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19 essential items for your next trip, from suitcases to comfy travel clothing to Bluetooth speakers and headphones.
Photo via Pexels
Having the right gear can make all the difference when traveling—whether you’re taking a weekend road trip, a business meeting, or a romantic vacation to a far-flung destination. You need luggage that keeps your clothes crisp but is also easy to lug through airports. You need comfortable outfits that still make a statement. And You’ll be a lot happier with tech gear that keeps you entertained while sitting in planes, trains, automobiles, or ships.
To make your next trip a smooth one, we’ve curated 19 essential products—carry-on bags, toiletry cases, comfy pants, noise-cancelling headphones, and more—that will not only make any journey smoother, but also elevate your travel game with stylish designs. Here are our top picks.
If you do carry-on, look no further than the Briggs & Riley Expandable Spinner. The one-touch expansion feature gives you the option of packing that extra pair of shoes, and the built-in tri-fold garment folder lets you pack your suit without worrying that it will be a wrinkled mess when you arrive. The shock-absorbing spinner wheels and ergonomic handle grip provide smooth maneuverability when rolling through the airport, and the speed-through pocket enables access to stored items at security—thoughtfully designed with an orange lining to inform you when the pocket is open so you don’t lose any essential items.
Not everyone wants to carry-on, especially if you have a long flight or multiple stops. Sometimes it’s just easier to drop your bag and forget about it. Rimowa’s Check-In L is strong and lightweight and is the world’s first suitcase made of polycarbonate. Its multi-wheel system makes it a breeze to roll through the airport, and with enough room for a 10-day trip, it’s stylish enough to accompany you on, say, a trip to Paris Fashion Week.
We’ve long been fans of Everlane for its ethical approach to business and commitment to sustainability, but we also love their style. So it’s no surprise that our favorite backpack is an Everlane. The ReNew Transit Backpack is functional and modern. With an exterior laptop pocket for easy TSA access plus catch-all pockets for passports, tickets, and travel documents, it’s got the traveler in mind. Interior slip pockets hold notebooks, magazines, and other necessities, and the two water bottle holders, plus a strap to attach the backpack to rolling luggage, keep things accessible while you’re navigating the globe.
Let’s face it, there are a lot of directions you can go in with a weekender, from a backpack to a full-on roller bag. The Hook & Albert Weekender Pro has a little bit of all of it. This bag “stores like a duffel and performs like a garment bag,” but we really like the way it organizes your stuff. An exterior padded laptop pocket, cord organizing straps, key holder, and shoe pockets keep everything under control, and the garment section will keep your suit or dress crisply packed.
There are several things to consider when choosing a cosmetic kit that will serve you well: it has to hold all of your items at the proper angle, and it needs to be able to sit on a bathroom shelf or sink counter no matter the size of the space. Even if you stay at the Ritz Carlton, bathroom shelf space can be limited, so you need a case that works in all scenarios. The upright shape of the Gucci Ophidia case allows you to store your bottles vertically or horizontally. The sturdy construction means the case won’t fold or fall over into the sink. Bonus: it’s glamorous enough to work as a small handbag.
Every time I see a fellow traveler with a neck pillow around his or her neck, I immediately feel the discomfort that happens in an airplane seat. Enter Slip’s Black Frequent Flyer Travel Set, a chic travel pillow, eye mask, and face cover designed in black silk. Slip uses long fiber mulberry silk and non-toxic dyes, and the quality is comparable to cotton pillowcases with a 220-360 thread count.
Gone are the days when you must choose between your everyday watch and your dress-to-impress timepiece. The Wolf British Racing Watch Roll is a personal accessory that can go wherever you do, with space for up to 3 watches, plus a hidden jewelry capsule inside of the watch roll with three compartments for cufflinks, rings, and other small valuables. Available in the elegantly chic shade of British Racing Green, it also looks good on your nightstand.
There is nothing worse than unpacking your jewelry only to discover that all your necklaces have become entangled. A situation that then requires you (or a patient partner) to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to pull tiny, circular pieces apart so you can wear your favorite pieces to dinner. The Mejuri travel case is the stylish, packable solution to this travel problem. File under things that will undoubtedly make your life better.
The sheer number of Dopp kits available is utterly overwhelming. This Dopp Kit from DSPTCH has all the desired features of a premium toiletry bag housed in a modest but stylish design. It has two compartments, both with elastic organizers and pockets to keep your items in place, but the thing that pushes it over the top is the removable valet tray that you can set on your hotel dresser or nightstand, just like at home.
If you buy one thing away from this travel gear list, it should be packing cubes. Until recently, I had no idea how much they could improve the life of a traveler. Using a set of packing cubes in your luggage is almost like having a set of dresser drawers to help organize clothes and other items that go into your suitcase. This set from Monos is made with tear-resistant nylon twill and breathable mesh top panels that let you quickly see what’s inside without even unpacking. You might even find a way to pack more than you realize with these cubes. Seriously—life-changing.
We all carry bottles of water around, so why not use one that cleans itself? The LARQ PurVis water bottle eliminates up to 99% of bio-contaminants such as E.coli and keeps your liquids hot or cold for up to 12 hours. Grab water from the tap or water fountain, press on the cap, give the bottle a shake, and voila! Clean water. The bottle also intelligently turns on every 2 hours to clean the water you put inside as well as the inside of the bottle. A low-maintenance way to stay hydrated and healthy on the go.
Upgrade your time on the plane or road with this 4-piece cashmere travel set, which includes a silk travel pillowcase, eye mask, a pair of cashmere socks, and a lightweight cashmere throw. Beautifully designed by Naked Cashmere, a luxury brand that uses fair trade, cruelty-free cashmere and works directly with herders and factories in Mongolia, eliminating the middleman to keep prices down. And their products are packaged in unique biodegradable bags meant to be repurposed for storage. Feeling good and doing good at the same time.
What to Wear
Sweatshirt: $148, Pants: $148
It’s taken a long time to get to the point where a tracksuit or sweatsuit can pass as stylish. Cuyana has perfected the design and has some great items to mix and match. Still, we love the combination of the balloon sleeve sweatshirt and sculpted jogger for a more sophisticated look—just throw a blazer on it, and you’re ready for dinner. Cuyana is also a luxury brand we love—we agree with their motto that we should own fewer, but better things. This travel set is an excellent place to start.
Start at $28
In the episode of Succession after Logan Roy passes away on an airplane, we see his executive team donning compression socks on board another flight. It’s well known that compression socks boost circulation while decreasing swelling, which is a good thing for your body while on a flight. But they also keep your legs from getting tired and achy on long sightseeing days, bike tours, or enduring a flight delay. Bombas is another brand that practices business responsibly, and for every pair of socks you purchase, they donate a pair to a person in need.
Shirt: $98, Pants: $97
A long sleeve t-shirt made of Merino wool that never itches and stays fresh all day combined with pants that are both weather resistant and stylish? Best travel outfit ever. Throw on a blazer, and you’re ready for a meeting or dinner as soon as you get through customs. Huckberry is known for its cool guy aesthetic and high-quality, durable men’s clothing, and this travel set will keep you comfortable and looking good whether your travel has you on a plane, train, automobile, or on foot.
Not only is this Bluetooth speaker portable and waterproof, but it’s also Zoom certified and features Alexa Voice Assistant. The Beosound has Bluetooth 5.1 technology for a fast, seamless connection. It can last up to 18 hours on a single charge. With sound quality that packs a punch, this compact speaker is the traveling office workhorse and entertainment system you need on your next trip.
Next in line for the Q camera family, the Leica Q3 is ultraportable and has been designed to meet today’s growing demands for image performance and file-sharing capabilities. The Q3 can connect to your iPhone or iPad to quickly share images or videos. Leica is known for its incredible engineering and unique user experience. Customers will tell you that a Leica is unlike any other camera. The Q3 is designed to be easy to use and empower anyone to capture any moment in breathtaking quality.
Need a way to charge your two phones, two watches, iPad, and a battery pack all at once? Look no further than the EPICKA travel charger. Even the prongs are long enough to engage a French socket, which helps to keep the charger from falling out of the wall. It’s compact, offers power-adapting in over 150 countries and regions, and features 4 USB + Type-C ports. This is the only travel adapter wall charger you’ll need, even if you don’t have multiple devices.
The headphones you use daily can vary wildly between earbuds needed to make phone calls and over the ear cans that keep your co-workers from disturbing you, but when you’re traveling, certain things are non-negotiable. You can hear your favorite music or dialogue from the movie you’re watching over the roar of the airplane, for example. Packability is also critical. And thus, the Bose 700 Noise Canceling Headphones are the ones to beat. The 700 boasts adjustable noise cancellation with situational awareness and high-fidelity audio with adjustable EQ so you can tweak the settings to your liking. Their modern design makes them comfortable and lightweight for long listening sessions.