Packing lists will vary based on where you’re going and how long you’re traveling for, but the best travel accessories can improve every trip. From tech gadgets to keep your electronics powered up and luggage accessories that ensure you’re not hit with an overweight baggage charge, having the right gear means a smoother journey, every time. Below, we’ve rounded up 27 essential items to pack inside your carry-on bag, weekender, or checked luggage. Consider these the travel gear staples to bring on your next trip—and all your future vacations after that.
- A trusted tote
- A travel toiletry bag
- Packing cubes
- Jewelry case
- Reusable travel bottles
- Hydrating skincare products
- A portable charger
- A power adapter
- A luggage scale
- A way to find your luggage
- An e-reader
- A portable fan
- A portable steamer
- A tech kit
- An eye mask
- A neck pillow
- Cozy socks
- A shawl or blanket
- Face masks
- Hand sanitizer and wipes
- A reusable water bottle
- Snack containers
- A passport holder
- A back-up travel bag
- An umbrella
This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.
1. A trusted tote
A tote is the ideal personal item—it’s roomy enough to store all your odds and ends, and everything you’d want with you during a flight, and is usually pretty pliable, meaning you can squeeze it under the seat without taking up all of your foot room. Look for one with comfortable shoulder straps, should you overload it with snacks from Hudson News. A trolley sleeve is a nice feature, too, so you can slide it over your suitcase while cruising through the airport.
Browse more tote bag recommendations.
2. A travel toiletry bag
A Dopp kit is key to staying organized—and avoiding spills in your luggage. We like these options from Calpak and Dagne Dover for their water-resistant materials and ample space for your toothbrush and toothpaste, razor, soaps, and more. Depending on where you’re headed, and who you’re traveling with, you might want to opt for a hanging bag, like Calpak’s, that allows you to keep items tidy and off the bathroom counter.
Browse more women’s and men’s Dopp kit recommendations.
3. Packing cubes
Don’t underestimate the power of a good packing cube. Articles director Lale Arikoglu has waxed poetic about her love of Paravel’s packing cubes (other editors are fans of Away’s set), which come in a range of sizes to store everything from bathing suits and socks to T-shirts.
Browse more packing cube recommendations.
4. Jewelry case
A rule to live by: Never check your valuables, especially jewelry. Keep necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings safe and neatly organized inside a jewelry case. We like Mark & Graham’s for smaller accessories; if you’re packing sunglasses and watches, you’ll want something slightly bigger, like this Amazon option.
5. Reusable travel bottles
Rather than buy plastic minis of a generic shampoo and body wash, get yourself a set of leakproof travel bottles that allow you to bring your at-home favorites on the go. They’re great for storing toiletries and beauty products, but also small items like jewelry or vitamins.
Browse more toiletry bottle recommendations.
6. Hydrating skincare products
Even if you’re not the type of person with a multi-step in-flight skincare routine, a few basics can go a long way in keeping your skin happy and healthy after a long day of travel (just make sure all your products are in a TSA-approved size). Since hand sanitizer remains a travel essential, a hand balm to apply once or twice a day is equally important to keep them moisturized. Aesop’s smells incredible, and will last for several trips to come—a little bit of the thick, creamy balm goes a long way. Kiehl’s is another editor favorite. Don’t forget a hydrating lip balm, either.
7. A portable charger
There’s nothing like a dead battery to slow down a trip. Keep all your accessories charged up with a power bank—Anker is our go-to, but Calpak’s dual luggage tag-charger is a great option, too.
8. A power adapter
For international travel, a power adapter is a must to make sure you can get devices charged up in the airport and your hotel room. Apple’s World Travel Adapter Kit comes with seven AC plugs with prongs that fit into different electrical outlets around the world, and each one is labeled with the regions they are compatible with. (As for compatibility, it works with Apple USB-C power adapters; MagSafe and MagSafe 2 power adapters; 10W, 12W, 30 and 35W USB ports; and portable power adapters.) We also recommend this Bluetooth converter, which lets you use your regular cordless earbuds to watch a movie in flight.
Whether the plan is to listen to music, watch a movie, or just drown out noisy neighbors, most of us won’t board a plane without headphones. Make sure you have your go-to on hand, plus a pair of corded earbuds (if you forego the aforementioned Bluetooth adapter).
10. A luggage scale
Give yourself some added peace of mind with a digital luggage scale; it’ll let you know how much damage your souvenirs did before arriving at the check-in counter on the way home.
Browse more luggage scale recommendations.
11. A way to find your luggage
Speaking of luggage, the Tile Pro and Apple AirTags can help locate lost bags (or wallets, or keys, depending on what you attach it to). In fact, AirTags are one of the items contributor Harrison Pierce wishes he had when he began traveling full-time.
12. An e-reader
Even travelers with a library full of books at home have to admit it: E-readers are an essential travel accessory for bookworms. They are so much lighter than even one paperback book, and let you bring as many options as you want along for the ride.
Browse more e-reader recommendations.
13. A portable fan
If you’re headed somewhere warm, or just tend to run hot, do yourself a favor and pack a portable fan. Whether you choose a handheld option or one you can wrap around your neck, it’ll give you the breeze you need whether you’re in the back of a crowded bus or van, standing in line at Disneyland, or kicking back in a beach chair.
Browse more portable fan recommendations.
14. A portable steamer
If you’re traveling to a wedding or heading out on a business trip, you may want to bring a portable steamer along to make sure your formalwear looks its best after you take it out of your suitcase. Traveler contributor Erinne Magee put nine steamers to the test to find out which ones are the best options for travelers—below, two of her favorites.
Browse more travel steamer recommendations.
15. A tech kit
All of those tech items mean you’re going to have plenty of charging cubes and cables to keep track of. Save space in your backpack—and save yourself the headache of digging through your bag—by keeping everything wrapped up in a tech kit like the ones below.
Browse more travel tech organizer recommendations.
16. An eye mask
For a comfortable journey at 30,000 feet—especially one where you hope to get some shut-eye—an eye mask is crucial. The soft, sculpted Mzoo contoured mask is a popular choice amongst Traveler readers. For more help sleeping, try the Bluetooth sleep headband recommended by contributor Iona Brannon, which lets you listen to music or white noise without anything in or around your ears; in a pinch it can even double as an eye mask, she says.
Browse more eye mask recommendations.
17. A neck pillow
Another comfort essential: a travel pillow. It can take some time to find the style you like best, and your pick might vary depending on whether you’re in-flight or in a car. Two we like: The classic memory foam wraparound neck pillow, which can be tightened or loosened per your preference, and the space age-looking Pluto Pod recommended by contributor Juliet Izon.
18. Cozy socks
We love a good pair of compression socks to fight that pins-and-needles feeling that comes from sitting still for too long, be it on a long-haul flight or a road trip. For those who prefer a cozier option, we recommend socks from Barefoot Dreams.
Browse more compression sock and travel sock recommendations.
When you need some peace and quiet, swap your noise-canceling headphones in for earplugs. This set comes with multiple sizes, so you can find the right fit, and share with any family members you’re traveling with.
20. A shawl or blanket
For those who run cold, an oversized scarf will get plenty of use in transit, and can even double as a blanket. Opt for a quality material you can pack for years to come, like cashmere.
21. Face masks
Despite public mask mandates ending last year, some travelers are still choosing to fly in a face mask to ward off potential sickness, COVID-19 or otherwise, or to protect others if they’re flying while under the weather. Stock up on a set of KN95s from WellBefore or Evolve Together—they’re comfortable yet offer full coverage.
22. Hand sanitizer and wipes
As for general wellness, hand sanitizer is a must—buy a set and drop one in all your most-used totes and crossbody bags so you’re never without. Wet Ones wipes are nice to have on hand too, especially if you’re traveling with little ones.
Browse more hand sanitizer recommendations.
23. A reusable water bottle
Rounding out our collection of the best travel accessories are some odds and ends, like a good reusable water bottle, so you can stop buying overpriced bottles at the airport (and be kinder to the environment). The Takeya option below is lightweight and easy to carry, but if you’re particular about your water temperature, or are traveling somewhere warm, go for a stainless steel one.
Browse more water bottle recommendations.
24. Snack containers
If overpriced airport snacks aren’t your jam, come prepared by filling reusable Stasher bags with popcorn, crackers, fruit, or whatever else you’d like in-flight before you leave your house. A reusable utensil set is another nice-to-have travel accessory that’ll allow you to turn down the plastic cutlery you might be handed in the airport or elsewhere on the road. The spoon and chopsticks are particularly TSA-friendly (while utensils are technically allowed through security, it’s at the discretion of the TSA agent if they’ll let plastic knives or forks through).
25. A passport holder
Also handy: a high-quality passport case (bonus points if it has space to hold your credit cards) to keep your most important document protected. Mark & Graham’s can be personalized with your initials for an added $12.50.
Browse more passport holder recommendations.
26. A back-up travel bag
For trips where you plan to shop, something lightweight, like Paravel’s Fold-Up Bag or Baggu’s Cloud bag, is a smart addition to your packing list. Stuff it with souvenirs on your way home, or use it for overnight or weekend trips within a longer vacation.
27. A travel umbrella
Depending on your destination, a travel-size umbrella might be worth the space in your luggage. And if you’re driving, tossing one in the backseat is a no-brainer. Contributor Claire Volkman tested out around a dozen options to determine which are the sturdiest and most compact—shop two of her favorites below.
Browse more umbrella recommendations.