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After the long, dreary winter we just had, filled with dark days and frigid temps, we all deserve a vacation of some sort. This could mean jet-setting someplace breathtakingly beautiful—making your Instagram stories the thing to watch—or just escaping to somewhere close by for a relaxing getaway.
None of this would be quite like paradise, however, if you find yourself in these less-than-ideal situations: losing your passport, dealing with broken luggage, or even finding yourself stranded somewhere dangerous with a dead phone. Avoiding all of this involves planning, preparation, and, of course, investing in travel products that will actually help you on your journey.
Luckily, travel products have come a long way. Now, in 2019, you can ensure your best vacation yet with these must-have items that include everything from the best suitcases you could ever buy to entertainment tech items that make traveling a breeze to some of the best beauty and sleep items to have you arriving fresh and well-rested to your final destination. So go ahead, awaken the wanderlust in you and feed that traveling thirst with some of these must-have travel items.
1. Durable carry-on luggage that fits in most overhead bins
By now, most of us have seen Meet The Parents and remember the hilarious-yet-relatable scene where Greg (played by Ben Stiller) is on a plane and gets into some serious trouble by struggling to fit his carry-on bag in the overhead bin. It’s a relatable hassle that causes a lot of embarrassment, especially when everyone else on the plane is already seated and has a front-row seat to your struggle.
Prevent that hassle with this carry-on bag that we named the best carry-on suitcase of 2019. It comes in a compact size that fits in most overhead compartments, even with its wheels. There is plenty of pocket space inside, as well as an expandable design, making it perfect for those trips where you overpacked.
2. Hard-shell luggage that’s perfect for every traveler
There are a few staples every human should own: good underwear, a toothbrush, and a solid piece of luggage. You want one that you can use for many years to come. Luckily, we tested several luggage models out there to find the perfect one for you. In the end, it was the popular Away suitcase that nabbed the top spot among our favorite hard-sided luggage.
It has a polycarbonate outer shell that will protect your belongings a lot more than soft-sided suitcases made with fabric. Its textured, matte finish will withstand dirt and scuffs more than other models we tested, and you have a wide variety of colors to choose from so you’ll be able to spot your luggage on the carousel right away. The only real snafu we had with the Away suitcase was with the wheels, which didn’t handle the best on rougher surfaces. Nonetheless, it’s still a worthy purchase.
3. Noise-canceling headphones that block out screaming babies
It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling to the best destination in the world. Bottom line is: traveling can and will get boring. While you could sleep the boredom away, why not pass the time in a much more entertaining way by listening to your favorite podcasts, books or even watching shows and movies?
You can do that with these QuietComfort headphones, which we found to be one of the best tech products of 2018 and, in this case, the best headphones for traveling. They earned these bragging rights through their supreme noise-canceling capabilities (ideal for tuning out other travelers). Lastly, these headphones are rechargeable, and they will give you around 20 solid hours of playtime, which should be enough to get you to most destinations.
4. A USB battery pack so you never panic over 10% cellphone battery
Having a cellphone isn’t just essential for crushing your high score in Candy Crush; it’s also essential to keep you safe when you’re out and about or in unfamiliar places. But none of that is possible if your battery is dead and there’s nowhere to charge it.
Enter this USB battery pack, which we found to be the best overall after testing it alongside several other popular portable chargers. It has a very fast charge, juicing up your cell phone from 0 to 80 percent in just 60 minutes. Its USB-C input makes it compatible with other electronics as well, such as the Nintendo Switch, Macbooks, some Android phones, and more.
5. A Kindle that lets you bring your favorite reads along for the ride
If you’re a frequent traveler and book lover, then the Amazon Kindle is just what you need. Out of all the Kindles we tested, the Paperwhite was the best overall, a title that was given thanks to its blend of awesome features and affordability.
The all-new Kindle is hard to resist when it comes with upgraded features such as twice the storage size of the older model and a waterproof design that makes it possible to bring along to stunning beaches around the world—or, you know, just to chill with at the hotel’s pool.
The best part,? A single charge can last you for weeks. Yes, weeks. And it even has Audible capabilities so you can listen to some of your favorite books with your noise-canceling headphones for the times where you’d rather rest your eyes.
6. An airplane pillow that lets you doze off anywhere
If you have tried every pillow under the sun and still can’t ever get any shut-eye on planes or trains, then you just might need the Huzi Infinity Pillow. It’s called “infinity” for a reason, as it shapes into several different positions, which provide ideal support for your head, neck, arms, legs, and back, making it possible to fall asleep anywhere and wake up without feeling stiff and sore.
“Cool but yet warm, snuggly, adaptable in so many ways and positions!” said one reviewer. Another reviewer said they took advantage of its multi-purpose shape by twisting it to fit between their knees and resting their chin on it, turning it into the ultimate body pillow.
7. A tracker to find all your misplaced items
When you misplace your keys in your house, it sucks, obviously, but it’s not the biggest deal since you know they will turn up eventually. However, if you lose your keys while traveling, it’s pretty much mayhem since you don’t have the luxury of time when you’re due to check out and catch your plane.
That’s why you should consider the Tile Mate, which attaches to your important items such as keys, laptops, cellphones, bikes and even cars. Use your phone app to ping the tracker and it plays a loud sound so you can easily find your item. The battery lasts for one year, but Tile recently made it easy to replace. There is even a community feature that allows other community members to help you find your items in the event that your Tile Mate is far away (like if you leave it in an Airbnb and don’t realize until you get home).
8. A smart water bottle that changes how you drink water forever
Despite our best intentions to keep ourselves hydrated throughout the day, it’s something we all forget to do sometimes. Luckily, one of our contributors found a smart water bottle that promises to be a game-changer by literally glowing when it’s time for us to drink. I have one too and can attest to how amazing it is.
It works alongside the company’s app, which automatically records your water intake with each sip taken. You can also customize your own daily water goals or use the app’s recommended daily amount, which takes into account your location, environmental humidity levels, and your physiology. The bottle fits 24 ounces of water and comes in a range of stylish colors.
9. A highly rated travel mug that keeps drinks hot or cold for hours
Your travel mug doesn’t have to just be for your daily commute. You can take it on your trips as well, especially if you want to keep a beverage hot (or cold) for up to six hours. Our tester, who named this the best travel mug said that her husband had forgotten about the coffee he’d poured into this mug and when he found it a day later, it was just as hot as when he first poured it.
We especially like that there is a safety lock on the mug that prevents leaks, and the SlickSteel finish interior helps to prevent corrosion and stains. While it’s not dishwasher safe, the top comes off for an easy clean in the hotel sink.
10. Packing cubes that make packing less of a chore
The process of packing and unpacking is just never that fun to do. Make it a little easier with the eBays Six-Piece Packing Cube Value Set, which we named the best packing cubes. They promise to change the way you travel by making everything easier and more organized.
The cubes are made with soft mesh tops that won’t damage delicates and self-repairing zippers that ensure your cubes stay closed. They come in several different sizes, perfect for storing various items. For example, one reviewer said that the smallest cube is ideal for packing things such as underwear and accessories. You could probably use it for small toiletry items as well.
11. A luggage scale to prevent those pesky baggage fees
Turns out you don’t have to wait until you’re at the airport to weigh your bag. You can do it right at home with your own luggage scale that’s small enough to bring with you so you don’t go overboard on souvenirs. We found this one by Dr. Meter to be best after testing several luggage scales.
Our tests proved out that it’s actually as accurate as it claims to be so you can ensure your bag isn’t overweight before you even get in your Uber. Some extra features include an LCD light that makes the screen bright enough to read both day and night and easy to use buttons.
12. An anti-theft travel bag to protect you from pickpockets
After seeing the movie Taken, our need for safety when traveling to foreign places is more important than ever. While we don’t all have a Liam Neeson-type character in our life to go after the bad guys, what we do have is this anti-theft cross-body bag that claims to protect us from thieves.
Reviewers love the peace of mind it gives them while traveling, as it has a locking compartment, lock-down straps that prevent thieves from stealing the bag off the back of a chair, and slash-resistant straps that are made with stainless steel cables.
One downside, according to some reviewers, is the minimal space inside. One reviewer said that they could fit their Kindle, a book, a wallet, and not much else. This might be something to consider before purchasing if you’re someone who needs lots of room, but we think that it’s more than enough for the average traveler, especially considering you’ll also have a carry-on at least.
13. Under seat luggage that still gives you legroom
Traveling light is a skill too few of us have mastered, but if you’re one of the elite, then you will love this the Tom Bihn Western Flyer under-seat luggage, which is the best we’ve ever tested. It’s constructed from your choice of either 1050 ballistic nylon or ultralight Halcyon fabric and the compact design ensures you still have extra legroom.
Both inside and outside, there are several handy pockets that each have waterproof zippers. This includes a water bottle holder, pockets to hold important items and a larger pocket that can hold larger items such as an e-reader or paperback book. You can even wear the luggage as a backpack thanks to its hide-away backpack straps. Adventure awaits!
14. An eye mask to catch those traveling Zzzs
We all deserve some quality shut-eye when traveling, but it can be hard to do so when traveling during the day. Give yourself the gift of having what feels like personal blackout curtain on your eyes with this Nidra Deep Rest Eye Mask, which we named the best contoured sleep mask you can get. Its shaped fit is super comfortable, even making it possible to blink while wearing it. You’ll be off to dreamland in no time.
15. A tablet for kids that saves the sanity of any parent
Traveling can be a hassle enough as it is without having your kids causing trouble by screaming, fighting with each other and asking the quintessential question one more time: “Are we there yet?”
Keep them entertained instead with a tablet like the Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet. We even named the pedition of the Fire tablet the best tablet for kids.
It comes with an 8-inch screen that provides a great quality HD display, 32 GB of storage, and up to 10 hours of battery life so it lasts for some of those longer trips. As a bonus, your purchase comes with a free 1-year subscription of FreeTime Unlimited, where your kids have access to tons of free kid-friendly games, books, and videos.
Since Amazon knows that accidents can happen, they even provide peace of mind by replacing any Kids Edition tablet with a two-year warranty, no questions asked.
16. Makeup setting spray so you can arrive fresh-faced to your destination
While traveling can be a suitable time to go sans makeup and cozy up in our comfiest sweatpants, there are times where we want to look absolutely fresh-faced the moment we step off the plane. One way to achieve this is with this Urban Decay setting spray that keeps your makeup looking freshly applied for up to 16 hours.
Reviews love this product and talk about how it’s amazing for those long occasions in life, such as a wedding night or a night out with lots of sweaty dancing. Use it on your vacay, so you can spend more time sight-seeing and less time reapplying makeup in the hotel.
This ultimate staying power is possible through Urban Decay’s clinically tested formula that features their patented Temperature Control Technology. This claims to lower the temperature of the makeup you are wearing in order to keep everything in place, regardless of the weather.
17. A travel wallet that keeps important documents together
Safety is absolutely paramount when traveling. This means protecting your most important items, such as your ID, passport, credit cards, and more. One way to do that is with the Zoppen travel wallet, which people have been raving about. It has fashion and functionality as it features a stylish design, along with a safe and secure spot to store all your travel documents.
There are a large variety of colors to pick from, along with a quality design that is made with eco-friendly material has RFID-blocking material inside to protect your personal information from would-be thieves. It comes with several different pockets to store your passport, boarding pass, credit cards, IDS, money and more.
18. Must-have travel bottles that are completely leakproof
Travel bottles are an essential item for those trips where you are packing lots of liquids. They prevent any surprise major liquid explosions in your bag and help you pack lighter since you’re essentially bringing travel-size versions of your favorite full-sized products.
It comes with five silicone bottles of varying sizes, toothbrush covers, cream boxes, mini spatulas, a washing face brush, and a zippered bag to keep everything together. Reviewers love the adjustable name dial that comes in each bottle, as it saves them from having to write on the bottles!
19. A water-resistant backpack you’ll want to carry around everywhere
This iconic Scandinavian backpack will make a great addition to any of your upcoming trips—short or long—as it can carry a lot without actually feeling like it. I own one and it’s made such a huge difference compared to other backpacks I’ve tried that causes me a lot of back strain. We even named it the best casual backpack after testing all the top options.
There’s a variety of stylish colors to choose from and it has a water-resistant outer coating that is made with a Vinylon F fabric. This makes it possible to use, rain or shine. Your laptop will also be super secure thanks to the durable padding inside (it fits most 13-inch laptops).
20. Dry shampoo so you can spend less time on hair and more time exploring
With how expensive vacations can cost, trips should be more about exploring and less about spending time in front of a mirror in your hotel room or hostel. Greasy hair can happen, though, so if you’re in the need of a quick-fix, try dry shampoo. We love the Dove Refresh Care Dry Shampoo, which we named the best dry shampoo out of everything we tested. It will help your hair feel fresh and smell great without leaving behind any white residue.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.
20 highly rated travel products everyone is buying in 2019 – USA TODAY