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 $101.50 (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 $24.87.
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.
Promising review: "I fly a lot and wanted a compact stand. This works well." —Angela Hellebush
Get it from Amazon for $12.99.
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 (available in four colors).
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 $11.98 (available in seven colors).
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 $8.53 (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.