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There’s nothing better than the feeling of waking up at 4 a.m. to head to the airport when you’re so excited for vacation that you don’t even care it’s so early. However, that feeling of excitement can quickly wear off after a few hours. Whether by plane, train, car, or boat, you might experience delays, body discomfort, hunger… the list goes on. To keep all that to a minimum, we’ve curated this list of travel products to make your long days of travel a little bit easier. They’ll have you wondering how you ever survived a day of leg cramps and dehydration without them.
1. A little something that helps you tune out your fellow travelers
Not only will a pair of our favorite noise cancelling headphones deliver your favorite tunes to you while you’re on the road, but they’ll also help block out all the unnecessary noise that comes with traveling. Screaming babies, chatty travelers, and rumbles of plane and train engines will be no match for these bad boys. Best of all, the lengthy battery life will ensure that you don’t have to worry about them dying mid-flight, which is basically proof that there is a god who wants us to be happy.
2. An easy way to travel with your entire library
Picking a vacation book is a task I take very, very seriously—even more seriously than packing for my trip. Instead of debating which books will be easiest to fit in my backpack though, I usually end up bringing my entire library. Behold, the beauty of an e-reader. Our favorite Kindle, the Paperwhite 10th generation, is perfect for reading both on crowded trains and sunny beaches, with 24 levels of brightness. Plus, the recent update has now made it waterproof as well. Thanks to a long battery life of over a week, you can easily pack this for a weeklong trip without having to worry about bringing a charger—which frees up your bag for any souvenirs you might want to bring home (ahem, more books).
3. The secret to keeping hydrated (and avoiding overpriced plastic bottles)
The easiest way to avoid having to wait for the flight attendant to whip out the beverage cart is to just bring your own. The Hydro Flask, the best water bottle we’ve ever tested, checks off all the boxes—it’s portable, versatile, and durable. Ice remains practically unmelted inside of it, even 24 hours later, and hot beverages keep their warmth as well. With a wide range of colors to choose from, this is sure to become your most-trusted travel companion.
4. A place for everything so you’ll never lose track of things
The last thing you want to do during a long day of travel is empty out your purse in the middle of a crowded, dirty airport to find your cellphone or keys. With this purse organizer insert, you’ll never run into that problem again. It fits right into your purse (yes, it comes in different sizes!) and has separate pockets to keep all of your belongings easily accessible and in view. It even has a keychain attached to it so that you’ll never lose your keys!
5. Sanitizing wipes because everything is gross
When you’re traveling, not only are you exposing yourself to new cultures and experiences, but you’re also exposing yourself to a whole lot of germs. Err on the side of caution and always take some extra sanitizing products, especially if you’re going to be stuck in a tight space with a bunch of other people for a while. Pro tip: Whether it be plane, train, or bus, always make sure to wipe down your arm rests and tray tables with a couple of sanitizing wipes.
6. A gadget so you don’t run out of juice when you’re in the middle of nowhere
Your phone is basically your righthand man while traveling. It can act as a camera, a compass, and even a way to find the best dinner spot in a new city. It’s not shocking to look down at noon and find your battery almost at zero when you’re exploring a new place—hence why a great external phone charger is so important for travelers. We love this charger because it has enough power to charge an iPhone XR three times. It also boasts built-in Lightning and micro USB cables, which can be tucked away when they’re not in use.
7. The secret to getting sleep no matter where you are
Traveling is great at reminding you to never take the comforts of home for granted ever again. With an adjustable Velcro strap, this mask will stay secure throughout the entire night, regardless if you’re in a hotel bed, a cramped airline seat, or the passenger seat of a rental car. Plus, the contoured design doesn’t put any pressure on your eyes, so you can actually blink while wearing it. It’s the perfect way to wake up fully rested—and in complete darkness.
8. A little treat to pamper yourself and feel more comfortable
Have you ever been stuck on an airplane in a seat where the AC is blasting on you and you have no control over it? It’s the absolute worst. Or maybe your feet are just sore from running to your gate to catch your flight. You should always bring some comfy socks or slippers to change into and make your long day of travel just a little bit easier.
9. The best way to avoid checked baggage fees
The only thing worse than having to pay a checked bag fee is having a carry-on bag that is a pain to lug around. When we were testing the best carry-on luggage we made sure to wheel suitcases over every imaginable surface and through plenty of bizarre obstacles (airport crowd-weaving should be considered an Olympic sport). With ample interior space and three perfectly placed pockets on the exterior, the Samsonite Flexis Softside Luggage is the perfect travel companion for any trip you have planned.
10. The only way to catch some Zzzs in awkward airplane seats
Honestly, sleeping on planes should be considered an extreme sport. Some people can pass out immediately once they sit down, others toss and turn with the pillows they bought at the duty-free shop. However, everyone would get a gold medal in airplane sleeping if they used the Huzi scarf neck pillow. What makes it way better than those u-shaped neck pillows? Support at every angle. The flexible design also makes it possible to fold it into a traditional pillow, finagle it into a sleep mask, or prop it up as a back cushion. Say “buh-bye” to restless plane sleeping forever.
11. A great way to distract yourself from a crazy day of travel
Whether you are traveling with kids or you yourself are a child at heart, the Nintendo Switch makes traveling so much better. Take a step back from your crazy day of travel and enter a world of fantasy and gaming. You can play games or distract your kids for up to nine hours with its insane battery life. Plus, this handheld device is super compact so it’s easy to bring in any bag.
12. Fun games to fight boredom
Long travel days can be particularly boring for little kids. If the Nintendo Switch isn’t right for your kids, or perhaps is a little steep in price, the Water Wow! activity pads are a great way to fight boredom. They’re perfect for any mode of transportation and easy to carry around—and the best part is that they’re mess free! Let your little ones get creative and artistic without having to worry about getting stains everywhere and ruining their clothes, or worse, the car.
13. The easiest way to pack plenty of snacks
Don’t ever travel without snacks. I repeat: Never travel without snacks. You don’t want to be sleep-deprived and hungry while you’re traveling. Nor do you want to travel with someone else who is hangry. It can make your travel day miserable. Pack snacks ahead of time in these reusable snack bags that people love. They’re durable, eco-friendly, and stylish. The best part is they can go in the dishwasher, so you don’t have to hand-wash them but also never have to waste money on plastic bags again.
14. A fun way to document your trip instantly
Your vacation begins as soon as you step out your front door. That means every second of your trip thereafter needs to be properly documented. I mean, did you even go on vacation if you didn’t take a selfie? This cult-favorite film camera will help you get the job done. Take instant, wallet-sized photos throughout your entire adventure. It’s super easy to use and even comes in seven fun colors like “Ice Blue” and “Flamingo Pink.” Say cheese!
15. Saviors for when you have noisy travel companions
Pretty much everyone has had to sit next to screaming baby on a flight. Or perhaps you had the misfortune of sitting next to an overly friendly passenger who wanted to chat from takeoff to landing while you just wanted to get some shuteye. We have an easy way to send the ultimate message in these situations, if you don’t want to use headphones: ear plugs. Although the perfect pair of earplugs doesn’t exist, we tested several pairs and found some that come pretty darn close and will help you deal with your noisy travel companions. For the absolute best sound blockage (and some sleep!), you need the Hearos Xtreme earplugs.
16. A little something to give you peace of mind
These small locks are perfect for checked luggage, which isn’t screened in front of you. If you put any old personal lock on your suitcase and TSA needs to get inside of it—bad news. They either have to hunt you down inside the airport (which could result in a missed flight) or just cut the lock off entirely, leaving your suitcase unprotected. But with these unique little locks, TSA agents have special keys so they can easily get inside, look at whatever they have to look at, and then lock your stuff back up. A few extra dollars for less headaches? Sign me up.
17. Insurance that your phone won’t die on a long car trip
Let’s be real, people don’t use maps anymore. We use Maps with a capital M, and Waze to navigate long car rides. The last thing you want is to have your phone die somewhere along your route. Besides the lack of navigation, you won’t be able to play your favorite Spotify playlist anymore. Point is, you need a reliable car charger to get you from point A to point B, like the RAVPower Mini car adapter. It’s tiny, but packs a punch, enough to charge the most power-demanding devices. You can even plug in two USB cords at a time.
18. Something to keep you feeling fresh during your travels
There’s rarely a time in life when you feel dirtier than during a long day of travel. Let’s face it, you’re stuck in a metal box surrounded by other peoples’ hot breath and germs. But sometimes you don’t have the luxury of a shower between your long day of travel and whatever your next activity might be. In that case, you need some of the best dry shampoo on the market to make you look and feel more fresh.
19. The perfect way to stay cozy when you’re stuck waiting for a plane/train/bus/boat
Giant scarves are honestly the most underrated MVPs of travel accessories. Need a blanket? Giant scarf. Need a pillow? Giant scarf. Need a way to make an outfit look a little extra chic? Giant scarf. Need to actually stay warm? You guessed it, just use your giant scarf!
20. How to ensure your furry friend comes along for the trip
You take one look at your sweet little fur baby’s face and you can’t possibly leave them for even a day. The only solution is to take them with you on whatever trip you’re going on. But traveling with pets can be tricky. It might make you happier to have them near, but they’re surely going to be scared and won’t know what’s going on. You need to ensure they’re as comfortable as possible by bringing them along in the best pet carrier possible.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
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