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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

35 Products That’ll Help Get You Through TSA Faster

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Someone has to be the person to show the amateurs how it’s done. And that person is going to be you.

We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

1. A 5-year Global Entry membership that’ll *also* include TSA PreCheck for when you’re getting out of Dodge. It’ll seriously shorten your security line times and end up being a great value if you get out of the country at least once a year and fly domestically a few times annually. (This combo is $15 more than 5 years of PreCheck alone.) Cheers to your full breakfast spread you’ll be eating post-security while others are in the regular line, taking off their shoes (ick). 

passport and booklet about Global Entry membership

Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

I put off getting TSA PreCheck and even Global Entry for YEARS despite flying ~10x a year because I’m a person who likes to get to the airport early and have getting through security down to an efficient routine. However, my breaking point was last July when I had to wait soooo long at the airport when coming back to the country from Croatia (I had Mobile Passport at the time, but the machines were broken so I had to wait in line with everyone else). I went to Italy about a month later after signing up for Global Entry and coming back into the country was a breeze. I just had to let a machine take my picture, print out a receipt with said picture, and then place it in a nearby TSA agent’s open palm. Then onto baggage claim! I’ve only used the Global Entry portion for that Italy trip so far, but have a France trip planned later this year when it’ll come in handy. I’ve used the TSA PreCheck 4x since getting it. So I feel as if I’ve already gotten my money’s worth after less than a year. 

Apply with the Department of Homeland Security for $100. Once you’re approved, you have to do an in-person interview and if approved on the spot, you can have your TSA PreCheck and Global Entry privileges available immediately. I just so happened to find a date for my interview the day before I flew to Italy and was able to update my boarding passes and flight reservations with my info to reap the benefits ASAP.  

BTW, check out my tips for travel during the pandemic. 

2. A packing list pad so you can rest assure that you DID bring everything you intended, including which things you wanna include in your carry-on and which things you wanna check.



Promising review: “I hate packing — I mean, I really hate packing! I am always afraid I am going to forget something, and the entire ordeal is a stressful one for me. Since I have to travel a lot, this is a game changer. No more guessing if I forgot my underwear — everything I need is on this list. I am thinking of just keeping one bag totally packed, filled with the items on the list, and just add my suit in when I am ready to travel. :)” —Dr. Oceanfront

Get it from Amazon for $7.

3. A Carhartt backpack with a dedicated pocket that fits up to a 17-inch laptop so when you’ve gotta pull your computer out at airport security you can do it in one quick move instead of taking it out of your backpack and then a zippered holder. 



Promising review: “I’m transitioning to using this bag as my daily. I already really preferred it over my last bag. It feels great and looks great and I’m looking forward to use it more.

I got a 13-inch HP computer and a 2017 Macbook Pro to fit nicely in the dedicated laptop sleeve. I currently have two notebooks in the bag and plenty of room for more.” —henry

Get it from Amazon for $49.99 (available in five colors).

4. Or a reversible vegan-leather travel tote for anyone who’d rather fool with a shoulder bag that’ll still hold basically everything you’d need on board your flight. Simply reach in and pull out that laptop or toiletries bag you’ve gotta put out in the tray. 

A customer review photo showing the tan side of the bag

A series of customer review photos showing a variety of items followed by a photo of all those items in the bag

Promising review: “I bought this bag for a trip I recently took and am extremely pleased with it. The versatility of being reversible (dark to light) was a plus, getting two for the price of one. It is soft and supple, and holds a ton of stuff! My 13″ laptop/tablet fit perfectly and there was still room for a lot of other travel stuff. The magnet that holds the flaps together was strong, too. I would definitely purchase this product again and will use it on future trips!” —D. Webb

Get it from Amazon for $24.99+ (available in 17 colors).

FYI, if you have Amazon Prime Wardrobe, you can give this a spin before you buy it!

5. Plus a handbag organizer with LOTS of pockets to help you easily track down your ID, a pouch to take off those giant earrings before going through security, that half-drunk bottle of water you’ve gotta toss, and just about anything else you’ll need to take out and put in a tray. 

A customer review photo showing them pulling out the insert from their handbag

A customer review photo showing everything they're able to fit into the insert

Promising review: “I have always purchased handbags with lots of pockets and sections because I hate having to dig around trying to find something in the gaping hole of purses with no sections. But I have passed up so many cute bags because of this, and I was frustrated with having to do so. I purchased this medium size organizer, and I couldn’t be happier!! It is very well-made, and it has so many great pockets to organize everything I need. THE BEST PART is, I can easily lift it out of one purse and put it into another one, and I always know where everything can be found. I wish I had gotten one of these years ago. When I first ordered this organizer, I didn’t realize it had two zipper compartments on each side, and I was tickled to discover even MORE storage!!! With all the fun colors and patterns, it was hard to select one, but I’ve always been partial to polka dots. I love it and can’t imagine anyone not being has pleased with this as I am!” —Ronna

Get it from Amazon for $8.99+ (available in sizes S-L and in 27 colors).

6. A wheeled carry-on bag small enough to qualify as a personal item on super stringent airlines. It can fit underneath an airplane seat! You can avoid checking a bag, glide through security, *and* don’t have to hurt your shoulder by carrying a duffel bag that’d also fit strict bag measurement policies. 

person sitting in airplane seat with wheeled suitcase fitting under seat

Now you won’t even have to pull your suitcase outta the overhead!

Promising review: “This is the perfect bag that will fit Spirit’s ‘strict’ personal item policy. I was able to fit it under my seat on Spirit and had no problems from any flight attendants about its size (no one even checked to begin with). Very lightweight and easy to maneuver around. All the zippers and wheels work perfectly. I recommend investing in this bag if you’re a college student and/or travel a lot for short breaks.” —Haegi Oh

Get it from Amazon for $55.94 (available in three colors).

7. A weekender bag that’ll easily slide over the handle of your wheeled suitcase in case you’re in the market for a new personal item. (It’ll also fit under an airplane seat according to reviewers.)

reviewer's striped weekender bag with a loop that fits onto the handles of a rolling suitcase

the weekender bag under an airplane seat

Promising review: “I’m so happy I purchased this bag! I’ve been using a backpack as my carry-on for years but saw this and thought I’d give it a shot. I was able to pack a small backpack (approx. 12″x14″ but the top was folded), a purse (approx. 10″x6″), Beats headphones (in their bubble case), a pair of Birkenstocks, and a travel blanket with plenty of room to spare. The side zipper/compartment is SO convenient to hold your cellphone/wallet/passport for easy access. I love that it sets nicely on top of a carry-on size bag without toppling over. The bag also has a shoulder strap which was nice to use when actually boarding the plane.” —Jen

Get it from Amazon for $38.99 (available in 10 colors/patterns).

8. A simple luggage strap can hold your essentials like a travel pillow, jacket, personal item, and more as you scoot along through the airport and once you land. Here’s to quickly gathering all your stuff post-screen and freeing up those hands!

The black strap attaching a backpack to a suitcase

collage of pictures showing how the strap can be used to secure a lot of different travel items


Promising review: “I love this little gadget. I used it to attach my jacket and computer bag to my luggage on an extended business trip. It made my airport walks so much easier. Now that I’m back home, I’ve been using it daily to attach my jacket or cardigan to my work bag or purse.” —Michele

Get it from Amazon for $8.49+ (available in four colors).

9. Or a travel belt can help you easily secure your personal item (aka, a large purse or backpack) to the top of your rolling bag. See, getting through airport security *can* be a cinch. (Sorry.) 

pink travel belt with a latch

model standing next to a suitcase with a bag on top that's attached with a travel belt

Cincha Travel

The travel belt is adjustable to 38 inches to fit most bags. The belt itself is vegan leather with elastic accents and a quick-release buckle.

Cincha Travel is a small business in California that develops adjustable travel belts made out of vegan leather. The brand donates 100 airline miles for each purchase, which are used to reconnect separated migrant families.

Promising review: “Love this! I am constantly struggling between holding my jacket and two carry-ons. This is the perfect solution! I can’t wait to start using it when I’m back to regular business travel.” —Allison

Get it from Cincha Travel for $40 (available in 15 colors, can be monogrammed for an additional $15).

10. A trifold travel wallet so all your important documents are in one place and you’re not wearily holding up the line when it comes time to show the TSA agent your passport and boarding pass. 

reviewer photo of the wallet open, showing all the different pockets for passport, cards, money, phone, and more

The wallet has a passport pocket, boarding pass compartment, three credit card slots, an ID slot, a slim card pouch, slim pocket, a ticket slot, a cellphone pouch, a coin zippered pocket, key holder, and pen holder. 

Promising review: “Guys, I’m beyond happy with this. I’ve been looking for a passport and ticket holder for a while but had never found the right size until I decided to try out this one. Besides, the material feels high quality and long-lasting, the red color is even better in person and it’s wildly pretty.” —BazantSol

Get it from Amazon for $12.99+ (available in 33 colors).

11. Breathable, washable travel sneakers — they’ll work just great as airport shoes OR rolled up in your luggage while you wear your bulkiest shoes en route. Slipping ’em on and off while you groggily walk through security will feel like a cakewalk. 

burgundy laceup knit sneakers


I own these and have worn them sooo many times. And as far as washing goes, they wash really well! You’ll just have to make sure that you put them in a well-ventilated area to dry because they do take a while to dry. I discovered this a few years ago when I ventured into an extremely muddy corn maze and got my foot stuck in muck. I hosed off my shoes beside the farm’s pig pen and expected to have to throw them away. The light gray (which I own in addition to this burgundy hue ^) washed really well, and then nearly a year later I wore them alllll over Athens, including trekking up to and all over the Acropolis where I saw tons of people fall. Did I mention they have excellent traction and you can wear ’em without socks?!

Get them from SUAVS for $76 (available in five colors and whole sizes 5–12).

12. Or some no-tie elastic shoelaces you can add to your go-to sneakers so you can easily slip them on and off at security. But the laces won’t look any different!

reviewer image of sneakers with no tie shoelaces in them

reviewer showing close up of how the elastic shoelaces are secured

Promising review: “At first I was skeptical that these laces wouldn’t hold my shoes on tightly enough, but I decided to give them a try in my Converse Chucks. They’re fantastic! I like the way the ‘hidden’ fasteners sit inside the shoes below the eyelets, but on top of the tongue, and I can’t feel the fastener at all with my foot in the shoe. I’ve had them in for around eight months, and they’re still just as elastic as ever. They haven’t stretched at all and show no signs of wearing out. I loved them so much that I bought five more sets to put in all of my shoes! No more triple knotting my shoes so they don’t become untied. I tie knots pretty slowly so these laces have honestly saved me tons of time. I couldn’t be happier with them.” —lucidity

Get them from Amazon for $9.99 (available in 38 colors). 

13. Or a pair of breathable slip-on sneakers with memory foam soles if you’d rather not with any laces. 

a reviewer photo of someone wearing the slip-on sneakers in pink

a reviewer wearing the sneaker in gray

Some reviewers say these shoes run big, and recommend ordering a size down.

Promising review: “I love these slip-ons! They are extremely comfortable and stretchy. No need to ‘break them in’ and they didn’t irritate my heels after long-time wear like Vans slip-ons do — no need for bandages :). I will definitely be buying these again and again!” —MichelleAColgan

Get them from Amazon for $19.99+ (available in sizes 5–11 and in six colors).

14. A collapsible silicone water bottle that’ll make sure you stay hydrated (drink water on that flight!) without making you sacrifice other things in your bag or running the risk of leaving water in your bottle as you go through security.

person holding the water bottle unfurled

person holding the water bottle rolled up and taking up very little room

Promising review: “I purchased these water bottles for my hiking trip in Switzerland. They definitely did not disappoint! I love that I can tightly roll them up and throw it in my suitcase or clip it on my backpack. I use it every time I travel now, since TSA makes you throw out all liquids over a few ounces. I highly recommend for anyone who travels a lot!” —Gabby

Get a pack of two from Amazon for $12.97.

15. Pedialyte powder packets because yes you are a grown-ass adult, but sometimes you indulge a little too much or start to feel a cold coming on from traveling and could use some electrolytes. I always pack these for trips and have never regretted it. And they’re much tastier than electrolyte tablets you dilute in water. Go through security FULLY hungover knowing you can fill up your water bottle with this *right* after. 



~Trust me~ when I tell you that these will work in a pinch. I bought them a few years ago to take on a bachelorette party to New Orleans, and everyone in the Airbnb was grateful I did. Since then, I’ve always had them in my carry-on bag when going on a trip. They REALLY came in handy when I went to the Greek islands for 10 days with an apparent mission to eat every piece of seafood and cheese within sight while washing it down with jugs of wine. These are powder in small individual packets, so they’re so easy to pack! And also you don’t have to lug around a bottle of Gatorade to feel better.

Get a 24-count from Amazon for $26.97.

16. A pack of NeuroGum made with a blend of caffeine and nootropics to give you energy five times faster than regular coffee. This’ll be great to chew right before going through the security if you don’t have time to buy (or drink) a coffee and wanna make sure you get it right going through TSA. 

BuzzFeed editor holding two packs of gum

Editor holding a round shaped piece of gum

Kayla Suazo/BuzzFeed

Here’s what former BuzzFeeder Kayla Suazo had to say: 

“It’s literally gum with 40 milligrams of caffeine (about half the amount of caffeine in an average cup of coffee), so it’s great to chew throughout the afternoon without having to worry about it keeping you up at night. It also has 60 milligrams of L-theanine, which is the main amino acid in green tea, so you get a natural energy boost without all the sugars that you’d find in energy drinks. THIS MEANS NO JITTERS. NO CRASHING. Just a good ole boost of energy. I was skeptical about this gum at first. I thought there was no way gum could wake me from my afternoon lull and increase my attention so I could get more work done. Guys, I was wrong. This stuff works, and works well. I even gave some to my coworkers, who said they noticed a difference immediately after chewing it. Around 2 p.m., I pop a piece in (I looove the cinnamon flavor) and I have an instant energy boost. It’s magic. There are nine pieces in a pack and I chew about one a day, so an entire box lasts me a month — which isn’t bad considering that it literally gives me life every single day. It’s gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, vegan, and non-GMO, and I think it’s a way better option than energy drinks.”

You can read BuzzFeed’s full review of NeuroGum for more deets!

Get a nine-pack with six pieces of gum each from Amazon for $24.

17. A dry shampoo that comes in a powder shaker and has *no* fragrance that’ll compete with your other beauty products. Cheers to skipping a morning wash for an early flight…and still being able to carry on some dry shampoo without making room for it in your toiletries bag. 

model's hand spraying the dry shampoo powder


Promising review: “I have only ever been able to use Batiste dry shampoo. None others worked for me. I bought this for the first time at Target, and it lasted me way longer than a large can of Batiste and works just as well. Plus, my mom has asthma, so it’s even better that I don’t have to use an aerosol in the house anymore.” —Lisa

Get it from Amazon for $12+ (available in two sizes).

18. A solid hair conditioner bar (you won’t have to put in your toiletries bag for TSA) so you aren’t stuck with the subpar hotel conditioner for all your exotic photo ops.

round conditioner bar in palm

writer with naturally curly hair

Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed

This is me on a week-long trip to Croatia last year with three city stops that I did a carry-on only for, knowing I had a tight layover in Amsterdam and would be riding two ferries. But, um, my hair had to look good for wonderful sunset photo ops such as this (the bar is Buza Bar in Dubrovnik, go there!). So I packed a shampoo bar by another brand that I felt pretty meh about and this wonderful new go-to bar. Here, I used hotel shampoo (it was pretty fancy, NGL), this shampoo bar, and my roommate’s Moroccan Oil curl cream. The bar is basically foolproof. You rub it directly on your wet hair after rinsing out your shampoo. I normally wash my naturally curly hair once or twice a week but on this trip was taking daily dips in the sea, so I washed my hair 5x over a week. Because of this, I let the conditioner sit for a few minutes, though you probably don’t need to do that if you’re washing your hair your usual amount on your trip. Each bar is supposed to last 200 washes and it might do a little less for me, but I know this’ll be good for many future trips! I’ve used it on about five trips now and it doesn’t look any smaller than it did when I used it the first time. 

Get it from Amazon for $6.89.

19. A pack of insect-repellent wipes that’ll be easier to keep on you at all times than a bottle of liquid. And, you guessed it, can be tucked in your luggage anywhere because it’s not a liquid that has to fit in with your toiletries! I keep mine in a side packet on my backpack. 

parent using the wipe on a kid's face


When I was a kid, someone told me that mosquitoes love me because I’m so sweet. And I FULLY believe that as an adult because I still get eaten alive if I’m out for long periods of time without wearing some kind of repellent. I’ve used these wipes on several park days here in NYC (sitting on a picnic blanket drinking wine with friends is more or less screaming COME GET ME to skeeters). But I’ve really found success with them on a recent hot weekend trip to Savannah, Georgia. I don’t notice any smell when using them and have found one wipe to have enough repellant for my arms and legs. So basically, a one and done. I don’t think that I’ve gotten *any* bug bites on days I’ve used these wipes. Plus, I have extremely sensitive skin but haven’t had any irritation from these seemingly powerful wipes!

Get three packs of 12 wipes from Amazon for $20.97.

20. A makeup-removing cloth to gently help erase the day instead of dirtying up hotel washcloths with your waterproof mascara OR adding to your “wet” toiletries bag.

Their plush microfiber gently lifts away dirt, oil, and makeup! Use it wet with water or your fave liquid makeup remover.

Promising review: “This product…I have no clue how this works, but it does! Let me start by saying I was wearing a full face of makeup. I mean foundation, contour highlight, eyeliner, seriously the whole nine yards. All I did was wet it and wiped my face, my jaw literally dropped. This is hands-down my favorite makeup remover. The best part is that they are reusable so you don’t have to keep buying those expensive disposables that leave your face feeling greasy.” —Heather and Ryne Griffith

Get it from Amazon for $5.99+ (available in four colors).

21. A TSA-friendly toiletries set you can easily fill, clean, and then refill with your go-to regular products. And the bag is sturdy as HECK.

Yep, I also own and love this set! it includes the zippered bag, four soft silicone bottles with leakproof caps, three compact jars, an two toothbrush caps. I’ve used this set on more than five trips and and for trips when I don’t require body wash or shampoo (like to visit my parents) I use the extra room in the bag to shove in all my beauty products and daily contacts. Plus! It comes with labels that stay on the containers really well despite my thoroughly washing these containers between trips. I bought this set in spring 2019 and have, admittedly, lost a container or two. But the ones that I’ve held onto over dozens of trips have all held up well!

Get it from Amazon for $9.99+ (available in eight variations).

22. Or if you’re not in need of containers, a clear TSA-approved toiletry bag so you can Lego-fit all your liquid and spreadable bbs in there with ease.

clear bag with toiletries inside


Promising review: “Everything I needed fit perfectly, and I had no issues in TSA/China security. So far I have been through MSP, IAD, NKG, and PEK airports using this pack already, and it’s a life-changer! I will never again have to worry about having to scramble to buy baggies just for liquids, and it is much more durable.” —Courtney Swanson

Get it from Amazon for $12.86 (available in 11 colors).

23. A set of six Cadence containers that are magnetized and’ll stick together in your toiletries bag. They’re super sturdy, leak-proof, and even work great for a few days’ worth of vitamins or holding small jewelry. They’ve quickly become one of my packing go-tos. 

set of seven green small containers with little illustrations on the front


Cadence is an AAPI woman-owned small business that was founded by Steph Hon as a way to eliminate single-use travel-sized plastics. The containers are made from recycled ocean-bound plastic. 

But I’m not the only fan on the BuzzFeed Shopping team. My co-worker Abby Kass has these and loves them! Here’s what she has to say about them: “I recently got a set of four of these, and, wow, I love them so much. I used them on a six-day trip recently, and they were perfect. I customized the label so I knew which one was my shampoo vs. conditioner and did a general label for any other things I wanted to bring along. They do hold a surprising amount. According to the brand, they hold approximately one to two weeks of skincare products, more than two weeks’ worth of serum, two to three days’ worth of haircare, and more than 15 tablets (for medicine and such). And while two to three days worth of haircare might not seem like enough, I found it held more than that for me, but I also don’t wash my hair every single day. They were small enough to slip right into my toiletries bag and go through TSA with no problem. The container was easy to open in the shower (even with wet hands), and I had no leakage from them (like I did from my face wash bottle that will not be making the trip with me next time, SMH). These are an incredibly useful tool anyone who travels will want in their luggage.”

Get a set of six from Cadence for $74 (originally $84). 

24. A set of silicone travel bottles to help you decant your go-to shampoo that you can’t find in a travel size. 

person squeezing conditioner out of bottle.


I’ve used containers like these to carry shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, body wash, clothes detergent, and more. 

Promising review: “These are perfect for travel or overnight stays. Each bottle holds 3 fl oz. Bottles are easy to squeeze and easy to fill.” —Chris

Get a pack of six from Amazon for $10.99.

25. Or some leak-proof refillable pouches you can decant stuff into, and then when your trip is over, you can easily empty them (I can’t be the only one who does this!) and shove them in your suitcase because sometimes fitting all your toiletries back INTO your toiletries bag can be a major pain. These lie almost completely flat when empty, so they’ll take up minimal suitcase room. 

two of the flat pouches with squeeze bottle tops


Promising review: “Love these! I needed them in a pinch and was so happy to find them on Amazon. The pouches are great because you can squeeze every last drop out of them, unlike most hard plastic travel bottles.” —LD

Get a set of three from Amazon for $12 (available in two color/pattern combos). 

26. Tide sink packets with the perfect amount of detergent for a sink wash to help lighten your clothing load. Plus! These’ll easily slide into the toiletries bag that you thought had no. more. room. Can you tell I love a packet/wipe sitch?!

person dumping packet of clothes detergent in a sink full of water


Each pack comes with three packets. And, because they *are* liquid, they’ll easily slide into the side of your toiletries bag. I’ve packed these on international trips to much success!

Promising review: “Taking these out of the country to wash under things is exactly the right size.” —Laura Wilson

Get nine packs from Amazon for $7.99.

27. A Vanicream clinical strength anti-perspirant that’ll be perfect for people with sensitive skin who sometimes get irritated when they switch to a solid deo for trips when they carry-on only. (It me!) As someone with *very* sensitive skin who’s broken out from a rash before on a weeklong vacation, this stuff works just as well as my other clinical strength-level deodorants that are push-up gel and, therefore, need to be checked. 

hand holding white deodorant tube


Promising review: “I recently developed a serious reaction to antiperspirants. My underarms would break out in a horrible, painful red rash. So I tried different ‘natural deodorants.’ They did not break out my underarms, but they didn’t really work! So I tried Vanicream after reading several reviews. IT WORKS!! My underarms don’t break out, and it works as well as any antiperspirant/deodorant on the market. After my first order, I ordered two more. Couldn’t be more relieved and happy to find this product!!” —Amazon Customer

Get it from Amazon for $9.99.

28. A *solid* Neutrogena SPF 50 sunscreen that really sticks to your skin on your tropical (or just plain sweaty) vacation. Oh, and because it’s a solid, it’s carryon-friendly!


I first bought this for a weeklong Croatian vacation last year when I did carry-on, and as long as you are *thoroughly* reapplying, this stuff stays on pretty well. On a beach club afternoon, I did haphazardly reapply and missed a strip on one arm, but I tend to do that with spray-on or lotion sunscreen, too. Since then, I’ve packed this for any trip I’ve been on, including a two-day Disneyland trip where I toted this around in my bag and shared with friends. I sometimes carry it with me in my purse on my everyday adventures because I know it’s so easy to apply. Also worth mentioning…I am about the palest lady you’ve ever seen and swear by daily application of sunscreen. But when on a beach trip, I’m constantly swimming in the water and sweating. So yeah, this stuff works. 

And if you’re a bit hesitant about jumping on the solid sunscreen bandwagon, you can pack a stick of this, knowing you have enough sun protection to get you through to finding some spray-on or lotion SPF at your destination. 

Get it from Amazon for $10.17.

29. A handmade leather cord organizer to keep your wired listening BFFs from getting tangled up in your pocket, making it so much easier to empty said pockets for the security line.

A person holding the cord organizer with their headphones wrapped neatly


Promising review: “No more tangled headphone cables! I bought a pair for my desk at home, and I’m purchasing another pair for my office. I love how neat and untangled my earbud cords are when using this organizer. It’s leather, which I’m sure will last many, many years for such a great price.” —Jane M

Get it from Amazon for $4.99 (available in six colors).

30. An electronics organizer with a place for just about every one of *your* and every member of your family’s devices and corresponding cables so you don’t get everything tangled up while placing items in the security line trays. 



Promising review: “This is the perfect travel companion. It fits everything including an Apple TV, HDMI-to-VGA-converter, and multiple lightning and micro-USB cables. I haven’t been disappointed at all. Plus, it packs nicely in a backpack and goes everywhere.” —iamtheoneoff

Get it from Amazon for $13.99+ (available in four sizes and four colors).

Or if you’re traveling solo (like I normally do), you can get away with sticking your electronics cords into a zippered pencil or makeup pouch that’ll also slip easily into your personal item. 

31. Or a 30-pack of waterproof zippered pouches to help you organize a variety of things. Parents in the reviews rave about using these to get their family organized for travel. And because these are transparent, you can easily sift around in your carry-on to track down what you need to put in a security bin and push aside what can stay in your bag. 

person putting hand inside of transparent travel pouch with a zipper closure


Promising review: “I bought these for a trip for my family of five. I like to plan in advance to make sure no one forgets anything! These were a life saver packing for three kids! I was able to create a carry-on, toiletries, wires/chargers, and snacks pouch for everyone! I used clear sticker paper to create name labels, and it all worked perfectly! Would definitely recommend if you need to travel with family and need to set things out and pack.” —mommyandbri

Get them from Amazon for $19.99.

32. waterproof Kindle so you can bring a TON of reading material (without a stack of books hogging space in your carry-on) for your time sipping a mimosa near the gate, then on the flight when you can’t fall asleep, during layovers, on downtime during your travels, you get my drift. 



Abby Kass / BuzzFeed, Amazon

I own one of these and swear by the Overdrive app to load up my Kindle with tons of library books before I go on a trip. (Hot tip: Share the app login with your family members who live in other places, so you can access multiple library systems. My family uses three library systems for ours!) It takes up a small amount of space in my bag and easily fits into the back pocket of a plane seat. Plus, it doesn’t cause eye strain because it’s built to look like an actual page of paper. When I’m not traveling, I use it nearly daily to play games and, naturally, read books. When I buy something, I normally try to justify it by asking myself if I’ll use the item at least once for every dollar I spend. Welp, I’ve gotten use 4x over in that sense with my Kindle. 

Get it from Amazon for $109.99+ (available in 8GB and 32GB and in blue).

33. A pair of super comfortable pull-on Levi’s jeans you can wear on your flight and then also throughout your trip. Cheers to looking more put-together than the folks who obviously came in their PJ pants. Also, no loose fabric means less of a likelihood of weird stuff showing up on your body scan. 

A reviewer in medium wash denim skinny jeans

Reviewer image showing the back has pockets

Promising review: “These are really comfy. They’re a good compromise for comfy skinny jeans. I’m a 30-year-old mom, and I’m about a 12/14; a 12 in these fit PERFECT. They give you a nice booty, and I can bend in them without showing anything. So that’s a definite bonus. They are a good mom jean without being a MOM JEAN. Thumbs-up.” —Polka Dots

Get it from Amazon for $26.99 (available in women’s sizes 2–28, three inseams, and six colors).

FYI, if you have Amazon Prime Wardrobe, you can give this a spin before you buy it!

34. A set of compression bags if you’re not beholden to carry-on weight limits (v much more of a thing for European flying these days) and tend to overpack. Here’s your sweet spot ;). And in the event that security has to go through your bag (it happens!), this’ll make it a bit easier for them to sort through your stuff. 

several clothing items folded and not in bag

clothing items compact in the bag

And they come with a hand pump for travel!

Promising review: “This is a great product. I have a memory foam pillow that I try to take on trips, due to neck issues, so I purchased this product and put it to the test to see if it could flatten the pillow so I can also carry my clothes and the pillow in the same bag, carry-on size travel bag. The pillow’s been sitting in the vacuum pack for the last three days now and hasn’t let any air into the package at all. The pump removed so much air that the foam is as solid as a rock with less that an 1/8 of an inch of give when I press on it firmly with my thumb.” —4-H Shooting Sports Instructor

Get a pack of five from Amazon for $22.99+ (available in four sizes).

35. Or a collection of compression packing cubes you can use over and over again without having to remember to pack a pump for sucking out the air.

stack of thick sweaters and then it in the compression cube

the full cube and then showing it zipped and compact

Again, just be sure to look up any weight restrictions on carry-on luggage. I ran into that problem last summer (it was in Croatia while flying British Airways, btw), but the person at the airport check-in counter that gave me some trouble about my bag just seemed to care about my roller carry-on. So I’d suggest using these in a backpack or tote bag you plan to put under the seat.

Promising review: “Easy to clean, lightweight material. All of the compression bags have a mesh front which makes it easy to see what’s inside, plus there is a small clear vinyl pocket on the front for a label. I tested one of the medium bags with four sweaters (one long and bulky, plus three medium-thickness pullovers). They fit in the bag nicely with the bag zipped closed (not compressed yet). It was not difficult to zip the compression closure, although I did take special care to push down and ‘help’ the zipper along. No signs of strain or damage to the zippers once fully closed. These bags seem very sturdy. As seen in the pictures, there is a significant size reduction! Will definitely use in my travels and would highly recommend.” —Clarissa Sheats

Get a pack of six from Amazon for $38.99 (available in three colors).

Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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