These days, there are a whole host of hiccups you can experience while traveling by air — domestically, internationally or otherwise. A travel day has become more like holding your breath and waiting for the next delay to hit, rather than a convenient, smooth way to get from point A to point B. Will your flight get delayed? Cancelled? Will someone refuse to wear a mask? Will security insist the candle you bought for your mother-in-law is suspicious? Will a drunken passenger result in an unexpected landing in Kansas? Any of it is fair game.
Thankfully, there are plenty of travel accessories and well-designed carry-on luggage you can purchase to help make your voyage a little easier. We can’t all be full-blown travel influencers, but we can invest in the right gear to make flights, layovers and those oh-so-joyous waits in the terminal a tad more bearable.
We’ve gathered 10 must-have travel gadgets that could come in super handy one day. So the next time you’re caught on a long layover or the airport WiFi isn’t jiving with your devices, reach for one of these travel hacks. We’ve even got some ingenious travel gear for parents traveling with young kids. These might not make your plane take off on time or your lost luggage find your hotel before your vacation begins, but trust us, you’ll be glad you have them.
1. Twelve South AirFly Pro Wireless Transmitter
Think you have to use wired headphones to enjoy in-flight entertainment? Think again! This wireless transmitter from Twelve South connects wirelessly to your AirPods or other Bluetooth headphones and enables you to listen to movies, TV shows and more on the plane without wires cramping your style. It’s got a battery life of 16+ hours so you’re covered for most long-haul flights, and it’s got a range of 33 feet so you’ve got plenty of room to move around.
2. Etekcity Digital Portable Luggage Scale
Don’t be that person attempting to repack your suitcase at baggage check, weigh your bag conveniently ahead of time with a portable luggage scale. You clip it onto your bag and let it hang, and the scale measures the weight without the need for you to step on an actual scale. It’s got a high-accuracy sensor and a rubber-textured handle that’s grippy and easy to hold. It’s built for travel, and can easily be packed in your pocket for the journey. It also has a thermometer built in, in case your delicate luggage needs a certain climate.
3. Flyaway Kids Bed
A flight with children is way easier when they get enough sleep, and this inflatable kids bed from Flyaway is designed to make traveling with little ones as convenient as possible. An airplane seat is not a comfortable place for anyone to get their ZZZ’s in, let alone a small child. This bed inflates to form a comfortable surface using the width and depth of the airplane seat, and can stop toys from rolling onto the floor as well. It inflates in 90 seconds, deflates quickly and can easily be wiped clean before, during and after a flight.
4. Aeropress Go Portable Travel Coffee Press
Just because you’re away from home, or stuck in an airport, doesn’t mean your coffee routine has to change, or you have to settle for whatever dredge is available in the terminal. This to-go travel coffee press is designed to make delicious, smooth coffee without bitterness, and is the perfect size for a carry-on. It uses total immersion brewing to make hot coffee or espresso in minutes, and can make cold brew in two minutes if needed. It makes 1-3 cups per press and comes with a traveling mug and lid.
5. MicroNovelty Evo-International Universal Small Travel Adapter
This universal travel adapter is made to fit in 150+ countries around the world, including places like Canada, Mexico, Brazil, South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It’s got built-in safety shutters and dual USB charging ports. It’s super small, thin and can fit easily in a pocket. It uses smart charging to recognize your device and power accordingly, and supports a variety of charging types including lightning interface3, microUSB, type-C and more.
6. Flight Flap Phone & Tablet Holder
This handy phone and tablet holder makes it easy to watch videos on your phone or tablet mid-flight without needing to hold your device. You can tucket it into the tray table holder and view content at eye level, putting less strain on your neck, and when you’re done it folds flat for easy transport in your carry-on. It flexibly bends and molds and is perfect for entertaining children as well!
7. FEELLE Solar Power Bank Charger
A portable charger is another travel day must-have, to avoid the tragic dead-phone scenario and free yourself from relying on airport charging stations to get the job done. This one is solar-powered, so you can charge it sitting in the sun waiting for your flight, and it’s got a large capacity that can hold up to eight charges for an iPhone. It’s made with four solar panels that fold into one another, so it’s compact and easy to carry when not in use. It can charge multiple devices at once and has a waterproof silicone cover as well as a built-in LED light for outdoor activities.
8. EEZ-Y Windproof Travel Umbrella
Weather is one of the most common disruptors of smooth travel, and even though you’re unlikely to get wet sitting in a terminal, waiting in line for a cab or for your Uber can definitely put you in the way of a storm. Don’t get damp at the end of a long travel day, pack a travel umbrella in your luggage just in case. This one from EEZ-Y is built durable with a resilient, windproof design. It has a large size for protecting up to two people and is lightweight, and compact for portability.
9. 10 Foot Extra Lightning Charging Cable
There’s nothing worse than hudding around one charging port in an airport with 20 strangers. Grab yourself an extra long charging cable and find some distance from the crowds. This one is 10 feet long, which isn’t a ton but certainly beats sitting on the floor while a businessman huddles over you charging his laptop and tablet simultaneously. It’s made durable and designed to firmly attach to your phone while passing the “bend test” without rupturing.
10. Wireless Sleep Headphones Headband
This headband can double as your wireless headphones and sleep mask on your next flight. It’s got a soft design with ultra thin speakers for blocking out ambient noise. It can run for 10 hours on every full charge and is made of breathable material so you stay comfortable for your flight. It comes in a bunch of colors, and is compatible with all Bluetooth-enabled devices.