If you have plans to travel abroad this year, it’s the perfect time for you to update your travel accessories. Getting from one destination to the next can be a bit of a chore (especially on long plane rides), but a helpful set of accessories can act like your personal travel assistant along the way to make travelling much more pleasurable.
That’s why it’s so important to get all of your travel accessories in order before you take off, set up your smart home security devices, or hop into the car or other mode of transportation. With some careful planning, you can make sure that your trip feels like a vacation from the moment you leave home.
1. Get cozy with a neck pillow
Once your bags are packed, locked, and weighed, you only have one job: to enjoy your travels to the best of your ability! It’s no fun being cramped in a seat for hours on end, but there are little adjustments that you can make to turn your trip into a vacation.
A cozy travel neck pillow is the perfect place to start.
2. Search for a matching foot pillow
Fellow short people of the world will know that the only thing worse than a kink in your neck while travelling is a cramp in your leg. Now, I’m not complaining about being short—why would I, when even economy plane seats feel like a La-Z-Boy?—but not being able to touch the ground can be a real problem.
Inflatable foot pillows are a great way to support your legs during a long trip. If you can’t find one, I recommend looking for a hard-side backpack or carry-on suitcase instead; they’re a similar size to a foot pillow, and can provide you with all the support you need!
3. Complete the trio with an eye mask and ear plugs or noise canceling headphones
Once you’re tucked into a cozy position with your foot rest and neck pillow, a sleeping mask and ear plugs (or noise-cancelling headphones) are the perfect way to round out your in-transit travel accessories. Choosing a comfortable sleeping mask will help to darken your view, even if your seat-mate has a book in their lap and an industrial-strength headlamp to read it by.
As an added bonus, you can keep using your travel sleep mask and ear plugs to create a quiet environment for a great night of sleep at home, too. They’re not just one-time-use purchase!
4. TSA-approved luggage with tags
If you’re travelling by plane, buying TSA-approved luggage and other travel accessories can make your time in the airport quicker and easier. (If you’re not sure what type of luggage to buy, Best Buy’s Luggage Buying Guide is a great resource to start with.) TSA-approved luggage comes with locks that can be opened by transit security members, and usually fits within all airlines’ size guidelines for checked and carry-on luggage. However, size guidelines change by airline and year issued, so make sure to double check your dimensions before you pack.
My favourite type of luggage to take on a plane is a TSA-approved hard side rolling carry-on suitcase, which lets me breeze through security and long airport hallways. If I’m checking a piece, I’ll use a matching set and make sure to add a luggage tag so my checked bag is easily identifiable.
5. TSA-approved locks
Luggage without a built-in lock doesn’t need to be TSA approved. If you add a lock for extra security, however, then that travel lock would need to be TSA-approved.
Luckily, TSA-approved travel locks are easy to find! Look for combination locks, padlocks, or even fingerprint padlocks to secure your luggage.
6. Waist pouches and travel wallets with RFID protection
Another way to stay safe while travelling is to keep your cash and credit cards in a secure travel accessory. In spots where pickpocketing is common, that might mean keeping your cash stored underneath your clothing in a secure waist pouch. In areas where electronic pickpocketing (also known as “skimming”) is common, adding RFID protection can help as well.
RFID travel wallets work by adding a thin layer of carbon fibre or metal to the wallet or waist pouch, which blocks skimmers from reading and copying the chip in items including passports and credit cards. Switching to something with RFID protection is as simple as swapping to a new wallet, which makes it one of the easiest ways to protect yourself while you’re travelling so that you can focus on the experience instead. (It’s also a great precaution to take for corporate credit cards accompanying you on a work trip!)
7. Packing cubes that make every hotel room feel like home
Travel organizers are, in all seriousness, one of my favourite parts about packing for travel. If you haven’t owned a set before, get ready for them to change your life.
By creating little zippered sections in your luggage, travel organizers create a little “mini wardrobe” in your suitcase or duffel bag—but on a budget. They help you pack your belongings into smaller, more organized spaces, so you can fit more and you always know where everything is. If you treat each pouch like a drawer of a wardrobe or dresser, you can pull them out one by one to locate exactly what you need at any stage of your trip.
Also known as packing cubes, these zippered pouches are especially helpful for multi-destination trips where you might not want to unpack your clothes at every new hotel. Your items stay compact and organized, but easily accessible at the same time.
8. Travel toiletries to bring your products from home with you
The first thing I like to do when I’m packing is make sure my luggage will be in accordance with TSA regulations. That means not carrying on any liquids or gels over 100 ml (to a collective 1 quart), which doesn’t apply to medications, baby food or formula, or breast milk.
On short trips, I like to travel with the toiletries I’ll need. So, a travel toiletry kit and TSA-approved bottles are a must-have for me. All you need to do with a ready-to-go toiletry kit is fill up each bottle with the same products you use at home, then toss them into your luggage and head out on your trip.
9. Travel power adapters to keep you going
If your travels are taking you across the border, then a travel power adapter is a must-have. Travel adapters allow you to use your electronic devices in countries with different styles of wall plugs, which will help you with charging your phone, using your hair dryer, and everything else you need power for throughout the day.
10. Bring a travel tote or foldable backpack
Travel totes and foldable backpacks are the perfect item to bring with you on a trip of any length. They pair the benefit of extra storage with the priceless ability to collapse into themselves (and therefore take up almost no space in your luggage). When you need them, they’re there; when you don’t, they’re not.
For maximum space-saving ability, look for a travel backpack or tote that’s made from nylon. Nylon bags offer less support and structure than cotton totes or a backpack with padding, but they’re ultra-lightweight, durable, and fold up to be extremely compact. My giant travel tote bag can hold up to 50 pounds and fit an entire pack of toilet paper, but folds into a soft 6″ pouch and weighs less than a tube of lipstick.
With the right travel accessories to support you through your trip, you can enjoy every moment of your trip.