Crossing off another destination from your travel bucket list is always exciting, but forgetting essential travel accessories can turn the joy of exploration into a nightmare.
Whether you’re about to embark on a thrilling Euro trip or planning a quick weekend getaway, our guide on the best travel gear and the best travel accessories made for travellers has got you covered.
1. Travel Pillow: A comfy pillow for restful journeys
Picture this: you’re on a long-haul flight, cramped in the middle seat, desperately trying to catch some sleep. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? The key to transforming this ordeal into a restful experience is a top-notch travel pillow.
But rather than a traditional U-shaped pillow that’s clunky, heavy, and doesn’t fit in your travel bag, I like the Trtl pillow.
Actually closer to a neck brace than a neck pillow, the Trtl travel pillow offers a comfortable sleep in any seated position, and prevents those neck pains from ruining the rest of your journey
The cost is a little steep, but I’ve been using mine for years, and the convenience of a lightweight personal item that takes up very little luggage space really makes a difference when you travel a lot.
On my last trip to Tokyo, my Trtl pillow was a lifesaver during the 14-hour return trip. It provided just the right amount of support and softness, making those cramped airline seats feel almost like a luxury experience. It’s now #1 on my travel essentials list for long haul flights.
2. Packing Cubes: Organise like a pro
Ever opened your suitcase to find a jumbled mess? Packing cubes are the solution to save space and keep your belongings organised and easily accessible.
I use packing cubes every time I travel. One cube for shirts, one for shorts and trousers, one for socks and underwear, and everything stays exactly as I packed it without moving around or creasing.
The best thing?
It takes just a minute to unpack your suitcase when you reach your destination, and you can just slot the cubes into the hotel wardrobe.
The best packing cubes are lightweight, durable, and come in various sizes for easy access to different types of clothing. They should have mesh panels for visibility and breathability, ensuring your clothes stay fresh.
There’s really no need to buy anything expensive, and most options that you find in shops or online will work for what you need them for. Primark have cube sets starting from just £5 and these are a great option if you’re looking for something affordable.
3. Portable Chargers: Stay powered up
A dead phone or tablet can be a traveller’s worst nightmare. Or at least, it’s my worst nightmare.
A portable charger is your lifeline to the world, and is a must have, one of my all-time best travel gadgets and accessories that I’d never travel without.
The ideal portable charger should be a compact package, yet powerful enough to charge your devices multiple times. Look for one with multiple USB ports and fast-charging capabilities.
I recommend at least a battery capacity of 10,000 mAh, which should charge most devices at least twice.
On a day trip in Paris, my charger kept my phone alive as I navigated the city using Google Maps, took countless photos, and stayed in touch with my travel companions. The days were long and with Google Maps on 100% of the time, my phone would not have lasted without the extra battery.
The ‘Anker PowerCore 10000’ is an excellent pick. It’s small, charges quickly, and has enough juice to keep your devices going all day.
4. Universal Travel Adapters: Connect anywhere
Traveling abroad means dealing with different plug types.
I know, they’re a pain, but buying fifteen adapters and trying to remember which countries each one is used for is just a waste of time. Especially if you take the wrong ones and then have to buy even more.
The best universal adapters are versatile, covering a wide range of socket types. They should be compact, reliable, and ideally come with USB ports for charging multiple devices simultaneously.
In my travels across Europe, Asia and America, I’ve used just one universal adapter for the past 10 years. From charging my laptop in a café in Montclair, NJ, to using my Nintendo Switch in a hotel room in Rhodes, it was my constant companion.
Consider the ‘Skross World Adapter Pro’. It’s well-built, covers over 150 countries, and has dual USB ports for added convenience.
5. Noise-Cancelling Headphones: Your oasis of calm
Whether it’s the hum of the airplane or the chatter in a busy train station, noise-cancelling headphones can be your sanctuary of peace.
For me, I have loud tinnitus, and the noise of a plane is the worst thing to bring up the roaring inside my ears.
Look for headphones that offer both active and passive noise cancellation, comfortable ear cups, and long battery life. Wireless capabilities are a plus for hassle-free movement.
On a particularly noisy or long flight out, my Bose 45 headphones allow me to immerse myself in my favourite movies, turning a stressful situation into a moment of relaxation.
The ‘Bose 45’ headphones are a top choice with excellent noise cancellation to deal with those noisy neighbours on your flight. They offer exceptional sound quality, effective noise cancellation, and a comfortable fit for long periods.
6. A Versatile Travel Backpack: Carry in comfort
A good travel backpack is like a trusty sidekick on your adventures. It should be spacious, comfortable, and versatile, enabling you to take all your travel accessories with you.
The ideal backpack should have multiple compartments for organisation, adjustable straps for comfort, and be made of durable, water-resistant material. It should also be pickpocket-proof, slash-proof, and be difficult or impossible for someone other than you to open.
I use bags by Korin Design, which designs some of the best travel backpacks with excellent safety features to protect your valuables from thieves.
My bag has a slim, hidden back pocket for easy access to my boarding pass, water bottle pockets on the side, an easy access port to connect my USB C cable, and has ample space for everything I need in my carry on bag.
7. A Trusty Water Bottle: Stay Hydrated on the go
Staying hydrated while travelling is crucial, and a reusable water bottle, one of the simplest but best travel accessories that you can invest in, is both eco-friendly and practical.
Unless you’re travelling to Rome, where free water is everywhere, or you go to a Greek island, where a bottle is 30 cents, a reusable bottle will save you a lot of money on ad-hoc drinks purchases.
The best water bottles are leak-proof, insulated to keep your drink at the desired temperature, and made from durable, safe materials like stainless steel.
Do not buy a glass bottle because the inevitable will happen. Plastic bottles are also prone to cracking.
Exploring the streets of Rome in the extreme summer heat of 2023, my insulated water bottle was a lifesaver, keeping my water cool for hours.
Although pricey, Camelbak is a great pick for a great quality bottle that will last a lifetime. Their Horizon range offers a large capacity, double-wall vacuum insulation keeping your drink cold for up to 35 hours, and an easy, clean, sleek design.