Jennifer Ernst Beaudry, Patrice J. Williams and Reviewed Staff
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Thanksgiving week kicks off the holiday travel season, so it’s fitting that today, November 29, is Travel Tuesday. There are plenty of deep discounts on flights, hotel bookings and even cruises to shop—and if all the savings are giving you a little wanderlust, it’s the perfect time to get packing.
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Whether your December brings an epic road trip or a long-haul flight to see family, having the right stuff in your bag makes the journey that much more pleasant. We’ve rounded up the 10 must-have items that make for smoother trips. So go ahead and book that trip—these essentials will help make it one of the best ones yet.
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1. Packing cubes for keeping your carry-on organized
There’s an art to packing, especially if you’re aboutthat carry-on life. Packing cubes can be handy for those struggling to pare down their selections, especially for longer trips. Yamiu’s seven-piece set includes one large, medium, two small cubes, a shoe bag and two clear toiletry bags. One side of the cubes has a mesh design so you can see what’s inside, and there’s a convenient handle on one end. The large cube can easily hold 10 outfits.
2. A travel pillow for actually getting some sleep while you fly
A good travel pillow is a must-have for long flights and the TRTL is Reviewed-approved. Most travel pillows have the U-shape design that goes around the back of the neck—not exactly comfortable for many wearers. However, TRTL’s take on the pillow is like a soft brace, allowing you to rest your head in a more comfortable position. Another bonus? It’s less bulky than traditional pillows so it takes up less room in your bag.
3. A rich hand lotion in a TSA-approved size
Not carrying a hand lotion on your flight would be a disservice to your skin. The Kiehl’s Ultra Stength Hand Salve is a Reviewed-approved hand cream that feels silky-soft and moisturizes hands with avocado and sesame oils. It’ll get through TSA with no problem and have your hands feeling moisturized despite Sahara-dry air during your flight. Our tester adored its non-greasy formula that won’t leave a residue on your hands.
4. A bento box of snacks for little travelers
Gas station snacks are filled with sugar and salt and airport treats are wildly expensive. Instead of relying on less than healthy prepackaged snacks, come prepared with a kid-friendly bento box filled with a healthy assortment of their favorite snacks. These well-priced bento boxes seal up well, and have lots of small compartments to fit an assortment of healthy snacks. Leak-proof, dishwasher safe, and BPA-free, they are also super sturdy and come in an assortment of kid-friendly colors.
5. A portable charger to stay powered on the go
Being stuck with a dead phone battery is never a good thing, but it can be especially troublesome when traveling. So it’s no surprise that a portable charger is at the top of the list when planning to journey far from home.
Miady’s chargers (two come in a single order) feature a USB-C and two USB ports. Each charger weighs just under 12 ounces and measures six inches tall, with the capacity to charge a phone up to three times. (The multiple ports means a friend can borrow some juice as well.) A tap of the button on the side shows how much the device is charged, with four LED lights indicating a full battery or one light equating to 25 percent.
6. Travel-size dry shampoo to keep your look fresh
Traveling sometimes means having to rough it without your normal amenities, like maybe going a day or two without showering. Fear not: The Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo has you covered. A spritz of this dry shampoo will take your hair from “I’ve been traveling for 16 hours straight” greasy to salon-fresh strands in a matter of minutes, and it won’t leave a white residue behind. This mini size is also not a bad thing to stick in your gym or work bag either.
7. A cashmere wrap for chilly planes
Whether you’re under the freezing blast of an airplane’s overhead vent, or your car companion prefers to keep it chilly, there’s a wrap for that. The J.Crew Cashmere-wool poncho is available in eight colors and envelopes you in softness as a great alternative to a light jacket or cozy blanket.
8. Comfy pants that look put-together no matter where you are
Comfort is key for holiday traveling, and today’s loungewear is just the (plane) ticket. Reach for pieces with looser silhouettes that rival sweats without actually being sweats. Think joggers paired with a trendy silk bomber (hello, prep revival) along with a tee, hoop earrings and platform sneakers. These comfy pants will hold their shape and look pulled-together—even if you’re fresh off the plane.
9. High-quality masks for extra protection
If the idea of being in an enclosed plane space with all the holiday germs makes you pause, packing a high-quality KN95 mask can offer both protection and peace of mind. Evolvetogether offers a celeb-favorite flat profile and kids sizes—and they come in a variety of colors, too. Another option: the 3M particulate respirator N95 is NIOSH-approved.
10. A car seat roller to keep things moving
Not looking forward to hefting your kiddo’s enormous (and enormously heavy) car seat through a busy airport? The Britax Car Seat Roller Cart attaches to your car seat and essentially turn the seat into a stroller. It fits most major brands, has an adjustable handle and is fully foldable so it’ll fit in the overhead compartment too.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.