Are you a chronic overpacker? One of those people who sit on their suitcase so that it will zip? It doesn’t have to be this way. We’ve picked seven key travel items, from electronics to double-duty clothing and luggage -- each that’ll streamline your travel load and save your sanity. Bonus: All of these items make for an ideal gift.
A Jazzy Jacket: Ditch that heavy handbag or cumbersome backpack and get a SCOTTeVest. The lightweight Sterling Jacket (available for men and women) is stain and waterproof, and has 23-plus pockets to store your must-haves. It’s great for hands-free adventures and multi-sized compartments can hold a full-size tablet, phone, and water bottle so it also works well for in-flight travel. Bonus: zip-off sleeves transforms the jacket into a sleek vest for warm-weather outings. ($150)
Some Sturdy Shoes: Packing shoes can be a challenge, especially if your trip includes a variety of activities. We recommend three or four easy-to-pack pairs; don't forget to wear the heaviest shoes during travel time to clear more suitcase space. Double- or triple-duty footwear like a modern loafer or Sperry can take you from plane to park to party.
Lightweight Luggage: Lugging heavy luggage and bags through an airport is for amateurs. The Aram Lee Hana Bag, built on the origami concept, converts three ways: it’s a multi-compartment large tote that folds into a medium bag, then down to a sleek clutch. ($375)
A Great Phone/Camera Combo: Novice photographers can take professional quality pics, then upload them on the new Google Pixel smartphone, which has unlimited storage for images and videos. The 12.3 megapixel camera is praised for its quality photos, even in dim lighting, and the Android phone is fast and easy to navigate thanks to the Siri-like Google Assistant. (Prices vary depending on phone plan.)
A Compact Charger: The average traveler totes at least three electronic items while on the road. Instead of packing a power cord for each, a multiple-device charger like Ankar’s six-port wall unit. The 2.4A voltage means your device will juice up in minutes and the five-foot power cord helps if your outlets aren’t easily accessible. ($25.49)
Day-to-Night Wear: The key to efficient packing is multi-use clothing. Encircled’s Dressy Sweatpants, is a super forgiving eco-friendly Modal and spandex blend easily worn full leg length or pushed up to capri style. The pants easily transform from in-flight travel to evening dinners -- just add a jacket and your day-to-night shoes. A hidden waistband pocket is also appreciated for holding a credit card, room key, or a tube of lipstick. ($110 USD)
High-Quality Headphones: Many frequent fliers are hot on high-quality, noise-cancelling headphones. But if the trendy mega versions aren’t your beat, consider LSTN’s handcrafted, reclaimed wood earbuds. Not only does the Cherry Wood Bowery style have a mic for phone calls, voice texts, and volume control, there are three different-sized silicone ear tips for tailored comfort. Best of all, a portion of every purchase goes to the Starkey Foundation, which provides free hearing aids to people in need. Don’t forget to bring a Y-jack so your travel-mate can hear the movie, too. ($49.99)