top of page
  • Alison Ramsey

Round Trip - Recommended Travel Gear for 2022

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

Round Trip with Colleen Kelly receives no monetary gains from clicking on the provided links. This article was updated on 12/06/22.

Packing for a trip can be daunting, but Round Trip with Colleen Kelly is here to help you gather what you need and make the most of your luggage space with recommended, highly useful travel gear. A roundtable with frequent travelers and travel writers as well as thorough research and testing have resulted in a comprehensive collection of favorite travel items and brands that will make your journeys organized, comfortable, and fashion-forward.

Packing Pointers An organized suitcase takes the chaos out of unpacking and repacking at your destination. Packing cubes are a life-changing travel accessory that allow you to divide your belongings into small groupings that make it easier to locate what you need within your luggage.

Mumi Design’s handy organizing pouches can turn your suitcase organization from a mess to a success. These mesh-front packing cubes and plastic-lined toiletry cubes are accented with one of eight fun colors and come in a variety of sizes. Each gray bag has a colorful zipper and sturdy “mumi” zipper pull. The Ultimate Packing Bundle contains 1 set of 5 packing cubes, 1 set of 3 toiletry cubes, 1 set of 2 shoe bags, 1 travel laundry bag (which include a foldable plastic hanger!), and 1 eye-catching, colorful luggage tag. This comprehensive set helps compartmentalize each set of components on your packing list, making it easy to find what you need within your bag. The zippered pouches are thin and extremely lightweight, adding almost no extra weight to your suitcase. The shoe bags keep your soles from dirtying clean items, and the toiletry cubes ensure that any spillage stays contained and easy to wipe clean. Mumi Design Organizing Bags work well for travel, keeping brochures, paperwork, souvenir postcards and art prints, and board games organized and protected in durable, flat PVC mesh. The smaller bags make excellent pencil pouches, and you can be confident that the strong plastic will prevent a leaky pen from sneaking ink into the rest of your belongings. Each bag has a clear outer pocket for extra storage or for labeling the contents, and sticker labels are included in the set.

Three white mesh bags of varying sizes are stacked and filled with various papers, brochures, and pens
Mumi organizing bags

A variety of travel pouches, both mesh and with tropical patterns.
Mumi packing cubes and ALOHA bags

Charging cords can easily be stored in these flat bags, especially when you secure them in a tight coil with Mumi Design’s Holographic Cable Ties, a shimmery set of three iridescent ties with magnetic clasps that keep your cables free of tangles. If you need wrinkle-free shirts, dresses, and pants upon arrival at your destination, try the Garment Folder, a soft, Velcro-secured fabric folder and firm plastic folding board that guide you in neatly folding your clothes so you can store them in a flat bundle during travel. Pick a color scheme and go—your luggage will thank you for the interior makeover!

A large grey laundry bag and smaller pouch, and a small travel hanger
Mumi laundry bag and hanger

A garment folder with a green shirt folded underneath, as well as a colorful luggage tag
Mumi garment folder and tag and Icebreaker shirt

Not sure how to keep dirty laundry from tainting clean clothes? The Tom Bihn Travel Laundry Stuff Sack is what you need—a solution inspired by Tom’s hosteling around Europe. At the beginning of your trip, load the sack with clean clothes. When an item is dirty, simply stuff it into the opposite side of the sack (a floating divider keeps the two sections apart). Each side has a different colored drawstring, so you can identify which side contains clean clothing and which contains dirty items. A fantastic solution to keeping all items in one sack and easily calculating the next laundry day.

The Tom Bihn Stuff Sack is a soft, oval-cylinder multipurpose cinch bag made from ultralight ripstop fabric. It packs efficiently into the nooks and crannies of your travel bag and is ideal for separating smaller items such as socks or underwear from the rest of your luggage, or for stowing compressed light down vests or jackets to save space. The high quality of materials and craftsmanship is evident in Tom Bihn gear—the strong ripstop fabric, well-planned functionality, tight stitching, and classy designs are truly a travel gear treat.

Two blue bags with draw strings, one larger than the other, meant for carrying laundry
Icebreaker, Tom Bihn bags, and Sea to Summit towel

Clothing Counsel We all have our own travel clothing style, from national park ranger to fashionista and everywhere in between. The key is to pack clothing items that fit into a variety of outfit combinations and that can be versatile in changing weather conditions and temperatures.

Icebreaker apparel company believes that nature has the solutions to creating a more sustainable future for our planet. The company fashions natural alternatives to synthetic-based apparel in an effort to waste nothing, remain relevant across many seasons and trends, and provide timeless and versatile, high-quality performance wardrobe staples using the resources nature provides—namely, wool from merino sheep. Why is this natural fiber so perfect for long-haul flights and extended travel? Wool fiber is lightweight, resilient, and doesn’t break easily, it can absorb water from the skin and release it to the atmosphere without leaving you feeling wet, it resists odor build-up, it is soft and naturally flame-resistant, and can absorb and release heat in fluctuation with the body’s environment and external conditions. A staple “base layer” by Icebreaker is the 260 Tech Leggings, which are the ultralight, breathable, sweat-wicking, warming bottoms you need for winter sports and cold weather, and that feel like a second skin. A “first layer” example would be Icebreaker’s soft tanks and tees, one of which features a ram herder scene by artist Araki Koman. Somehow, this t-shirt survived a steamy July day without retaining any scent of sweat or even deodorant! “Mid layers” are those you can remove and put on according to the wind and weather conditions—like hoodies and sweaters. The Quantum III Zip Hoodie is thin yet warm, and layers well under a jacket or can be used as a jacket itself. The chest pocket is large enough to hold an iPhone, and the comfortable cut and style cover your torso and beyond without inhibiting movement.

A green t-shirt and black shorts, with a stuffed-animal sheep sit atop a purple blanket

If Kenny Flowers ads have been popping up all over your social media newsfeeds, here is the scoop. It’s a collection of fun, colorful resort wear for men and women, featuring tropical patterns and flowing fabrics. Swimsuits, sundresses, matching family and couples’ outfits, multi-use kimonos for use as a swim coverup or vacation robe, golf attire, Hawaiian shirts with coconut buttons and sunglass loops, and even bachelorette party and destination wedding favorites—tons of designs to brighten up your holiday wardrobe and add color to your trip photos. Patterns range from lemon wedges to animal prints to palm fronds to solids, and the boutique styles are chic and comfortable. The Watercolors by Kenny Flowers swimwear line offers suits and separates in a wide range of styles, cuts, and fabrics. For a stretchy textured women’s suit fashioned from gorgeous aqua crinkle fabric with modest coverage, try the Aruba collection. Supportive, adjustable, and flattering, the Aruba suit fabric is incredibly soft and dries quickly. Crafted in Bali and Columbia, the collections are inspired by the founders’ international travels. The soft, comfortable fabrics and breezy lines make you feel like you’re on a tropical island, no matter where you are.

A blue two-piece swim suit sits atop a colorful blue folded top
Kenny Flowers swimsuit

A close up of a colorful green tropical-pattern dress, a sunhat, and a green tropical tote bag
Kenny Flowers dress and ALOHA tote

“It’s not rocket science. It’s pocket science!” SCOTTeVEST has created highly functional travel wear that reduces the need to carry an extra bag while traveling, as each clothing item contains multiple hidden areas to stash belongings and gear. Vests, windbreakers, hoodies, slacks and shorts, pullovers, cardigans, shirts, dresses, and even hats and underwear—all have pockets to ensure your essentials stay safe. For example, the machine-washable RFID Travel Vest for Men has 26 pockets hidden in its lightweight, breathable fabric, and sizes Large and above have a space to fit a tablet up to 12.9″. With all your carry-on items tucked into an outer vest, you can simply remove that entire layer at airport security, with nothing else to unload or additional pockets to empty. The Chloe Glow 18-Pocket Hoodie is a women’s soft and thick-but-stretchy zip-up with accent details on the hood and on the extra-long sleeve cuffs. No need to carry a purse when you have this many conveniently placed pockets to hold your phone, iPad, sunglasses, headphones, passport, wallet, and anything else you consider necessary to tote around. Incredible craftsmanship and innovation went into these garments, and despite their technical designs the materials and cut are fashionable but classic.

A man wears a green vest, which has pocked on the inside that are carrying various items
SCOTTeVEST RFID Travel Vest for Men

Skincare Solutions

Travel is dehydrating. Long airplane flights in recycled air, overnight train rides in closed-window sleeper cars, and cross-country bus or bike travel can dry out skin and leave you parched. Pack products to replenish your skin’s moisture and help it retain elasticity. Even a 3.4-oz.-or-less size of moisturizing product is enough to treat your skin in drying conditions. Your carry-on can include a facial moisturizer, body lotion, and toner spray to rejuvenate tired skin and keep you looking and feeling fresh even upon arrival at your destination.

Colorado Aromatics is a farm-to-skin line of products rich in nutrients and antioxidants that can protect and hydrate your skin, especially when traveling or spending time outdoors in areas of high altitude, windy conditions, and an arid climate. Dr. Cindy Jones, an herbalist and scientist with a PhD in biochemistry, has cultivated vitamin-rich skincare essentials using herbs grown on her Certified Naturally Grown farm in Colorado. The Springtide Gold anti-aging face cream contains peptides to promote collagen production in the skin. Its herbal extracts and skin-repairing oils soften, protect, repair, and moisturize weathered skin. The Aromatherapy Face & Body Mist is a refreshing spritz that hydrates and tones the skin while helping to restore its natural pH. For use on skin, hair, and even linens, this cooling spray is an instant pick-me-up. Each herbal mister provides aromatherapy benefits; for example, the lavender variety can promote calm and improve mood, while also treating sunburn, itching, and inflammation. A simple spritz mid-flight can revive tired senses and refresh dry skin. After a day of hiking, Sole Pleasure Foot Butter relieves pain and cleans cracked heels and tired feet using eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil. Its nourishing, buttery consistency and soothing scent promote comfort and provide quick results. Lip Balm (try Cocoa Tango for a mild chocolate smell and flavor) and Knuckle Balm (revives ragged cuticles!) are additional healing best-sellers that treat and protect damaged skin.

A set of Colorado Aromatics products, including bottles, tubes, and cans with purple labels
Colorado Aromatics

Another skincare line approaching beauty with uncomplicated products to fit every derm need is Glossier, whose mission is to thoughtfully design beauty solutions per customers’ desires and skincare regime. Priming Moisturizer Balance is an oil-control gel cream in a travel-friendly 1.7 fl. oz. tube with a pump dispenser protected by a cap so it doesn’t leak in your bag. It absorbs quickly and adds moisture to skin without adding shine. This fragrance-free, lightweight hydration minimizes pores and balances the tone of your skin. Combating travel dryness and a stale landing-look is also possible with Futuredew, an oil serum hybrid in a beautiful, pearly iridescent 1 fl. oz. bottle. Although it pumps out peach-colored nourishing oils, it is for all skin shades and adds a dewy sheen to brighten skin and enhance its healthy look without interfering with makeup. Balm Dotcom is a fantastically hydrating lip balm that can double as a salve for dry, chafed skin. Ten balm flavors (some clear and some with a tint) use nature-based oils and antioxidants that moisturize lips, cuticles, faces, and minor scratches. Packaged like a miniature toothpaste tube, these balms slip easily into a flight refresher pouch or wallet. Add a little more color to lips with Ultralip, “the (cashmere) sweatpants of lipstick.” Luxe and comfortable, these tubes add shine, moisture, and color with their 3-oil blend. For daily use as well as quick touch-ups, Pro Tip smudge-resistant liquid eyeliner with an easy-to-apply precision brush and Boy Brow natural-looking grooming pomade are the fragrance-free, dermatologist-tested eye makeup essentials to pack. Small, easy, straight-to-the-point—Glossier makeup feeds your skin with moisture and color, and provides visible, effortless results, prepping you before you head into your next adventure.

A mesh makeup bag sits on a table with various makeup products surrounding it
Glossier skincare and Mumi bag

The sun’s ultraviolet radiation is no joke and can cause serious damage to your skin. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends protecting your skin with a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher when you are outdoors. For any sunscreen, apply about two tablespoons 30 minutes before venturing outside, and be sure to reapply every two hours, and more often if sweating or swimming are in your plans. A tried-and-true sunscreen brand is Sun Bum, which applies smoothly without feeling sticky, soaks in quickly and feels moisturizing, protects skin, and “smells like summer.”

Sun protection for your head can also come in the form of a packable hat. A baseball cap, visor, or wide-brimmed hat will keep rays from your face and help prevent a headache from too much sun exposure. Polarized sunglasses reduce glare from flat surfaces like water, the road, and snow. Their unique film coating filters the light that reaches your eyes, and results in less eye strain.

Travel-Day Tips

Long periods of inactivity and sitting during travel can inhibit blood circulation in your body and cause retention of fluids in the tissues of your feet, ankles, and legs. Not only can this be uncomfortable and unsightly, it can also prevent you from fitting into your footwear upon arrival. Make sure to stand and stretch during travel periods, and prepare your feet and legs by wearing compression travel stockings designed specifically to fit snugly to your legs and stimulate blood circulation. Even upon arrival at your destination, wearing compression socks daily or while exercising can also help reduce swelling and discomfort, prevent poor circulation, and lower the chances of injury and muscle cramping.

The “100% Happiness Guaranteed” sock company Bombas carries compression socks in 15-20 mmHg or 20-30 mmHG—two variations of pressure, depending on the amount of compression that works best for you, and in a rainbow of subtle or bright colors that fit your personal travel style. Bombas has worked hard through research and development and testing to eliminate the irritations that clothing can cause, by ensuring toe seams aren’t annoying, the fabric doesn’t pill, and their socks contour to your feet. Whether you’re hiking and on your feet all day or riding through a travel day, you can be confident in the comfort Bombas can provide your feet and legs. A generous Bombas Replacement Program ensures that if you lose or damage a sock within one year of purchase, a free replacement will be sent to you. The “Bombas” company name stems from the Latin word for bumblebee—a word echoed in some design patterns and in the words “Bee Better” that you see stitched inside each pair of socks. Testimony to Bombas’ commitment to “bee better” is that each wardrobe item is engineered and designed with intent to clothe, comfort, encourage athletic and personal pursuits, and help those less fortunate—for each item of clothing you buy, a second item of that same kind is donated on your behalf to those experiencing homelessness. Taking your Bombas compression socks on the go is easy with the Compression 2-Pack and Travel Bag set, or you can select from men’s or women’s designs and purchase a separate Hex Tec Sock Bag for easy carrying.

A book with the title "Hike Adventures on Foot" and a mountain view is displayed. A pair of black flip flops with gold straps, a bottle of Colorado Aromatics foot butter with a purple label, and a pair of Bombas socks sit in front of the book.
Bombas, OOFOS, and Colorado Aromatics

A demanding day of travel, movement, and exercise can put strain on your joints, feet, and ankles, resulting in pain, fatigue, muscle tightness, and soreness. That’s where OOFOS recovery footwear steps in to reduce pressure and recharge your feet. OOFOS flipflops, sandals, and sneakers are made with OOfoam™ technology, which absorbs 37% more impact than other foam footwear materials. The footbed supports tired arches and cradles the feet, making walking and recovery easier and faster. For men, the OOriginal Sandal’s sleek design is a best-seller and provides a nice break for tired and hurting feet. A women’s favorite is the OOlala Luxe Sandal, which is machine-washable, odor-minimizing, and whose footbed enables an easy, natural motion when walking. Versatile enough to dress up or down, this sandal also makes a perfect beach flipflop or house slipper. Customers say, “It’s like walking on a cloud!” Not only will your feet feel good with OOFOS, but your heart and mind will, too, knowing that with OOFOS’ Project Pink, 2% of all sales on (free shipping and free returns!) goes to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund to support cancer care and research.

Traveling alongside others can be noisy and distracting. Pack your carry-on with items you will need to ensure a restful sleep or quiet time during your trip. Noise-cancelling headphones or Mack’s® Ear Plugs are a necessity for frequent travelers. Mack’s® Pillow Soft® Silicone Putty Ear Plugs mold to the contours of your ear, sealing out unwanted noises and relieving ear pain from airplane air pressure. Each pair can be used for up to five uses (start a new pair when they become soiled or no longer sticky). Mack’s® Ultra Soft Foam Ear Plugs are discreet and made with a low-pressure Comfy Cush® Comfort Foam. Mack’s® has a noise reduction solution for ears of all sizes and needs, from Mack’s® Kids Size Silicone Ear Plugs and Dreamgirl™ Foam Ear Plugs for small ear canals, to the Flightguard® Airplane Pressure Relief design. Pete Benner from McKeon Products, the maker of Mack’s brand products, explained that our bodies absorb sound, so it is impossible to block out all noise due to our physiology. He said, “Our bodies absorb sound, so while no earplugs can block all noise, when used according to directions, the earplugs will reduce noise in decibels by the number indicated on the Noise Reduction Rating label. This brings the noise down to a lower, more tolerable level.” Probably best not to block out ALL noise, as you don’t want to miss the snacks and drink cart on your flight!

Blocking out light with an eye mask can give your eyes a rest and induce needed sleep during travel periods. Give your body extra encouragement to relax and unwind by packing a soft eye mask into your flight carry-on. Mack’s Dreamweaver™ or Dreamgirl™ Contoured Sleep Masks are designed to reduce pressure on the eyelids and eyelashes and reduce makeup smudging with a breathable, soft, and lightweight material. Their dual elastic straps can be adjusted for comfort, and the mask eliminates pressure on the nose, a common problem with other masks. Mumi Designs’ Sweet Dreams Kit includes a hook-and-loop secured 3D eye mask and features a sweet shut-eye graphic on the front.

A sound machine, an apple watch, a black eye mask, and various wires.
Sound Machine, Mack's Ear Plugs, Mumi Eye Mask

Does transportation movement make you feel ill? Drug-free, natural relief from travel sickness, nausea, and motion sickness is possible with Sea-Band reusable elasticized wrist bands that use acupressure and have no side effects. Avoid feeling miserable during boat outings, cruises, train rides, airline flights, and road trips by wearing a band on each wrist, to target the wrists’ Nei-Kuan (P6) acupressure points, which can help regulate blood flow and promote harmony in the gastrointestinal system. Safe for adults and children alike, the bands are effective and make the motion of transportation more tolerable. Anti-Nausea Ginger Gum is another natural way to soothe motion sickness without side effects, using the medicinal herb ginger in a fast-acting chewing gum with a satisfying zing of flavor. Anti-nausea medication can often cause drowsiness, headache, and lightheadedness, but you can avoid all that with Sea-Bands and ginger gum, and just enjoy the ride!

If your luggage doesn’t make it to your destination on time, you can circumvent a lapse in clothing options by packing a change of clothes and vital toiletries in your carry-on bag. A lightweight bag with many pockets can help you organize your gear and act as an overnight bag, if need be. Tom Bihn’s Pilot bag is the personal carry-on suited for the job. It fits up to a 13-inch laptop, is designed to slip over the handle of rolling luggage, and is cleverly designed with numerous zippered compartments, organizational pockets, and handy straps and O-rings. One of these O-rings is positioned in the front left compartment, which is a perfect place to clip the included key strap to a Tom Bihn 3D Organizer Cube. The 3D Organizer Cube in Clear from Tom Bihn is a small, durable, and well-designed bag with clear sides, ripstop fabric, and sturdy zippers—perfect for a 3-1-1 bag while going through TSA (you can even remove it from the zippered pocket but keep it tethered to the Pilot, so you don’t lose track of it!) or as a catchall for chargers/cables or toiletries you want to see and have handy access to in your carry-on. Sewn in the USA and offered in more than a dozen colors/patterns, this bag has an interior hook for hanging, as well as exterior loops on the sides to securely clip the bag inside a backpack or suitcase.

A black travel bag has a Go Travel clip attached. A SCOTTeVEST is attached to the clip and hangs down from the bag.
Tom Bihn Pilot Bag and 3D Organizer Cube in Clear

Looking for a simple, hands-free solution for keeping track of outerwear, umbrellas, or shopping bags and duty-free purchases? Try the Go Travel Carry Clip, a simple device featuring a spring-loaded karabiner that can be clipped onto any bag or suitcase. You can then loop a sweatshirt, jacket, umbrella, or shopping bag handle through the canvas strap and buckle it in, tightening it like a belt to the desired size. No more cardigans lost on airport floors!

A close-up shot of a purple Go Travel clip with a white SCOTTeVEST hanging from it
Go Carry Clip, SCOTTeVEST, and Tom Bihn Pilot Bag

Carry-on organization is key to a stress-free flight, and ALOHA Collection specializes in bags that can up your organization game. ALOHA is the brainchild of Heather (international business major) and Rachael (international flight attendant)—friends who built their business with a Kickstarter campaign and whose splash-proof travel bags are now found in stores all over the United States. ALOHA allows you to deftly organize your carry-on bag or suitcase with an ever-expanding selection of Hawaiian- and tropical-printed bags in an array of sizes. These soft, lightweight, easy-to-clean bags will protect your belongings from outside moisture or contain damp or dirty garments to prevent contact with clean clothing. Not just for clothing, the pouches can be used for makeup, tech gear and cords, watersports accessories, travel documents and IDs, or used as a colorful beach clutch. Consider the Mini pouch for an inflight bag to store ear plugs, an eye mask, and face toner or moisturizer. Small and Mid pouches are ideal for swimsuits, intimates, toiletries, travel games and card decks, small toys, and accessories. MAX pouches can hold a change of clothes (great for a back-up carry-on outfit in case your luggage runs late!), an iPad and books, beach gear, gym clothes and accessories, footwear, and the interior zippered pocket can separate smaller items like cash, keys, IDs, and lip balm. Totes, hip packs, and duffle bags give you additional formats to organize your essentials during travel. The Day Tripper makes a great beach bag and daily tote bag, as it closes securely with a zippered top, has an interior zippered pocket, and an exterior zip pocket as well. The straps are long enough to fit comfortably over a shoulder, it is spacious enough to fit multiple beach towels, and sand doesn’t stick to its exterior. The Men’s line also includes roomy Dopp Kits in black-and-white designs. Cleaning ALOHA bags is as easy as wiping them with a disinfectant cloth, hand-washing with soap and water, or machine-washing on delicate and hanging to dry. With so many patterns and styles to choose from, and new designs always appearing on the website, you have a huge opportunity to display your own travel personality!

A women sits in front of a campfire with a tropical green tote back
ALOHA tote

A woman in a blue floral dress sits in front of a bush of flowers with a striped travel pouch on her lap
ALOHA pouch

Adventure Advice

Adventure travel calls for a whole new set of gear that will ensure your possessions stay safe and dry. If you will be kayaking or boating, plan to pack a “dry bag” to enclose your valuables during the outing. Don’t underestimate the possibility that you might get soaked or lose loose items in the water. The durable Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag in a 13L size is large enough to hold quite bit of gear—sweatshirt, water bottle, wallet, keys, tech towel, change of clothes. It’s waterproof (when not fully submerged), with a roll-top closure and buckle that works as a carrying handle, and lash loops on the sides as easy attachment points to equipment or watercraft. A Clear Stopper Dry Bag is the perfect choice if you want full visibility into the bag and need to quickly locate gear. This bag is tough but pliable, ideal for watersports, and is a fantastic clear accessory for entering venues that require the contents of bags to be visible.

A hand holds on to a clear bag with sunscreen and other travel products and a yellow bag.
Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag and Clear Stopper Dry Bag; Sun Bum sunscreen

Remember to pack a multi-purpose travel towel that dries quickly and has a small footprint in your suitcase. The Sea to Summit Tek Towel is soft and absorbent, made from quick-drying microfiber fabric, and comes in a soft, zippered EVA case pocked with hexagonal holes on top for breathability. From camping to boating to the gym, the lightweight towels in sizes ranging from hand towel to beach towel take up little space and have a handy snap-on hanging loop. A bright color, like vivid orange, doesn’t blend into most surroundings and ensures you won’t leave it behind!

You will need a day bag to carry supplies for a full day of exploring. A backpack is the best hands-free option, leaving your digits open for taking photos and notes. There’s something so timeless and handsome about a leather backpack, and the Katmai Leather Backpack from Kodiak is one of those rugged heirloom-quality goods that get even better with age and travel history. Beautifully constructed and gender-neutral, this backpack is gorgeously styled with a classic shape and sturdy hardware, featuring a bottle pocket on either side (try the double-walled 17 oz. Stainless Steel Kodiak Water Bottle for keeping your drinks hot or cold). The front and back pockets have leather slots sewn into the black nylon interior for credit cards or IDs, and areas to slip pens. The middle pocket is large enough to hold books and supplies, and the main, largest rear pocket offers generous space, a folder pocket, and a zippered security compartment to keep cash and keys (try the leather bear-stamped Kodiak Keychain for a rugged, sturdy key ring option). The very back pocket zips open to a padded laptop compartment. This backpack is incredibly comfortable, has adjustable backpack straps, and the wide leather strap across the back allows it to be easily slid over a suitcase handle. Leather backpacks are highly versatile for travel because they function well and look good on the road and out in nature, as well as in a restaurant, at work, or in day-to-day life. This particular Katmai pack from Kodiak is one that hugely surpasses other leather backpacks in quality and design—an investment you will not regret!

A book, a purple water bottle, a leather travel journal and keychain, and a leather backpack sit atop a tie-dyed balnket
Katmai Leather Backpack, Water Bottle, and Keychain from Kodiak

Sentimental Suggestions Sometimes a trip means temporary distance from family and loved ones. To keep those you love close to your heart, travelers often wear a personal piece of jewelry or lucky charm that reminds them of those at home. Helen Ficalora’s collection of handmade precious metal jewelry includes timeless designs that allow you to express your individuality and tell your story by wearing customizable pieces that reflect your interests and personal style. Ficalora pioneered the alphabet charm trend—finely etched alphabet letters on a smooth disk, often worn on a necklace chain. When traveling away from loved ones, you can wear their initials and feel their presence during your journey. These initial disks pair nicely with a cluster of pendants in themes that echo your lifestyle—delicate bicycle, solid anchor, jeweled birthstone mini disk, scalloped seashell, intricate key, soaring dove, diamond-studded dog bone. For world travelers, the airplane, compass, and luggage charms are especially fitting. Ficalora’s truly beautiful, signature designs include necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets, and a fresh new Montauk Bloom perfume in a travel-sized vial for a quick beachside-rose and honeysuckle spritz. For gifting or personal use, Helen Ficalora’s unique and affordable luxury jewelry can be ordered online or at stores in New York, Chicago, and Palm Beach.

Document your travels with notes and memories to look back on and reminisce about your experiences. Capture photos, collect postcards and souvenirs, or take notes in a notepad to remember important moments in your travels. A top-grain leather-bound journal like the Drifter from Kodiak is a classy, beautifully crafted book filled with thick, off-white artisan-made paper. Its snap closure is secure, and Drifter Journal Refill Paper is available to order when you run out of blank space. Detailing the pages with stories or sketches of your adventures makes it a treasure you can pass down or keep for ages.

A piece of silver jewelry and a bottle of perfume sits atop a leather journal and two books.
Helen Ficalora jewelry and Kodiak Drifter journal

Cozy Comforts Overnighting in a hotel, hostel, camper, tent, or rental home can make you miss the comforts of home. There are small items, though, that can help you retain your usual, comfortable routine. Need to heat up restaurant leftovers or cook a frozen meal? The HOTLOGIC® Mini is a portable food warmer that uses a low slow conduction heating pad to reheat your meal to the perfect temperature. The XP style contains an expandable top pocket that extends upward, with carrying handles like a lunch bag, to allow for additional storage on top of the warmer. Here you can store utensils, a meat thermometer, a beverage, or other sides for your lunch or dinner. Using the XP Vehicle Version, which plugs into your 12V vehicle power outlet, you can load a frozen meal into the oven on top of the heating pad, and 1-2 hours into your road trip you will have a fully heated dinner! The wall outlet plug version works well for hotel and hostel stays. All unfrozen food heats to 165 degrees and takes about 40 minutes to warm up to eating temperature, and if you’re cooking from scratch you can load in veggies and meat and allow 1-2 hours for the meat to fully cook until it has reached 165 degrees. The oven then holds the temperature for up to 12 hours. For larger groups, the HOTLOGIC Max and Max XP heat family-sized meals using a 9″x13″ dish. HOTLOGIC allows so many options for food preparation on a budget, and you don’t have to toss out those yummy bistro leftovers or search for a public microwave!

A blue HOTLOGIC portable food warmer

Sometimes you just need to wrap yourself in something pretty and comforting from home. The Rumpl Everywhere Towel can be that colorful, velvety accessory you can take everywhere—the beach, pool, campout, shower, gym, outdoor concert—you name it. Despite its thin polyester microsuede fabric and the fact that it can roll up to the size of a six-inch sub sandwich, this towel is absorbent, quick-drying, and repels stains, pet hair, odors, and sand. A corner hang loop lets you easily dry it in the breeze off a hook or branch. The bonus feature? Dozens of vibrant designs. Ombre, tie-dye, florals, retro stripes, even scenes from national parks! Invite a friend to sit with you, and try the Everywhere Mat—a waterproof camping mat that rolls into its attached stuff sack and can be closed with a small buckle. This mat in Blazing Gaia is a masterpiece of psychedelic origami tie-dye, a “Geometriart” print designed by Courtenay Pollock (the talented artist who created tie-dye shirts and stage pieces for The Grateful Dead). Rumpl’s #1 seller, the Original Puffy Blanket, is another must-have all-season travel item. Weather-resistant, lightweight, warm, and machine-washable, this polyester ripstop rectangle of relaxation gives you a cozy hug whenever you need it. The Cape Clip™ mechanism at chest level gives you a hands-free option, and you can rest easy knowing that Rumpl’s sustainability efforts result in the company offsetting their entire carbon footprint each year and donating 1% of sales to environmental causes. Their love for the planet is clear in that many blanket designs and colors show or are named after elements of nature, mountain ranges, and national parks.

A person lays on a blue and green hammock, and the legs are covered by a puffy blue blanket, a book, and a pair of sunglasses.
Rumpl Puffy Blanket

When espresso is part of your morning routine, you don’t have to skip out even when you’re on the move. Wacaco has the lightweight, hand-powered espresso machines you need to start your day right. The Minipresso NS allows you to conveniently prepare up to 45 mL of delicious espresso using a mess-free, easy-to-clean mechanism that requires only hot water, espresso pods, and some hand strength to pump the piston. Weighing less than a pound, the Minipresso has a built-in espresso cup, comes in a drawstring travel bag, and fits nicely into a backpack water bottle pocket. The Nanopresso similarly makes a hand-pressed cup of espresso but uses coffee grinds instead of pods. Pack a Zojirushi vacuum insulated bottle of hot water, and you’ll be ready for a coffee boost whenever the mood strikes.

A mini espresso machine is being hand-pressed into a tiny glass espresso cup.
Wacaco Minipresso NS

If you have ever stayed in a hotel room right next to the elevator bank, you know that unexpected noises throughout the evening can result in a disturbed night of sleep. The Dohm® Classic Natural Sound Machine is well-known for its great everyday use but can be heavy to travel with. A much smaller but equally effective sound machine with a stand that converts into a hanging hook and provides a range of 11 different sounds is the Go™ Travel Sound Machine. Compact and lightweight, this USB-rechargeable unit can run for 12 hours from one charge. Another excellent lightweight option is the Marsona® 600A Sound Machine, which provides 6 sounds to help mask noise and promote relaxation. Its flat shape makes it easy to pack in luggage. The sound can be loud enough to reach across a large hotel room, and the white noise setting provides a soothing sound base for restful sleep.

This 2022 travel gear guide should make packing for your next trip easy and stress-free. Do you have a tried-and-true travel product that you never leave home without? Which travel gear recommendations do you suggest or want to learn more about? Comment below to make suggestions or request blog coverage on other travel items of interest. 2022 travel adventures, here we come!

Photos courtesy of Alison Ramsey.


bottom of page