Our Best Accessories for Every Kind of Travel (2024)

Having the right travel essentials will make even the most arduous journey a pleasant one.

Traveling is not just about visiting new places, but it’s also about the journey. And to make any journey as smooth and pleasant as possible, equipping yourself with the right travel accessories is essential.

What defines essential travel accessories? Utility, convenience, light weight, and, most of all, the ability to make your road trip less stressful. So, what essential items should you pack to be well-prepared for your adventure?

These days, with most air travelers limited to a carry-on bag and a “personal item”, it's even more imperative to be efficient in your packing.

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So, you should keep the following in mind as you shop for your best travel gear:

  • Size and weight. Obviously, you want to avoid baggage fees, and checking a bag unless you absolutely have to. Your baggage has to be durable, light weight, and fit in the overhead and under the seat in front of you.
  • Comfort. Comfort on the plane is crucial. Pack eye masks and noise-canceling headphones or earbuds that will block light and sound.
  • Efficiency. Make sure your bags and accessory organizers let you get at what you need with a minimum of hassle.
  • Health considerations. Travel can be hard on your health. Keep yourself hydrated. Minimize your alcohol consumption. Get out of your seat and move around every hour or two. On long-haul flights, wear compression socks. It's always a good idea to get some sleep if you can. It's the first step to beating jet lag on international flights. Bring a neck pillow. Oh, and don't forget the little things like hand sanitizer, lip balm, and moisturizer.

All that said, here are our best travel accessories for men and women.

See all of our recommended travel accessories in one place in our Amazon shop.

The best travel tech accessories

Apple AirTags

If you're checking a bag – and sometimes that's necessary, you'll want to protect yourself by dropping an Apple AirTag in each of your bags you're entrusting to the airline. The tag syncs to your smart phone so if your bag goes to Istanbul when you're going to Indianapolis, you can set the tag to “lost mode” and the Apple cloud will hopefully tell you where it is.

Your AirTag then sends out a secure Bluetooth signal that can be detected by nearby devices in the Find My network. These devices send the location of your AirTag to iCloud. You can go to the “Find My” app on your cell phone and see it on a map. The whole process is anonymous and encrypted to protect your privacy.

Sale
Apple AirTag 4 Pack
  • Keep track of and find your items alongside friends and devices in the Find My app
  • Simple one-tap setup instantly connects AirTag with your iPhone or iPad
  • Play a sound on the built-in speaker to help find your things, or just ask Siri for help

3 in 1 Charging Station for Apple iPhone and Watch

We've had this 3 in 1 charging station on our bedside table for a couple of months now, and find it so much easier to use to charge my iPhone and Apple watch than using the tangle of cords I used to have. The phone part of it folds flat for packing. Take it out and set it up in your hotel room and you're set.

Sale
Wireless Charging Station, 3 in 1 Wireless Charger...
  • 【3 in 1 Wireless Charger】This charging station can charge most phones, support fast charging for...
  • 【Fast Wireless Charging Station】Just place your multiple devices on the charger station, enjoy...
  • 【Portable & Foldable Travel Charger Stand】The charging station for iphone is foldable, light and...

Smartish iPhone case

If you're using a magnetic charger for your phone instead of a cable, you'll need a MagSafe phone case. We've tried a lot of phone cases over the years (and spent a lot more money than we've had to) but since we got our last phone update, we got Smartish cases. Smartish were rated the best case by Wirecutter – which is how we found them, but now that we've run them through more than two years of world travel and handling by two-year-old grandchildren, we can vouch for them too. Light, rugged, durable, protective, and in the scheme of phone cases, very reasonably priced. The come in lots of colors, too. And in sizes for pretty much all phones.

Smartish® iPhone 15 Pro Magnetic Case - Gripmunk...
  • 𝗖𝗔𝗠𝗘𝗥𝗔, 𝗦𝗖𝗥𝗘𝗘𝗡 & 𝗖𝗢𝗥𝗡𝗘𝗥...
  • 𝗚𝗥𝗜𝗣𝗣𝗬 𝗡𝗢𝗧 𝗦𝗧𝗜𝗖𝗞𝗬 - Textured sides, smooth back,...
  • 𝗖𝗢𝗠𝗣𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗕𝗟𝗘 𝗪𝗜𝗧𝗛 𝗠𝗔𝗚𝗦𝗔𝗙𝗘 - With its...

Belkin Power Bank and Charger

It's hard to keep current (pardon the pun) with chargers because they're constantly being improved. But the Belkin BoostCharge Plus is probably the best combination of light weight, versatility, and power available as of this writing. It's got enough power to give a full charge to your iPhone three times, and because it has both lightning and USB-C connectors, it will also work for your Android phone, laptop, or any other device that uses USB-C.

Belkin BoostCharge Plus 10k mAh Power Bank...
  • EXTRA LONG BATTERY LIFE: With a capacity of 10,000 mAh, this battery pack provides up to 31 hours of...
  • COMPACT ALL-IN-ONE DESIGN: With integrated lightning cable and USB-C cable this 10k mAh portable...
  • CHARGE TWO DEVICES AT ONCE: This power bank can charge two devices at the same time with up to 23W...

The Anker Prime Power Bank

If you want a more powerful version of a portable charger than the Belkin above, check out the Anker Prime Power Bank. It's a beast; it weighs more than one pound (527 grams), but it will charge your iPhone or Macbook Air laptop from zero to full in about 40 minutes or 90 minutes respectively, and still have enough power left over to do it again. If you're working remotely, and don't have ready access to wall power, this is the power bank for you.

Anker Prime Power Bank, 20,000 mAh Portable...
  • 200W Total Output: Equipped with two high-powered USB-C ports and one USB-A port totaling 200W...
  • Lightning-Fast Recharge: The 100W rapid recharge via the USB-C port enables the power bank to be...
  • Power On the Move: With a compact size of 4.9 × 2.1 × 1.9 inches, the 20,000mAh power bank is...

EPICKA 75-watt Universal Travel Adapter

We've recently upped our charging game by switching the older multi-plug adapter/charger we had been carrying to this EPICKA 75-watt version. We switched to this universal travel adapter, from an old 5-watt version when I noticed that my laptop was not charging off the old adapter. Obviously, that's not good. This version has two standard USB-A ports, three USB-C ports, and an AC plug, so you can charge six devices at once. Be aware though, this is not a power converter. Be sure what you're plugging into the AC port it is compatible with the voltage of the country you're in. Don't plug in the hair dryer your brought along. BTW, you can also use this as a convenient multi-charger at home.

Sale
EPICKA Universal Travel Adapter, GaN 75W...
  • WORLDWIDE ADAPTER - Our all-in-one adapter is equipped with 4 different plug types that could plug...
  • ADVANCED GaN TECHNOLOGY - With a surprisingly small size (3.3" x 2.1" x 2.2"), our TA-105 Max boasts...
  • VERSATILE AC OUTLET - Accept not only our US plug, but also many other types of plugs from many EU...

Anker 100-watt charging cables

If you're going to up your charging game, as above, you need to be sure your charging cables handle the load. It makes no sense to have a 75-watt charger and cables that can only handle 10-watts. So, we also upgraded to these Anker 100-watt cables.

Sale
Anker USB C Charger Cable (6ft 100W, 2Pack), USB...
  • The Anker Advantage: Join the 80 million+ powered by our leading technology.
  • Rapid Charging: Supports high-speed charging up to 100W when used with a compatible charger.
  • Highly Compatible: Designed to work flawlessly with any USB-C device. (Does not support video...

Lightning adapters for charging cables

We still have iPhone 13 mobile phones, and since we're not planning on upgrading them any time soon, we need Lightning connection cable adapters to run off our new 100-watt cables. We love these because they have a loop that connect them to the cables so you're not always looking for a tiny piece, and because the cable will work for our phone as well as all our USB-C devices, such as our laptops or iPads.

Sale
BOUTOP [MFi Certified] USB C to Lightning Adapter,...
  • ✅【Avoid The Hassle of Carrying Extra Cables】This USB C female to Lightning Male Adapter...
  • ✅【Support PD Fast Charging】Support PD Charging Adapter. With 36W PD fast charging, you can...
  • ❌【NOT Support OTG】Car Play, Headphones, Card Reader, USB Flash Drive, MIDI Keyboard, Mouse, U...

Jabra Elite 85t Bluetooth earbuds

These Jabra Elite 85t Bluetooth noise cancelling earbuds could also be categorized under the Health and Wellness category below. Not only do we use them for the plane's entertainment system, but we also wear them even when we're not listening just for their noise cancelling feature. And noise cancelling on a plane is definitely a health benefit. Of course, when you're not on the plane, they also work great with your phone.

Jabra Elite 85t True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds,...
  • Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) cancels the noise you don’t want to hear; HearThrough (our word...

1Mii Bluetooth 5.3 transmitter for the plane

If you want to use wireless headphones or earbuds on the plane, you're going to need a Bluetooth transmitter to get the plane's entertainment system sound to your head. That's where the 1Mii Bluetooth 5.3 transmitter comes in. It's small, light, and works great. What I really like about using it is you don't have to go through the hassle of disconnecting yourself when you get up from your seat.

Sale
1Mii Bluetooth 5.3 Transmitter Receiver for TV to...
  • The Latest Bluetooth 5.3: The latest bluetooth 5.3 technology enables your aux bluetooth adapter...
  • Aptx Low Latency: With advanced aptx low latency technologies, it can deliver up 80% lower latency....
  • 2-in-1 Transmitter and Receiver: In tx mode, it is very easy to turn a non-bluetooth tv, pc,...

Kindle Paperwhite

We're both big readers, and would never think of traveling with out our Kindle readers. It's a whole lot easier than carrying the stack of physical books on a trip.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (16 GB) – Now with a...
  • Kindle Paperwhite – Now with a 6.8” display and thinner borders, adjustable warm light, up to 10...
  • Purpose-built for reading – With a flush-front design and 300 ppi glare-free display that reads...
  • More books in more places – Store thousands of titles, then take them all with you. A single...

PortaPow USB Data Blockers

Before you plug into any public USB port, such as your hotel room or airport, add a PortaPow USB data blocker to the end of your cable. It does just what the name says: it allows the charge through to your device, but stops any data transfer. That way, the guys who hacked into the airport data port won't get all the info on your cell phone.

Sale
PortaPow 3rd Gen USB Data Blocker (Red 2 Pack) -...
  • Attach between your USB cable and charger to physically block data transfer / syncing; Charge mobile...
  • This is our USB-A to A version, USB-C and others available; Read below if its the right one for your...
  • The only data blocker to physically show you that its blocking data and several other great...

The best accessories for packing and organization

Carry-on bags: Cotopaxi backpack or Lite Gear roll-on

Recently Tom switched from a roller bag to this Cotopaxi Allpa 35L backpack. He likes it for a couple of reasons: it's very light, it opens like a book for easy access to everything. And, it's a backpack, which he prefers when traversing airports. It also has a laptop sleeve and an easily accessible top pocket, which can effectively to carry stuff you need to get to.

Buy the Cotopaxi backpack at REI


Cotopaxi Allpa 35L Travel Pack
  • Weight-distributing, low-profile harness system.
  • Carry-on-compatible 35L capacity. TPU-coated 1000D polyester. 840D ballistic nylon paneling.
  • Suitcase-style, full-wrap zipper opening on the main compartment. Large zippered mesh compartment on...

Kris uses this Lite Gear roller bag as her main suitcase, because her “personal item” is a backpack.

Lite Gear 20 Inch Hybrid Carry-On, Black, One Size
  • Lightweight, only 6 pounds
  • Expandable
  • Internal compression straps

Personal item: Timbuk2 messenger bag and Lite Gear Mobile Pro backback

Tom's “personal item” is the Timbuk2 Messenger Bag. It's got a handy pocket under the flap that allows easy access to everything he takes out of his pockets at airport security. Once you pass security, it's easy to reach into this small space and grab it all to go back into his pants pockets.

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag, Eco Black, X-Small
  • THE CLASSIC MESSENGER: The original Timbuk2 messenger improved by 30 years of expertise
  • KEEP IT ORGANIZED: Internal organizer for laptop, pens, phones, and other small stuff; Internal...
  • CLEVER EXTRAS: Low profile top grab handle for easy heave-ho; Partially concealed flap buckles with...

Kris's carry-on is more substantial. She loves that the Lite Gear Mobile Pro backpack is expandable, has a separate zipped sleeve for her laptop, a couple convenient exterior pockets, and a secure interior hook to attach our house keys while we're away. This bag has plenty room for her small camera bag, medicine, a sweater, spare glasses, eye mask, a reusable water bottle, and all the other in-flight items she needs.

Lite Gear Mobile-Pro
  • Offers a multiple carrying options: backpack, cross-body, haul handle, or stow on top of rolling...
  • Made out of durable recycled polyester material.
  • Can expand up to 3" via a secondary full perimeter zipper for 35% more packing space.

Eagle Creek packing cubes

We've destroyed at least two sets of packing cubes over our years of full time travel. So, we finally opted for something a little more sturdy: The Eagle Creek mesh packing cubes. We like these for a couple reasons. You can see through the mesh so you don't have to remember what you put in which cube. And, as I said, they are a bit more substantial while still being very light weight.

Buy Eagle Creek packing cubes at REI

Eagle Creek Pack-It Reveal Packing Cubes Set...
  • SET INCLUDES XS packing cube for small travel essentials, S cube for t-shirts, underwear, pjs and...
  • DURABLE AND WATER-RESISTANT packing cubes for travel made with fully-washable 300D poly fabric, 100%...
  • LARGE MESH WINDOW on each suitcase organizer for easy visibility of what’s inside, and a top carry...

Sea to Summit Toiletry Bag

Tom loves his Sea to Summit ultralight toiletry bag. It's small, but has enough pockets and pouches to carry all his toiletries. And the hanging hook is very convenient when you get where you're going.

Sea to Summit TravellingLight Hanging Toiletry...
  • Lightweight hanging toiletry bag with multiple compartments for organizing makeup and toiletries for...
  • Features a main compartment with divider, two interior zippered mesh pockets, and an exterior...
  • Made from ultralight, strong, water-resistant Ultra-Sil Cordura nylon, and stretch mesh fabric;...

Buy the Sea to Summit toiletry bag at REI

FFY Travel Cable Organizer

After carrying all my little electronics gear around in one small case for years, I finally broke down and got this FFY Travel Cable Organizer to keep it all straight and accessible in one dedicated tech organizer. It's so much nicer not having to dig around to find the right cable, my earbuds, extra SIM cards for my camera, and whatever other small electronic devices. It's a big improvement.

Sale
FYY Travel Cable Organizer Pouch Electronic...
  • Dimensions: The Size of the cable storage travel case: 7.5" x 4.3" x 2.2". Compact size and...
  • Quality Material: This electronic organizer travel case made of high quality durable waterproof...
  • Double Layers Design: The electronics storage bag has 2 layers interior compartment with enough...

Gemice travel bottles

This set of Gemice travel bottles are as good as any – and cheaper than most – that we've found for carrying all those liquids in small enough containers to meet those annoying TSA 3-ounce regulations. Sunscreen, shaving cream, after shave lotion, and moisturizer are what fill Tom's bottles. They all fit, albeit a bit reluctantly, in my toiletry bag.

Gemice Travel Bottles for Toiletries, Tsa...
  • Leak Proof Travel Bottles: 3-layer leak-proof design prevents liquid leakage or spillage, offers...
  • 3oz TSA Airline Carry on Approved: Set of small bottles, perfect for shampoo, conditioner, body...
  • Food Grade BPA Free Silicone Designed with safety first and convenience a close second. Our silicone...

Travel accessories for comfort

The Trtl Travel Pillow

We've tried several types of neck pillows and found many of them to be too bulky. The big ones are too padded around the neck and actually push your neck forward off the seat back. That's not good. The best travel pillow we found is the Trtl Travel Pillow. It wraps around your neck like a scarf and gently holds your head upright, which is what you want while you're trying to sleep sitting up. You can adjust it to be as tight or loose as you want so you can turn your head to the side, if that's your preference.

trtl Travel and Airplane Pillow - Real Sleeping...
  • Scientifically Proven Neck Pillows For Travel: Thanks to our unique, patented design, you can easily...
  • Enjoy a Real Sleeping Experience on Long Flights: Add our neck pillow to your long flight...
  • Lightweight and Compact Design: Weighing in at only 4.5oz, The Trtl Travel Pillow's lightweight...

Contoured sleep mask

Sometimes, the airline will give you a sleep mask when you're on an overnight flight, but trust us, these contoured sleep masks are more comfortable. The contour holds the mask material off your eyelashes. Although it looks like you have a little bra on your face, these are a small, but significant, improvement in comfort.

Sale
LKY DIGITAL Sleep Mask for Side Sleeper 3 Pack,...
  • 100% Blocking Light: Human engineering contour can improve 99% lightproof performance, to achieve a...
  • 3D Contoured Design: NO pressure on the eyes, allows you to blink freely, and don't touch your eye...
  • Improved Adjustable Buckle: Gentle, pain-free, easy-to-adjust headband won’t tangle hair or snag...

Best travel accessories for health and wellness

KN95 face mask

No, Covid (and flu and RSV) are not over. And it just makes sense to wear a mask on a plane. Of course, that's up to you. But we do.

Sale
Funight KN95 Face Masks 50 Pack 5-Ply Breathable...
  • Funight Ventilation Series KN95 Face Masks follow the GB2626-2019 respiratory protection standards....
  • Funight Ventilation Series KN95 Face Masks maintain a strict filtration efficiency standard while...
  • Funight Black Face Mask: Increasing the width of the ear loop to 5.6 mm reduces pain in the ear and...

Kleen Canteen water bottle

One water bottle is pretty much as good as another, but I've been carrying this stainless steel Kleen Canteen water bottle for several years. I like that it has a screw off top for filling and a pull up cap for drinking. I carry it empty to the airport in my “personal item” and then fill it on the other side of security and carry it on the plane. The flight attendants will gladly refill it for you during the flight. Think of the $6 you'll save by not buying plastic water bottles at the airport and the single-use plastic cups you'll save by not using them on the plane.

Klean Kanteen Classic 27oz (w/Sport Cap) Brushed...
  • New colors and pattern
  • Chip-resistant Klean Coat finish
  • 18/8 food-grade stainless steel

Point6 compression socks

Wear compression socks on long flights. That might be the best piece of advice in this entire post. We had a friend who suffered an embolism on a long flight and almost died. It's easy, and comfortable, to wear a compression sock of you're going to be on the plane for more than a couple hours. Tom likes Point6 socks in general. (He also wears Point6 for hiking.) But the brand really doesn't matter. Just get good ones. And, don't forget to move around every hour or two to keep your blood flowing.

Point6 compression socks.

Buy Point6 compression socks


Some final travel advice

    • Choose the smallest suitcase for your purpose. To avoid extra fees and the hassle of lugging around heavy bags, choose a smaller bag and adapt what you're taking on your trip to the bag.
    • Create a packing list. Make a general list of things you need so you don't have to remember and recreate it every time you hit the road. You can always make a few adjustments for your specific trip.
  • Give enough thought to your personal item. Getting a good-sized bag – perhaps a smaller backpack – for your personal item is an easy way to carry a jacket, medicine, small electronics, and essential toiletries.
  • Put your valuables in your personal item. By valuables, we mean everything you can't do without should you have any problems. (Our best advice regarding jewelry is leave it at home.) That means your passport, wallet, glasses, phone, etc. Then, add things you'll want on the plane, e.g. headphones, book, eye mask and neck pillow. If you are checking a bag, in addition to using the AirTags, take a picture of your checked bag so you can show it to the baggage office should it go missing.
  • Make a photocopy of your passport or ID, your credit cards, and any other important travel documents and put them in your suitcase. If your ID or cards are lost or stolen, you will need to show proof of identity. Be sure to have copies someplace other than where your original documents are stored. An even better idea is to take a photo of your ID and passport ID page and email them to yourself and a trusted person or family members who can quickly email them back to you should everything go really wrong. The peace of mind of knowing you are backed up is worth the trouble.
  • Carry at least a rudimentary first aid kit. It's easy to make one up yourself.
See all of our recommended travel accessories in one place in our Amazon shop.
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