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Gift guide for travel and must-have items for 2024

the best items for your next trip are these must-have travel products!

The best travel gifts and products for travelers that will make your next flight easier

As a travel writer who has flown around the world many times, I have learned that certain items are essential to have with you when flying. When I find a great bag, accessory, gadget or other helpful item, I love sharing these favorites with my friends and other avid travelers! After all, these items can make traveling so much easier!

Please know that I’ve personally used all of the items on this list and highly recommend them. I want to share them with my readers so you can reap the benefits, too. I’ve tried many products over the years, and these are my go-to accessories for whenever I fly. I’ve also included some links, details and tips in the descriptions.

These are a few of my favorite travel items for 2024 (Marla’s favorites list):

NOTE: This post contains affiliate links, designed as a way for sites to earn fees by linking to products and services. If you make a purchase using of these links, I may receive compensation at no cost to you.

View of the wing of an airplane with blue sky with some clouds from the airplane window.
View from the airplane

Aloha Collection “splash proof” bags

I love these colorful “splash proof” bags of all sizes — they get five big stars from me!

This company makes sustainable, eco-friendly lightweight bags of all sizes. Aloha Collection has a bag for everything you could possibly need, and these bags are stylish, water-resistant, and can be used day or evening.

Aloha Collection offers a wide variety of bags they call “splash proof” because they are water-resistant, not waterproof. These include small, zippered cosmetic cases; medium-sized crossbody bags and handbags; and larger beach bags. (And many other styles). One of my favorite Aloha Collection bags is the “Day Tripper,” and there are so many fun tropical (and other) patterns to choose from!

The bags fold flat and weigh almost nothing, so there’s ideal for travel and fitting into your suitcase for a vacation or business trip. Most of their smaller bags can also be a great alternative to packing cubes, as they keep everything organized in your suitcase, and you can use them for multiple purposes while traveling.

If you happen to be in Encinitas, California, or Waikiki Hawaii, you can visit the Aloha Collection stores in person — but luckily, you can purchase everything from Aloha Collection online, too.  

Photo of black Aloha Collection bag with the logo "Aloha Collection" on it in white letters.
Aloha Collection zippered bag.

Small liquid containers that won’t spill

Finally – these tiny, silicone travel containers from INSFIT are the best way to travel with liquids and creams!

These perfectly-sized and shaped tiny are containers that will hold all your creams, lotions, sunblock, shampoos, conditioner and even your rings or jewelry. They are leakproof and stylish, and designed in way to be totally customizable. And of course, they are TSA compliant!

Check out these fun and functional silicone containers here – they are available in a ton of cool colors — and they’re easy to clean, too!

Travel Blanket that folds and packs up easy

Every flight I’ve been on in the past two years has been very cold during most of the flight. As most airlines don’t have blankets available (even in business class) it’s best to bring your own. I learned this the hard way…I had to borrow a blanket from a very kind passenger sitting next to me last summer. (And yes, I was already wearing my hoodie and socks – see below)!

Needless to say, the first thing I did when I got home was to purchase a travel blanket for myself.   

I recommend the Blue Hills Ultra-compact travel blanket!

It’s thin, has its own case and will keep you warm during the flight. It’s easy to pack up and keep in your carry-on. Buy this and keep it handy for your next flight.

Best sneakers / shoes for travel

Cariuma sneakers - black and white
Cariuma sneakers – classic black and white

If you’re looking for comfort and style, check out Cariuma sneakers. This international company makes eco-friendly, vegan shoes that are also incredibly cushy, comfortable, colorful, and are super stylish. Personally, I have several pairs of these awesome sneakers. They are great for travel because they are perfect for everything — and easily go from the city to the beach.

Check out Cariuma sneakers here!

Best hoodie for travel

I always wear a hoodie when I travel and especially on my flights. It keeps me warm, has a hood if I get really cold, and has pockets for all those small items that you need on a flight.

Be sure your hoodie has inside pockets, in addition to outside pockets. Inside pockets make it so convenient to hold your phone, ear phones, water bottle, lip balm and anything else you need easily accessible on the plane.

I’m a fan of the Scott eVest hoodie (available for men and women) — because it features 18 hidden pockets — doubles as a casual light jacket that you can wear during your trip!

Nikon compact binoculars are great for travel!

Lightweight, compact Binoculars

I’m always thankful when I bring my small, lightweight, powerful binoculars on a trip! They are extremely valuable when hiking, on the beach or just admiring the views from your hotel window or balcony.

My favorite binoculars are Nikon (especially compact sizes), as they are tiny and easy to travel with. They are super lightweight, compact and can fit in the smallest of bags. You can toss them in your beach bag, day pack or carry-on bag, too. These weigh practically nothing.

On your next trip, pack a small pair of binoculars and you’ll be glad you did!

Hydro Flask Water bottle for all types of travel

If you’re like me, you probably have a collection of water bottles at home of all shapes and sizes. Put Hydro Flask at the top of the list! It’s made from professional-grade stainless steel and available in so many colors and sizes, with a variety of lids.

You’ll find one that’s best for your travel needs! Check out the Hydro Flask water bottle here!

Compression socks for long flights

Yes, you need compression socks on long flights!

You may have read about the importance of compression socks, but if not, check out this article about the health benefits of compression socks on Web MD. I’ve learned the best thing to do is wear regular socks to the airport and keep your compression socks in your carry-on. Put them on while you’re at the gate and ready to board your flight.

There are many brands of compression socks — this brand offers a wide variety of colors and sizes.

Extra hint: Don’t wait until you’ve already boarded and in your seat to put on your compression socks, because space is limited on the plane and the socks are very (and necessarily) tight. So, it’s not easy to maneuver when you’re in your seat and have barely any legroom.

Packing cubes keep everything organized when traveling.

Packing cubes to keep you organized

Many gift guides mention the value of packing cubes – for good reason. These zippered cubes really are the best travel companion and are so helpful in keeping your items organized while traveling.

Packing cubes are available in different colors, sizes, and thickness. You can choose from a variety of options, too. For example, if you need to fit in as much stuff as possible, compression bags can be helpful when you’re trying to squeeze more items into your suitcase.

Personally, I like using cubes of different colors and sizes to organize my stuff, as that makes it easy to identify what’s inside.

Most of all, I really prefer the packing cubes with a mesh front, so you can see the contents. (OR, if you’d rather try compression bags, click here and try this option from Bagsmart).

Baggallini travel bags  

I’ve been a fan of this company for a very long time and own several different types and styles of bags. These modern, stylish, and functional bags are all you need for travel. Baggallini offers a wide variety of bags, including crossbody, backpacks, mini bags, satchels and more. One of my favorites is the Baggallini Everywhere Bagg. It’s the perfect bag for travel and available in so many colors.

All of their bags were designed to make travel easier. They all have an array of compartments of all sizes, a light-colored lining, so you can find your belongings easy, and they are made of durable, rugged yet stylish, quick-dry material. (They also offer some vegan leather bags, too).

Check out the Baggallini crossover bag here!

Cincha travel belt for your luggage

This new product is a clever travel belt that you wrap around your luggage. It has been very helpful to me in recent months, especially when flying and I need to navigate through airports and / or walk long distances with my roller suitcase. And these travel belts can help you, too, if you give them a try!

Cincha is simple and easy — it allows you to ‘add’ a bag to your roller luggage securely, and it will save you from juggling too many bags.

Cincha travel belt is essentially a cool belt that easily and tightly slips over the handle of your roller suitcase and clips around your smaller tote bag or backpack. It’s available in a selection of colors and sizes and they just offered a newer version with a small bag attached to the belt.

Rimowa upscale luggage

Everyone has their own luggage preference, and I happen to be a Rimowa fan. I’ve taken my bag around the world more than once! The quality of Rimowa is outstanding and the bag is incredibly durable.

All of their bags are solidly made, and you’ll even notice how sturdy and smooth the wheels are when you roll it through the airport or along the street. I’ve been using my Rimowa bag for so long, that it’s now been discontinued, but if you’re looking invest in top quality luggage, you can splurge on this beautiful Rimowa bag (but this brand has many cool options to choose from)!

As a travel writer, I use several different bags, so if you prefer a brand that’s more budget-friendly, try the Samsonite brand, as I also found this one to be very reliable and well-made.  

Kizik shoes (yes, they are totally hands-free!)

One way to make traveling easier, is to wear the right clothing when you’re flying. And when you’re traveling, the best shoes are the easiest and the most stress-free! I recommend the Kizik eco-knit slip-on sneaker because it makes going through airport security just a little easier!

Kizik shoes look like regular sneakers, but you don’t have to lace them up or even bend down to put them on. It’s true. You can take these shoes on an off without bending over or using your hands. And that’s a big plus when you’re jugging multiple bags and dealing with TSA.

Best of all, Kiziks are totally hands-free shoes are available in a number of styles, materials, and colors for men and women.

Ready for that Flight to Hawaii? Check out my post about How Long is a Flight to Hawaii? (And tips for long flights)!

And…a few more extra must-have travel products:

A new solo loop Apple watch band

Be sure to purchase a stretchy eleastic watch band is best for your iWatch (or really any watch). It’s great for when you’re at the beach, in the water, or just traveling a lot. The band won’t come off and it gives you peace of mind.

I am a big fan of this multi-colored, stretchy solo loop watch band, as it goes with everything and is perfect for travel!

Solid shampoo & conditioner

Are you done with carrying around liquid shampoo and conditioner? Well, solid shampoo and conditioner is the answer if you don’t want to deal with the possibility of liquids spilling in your luggage. Try this Hi Bar solid shampoo and conditioner set — and you’ll have peace of mind on your next trip.

And don’t forget the lip balm for your flight!

When you’re flying, your skin tends to get dry, so it’s always a good idea to have lip balm handy. I’m a big fan of Burt’s Bees natural moisturizing lip balm, as it fits easily in your pocket or purse.

If you prefer your lip balm in a tube, try the CO Bigelow brand!

Now that you have all these must-have items, your next flight is sure to be an easier, stress-free experience!

Enjoy your flight and your peace of mind!

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