The Best Travel Gear (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Going on vacation? Make your trip more comfortable and convenient with these products.
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON April 2, 2021
Maybe you've been planning a trip for some time or you've decided on the spur of the moment to travel to a destination on your bucket list. Either way, there are several items you must pack to have an enjoyable and comfortable getaway. Travel gear comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and prices, but many items are universal no matter where you choose to go.
Whether you're traveling for work, visiting family over the holidays, or simply vacationing with your friends or loved ones, a well-packed duffle bag, suitcase, or carry on can make your adventure much more efficient. In our guide below, we include some of the top travel accessories available that will make your upcoming trip, whether by car, train, or plane, more enjoyable.
This daypack is water-resistant and features a main compartment, interior sleeve, mesh side pockets, and a front pocket. It comes in a variety of colors.
- Hard-to-beat warranty
- Straps don’t accommodate larger people very well
- Water bottles don’t fit well in side pockets
This 120-volt power adapter works in 150 countries and features four USB ports, so you can charge four devices at once.
- Compatible with many electronic devices
- Small and easy to use
- Not a voltage converter
- May not stay put in a U.S. vertical outlet
This 20-inch carry-on bag has four spinner wheels and comes in other sizes as well as numerous colors. Its packing dimensions are 20 by 13.5 by 9.5 inches.
- Easy to move around on most surfaces
- Good organizational spaces
- TSA lock included
- 10-year limited warranty
- Bag scratches easy, which makes it less appealing
- Four wheels may be hard to use on carpet
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Travel Gear
- Makes the journey more comfortable. Some travel accessories are specifically designed to make traveling easier. For example, if you sleep on the plane or train, a pillow can be helpful. If you plan on spending several hours in the car with rambunctious companions, noise-canceling headphones are a great option.
- Versatile. While you may be purchasing some gear for a specific destination, many items can be used year-round. A good backpack can be great as a carry on or also for a day hike. You can bring a water bottle with you while exploring a European city as well as take it to work or the gym every day after the trip ends.
- Necessary. Certain travel accessories are required, such as luggage and wallets to hold your credit cards, passport, and other documents. You need certain items to properly complete a trip.
Types of Travel Gear
You can pack clothes from your closet when you travel. However, some shirts, pants, underwear, outerwear, and footwear is designed especially for travel purposes. These items are often designed with comfort in mind. Many brands are also easy to hand wash, and they dry quickly for convenience. They often come in complementary shades, so you can mix and match without worrying about clashing.
These days, most people have a hard time without an electronic device such as a smartphone nearby. We're so used to being connected and the internet. As a result, you probably want to take your phone, earbuds or headphones, tablet, and e-reader along with you. Many of these items can be used at home, in the states, and abroad. But some are specially designed for international travel, such as adapters.
You really can't go far if you don't have a bag to hold all your belongings. You may need a suitcase for a flight, a duffel bag for an overnight adventure, or a backpack for a camping trip. Whatever the case, it's important that you choose the proper bag for your needs.
Samsonite has been in business since 1910 and was founded by a luggage salesman in Denver, Colo. The company is one of the most well-known luggage manufacturers in the world. We recommend the Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage.
Based in Southwest Colorado, Osprey has been in business since 1974. The founder made his first backpack at age 16 and created a business that is known for its great-fitting packs, including the Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack.
The Michigan-based Mack's gets its name from a pharmacist who sold his earplug business to a musician in 1962. The company that sells Mack's products, McKeon Products, produces moldable and pre-molded silicone and foam earplugs as well as sleep masks, ear drying aids, and earwax removal drops. One top product is the Mack’s Flightguard Airplane Pressure Relief Earplugs.
Herschel Supply Co.
Based in Vancouver, Canada, Herschel was founded in 2009 by two brothers, who chose the name based on the town in which three generations of their family lived. Its products include luggage, travel bags, clothing, and accessories. Check out the Herschel Chapter Toiletry Kit.
Travel Gear Pricing
- Under $20: There are plenty of travel accessories that you can purchase without spending a lot of money. From ear plugs to water bottles, these items are very helpful despite their low cost.
- Up to $50: As we already noted, travel gear comes in many forms. You can find items such as earbuds, toiletry bags, passport holders and neck wallets, and other items for a reasonable price.
- $100 and up: Some travel accessories are more expensive, such as electronic equipment and luggage. If you want a tablet, camera, or GoPro, expect to pay a little bit of money. Good luggage can also be pricey depending on the brand and the features provided.
The last thing you want to do while traveling is carry large, bulky items that are heavy and/or awkwardly shaped. Choose travel gear that is streamlined, lightweight, and easy to pack. Maybe you don't need a camera and can use your smartphone instead. Or perhaps you can get by with a set of earbuds instead of large headphones.
Sure, you can purchase cheap travel accessories and save a few bucks, but is it worth it? Probably not, particularly if you want these items to last through more than one adventure. It pays off to invest a little bit more in objects that are made well with high-quality materials, particularly if you plan on using them over and over again.
The good news is that a lot of gear you need for traveling can serve more than one purpose, as we noted earlier. Still, it's a good idea to purchase an item that you can use at home as well as at a campsite, abroad, or during a work-related trip. Items such as earplugs for sleeping or toiletry bags are great for year-round use.
- Style. Who says you can't travel in style? And who doesn't want to? One of the best things about travel gear is that you can show off your personality a little bit. Perhaps you like bold colors and expressing it with bright backpacks or travel pillows. Or maybe you like to wear funky hats or sunglasses when you're traveling across the country. Whatever it is, you do you.
Best Travel Gear Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Don't overpack. If you choose a smaller backpack or suitcase, you're forced to pare down the number of items you carry. This will make it easier for you in the long run.
- Don't forget to pack a lock. It will provide extra security should you need to lock up your belongings in a hotel, hostel, or other location. Combination locks are best because you don't want to lose any keys.
- Bring along a first-aid kit. It's always a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected, and you may not be near a store or pharmacy to buy band-aids, ointment, and other items for minor cuts and scrapes.
Q: What should I buy for traveling?
That depends on your destination and the length of the trip. But some must-have items include luggage, clothing, toiletries, a cell phone, camera, headphones, chargers, comfortable shoes, sunglasses, water bottle, etc.
Q: Where can I buy travel gear?
You can purchase travel gear both online and in stores. Make a list, and compare prices before making a purchase.
Q: What should you not bring when traveling?
Items you should avoid packing on a trip include paperback books and magazines that take up a lot of space, expensive belongings that may get lost or stolen, uncomfortable footwear and clothing, and items your hotel may provide, such as a hairdryer.
Our pick for the best travel gear item is the Osprey Daylite Plus Daypack. It has a 20-liter capacity, is very comfortable to wear, and comes with a lifetime warranty, which shows how much confidence the company has in its products. For a more budget-friendly option, consider the International Power Adapter Travel Plug.