1. An in-flight foot hammock, which might seem a little *extra* at first, but will make you a believer after one use. Simply hang it on the arms of your tray table and rest your feet on the cushion to help prevent soreness and swelling. Just make sure you're wearing a clean pair of socks before taking your shoes off!
Promising review: "This is an amazing product. It's so simple but works incredibly to prevent swelling and pressure on legs while flying. I just flew the first leg of an international flight and used it, and I am on a layover now and had to pause to write this review. I LOVE THIS PRODUCT!! It easily attached to the tray table, and I adjusted to my desired height. It is like a hammock for your feet. You just prop them up inside the thing/swing/hammock — which is very cushiony — and your feet are hoisted up comfortably. I'm a big girl and weight is no issue. DEFINITELY MUST HAVE ON ALL MY FLIGHTS NOW. This thing is great!!" —Queen
Get it from Amazon for $21.99.
2. A luggage-mounted cup caddy that'll free up your hands so you can hold your phone, boarding pass, passport — you know, the ~essentials~ (not that your XL iced mocha isn't an essential, but, you know...)
Promising review: "This cup holder is perfect! It helps me a lot! Last time I took a plane with a suitcase and a cup of coffee, I dropped and spilled my drink everywhere when it was my turn to check my passport and ticket. It was a nightmare! This time, I bought this cup holder to do me a favor! I don't have to worry about where my cup and phone are! I can free my hands to do other things. I love it so much! Hope you love it too." —Philip
Get it from Amazon for $14.99+ (available in 30 styles).
3. A Trtl neck pillow, which will actually keep you from awkwardly dozing off on your seat mate's shoulder, thanks to its ergonomic design and soft fleece support. Plus, it'll double as a scarf (planes are COLD), and it looks way more chic than those puffy U-shaped pillows.
Promising review: "I can't stop recommending this pillow to all of my friends! It has let me comfortably sleep on flights that take place on the most uncomfortable airplane seats. On long flights, I always need to prop up my hand and I rest my head on it. But this method always ends with my arm falling asleep and I end up waking up every 30 minutes. Now this pillow provides that exact same support without needing my arms to prop me up! It's small enough to fit in your bag and doesn't take up much space." —Simona Krifman
Get it from Amazon for $44.99 (available in four colors).
4. A memory foam seat cushion, because long flights can be stressful enough without your bum screaming "SOS!" within the first hour. With this, your booty will stay comfy and cradled, and the cool gel layer on top keeps things from getting too sweaty.
Promising review: "A few weeks into working from home five days a week I started having a lot of hip/leg/back pain. I have a good Herman Miller task chair that had been fine for one to two days of WFH a week, but wasn't working for me full time. In the early afternoons my lower back would start cramping. I did some research and bought this pillow and it immediately helped! I also took it on a two-week road trip since a three day road trip earlier this year had made a mess of my lower body that lingered for weeks — and no pain! What really drove me to write this review was that yesterday, unknowingly, I worked all day sitting on my chair without my cushion. I had removed it to use as a spare chair at my dinner table and forgot to put it back. At the end of the day hip was aching and I realized why! Today it's back on my chair and I'm already feeling better." —Lorene
Get it from Amazon for $43.95+ (available in black or gray).
5. A cute portable charger that reeeally comes in handy when you're at 19% battery and the plane hasn't even taken off yet. It'll also give you some extra juice while you're exploring (this one's so much sleeker than those bulky block chargers), and best of all, it plugs right into your phone, meaning no pesky cords!
I've had my eye on this bad boy for a while now, and finally ordered it to take on a recent two-week trip to Europe. Let me tell you: LIFESAVER. I'm the type of person who loves to spend hours and hours exploring new cities, but with the amount of photos and videos I take, my phone's battery tends to drain really quickly (relying on Google Maps to get literally everywhere doesn't help, either). With this, I knew I'd have some backup when there weren't any outlets nearby, and it was *so* nice not having to connect my phone to a clunky charging bank via cord. 100% recommend!
Promising review: "The holy grail of portable chargers!!! I was traveling to Disney for vacation and knowing me, I would drain my battery with just taking pictures alone. I wanted a portable battery but didn’t want a carry a cord either, so I was excited when I found this little baby! It does exactly as described, pretty pink color, and I get one full charge of battery for my iPhone 11. Get it, you will not be disappointed!" —Meghan Doble
Get it from Amazon for $29.99+ (available in six colors).
6. An unassuming luggage strap, which may not look like much but is actually super convenient in terms of keeping your hands free. Just hook it onto your luggage handle and attach your purse, backpack, neck pillow, jacket, or pretty much anything else you'd rather not schlep around the terminal yourself.
Promising review: "I love this little gadget. I used it to attach my jacket and computer bag to my luggage on an extended business trip. It made my airport walks so much easier. Now that I'm back home, I've been using it daily to attach my jacket or cardigan to my work bag or purse." —Michele
Get it from Amazon for $8.99 (available in five colors).
7. An AirFly Pro wireless transmitter so you can connect your earbuds to the plane's entertainment system to help the trip go by a whole lot quicker. Who cares if you've seen You've Got Mail upward of 50 times, that piece of cinematic gold deserves better than those staticky airline-distributed headphones.
Just plug it into the headphone jack to hear Meg Ryan say, "That caviar is a garnish!" the way it was meant to be heard. You can also connect up to two pairs of earbuds at a time, and it has 16+ hours of battery life for suuuper long flights.
Twelve South is a husband and wife-owned biz based in Charleston, South Carolina, and has just 20 team members! They've been designing accessories inspired by and made for Apple products since 2009.
Promising review: "Ever since I purchased my wireless Bose earbuds, I always hated having to use another set when I was on an airplane with the seat-back entertainment system. I tried many different models to connect the system to my Bluetooth headsets until I came across this one, and it is amazing! It seamlessly connects to my headset, very clear and reliable audio, and it takes the stress away from having to carry multiple headsets! Thank you!!!" —Ryan Malloy
Get it from Amazon for $54.99 (also available in two other styles).
8. Some in-flight earplugs, which won't only drown out the sound of the screaming toddler in back of you; they'll also help prevent air pressure discomfort and popping. No wonder one reviewer says they "never fly without these!"
Promising review: "Never fly without these! Before I found these, I endured excruciating pain in my ears upon descent and landing. Felt like a hot poker being driven into each ear. My ears would also be plugged up, and it would often take two to three days for them to resume their normal state of being. I insert them about an hour before landing, as the plane is making its slow descent. I'm comfortable, and the most discomfort I experience is a slight adjustment of pressure feeling in my sinus. NO PAIN. NO TEARS." —K. Tombrella
Get a pack with three pairs from Amazon for $17.49 (also available in packs of five or 10 pairs).
9. A set of portable soap paper sheets that'll ensure your hands stay clean, even en route. They instantly foam up when you rub your wet hands together, so don't fret the next time the soap dispenser is empty in Terminal D's b-room (tsk tsk, Terminal D!).
10. And a handy pack of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, because the one single wipe they hand out when you board the plane just won't cut it these days. Plus, you can use these for wiping down those – ahem — questionable surfaces in the airport before you eat.
Just a heads up, some reviewers say to pack these in clear zip-up bags to ensure TSA doesn't search your whole carry-on.
Promising review: "Great-sized packets and perfect for airplanes and the car. The scent smells clean and not overpowering. They give me peace of mind that my surfaces are clean." —Cindy A
Get a pack of three (75 wipes) from Amazon for $9.98.
11. Some vacuum storage bags in case you've ever been accused of overpacking and wanna prove that bringing 10 sweaters on a weeklong trip is perfectly acceptable and doable. Place your garments into the bags and suck the excess air out with the included travel pump. Now you can squeeze everything in *and* avoid having to check an extra bag.
BuzzFeed Shopping's Jasmin Sandal says: "I swear by these bad boys not only for general storage purposes, but also if I know I'm going to be traveling for an extended period of time. As someone who tends to pack for every eventuality (who doesn't like to be prepared?!), I have learned that it's better to travel with them than without — especially since it's more or less a guarantee that my clothes are gonna take up a ~substantial~ amount of room in my suitcase. And if I can use something that's gonna shrink the size of my bulky hoodies and/or big tees in order for me to create more space, I'm sure as heck gonna do it. Plus, the satisfaction is indeed guaranteed because when you see those chunky layers flatten into a pancake...it's just *chef's kiss*."
Promising review: "I've used these bags before and they are so helpful. Even used the medium one for travel and I have tons of extra suitcase room. The clothes don't come out wrinkled at all as long as you fold them nicely before placing in the bag, then the air sucks out keeping them safe and sound and very compact. Arrived on time, would use this seller again." —Susie Kochsmeier
Get a three-pack from Amazon for $17.99+ (available in five sizes, as well as packs of two, five, and eight).
12. A pair of compression socks for anyone who'd rather not find themselves starring in Honey, I Blew Up My Feet, thank you very much! Not only do they help reduce swelling, their moisture-wicking fabric will keep your feet from getting sweaty during long flights.
Promising review: "With three weeks of international travel coming up, I purchased these to combat swelling in my feet during the flights. I had noticed swelling after three-hour domestic flights, so I was worried about what almost 30,000 miles would do! I wore these on every leg of the trip and never noticed any swelling — even after the 10- to 15-hour flights. They are very comfortable, too!" —J. Beaty
And check out our Physix Gear Sport compression socks deep dive for more info!
Get them from Amazon for $10.19+ (available in sizes S–XXL and 13 styles).
13. The cutest travel games set that'll keep your kids (and maybe even you!) from throwing a tantrum during long delays and layovers. It comes with six dry-erase game boards, with favorites like Connect Four, Tic-Tac-Toe, and Hangman, along with markers and a handy carrying case.
Based in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Jonley Gifts is a small biz you should check out for home decor, personalized items, and cheeky T-shirts.
Promising review: "So adorable! Out of several similar travel game options, my kids liked this one best. The quality is amazing for the price." —Samantha Grace
14. And a Kindle Paperwhite to help the hours spent waiting at the gate go by when the status of your flight is a big ol' question mark 🙃 Plus, it's waterproof and glare free, meaning it's the perfect thing to bring to the hotel pool (which you'll obviously be heading straight for as soon as you *finally* land).
Promising review: "I LOVE my Kindle Paperwhite! I recently upgraded from an old Kindle that didn't have a backlight, and what a difference. I really love being able to read in bed at night without needing to have a light on. The battery life is fantastic. The Kindle is great for travel, so you don't have to dedicate luggage space to multiple books, but also great for just keeping with you or having around the house. It's so lightweight and thin. I recommend for any avid reader!" —Marissa T
Read BuzzFeed's Kindle Paperwhite (2018) deep dive for more info!
Get it from Amazon for $99.99+ (available with or without three months of Kindle Unlimited and ads, in 8GB or 32GB versions, as well as a kids version).