1. A wheeled carry-on bag if you have no intention of paying for a checked bag but still need to make the most of the space you have available. It's small enough to fit under the seat, so it can even qualify as a personal item on extra strict airlines (you know the ones).
Now you won't even have to pull your suitcase outta the overhead!
Promising review: "If you are a consultant and struggle carrying big carry-ons. This is a perfect one for you. I love this purchase!!! Lightweight. Enough space for 1–3 days of travel. Thank you!" —SS
Get it from Amazon for $108.75+ (available in three colors).
2. Or a durable travel backpack that is, quite possibly, *the* perfect personal item thanks to its waterproof design, anti-theft pocket, USB charging port, and a dedicated shoe compartment. There's room for everything!
This is super roomy, zips completely open (like a suitcase — so it's easy to find what you need), has plenty of pockets (including one for shoes and a separate wet bag!), and a strap that slides down over your luggage handle for easy transport.
Promising reviews: "I bought this backpack for work. It's the BEST backpack I've ever used. I needed one with several pockets and not too big or heavy. I found that with this backpack, I can fill it and still have room! There's even a shoe and clothing compartment for traveling! The straps are just wide enough to stay on your shoulders especially with the snap straps in front. I also love the color, and it's true to the picture color. If you're looking for lightweight with tons of pockets, this is what you need!" —Kelly Miller
"This is a perfect size backpack for traveling on a plane as your personal item, especially to international destinations. You could fit rolled-up clothes in here for another week, and it has a very handy shoe bag and tons of places for your electronics. This will be an excellent addition to my carry-on suitcase. Best purchase all year. I consider myself an expert on travel bags. I have way too many. It’s smaller than it looks but so roomy." —AP
Get it from Amazon for $36.99 (available in 17 colors and styles).
3. A digital luggage scale to help you pack the essentials without incurring any overweight bag fees. You won't be filled with dread when you head to the airport because you already know your bag is under the weight limit!
Promising review: "Buy this if you travel a lot. I travel with scuba dive gear and this saved me from going over the weight limit both going to the island and returning. I was a hero with my friends. They had no idea how much their bags weighed. I helped them too from going over their weight limit. It's easy to use and worth the money." —Kindle Customer
Get it from Amazon for $11.98+ (available in six colors and a pack of two).
4. A travel wallet for a sensible *and* stylish way to carry all your important documents so they don't take up valuable space in your carry-on bag. Boarding pass? Check. Passport? Check. Credit cards? Check.
This RFID-blocking wallet has a passport pocket, boarding pass compartment, three credit card slots, an ID slot, a slim card pouch, a slim pocket, a ticket slot, a cellphone pouch, a zippered coin pocket, a key holder, and a pen holder.
Promising review: "This wallet is durable, chic, and spacious. The lining is very soft and feels expensive. From the design to the material to the zippers and snaps, it's well made. I ordered it in rose gold, and it's a beautiful color. I travel frequently and love the boarding pass pocket. I recommended it to my sister and mom, who also love theirs! They ordered in yellow and bronze and were also happy with the color." —Brianna graham
Get it from Amazon for $13.99 (available in 35 colors).
5. A set of packing cubes you'll soon wonder how you ever traveled without. Your clothes will stay nicely folded (or rolled!) and you'll save room in your suitcase. Expert packing level 🔓unlocked.
Promising review: "I travel frequently and travel light. My luggage is usually limited to a backpack that slides under the airline seat. For a two-week European cruise, I added a carry-on rolling suitcase. I've used these packing cubes twice so far, and I am hooked. One cube holds everything (including clothing) I take on a three-night trip. The cube slides into my pack, saving massive amounts of room, and everything is easy to find during travel and at the hotel. Taking out one cube and unzipping is much better than digging through a pack! I will never leave home without these!" —Gura
Get a set of four from Amazon for $21.99 (available in eight colors).
6. Or some vacuum storage bags when you're a serial over-packer...or if you simply need to maximize luggage space. Place your items in the bag and suck out the air with the included travel pump. Who says you can't bring multiple outfit options on vacation?
BuzzFeed Shopping writer 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 $27.99+ (available in four sizes, as well as packs of six and 10).
7. A Kindle for bookworms who keep up with their reading habit while on vacation. While packing a huge stack of *actual* books isn't exactly realistic, this compact and lightweight Kindle is a great alternative.
It has a 300-ppi high-resolution display, an adjustable front light, and dark mode. The battery can last up to six weeks on a single charge and it offers 16 GB for storing thousands of books.
BuzzFeed Shopping editor Maitland Quitmeyer says: "I never thought I'd be an e-reader person, but living in a New York apartment with limited bookshelves changed my ways. I love love (love love love) my Kindle — especially for easily borrowing library books, squeezing in a few chapters on a subway ride, and of course traveling. I lit'rally read 10 times as much with a Kindle in my life."
Promising review: "I was so skeptical about switching from actual books to the Kindle but I have loved it!!! It’s so much more convenient to read and travels well. I’ve only had it like two weeks and have only charged it once (have read three books)!! Its battery life is amazing." —Haley
Get the newest 2022 version of the basic Kindle from Amazon for $99.99 (available in black and blue). OR get the newest version of the Kindle Paperwhite for $139.99 for poolside or beach reading — it's WATERPROOF *and* has an adjustable warm backlight!
8. A slim and packable Trtl neck pillow that'll take up way less space than the round ones. You don't have to sacrifice your comfort just so there's one less annoying item to pack. Goodbye, sore necks and bulky pillows!
The Trtl pillow is adjustable — you wrap the pillow around your neck and secure it with Velcro, and if you find it's too loose, just make it a bit tighter! I've truly never slept better on a plane than with this pillow.
Promising review: "WOW! Literally life changing; used it on my 11-hr flight to and from Norway to SF and I usually can never sleep on planes, but this did the trick! It’s also super packable and doesn’t take up too much space!" —Julie Cox
Get it from Amazon for $59.99 (available in four colors).
9. An amazingly compact travel stroller if one of your major anxieties when packing revolves around your essential parenting items. This stroller is SO dang portable *and* it can count as a carry-on item.
The stroller is supposed to accommodate kids from 6 months up to 55 pounds (approx. 4 years old).
Promising review: "This stroller is great! So cool looking, too. I constantly have moms coming up to me asking where I got this! So easy to fold, so light, and barely takes any space in my trunk. We took it on a flight, and the flight attendants recognized the stroller and told me that I can just wheel the baby on and put the stroller in the overhead bin. I wish I had gotten this stroller with my oldest, but I was being cheap. This stroller is so worth the money. I regret not getting it sooner! But at least my youngest can enjoy it." —Nai Len
Get it from Amazon for $159.96 (available in three styles and two colors).
10. A set of TSA-approved silicone travel bottles that'll have your toiletries ready for flight in no time. This set also includes spray bottles and jars for storing other products, like lotions and perfumes.
These BPA-free bottles feature a leakproof design so you won't have to worry about messy spills. Each silicone bottle also has the capacity printed on it for TSA purposes! You get four bottles, four jars, and two spray bottles. It also comes with two scoopers to use with the jars, a funnel for transferring liquids, a clear travel bag, a set of labels, and a cleaning brush.
Promising review: "This little set is perfect for your travel toiletries. Instead of paying $3 for those little travel bottles, you can fill your favorite products in these. The taller tubes are silicone and easy to fill. For the circular containers, I used the little scooper to fill them. I didn't use the spray bottles this trip, but I did use everything else, and I'm happy to say nothing leaked. Easy to clean after use as well." —Nicole
Get it from Amazon for $16.95.
11. Or a waterproof toiletry bag designed to hold tons of stuff — it has four compartments so you can pack all your travel-size items. There's also a handy hanging hook so you won't lose track of it!
Promising review: "I. Love. This. Bag. Seriously, I had a cheap toiletry bag from Target that essentially did the same thing, only way worse. It was too small; the hook didn't rotate so you could only hang it at an angle, if anything ever leaked; it would seep right through the bag, etc. But THIS bag has NONE of those issues! It fits everything I need and then some, meaning I don't have to skimp on my 10-step Korean skincare routine when I travel anymore. It never leaks. And I love that the hook swivels so you can hang it anywhere, and your stuff hangs perfectly. I also love the handle and the overall flatter shape. It makes it so easy to travel with! Cannot recommend this bag enough." —KaiEli
Get it from Amazon for $22.99+ (available in two sizes and nine colors).
12. OR a set of magnetic Cadence containers for storing toiletries and other odds and ends. These compact leakproof containers can be used for bath products, pills, small jewelry items, etc., and they'll always stick together.
Cadence is an AAPI woman-owned small business that was founded by Steph Hon with the goal of eliminating single-use travel-sized plastics. The containers are made from recycled ocean-bound plastic.
BuzzFeed Shopping editor Abby Kass is a fan: "I recently got a set of four of these, and, wow, I love them so much. I used them on a six-day trip recently, and they were perfect. I customized the label so I knew which one was my shampoo vs. conditioner and did a general label for any other things I wanted to bring along. They do hold a surprising amount. According to the brand, they hold approximately one to two weeks of skincare products, more than two weeks' worth of serum, two to three days' worth of haircare, and more than 15 tablets (for medicine and such). And while two to three days worth of haircare might not seem like enough, I found it held more than that for me, but I also don't wash my hair every single day. They were small enough to slip right into my toiletries bag and go through TSA with no problem. The container was easy to open in the shower (even with wet hands), and I had no leakage from them (like I did from my face wash bottle that will not be making the trip with me next time. SMH). These are an incredibly useful tool anyone who travels will want in their luggage."
Get a set of six from Cadence for $84 (available in eight colors and many customizable labels).