If you have wanderlust in your soul, you already know that travel is glorious — when it’s not a pain in the ass.
Luckily, people keep inventing brilliant travel gear that takes our travels to a whole new level of ease and fun. These are some of my favorite travel problem-solvers, and I think you might love them, too!
(Note: This site uses affiliate links to help pay the bills. However, I only recommend gear I personally use and love!)
This personal item that uses every inch of your under-seat space
This Underseat Pro travel backpack is sized perfectly to be considered a “personal item” instead of “carry-on,” so you don’t have to pay for luggage if you’re traveling on a budget.
This innovative case uses every single inch of space under the seat in front of you. It has a comfortable carry handle and backpack straps, plus a fabric panel that slides over the handle of a wheeled bag.
The design is extremely well-thought-out for travel. It offers outside pockets for boarding documents, two water bottle holders, a carabiner for keys, and even a pen holder, so you’ll be ready to fill out immigration forms. All done in recycled materials and built to last. You’ll feel the quality as soon as you lay your hands on this case.
This bag is perfect for short trips when you don’t want to pay for a carry-on — or the perfect complement to your luggage on a longer trip.
Carrying a reusable water bottle on trips is a game-changer. Bottled water is a nightmare for the environment — and can be expensive to buy on the road. The Hydro cell stainless steel water bottle is a brilliant answer to those issues and several others you may not have thought about.
The double-wall construction keeps your drinks cold for 24 hours or hot for 12. The bottle is made of food-grade stainless steel that resists rust and corrosion. It has a slip-proof coating that makes it easy to hang onto, even when you’re juggling your luggage. It comes in several sizes and many colors — and it’s 100% BPA-free.
You’ll find fresh water to refill your bottle at most airports, hotels, and hostels. If the local water isn’t potable, you can buy a gallon jug for refills, and save your wallet and the environment a lot of strain. Plus, your water will stay cool and refreshing all day.
A crossbody purse that doubles as a wallet
Although I love a secure travel handbag, I always carry a versatile crossbody like this one from The Sak.
This purse keeps the basics — phone, wallet, keys — at your fingertips, and wearing it across your body makes it much harder to snatch.
What I really love about these bags is that when you need to carry more, you can easily remove the shoulder straps and TA-DA it’s a wallet that you can drop into your daypack, messenger bag, or tote — or a secure travel purse or backpack if you want features like reinforced straps and a slashproof material.
I’ve used (and recommended) less expensive versions of this bag in the past, but this one from The Sak is more durable and comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns. I just love it!
This Bluetooth tracker for your luggage
Do you worry about your luggage (or your purse) when you travel? I recently traveled with a friend who had a Bluetooth tracker, like this one from Cube, in her suitcase. Every time we got on a flight, she’d check her phone to make sure her bag was on the plane, too. That’s brilliant!
If you and your luggage get separated beyond the range of the device, it can relay signals with other Cube trackers to show you its location.
The device comes with a spare battery, so you’ll be able to use it for a long time. OH, and it even has a button you can use to snap selfies from a distance!
This TSA-approved lock for your luggage and so much more
This Master lock has been infinitely useful in my travels. You can use it to lock your luggage zippers together since it’s TSA-approved. The flexible shackle lets you use the lock for so much more, from hostel lockers to cupboards. I’ve even used this lock to secure a backpack to a bedpost.
You can set the combination yourself, so you’ll never forget it. And it’s much lighter weight than most padlocks.
These Suited Nomad packing cubes let you fit twice as much stuff into your luggage. Fill them to bursting with folded or rolled clothing, then use the second zipper to compress them into half as much space.
I use the large ones for pants, shirts, and light jackets and the small one for underwear and swimsuits.
They are built to last, with ripstop fabric and heavy-duty zippers. You can buy a set of three or six, and they come in a variety of colors.
A lightweight kimono like this one takes up almost no luggage space, but it can dress up a simple outfit, give you coverage when you need it, protect you from the sun, and serve as a swimsuit coverup or even a robe.
This one comes in a wide variety of prints and colors and is super lightweight and very affordable.
Accessories like this help stretch your travel wardrobe by giving you more looks from your basic pieces. I love this over a long t-shirt dress in Muslim countries.
This power bank that doubles as a flashlight
Have you ever been on a long flight with a rickety USB charger that didn’t work right? It’s terrifying to think of landing with a dead phone. Most of us store all the information about our lodging, contacts, and flights in our phone, and depend on it for GPS and jon-the-fly research, even if we’re only using it on wifi.
This tiny power bank is perfect in a pinch like that. It’s lightweight and takes up almost no space, plus it earns its keep by doubling as a powerful flashlight.
This super light yoga mat
This ultralight yoga mat from Manduka is perfect for travel. It’s thin enough that you can fold it and put it in a suitcase or backpack — which means it doesn’t offer a lot of cushioning (I try to lay mine on a rug or carpet). But it does offer a clean, super-grippy surface, so you can do yoga or work out anywhere.
You can also throw it in a tote and take it to the yoga studio to lay over the community mat. I’ve had mine for nearly 10 years, and it’s still going strong.
This eco-friendly reusable tote bag
Plastic bags are banned in many countries — you’re just expected to bring your own bag to the store. Where they’re they’re not banned, you’ll see the tremendous pollution they create in the countryside. (I once watched helplessly as a lamb tried to eat a bag it found in a field, and I’ve seen birds that couldn’t fly because they were tangled in a bag.)
Either way, you’ll be glad you brought this reusable bag from Chicobag!
It weighs almost nothing, stuffs down to a size smaller than your fist, and can be hooked on the outside of your purse or pack with its own carabiner.
It’s big enough to carry home all your groceries, or to hold a full load of laundry. It’s ethically made, with a zero waste policy, and folds into its own attached pouch. It comes in lots of colors and patterns, too.
This Stuffable Day Pack to Carry Your Things
This daypack (also from ChicoBag) lets you carry a sweater, rain jacket, water bottle, and the day’s purchases hands-free.
It’s very lightweight, stuffs into its own built-in pouch, and can be clipped to another bag with its built-in carabiner.
The quality of this little pack is just exceptional. I love the stretchy bottle pockets and breathable shoulder straps. It’s even got a hydration pouch! Better yet, it’s made completely from recycled materials.
This Universal Power Adapter with USB Ports
This power adapter works in 150 different countries around the world and has plenty of ports and USB ports to charge all your gear while you sleep. Even better, it has a 3-foot extension cord to make awkward outlets that are hidden behind furniture easy to access.
Personally, I prefer this style over the boxy ones with slide-out prongs that feel fragile and slide out of the wall. Note that this is an adapter, not a converter, so it can’t be used with heated appliances like hair dryers, but it can charge your phone, laptop, etc.
These Insoles That Turn Any Shoes Into Comfy Walking Shoes
Travel can mean walking many thousands of steps each day — and yet, you want to travel with lightweight, packable footwear. These PowerStep insoles let you do just that. I carry one pair of these and use them in my hiking boots, lightweight tennis shoes, ballet flats, and even stylish low-heeled boots.
The arch support is so incredible, that it feels like a foot massage. Even when I was suffering from plantar fasciitis, I could walk all day when I used these. I’ve used them for over 10 years now, and I’ll never be without them again.
This Portable Door Lock That Lets You Pack Peace of Mind
If you worry about who else has a key to your hotel or Airbnb door, this lock is for you.
It fits easily over any standard lock and prevents the door from being opened — even with a key.
It’s a bit heavy (would you trust it if it wasn’t?) but very compact and easy to pack in its own carry case.
This Cute Foldable Hat
Most foldable hats either scream “TOURIST!” or turn out not to be so foldable in real life. This one hits the sweet spot, offering terrific sun protection and a flattering style. It easily folds in quarters and fits flat in a zippered suitcase pocket. When you need it, it pops back into shape pretty easily.
The cute straw hat comes in two sizes and has a hidden adjustable band so you can get a secure fit. There’s a chin strap, too, for windy days or bicycling. It comes in several different colors and offers 50+ UVA/UVB protection.