightweight, ultra-absorbent Turkish towel (AKA Peshtemal). Originally used as sarongs in Turkish hammams, Turkish towels have grown increasingly popular in the U.S. for their elegant designs, super soft cotton, and versatility. Take it to the beach or the pool, use it as a cover up or a wrap, or spread it out as a beach or picnic blanket. You’ll find endless uses for a Turkish towel while you’re traveling.