Travel. The word that essentially halted for the entirety of 2020. The word we miss using way too much. The word that is just on the horizon of being normalized again in the near future.
Since the pandemic began, travel restrictions have been strict. No more traveling for work, no more traveling for leisure — you even missed out on traveling to see your family for the holiday season. It’s been a (stagnant) rollercoaster ride of a year in terms of travel, but we’re hoping and praying that in the near future, travel is going to resume the way it once was. With that being said, you’re going to need to update your current pre-COVID travel accessories for some that make sense in today’s world.
Prior to 2020, we would have never imagined the kind of things we’d be taking onto planes in our current day. Aside from your neck pillow and e-reader, you’re bringing face masks that cover your mouth instead of your eyes, enough hand sanitizer to kill a newborn elephant and sanitizing wipes for just about every single person on the plane. It’s a hell of a world we’re living in but at least we’re taking precautions.
Yeah, you’re definitely going to continue lugging on the best carry-on you own and stuffing your go-to travel backpack to the brim with items you would prior to COVID, but some things are going to look a little different the next time you hop on a plane, train, bus or even on an extended car ride.
To help you out a little, we organized a list of the most important travel accessories to bring on your trip in 2021. Whether the world is vaccinated by the time you head on your next vacay or you’ve got a plane ticket booked in the next couple of weeks, read on and see what you need to bring.
1. Disposable Face Masks
This should come with absolutely no surprise. No matter where you’re headed and no matter how you’re heading there, we still need to wear face masks on all methods of transportation. Even if you’re traveling in your own car, you’re going to need to mask up every time you stop for gas, enter a convenience store or when you stop at a resting spot to use the restroom. While your cloth mask is still a viable option to use, we definitely consider that you snag a few disposables to bring on the plane, train or bus since you’ll be in closer proximity to strangers at this time more than the rest of your trip.
2. Lysol Disinfecting Wipes
Before you even sit down, we suggest that you disinfect your seat. Yeah, there’s a solid chance the airline staff, bus driver or train conductors already did this for you, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Wipe down the physical seat you’re sitting in, the headrest, the armrests, the drop-down table in front of you and even the window. You already know damn well how many people use the window as a resting place for their head, so you don’t want to take any chances. These Lysol wipes kill up to 99.9% of all germs and bacteria, so your mind will be totally at ease for the entirety of your trip.
3. Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Variety Pack
Ah, Purell. The hand sanitization option we all grew up with then disappeared when we needed her most. Now that Purell is back in stock at almost every online retailer on the planet, it’s time to stop concocting your own hand sanitizing recipe from the vodka you bought at the liquor store and head back to the basics. Snag this variety pack and hand a bottle out to everyone you’re traveling with. Sanitize each and every time you leave your seat, even if you’re just getting up to stretch.
4. Veken 6 Set Packing Cubes
Now that we’ve gone over most of the post-2020 travel basics, let’s head back into travel necessities of years past that still have tremendous pertinence in our current state of travel. First up? Packing cubes. If you’ve yet to invest in a set of packing cubes, now’s finally the time. The amount of space you will be able to save within your suitcase is honestly so overwhelming, you won’t even know what to do with all of the extra room. The cubes come in a number of sizes to make packing specifics easy. Use one for socks, undies, shirts — whatever. You’ll end up staying organized and saving loads of space.
5. Marshall Monitor II ANC Over-Ear Bluetooth Headphones
2020 SPY MAN AWARDS WINNER
If you’re traveling without a pair of headphones, good luck. From babies screaming to indistinct background chatter to unexpected turbulence, a quality pair of headphones has the ability to keep you at ease no matter how you’re getting around. Last year, we named the Marshall Monitor II headphones our favorite of 2020 due to their insane sound quality, Bluetooth capabilities and activated noise-canceling functionality. You will not hear anything when these are on, aside from the audio you’re playing of course. Although we prefer wireless, they also come with a just-in-case aux wire if you plan on watching any movies on the plane.
6. trtl Pillow
As the travel pillow of all travel pillows, the trtl pillow will completely change the way you rest in transport. This baby is scientifically proven to keep your head in a better position than any other travel pillow on the market. All in all, this will ensure less neck pain and a cozier snooze. Unlike those weird, beady travel pillows, the trtl pillow is super soft, providing extra cushioning to help you get a similar night’s sleep to what you’d have in a bed. When it’s time to walk around the airport, simply attach the pillow to your luggage or backpack and get going.
7. Away Bigger Carry-On
While rethinking the way we travel, it’s time to rethink the way you’re packing your belongings. Let’s be real, the hand-me-down carry-on you’ve been using since your sophomore year of high school is no longer cutting it, so it’s time to get yourself an update carry-on for any and all future endeavors. The Bigger Carry-On from Away is the luggage option you’ve been dreaming of. It’s completely organized by separating itself into two sections, has a TSA-approved lock, an included portable phone charger and has a practically indestructible outer shell to keep everything you’ve packed safe. All Bigger Carry-Ons have the ability to fit in most overhead bins and they even come in a variety of colors to choose from. Trust us, this will be the last carry-on you’ll ever buy.
8. Kindle Paperwhite
Whether you’re reading near the seaside on your next beach getaway or looking to kill a couple of hours mid-flight, you’re going to need to snag the Kindle Paperwhite for your next trip. Yeah, physical books are great and all, but the Kindle Paperwhite can hold hundreds upon thousands of books inside, making reading possibilities literally endless. A single battery charge will last you weeks, so you can read as much as you want and never worry about running low on battery. The Paperwhite is also completely waterproof, so if a giant wave comes from the abyss as you’re reading, you’re sure to be all good.
9. Travel Money Belt
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so we suggest you get yourself a money belt if you plan on touring any local cities on your next trip. This money belt has a solid six different RFID blocking sleeves to ensure nobody has access to your credit cards except for you. It has a pocket to keep your passport if you’re leaving the country and can even hide easily under your clothes. Last but not least, this money belt is water repellent, so any and all documents inside will stay safe and dry no matter what the weather’s looking like.
10. Valourgo Travel Bottles for Toiletries
Some of us simply can’t be using hotel soaps and shampoos. We have a regimen, people. We have specific skincare products we must use or we will quite literally have a flare-up. For those who use specific products, don’t worry about purchasing a travel-sized alternative at Target pre-trip, simply snag these travel bottles and fill ’em up as much as you’d like before heading on the plane. From face washes to shampoos to conditioners, these bottles ensure you don’t have to ditch the products your body is already accustomed to.
11. KOMALC Genuine Buffalo Leather Dopp Kit
We know what you’ve been doing when packing for prior trips and we’re here to make something totally clear, no person should be throwing loose toothbrushes, razors, retainers or tweezers in different places throughout their bag. Like, who raised you? Shrek? It’s time to keep all of your toiletries in the same space by placing them neatly inside of this handsome genuine buffalo leather Dopp kit. There are numerous pockets within for organizational purposes and it even zips shut to ensure everything will stay where you put it.
12. Silicone Luggage Tag
Never ever lose your luggage on the baggage carousel again by adding this brightly-colored luggage tag to your otherwise mundane luggage bag. Set yourself apart with any color provided, including orange, blue, black, green, yellow and red. Write down your name, address and phone number in case of emergency.
13. Touchless Forehead Thermometer
In a pre-COVID world, we wouldn’t have suggested you bring this on each and every trip, but, hey, we’re living in 2021. To stop the spread, make sure you bring this touchless forehead thermometer in your Dopp kit to ensure you and everyone you’re traveling with is consistently feeling their best. If someone is at all feeling ill, take their temperature and keep them well-rested instead of bringing them outside for outdoor excursions and adventures. At this point, it’s just better to be safe than sorry, even if you all think it’s just a cold.
14. Hydro Flask Water Bottle
No matter your method of transportation, you should absolutely be carrying a water bottle with you when traveling. We know what you’re thinking, “but SPY editor, I’m traveling on an airplane, won’t I be getting some water anyway?” At this point, the answer is maybe not. Some airlines are foregoing all food and beverages for the time being, so it’s best you bring your own. Obviously, a filled Hydro Flask won’t get you past TSA, but an empty one will. So, bring your bottle empty and once you’re past security, fill it up and get boarding.
15. Anker Portable Charger
Traveling without a portable charger? Talk about anxiety. Think about it: you’re expecting outlets on the plane, train, bus — whatever. You get on and you’re outlet-less. Now what? You’re going to be bored for the entirety of your trek and then the second you get to where you’re supposed to be, you have to stop somewhere and charge your phone for a bit before getting to your final destination. Sounds like a nightmare and a half. Combat all dead phones with this portable charger from Anker, which has enough battery life to charge your iPhone XS more than twice.
16. Tzowla Travel Laptop Backpack
Traveling for work? You won’t need to bring too much, but you are going to need your work-ready necessities. Fit your laptop, iPad and any document you need inside this laptop backpack small enough to fit under the seat in front of you. It’s water-resistant and anti-theft which is great for any kind of traveler. Additionally, there are numerous pockets for keeping things organized and even a few USB-chargers to charge your electronics.
17. W&P Carry on Cocktail Kit
One thing that’s for certain? We’re still more than ready to get a little bit tipsy in the air. DIY your next cocktail by asking your flight attendant for an airplane bottle or two and craft your own sky-high cocktail. W&P’s carry-on cocktail kits make bartending on a plane super easy by providing everything you need (minus the liquor) to make the perfect cocktail. There is a slew of options available, but how could you go wrong with a G&T?
18. Ray-Ban Rb2132 New Wayfarer Sunglasses
Don’t let the sun get in the way of you having a good time on your next trip, block out bright rays in style with a pair of Ray-Bans. They’re complete with UV-protection, unlike the $10 alternatives you’re currently rocking. Nobody looks bad in Ray-Bans either, so we’re sure these will match whatever look you’re trying to pull on vacation.