22 Smart Accessories That'll Make Travel Easier

Published on: Aug 12, 2021fb-roundtwitter-roundemail-round
"Bridesmaids" flight boardingDesign: theSkimm | Photo: UNIVERSAL PICTURES & Alamy

POV: You haven’t been on a flight since ‘precedented times’ and feel a liiiittle unprepared now that you’ve got a trip in the books. Packing? Haven’t heard of her. The good news: we gotchu. 

We rounded up all the travel essentials you’ll be thankful for come vacation time. We’re talking the stuff that’ll make packing easier, things to make the flight (or train or car ride) less stressful, and stuff that’ll make living out of a suitcase just a little bit better. Bon voyage.

Things that’ll help you pack smarter

A five-piece packing cube
A five-piece packing cube set that’ll keep your suitcase from looking like a tornado… 

If you’ve been thinking about jumping on the packing cube train, this is your sign. This nylon set comes in a variety of colors and is made to withstand all the wear and tear that comes with traveling thanks to its double stitching and reinforced lid. Each cube is a different size, plus there’s a laundry bag included so you can separate your stuff throughout your trip. Marie Kondo would be proud. ($25.99 per set, Amazon)

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Packing cube for your shoes
And a packing cube for your shoes…

Because if you’re still unclear on how to properly store them in your suitcase, you’re not alone. It comes with a collapsible divider so you can safely stow away your shoes without getting dirt and grime on all your clean clothes. It’s made from water-resistant nylon and has a top handle so you can carry or hang it up easily. Plus it lies flat when not in use. It’s a yes from us. ($25+, Away)

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A laptop case
A laptop case that’ll make your travel partner say ‘where’d ya get that?’...

This 13-inch puffy case provides added protection so you can have peace of mind while road tripping (or flying) with your most valuable companion. Oh, and it comes in a number of day-brightening prints and is machine washable. Safe travels, coming right up. ($28, Baggu)

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A clear, TSA-approved bag for all your toiletries
A clear, TSA-approved bag for all your toiletries…

So you don’t have to stress come your time in the airport security line. These have a large zipper opening, which makes for easy use. Plus they’re corrosion-resistant and waterproof, so you can set ‘em right up in that hotel bathroom for easy access. ($9.98 per set, Amazon)

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Refillable, reusable, travel-sized bottles for your toiletries
Refillable, reusable, travel-sized bottles for your toiletries....

They’re leak-proof and will ensure you follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule. The drip-free dispenser should keep your liquids where they belong (versus all over the inside of your suitcase). Plus each bottle comes with a preprinted ID label so you’ll be able to tell your liquids apart without having to come up with a mnemonic device to remember that blue = shampoo. ($9.99+, Amazon)

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A tech organizer
A tech organizer that’ll make finding your charger so much more manageable... 

No more temper tantrums here. This one has a two-way zipper that allows for quick access and will prevent those frustrating ‘oh no, all my cords are tangled’ moments. It comes in 15 different colors and has dedicated spots for an SD card, mouse, and hard drive, so your precious cargo will be safe and sound. Pssst: It’s TSA-approved and water-resistant, so it’s a breeze to move through the airport with. ($16.99, Amazon)

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Jewelry box
A jewelry box that’ll make transporting your precious items easy... 

You can select the color plus the option to print your name on the case. Inside there are slots for earrings, loops for necklaces and bracelets, and tiny compartments for rings. Now you’ll have a dedicated place for valuables when you’re on the go. ($24, Etsy)

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A hanging Dopp kit
A hanging Dopp kit that’s made to last...

For when you’ve got a small hotel bathroom and no space to put the 12 million beauty products you just had to bring with you. Its got multiple compartments, mesh pockets, and a removable mirror and shower caddy. And zippers that can handle 20,000 zips and unzips. Plus it's abrasion-resistant and water-resistant (no spilled liquids here, thank you very much). Bonus: It comes in more than a dozen colors. It’s basically the GOAT in our books. ($29.95, L.L.Bean)

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An everything-in-one travel bag
An everything-in-one travel bag…

We’re talking the literal perfect duffle here. The mini size fits up to three days’ worth of stuff, the small holds up to five, and big holds five-plus. Wear it as a backpack or crossbody, or carry it like a classic duffle — thanks to its detachable, adjustable, ergonomic straps and four external reinforced handles. Its other special deets? A ring for your keys, a lockable zipper closure, alpine-grade universal, double stitching for extra durability, a military-grade mesh divider, and more. Plus you get your pick of colors. The real question is, what doesn’t this bag have? ($139+, Baboon to the Moon)

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A foldable duffle
A foldable duffle to use when you overshop on vacay…

This collapsible duffle bag is great to have on hand for your return trip. It folds down into a tiny pouch and is also TSA-approved as a carry-on option. Plus the bright colors, recycled materials, and personalization options don’t hurt either. Throw it in your bag now, be thankful you have it later. ($65+, Paravel)

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Carry-on essentials...

A water-bottle sling
A water-bottle sling so you can go hands-free…

Since you’re probably holding a thousand other items too. Whether you rock it on a hike, while trekking through a city or in the airport, this sling is *chef’s kiss*. It has an insulated compartment and an adjustable strap so it makes for comfy use. Plus, it’s especially ideal for kiddos who aren’t great at holding onto things. All aboard: hydration station. ($35, STATE Bags)

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sleep mask
A silky, machine-washable sleep mask that’s jet lag-friendly…

No blackout curtains? No problem. This sleep mask helps block out light when you desperately need to catch some Zzz’s (and your travel destination isn’t exactly cooperating). Its wide elastic band helps prevent hair creases and its naturally moisturizing silk material (which is made with eco-friendly, bluesign®-approved dyes, btw) helps reduce the appearance of fatigue and dark circles. So you can wake up refreshed, revived, and ready to take on your new time zone. Sweet dreams are made of these. ($48, Lunya).*

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A fold-up belt bag
A fold-up belt bag for when you’ve got an action-packed trip planned...

Look ma, no hands. Fashion meets function in this trendy option that’s great for a busy vacay. This one’s ultra lightweight, water-resistant, and made from recycled plastic water bottles. We love wearing it on bike rides and morning walks into town. It folds down into a wallet-sized pouch too. So if you prefer to stuff it in your travel bag as a just-in-case item to have in your hotel room, it’s perfect. ($35+, Paravel)

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Reusable, portable utensils
Reusable, portable utensils that’ll make in-flight meals and on-the-go snacks easier…

Throw these dishwasher-safe utensils in your bag and use ‘em in the airport, on your road trip or during a day at the beach. The pack includes a stainless steel knife, spoon, and fork in a slim, silicone holder that’s ultralightweight. Single-use plastic? We don’t know her. ($15, Amazon)

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A portable charger
A portable charger aka the MVP of your trip…

Because no one wants to board their flight or long bus ride with a drained battery. Plus when you’re traveling there’s not always easy access to an outlet. This one from Anker lets you charge two devices at once and is especially optimized to charge low-power devices, like earphones and Bluetooth speakers. Say ‘buh bye’ to that dreaded 10% low battery mode notification in three...two...one. ($59.99+, Amazon

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A ‘bag lady’ cotton baseball hat
A ‘bag lady’ cotton baseball hat…

Because you always say you’re not going to overpack. But then you find yourself tossing in your just-in-case shoes, accessories for every situation, and a couple more dresses for good measure. This hat from Dagne Dover has an adjustable back and is made from 100% organic, cotton-washed twill. Hats off to ya. ($30, Dagne Dover)

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Knee-high compression socks
Knee-high compression socks to keep you feeling comfy…

No blood clots here, thank you very much. Pros of wearing these include all-day comfort and support, increased circulation, improved leg and foot comfort, reduced soreness, swelling, and inflammation, and decreased lactic acid buildup. Phew. ($25, Comrad)

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Noise-cancelling headphones
Noise-cancelling headphones to block out all that unwanted sound...

This Bluetooth pair will help you tune out those loud airplane engines or that crying baby three rows back. And can last up to 60 hours before needing a charge. Plus the headphones are designed to be comfy on your ears — they’ve got breathable mesh and memory foam cushions with soft leather that’ll keep things pain-free. Sound up. ($59.99+, Amazon)

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Ergonomic travel pillow
An ergonomic travel pillow so you can kiss those head-bobbing days goodbye...

This one is designed to secure your neck and stabilize your head while you sleep. It has a bolstered face rest for chin support, plus a removable hypoallergenic cover to make washing it no sweat. It also collapses into a mug-sized pouch when not in use. Sweet dreams to you. ($49, Cushion Lab)

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A portable foot hammock
A portable foot hammock that’ll reduce foot swelling and soreness…

You can use it on flights, busses, and just about anywhere. Simply hook the rest onto a table and plop your feet in for added support. It’ll float your legs and help relieve some of that travel fatigue. It’s made of memory foam and especially handy during long flights or drives. No bad travel days here. ($9.99, Amazon)

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RFID-blocking necklace wallet
A RFID-blocking necklace wallet…

To minimize our credit cards or personal info getting hacked, we love using this slim wallet that’s built to protect against radio-frequency identification (RFID). It’s made of moisture-wicking fabric and weighs only 2 ounces, so it won’t add weight to your neck. Safety first, kids. ($11.99, L.L.Bean)

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A leatherette holder
A leatherette holder that’ll level up your passport situation…

This one’s as cute as it is functional. It’ll cover your passport and has three slots for things like a credit card or hotel key. We have a feeling it’ll make the perfect bachelorette gift too. Mental vacation, here you come. ($24.95, Ban.do)

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*This denotes a sponsored post.

If you buy anything from this email, theSkimm may get something in return. Oh, and if something’s out of stock, oops, it was there (and all prices were accurate too) when we published. Thanks.

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Skimm'd by Lindsay Schneider, Emmy Favilla