As fun as traveling is, it can also be stressful. A recent study found that 37% of American vacationers delay or cancel a trip due to the stress of planning it, and 30% of travelers takes at least two vacation days to feel fully relaxed.
Frantically charging your nearly dead phone right before you board a long flight and listening to the baby in the row behind you for six hours takes its toll.
So I asked the Insider Picks team to share the products they use to make traveling less stressful. The items on this list tackle problems we’ve personally encountered, but we encourage you to email us at [email protected] if we missed your biggest travel gripe.
Sanitizing wipes to clean your hands as you go from place to place
I once read an article about how many germs live on airplanes and got really freaked out. Ever since then, I bring Purell Hand Sanitizing Wipes with me to wipe down the surfaces I’m likely to touch on the plane. They’re also handy when you get to your destination and you need wipes to clean your hands as you go from place to place.
You never know when you’re going to accidentally touch something gross!
PURELL Hand Sanitizing Wipes, $8.28 for box of six
A carry-on suitcase that charges your devices
I reviewed Away’s smart carry-on in June 2016, and I have not flown without it since then. It comes with a removable interior 10,000 mAh battery and two USB ports, so I can easily charge up my phone and other devices before a long flight. There’s nothing worse than being caught with a dead phone, and this suitcase has saved me from that fate more than a few times.
Away Carry-On Suitcase, $225
A small crossbody bag that keeps you organized
One of my biggest travel annoyances is going through the various stages of airport security and fumbling around with all the compartments of my bags as I try to find my necessary accessories or documents. A simple solution that makes a big difference for me is wearing a small crossbody bag in front of me that holds my most important essentials — my passport, important IDs and credit cards, boarding pass, phone, and lip balm — and has a zipper for easy accessibility.
Cuyana Mini Tassel Bag, $150
Noise-cancelling headphones to drown everything (and everyone) out
I’m one of those people who always gets seated next to the crying infant or the talkative guy on the plane, so I absolutely need a way to block it all out. Bose’s QC25 headphones are by far the most comfortable ones I’ve ever used and were well worth the high price. Wearing these means I can listen to my music at a healthy volume without having to overhear my fellow passengers, and nobody thinks they can start talking to me.
You may not be as much of a Grinch while you travel as I am, but there will inevitably be a time on a flight when you wish you could make all the noise go away.
Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones, $279
A collapsible water bottle that doesn’t take up space in your carry-on
My biggest travel annoyance is getting enough water in the airport and on the plane. You either have to take up space in your suitcase for a refillable bottle or fork over an egregious amount of money for a bottle at a store once you get through security.
The way I’ve gotten around this is with the Vapur bottle. I keep one in my suitcase at all times. It collapses to nothing so it takes up no more space than a pair of socks, and once you get through security you can fill it up in the airport. This bottle will pay for itself after a couple trips. I’ve used mine for over a year and it’s been great for keeping me hydrated. And the cap on this model is very sturdy, so it won’t open by surprise under most circumstances.
Vapur Eclipse Water Bottle, from $6.99
An external battery for easy charging wherever you are
Being able to keep your phone charged no matter where you are isn’t just a convenience in 2017, it’s basically a necessity. I recommend picking up a few of Anker’s 5,000mAh portable chargers for their excellent blend of power and compactness. They’ve served me well on many trips.
Anker PowerCore Slim 5000 Portable Charger, $29.99
A pair of comfortable shoes you can easily slip on and off
When it comes to traveling, one of the things I value most is comfort. I’m 6’2″, so anything I can do to make transit comfortable is a major win. That’s why I prefer to travel in TOMS shoes, which are light and easy to slip on and off at security checkpoints.
They’re not very insulated, so I was initially concerned I’d be cold on my flights, but that hasn’t been the case, and I’ve worn them over dozens of trips in the past few years. On top of the comfort and lightness of its shoes, TOMS is also a brand with an altruistic side. For every pair of shoes you buy, the company gives a pair to someone in need.
TOMS Men’s Classic Canvas Slip-Ons, from $24.99, available at Amazon and TOMS
An app that eases the fear of flying
I downloaded SkyGuru on a recent flight to LA, and I’m convinced it has cured my airplane anxiety for good.
My favorite feature of the app is its turbulence predictor that tells you the amount of turbulence you’re expected to encounter before you board the plane. Instead of clinging to my seat the moment things get a little shaky, I now sit comfortably knowing rough air is inevitable. I don’t always have enough WiFi to enter my flight information when traveling abroad, but just having the app on my phone gives me some peace of mind.
SkyGuru, $19.99 to download
A money belt that keeps all of your important cards and documents secure
It wasn’t until one of my friends had her pocket picked in Paris that I realized theft can happen anytime, anywhere, even if you keep an eye on your belongings. I used Peak Gear’s money belt on a recent trip to Europe and would highly recommend it. It’s slim enough to slip under your shirt and has a comfortable, adjustable waistband and a RFID-blocking pocket for your credit cards.
Laugh all you want, but it makes carrying your valuables in crowded tourist areas significantly less stressful.
Travel Money Belt, $17.97 – $18.97