16 Unique Travel Accessories You Didn’t Know You Always Needed (2024)

16 Unique Travel Accessories You Didn’t Know You Always Needed (1)

The most innovative travel accessories offer solutions to common frustrations we’ve learned to accept as part of the process, and the truly game-changing ones solidify themselves as the new way we travel. Consider wheeled luggage: for centuries we lugged around heavy trunks and suitcases before someone had the idea to add wheels (and to go back would seem almost like a cruel form of punishment).

However, with so many new travel products flooding the market these days, it can be hard to know when something is worth your hard-earned coin or a dud. That’s where we come in. We’ve scoped out the scene to find the most revolutionary and unique travel accessories that you didn’t even know existed — or that you so desperately needed.

Why travel tough when you don’t have to? From space-saving drink caddies and secret, stashable storage to travel bidets and sunglasses that just might replace your earbuds, these are the products that are changing the way we travel for the better.

Bevledge Airplane Window Organization Station

16 Unique Travel Accessories You Didn’t Know You Always Needed (2)

Why We Love It

  • It’s a slim and portable beverage tray that utilizes the window to hold more than just your drinks.

What to Consider

  • It doesn’t work on all window types, and some airlines don’t allow it.

The BevLedge is the answer for all window-seat flyers who struggle with divvying up the real estate on their tray table. This genius travel product functions as a lightweight drink holder that perches at the bottom of most (but not all) plane windows. Just unfold it, slide it into the window frame, pop it out, and voila! you’ve got a double-drink caddy with dedicated space to store two pairs of sunglasses, your cell phone, and two pairs of wired earphones. The slim design measures about six inches wide when folded and can easily fit in your bag's main compartment or a laptop/tablet slip pocket. Using the BevLedge will still shake your drinks if you hit rough air, but they’ll be more secure than on your tray table.

Price at publish: $20

Vssl Wilderness Navigation Flask & Flashlight

16 Unique Travel Accessories You Didn’t Know You Always Needed (3)

Why We Love It

  • It’s like the Swiss Army Knife of flasks.

What to Consider

  • The emergency tools can only be used simultaneously if the flask is empty.

Swap out those old-school, flat-shaped flasks for the Vssl Outdoor Flask that is designed to not only quench your thirst on the go but can also help you out of some tricky travel situations. The Vssl Outdoor Flask features a built-in emergency, multi-mode LED flashlight, aluminum bottle opener, and precision compass topper — and holds up to eight ounces of liquid plus two collapsible stainless steel 1.5-ounce cups hidden inside. Double insulation and a double vacuum seal promise to keep cold drinks chilled for up to 10 hours and hot drinks steaming for up to five. The 9.3-inch high cylindrical stainless steel design is rugged yet stylish, with a magnetic carabiner clip that makes it perfect for taking out on a day hike, a far-flung train ride, or other places where resources may be scarce. Just be prepared to pour out any remaining liquid if you get lost; the flashlight and compass pieces also function as end caps.

Price at publish: $115

LokiStashed 3-Pack Velvet Hair Tie Scrunchies

16 Unique Travel Accessories You Didn’t Know You Always Needed (4)

Why We Love It

  • It’s like having a small purse on your wrist or in your hair.

What to Consider

  • You have to be mindful of the types of items you store inside.

We’re huge fans of travel accessories that allow us to be practical without losing style points. These LokiStashed Classic Scrunchies do double duty as throwback hair ties and somewhat incognito stash wallets. Each pack comes with three scrunchies with a zippered opening that allows you to store valuables such as cash, tickets, lip balm, or even a loose key. We love the heavy-duty elastic because it’s strong enough to hold long or thick hair, while the plush velvet material keeps it comfortable on our wrists and doesn’t snag on hair. Heavy or bulky items may cause the scrunchie to sag or have its secret storage feature exposed, while delicate stashes may become damaged when twisted around your ponytail.

Price at publish: $13 for 3

Frequent traveling, long journeys, and time zone changes can wreck your body and affect your sleep quality. The Apollo Wearable is a health wearable backed by over 15 years of scientific research. This unique accessory doesn’t track your health so much as add to it by using varying vibrations to stimulate the vagus nerve, signaling the body’s natural response to touch. It is said to reduce stress and improve sleep with as little as three hours of daily wear, and attaches with a strap that resembles an inverted Apple Watch. Users choose between eight specific vibration programs in the app for a targeted effect, and can customize the length of time and intensity, too. (We especially like "unwind" to help us relax during travel and "fall asleep" when adjusting to new time zones.)

Price at publish: $349

Rolling Square Keychain Charger Cable

16 Unique Travel Accessories You Didn’t Know You Always Needed (6)

Why We Love It

  • You can use a device as a power source.

What to Consider

  • You may have to remove some phone cases to fit the port.

Sick of packing separate chargers for all of your different travel tech devices? The Rolling Square inCharge 6-in-1 charger swaps out your need to carry around several separate charging cords by providing six different types of charging ports in one portable charger that fits on your keychain. Yes, it’s true — it gives you two main USB-A and USB-C ports that each charge or sync to USB-C, Lightning, and Micro-USB ports. We especially love that it enables you to take the juice from one device to power another. For example, you can pull a charge from one iPhone to charge your wireless earbuds — a life-saver on long travel days. (Note: this feature is only available if you use the USB-C input.) The price is a steal, and the only real downside we have found is that you might have to remove your device case for the port to fit fully.

Price at publish: $20

Weatherproof Packable Travel Neck Pillow

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Why We Love It

  • It’s a sneaky way to pack a little extra and beat the in-flight A/C.

What to Consider

  • The comfort level of the pillow really depends on what you stuff inside.

Packable neck pillows are finally getting the recognition they deserve as clever ways to sneak some extra items onto the plane (they’re practically an additional day bag carry-on), but this product takes it even further. Are you heading to a destination with erratic temperatures? The Weatherproof Packable Travel Neck Pillow comes pre-packed with a lightweight, down-alternative puffer jacket. On the journey, it functions as a comfy neck pillow — and the convenience of packing a solid jacket for your trip without taking up space (a particular boon for those just-in-case jacket needs). We also like that we can wear the jacket on the return trip, if needed, and free up some suitcase space for more souvenirs. This works best if later you stuff the pillow sleeve with larger, softer items like sweaters and scarves since it’ll be less comfy with lumpy items with the jacket removed.

Price at publish: $70

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Why We Love It

  • It has serious style and works with most bags and luggage.

What to Consider

  • You’ll get more pattern and color options if you order directly from Cincha.

The Cincha Travel Belt is a stylish solution to the age-old problem of carrying multiple luggage pieces or securing your purse, diaper bag, or other personal bag to the trolley handle of your carry-on suitcase. Think of this as a cinching belt (that stretches up to 45 inches) for your travel bags. We love that it works with almost any standalone bag that can fit with a simple wraparound and click of the belt and adds solid style to boot. The belt features vegan leather accents and is available in 14 core colors and patterns, plus a handful of limited-edition designs at any time (and you’ll get the most variety by ordering directly from Cincha). Even as you’re wheeling around hands-free, you can still access the contents of your attached bag, so there’s no need to clip and reclip. For some sneaky extra storage and added convenience, grab the Belt Bag, a zippered pouch that doubles as both a travel belt and a crossbody or hip pack to wear instead.

Price at publish: $40

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Fila x Revel Tune Smart Sunglasses

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Why We Love It

  • You can snag a pair even if you wear prescription lenses.

What to Consider

  • People may look at you like you’re talking to yourself.

The Fila X Revel Tune SFI502 Sunglasses make carrying around headphones borderline irrelevant. With new technology, the glasses allow you to be able to listen to music and take calls through the sunglasses you’re already wearing. The design combines function and fashion with a slightly more boxy take on the classic Wayfarer shape, and you can expect to get top-notch audio and crisp vision. Like wireless headphones, these audio sunglasses have quick-touch controls at the temples. One of our favorite things about these sunglasses is that you can customize them with prescription lenses, including bifocals or progressive lenses. Prepare for puzzled stares from fellow travelers who could assume you’re talking to yourself when taking calls on these glasses. For now, this limited-edition collab pair is only available on one site.

Price at publish: $138

Riemot Luggage Cup Holder

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Why We Love It

  • It gives travelers the freedom to roll around the airport without juggling too much in their hands.

What to Consider

  • This works best on spinner suitcases (versus two-wheeled luggage).

Raise your hands if you wish your stroll to and from the gate could be a more hands-free experience. Consider adding a drink caddy to your luggage or stroller. The Riemont Luggage Travel Cup Holder is a sneaky travel accessory that effortlessly slips over your carry-on trolley handle to give you a temporary, dedicated space to store an airport drink (or two), and your phone. Beverages such as water bottles, baby bottles, reusable water bottles, or coffee cups sit in the front two pockets, while your cell phone, boarding pass, or passport can slip in the back pocket sleeve — and just like that, your hands are free from a cumbersome and delicate balancing act. While you can use this as a caddy as you wait at the gate, if you want to move hands-free through the airport, you’ll need to have a piece of luggage with four wheels to avoid spillage.

Price at publish: $12

Why We Love It

  • There’s no need to have wired headphones to use the in-flight screen.

What to Consider

  • It can be finicky to set up the first time.

Wireless headphones have soared in popularity, and airline seatback entertainment systems have yet to catch up. While your wireless headphones will work for app-based entertainment on personal devices, if you’ve gotten stuck on a long flight with only a wired audio plug-in option, it’s hard to forget. Instead of buying and carrying around two sets of headphones, the Twelve South Airfly Pro Bluetooth Transmitter has come up with a solution so obvious we can’t believe nobody has thought of it before. This wired Bluetooth transmitter plugs into your standard headphone jack and lets you transmit and receive audio via wireless earbuds. Even better news? It works with car aux-in jacks, has up to 16 hours of battery life (charged with a USB-C), and can pair up to two sets of earphones simultaneously — making it a great travel product that'll save money in the long run.

Price at publish: $55

Why We Love It

  • It’s compact enough to bring it on daily adventures, just in case.

What to Consider

  • You’ll need to put this in a checked bag for air travel as you cannot bring it into the cabin itself.

The Swiss Army Knife has finally gotten a modern update. The Victorinox Swisscard Lite Pocket Tool is a 13-in-1 utility accessory that is the size of a credit card, and, at under three millimeters thick, slim enough to fit into your wallet. This impressively-designed card squeezes scissors, a ballpoint pen, a straight pin, four micro screwdrivers, an emergency blade, magnifying glass, a ruler with centimeters and inches, LED light, and tweezers into one space. While we love the compactness of this tool, it’s worth noting that its plastic casing is not as durable as the metal used in the O.G. Swiss Army knife and, since it has a blade, it can’t be carried into an airplane cabin.

Price at publish: $35

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Orihill Water Bottle Pouch

16 Unique Travel Accessories You Didn’t Know You Always Needed (13)

Why We Love It

  • It’s a minimalist packer’s dream come true.

What to Consider

  • The new larger size works best on water bottles with a handle.

The Akisola Water Bottle Pouch is for our truly minimalist travelers out there. Keep everything you need to stay hydrated and organized in the palm of one hand with this strap-on wallet for your water bottle. Board your flight, train, or bus with just your water bottle and an Akisola zippered pouch loaded up with your phone, ID, ticket, passport, money, and other necessary travel items. The elastic strap easily adjusts to fit multiple water bottle sizes and velcros firmly into place. This version sports a new and improved, patented anti-slip grip on the back of the pouch to help keep it from sliding down the side of your water bottle. The new, larger 6.8-by-3.9-inch pouch can fit up to an iPhone 14 Plus but that makes it more difficult to carry on water bottles without a handle.

Price at publish: $20

Why We Love It

  • All five products in the Starter Stak are gluten-free, fragrance-free, cruelty-free, and vegan.

What to Consider

  • Not all pods are customizable for skin tone or type.

Looking for a handy travel accessory for the woman in your life? Subtl has created an ultra-portable, stackable way to travel with makeup essentials. Their Starter Stak comes with six individual pods that screw-stack on top of each other, perfectly sized for an easy travel makeup routine and touch-ups on the go. Each pod holds 3 to 3.9 grams (up to 60 applications) of cream concealer, highlighter powder, shine control powder, 2-in-1 lip and cheek balm, plus a makeup brush pod and mirrored top cap. Want a taller stack? Adding and customizing your stack is as easy as choosing your shade and adding it to the pack. Each pod is approximately one centimeter deep and under two inches wide, leaving you with a streamlined, TSA-approved cylinder you can toss into your bag without taking up tons of space. For the starter pack, you’ll get to select your concealer shade, which also dictates the bronzer color you'll receive, but everything else has a fixed shade. The makeup claims to be for all skin types, but the cream-based makeup will likely require setting if you have oily skin.

Price at publish: $70

SoMine Seat Organizer

16 Unique Travel Accessories You Didn’t Know You Always Needed (15)

Why We Love It

  • It keeps all of your travel essentials within arm’s reach in the seat pocket in front of you.

What to Consider

  • It needs the weight of being fully loaded to keep it from swinging into your shins when in the seatback pocket.

The SoMine Commuter Essential Seat Organizer is an easy-access storage pouch that puts all of your frequently-accessed travel gear essentials — including your earbuds, tablet, reading material, cords, snacks, and more — within arm’s reach in the seatback pocket in front of you. Load it up with your gear, pack it in your carry-on, and then use the tote handle to pull it out once you’re in your seat and slip the anchor sleeve into the pouch of the seatback pocket. We love this because it limits the number of times you’ll need to bend over or get up to access an overhead bag.

The main organizer sleeve has four small slip pockets plus one larger main slip pocket that can fit a tablet, plus a metal-reinforced corner cable hole for easy wired device connectivity and charging. The zippered top-layer privacy pouch hides your gear from nosy neighbors and is perfect for storing smaller loose items like ID or credit cards, coins, earbud cases, or your passport. A thoughtful water-resistant lining keeps us calm in case of drink spills, but we don’t love that it knocks into our knees when there’s not enough weight inside.

Price at publish: $25

Why We Love It

  • It’s inconspicuous to carry.

What to Consider

  • This manual bidet doesn’t have the same stream strength as a built-in bidet.

Fueled by the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020, more people than we can count became fans of the bidet during the first part of the pandemic — and the Tushy brand was there to answer the call. The popular bidet brand has created a collapsible bidet that travelers swear by. The Tushy Travel Bidet is a discreet and portable squeeze-to-squirt bidet that clips onto or into your travel bag. Just fill it up, pop out the nozzle, get into position, and squeeze. We not only like this product for travelers who prefer bidets, but it can also be a lifesaver when you find yourself in public or makeshift toilet situations where toilet paper isn’t an option. Be warned, though: it’s a manual method that can require awkward positioning, and the stream may not be as steady or robust as what you’re used to with a regular bidet.

Price at publish: $29

Why We Love It

  • This comes in extra clutch on long layovers and works for multiple forms of travel.

What to Consider

  • It takes up a lot of space and looks a bit silly.

You’ve probably seen the immersive Ostrich Original Napping Pillow pop up in your targeted ads; this game-changing (yet odd-looking) pillow creates a sleep space practically anywhere along your travel journey. The catch? You’ve got to stick your head and hands inside of it. Comfy and soft pillow blocks out sound and light to create a tranquil, padded environment that makes it easier to fall asleep. Slide in and rest your head on your tray table or against a wall or window to create a private sleep environment. It is a top pick for a travel pillow if you’re willing to look strange or carry around a pillow helmet in the name of good sleep.

Price at publish: $99

Tips for Buying Unique Travel Accessories

Prioritize usability

Just because something is cool doesn’t mean it will be a must-have for your needs. Consider when and where you’ll use a specific travel product. Luggage space is still prime, so we recommend only springing for the items with the most potential for frequent use. Of course, there’s no harm in treating yourself (if you can afford it) because you never know what unique buy could become your next trip essential.

Consider your trip type

We’re definitely on board with big or small travel accessory purchases that will significantly improve your journey or experience at a destination. If you don’t travel often and have a bucket list trip that requires long-haul flights, why not do what you can to make sure you arrive rested and fresh? If you’re backpacking or hopping on a ton of transit, it’s best to stock up on accessories that are easy to pack, carry, and take from place to place, but less so if it’s a road trip where you can leave these items in the car.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this story, Katherine Alex Beaven relied on her expertise and experience as a frequent traveler, conducted thorough research, and collected insights from fellow travelers to share the best and most unique accessories on the market.

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16 Unique Travel Accessories You Didn’t Know You Always Needed (2024)


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