Nordstrom; Amazon, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus; Illustration by Wilder Davies
By Travel + Leisure
February 21, 2018

With a trip on the horizon, there are particular moments travelers tend to look forward to most: the first night’s sleep on those floofy hotel pillows, that impossible-to-get dinner reservation you scored, or the glowy sunset view that you’re absolutely armed to capture. But getting there? Not so much.

As travel editors, we spend time in that dull in-between — on planes, in airports, in a last-minute packing frenzy, and the like — so often that we’ve been forced to seek out the things that make those underwhelming travel moments more of a pleasure, and less of a pain.

At the airport, take comfort in knowing your boarding pass and travel documents are all in one sleek travel wallet and that your suitcase is practically indestructible. On the flight, arm yourself with fancier snacks than meager pretzel packs, a cozy fleece hoodie, and an impeccably good pair of noise-cancelling headphones. After checking in, light a comforting candle, unpack in seconds thanks to your packing cubes, and treat your jet-lagged eyes to a revitalizing session a la Chanel. Experience upgraded.

Here are our editors’ picks for the travel products that are actually worth your money.

Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II

“Nothing can ruin a plane ride faster than a crying baby or the incessant coughing of the person two rows behind you. These wireless, noise-canceling headphones are perfect; and the latest version has Google Assistant built in so you can stay connected even when you’re zoning out.” — Chelsea Schiff, Senior Designer

To buy:, $350

A Perfect Hoodie

“I despise an over-air-conditioned venue, especially if I am trapped in it. Combat turbo AC on planes and in theaters with a cozy hoodie that works in multiple settings.” — Laura Teusink, Executive Managing Editor

To buy:, $175

The Right Shoes

“There are two things I covet above all else when I travel: feet that don’t hurt at the end of the day, and a small, light suitcase so I can go carry-on only. Clarks makes some of the most comfortable shoes on Earth — even their heels are designed for all-day wear. And with these sleek leather booties, you can easily go on a walking tour, hurry to a business meeting, transition from day to night, and even keep your feet dry in a rainstorm. All while looking effortlessly stylish. That means fewer shoes to pack and zero days ruined by sore feet.” — Melanie Lieberman, Associate Digital Editor

To buy:, $145

Mini Lumio Portable Light

“A good reading light is one of the creature comforts I love when traveling — whether I’m in a trailside bivouac, a poorly lit train, or just a hotel room where the lightswitch is too far from my bed. This one is super compact — the size of a small day planner — but exponentially better than those flimsy ones you have to clip to your book. It also comes as a full-size desk lamp for lighting up a more permanent reading room.” — Hannah Walhout, Editorial Assistant

To buy:, $225

Snuggs Sheepskin Slippers

“I love to travel, but I also like to bring along a small reminder of the comforts of home. These sheepskin slippers roll up pretty easily and can be stashed in a suitcase. (You can also stuff socks or other small items in them). It’s soothing to have something warm between your bare feet and a tile floor, particularly when you’re visiting cooler climes.” — Peter Terzian, Articles Editor

To buy:, $120

Fancy Plane Snacks

“No boring pack of pretzels for this guy! My plane snacks are always first class, even when I’m stuck back in coach. Flying can be stressful, and I find that fancy treats just make the whole process a bit sweeter. Mouth stocks all kinds of goodies sure to make your seatmate jealous, everything from filet mignon jerky and black-olive shortbreads to smoked-cola gumdrops. They also curate themed gift boxes, for the frequent-flier foodie on your holiday shopping list (or for yourself — I’m putting the ‘Six Degrees of Bacon’ box under my own tree this year).” — CB Owens, Copy & Research Editor

To buy:, $66

Marvis Toothpaste

“I’m a recent convert to fancy travel toiletries: nice shampoo, facial mists, and yes, even this Italian toothpaste which I like mostly because of its pretty label. Stocking my Dopp kit with products I wouldn’t otherwise buy makes every trip feel a little indulgent and vacationy, even if my destination isn’t all that glamorous and my journey turns out hellish.” — Lila Battis, Food & Travel Editor

To buy:, $7

Molton Brown Travel Bath Set

“Two hotels I’ve stayed at in recent months have used Molton Brown toiletries, and they smell so amazing I’ve become disappointed when I check in and they’re not waiting for me. The best solution? Bring your own, and suddenly even your next Airbnb will feel like a top-notch hotel. And if you happen to be staying in a place with a great bathtub (, the Japanese Orange body wash will fill the tub with aromatic bubbles and make the whole room smell like a garden. But don’t take my word for it — grab a set that lets you find a favorite scent of your own.” — Nina Ruggiero, Senior Digital Editor

To buy:, $35

R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo

“Travel hair is often not beautiful hair, especially when long flights and days on the road make it difficult to squeeze in a hot shower. This dry shampoo smells fantastic, makes your hair feel soft and clean, and might just convince others that you have, in fact, taken the time to bathe yourself. Better than any other dry shampoo I’ve tried, it’s worth every penny.” — Bailey Bennett, Audience Engagement Editor

To buy:, $17

Packing Cubes

“In my pre–packing cube life, it seemed sort of frivolous to spend money on pouches to pack my clothes into before proceeding to pack them into my suitcase. But while it may look like you’re just paying for extra fabric, you’re actually getting more space in your luggage, Marie Kondo–level organization, and the ability to unpack at your hotel in mere seconds. I love using them with less structured bags, so I can actually locate my socks in the vortex of chaos that is often my backpack by day two of a weekend trip.” — Richelle Szypulski, Assistant Digital Editor

To buy:, $98

Chanel Le Lift Firming Anti-Wrinkle Eye Revitalizer

“It’s rare for me to get a solid eight hours these days (chalk it up to being the mother of a toddler AND a frequent traveler.) Which is why I love serum from Chanel. It’s packed with three vitamins to help reduce dark circles and puffiness. I first apply the serum, then wear these cool eye patches with the Chanel logo to help the formula sink in. They make me feel glamorous, whether I’m doing a DIY treatment at home or taking a red eye to Buenos Aires!” — Jacqueline Gifford, Travel Director

To buy:, $130

Frye Logan Overnight Duffle Bag

“I prefer a leather duffel to a rolling carry-on — it makes me pack less, I can fit in under the seat if overhead storage gets tight, and it’s easier to carry around if I’m in the mood to wander, wherever I am. A great leather duffel is rarely (never?) cheap, but a Frye bag will last years.” — Jessica Plautz, Deputy Digital Editor

To buy:, $598

Lowa Tibet Backpacking Boots

“Every time I go hiking, I feel renewed gratefulness for these incredible boots. I give them the highest marks for comfort, traction, ankle support, water resistance, and aesthetic. I’ve worn them everywhere from the Andes to Crete to the streets of New York City, and since it appears that they will last forever, I expect them to carry me to many more destinations in the years to come.” – Jesse Ashlock, Executive Editor

To buy:; $380

Travel Wallet

“I will evangelize to anyone who’ll listen about my travel wallet. It’s got neat little labeled slots for keeping all my travel documents organized, and it’s this soft, buttery leather that makes me feel like a Fancy Lady every time I carry it — a nice, albeit fleeting, sensation when you’re sardined into a middle seat in economy. It’s roomy enough to carry a phone and a backup battery, and it even doubles as a clutch for dressy events.” — Lila Battis, Food & Travel Editor

To buy:, $595

iPad Mini

“I’ve had my iPad mini for years, but I hadn’t really been using it for travel until fairly recently when Netflix started allowing users to download content onto their personal devices. Now, the night before a big trip, I download a number of TV episodes and a movie or two for the flight. It’s been a major game changer. The mini is compact (it fits perfectly in the front pocket of my backpack) and holds a charge quite well, so I’m never left worrying about being cut off halfway through an important scene. And with a handful of major airlines deciding to nix the seat-back entertainment units, I’m guaranteed to have something to watch no matter what I fly.” — John Scarpinato, Assistant Editor

To buy:, $399


Hand Cream

“Ever since a photographer gifted me this Claus Porto Favorito hand cream, I always have it in my travel bag. It keeps my hands extra soft and has a great, subtle scent.” — Scott Hall, Photo Director

To buy:, $20


Tumi Super Leger International Carry-on

“I’ve tried and tested all sorts of carry-on luggage, but this is my favorite because of the durable yet lightweight nylon material. It’s indestructible when it comes to coffee spills, rain, and the general wear and tear of the baggage carousel.” — Jacqueline Gifford, Travel Director

To buy:, $545


Luxurious Travel Candle

“This Diptyque candle makes even the most basic hotel room feel like home. It has notes of rose and blackcurrant, and releases a warm, musky scent that creates instant ambience. Bonus: it also makes my luggage smell great!” — Siobhan Reid, Associate Editor

To buy:, $64

This article originally appeared on


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