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Before I was an editor at Travel + Leisure, I spent five years working as an international travel consultant in New York City. I helped all sorts of travelers plan their dream trips, including guided tours, cruises, honeymoons, destination weddings, bachelorette parties, family vacations, holiday getaways, and last-minute excursions. I booked any and every type of experience you can think of — from flights to hotel stays to all-inclusive resort packages complete with daily activities.
Naturally, clients often asked me for packing tips and travel hacks as they counted down the days to their next trip. And after all those years in the business, I picked up a few packing tricks to share with them along the way.
From simple ways to make your hotel room more comfortable to pointers on keeping your clothing fresh, these are my 18 favorite Amazon products that will help make your next trip smoother — which is always the goal for any travel agent.
Baggallini Everywhere Bagg
The No. 1 way to upgrade your travel experience? The right bag — the one that makes travel seamless. I’m always on the hunt for a durable, spacious crossbody bag for trips, and this one fits the bill. It’s large enough to hold essentials like a phone, sunglasses, a wallet, and hand sanitizer with some extra breathing room, but it’s not too big that it will weigh you down (it actually only weighs one pound). I also love the abundance of pockets, the trolley sleeve that also zips into a pocket, the removable RFID wristlet, and the fact that it’s machine-washable.
Veken 6 Set of Packing Cubes
Another trick of the trade to maximize packing space is utilizing packing cubes. These space spacers are the easiest way to fit more in your luggage, allowing you to keep your suitcase organized and squeeze in a few extra outfits — or have more room to hit up the local boutiques for a shopping haul. I love this set; not only does it come with four packing cubes in different sizes (including cubes large enough to hold sweaters or jackets), but it also includes a shoe bag and a laundry bag so you can keep your dirty items separated.
Sony LinkBuds S Truly Wireless Noise-canceling Earbud Headphones
If you’re not a fan of long flights like some clients I knew, these noise-canceling headphones will keep you distracted, whether you choose to catch up on sleep, your favorite podcasts, or the new movie selection. They come with four sizes of silicone earbud tips for a comfortable fit, as well as a charging case and a USB charging cable for convenience. Plus, T+L editors said these headphones had the “Best Sound Quality” out of all the pairs we tested in our Best Wireless Headphones roundup.
Ekrist Portable Charger Power Bank
A portable power bank is a game changer if you’re going to be out and about all day. You can throw this in your backpack to keep your phone charged on the go, allowing you to snap as many photos and videos as you want without worrying about draining your battery. I usually end up using mine in airports and hotel rooms when the outlets aren’t in the most convenient spots. This power bank also has LED lights to show how much juice is left so you know when it needs charging — and you’ll never be caught on empty.
Tigari Passport Holder
You can always buy new clothing or accessories at your destination, but the one thing you can’t forget is your ID. When I was a travel agent, way too many people I worked with left their passports at home and missed their flights as a result. Do yourself a favor and get a special wallet or passport holder to store your travel documents in and always make that the main priority on your packing list. This simple option features pockets, credit card slots, an elastic band closure, RFID-blocking material, and it comes in more than 20 color options. Above all else, make sure you pack your passport!
Vaverto Small Memory Foam Pillow for Travel and Camping
As a travel agent, I never wanted to get a call from someone on their trip saying that the bedding was uncomfortable. Hotel pillows can be unpredictable, so save yourself the neck cramps by bringing your own. You can also take one along on road trips, bus tours, or train rides as a simple way to make you more comfortable. This memory foam pillow has a removable cover that you can unzip and throw in the wash when you get home. You can also compress it into the compact carrying case that has a snap loop that you can clip to your luggage.
iMangoo Shockproof Tech Organizer Carrying Case
One thing you never knew you needed is a tech organizer. But take it from a former travel agent: This sleek carrying case makes it easy to keep your chargers, cords, and even headphones in one neat, little package so you don’t have to dig through a black hole of a handbag or backpack to find them all tangled together. The rose gold one is a steal at more than 40 percent off right now.
Reebok Women’s Club C Vintage Sneaker
It’s always a struggle not to overpack shoes, but my philosophy is that you can’t go wrong with a pair of classic white sneakers that you can dress up or down. The key is to pair them with as many outfits as you can so that you don’t have to overload your suitcase with multiple pairs of sneakers, which can get way too heavy. These always-in-style Reebok sneakers come in different shades of white and beige with pops of color and a retro vibe.
Cozia Merino Wool Socks for Men and Women, 3 Pairs
Beginner hikers don’t always realize that everyday cotton socks aren’t the best for keeping your feet dry, but wool socks are ideal for doing just that. This three-pack is a killer deal at 41 percent off, and you can also wear them for walking tours or with winter boots to keep moisture and blisters away. They’re also versatile enough to wear at home when you get back from your travels, so you’ll really put them to work.
Eddie Bauer Women’s CirrusLite Down Jacket
If you’re traveling to a cold-weather destination this fall or winter, the last thing you want is a bulky, heavy coat taking up way too much space. Whether you’re trekking through the mountains or to the cute coffee shop near your hotel, a lightweight, packable jacket is the way to go. If you’ve never had a packable jacket before, it’s impressive how little room they take up while still managing to keep you warm, although you may want to layer depending on where you’re traveling to (again, always check the weather!). I love how the side pockets have zippers on this Eddie Bauer jacket, and how the water-repellent finish helps liquid bead off the fabric rather than soaking in.
Nesugar Portable Handheld Garment Steamer
If you’re heading to a destination wedding or ritzy dinner reservations, a portable steamer is a lifesaver for helping you look polished (and less like you’re living out of a suitcase). Even if you’re not particularly worried about wrinkles, a steamer is the simplest way to freshen up clothing that’s been crammed in your luggage for a little too long. This compact steamer weighs less than one pound and is so simple to use, with only one button and a 15-second start-up time before it begins steaming.
Sojos Oversized Square Cateye Polarized Sunglasses
Expensive sunglasses somehow always have a way of getting lost on vacation. My advice? Leave your designer sunnies at home and save yourself the stress by bringing an inexpensive pair that you don’t have to worry about as much. These cat-eye frames are flattering on almost any face shape, and they come in 11 colors to suit your style. Bonus: They come with both a hard case and a microfiber pouch to take up less space.
Hydro Flask Standard Mouth Bottle With Flex Cap
It can get expensive to constantly buy water bottles while you’re traveling. Stay hydrated (and eco-friendly) with a portable water bottle that is slim enough to fit in backpacks, cup holders, and seat pockets. I prefer a wide-mouth bottle to one with a straw when I’m away from home because it feels easier to clean when I don’t have my straw-scrubbing tools.
Sy Compact Travel Umbrella
As a travel agent, I got a surprising number of complaints about bad weather (yes, really), because rainy days can put a damper on a long-awaited trip. First, I would recommend keeping an eye on the weather a week or two before you travel. And second, I recommend coming prepared with an umbrella — but one that doesn’t take up too much space in your suitcase. This umbrella is lightweight and compact enough to pack away easily so the rain won’t stop you from exploring your destination.
Miroposs Rechargeable Makeup Mirror for Travel
Slay any poorly lit hotel bathroom with your own light-up makeup mirror that’s as slim as an iPad. At more than 20 percent off, this mirror is a steal that will bring some comforts of home to your hotel room, allowing you to get up close and personal while you get ready for the day. It features multiple brightness settings and light colors, so you can adjust it as needed.
Nishel Large-capacity Travel Toiletry Bag
Organization is key when it comes to packing toiletries. Instead of throwing them all into one large pouch, this toiletry bag has multiple compartments, zippers, elastic, and slots for full-size bottles. You can unfold the compartments and even hang the bag up in the closet or bathroom to easily access everything you brought without having to dump it all out on the countertops and risk things dropping or getting left behind.
Bagsmart Foldable Jewelry Organizer Case
Tangled jewelry is the worst, especially when you pack it in a travel case and it somehow manages to get all jumbled up together. This organizer has hooks, slots, and compartments to separate each type of jewelry, making items easy to find when you’re getting dressed. I love how you can lay it flat and then fold it up like an envelope as opposed to a clunky jewelry box.
Vorspack Transparent Shoe Bags for Travel
I traveled without shoe bags for most of my life, but back then I’d always scramble to find some sort of mystery bag in my hotel room to pack my dirty shoes back into my suitcase. This 13-piece set of shoe bags is a simple way to prevent that last-minute packing panic by keeping your shoes separated from the rest of your clothing, especially easy-to-stain white shirts or delicate materials. Although they’re big enough to fit sneakers in, you can also use them to hold other things, too, like dirty clothing. At less than $1 per bag, there’s really no reason not to make your life easier by stocking up.
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