Travel is great on its own, but some things that really elevate your travel experience is some great gear.

There’s travel clothes, travel accessories, travel tech and travel things you may never have even thought existed. For example, did you ever consider bringing your coffee equipment in your duffel bag when you go away for a while? What about a black-out travel mask? What about travel clothes that still look great after they’ve been folded up and pressed into a packing cube?

Travel is a time when you have everything you need right in your backpack or suitcase, but you have to make some decisions on what the best type of travel gear for every trip is going to be.

So, what are the best products for travel this year?

I’ve split some of my favorite travel accessories into categories; however, some things serve dual purposes! For example, an Apple watch might be great to help you navigate around a city and it might also be great to use for listening to music while you’re in transit. I’ll try my best to mention multiple use cases in the description and only list things once!

Let’s check out the list of the best and newest travel must-haves that make a trip worth taking.

Travel luggage, duffel bags, backpacks and hiking packs

Away Rolling Suitcase

We’ve found that our Away luggage is the perfect balance of lightweight and durable. It does a good job of being a rolling suitcase.

We’ve used our Away suitcases as carrysons and as checked bags. We have two colors that we chose for our extra-large carry-ons: yellow and black. We were worried about the colors scuffing, but we haven’t had any issues that we couldn’t easily wipe away. Plus, if either of our Away suitcases gets scuffed up, well, we used them well and they certainly protected our stuff during the trip.

Some of the features of using the Away suitcase are useful. The exterior has a dedicated power bank built in. As long as you keep it charged, this is a great way to make sure your phone is always charged as you are traveling between destinations.

The inside of the suitcase is simple, but effective. There is a zipper compartment that allows you to keep things inside, if you don’t have any dedicated organization for it. For example, a spare pair of shoes or some loose items can easily be secured behind a thin mesh compartment. This makes opening your suitcase on the go much more convenient, and it will be less likely for everything to spill out!

Get the Away Bag

Away Daypack

Becca enjoys her daypack backpack from Away. She was on the hunt for something small, lightweight and minimal. She found the solution, with the Away daypack. We wrote an entire review of the Away Day Pack so that you can see all the features of this backpack in depth.

The main takeaways, and why we like this daypack for travel, is because it has every backpack feature you need, and it looks good (this was important in her search for a trendy travel backpack).

Sure, if you’re looking for a bag that has compartments for this, that and everything in between, then this isn’t your bag. But if you’re looking for something to carry your stuff from one place to another, well, here you go!

It’s stylish and can act as a professional bag, or make you feel more put together when you’re doing your daily routine on any trip.

Get the Day Pack

Peak Design Travel Bag

I actually picked up the Peak Design travel bag during the Kickstarter campaign. I saved a bit of money by getting the travel duffel, which, while I enjoyed it, I ended up selling it.

I traveled with the Peak Design travel bag for an extended period of time. It’s one of my favorite durable travel bags, but it may be a bit small for some people’s needs.

I was able to fit enough clothes for my trip, a camera, an extra pair of shoes, power charger and toiletries when I took this bag to Europe.

45L is a great size because you can carry it on almost every flight. It won’t fit under your seat, but it fits great in the overhead compartment. I like traveling with a small daypack that I can use for things that I want during a long flight or train ride.

The bag has a way to expand it, which allows you to fit a few more layers of clothes. This makes it a great choice for storing a bulky item, like a big coat.

When you don’t use this for travel, you can use it for other things like photography, picnicking in a park or going to the beach (although, if you go to the beach, watch out for sand!).

Get the Peak Design 45L Travel Bag

Peak Design Everyday Backpack

The Peak Design everyday backpack is targeted toward photographers, but I don’t think traveling with photography gear is a requirement for having this bag at all.

Sure, it’s a good photography bag, but the reason it’s a good photography backpack is because it has compartments that support camera equipment well. It has great dividers and features that are great for holding single individual items.

When you travel, what do you have a lot of? You probably have a ton of small things that need organizing. What does the Peak Design bag do well? It can hold small things, and effortlessly organize them for you!

See? It’s a match.

Get the Peak Design Everyday Backpack

Tom Bihn Synapse

I was excited when I received my Tom Bihn Synapse bag. I took it on an 8-month trip and got a lot of experience packing various things inside it, and taking it on a lot of adventures.

This was one of the first bags that I got as an “investment.” I’ve been through a lot of bags. In fact, Becca and I recently sold some of our unused bags and we counted over 10 bags that we had laying around! We needed to free up some precious closet space, and so we held onto the bags that are going to be the most versatile and durable for our travels.

I specifically picked the Tom Bihn Synapse 25 because I knew that it would last a really long time. Instead of buying several bags that only last a few years, I was confident that this bag would last forever! So far, it’s true.

I even wrote a review of the Tom Bihn Synapse backpack because I enjoy using it so much.

I think this bag is great for travel because it has a lot of pockets for organization and is good at supporting the size and weight of a lot of your travel items. It’s comfortable on your back and can be used for a variety of different situations. I wrote a review of my backpack so that you can see more, here.

Get the Tom Bihn Synapse 25

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel

When I took my first year-long trip as a digital nomad, I went away with the Black Hold Duffel (60L). It was, and still is, my favorite duffel bag for travel, for so many reasons.

For starters, it packs up really small. When you’re not using it, it packs away in a little ball. When I received the package with this bag, my first thought was, “That’s it?”

Once I unfurled it and started arranging a few different configurations of my travel things, I was sold. It supported whatever I threw into it and it was able to accommodate many different travel situations.

This bag is right at the limit of carry-on size. I was able to sneak it by without checking it, a few times in various airports, but once in a while, an airline will want you to check it. Every time it has been checked, it’s been totally fine!

One really interesting use case for this travel bag is that you can actually pack it in your existing luggage. If you’re planning on shopping at your final destination, this bag can be used to support whatever you want to pick up on your trip.

One of the reasons why I like this bag so much is because it has backpack straps. They are not comfortable at all, but they are highly functional. If you’re walking short distances, you can carry whatever you bring on your back. When you are going to be walking around a new destination with your luggage, you may want to consider something better suited for this.

Get the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel at Backcountry or REI.

Osprey Farpoint 40

I have mixed feelings about the Farpoint by Osprey, but I believe that it’s a great asset for any traveler. I bought this before a trip, but ended up returning it in favor of some of the bags that I always had (and those mentioned above). I’ll explain some of my thought process, and maybe it can help you determine if this travel bag is right for you.

I initially like how you can zip together the daypack and the bigger pack. The 40L size is actually 30L of the main compartment and 10L for the daypack.

I think 40L was a tiny bit too small for what I wanted to carry at the time, in terms of the plan for my trip. When I tried this bag, I was bringing a lot of photography gear, extra shoes for running and stuff with which to work remotely while traveling.

I could make the size work, but it would mean that I would be too limited with my clothing options, even though I like to pack like a minimalist.

I also really wanted to split up some of my more expensive items into a bigger personal item during travel days. And, the 10L front pack was a little too small for that situation.

But with that all said, if I were traveling now, I think the Osprey Farpoint 40 would actually be great. I only bring one camera and one lens and my remote work setup for travel is fairly small. I’ve refined what I normally bring on a trip and this bag would be the perfect size!

Get the Osprey Farpoint 40

REI Co-op Ruckpack 60+

I mentioned in this article how I traveled with a lot of camera gear several years back. I got this bag to help me support the weight of everything that I wanted to carry when I took a sizable amount of travel camera gear on a long-term trip.

Looking back, I can’t believe I traveled with so much! I had two camera bodies, four lenses, two laptops and too many power cables to count. I don’t know the weight of everything, but it added up a lot.

I was traveling to new cities every few days and this bag really helped carry things through airports, bus stations and through cities.

This bag is too big to be carried on and that’s something you should know about it outright. You can probably get by in some rare cases, but there is a frame inside that prevents it from smushing around corners or inside the overhead compartment. You’d take up a lot of space up there with this bag, and some smaller airbus airplane models, it would not fit at all.

The REI Co-op Ruckpack 60 is great if you are traveling with multiple people and if you want to carry stuff for other people – like maybe a small family. This bag is also great if you’re traveling with a lot of clothes, or need bulkier items for colder weather.

Lastly, it’s great if you won’t be flying! This bag could be ideal for putting into the trunk of a car on a road trip, or taking on buses and trains that have luggage storage.

Wearing this bag for sometimes hours at a time made me appreciate its comfort and waist strap and sternum strap. It supported the weight of the contents inside really impressively, and for that, I applaud this travel backpack for its build.

Get the REI Co-op Ruckpack

Travel organization: Passports and documentation

If you’re traveling internationally, having a passport organizer is a smart idea. Depending on where you are going, you can keep your visa paperwork and even a second form of ID in one.

Sometimes when you go to an international destination, you are required to do some paperwork that you hold right up until you leave the country. I’ve had some scares where I couldn’t find my entry papers because I tucked them away in one of the hundreds of pockets in my various travel bags.

Having a single place to keep your passport and any related documents is a great idea.

Keep in mind to not have too many things in this type of organizer. I wouldn’t advise you to hold your credit cards, backup cash, second form of ID and your house keys all in one place.

It’s also a good idea to photocopy some of your important documents and stash them somewhere safe. If you needed to prove your identity, having a photocopy is better than nothing.

It’s also a great idea to have a photocopy or photocopies of your passport and visa or entry forms in case your phone (in which you hopefully have a photo of them) gets lost or stolen.

Try to distribute some things throughout your luggage to protect yourself from the unfortunate theft, if that happens.

Leather Passport Holder and wallet

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly, but practical, passport holder, I think this one is it. It’s practical and minimal, so it won’t take up too much space and it won’t be too bulky.

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It can hold a few cards, and has various slots and spaces for you to stash additional items, like a boarding pass or some cash.

You can fit multiple passports inside, but it appears that it is only really designed for one.

Family Passport Holder

If you’re traveling with a family, or need more space, you might want to check out this passport holder from Zero Grid.

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It’s on the chunky side, so this only makes sense if you have a lot to carry with you during a travel day. If you only need to carry two or three passports, you can use the extra space for paperwork or boarding passes.

Keeping all of your passports and travel documents in one spot is a great way to make sure you leave nothing behind. It makes checking the documents for everyone in your family or travel group easy, because all of your documents are in one place.

Travel organization: Packing cubes

The primary uses for packing cubes are to compress your clothes and help to keep things separate in your luggage.

If you’re trying to save space in your bag or suitcase, packing cubes can pack down your clothes to be as compact and small as possible.

Packing away your things in packing cubes also makes it easy to pack, rearrange and find things in your bag. Instead of digging through a pile of clothes to find one item at the bottom of your bag, you can take out the one or two packing cubes that contain your clothes.

Check out our in-depth guide to know what the best packing cubes are!

TravelWise Packing Cubes

I got this packing cube set in 2016 when I first left to travel for a year. These packing cubes of mine have been through a lot of use, zips and packs! I actually still use them, but since 2016, there have been a lot of new packing cubes that have come out that I also like.

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Peak Design Packing Cubes

Because I got my Peak Design Travel Bag on the company’s Kickstarter, I chose the tier that included some packing cubes. After using these packing cubes for a few months, I decided to get even more of Peak Design’s packing cubes, because I liked them so much.

I now have the small and medium packing cubes, which have been good for packing for a variety of trips. For short trips, I found that the small cube is enough for me (and probably not the case for most people, as I pack light).

When I pack for longer trips, the medium size packing cube usually is plenty. For even longer trips, or if I am packing multiple pairs of pants or sweatshirts, I’ll use both.

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I think these cubes are unique because they are really lightweight, sturdy and expandable.

I found that you can really stuff these, and they do a good job of keeping your clothes tightly packed in your luggage. If I have a few items that are too big, I’ll start with the cube expanded, then zip them down to save on a little bit of space.

You can find them on Amazon or Peak Design’s website.

REI Expandable Packing Cube

If you want to get started with packing cubes, I’d take a look at what REI has to offer. Their house brand has a generous one-year return policy. You can try out packing your bag with an REI packing cube and see if it makes a positive difference for you.

Their medium packing cube is the perfect mix of affordable and durable. You can fit up to 8 liters of stuff normally, and when expanded, you can fit up to 12 liters.

There are also some nice features, like a label area (if this is something you are interested in using) and handles, which will make these a bit more accessible and easy to handle.

Eagle Creek Packing Cube Set

If you’re already sold on using packing cubes and are looking for a full set to pack everything, I recommend looking at this packing cube set from Eagle Creek.

You’re going to get a full range of size to use for your packing needs. I like the option to use a set, because you can split up your clothes into small items, medium items and large items. More practically speaking, you can use the small cube for socks and underwear, the medium cube for shirts and the large cube for pants and jackets.

You’ll get great quality, reinforced attachment points, durable zippers and the Eagle Creek Lifetime Warranty. You can learn more about the Eagle Creek warranty here.

BluffCube, by Bluffworks

We own a lot of Bluffworks products and we can stand behind the thought that goes into everything they make. We really value the quality of the materials and the design in all their products, which are built for a traveler who values quality.

When we got our hands on the BluffCube, we were sold! Unlike traditional packing cubes, with these, you can compress what you pack, instead of conforming to the size of your packing cube.

If you’re bringing a small set of clothes, a regular packing cube won’t be effective because it won’t actually compress any of your clothes. Because of this, you may over-pack, or not save any space in your luggage.

The BluffCube will compress only what you’re packing. Roll up your clothes, put them in the cube, cinch the straps and enjoy all of the space that you saved.

Travel Shoe bags

When traveling with multiple pairs of shoes, keeping them in their own bags has a lot of benefits. A bag for your shoes isn’t going to compress them like a packing cube would, but they will keep some of the outside dirt from getting all over everything else. Becca is huge on this.

It seems silly, but having one bag to grab instead of tracking down both shoes can help if you’re packing in a rush.

One time, when we were on a layover in Kiev, Ukraine, we needed to take the shoes out of our luggage due to a rule they have about items in carry-ons. It was sort of annoying to dig our shoes out of our bags, and have to put everything back together. In the moment, it was a little bit stressful. I think a shoe bag would have made this a lot easier!

Shoe bags are generally affordable and I don’t think you need to spend a lot on them. Check out a few suggestions of shoe bags below!

I wear a size 10-11 and have hit the upper limit on some of the shoe bags that I’ve used in the past, Becca is only a women’s size 5-6! We tend to share these.

Make sure you read the reviews to check that your shoe size will fit.

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If you’re looking for an upgraded pick, check out the Peak Design shoe bag. I’m a big fan of Peak Design’s products, and their shoe bag is within the same family as the packing cubes. It’s the same material, quality and design, which by no surprise is excellent!

Travel organization: Toiletries

Toiletry bag

To help save space, Becca and I have been sharing a toiletry bag, or “dopp kit,” as some companies refer to it. We try and pack anything that we wouldn’t be able to pick up when we get to our destination.

We stopped packing things that we think we might need, because we learned that other countries have great resources for medicine and personal products.

If we’re traveling quickly, and are staying at nicer destinations, we usually use the soap and shampoo that is provided in the room. When we are staying in a destination for a longer time, like a month or more, we pick a larger bottle of shampoo or a set of soap at a grocery store or a convenience store.

When we do travel with toiletries, keeping everything contained within a bag will prevent a huge mess if something spills or explodes. You’ve probably had this happen to you!

Also, when you are at airport security, sometimes the security measures require you to pass everything through the scanner in a clear plastic bag. It’s easy enough to pack a few extra clear plastic bags in your toiletry bag in case you’re in a country (including the US) that requires this.

Peak Design has a really nice dopp kit that you can check out. It has a lot of great organization and quality that will last you a long time. It’s 2.5 liters, and has plenty of room for everything that you can imagine. It’s quality made and you can feel confident that this travel product will last you a long time.

Something like this kit from Bagsmart will allow you to hang your toiletry bag up on a hook in the bathroom. You can keep everything inside of the bag if you have a lot to go through when getting ready.

I usually gravitate toward a simple dopp kit, like this bag from emissary. Amazon has a lot of similar bags around the $10-$15 price point. Generally speaking, they’ll last you one or two years before the stitching falls apart or something goes wrong with the zipper. You get what you pay for!

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Travel toiletries bottles

To complement your toiletry kit, you can pack your favorite liquids with travel toiletry bottles. Most will be the correct size for travel liquid regulations. Before you go anywhere, double-check to make sure that is still the case! Some countries have different requirements when it comes to the size of a bottle you can take in a carry-on.

I’ve seen people at airport security throwing away huge bottles of expensive beauty products. Don’t be that person!

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We usually try and buy something local or pack something small to help get us started for the first few days into our trip. We’re not really picky with what we use, though.

Take a look at something like this. These are an inexpensive, small, refillable and leakproof travel toiletry bottle product for travel. There are a lot of sellers that have similar items. You can shop Amazon with this link to help get you started!

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Travel organization: Cable and tech organization

Once you’ve gotten into expertly managing your cables and your other tech products, you’ll never ever go back to how you had been doing it previously.

Part of traveling like a pro is in your organization. I’ve learned this over the years. I have my system of how I do things now, and I’m pretty proud of it.

See below for some items that will help you keep wires from getting tangled, and more.

Cable organizer for travel

If you are traveling with multiple devices, it would be a good idea to organize all of your cables in one place. This can help you easily find and navigate a charging cable or an adapter when you quickly need something.

If you travel often, or at least once per year, you could even keep this small bag packed, so that you know that you won’t ever forget anything when you’re packing again the next time.

As a base, I like to keep a few phone charging cables, spare battery backup, headphone splitter and power converter in a cable organizer bag.

To get started, you don’t need anything fancy.

Take a look at this cable management style bag. This one can work too.

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If you like things very neat, these options can work for you. I had something like this for a few years and ended up migrating to a single cavity bag. It became too tedious to wrap up cables and put things away neatly every time I switched destinations.

I ended up picking up something like this dopp kit. It works to put your charging cables, headphones and batteries inside. Plus, it’s made out of water-resistant material. And, as an added benefit, you can use this as a toiletry bag if it doesn’t work as a cable management bag.

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When I am traveling with a lot of things, like portable hard drives, headphones, camera card readers, memory cards and things like that, it’s a good idea to move on to an organizer that helps keep things even more organized.

Peak Design Tech pouch

The Peak Design Tech pouch is one of my favorite travel assets.

I mentioned above that it was too tedious to wrap my cables up and put them into little sleeves. Well, with the tech pouch, there are tons of sleeves and compartments that you can use to configure and organize all of your tech.

I have a few lightning cables for my phone, my mouse and keyboard. I’ll bundle them together and stuff them to one side of the pouch.

I’ll keep some solid state hard drives in another compartment. I have a case of camera memory cards that I keep in the tech pouch. I’ll put my mouse in the tech pouch! Everything goes in the tech pouch.

Aside from keeping everything together in one place, this works great for your travel days. If your phone is low on battery, you know where your charging cables are without having to dig through your bag. I pack the tech pouch with the carry-on, so everything is really easily accessible.

If you’re doing any type of remote work on your trip, you can bring the tech pouch with you to make sure you don’t forget any important cables or dongles.

Peak Design gear fans can leverage the anchor system and attach a camera strap to this bag. The anchor system is universal to PD gear, so you can sync around all their products with the handy anchoring system.

If you’re into carrying a small and organized pouch with you, this could be a great option.

Peak Design field pouch

The field pouch from Peak Design works as effectively as the tech pouch, but is a bit smaller. It features a roll-top design and is a bit more versatile. You can slide this onto your belt or use it as a small shoulder bag.

The actual pouch is durable and weatherproof. The quality is great and you can use this product in a lot of different applications during travel.

Inside, you can fit some of your smaller items, like pens, keys, small cameras or really any small valuable or important item.

I like using the field pouch for photography to keep my cleaning cloths and small parts, like tools, microphones and tripod plates organized.

Travel day comforts and necessities: Fanny pack

Becca loves using a fanny pack when traveling. It’s a throwback to the 80s, but they are really effective.

When traveling, it’s the perfect size to keep a phone, passport, pens and anything that you would want quick access to. They are also close to your body, and in the front, so you’re being safe and less likely to have something stolen from you.

You can find multipurpose fanny packs, like some that you can fit a camera or maybe a very lightweight jacket inside. There are also smaller fanny packs that are designed to be more like a travel wallet.

I typically like recommending things that you can use for multiple occasions. In this instance, I think that the big fanny packs are too clunky and small fanny packs are hard for easily finding your little things floating around inside.

There’s a Goldilocks-size for fanny packs and I’ll list some of my favorites below.

Packable Hip Pack from Matador

The main benefit of this hip pack from matador is that it is packable. When you’re not using it, you can stash it away somewhere and it won’t take up a ton of room.

It’s somewhat waterproof, holds up to 2L worth of gear and has a versatile set of wear options.

The same pack that you travel with from city to city can also be used to hike with and hold your snacks.

Side Effect from Tom Bihn

I wouldn’t necessarily call this a fanny pack, but it does have the same effect. If you’re looking for a small bag to take with you while you travel, and want something that will absolutely last forever, check out the Side Effect.

I like this option because Tom Bihn stuff truly does last forever. The minute you feel the material, you’ll know that it’s superior quality and won’t break down over time.

As a functional bag, though, I think it’s great. You can use this as your small travel companion, to hold your passport, phone, charger, headphones and a book.

You can use this as a travel organizer and purpose this bag for some of your small camera equipment. You can use this as a craft bag, reading bag, really anything that you can imagine!

REI Co-op Trail 2 Waistpack

The waistpack from REI won’t win any high fashion awards, but it will be highly functional and act as a great little travel tool for you.

The body and lining are made from recycled material and the outside is water repellent. If you get caught in bad weather, you will be covered and you won’t be soaking the things that you need available at a moment’s notice.

I like this option because it has a secret stash pocket in which you can keep your super valuable items, like cash, keys or passport.

Moment Fanny Sling

Moment (you may know them from their cell phone photography lenses) has a dual purpose fanny pack and sling.

The fanny sling has it all. You can wear it on your hips or around your shoulder. The liner is made from a microfiber material. There’s a retractable microfiber wipe.

Even if you’re not taking any pictures, this is perfect for sunglasses. There are integrated clips for keys, plenty of space for everything else and it has a waterproof coating.

This is one of your best bets for a stylish fanny pack that has a high level of function.

Travel day comforts and necessities: Travel pillows

Travel pillows come in all shapes, sizes and forms. You can travel with a blow-up pillow, something that wraps around your entire head or something that is more modest, and goes around your neck.

I’ve tried a lot of different options for travel pillows and still haven’t found the perfect one. I have issues with anything that wraps around my neck too tightly. It’s not comfortable for me and makes me feel a bit claustrophobic.

I struggle to sleep on airplanes and travel pillows haven’t been a huge help in solving this problem; for Becca, though, she can fall asleep by using the Cabeau (which I’ll describe below).

When I’ve traveled and wanted to pack lightly, I would often use my rolled up jacket as a travel pillow. It checks the boxes for being soft, multipurpose and easy to pack. It does not check the functionality box because it doesn’t stay as secure as something that is attached to you.

I want to share my thoughts and research with you in case you’re interested in trying some of these out!

Cabeau travel pillow

Becca loves her Cabeau travel pillow. It was a huge asset for her on one of our long flights from Hong Kong back to New York.

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We had a rough flight with noisy seat neighbors, but this pillow helped her sleep soundly when we were able to.

It’s one of the softest and most comfortable pillows because it has a high wall around the neck. Because of this design, you don’t have to tilt your neck as much. You’ll also wake up from your deep slumber without neck pain (like the kind of pain you get from the travel pillows that are blow-ups or the kinds with small plastic beads inside).

The Cabeau neck pillow is made made of memory foam, so it doesn’t get as hot as some other cotton or plush options on the market. We highly recommend this one.

BCOZZY travel pillow

I like the design of the BCOZZY because you can shape it however you like. If you like a traditional neck pillow shape, you can arrange it as such. If you want to rest the pillow against the window of a bus or plane, you can do that too!

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It’s washable, which is a great added benefit to make sure it stays clean after being pressed up against dirty surfaces and spaces.

It’s not the most compact, but I think there’s always going to be a trade-off for something comfortable and compact.

PPE, toiletries and health

Above, in the toiletries section, I mentioned that we normally like to pick stuff up, if we need it when we get to our final destination.

Sometimes that isn’t possible if you’re traveling to a more off-the-grid destination, or, it may also not be possible if you want to make sure that you have access to things if you know you’ll use them.

In some of the more jungle and tropical locations, we’ve been instantly bombarded with mosquitoes. In this case, it would be great to have some repellent and Tiger Balm (did you know this works great for mosquito bites?) at the ready so we don’t have to waste time trying to find it.

Hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is great to have when you use a public restroom and they don’t have soap. It’s a good idea to have a small bottle of some because you never know when you will need it.

Most of your local grocery stores and pharmacies will carry hand sanitizer.

If you’re looking for an 8-pack of hand sanitizer, Amazon has you covered.

Face masks

2020 took us all for a spin and face masks aren’t going away any time soon.

By now, I think we all have some of our favorite masks picked out. If you’re looking for something new, check out the Tom Bihn face masks, as these come highly-regarded and top-rated, and the face masks from Ugmonk.

Paper face masks

When we go on public transportation, we try to wear a paper mask underneath our reusable cloth masks. We try to avoid being wasteful as much as we can in order to travel sustainably. We reserve any single-use face masks for when we travel.

Paper face masks are affordable, especially when you don’t need them every day. When you’re traveling, it would be a good idea to pack a few extra with you!

Thermometer

As a general health precaution, it may be a good idea to have a thermometer with you. They hardly take up any weight or space in your bag.

If you’re not feeling well, you can get some peace of mind to know if you should stay in for the day or see a local doctor if you have a fever.

Check out this affordable thermometer that will work out great in your travel first-aid kit.

Mosquito repellent / bug spray

Some of your final destinations may be very buggy!

Becca and I both have the trait that attracts bugs – a lot of bugs. We don’t have a strong opinion on brands, but we encourage you to do some research and pick the best option that works for you!

Tiger Balm

One of the travel secrets that Becca taught me was that Tiger Balm is amazing. The white variation is better than the red variation, in our opinion.

We’ve used this to treat super itchy bug bites, help clear up congestion or treat sore muscles after a long day of walking. It cures everything and it is always in our toiletries bag when we travel in spring, summer or fall.

Ibuprofen

If you have a headache, you’re probably dehydrated. Before you reach for Ibuprofen, drink a huge cup of water first.

If you still have a headache, or want to treat some general inflammation, you probably wish you had some Ibuprofen. You can find single-use packs online so that you have this first-aid need settled before you leave home.

The “I didn’t know I needed it, but I’m glad that I have it” type of things

Over our years of travel, we compiled a list of things that we’re glad that we packed during some of our trips. Some of these have created tons of relief, and sure, some of them have gone unused during a trip, but we’re glad we had them on deck for emergencies or conveniences.

Headphone jack splitter

If you’re traveling with someone else, a headphone splitter can help you share media with someone else. You can plug it into the airplane media console, or use what you already have to split the audio signal.

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This is a great way to spend some time with someone during a long trip, before you drift away into your own worlds for a few hours.

During long flights, I will usually watch five or six movies and Becca is fortunate enough to sleep.

Luggage scale

If you’re concerned about the weight of your luggage, or plan to pick up a few items at your destination and want to know if you can still carry on or check a bag, a luggage scale can help out!

They are simple to use. You connect the strap to your luggage, lift up and then you have the weight displayed. We typically are always under the weight limits, but we’ve had some scares when we have weighed our bags and see that we’re at or over the required weight.

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Umbrella

It can be easy to think that the weather is always bright, sunny and warm wherever you are traveling. Well, that’s not always the case. It rains everywhere.

Becca and I have gone out for a long walk to explore a city and got stuck in the rain. We were forced to hop into a store or cafe to try and avoid the rain for a few hours.

When we realized that the rain wasn’t letting up, we ran to our Airbnb. Luckily, we didn’t have anything with us that got ruined.

A small compact travel umbrella is small enough to fit in your bag and is easy for you to take with you every day when you’re exploring something new! Having one on hand even if there is a smidge of rain the forecast will help you avoid having to search for one or buy one when there’s a flash thunderstorm during your day of sightseeing.

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Canvas totes

We love to shop with canvas totes when we’re at home in Brooklyn. When we shop when we travel, we keep the tradition. It’s a great way to save the environment, avoid fees for plastic or paper bags at stores and also, a way to have sturdy bags for buying groceries, souvenirs or anything else.

We don’t like wasting plastic bags and when we want to pick up groceries or things that we need while we’re traveling, we’ll stash away a few totes for the occasion.

Before you leave for your trip, shop around at your favorite store and see if they offer any canvas toes that you like.

If you’re in the market for something plain and simple, check out this basic tote bag on Amazon.

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Flip-flops

A cheap pair of flip-flops can help you in a variety of situations. If you’re staying in a shared living situation, like a hostel, flip-flops can be your dedicated shower shoes.

If you’re headed to a beach and don’t want to get your shoes sandy, you can wear some flip-flops!

Becca and I both had a situation when our shoes got soaked. We used our flip-flops during the day when our shoes were drying in the sun.

We’re really glad that we each had a cheap pair of flip-flops! They’re low risk, so in case you lose them, you won’t be too heartbroken.

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Matador pocket blanket

When we’re at home in Brooklyn, we have an old bed sheet that we bring with us to a park when we want to have a picnic.

Matador has this packable blanket that is light, foldable and perfect! It can work on damp surfaces and folds out to 63”x44.” It’s great for the beach, the park or to have with you when you’re camping.

Travel utensils & eco-friendly travel snack containers

Convenience is key when you want to have a snack during travel. We recommend the EcoLunchbox travel snack containers, which are made of durable silicone leak-proof lids and stainless steel compartments. Try taking these on a flight or a hike!

Depending on your preference for cleanliness, eating with shared utensils might not be for you. Or, if you are looking for something more substantial or reusable than plastic to eat with while you are on the go, check out bamboo utensils.

Bamboo eating utensils are easy to travel with and shouldn’t raise any red flags when you’re going through airport security.

Our favorite brand for bamboo eating utensils is Totally Bamboo. Check out this 3-piece flatware set. We can’t live without it.

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Microfiber towel

We haven’t counted the number of accommodations that we’ve stayed in. Hint: it’s a lot.

One thing that we’re always glad that we had was a quick-dry towel to use when an accommodation didn’t provide a towel.

We’ve also taken our quick-dry microfiber travel towels with us to a beach, public pool or used them to dry ourselves if we got caught in the rain!

Quick-dry towels are great because they are just as effective as regular towels, but a fraction of the size and weight. They also dry quickly, hence their name. If you leave them in the sun after use, they dry in a few hours.

I’ve had my towel since 2016 and it still holds up great. Check out our travel towels by Shandali.

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Pens

I always like to have a pen in my bag because sometimes you need one when there are no pens to be found.

When you arrive at an international destination, you typically have to fill in paperwork to present to the passport entry area. Sure, there are usually pens at those tables where you have to manually fill paperwork, but everyone flocks there first.

If you have your own pen, you can skip the lines and have everything prepared and ready to go. This is one of our favorite travel hacks!

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Ear plugs

Becca is a big fan of ear plugs. She uses them to block out noise on an airplane, or to block out noise if we’re trying to sleep somewhere that has a lot of noise (street noise, dripping water, noisy fans, construction, etc.).

We’ve stayed in a lot of different types of accommodations. Some of them have been shared, some of them have had noisy neighbors and some of them have been on loud streets.

Ear plugs are small to pack and make a big difference to your sleep quality if you are a light sleeper (like Becca is).

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Fitness

If you’re like us, you’ll want to engage in some sort of fitness during your trip in order to not turn into a potato.

We like to stay somewhat active so that we can feel better about some of the choices we make while we’re away!

Our activity levels and types of exercise may vary depending on where we are and what the weather is like. Our default activity is to go for a run or maybe something easy like a nice long walk. (Did you know that long walks can burn almost as many calories, per mile, as running?)

We’ve had friends go as far as to travel with certain fitness equipment in order to keep up some of their strength while they are away from home.

If you are interested in fitness, check a few of our product recommendations here.

Running belt

Any time I run, I like to have my keys, my phone and some money or a credit card with me. I don’t rely on my pockets to hold these things snug and secure – that would never work!

I like this running belt from SPIbelt. It’s lightweight and has no issues holding my phone, keys and a credit card or two. Note: If you have an extra-large phone, this belt probably won’t work for you.

I’ve had mine for a long time and it has held up great! It’s so comfortable that I sometimes forget that I am wearing it after I complete my run.

Becca likes her FlipBelt. It fits her well, it’s safe and it’s washable. It has more surface area to hold more items because of its flat built.

I prefer to have something a bit smaller to travel with and the FlipBelt has a lot of material (but Becca really enjoys hers).

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Travel running bottle

For more serious runners, a travel running bottle would make a good investment. When you’re running near your home, you’ll know where the water points are, or have a system that works for you to make sure you have enough water.

When you travel, you’re on your own to find water. And, water is very important! In some countries, tap water is not drinkable, so you can’t simply stop at a drinking fountain in the park for a quick sip. That would end terribly.

I actually have and use this water bottle from Nathan.

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It has a front pocket in which you can keep your phone or something phone-sized.

When you’re not running, you can use this water bottle for hiking or other outdoor activities. The strap for your hand can easily be used to attach the bottle to a backpack or your belt. It’s a seriously great find!

The Buff

For all weather conditions, I think the Buff is great for most fitness activities.

The Buff is versatile and can work as a face mask, or it can help protect your neck from being sunburnt. It can also serve as a headband, or it can help keep your face warm in cold weather. There are many uses for a Buff.

I like this Buff that is made out of Merino Wool because it dries quickly and does well with bad smells.

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Apple Watch

Tracking your fitness progress can be rewarding at the end of your trip. If you are getting your fitness from walking, your Apple Watch can help show you how far you’ve traveled in a day. It’s so satisfying!

There are plenty of other fitness trackers that are less expensive and equally suitable. I like the Apple Watch because it has multiple use cases that work well for a traveler.

You can use the Apple Watch to help you with directions. It can also help show you notifications without taking your phone out of your pocket. Lastly, you can stream music from your watch! Sounds fun.

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Jaybird Headphones

I’ve tried a few different pairs of bluetooth headphones. My Jaybird Vista headphones have been my favorite headphones over the past few years.

For working out, I used to have headphones with a wire. I used wired headphones for a long time and it required me to always have my phone on me. I would need a dedicated pocket or I’d have to hold my phone in some instances.

There were always a few times in which I would snag the wire on something, or it would catch my arm as I was doing something and the headphones would fly out of my ear.

Needless to say, I needed Bluetooth headphones.

I tried headphones that were connected to a wire, but I would get annoyed that they would touch the back of my neck and never feel centered.

I tried AirPods but I’ve always had issues with Apple headphones staying in my ears.

The Jaybird Vista headphones were a perfect fit. They feel secure in my ears and the wing-tip design helps them feel secure as I am running and doing other kinds of movement.

Charging the headphones is easy because they come with their own charging case that can be charged with USB-C wires. There’s an app that you can download, to customize some of the options, and change the volume or skip songs when you press the button on the ear bud.

Shop on Jaybird’s website or Amazon for these awesome travel earphones.

Lacrosse ball

A lacrosse ball is one of my favorite (and super simple) travel tools to help prevent injury when I’m far from home.

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In 2015 I got really into fitness. I started exercising every day. This was a big improvement from doing almost nothing for a few years prior.

Working out started to catch up with me, and I started to develop pain throughout my hips and lower back.

I found a lacrosse ball to be the perfect size and shape to get into tight corners to roll out knots in my lower back and on my hips. As I started running more, it was perfect for rolling out my feet to help loosen them up.

When traveling, I bring a lacrosse ball with me to help my muscles stay loose when I go on runs.

If you have a metal water bottle or something sturdy, you can also use that and get similar results!

TRX

I would say traveling with a TRX is for someone really into fitness and looking to stay fit while traveling for a few weeks at a time.

The way the TRX works is by attaching the system to a sturdy structure, like a beam, tree or post. Then, while it is securely attached, you can do your movements.

Even while you’re not traveling, a TRX is a great way to stay in shape and cut out the added expense of going to a gym. There’s a learning curve of learning the movement and creating your routine. There are a lot of resources to help you out on the TRX website.

Resistance bands

Resistance bands are both lightweight and effective to use for working out. You can do a wide variety of exercises and level up your resistance as you build your strength. This can all be done from a hotel room, hostel backyard, Airbnb living room or train station waiting platform. You choose.

Our friends Alex and Ryan have created a guide for how to workout with resistance bands. Check them out!

Travel accessories for working remotely

You might know that we have worked remotely and traveled through many countries, from East Asia to South America. We really enjoy that remote work can be done while traveling and we’ve come up with lots of tips for working remotely in cities around the world.

Nevertheless, working remotely from places, whether another state or another continent with a whole new timezone, can be daunting.

Trust us, though: if you go through the recommendations below, you will have a great remote work setup that can be packed up, travel-sized and mobile. All it takes is some preparation and some good expectations, and you’ll be ready for success.

Here are our best and most essential recommendations for products to help you work remotely while traveling.

Roost laptop stand

I got my Roost laptop stand in 2017. I’ve traveled with it and continue to use it at home when I am not traveling. I wrote a Roost laptop stand review that you can check out if you are interested in learning more.

If you’re already sold or if you’re looking for a solid recommendation for which laptop stand is the best, check out the Roost on Amazon.

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Apple Magic Keyboard

The Apple Magic keyboard continues to be my favorite travel keyboard on the market. It’s Bluetooth, and can also work while plugged in.

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It’s slim and lets you type like any other laptop keyboard. You can keep it stashed away and use it when you need it. I like it because it is small, lightweight, packs well and lets me type well.

It works with a Windows PC or a Mac. Keep in mind that the key orientation is set up for a Mac. It will work with a Windows PC, but the keys won’t be labeled correctly. In any case, Becca used the Apple Magic keyboard paired with a Dell XPS, and it worked out completely fine. She just had to get accustomed to the placement of the Apple key.

Apple Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad

For the longest time, I used my battery-powered Magic Mouse. It was my favorite mouse. I traveled with it and used it for working. It worked great, until it didn’t.

I started having battery connection issues because it was almost 10 years old!

Instead of upgrading to the rechargeable Magic Mouse 2, I actually switched to the Magic Trackpad 2. I was surprised at how I like using this Apple product, and didn’t miss having a traditional computer mouse.

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For most people using a Mac, I think the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad are going to be the two best mouse options for normal day-to-day use and the best options for bringing with you when you travel.

Noise-cancelling headphones

For me, noise-cancellation headphones are a must. Many times – too many to name – I would play music or some ambient sound to drown out loud construction noises, loud cafe sounds or loud coworking space sounds.

I couldn’t work without them!

Outside of working, I love my Sony noise-cancelling headphones for travel. They’re perfect for silencing loud airplane noises, or loud passengers.

I’ve had my Sony WH-1000XM2 since 2018. Since then, the Sony WH-1000XM4’s have been released, and this version will solve some of the issues that I currently have with my XM2.

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The upgraded headphones will shut off faster when you’re not wearing them, are a bit more lightweight and charge with USB-C.

Photography

Photography is a perfect way to capture your travel memories. You don’t need to be an expert travel photographer to take excellent photos.

If you start thinking too much into getting the perfect photo, it might take away from your trip.

If photography is the reason that you travel, then you can start being really intentional with what you bring and how you structure your trip.

Here, I’ll give a couple of recommendations that can help you capture your travel memories in the best possible ways.

Digital cameras for travel

There are a lot of digital cameras that you can choose from. It’s actually a bit overwhelming, so I’m here to make it easier for you.

When choosing a digital camera, consider that anything made within the last few years will take good photos.

Evaluate a camera that fits your budget and has features that will make you want to use it. Don’t spend a bunch of money on a camera, only to use your phone most of the time.

I like recommending Sony and Fuji because I am the most comfortable with their camera systems. Canon also has good recommendations for entry-level cameras to help get you started.

Once you’ve gotten some exposure with a digital camera, you can choose to upgrade or figure out what your camera is lacking if you choose to upgrade.

The Sony a6000, Fujifilm X100V and Canon EOS M6 Mark II are all excellent cameras to own for travel photography. They are small and allow you to ease into the world of photography. They are not beginner cameras, so I’d say these are for the more serious photographers in the crowd.

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GoPro

The GoPro cameras have come a long way since the first few iterations. You used to need a waterproof enclosure and the picture quality was not that great.

Now, GoPros are fully waterproof, have good picture quality, great stability and good sound. Plus, the accessories have gotten much better!

As a camera to walk around with, I think your phone is probably a better option, but if you’re looking for something that you can get wet and with which you don’t need to be as careful, the GoPro would be perfect for you.

The GoPro HERO 9 is going to give you everything that you need to get started. You’ll get the actual GoPro, hand grip and head strap.

For the most amount of storage, look into something like this 256 GB micro SD card from Samsung.

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iPhone

As an iPhone user myself, my iPhone photos are incredible for what they are able to capture. Because the software that processes the pictures is so powerful, any shortcomings of the small camera sensor are usually fixed for you.

The newest iPhone will always produce great pictures in both daylight light and nighttime low light.

When I travel, I will sometimes rely on my iPhone to capture some of the wide-angle shots, and I’ll focus on bringing a camera that will capture everything else.

Plus, when you shoot with your iPhone, you don’t have to transfer any of your photos because they are already on your phone and ready to be shared with family and friends.

Google Pixel

Becca and I use Google Fi for any of our international travel phone carriers. It allows us to have cell service wherever we go, and don’t have to worry about paying a lot for international data.

Because of this choice, we have our iPhones for US and US travel and our Google Pixels for international travel.

Becca likes her Pixel 2 so much that she continues to use it only for phone photography. Now, the Google Pixel has been upgraded by a few more iterations and the newer Pixel cameras are even better!

If you’re an Android user or if you’re looking for a phone to use Google Fi with, check out the Pixel.

Phone camera lens systems

Phone cameras can only do so much. Luckily, there are ways to use different lenses with your phone to get you better photos and different focal lengths that you otherwise couldn’t get before.

For example, Becca and I both have the iPhone SE (2nd generation). We didn’t feel like it was necessary to spend a lot of money to get the newest phones and these work great for us.

What we do miss is the ability to shoot as wide as the newest iPhones can. Luckily, SANDMARC was nice enough to send us some phone lenses to try out.

We’re glad we got these ihone snap-on lenses, because the wide-angle and macro lens are a great way to extend the functionality of our current phone cameras.

SANDMARC sends you a case that you can use for your phone. This case has a threaded area near your existing phone lens. The actual phone lens threads in, and then you’re good to go.

You can swap these lenses like you would with any other DSLR or mirrorless camera system.

Shop SANDMARC and use code HALFHALFTRAVEL at checkout for a discount!

Travel camera tripod

I usually bring a small table-top tripod with me on most trips that we take. I actually used to bring a standard travel tripod, but ended up not bringing it anymore because it was adding a lot of size and weight to my bag and I wasn’t getting a lot of value from it.

I like having a tripod for my cameras because it’s a good way to take our own travel photos.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve handed my camera to a stranger to take a photo of Becca and me together. We look at it, smile, say thank you and then never use the photo or share it with anyone.

That is because the photo is not good.

When we use a travel tripod, we’re able to control the photos that we get of ourselves in the places that we want to remember.

A small travel tripod has some drawbacks, like not being very sturdy or sometimes not being the desired height.

I prefer a table-top tripod that can be set up on surfaces like stairs, benches or objects that are about the same height as we are.

You can also get a smartphone mount if you’re taking a lot of photos with your phone.

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Useful travel electronics & gadgets

International power converter

If you’re traveling internationally, you would be in trouble without traveling with an international power converter!

Sure, you can find an overpriced converter at an airport, but they are usually marked up quite a bit. It’s often hard to find a power converter when you’ve reached your final destination, as well.

We’ve got you covered. This power adapter will allow you to plug in any country type into the front and it will convert any country type into the back!

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Powered USB hub

This powered USB hub will allow you to charge multiple USB-powered devices at once.

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If you’re traveling internationally, you only need to have one power converter. You can plug this into the converter to power everything that you have.

I actually use this power adapter when I work remotely to easily charge a few things, like my headphones, phone and whatever else is at my desk.

Portable travel charger

A portable battery charger will be one of the most valuable assets to have with you if you’re out for the day and need your phone to help you get back to your accommodation.

If you’re nervous about plugging your phone into a sketchy power outlet, you can exclusively use your battery to charge your phone, and you can charge the battery with the sketchy outlet.

Anker is a company that makes excellent portable chargers. Check out this 10,000 mAh version and this 20,000 mAh version for double the power.

Becca has been using their power chargers for years, since around 2013, first getting into the brand with their power charger that is about the size of a lipstick case.

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iPad

I got my iPad in 2019 and it was one of the best things that I’ve gotten in a while. We don’t have a TV in our home, and we use our iPad to catch up on shows on Netflix or YouTube if we want to watch something.

I also use my iPad as a second screen using the sidecar preference on my MacBook. You can see how I do this in the description of our shared home office.

On long flights, the iPad can help you stay entertained if the in-flight media console isn’t the best. Plus, you can use your favorite Bluetooth headphones and you can avoid having any wires tangling you up in your seat!

You can transfer, edit and view some of your travel photos on your iPad to stay on top of the photos that you’re taking every day.

I have the base model iPad, which has been fine for me for the last couple of years. If you have the budget, the iPad Pro or iPad Air can also be great.

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Amazon Kindle

If you are a reader, the Amazon Kindle can be a huge asset in helping you stay up to date on some of your favorite books.

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Instead of taking a couple of paper books with you, you can load up your Kindle with a few books to casually read on the flight, while waiting for something, at the beach or really wherever you are.

I get it. If you like paper books, the Kindle may not be for you, but if you really want to decrease the weight in your luggage, an e-reader is a great option.

Bluetooth speaker

Our Bluetooth speaker is basically always on in our apartment and when we travel, we like to keep the tradition.

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When we’re doing work or hanging out at home, we’ll have on podcasts or some of our favorite music. When we’re traveling, we have more applications and instances to use our speaker.

If we’re hanging out in our hostel or Airbnb, we’ll keep the music tradition and have something on in the background as we’re winding down for the day.

We’ve used our speaker at a beach and to entertain some friends if we meet up with people we know at a local park or at our shared outdoor space.

Travel safety

Depending on where you are traveling, you’ll need a wide variety of travel gear to bring with you in order to help you feel safe.

I don’t think too much into this subject and try and only bring out what I need for the day. I try to not act “flashy,” wherever I am.

General safety tips that you can follow is to not look lost and try and pay attention to your surroundings and not get lost in your phone. Stay vigilant!

I think at the bare minimum, it’s a good idea to have a money belt and some locks to help keep your items safe and secure.

Eagle Creek Money belt

Take a look at this money belt from Eagle Creek. You can wear it inside your clothes and help keep your cash, cards and passport safe when you’re out and about.

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You can also use this money belt as a fanny pack for keeping your travel documents safe during your travel days.

I like this money belt because it’s simple, thin and lightweight.

TSA locks

I have a few of these TSA travel bag locks that I use to lock up my main travel bag.

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I’ve used these locks when I need to check my bag or want to keep my bag safe, especially if I need to store my bag in a shared space.

These travel locks aren’t going to be the most secure, and if someone really wanted to get in, they probably could. I like them though, because it means that the everyday person can’t snoop around your stuff if it ever came to that.

Locker locks

Carrying a combination lock might be a good idea if you’re going to a place that has any public lockers.

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When I was in Israel, I went to the Dead Sea and the resort had shared lockers where you could keep your things while you went down to the water to float.

They had locks that you could rent, or if you had your own, you would know the combination and you would save some money on the lock rental.

If you don’t want a dedicated lock, you could probably use your TSA bag lock as well!

Travel apparel

Travel apparel can make or break your trip, in my opinion. You want to make sure that you’re comfortable and don’t have to buy unnecessary clothes while you’re away from home.

You want to find the perfect balance of finding items that travel well, look good and allow you to not overthink things.

I have a few favorite go-to brands that I like to use for all of my travel clothes. I can trust that they’ll last for a long time and will be a good investment for me in the future.

Rain jacket

A good rain jacket is a staple in my travel collection. You may even already have one that you can bring with you!

I like packing a rain jacket because it doesn’t take up a bunch of space, keeps you dry in the event of rain and can even be used to wrap up something valuable in your bag if you were afraid of anything getting wet.

I also like to wear rain jackets out if I’m on a hike and I expect there to be a good bit of wind.

I think any of the jackets from North Face, Patagonia or REI are great, and I own both.

Sunglasses for travel

A good pair of polarized sunglasses can be important if you’re out in the sun all day!

I’m glad that I packed my sunglasses during the times when Becca and I have rented cars and driven for long distances during the daytime, like in the Canary Islands.

I buy sunglasses from Warby Parker, but you can pick out your favorite pair. Don’t forget them before you travel!

Hiking socks

A solid pair of socks, like these socks from Darn Tough can be a great investment in your feet! They can help prevent blisters and serve as a comfortable asset if you’re out hiking or walking around all day.

They are naturally antimicrobial and are designed to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Darn Tough is a great brand. Check out what else they have to offer for travelers!

Travel pants

I’ve spent a lot of time researching travel pants. In fact, I have an entire article dedicated to reviewing the best travel pants.

I like travel pants because they are a way to be comfortable, no matter what you’re doing.

A good pair of travel pants can allow you to hike, walk around a city or go out to dinner without you needing to change your pants. You may want to, but I’ve totally done all of those things in one day without changing.

My go-to favorites are anything by DUER pants, Bluffworks or Aviator.

I review the DUER Performance Denim Slim jeans in this review and I think it’ll help you learn more about the specifics of these awesome travel jeans.

Travel shirts

I usually travel with regular T-shirts and often find a place to do laundry after a few days. I find wearing T-shirts to be very comfortable and I haven’t had too much luck with traditional travel T-shirts.

To me, cotton is comfortable and wearing nylon or polyester all day isn’t what I like to do.

I will say that cotton is a terrible material to have when you’re looking for a good travel shirt. It can start to smell really easily, it gets wet and it doesn’t dry fast and can start to be heavy.

With that said, our friends at Bluffworks have excellent travel T-shirts that I think are great. I have one of the long-sleeve shirts that I run in, and it’s one of the better shirts that I own. Becca has the ladies’ travel T-shirt in the V-neck style.

Travel dress clothes

While we’re talking about Bluffworks, I should mention that they have an excellent selection of dress clothes that are amazing to travel with.

If you’re looking for something nice to bring with you to take on a nice dinner, or you need to travel for work, the clothes that Bluffworks has to offer will be perfect for you.

Everything they have is wrinkle- and moisture-resistant. This means that you can keep something folded up in your suitcase and when you take it out, there aren’t any fold lines to iron out.

You can also wear these clothes while you travel and you won’t come off the airplane looking like a mess!

I like their Chino pants and Zenith dress shirts. I wear these even when I’m not traveling, because you can wear them multiple times without looking like you’ve worn them a few times. No one will know!

Travel dresses

For women, having a dress is a great way to have a garment that can be dressed up, dressed down, dressed for hot temperatures or dressed for cool temperatures.

Becca likes the Bluffworks travel dress, which is made of a lightweight fabric that wicks moisture. It can be casual for a day out sightseeing, or dressed up in case we have an event to attend or a more formal dinner that comes as an opportunity while we are on the road. It even comes in petite sizes, which is perfect for Becca (she is 5’2’’).

It’s also important to consider travel clothes that don’t wrinkle, so a dress like this one from Bluffworks is a great idea for women who travel often.

Travel scarf

Having a scarf in your travel clothes packing list is an easy item that folds up small and can be worn on a plane. Becca always takes a scarf with her on a trip and it’s always at the top of the list when she’s packing for a trip, no matter what time of year.

Scarves come in many forms, so there are choices to make when you’re traveling somewhere warm or hot, versus somewhere cool or even freezing.

A cool scarf on the market right now is the Bluffworks travel scarf, a unisex item that is actually a travel scarf with pockets.

With a scarf like this one, it’s a scarf for various temperatures and climates, and you can even zip away your money, passport or phone inside it, secretly.

Travel sarong

A sarong is a good idea for anyone traveling to a beach, or a more religiously-conservative country like Sri Lanka or Myanmar.

With a travel sarong, you can take it to the beach and use it as something to sit on so that your body doesn’t burn against the sand.

A sarong is super versatile because you can take it with you when visiting Buddhist temples in Southeast Asia, and you’ll avoid having to rent a sarong or leg covering. Some churches and mostly all synagogues or places of worship also require covering shoulders, or sometimes legs, and you can use a sarong in those cases as well.

With a sarong in your bag for the day, you’ll be avoiding getting ripped off by a rental vendor (see Southeast Asia), or having to wear the same sarongs and skirts other people have rented and sweated in during their visit to a temple or religious site. What’s more is that a travel sarong easily fits in a backpack, and if it’s not too bulky, you can use it as a scarf.

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Everything else

We’ve made it to the last section of our best products for travel this year.

The last few items that I wanted to discuss have been helpful to travel with to help solve a specific problem. Each item has a purpose that I’ll talk a little about.

Microfiber cleaning cloth

I like having a few of these microfiber clean cloths around my bag and in various pockets. I can use them to clean my glasses and sunglasses.

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They work great to clean off any dust from your camera lenses, screens and any delicate surfaces.

They are affordable to have, and can make a difference in ensuring that you can clean something off without scratching it.

Water bottle for traveling

A travel water bottle is one of those things that you’re glad that you have while you’re traveling.

During your time in an airport, it’s nice to have your own water bottle so you can refill it at a public water point instead of having to spend a lot of money on water. Buying water bottles at an airport can crush your budget!

When you’re out walking around, having your own water bottle is nice to refill at your accommodation so you don’t have to walk around trying to find water to buy.

I really enjoy my YETI water bottle. It’s insulated, so it keeps drinks hot or cold, however they go in. You can check out more of YETI’s products on the brand’s Amazon store.

Laundry detergent

If you’re worried about finding laundry detergent while you’re far away from home, you can easily leave home with little travel-sized packets of detergent like these eco-friendly and sustainable laundry detergent sheets.

For those who prefer being able to do some hand-washing of their dirty clothes while traveling, try these travel-sized packets of portable liquid laundry detergent to wash clothes while camping, or from a hotel sink.

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Travel coffee mug

What if you make a pot of coffee at your Airbnb and then you realize there are no mugs? You’ll wish you had a coffee or hot drink tumbler right in your bag, and when you invest in a great quality hot-cold mug like the S’well tumbler, your problems will be solved.

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If you know us, you know we love drinking coffee all over the world, and having a go-to mug that we can count on is an essential.

Aeropress

If you’re looking to brew coffee while traveling on the road, an Aeropress is a compact way to make a cup of coffee while you’re away from home and traveling.

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There may be a little bit of a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be making perfect cups of coffee from your hotel, hostel, campsite or Airbnb during a trip.

We like Aeropress because the entire brewing kit is plastic, therefore not breakable, and you can stow it away in a packing cube or wrapped in bags within your luggage.

Travel-sized electric shaver / beard trimmer / hair trimmer

For travelers who enjoy grooming themselves on the go (as is required if you’re traveling for more than a few days), don’t forget a travel-sized way to groom yourself.

You can avoid those lost-in-translation moments at a barber or hairdresser when you have a travel-sized hair trimmer for men and a battery-powered Wahl beard trimmer that fits in your palm.

These are both great options for men who wish to trim hair while on the go.

For women, consider a razor with a trimmer, like the Schick Hydro Silk razor and trimmer duo. It has two purposes, so it’s a surprising two-in-one product that does the trick.

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Eye mask

If you’re like Becca and you can’t fall asleep on a plane when there’s bright fluorescent light turned on, try an eye mask.

You can get a pretty basic travel eye mask that comes in a two-pack so that you have one for yourself and one for your travel buddy.

Or, you can try this new type of black-out travel eye mask that is stronger for blocking out airplane sunrises and sunsets, or very strong light coming through your window when the sun rises at 3:30 a.m. when you’re in Estonia (that happened to us, on the summer solstice).

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Travel blanket

Did you ever wish you had a fold-up travel blanket when you were on a trip, or camping? A foldable travel blanket is a cool trick to pull out of your backpack when you want warmth, or a nice surface to sit on.

A travel blanket like the Down Under Outdoors travel blanket has a side of quilted fleece, and weighs only 2.9 pounds. You could keep it in your rental car, beach bag or campervan easily.

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Waterproof bag

Finding out that a waterproof bag would be a value-add for your trip comes from experience.

For Becca, it was when she went white water rafting in Peru, and also when she went to the natural limestone waterfalls of Guatemala, and it takes knowing someone who already has an Earthpak waterproof bag to ask if they can keep your phone safe from water damage.

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Why not be prepared the first time?

A waterproof bag for travel is a great essential for those who may be camping and near rivers or waterfalls, or visiting waterparks, or venturing on day trips to aquatic environments. These waterproof bags keep your phone and camera safe from water, and they work incredibly well!

Durable phone case

We’re big proponents and fans of having a durable and strong phone case with a “lip.”

If you’ll be on a trip and you know you’ll, well, be on a trip, you need a phone case that keeps your phone from cracking when dropped.

There’s a ton of overwhelm when shopping for a durable phone case for travel, so start with one of the leading brands. We recommend the Otterbox phone case as an easy decision when you’re looking at various options.

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Laundry bag

If you’ll be traveling for more than a few days, keep in mind that laundry happens. In fact, laundry is one of our favorite things to do, when traveling, because laundry always means you’ll have clean clothes afterward!

To do laundry, though, you need something to keep dirty clothes in, and you need something that won’t break (plastic bags are not the answer).

So, try bringing along a multi-purpose laundry bag that can bring your clothes to a laundromat or a dry cleaners, if necessary. We recommend a laundry bag that folds up into a compact size, like this travel laundry bag by Miamica.

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Helpful Tip

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Last updated on December 1st, 2021