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 21 essential items to pack inside your carry-on bag, weekender, or checked luggage. Consider these the staples of travel gear to bring on your next trip—and all your future vacations after that.
A trusted tote
A travel toiletry bag
Reusable travel bottles
Hydrating skincare products
A portable charger
A power adapter
A luggage scale
A way to find your luggage
A neck pillow
A shawl or blanket
Hand sanitizer and wipes
A reusable water bottle
A passport holder
A back-up travel bag
This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.
1. Travel organizers
Don’t underestimate the power of a good organizer. Articles director Lale Arikoglu has waxed poetic about her love of Paravel 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. Save space in your travel backpack by keeping cords wrapped up in Bellroy’s tech kit, and necklaces, earrings, and bracelets neatly organized inside a Mark & Graham jewelry case. The brand makes a great Commute Clutch, too, which can store your phone, Kindle, cords, cards, earphones, and more.
Paravel Packing Cube Quad
Bellroy Tech Kit
Mark & Graham Jewelry Case
$75.00, Mark & Graham
Bey-berk Travel case
Mark and Graham Commute clutch
$129.00 Mark and Graham
2. 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.
Pond LA Transform Air tote
$239.00, Pond Los Angeles
Cuyana Easy tote
MZ Wallace Medium Metro Tote Deluxe
$275.00 MZ Wallace
Béis x Elsa Hosk The Tote
3. 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.
Calpak Terra hanging toiletry bag
Dagne Dover Large Hunter toiletry bag
$65.00, Dagne Dover
4. Reusable travel bottles
Rather than buying 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.
Cadence capsules bundle
Rrwin 4-in-1 travel dispenser
5. 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.
Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength hand salve
Aesop Resurrection Aromatique hand balm
Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
Burt’s Bees Moisturizing lip care
6. 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.
Anker PowerCore III 10K Wireless
Calpak Power Luggage Tag
7. 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.
1Mii Bluetooth 5.0 adapter
Apple World Travel Adapter Kit
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).
Sony WH-1000XM4 Headphones
Courant AirPods leather case
9. 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.
Luxebell digital luggage scale
9. 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 them to). In fact, AirTags are one of the items contributor Harrison Pierce wishes he had when he started traveling full-time.
10. 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.
Mzoo contoured sleep mask
Bluetooth sleep headband
11. 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.
Memory foam travel neck pillow
12. 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.
Comrad Compression Socks
Barefoot Dreams CozyChic socks
When you need some peace and quiet, swap your noise-canceling headphones in for earplugs. Contributor Emily Price recommends Mack’s super-affordable set for people who don’t like having things inside their ears.
Mack’s Pillow Soft silicone earplugs
14. 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.
J.Crew oversized cashmere wrap
$198.00, J. Crew
Bluesalt The 2 Yard Wrap
15. Face masks
Despite the 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.
WellBefore KN95 masks
$15.00 WellBefore (pack of 10)
Evolve Together KN95 masks
$15.00, Evolve Together (pack of five)
16. 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.
Everyone Hand Sanitizer Spray
Wet Ones all-purpose wipes
17. 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.
Takeya Tritan sports water bottle, 32-ounce
Hydro Flask 24 Oz Standard Mouth with Flex Straw Cap
18. 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 spoons 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).
Stasher silicone reusable storage bag four-pack
Takenaka x KonMari Super Tidy Spoon & Chopstick set
19. 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 documents protected. Mark & Graham’s can be personalized with your initials for an added $12.50.
Mark & Graham Leather Passport Case
$65.00, Mark & Graham
Royce RFID-blocking passport organizer
20. 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 during a longer vacation.
Paravel Fold-Up Bag
Baggu Cloud bag
21. 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.
Weatherman The Travel Umbrella
Repel windproof travel umbrella
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler