Essential Travel Gear

The best gear to make any trip a success 🎒🔌.

12 categories, updated 17 days ago

Classic Luggage

Since its origins as the humble suitcase 120 years ago, luggage has evolved to continually better serve our travel needs. What hasn’t changed though is that they're abused more than Theon Greyjoy, especially when checked. That wear and tear makes a strong case (pun intended) for investing in better quality luggage that lasts longer and saves you from constant repairs or replacements.

The classic luggage collections here are from trusted brands with decades of experience you can feel confident in.

Unsure of weight or size requirements?

This site is handy for carry on sizes. For checked baggage, it ranges from 30kg (66lbs) for nicer airlines down to none for budget airlines where you pay by weight. The typical range is around 20kg (~44lbs).

What we look for
  • Quality materials and components to withstand abuse and so you enjoy using it more
  • Lightweight so your weight allowance goes towards what you’re actually packing
  • Organization features like compression and suiters to make packing easier
  • Spinner wheels for easy movement in all directions with minimal effort
  • Warranty and ease of repair to minimize out of pocket expenses
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Travelpro Crew 11

Best overall classic luggage collection

Airline crews across the world trust Travelpro for good reason: their luggage always hit a sweet spot between features, quality, and price. The Crew 11 collection continues that tradition. They're built with a sturdy ballistic nylon that's also lightweight and use self aligning wheels unique to Travelpro that make rolling easier. The 21" carry on even takes a cue from modern luggage and includes a power bank pocket for charging devices.

  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • 21" carry on: 7.2 lbs, ~36L
  • 25" checked: 8.8 lbs, ~63L
  • 29" checked: 10.6 lbs, ~85L

Delsey Helium Aero

Great hardside value option

The Delsey Helium Aero collection is our favorite hardside luggage that's affordable yet still well made. The most important feature is its polycarbonate shell, which is the most durable yet lightweight material for hardside luggage. It comes with a TSA lock and looks pretty sleek for its price too.

  • 10 year limited warranty
  • 21" carry on: 8.4 lbs
  • 25" checked: 10.2 lbs
  • 29" checked: 12.5 lbs

Travelpro Maxlite 4

Great softside value option or if weight is important

Not only is the Maxlite 4 our favorite affordable softside luggage, it's also the lightest: 2 to 4 pounds lighter than competitors actually, which is a lot considering most luggage is around 8 to 11 pounds. It lacks fancy features like the self aligning wheels of its more expensive Crew 11 sibling, but it's ~1/2 the price and is still made with sturdy materials overall.

  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • 21" carry on: 5.9lbs
  • 25" checked: 7.8 lbs
  • 29" checked: 8.6 lbs

Briggs & Riley Baseline

Quality and service worth the high price if you travel frequently

The Baseline collection from Briggs & Riley epitomizes "buy less, but better": high quality materials like a nylon/rubber/aluminum fabric, a patented compression system that's easier to use than others, a suiter, and other luxurious details. While not exactly trendy, its classic looks are perfect for business travelers. Finally, B&R are one of the few that offer a lifetime warranty that includes airline damage and are often recommended by luggage repair shops for being easier to fix, making it a truly good long term investment and a favorite of frequent travelers despite its price.

  • Lifetime warranty that includes airline damage, a rarity
  • 22" carry on: 9 lbs (video review)
  • 25" checked: 11 lbs
  • 28" checked: 11.9 lbs

Rimowa Salsa Deluxe

Heritage and style make this a high society favorite

Rimowa is an all time luggage great due to its German engineered quality and signature good looks, making it a cult favorite among discerning business travelers and celebrities alike. Although the aluminum Topas series made them famous, we recommend the polycarbonate Salsa Deluxe since it's lighter, more durable, and cheaper without sacrificing features like the external bag holder. We won't blame you for sticking with the Topas though, especially the lust worthy Stealth 😍.

  • 5 year limited warranty
  • 21" carry on: 8.2 lbs, 32L
  • 26" checked: 11.5 lbs, 63L
  • 29" checked: 11.9 lbs, 78L
Learn more

Modern Luggage

Anything you can do, we can do better. At least that's what a few modern luggage upstarts thought when they burst onto the scene a few years ago using the same disruptive crowdfunding and direct to consumer strategies popularized by brands like Casper and Warby Parker. This generally meant smart features like integrated batteries to charge devices, trendy designs, good quality, and more hip branding at a less marked up price.

It's not for everyone, in particular we think some of the smart features are more useful as separate products, but there's a definite appeal to younger travelers.

What we look for

Same as Classic Luggage but with additional scrutiny on smart features, design, and branding.

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Away

Quality and hip branding at a reasonable price

Away is the Warby Parker of luggage, not just because a founder worked there but because their direct to consumer model results in a thoughtful and quality product without the typical retail markup. They're all built with Makrolon polycarbonate (aka the best) and come with a TSA lock, compression system, and removable laundry bag. The carry on integrates a battery for charging any USB device and can nest within bigger Away luggage like Russian stacking dolls. Their beautiful Instagram account also does a great job selling the travel lifestyle.

  • 100 day trial with limited lifetime warranty
  • 21.7" carry on: 7 lbs, 38L (unboxing video)
  • 25" checked: 8.5 lbs, 62L
  • 28" checked: 9.9 lbs, 86L

Bluesmart One

The ultimate smart carry on for connected travelers

The Bluesmart One is luggage reimagined for today's connected age with smartphone enabled features like a worldwide location tracker, digital scale, digital TSA lock, integrated battery for charging, and easy access compartment for a laptop/tablet. Its hubless wheels are quieter than others while also adding to its slightly geeky looks. An interesting approach that'll appeal to many, but not all.

If you can wait, Bluesmart is launching their new Series 2 luggage series launching in December.

Raden

The Apple of luggage

Raden uses an Apple-esque approach to luggage that combines a sleek design with the latest technology and the best materials. It boasts similar smart features as the Bluesmart with a companion smartphone app, but from its minimalist and polished exterior you wouldn't think this luggage was so teched out. The polycarbonate hardshell comes in a beautiful array of colors, but we'd only recommend the lighter colors if you're proud of visible scuffs similar to how Rimowa owners love the stickered patina of the Topas.

Internally it is a bit sparse: few pockets and no compression but that isn't too hard to rectify with the right accessories.

Incase NoviConnected

Sleek smart luggage with USB-C charging

While technically not an upstart, Incase has always made high quality, tech focused bags and their take on smart luggage is definitely modern. The NoviConnected hits all the right notes: high quality materials like Makrolon polycarbonate, sleek looks with removable hubless wheels, and app connected battery that can charge USB-C devices. Most modern luggage can't charge USB-C yet.

If you want to add tracking, Incase does offer a separate smart luggage tracker.

  • Limited lifetime case warranty and 2 year battery warranty
  • 22", 41L

Travel Backpack

Normal everyday backpacks do an admirable job when traveling. If you travel often though, it’s worth considering a travel backpack which is meant to simplify life on the road by consolidating your carry on and backpack into a single 35L to 45L bag that still falls within an airline's carry on requirements. They also usually have features to make packing easier, like a clamshell style opening. It's a 🔥 category: there are a ton of great options today, with many released only within the past year or two.

What we look for
  • Quality materials and components to withstand abuse and so you enjoy using it more
  • Smart organization features so you can pack efficiently and quickly find items when on the go
  • Padded straps and vents so it's comfortable to wear for long periods
  • Some level of weatherproofing to make the bag more versatile
  • Good looks which is subjective but we err on the minimal side so it matches with more outfits and doesn’t scream tourist to minimize attention from thieves
  • A good warranty to protect your investment because sturdy backpacks aren't cheap
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Osprey Porter 46

Great overall bag: spacious, durable, light, and functional

You see this Osprey bag often all around the world and for good reason: it's a really good all around bag and not to mention Osprey's top notch reputation and customer service. It comes with a big panel loading main compartment with compression for easy packing and a lockable front panel with padded device compartments. The technical and outdoorsy look, however, isn't for everyone.

  • Conveniently attaches with certain Osprey daypacks, like the Daylite, for easier daily outings
  • If you want an even more seamless daypack combo and don't mind something bigger, see the Farpoint 55 with its made for zip off daypack
  • Lifetime Warranty ("All Mighty Guarantee")
  • 46L, 3.31 lbs
  • Video review

Minaal Carry-on 2.0

A sleek, minimalist bag made to the highest standards

Despite not knowing anything about making backpacks, two kiwis decided to scratch their own itch and create the Minaal Carry-on: one of the most well thought out travel backpacks ever. It's admittedly expensive but the quality and craftsmanship are absurdly good, like comfortable magnetic load bearing shoulder straps that are stowable for a minimalist briefcase look. Its sleek design works everywhere including the office and its clamshell design opens fully for easy packing. If you want the best travel backpack, this bag is definitely up there.

The North Face Surge

Great commuter backpack that also works for travel

This commuter backpack has long been popular among travelers and the "buy it for life" crowd due to North Face's consistent high quality materials and components. It has lots of dedicated, padded pockets for devices including a lie flat laptop compartment for easy airport travel and a comfortable FlexVent shoulder strap system. The only small downsides are a busy exterior (zipper pull and straps galore) and a top loading style main compartment which isn't as convenient for packing.

  • Lifetime Warranty
  • 33L, 3.22 lbs
  • Need more space? Check out its bigger sibling: Router Transit (41L)

Tortuga Outbreaker

A high quality bag optimized for city travel

Tortuga is one of the best brands focused on city travel and their newest Outbreaker backpack continues that tradition with quality components across the board: YKK zippers, waterproof sailcloth, duraflex buckles, and more. It has a clamshell design for easy packing and a padded, lie flat laptop compartment. The rectangular design might not appeal to everyone, but the shape actually lets you pack the most while still falling within carry on requirements.

Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45

Best security focused backpack

Paranoid or traveling to a sketchy region? Pacsafe is known for producing high quality, security focused travel products. The Venturesafe EXP45 epitomizes that anti-theft ethos in a sleek bag that doesn't compromise on space or features. You can secure all zippers into a single point, lock the bag to a fixture with an integrated cable, and know your bag is safe from slashing with its steel mesh embedded fabric. For easy packing it has a clamshell design compartment, dedicated device pockets, and stowable straps.

Travel Adapter

America may have invented electricity, but the differences in plugs and voltages across the world are the perfect storm of other countries evolving independently and thinking they can do better, so basically where we still are today. Its history may be fascinating, but it’s a pain in the ass when traveling.

Thankfully, most modern devices are made to handle the entire range of voltages across the world (110V to 250V), so there’s rarely a need to buy a voltage converter unless you have an important device that only works at a specific voltage. Expensive devices like laptops also usually come with their own adapter that converts voltages. A simple travel adapter for different plug styles should be good enough for most people.

Tips
  • Use The Basetrip to see what plug and voltage the country you're going to uses.
  • Almost anything electric lists the voltages it works at on the product itself or its manual. Compare it with the country you’re going to make sure it'll work without any problems there.
What we look for
  • Works in at least 150 countries so you can plug it in anywhere
  • Accepts as many plugs as possible so you can plug a device from any country into it
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Zoppen International Travel Adapter

Good all-in-one option with USB charging

Among the ubiquitous all-in-one cube style adapters, we recommend this one. Its USB ports charge quickly (up to 2.4 amps, as fast as it gets pretty much, vs. the typical 1 to 2 amps) and it can charge more devices (it outputs a total of 3.5 amps vs. a more typical 2.5 amps). It also has a built in fuse to protect your devices from surges. Important since not every country's electrical grid is that reliable.

We'll be honest: these aren't the best quality, but that's generally hard to find for these near commodity style adapters. We think this one's good enough.

Note: The fuse unfortunately isn't replaceable, meaning you'll have to buy a new adapter if it does blow while protecting your devices. If you prefer the convenience of a replaceable fuse, we recommend this adapter. You do give up 1 amp of total USB charging capacity, but if you don't have that many devices it's not a big deal since it still charges quickly at 2.4 amps.

Flight 001 4-in-1 Adapter

Easy-to-use, compact design with cheery colors

If you just need something simple, we love these cute color coded adapters that stack neatly like legos from Flight 001. It also comes with a color coded map to match the right plug to a country.

  • Accepts almost any type of plug

Kikkerland UL03-A Universal Travel Adapter

The most compact option when space is a priority

These fold flatter than any other adapter today which is always nice when traveling. A few small downsides: Quality is ok at best, usage is not as straightforward, and the compact design means heavy items may fall out when plugged in.

Bestek Worldwide Plug Travel Adapter Set

Higher quality multi-piece set with grounding prongs

If you don't need to handle multiple country's plugs in a single trip, these are a good option. Compared to the all-in-one options, the separate adapters in this set are made to higher standards and will fit more snugly at the wall making it easier to plug heavier devices in.

  • Plugs have additional third grounding prongs for increased safety
  • Accepts almost any type of plug

BESTEK 220V to 110V Voltage Converter

If you do need a voltage converter

If you need to convert voltage because your devices only work at 110V or you just feel safer using one, BESTEK's is the tried and true one that's been upgraded to be even better. Its legions of customers have tested its reliability, its USB ports charge quickly (6 amps total!), it comes with plug adapters, and also has built in surge protection.

However, you do give up luggage space since it's a bit bigger and because converting electricity gets hot it has a fan that gets pretty loud. Also, you still can't plug in high wattage devices like blowdryers which is the quickest way to break it.

  • Only accepts US plugs

Unlocked Smartphone

If you had to constantly find wi-fi so that your ig story will go through, you’ll probably stop doing it (and subsequently die). Social media addictions aside, it's really hard to go back once you've experienced having data while traveling internationally. So. Much. Easier. An unlocked smartphone that lets you pop in local SIM cards helps you avoid paying exorbitant data roaming fees and needing a separate wi-fi hotspot.

Tip

Use SIM card wiki to figure out how to get a local SIM cards anywhere. Use Will My Phone Work to see if your existing smartphone will work in another country.

What we look for
  • The more LTE bands supported, the more countries a phone will work in and the better its signal will be
  • A good camera because "the best camera is the one you have with you," which for most people is their smartphone
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Apple iPhone 8 Plus

Best iPhone for travel

The main reason to recommend the 8 Plus over the 8 is the better dual lens camera with its depth effect aka cool artsy photos usually reserved for expensive cameras.

While the 7 Plus can also do these special photos, the 8 Plus is still a worthwhile upgrade for travelers:

  • The camera has been upgraded to be clearer and faster
  • It supports a new GPS system that's more accurate
  • It has more LTE bands so it works across more of the world
  • The base storage is now 64GB vs. 32GB, which we think is enough for most people now while also being cheaper

How about compared to the X? Outside of the bigger screen and slightly better front facing camera, there aren't any huge benefits to the X for traveling. The backside camera is just as good and it supports the same amount of LTE bands while being a few hundred more expensive.

The most convenient way to get an unlocked version is directly from Apple. If you need to, it's easy to sell your current iPhone that's locked to a specific carrier like AT&T on sites like eBay or Craigslist.

Google Pixel 2 XL

Best Android phone for travel

The Pixel 2 XL is the best Android option for traveling. Although the original Pixel was a great phone, the new Pixel 2 is better by every measure:

Why do we recommend the XL over the regular? It's not the camera. They're the same for each Pixel 2 (unlike for iPhones). The main differences are the bigger screen and bigger battery, which are big benefits for traveling. It's better for entertainment on the go and you don't have to charge it as much.

  • Spend the extra $100 for the 128GB version to ensure you have enough space
  • Another plus: You can get it with Google Fi, a great data option for travelers

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

Great Android value option

Despite the S8 coming out, the S7 is still a good option because it's now cheaper, has a camera that's just as good (the S8 didn't update the camera), and works across the world.

Device Cables

Some of you might be thinking: dafuq? Why would I need device cables outside the typical provided ones? Here's why: We use our devices a lot when traveling (must Instagram everything!!) so having high quality charging cables that can stand up to intense use and having the right one for each situation can be a big lifesaver. Low quality cables also limit how quickly your devices charge even if they're plugged into a powerful charger. These will help you plug in with confidence.

Tip

Combine these with a USB condom to make sure no one can hack your devices when plugging into public USB ports. We wrote that sentence mainly so we could combine "USB" and "condom." #whodathought

What we look for
  • Durable material so it lasts longer (high "bend" counts)
  • Certifications like MFi ("Made for iPhone/iPod/iPad") to ensure quality
  • Power and data syncing so you can use it in all scenarios
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Anker PowerLine+ Cable (6ft)

Best overall device cable

Anker's heavy duty PowerLine+ cables are easily a must have for traveling because of how much abuse they can take. Or to borrow from our current hyperbolic political situation... Let me tell you, compared to normal cables, these are tremendous. Huge! Believe me, no cable beats them. Make Cables Great Again.

Seriously though, they're that good. We recommend the longer 6 ft length for convenience because who doesn't like using their phone in bed?

If you need extreme durability, Anker has a new PowerLine II series. However, in usage it's really stiff and annoying to pack up unlike the Powerline+ which uses a tangle free nylon material. For travel, the PowerLine+ is the better option.

Avantree Handy Keychain Short Lightning Cable

Best keychain cable when on the go

Really handy when traveling because you never know when you'll need to plug your phone somewhere. The open/close design of this keychain cable ensures it'll last longer vs. other keychain cables with their plugs exposed that wear down faster.

Skiva USBLink Duo 2-in-1 Cable

Combine Lightning and Micro USB for one less cable

If you have a lot of Lightning and Micro USB devices, get a combined cable like this one. It's always a win to pack less and have multiple items combined into one (unless you need to charge the devices at the same time). We like this one from Skiva because it's still MFi certified so you're not sacrificing quality by comining the two types of plugs and it uses more durable material than standard cables.

dodocool 3-in-1 Cable

Combine Lightning, Micro USB, and USB-C for two less cables

USB-C devices are starting to become more popular so 3-in-1 cables are now a thing (although don't we wish that wasn't necessary?). This one from dodocool is our favorite because it's still MFi certified so you're not sacrificing quality and also does both power and data, which is somewhat rare if you look at all the 3-in-1 options out there.

Power Banks

Also sometimes called an external battery or pocket charger, power banks are an absolute must when traveling. Snapping selfies 💁🏽 and using maps 🗺 are big drains on a phone's battery. If you couldn't take a selfie there, did you really go? 🤔

What we look for
  • Ouput of at least 2 amps (ideally 2.4) so devices charge quickly (general rule: the more amps the faster it charges)
  • Integrated cables if possible so one less thing to worry about
  • Surge and short circuit protection to keep your devices safe
  • Sleek looks more akin to a fashion accessory so we can look cool 😎
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Jackery Bolt

Best overall: pocket sized, charges quickly, integrated cables

There are smaller chargers with integrated cables, but this one has the best balance of features while still being small enough to carry in your pocket on the go (although maybe not that comfortably for some people).

  • 6000 mAh: 3 charges for iPhone 7
  • Charges quickly at 2.4 amps (pretty much fastest for these)
  • Both a Lightning (MFi certified) and Micro USB cable
  • Bonus LED flashlight
  • Need more power? Jackery offers a similar 10,050 mAh version

Anker PowerCore Slim 5000

Best slim power bank without integrated cables

If you don't care about integrated cables, this slim option (slimmer than the Jackery Bolt) fits easily into pockets while still charging quickly (2 amps) and with enough juice. Smaller options don't provide enough power for most people while not being much smaller either.

  • 5000 mAh: 2.5 charges of an iPhone 7
  • Anti-slip material for a better grip
  • Combine with a 6 inch 2-in-1 cable and it can basically charge any device without much extra bulk
  • Red Dot design award winner (we're suckers for design awards 😍)

Anker PowerCore 20100

Best big battery pack for 3+ charges

If you need more power for a longer trip or a trip with friends, this power bank has a lot of juice in a fairly small package with fast charging speeds. You could fit it into a bigger jacket pocket, but it's probably better suited in a bag.

  • 20,100 mAh: 6.5 charges for an iPhone 7
  • 2 USB ports that can both charge devices quickly (2.4 amps) vs. others that slow down when more devices are plugged in
  • Have an Android device with QuickCharge? Check the Anker PowerCore Speed 20000 QC

Omnicharge Omni 20

If you need AC power for bigger devices like laptops

Bigger devices like MacBooks or music equipment require AC power. Until recently, that meant plugging into a wall but now there's a new class of power banks that can do the job. They're expensive, but they're by far the best mobile option.

The Omnicharge Omni 20 is our favorite. It can quickly charge nearly any device you throw at it, is a bit smaller than comparable power banks, and has an efficient conversion rate so you lose as little power as possible.

Portable Speaker

Wireless bluetooth speakers are the boomboxes of our generation, making it easier than ever to blast loud our love of Celine Dion, Justin Bieber, or Taylor Swift for the whole world to hear. These are our favorites for getting the party started 🎶💃🏻.

What we look for
  • Water/dust/shock proof so you can use it anywhere and without a separate case
  • Good sound quality and a high max volume so you can bump it loud without worry
  • Long battery life so you can keep playing as long as possible
  • Long wireless range so you can use it far away untethered
  • Small and lightweight for easy packing
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UE Roll 2

Best all around speaker to travel with

The UE Roll was one of our all time favorite travel purchases, and the 2nd version is even better (although only slightly). Great sound, premium build quality, compact size, and rugged features make it one of the most reliable items to travel with.

  • Bungee cord for strapping it on items (more useful than you think)
  • Uses slick sound effects 🎼, not low fidelity robotic voices heard in typical wireless audio products
  • IPX7 waterproof, 100 ft wireless range, 9 hour playtime, 86 dB max volume

Anker SoundCore Sport

Great value option or if you prefer something smaller

Relative to the gold standard UE Roll, the Anker SoundCore Sport has similar features and is slightly smaller for 1/2 the price. The main differences are slightly worse sound quality and noticeably less wireless range, but for many it's good enough.

  • IPX7 waterproof, 33 ft wireless range, 10 hour playtime

UE Boom 2

If you have the space and want bigger/better sound

The bigger but better brother of the UE Roll 2. Similar features except the Boom has better/deeper sound, longer playtime (15 vs. 9), and Siri/Google Now integration.

  • IPX7 waterproof, 100 ft wireless range, 15 hour playtime, 90 dB max volume

Noise Canceling Earbuds

What'd you say? Huh? Yeah, I can't hear you because I'm literally canceling your voice.

You might not make many friends this way, but it's still funny to think that's what you're doing when using active noise canceling earbuds. They do have a legitimate use case though: drowning out the droning noises of planes and buses, reducing the shrieking cry of a baby, or any other time you need to minimize distracting noises to sleep or focus. Many people, including us, swear by them.

Tip

Active noise canceling is great for low frequency sounds like the drone of an airplane. For constantly changing sounds, like someone talking to you, it helps but it isn't as effective as just a pair of ear plugs that prevent sound from entering your ear.

What we look for
  • Active noise canceling which does a better job than passive for travel scenarios
  • Long battery life since active noise canceling requires power
  • Earbuds form factor over bulky headphones for better packability
  • Good sound quality so your unce unce sounds crisp 🎶
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Bose QuietComfort 20

Best overall noise canceling earbuds

Nothing today touches the fantastic quality of Bose’s noise cancelation. They’re expensive, but if noise canceling and auditory peace is what you value most they’re worth it.

  • The sound quality isn't the absolute best, but it's good enough considering the noise canceling quality
  • Make sure to get the right model for your device (Apple vs. Android/Samsung)
  • 16 hour battery life

TaoTronics TT-EP01

Best value: adequate noise canceling for 1/6 the price

While its noise canceling isn’t as good as Bose, it’s adequately close (estimated at about 60% to 70% as good) and only 1/6 the cost.

  • To improve the noise cancelling and comfort of these, replace the included ear tips with SpinFit ear tips
  • 15 hour battery life

Bose QuietControl 30

If wireless ability is important to you

If you need both noise canceling and wireless ability, these are the best. Compared to the QC20, the noise cancelation of these is extremely close and the sound quality is slightly better.

Downsides are the neckband design looks weird when worn and once it's out of battery it's done vs. wired options you can continue to use.

  • 10 hour battery life

Toiletry Bag

Hold your bathroom supplies with these sturdy options and hope the TSA leaves your liquids in peace. If you don't have a lot of toiletries, a sturdy leak proof ziplock bag would honestly probably be good enough.

What we look for
  • A hook so you can hang it up in bathrooms without counter space
  • Waterproof material so spills don't leak and are easy to clean
  • Enough compartments for organizing all your small toiletries
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Dot&Dot Hanging Toiletry Bag

Best overall toiletry bag

We love the convenience of hanging toiletry bags with hooks. They minimize bathroom clutter which is really helpful when traveling with many people or when there isn't much counter space. This Dot&Dot hanging option is our favorite: a simple design, enough compartments and space for most people, and made of a durable waterproof material.

  • Rectangular shape helps it stay upright when not hung and is easy to pack
  • Prefer smaller and lighter? Try this Sea to Summit bag (2.4 oz!)
  • Want more compartments? Try this Ogio bag

eBags Pack-it-Flat Toiletry Kit

If you prefer a flat shape for easier packing

This is great option if you want a flat shape without compromising on compartments and quality. While a bit more expensive than others, it includes quality components like self healing YKK zippers along with a rare limited lifetime warranty.

  • Removable hook for hanging if needed
  • Left pocket has a water resistant lining
  • Right pocket expands to store more if needed

Tooletries KOBY Bag

If you prefer a simple dopp kit style bag

If you don't need the bells and whistles of hanging style bags, dopp kits are a great and straightforward alternative. This is our favorite: made out of a thick heat resistant and waterproof silicon material that's durable and easy to clean, making it a better long term choice than most waxed canvas, nylon, and leather options you see.

Aer Dopp Kit

If you want the dopp kit shape with more organization

This dopp kit adds a few more organization features like a quick access pocket and dual compartments while using a thick high quality nylon with water resistant lining and YKK zippers. Plus, Aer's just a cool brand.

Travel Pillow

A worldwide cuddle buddy 🐻. Travel pillows can't remove 100% of your discomfort while on planes or busses, but they do help and are worth it even if they can only increase the amount of sleep you get by a little. The last thing you want is to feel like a hot mess on arrival.

What we look for
  • Inflatable or compresses down for easy packing
  • Enough support for your neck/head to reduce discomfort
  • Soft material that won't irritate your skin
  • Washable since the surfaces of planes/buses are dirty
  • An easy set up process so you can get straight to sleeping
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AirComfy Daydreamer Neck Pillow

Best overall travel pillow

This option has the best balance of features among U shaped neck pillows: a large neck support area, inflatable, lightweight, easy to wash, and easy to set up.

  • Easy 60 second push button inflation, no need to blow into any valve
  • Soft velvet cover is easily removed for washing
  • Packs down easily into a carabiner carrying case
  • Raised arch neck supports your head and neck more than typical neck pillows

Cabeau Evolution

If you prefer memory foam

Memory foam pillows are much heavier and less packable than inflatable options, but for many people they're more comfortable. The Cabeau Evolution is a time tested option with a patented back shape that won't push your head forward compared to typical U shaped neck pillows.

  • Cover made of a comfortable velour that's easily removed for washing
  • Has a media pouch for your mobile device and adjustable toggles

AirComfy Multi-Purpose Travel Pillow

Best multipurpose travel pillow

This is a great option if you want a pillow for purposes in addition neck/head support like lumbar support or when laying down where a U shaped pillow won't work as well.

  • Self inflatable: Just twist the valve and it's ready to use in seconds
  • Inner foam material provides support even if there’s no air
  • Made of an easy to clean fabric that just wipes down
  • Elastic band for securely strapping the pillow to headrests

Trtl Pillow

If pillows don't work well for you

For people who can't get comfortable with typical neck pillows, the Trtl is worth a try. It technically isn't a pillow but more of a structured neck supporting scarf made for sleeping while seated. Instead of leaning on a window, you lean into the scarf.

Water Bottle

A refillable water bottle to help you hit those hydration goals on the road is important. What's also important is they help combat the insane amounts of plastic we produce every year, the vast majority of which ends up in our oceans. Sashimi with a side of plastic: yummy yummy in my poisoned tummy 😋.

Tip
What we look for
  • Collapsible for easy packing
  • Easy to clean to prevent bacteria build up
  • Durable material to hold up to wear and tear
  • BPA free so it's toxin free and safe to use
  • Secure cap to prevent leaking
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Nomader Collapsible Water Bottle

Best overall water bottle for travel

The Nomader water bottle is the most well thought through collapsible water bottle right now with a solution to every problem you could run into while traveling. It also mimics most closely the experience of drinking from a normal bottle compared to other collapsible bottles with its structured silicon body.

  • Twist cap is leak proof and doubles as a hygienic shield
  • Made of durable, BPA free, and dishwasher safe materials
  • Lifetime Warranty

Vapur Eclipse Water Bottle

Great option if you want smaller/lighter or more sizes

The Vapur Eclipse is one of our all time favorites and compares very closely with the Nomader (which came out after we started using the Vapur). It's slightly less durable and the bladder form factor can feel more flimsy. However, it's easier to collapse, smaller when collapsed, 5x lighter, and comes in more sizes and patterns.

Contigo Thermalock Matterhorn Water Bottle

If you don't care about the bottle collapsing

If you don't care for having the bottle collapse, you might as well go all the way and get a bottle made out of metal so it's more durable and with thermal insulation so your drinks stay cool or warm for longer. Contigo's Matterhorn bottle does these both with aplomb. It also has a big mouth for easy cleaning and adding ice cubes, is shaped normally so it'll fit in cup holders, and has a leak proof lid that's attached so you don't have to worry about losing the cap.

Prefer sizes other than 20 oz? There's 32 oz and 12 oz sizes too.

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