Our Favourite Travel Accessories

In lieu of two tickets to paradise, these travel accessories essentials—hand-picked by our travel editor—are the perfect gifts for the travel obsessed.

In lieu of two tickets to paradise, these travel accessories essentials—hand-picked by our travel editor—are the perfect gifts for the travel obsessed.

1. Beats on the Go

On a recent stay at Florence’s Hotel Lungarno, I was delighted to discover each room had a Bose mini bluetooth to stream my own Spotify playlists while I got ready in the morning and it made me vow right then and there that not only would I buy one immediately upon my return (in Canadian dollars), but that it would be travel sized so I could never be without my morning Generationals. This sassy orange Bose Soundlink Micro Bluetooth Speaker has a slim profile, a handy to-go strap, six-hour battery and comes in other cute colours. $140, bose.ca

2. Bags with Brains

Are you still checking your luggage? The transition to guaranteed-wardrobe-on-arrival is going to be smooth with Raden’s smart luggage. The light purple Raden A22 Carry (which I think is even prettier than Pantone’s 2018 colour of the year) comes with a charger (two USB ports), GPS tracking and a built-in scale on the handle (next level). So you’re never going to tip those carry-on scales again. Plus: the double-zip seals are waterproof and the Makrolon Polycarbonate case is flexible (so no cracks) but durable (so no breaks). $394.54, raden.com (also available locally at nordstrom.ca) 

3. Music to Your Ears

Okay, so my personal pair of Sony EX Series In-Ear buds is black (boring! these ombre brights are far superior), but in any colour I love how comfortable they are (I can sleep on them no prob), and their noise-cancelling effectiveness is key for plane travel (my iPhone buds, on the other hand, can’t even block out the jet hum). Big headphones are hot hot hot, but in-ear buds are tiny enough to cram into any pocket. They also come with three different sizes of squishy ear covers, which I found very useful when I inevitably lost one and needed a backup. $13, bestbuy.ca

4. The (Carry-On) Backpack to Rule all Backpacks

A recent trip to Greece with flights between islands on stingily sized Aegean carriers translated into me spending weeks researching the best travel backpacks at carry-on sizes, and the Tortuga was the glorious result. Though the 22L Tortuga Air I bought is no longer available, the brand’s new Setout Backpack is fronting a lot of the same winning attributes: chiefly, it unzips and packs like luggage. Its pouches and deep luggage compartment keep clothing organized (while maximizing space) and there’s a fiercely padded back panel that unzips for your up-to-15-inch laptops and tablets, with the padded and wide comfy straps to match. In the face of cobblestone streets, Greece’s infinite steps, dirt roads and ferries, my turtle-power Tortuga was a dream. $199USD, tortugabackpacks.com

5. Designer Deal

Peace and quiet are reimagined by Denmark’s Hay in the bright and psychedelic Be Quiet! earplugs—and for the fabulously affordable price of $4 a pair.Because there’s nothing worse than being ill-equipped in the face of a loud hotel-room neighbour. (Find locally at informinteriors.com)   

6. Packing Cubes Will Change Your Life

It’s amazing how many rolled garments you can fit in packing cubes and they keep groups of clothing organized (tops in one, bottoms in another), so you don’t have to rip through a trip’s worth of outfits to retrieve one pair of Lulus. Countless varieties are available at MEC at other travel shops but these Amazon brand packing cubes are well-priced, have double zips, come in all different sizes and the mesh tops let you see the insides without having to unzip. $29, amazon.com

7. Your Main Squeeze

I bought a cheap set of travel-kit bottles last year and paid the price (all my toiletries were greased with Neutrogena makeup remover) so learn from my mistakes and get a set of GoToobs. They’re easy to fill with products, and just as easy to empty (soft silicone tubes mean you get out every last drop), plus they’re food safe and come with a lifetime warrantee. ‘Nuff said. Sets of three from $33, humangear.com (Find at assorted local retailers like MEC and Welks)

8. Introducing the Travel Pillow SCARF

I’ve always wanted a deflatable travel pillow because the standard lot are too fat and bulky (it’s a prime candidate for something I would abandon vs. haul around), but the Trtl Travel Pillow looks like it’s going to upset the airport’s leopard-print-travel-pillow industry forever. You wrap it around your neck like a fleecy scarf, but its special ribbing provides neck and head support to keep you comfortably in sleep position, whether seated aisle, window or dreaded middle. I keep trying to order one online but I think they’ve sold out for Christmas (fingers crossed for a Boxing Day sale!). $47.95, trtltravel.com

9. The Go-To Turkish Towel

It’s a blanket, stylish scarf, beach wrap, towel—the list goes on. Turkish towels are durable and thick enough to be a substantial layer, yet dry out quickly. My favourite one that I’ve been toting around from the sandy beaches of Paros to the cold drafty planes of Air Canada Express is the Sunday Dry Goods Everyday Towel in navy. $40, sundaydrygoods.com 

10. Power Move

No matter what confusing plugs await at your international destination, this 4-in-1 travel adapter does it all. And the colour codes that correspond to countries are super helpful if you’re not naturally gifted at Lego. $25, flight001.com 

11. We’ve Been Weighting for This

I’m not one of those people who feels they have to fit in an hour at the gym while on vacation (attention to diet, exercise, booze intake—I let it all go), BUT should you be so inclined or know someone who travels constantly for work, this compact hotel room workout kit (complete with resistance bands and jump rope, also from Flight 001) is genius. $48, flight001.com