Whenever possible, I travel with a backpack and a carry-on bag, and avoid checking baggage. But every trip—and every traveler—is different. With versatility in mind, here are 10 travel gear tips. This list focuses on what to pack your stuff in, what to wear on the airplane and how to make the most out of limited seat space and a lengthy span of time in the air.
OGIO’s new Alpha Convoy 525r backpack features a multi-configuration rolltop closure. It’s made from Cordura® EcoMade fabric, which is ultra-durable, lightweight, resists fading, and is made from recycled plastic. The backpack also has a zippered side entrance for access to the main compartment and includes a dedicated laptop and tablet sleeve and two large water bottle pockets. Comes in black and green. $129.99.
The Travelpro Luggage Maxlite3 is equipped with a removable, two-fold garment bag and a variety of pockets for staying organized on the road. This carry-on includes 360-degree, dual-spinner wheels, a dedicated power bank pocket and an external USB port to power up your devices. The PowerScope extension handle adjusts to multiple heights. Comes in a variety of colors. $111.99.
Okay, you couldn’t fit everything in a backpack and a carry-on, so consider the bells and whistles on the Shelfpak. This checked-bag luggage has the requisite spinner wheels for an easy-effort roll to the airport. When you arrive at your final destination, open the bag and pull out the four-level shelf unit. No need to fully unpack—just move your Shelfpak into a corner. $189.
The STM Goods Knit Glove allows air passengers to leave their laptop in a protective sleeve while going through security. The lightweight sleeve is designed for use with the MacBook Pro and crafted to “fit like a glove.” The cover keeps digital gear free from scratches while the zipper-free feature makes it easy to slide in your laptop, keeping bulk to a minimum. Comes in green, white and plum colors. $29.95.
Travelware for him
TravisMathew’s classic YANKS pullover is perfect for traveling. It’s warm-ish if the plane is chilly, but also lightweight, comfortable and appropriate for all occasions. The pullover is made with TravisMathew Prestige777 fabric—quick-drying, with four-way stretch. Available in Heather Dark Denim, Iris, and Heather Monument colors. $84.95.
Travelware for her
Everyday California’s Corningstones are some of the softest sweatpants you’ve ever bummed around in. They’re well suited for long stretches of time sitting during a flight, but are still perfect for lounge time or a casual hangout. The sweatpants feature a tailored, slim fit, tri-blend fabric, and Brutus the Bear embroidery. $52.
The lightweight factor of Primus Lite men’s footwear from Vivobarefoot is travel-wise for a few reasons. On one hand (or foot), the shoe’s no-sew-construction is durable and flexible. The breathable recycled PET mesh also keeps feet cool. And the fact that they weigh just about four ounces also makes them ideal to pack as a second pair of shoes. Comes in black and white. $130.
The Trakdot uses patented micro-electronics and ground-based cellular telephone technology to track and report the whereabouts of your luggage. When in an airplane cargo hold, the battery-operated device enters “airplane mode.” Back on the ground, the Trakdot awakens and can be traced through a smartphone app. If your luggage doesn’t arrive, you’ll know exactly where it is. Black/orange. $44.99.
Airplane space saver
Not exactly a necessity, the spAIRtray is nonetheless a convenient way for airline passengers to organize belongings without being confined by the pull-down tray table. At 12-by-4-by-.25 inches, this fold-able device packs into a carry-on and is easy to install on the window of most commercial airplanes. It becomes a non-slip travel shelf to keep a phone, drinks and other personal items at your fingertips. $24.95.
Happy Hour helper
Definitely not a necessity—but fun to try at least once. TSA and FAA compliant, the nifty Carry-On Cocktail Kit by W&P Design comes in various ingredient combos and includes all you need to look fancy and mix a proper drink at 30,000 feet. Includes a recipe card, bar spoon and simple syrups. Make an Italian Spritz or a Moscow Mule; alcohol mini-bottle not included. $24. J&J