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The ultimate holiday travel checklist: What you need this year

What travel essentials do you need on your ultimate holiday checklist?
The holidays are a busy time for travel, so it can get fraught at train stations and airports. Making a holiday travel essentials checklist will help minimize packing stress and ensure you have everything you need when it’s time to board your plane, train or bus. Make your list of travel gear to ensure your holiday trip is as smooth as possible. We rounded up the best accessories for travelers, from suitcases and carry-ons to portable chargers and first aid kits.
Shop this article: Morfone Travel Bottles Set for Toiletries, Béis The Weekender Bag and Cozy Earth Men’s Ultra-Soft Bamboo Pullover Crew.
Consider where you’re traveling
When traveling over the holidays, you might be heading home to spend time with your extended family or perhaps your household is traveling somewhere warmer or more scenic to see out the holidays in style. Whatever your plans, consider your destination when packing. An international packing checklist is likely to be somewhat different from a domestic travel checklist, particularly when traveling to a tropical international destination. If you’re heading to the Caribbean, you can safely leave your wool sweaters at home.
Pack your holiday gifts
If you’re travelling home for Christmas, Chanukah or any other holiday where gifts are exchanged, remember to pack your gifts. Sure, you could buy and wrap them when you get to your destination, but it’s likely that you’ll have limited time and it will only add to the stress. Where possible, choose physically small gifts that won’t take up your whole suitcase.
Best travel items for the holidays
Samsonite Winfield 2 Hardside Luggage
The right luggage can make or break your holiday trip. This Samsonite luggage features spinner wheels for easier mobility, and the hard-sided design offers extra protection for gifts and the rest of your travel items. You can choose between a range of sizes from compact carry-on cases to larger pieces of hold luggage.
Kindle Paperwhite
E-readers are perfect for taking on holiday trips — not only for entertainment while you travel to your destination, but to give you something to do when you’ve had a little too much family time. Alternatively, if you’re using your time off over the holidays to get away somewhere warm, the waterproof Kindle Paperwhite is ideal for reading by the pool or at the beach.
Morfone Travel Bottles Set for Toiletries
If you’re doing your holiday travel by plane, you’ll need to meet Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements for traveling with liquids in your carry-on luggage. This set of travel bottles meets TSA guidelines, so you can decant your larger toiletries into them. Plus, they come with a transparent zippered case that meets the requirements for all your liquids to be placed in a transparent quart bag while you go through security.
Bose QuietComfort Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
These noise-canceling headphones will make your holiday travel a far more pleasant experience — you can get immersed in an audiobook, album, podcast or in-flight movie without hearing the sounds of other travelers. You’ll be equally glad of the noise-canceling properties of these Bose headphones when you get home for the holidays and your siblings won’t stop bickering over whether or not “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie.
Duncan and Stone Paper Co. Travel Journal
At some point, you have to embrace the chaos of the holidays, so bringing a travel journal gives you a place to record your adventures and write down any funny anecdotes or family drama. Some elements of the holidays might not seem fun as they unfold, but you might read about them in your journal in years to come and laugh about it. Not to mention that if you look busy writing stuff down, people might not bother you so much.
Honest Free & Clear Hand Sanitizer Spray (2-pack)
It’s important to stay safe while traveling and while out and about on your holiday trip, so it’s a good idea to always carry hand sanitizer with you. These small 2-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer spray are small enough to carry with you on an airplane and are generally convenient for day-to-day use.
Owala FreeSip Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Bringing a reusable water bottle will keep you hydrated on your adventures and save you the cost of overpriced disposables at the airport. The stainless steel bottle with double-wall insulation keeps beverages cold for up to 24 hours. It features a built-in straw, a push-button lock and a carrying loop.
MLVOC Travel Pillow Kit
A travel pillow supports your neck and prevents neck strain while napping on a long flight or road trip. This memory foam neck pillow molds to the shape of your body for the ultimate support. It comes with an eye mask, earplugs and a storage bag.
Veken Packing Cubes for Suitcases
These handy packing cubes will keep your travel items sorted and organized. Breathable mesh panels keep your clothing fresh and easily visible. They come in a set of six in various sizes.
General Medi Mini First Aid Kit
Bringing a first aid kit along on your trip is a must. This travel-sized option packs 110 hospital-grade essentials into a compact storage bag that’s easy to pack and carry around. It includes everything you need to clean and dress minor wounds.
Duracell Rechargeable Powerbank
A portable charger is one of the best travel gadgets to bring on vacation. This powerbank from Duracell will keep your devices charged when you don’t have access to a power outlet. You can charge up to two devices at once, including up to six charges of a smartphone. It’s compatible with iPhone, iPad, Samsung and Android phones.
Best travel accessories for women
Pascacoo Passport Holder Cover Wallet
This cute passport wallet will keep your travel documents safe and organized. It has built-in radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology that blocks the electromagnetic signal emitted from cards, preventing others from stealing information including your personal account details. Available in 28 colors, you can get this faux leather travel wallet with or without a luggage tag or AirTag holder.
Bagsmart Toiletry Travel Bag
This toiletry bag doubles as hanging storage thanks to an interior hook. It’s made of water-resistant polyester with a top-carry handle and multiple compartments for organizing your personal items. The bag comes in 10 colors, from solid neutrals to fun paisley and floral patterns.
Béis The Weekender Bag
This trendy travel bag is the perfect size for a carry-on, giving you extra storage if you want to skip the hassle and cost of taking a full-size checked bag on a plane trip. The travel tote has a variety of convenient features: a zipper pocket that transforms into a trolley sleeve to fit over your luggage handle, a bottom compartment for storing certain travel items separately, a front zipper pocket to keep your travel documents easily accessible, a removable shoulder strap, a padded laptop sleeve, key leash and multiple interior pockets. It’s available in nine colors and also comes in convertible and mini versions.
Cozy Earth Women’s Ultra-Soft Bamboo Pullover Crew
This comfy women’s loungewear is made from luxuriously soft and stretchy bamboo. It comes in gray, black, navy and beige with the choice between standard and ribbed styles. Get the matching jogger pants to complete the lounge set.
Best travel accessories for men
Fintie Passport Holder Slim Travel Wallet
This RFID-blocking passport wallet has a slim, lightweight design and won’t feel bulky, even when filled with travel documents, cash, credit cards and more. It comes in 24 colors.
Vetell Classic Men’s Leather Toiletry Bag
This rugged leather toiletry bag has an interior mesh lining that resists spills and leaks, keeping your luggage clean. The large upper compartment has plenty of room for bulky toiletries, while a separate lower compartment stores smaller items.
S-Zone Canvas Leather Overnight Weekender Bag for Men
This 60-liter duffel bag is spacious yet still works as a carry-on. You can wear it as a shoulder bag or crossbody bag with the long shoulder strap. It’s made from durable canvas and genuine leather. While it lacks interior compartments, there’s a pocket on the side for storing shoes.
Cozy Earth Men’s Ultra-Soft Bamboo Pullover Crew
Cozy Earth offers this cozy men’s loungewear that’s similar to our recommendation for women. You have the choice between bamboo, modal or cashmere fabric in one of 10 colors. Complete the set with these matching jogger pants.
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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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