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1. An airplane footrest that loops over your tray table so you can kick back, relax, and hopefully head off to Snoozeville as soon as you get comfy in your seat that was most definitely the cheapest on the plane. (We're birds of a feather, you and I.)
Promising review: "I’m a flight attendant and I travel A LOT! This is a game changer! Folds up super small in the cute bag they provide and really makes a difference when on those long flights. The people in front of me had no idea I was using it. Thanks for the great product!!!" —sarah rubin
Get it from Amazon for $21.99 (available in three colors).
2. A weighted sleep mask to help block out the reading light and/or sunlight from your neighbor's open airplane window shade while you catch up on some of that sleep you sacrificed to get the early flight. Oh, and it's weighted!
Promising review: "I am a flight attendant and have a wacky work schedule. I frequently have to sleep during the day. These are SO comfortable and cool as well. I have ordered and tried out at least 10 eye masks off of Amazon and have found these to be the best. They are SO comfortable and do not have Velcro on the straps, for which I am thankful, because I usually sleep on my back and am sensitive to the thickness of eye masks that have the Velcro straps." —sw
Get one from Amazon for $14.99.
3. A set of homeopathic jet lag pills made to help you fight off time zone changes and disrupted sleep schedules thanks to some weird (but cheaper!) flight schedules. Plus, you can actually sleep while taking these. I've taken them on a couple of red eyes and I think they help!
According to the instructions, you should take them at take-off and then every two hours and then again once you arrive to help with relaxation and combat sleepiness.
Promising review: "My husband and I have used this product now for five years for multiple trips overseas and these really work. How do we know? We've forgotten to use them on a couple of legs and there has been a night/day difference in our energy levels. We use precisely as directed, setting timers on our phone when possible to remember the doses. On a few occasions we've slept through the timer, so missed the timing of a couple of doses, and we've been fine. Our last trip to Australia was 34 hours door-to-door on the outbound. We would have been a complete wreck without these. As it was, we arrived late morning, remained awake and lively (enough) through dinner, and then got a good night's sleep. The next day we felt as good as new. For the years before I used this, I would need to sleep for a few days after a leg like that. We never travel without this now. I highly recommend this product." —motokat
Get a pack of 32 pills from Amazon for $14.40.
4. A wheeled carry-on bag small enough to qualify as a personal item on super stringent airlines. It can fit underneath an airplane seat! You can avoid checking a bag, glide through security, *and* don't have to hurt your shoulder by carrying a duffel bag that'd also fit strict bag measurement policies. Take that, Spirit Airlines. (This'll pay for itself after a few trips.)
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!!! Light weight. Enough space for one to three days of travel. Thank you!" —SS
Get it from Amazon for $120.75 (available in three colors).
5. Pedialyte powder packets because yes you are a grown-ass adult, but sometimes you indulge a little too much or start to feel a cold coming on from traveling and could use some electrolytes. I always pack these for trips and have never regretted it. And they're much tastier than electrolyte tablets you dilute in water. Go through security FULLY hungover knowing you can fill up your water bottle with this *right* after.
Promising review: "I always have it with me. I travel a lot and I’m super busy so I will forget to drink enough water (I live in a VERY hot climate) so these drink packets save the day often." —ashley v
~Trust me~ when I tell you that these will work in a pinch. I bought them a few years ago to take on a bachelorette party to New Orleans, and everyone in the Airbnb was grateful I did. Since then, I've always had them in my carry-on bag when going on a trip. They REALLY came in handy when I went to the Greek islands for 10 days with an apparent mission to eat every piece of seafood and cheese within sight while washing it down with jugs of wine. These are powder in small individual packets, so they're so easy to pack! And also you don't have to lug around a bottle of Gatorade to feel better.
Get a 24-count from Amazon for $25.59.
6. A hands-free (rotating!) phone mount can help you watch what you want or take advantage of the movies available online for those budget airlines without TVs in the back of the seats. It'll work on the plane *or* while you wait to board.
7. An Airfly wireless transmitter that'll let you connect your Airpods or any wireless headphones to your airplane seat...even without Bluetooth!
Promising review: "I fly a lot, and bought this due to disliking corded headphones, as either the cable line breaks during flight, and/or gets tangled up. I just recently flew four times last week and used them for the in-flight entertainment, and did not have one issue. I also use these in the gym while connected to my iPhone for music. And I plan to use them on my PC at work for meetings." —Marky
Get it from Amazon for $54.99.
8. A portable door lock that'll attach to any regular old door for your budget-friendly hotel, vacation rental, room in a guest house, or, well, just any door. It's super easy to install and won't damage the door. It'll be a comfort for solo travelers, especially.
Check it out in action on TikTok here!
Promising review: I’m a flight attendant and swear I live in hotel rooms and needed extra security, and these seem to be the talk in the airline world so I order myself two. It took me a YouTube video to figure out how to install them and yes very easy and very secure. Safe sleeping is important and I’m glad I have these." —Elizabeth C. Breton
Get it from Amazon for $14.99.
9. A portable safe you can secure to a beach chair to keep your valuables safe or to keep your passport in your hotel room in case there's no safe or the safe isn't working. (Raise your hand if you've stayed in a small hotel without a safe. ::raises hand::)
After putting this in MANY travel stories, I bought one for myself for a summer European vacation where I found myself at several beach clubs. It was perfect for keeping mine and my friend's belongings safe while we dozed in our beach chairs or swam in the sea. Plus, it's the perfect size to hold phones or wallets, and easily carry in your beach or tote bag.
Promising review: "This safe has become a MUST-HAVE on all our vacations. We no longer travel without it. We put two iPhones, cash, and car keys in this little safe, locked it to a beach cabana, threw a towel over it and took off for a hour of snorkeling. Never once worried about our belongings. We now use several of these as room safes AND as 'hide a key' lockboxes outside our vacation condo for teens who come and go throughout the day. They are invaluable!" —KeepIT Reel
Get it from Amazon for $21.88+ (available in three colors).
10. A bendy travel pillow for helping you sit upright in the most awkward of positions, whether it be on a bus, train, plane, or ferry.
Promising review: "I’m a flight attendant and I travel with this pillow all the time! In hotel rooms I use it to support my neck, on the plane I use it to support my lumbar area. When I drive it helps my lower back. I love that it has a liner that can be removed to wash. I bought my boyfriend one too and it goes everywhere we do!" —Debbie
Get it from Amazon for $24.99 (also available in navy).
11. A digital luggage scale to make sure that you aren't slammed with an overweight luggage fee (ugh) or having to move stuff from your checked bag to your carryon to avoid said fee (also, ugh).
Promising review: "We use this in every trip to avoid paying for extra weight as we travel internationally quite often. I have tested in several ways and also always note the weigh number in the airport. After several trips, I can say that the accuracy of it is right within 2 lbs. I have it for almost two years and I am still using the same batteries." —Cass Young
Get it from Amazon for $12.53.
12. A set of Sea Bands with a little nub that targets the acupuncture point on your wrists meant to help reduce nausea. This'll be great in case you get motion sick in a budget-friendlier car, bus, or ferry ride.
Promising review: "My car sickness has been getting worse for years. I drive often with my family back to my hometown about five hours away. I put these on and was finally able to ride without constantly fighting nausea. They fit comfortably and I quickly forgot they were on. This feels like a simple, cost efficient fix." —Breya Porter
Get a set of two from Amazon for $8.59 (available in adult and children's sizes).
13. A pocket-sized, refillable travel perfume atomizer you simply pump on your normal size perfume bottle to keep you smelling like your signature scent while you're on the go. Yes, I paid all that dough for a Le Labo but no I won't pay more dough for their (still v pricey) travel bottles.
^ That's me pumping my signature perfume into one of these travel atomizers I've been using for about a year. As the reviewer down below mentions, it's great to just throw in your purse on the reg for a fragrance re-up throughout the day. As you can see, it's about the size of my thumb and therefore takes up very little room. Plus! It's smaller than most rollerball travel fragrances you can pick up. This first one is working so well, that I just have the other three in storage. But if this one bites the dust this summer during travels, I'll be OK about digging into my stores to use one of the remaining three...especially at this price point.
Promising review: "I bought these due to traveling a lot for work and needing to cut down on the size of things in my carry-on bag for flying. I can bring four different perfumes now instead of one big one. They’re super easy to fill, haven’t leaked so far but I keep them in a sandwich baggie while traveling just in case. I would 100% buy them again." —Emily Rintamaki
Get a four-pack from Amazon for $8.99.
14. A collection of compression packing cubes to use over and over again without having to remember to pack a pump for sucking out the air in case you know you won't be beholden to luggage weight limits.
Again, just be sure to look up any weight restrictions on carry-on luggage. I ran into that problem last summer (it was in Croatia while flying British Airways, btw), but the person at the airport check-in counter that gave me some trouble about my bag just seemed to care about my roller carry-on. So I'd suggest using these in a backpack or tote bag you plan to put under the seat.
Promising review: "I'm a flight attendant. Great for my 4–5 days trips when I need to pack extra!" —Amazon Customer
Get a pack of six from Amazon for $25.99 (available in three colors).
15. A Trtl travel pillow that, thanks to its scarf-like construction, you can easily to adjust to your perfect comfort level and tilt angle to get some Zzzzzs while someone else gets you to where you're going.
Promising review: "As a flight attendant for a major airline I have heard from passengers how much they like this pillow. So I ordered it...I LOVE IT. I lost my U-shaped memory foam pillow recently so I thought I would give this a try. It's smaller than a U-shape pillow and easy to pack up. Lots of fun colors to match your outfits. But most of all it works. It's cheap enough to give it a try...so just do it." —Franny
Ciera Velarde, an editor here at BuzzFeed, also loves this! She says: "I've used this for the past few years and swear by it! Before this, I always found traditional neck pillows uncomfortable and would end up ditching them halfway through the flight and getting frustrated. 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."
Get it from Amazon for $44.99+ (available in four colors).
16. A handmade leather cord organizer that'll keep your wired listening BFFs from getting tangled up in your pocket, making it so much easier to empty said pockets for the security line or find your headphones when it's time to drift off to some true crime podcasts.
After putting this well-reviewed item in stories for YEARS, I finally bought one for myself because I'm one of those AirPod holdouts who's still managed to stick with the wired OGs. But! That means that I've clocked too much time untangling said wires. This little leather square with a buttoned strap is so simple, but works so well. I can easily throw it in a jeans pocket but most often put it in a jacket or coat pocket for my everyday. I do the same when traveling. It takes me about 10 seconds to unravel (or re-ravel) my headphones and I'm on my merry way listening to my fave podcasts or Spotify playlist. For such a small amount of money, it really does make my day to day much easier.
Promising review: "I travel a lot — well, used to. I'm also one of the last people with wired buds. Every time, my ear buds would be a tangled mess. No matter how I tried to keep them wrapped or organized. This gaget is the perfect solution. It's compact, and takes seconds to get your buds wrapped up." —Susan Rahn
Get it from Amazon for $5.99 (available in five colors).
17. Satin pillowcases that I own and love! I'm a hot sleeper at home and tend to blow out my hair, then wash only twice a week. So these make a big difference in keeping my skin and hair moisturized over cotton pillowcases. I'm SO in love with them, that I pack one when I travel to keep my hair situation in check. One of these will take up the tiniest amount of room in your suitcase.
18. Tide sink packets with the perfect amount of detergent for a sink wash to help lighten your clothing load. Plus! These'll easily slide into the toiletries bag that you thought had no. more. room. Seriously, it's time to get over packing an outfit for every freaking day of your trip. No one cares.
Each pack comes with three packets. And, because they *are* liquid, they'll easily slide into the side of your toiletries bag. I've packed these on international trips to much success!
Promising review: "I have taken these packets on travels throughout the world. They are small and fit in my bag. They are good for a wash in a sink or wash bag. I use tide at home donut is my wash if choose. Glad to have them. They don’t leak either." —Barbara Jefferson
Get nine packs from Amazon for $8.99.
19. A pack of laundry soap sheets you won't have to slip into your toiletries bag if you're flying. This way you can save more room for souvenirs than three changes of underwear for every day of your trip.
I travel just about any chance that I get and found a WHOLE lot of success with these little laundry sheets on an almost–three weeks European vacation this summer where I carried on–only and rewore outfits several times.
Promising review: "This came SO in handy during my vacation to Europe! I was making lots of different stops to places with different types of weather. With these laundry soap sheets I was able to wash my clothes in the sink — letting me pack just the right amount of clothes for all the different places I went." —Katie Fujarski
Get it from Amazon for $7.19 (available in four other styles, including hand soap and shampoo).
20. A TSA-friendly toiletries set you can easily fill, clean, and then refill with your go-to regular products. And the bag is sturdy as HECK.
I own and love this set! it includes the zippered bag, four soft silicone bottles with leakproof caps, three compact jars, an two toothbrush caps. I've used this set on more than five trips and and for trips when I don't require body wash or shampoo (like to visit my parents) I use the extra room in the bag to shove in all my beauty products and daily contacts. Plus! It comes with labels that stay on the containers really well despite my thoroughly washing these containers between trips. I bought this set in spring 2019 and have, admittedly, lost a container or two. But the ones that I've held onto over dozens of trips have all held up well!
Promising review: "This set is perfect for traveling. Was looking for a set to use for work (flight attendant). I use the bottles for lotion, body wash, hair oil, and shampoo. None of them have leaked yet and I love that it comes with a bag just in case. The only negative is that sometimes you need to unscrew the cap to puff the bottles back out after you squeeze them, but doesn’t really bother me. It’s a quick fix. Easy to fill/refill." —Kandice222
Get it from Amazon for $12.98+ (available in eight variations).
21. Or if you're not in need of containers, a clear TSA-approved toiletry bag so you can Lego-fit all your liquid and spreadable bbs in there with ease.
Promising review: "This is a game changer. I work in consulting and travel 50–75% of the time for my job. I've burned through many a quart baggie over the last few years and dozens of flights. It's nearly impossible to use the full volume of a quart baggie without breaking the zipper, and this toiletry bag allows me to bring about 150% of what I was able to fit in my crappy press-and-seal bags.
I do not regret this purchase one bit, and have already recommended it to several friends and family members." —Ainsley H.
Get it from Amazon for $12.86 (available in 11 colors).
22. A waterproof Kindle to let you bring a TON of reading material (without a stack of books hogging space in your carry-on) for your time sipping a mimosa near the gate, then on the flight when you can't fall asleep, during layovers, on downtime during your travels, you get my drift.
Promising review: "I held out for years on getting a Kindle and finally gave in this prime day as I am traveling more for work these days. The user interface is super easy to use and the settings are simple to change. From what I can tell it has plenty of storage and was easy to set up with Libby as well to rent e-books from the library. I've already read three books and I can't wait for the countless more.
The size is perfect, not too small like reading on a phone but still fits easily in my purse or carry on bag without taking up too much space. Fits comfortably in my hand when reading as well. As for the battery, I've read on it at least 30 minutes every day since receiving it and still have 60% battery left on my first charge, and its been weeks." —Emily S
Get it from Amazon for $109.99+ (available in 8GB and 32GB and in blue).
23. And a waterproof pouch that'll help you capture all kinds of impressive memories, making people pause at your IG videos and wonder if you have a social media assistant capturing all this stuff. I bring these on all my beach vacations and have taken some really cool underwater videos.
It fits any phone up to 100 mm x 170 mm (or about 3.9 inches x 6.7 inches). It also keeps out sand, dirt, and rain.
Promising review: "I bought this because I do a lot of water sports when I travel and it was amazing!!! I had no problems with it the actual pouch detaching from the lanyard when I went snorkeling and my phone stayed completely dry. The touch capability is also great." —TJ