1. An anti-blister balm because vacation time is too precious to spend it walking around in shoes that rub your ankles raw! This works best if you apply it at the beginning of the day before you start walking because it will create a barrier between your shoe and your skin.
Promising review: "This stuff is amazing! I wore heels that always give me blisters for eight hours, and I didn't get a single one when using this balm. It really worked! I plan on getting it again and again. I always have it in my bag at work just in case. I did find it necessary to reapply if I took my shoes off and put them on again." —Donna
Get it from Amazon for $8.99.
2. Or a stick of Gold Bond Friction Defense that stops chafing caused by sweat in its tracks. Now you can finally wear shorts or dresses during long vacation days without worrying about the inevitable inner thigh chafing (and the pain that accompanies it).
Heads up: they recently changed the packaging of this product, but it's still the same great formula!
I've used it for about 12 years now and it's the only thing that I can trust to prevent that dreaded chafing after a sweaty day of walking around. It glides on perfectly, it's unscented, and it doesn't melt away when you start to sweat. If it's a particularly hot day out, it can start to fade after a few hours, so just make sure to bring it with you to reapply. In addition to preventing chafing between my thighs, I've also applied it on my arms where my sports bra rubs against them when I run and it works like a charm!
Promising review: "I just used it for five days in 90 degree plus weather at Bonnaroo music festival in the middle of Tennessee on a farm in June with 100,000 people walking several miles, dancing, and sweating every day. I am happy to report that this product is a lifesaver. My thighs didn't chafe once, and I have big ones! I had to reapply once during the day. I strongly recommend buying this if you have large thighs and need relief from chafing. I couldn't wear dresses or skirts in the heat if I was walking anywhere, and now I live in them because of this stuff! Buy it! It works!" —Carwizzle
Get it from Amazon for $9.41.
3. OR a pair of anti-chafing bands if you prefer something you don't have to reapply to help prevent thigh chafing. Just put this on under your skirt or dress to stop any unwanted rubbing!
Promising review: "These things are amazing. Measure your thighs and buy them. Now. They are life changing and thigh saving. Cool enough to wear in the summer, though I would recommend only wearing them for like six hours the first few times. I went HAM and wore them for 12 hours in the middle of August, and I had a small welt on one thigh. No biggie, went away after a day or two. If your thighs even kiss each other, BUY THESE." —Kelsy
Get a pair from Amazon for $20.69+ (available in women's sizes S–3X and in 19 styles).
4. A pair of super-sturdy, high-quality Chelsea boots everyone should own a pair of. These are a super stylish and comfy shoe option for fall and winter trips — they won't make your feet hurt and they'll look good with essentially every outfit you pack.
Promising review: "Durable and flexible! Picked them out for a trip to the UK. They worked great in the cities, restaurants, museums, etc, then did just as well hiking. Easy and comfortable transition between dress boots and hiking boots. I should have given them a couple more days to break in before we left, but they were good to go within a day of hard walking (9 miles on day one). Look almost the same now as when I got them — bit more worn now, but all the better really after two weeks of heavy use. Note that they are a bit more narrow in look than other Chelsea boots." —Jen M.
Get them from Amazon for $160 (available in women's sizes 5–11 and in nine colors).
5. A pair of quick-dry water shoes to keep your delicate feet protected in whatever body of water you're enjoying on your trip. If you're planning on taking long walks on the beach on your vacation, these are essential!
I wore these on my recent honeymoon to Positano, which is known for its beautiful albeit rocky beach, and I was so happy I could comfortably walk along the beach and head into the water! I kept seeing so many people without water shoes in so much intense physical pain while trying to walk on those rocks, and even though I felt a bit goofy wearing the water shoes, I was blissfully enjoying my vacation without any pain, which is a travel win in my book. We put them out on our balcony after using them and by the next morning, they were completely dry!
Promising review: "Buy these, you will love them! I love to walk barefoot on the beach but isn't always the wisest decision. I read so many positive reviews and thought why not. I got my first pair and fell in love with them. I don't have to wear my sandals and leave them at the bottom of the steps. I can walk on the pavement to the beach and across the parking lot. I loved them so much that I bought a pair for my husband, sister, friend and an extra pair for me. My husband was very skeptical and he loved them too. I would absolutely recommend theses." —Lauren A. Eason
Get it from Amazon for $9.88+ (available in seven sizes and 49 colors).
6. A crossbody phone holder so you don't have to hold your phone in your hand while sightseeing or worry that a pickpocket will swipe your phone from your pocket as you walk around an unfamiliar city. This is a must-have for anyone taking a vacation in a big city!
Your Color Your Style is a California-based small biz that makes stylish yet functional crossbody holders for smartphones.
BuzzFeed writer Haley Zovickian has this and says, "I have one of these and it's one of my favorite purchases, period. I love always having my phone on me without having to carry it by hand (and because my clothes often don't have pockets included). It's a dream for traveling too because it allows me to never misplace my phone, since it's always on me, literally. An amazing travel and TBH life hack."
Promising reviews: "Love the colors I chose!!! Quality is great!! Taking it on vacation, cannot wait to use the lanyard with the case!!!" —Amy Koester
"Fun, bright and it will simplify your life and give you your arms back. Beautiful colors to choose from and received lots of compliments." —Rosey
7. Sock-like platform slip-ons that are so soft and breathable, you might forget you're wearing anything on your feet at all! The best part though is that they weight just over one pound, which is fantastic news for anyone who tends to trigger those over-capacity luggage fees on nearly every trip.
Promising reviews: "For the price I was expecting disposable shoes, but I was pleasantly surprised instead. They’re light, comfortable, easy to quick wash with a rag, and air dry quickly. Great traveling shoes that made walking miles and miles very easy on the feet. I liked them so much I bought them in two other colors." —Marjory Loebe
Get them from Amazon for $23.99+ (available in women's sizes 5–12 and 29 styles).
8. A pack of suede heel grips — if you really want to take your favorite pair of flats or heels on your trip but you know they tend to give you blisters, you can place these grips to provide cushion and help lessen friction and rubbing.
Promising review: "These things are great! I ordered them prior to a vacation since I knew I would be doing a lot of walking and I had some new shoes. Even though the shoes were comfortable, they still chaffed after a lot of walking. I added these things, and I was able to avoid blisters. Definitely recommend." —Christine Baker
Get a pack of five pairs from Amazon for $10.55.
9. Durable Teva Tirra sandals for anyone who loves the durability and comfort of a sneaker but prefers the breeziness of a sandal. We predict you'll be racking up some serious miles in these for many vacations to come!
My colleague Danielle Healy loves these! "Here's what she has to say about them: I cannot say enough wonderful things about these sandals. They required ZERO break-in time and were ready for long-term wear right out of the box. For a hiking sandal, I think they still look sleek enough to pair with a casual sundress, and they keep my feet cool while still managing to put an actually supportive sole between my feet and the sidewalk. I've worn them constantly for close to three years now and they still look basically perfect."
Promising review: "I took these brand new on a trip with me to South Asia. It was comfortable right off the bat. And the velcro made it extremely convenient for constantly slipping the shoes on / off as is necessary when visiting temples and sacred places in South Asia. The mix of colors means it goes well with everything." —Angela
Get it from Amazon for $84.95+ (available in women's sizes 5–12 and in 18 colors).
10. A unique water-resistant nylon water bottle holder because lots of walking means you're going to want to stay hydrated! This will keep your hands free on walking tours because it's designed to hold your water bottle, phone, wallet, passport, and any other essentials — you'll be asking yourself why you didn't buy this sooner!
Calpak is a family-owned business that makes high-quality travel products that are both innovative and stylish.
This water bottle holder has an insulated interior that fits bottles up to 40 ounces, a detachable shoulder strap, and four roomy exterior pockets for storing all of your essentials.
BuzzFeed writer Haley Zovickian has this and says, "I recently bought this and it's my new favorite possession. I either carry my Nalgene or my Yeti everywhere (if I'm not drinking water, you can bet I'm guzzling coffee), which is unwieldy in my tote bag, to say the least. I end up carrying the bottles by hand, which, besides being tiring, makes me prone to losing said bottle. Enter the CalPak holder, which has low-key upgraded my life. I don't even carry a tote anymore — I can pack my lipsticks, scrunchies, wallet, keys, phone, earbuds, and sunglasses in the outside pockets with my coffee, water, or tea snug inside. The strap is adjustable so you can wear it crossbody or over your shoulder. This is an investment, but one that has been well worth it for me. I recently brought it to the airport with me for a flight I was taking, and it's made me love this little thing even more. I am easily frazzled in airports and am constantly anxiously digging around in my carry-on for my ID, charger, wallet, and what have you. The Calpak water bottle holder *shined*, keeping everything I needed close and neatly organized in their own compartments, plus my drink close. I will never travel without this again — mark my words."
Promising review: "Didn’t realize how needed this was until I got it!!! I use it for walks, going to my kids sports and practices, and hiking! It will be perfect for my trip to Hawaii soon!!!" —Caitlyn J.
Get it from Calpak for $42 (available in 18 colors).
11. A pair of waterproof Columbia hiking boots so you can embrace your outdoorsy side on your next trip. Instead of suffering through a hiking excursion with your regular sneakers (ouch!), you'll feel lots of support in your feet and ankles while sporting these!
I own these hiking boots and I absolutely love them! When I bought them, I was looking for something with ankle support because I have really weak ankles and was sick of rolling them whenever I misstepped while hiking. They do a great job at keeping my feet protected and supported during hikes, and I love that I don't have to worry about it raining or being soggy on the trail thanks to the waterproofness. Lastly, I love that they're not too heavy or bulky — if you're already climbing up a mountain, the last thing you need is extra weight on your feet!
Promising review: "These were my very first pair of hiking boots and they are absolutely perfect! Durable, lightweight, and comfortable. My husband and I took an anniversary trip to Arizona and these were just what I needed. Highly recommend for anyone looking for an amazing hiking boot! Side note…I did have a few blisters on my toes but I did NOT break them in before our trip so I would suggest doing that before actually hiking in them." —Ashley Arnold
Get them from Amazon for $79.99 (available in women's sizes 5–12, wide options, and 17 colors).
12. A pair of gold Birkenstock sandals, which might just be the most reliable pair of shoes you'll ever own. They'll give your feet lovely support while also looking gorgeous with any outfit you pair them with.
I am a hugeeee fan of Birkenstock, and this is my second pair I've owned. My first pair were basic black, and they still look good after about eight years of wear. I bought these was because I loved how the gold straps looked, and two years after buying them, they are without a doubt my most-worn shoe!! That's me on the right on my honeymoon — I wore them all throughout Italy, whether we were on the beach, on a boat tour, or walking around cities for miles on end. I love wearing them with dresses because the gold really *pops* and you end up feeling so comfortable, unlike when I wear less supportive sandals or heels. To make these last even longer, don't forget to use their shoe care kit to protect the cork and make the shoe waterproof!
Get it from Birkenstock for $110 (available in women's sizes 4–11.5 and in narrow widths).
13. These Sanuk Yoga Mat Flip-Flops with a base made out of material that feels like a yoga mat, which means you'll be achieving levels of comfort you've only dreamed of when wearing these babies. While they might not be the most sturdy for long walks, these would make the perfect recovery shoe to wear at night when you're walking around your resort.
Promising review: "I CANNOT RAVE ENOUGH ABOUT THIS FLIP-FLOP!! I spend two weeks in Bali and walked / traveled soooo much and these were what I lived in! They are the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn in my life, period. They are durable, like walking on a cloud, so incredibly wonderfully light, great for the beach, great for walking, I even did some form of hiking in them. Not kidding these saved my life. I don’t know what I would have done without them. My partner had blisters from her Rainbow sandals which cost way more than these and weren’t nearly as comfortable. A must buy!" —samantha
Get them from Amazon for $25.50+ (available in women's sizes 5–11 and in 23 styles).
14. New Balance 608 V5 Cross Trainers designed with foam inserts that give your feet a lil supportive hug with every step you take. You'll also be super on-trend with the dad shoe look!
Promising review: "I bought these shoes a few weeks ago for trip I was taking. Well, today I put them to use. I walked around Boston all day. Over 26K steps and 11 miles. Every single inch of body hurts, EXCEPT my feet. I was surprised by how comfortable they were, I had no pain from plantar fasciitis, which I have had in the past and always acts up when I walk too much. Love these shoes." —Nicole Ward
Get them from Amazon for $64.99+ (available in women's sizes 5–12, including narrow and wide sizes, and three styles).
15. Popular Everlane Italian leather flats for a classic look that'll make all of your travel outfits look more streamlined. Made from buttery soft leather, the flats adapt to the shape of your foot instead of digging in.
They even have tiny side vents to keep your feet from sweating during long walks!
Promising reviews: "These shoes fit like a glove. So comfortable! I bought them for my two-week trip to Italy and I am so happy I did!! I looked cute and I was so comfortable!! I highly recommend!!" —JenPlamondon