The travel accessories we’d never board a plane without (2024)

Packing lists will vary based on where you're going and how long you're travelling 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 27 essential items to pack inside your carry-on bag, weekender, or checked luggage. Consider these the travel gear staples to bring on your next trip – and all your future holidays after that.

  1. A trusted tote
  2. A travel wash bag
  3. Packing cubes
  4. Jewellery case
  5. Reusable travel bottles
  6. Hydrating skincare products
  7. A portable charger
  8. A power adapter
  9. Headphones
  10. A luggage scale
  11. A way to find your luggage
  12. An e-reader
  13. A portable fan
  14. A portable steamer
  15. A tech kit
  16. An eye mask
  17. A neck pillow
  18. Cosy socks
  19. Earplugs
  20. A shawl or blanket
  21. Hand sanitiser and wipes
  22. A reusable water bottle
  23. Snack containers
  24. A passport holder
  25. A back-up travel bag
  26. An umbrella

1. A trusted tote

A tote bag 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. A trolley sleeve is a nice feature, too, so you can slide it over your suitcase while cruising through the airport.

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July Everyday Large Tote

2. A travel wash bag

A travel wash bag is key to staying organised — and avoiding spills in your luggage. We like these options from Away and Bagsmart for their water-resistant materials and ample space for your toothbrush and toothpaste, razor, soaps, and more. A hanging bag, like those below, also allows you to keep items tidy and off the bathroom counter.

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Away Hanging Toiletry Bag

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Bagsmart toiletry travel bag

3. Packing cubes

Don't underestimate the power of a good packing cube. Articles director Lale Arikoglu has waxed poetic about her love of Paravel's 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.

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Paravel packing cube quad

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Antler Chelsea Packing Cubes

4. Jewellery case

A rule to live by: never check your valuables, especially jewellery. Keep necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings safe and neatly organised inside a jewellery case. We like Monica Vinader's for smaller accessories; if you're packing sunglasses and watches, you'll want something slightly bigger, like this Smythson option.

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Smythson Jewellery Case

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Leather trinket box

Avoid tangled chains and lost earrings by keeping all valuables in this safe and chic leather trinket box from jewellery designer Monica Vinader.

5. Reusable travel bottles

Rather than buy plastic travel-sized toiletries, get yourself a set of leakproof travel bottles that allow you to bring your at-home favourites on the go. They're great for storing toiletries and beauty products, and tubs can also be used to keep small items like jewellery or vitamins.

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KITSCH Ultimate travel bottle set

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Refillable 4-in-1 Travel Bottle Set

6. 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. Since hand sanitiser remains a travel essential, a hand balm to apply once or twice a day is equally important to keep them moisturised. Aesop's smells incredible, and will last for several trips to come — a little bit of the thick, creamy balm goes a long way. Don't forget a hydrating lip balm, either.

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Nuxe Cica Rich Hand Cream, Reve de Miel

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Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm

7. 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 favourite, but iWalk's mini charger is a great option if you're short on space.

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iWALK mini portable charger

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Anker PowerCore 20100 portable charger

8. 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 labelled 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.

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Apple World Travel Adapter Kit

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Worldwide Travel Adapter with Leather Case

9. Headphones

Whether the plan is to listen to music, watch a movie, or just drown out noisy neighbours, 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 don't have one of these Bluetooth adapters).

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SHOKZ OpenFit Headphones

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Apple AirPods Max noise cancelling headphones

10. 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.

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Mopro digital luggage scale

11. 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 it to). In fact, a luggage tracker is one of the items contributor Harrison Pierce wishes he had when he began travelling full-time.

12. An e-reader

Even travellers with a library full of books at home have to admit it: E-readers are an essential travel accessory for bookworms. They are so much lighter than even one paperback book, and let you bring as many options as you want along for the ride.

13. A portable fan

If you're headed somewhere warm, or just tend to run hot, do yourself a favour and pack a portable fan. Whether you choose a handheld option or one you can wrap around your neck, it'll give you the breeze you need whether you're in the back of a crowded bus or van, standing in line at Disneyland, or kicking back in a beach chair.

14. A portable steamer

If you're travelling to a wedding or heading out on a business trip, you may want to bring a portable steamer along to make sure your formalwear looks its best after you take it out of your suitcase. Traveller contributor Erinne Magee put nine travel steamers to the test to find out which ones are the best options for travellers — below are two of her favourites.

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Steamery Cirrus 3 iron steamer

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Black + Decker handheld garment steamer

15. A tech kit

All of those tech items mean you're going to have plenty of charging cubes and cables to keep track of. Save space in your backpack — and save yourself the headache of digging through your bag — by keeping everything wrapped up in a tech kit like the ones below.

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Bellroy Tech Kit

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Away The Tech Case

16. 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. For more help sleeping, try the Bluetooth sleep headband recommended by US 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.

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Honey Bee Eye Mask

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OLIVIA VON HALLE Odyssea floral-print silk-satin eye mask

17. 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 innovative fleecy neck wrap recommended by commerce writer Charley Ward.

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Trtl Travel Pillow

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Cabeau Evolution S3 Travel Pillow

18. Cosy 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 flightor a road trip. For those who prefer a cosier option, we recommend socks from Barefoot Dreams.

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Ostrichpillow Bamboo Compression Socks

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Charmking compression socks

19. Earplugs

When you need some peace and quiet, swap your noise-cancelling headphones in for earplugs. This set comes with multiple sizes, so you can find the right fit, and share with any family members you're travelling with.

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Loop Quiet Ear Plugs

20. 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.

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Lambswool Blanket Scarf

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Cos pure cashmere scarf

21. Hand sanitiser and wipes

As for general wellness, hand sanitiser is a must — buy a set and drop one in all your most-used totes and sling bags so you're never without. Some biodegradable wipes are nice to have on hand too, especially if you're travelling with little ones.

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Jo Loves Hand Sanitiser and Hand Lotion Duo

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Cheeky Panda Bamboo Hand Wipes

22. 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).

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Stanley IceFlow water bottle

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Water bottle

23. 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 spoon and chopsticks are particularly TSA-friendly (while utensils are technically allowed through security, it's at the discretion of the agent if they'll let plastic knives or forks).

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Stasher silicone reusable storage bags

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Nuoshen Cutlery Set

24. A passport holder

Also handy: a high-quality passport holder (bonus points if it has space to hold your credit cards) to keep your most important document protected. Aspinal's can be personalised with your initials for an added £20.

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Leather Passport Holder

With looks that far surpass its £25 price tag, this leather croc-effect wallet has space for your passport and three of your most-used cards. A chic, crowd-pleasing design.

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Aspinal of London Plain Passport Cover

Aspinal’s passport wallet comes in a choice of 13 colours, but our choice is this rich chestnut brown number; a classic, elegant pick. It’s made from quality full-grain leather with a contrasting suede lining, and is personalisable for an additional fee. There are no card holders, but there is a handy slip pocket for your boarding pass and a grosgrain ribbon marker to make life easier while fiddling for your photocard at the gate.

25. 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 within a longer holiday.

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Stubble & Co Ultra Light Tote

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Paravel Fold Up Bag

26. 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 on our US sister site to determine which are the sturdiest and most compact. Shop two of her favourites, both available in the UK, below.

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Repel windproof travel umbrella

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Weatherman The Travel Umbrella

The travel accessories we’d never board a plane without (2024)
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