The Smartest Travel Gear

You can pack light and still have everything you need to fend off the hazards of travel. Bag: Thule Crossover 40L. Products, clockwise from top right: S'well insulated water bottle, Bose QuietComfort 20 headphones, Icebreaker boxers, Brunton Revolt XL 9000 portable charger, iPad Mini, Emergen-C ElectroMix, and SteriPen Freedom. (Nick Kelley)
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Crying babies, endless delays, and that one aggressive seat-kicker are almost inevitable travel companions. Doesn't mean you can't have a nice journey: savvy packing will keep you collected and calm. We can't promise the same for the new parents across the aisle.

Upgrade Your Luggage

thule crossover 40l new rules of travel travel outside
(Courtesy of Thule)

Rollers sacrifice serious space with all that wheel infrastructure, so invest in a maximum-carry-on-size duffel. We like Thule’s Crossover 40L. It converts into a comfortable backpack and comes with a protective compartment for your smartphone or camera. $150.

Tune Out

Bose Quietcomfort 20 travel outside new rules of travel
(Courtesy of Bose)

A flight without noise-canceling headphones is like a traffic jam with no radio. Protect yourself. We love the Bose QuietComfort 20’s. They’re lightweight, compact, and easy on the ears. $299.

Refill Your Own

s'well bottle new rules of travel outside
(Courtesy of S'well Bottle)

Stop buying plastic and bring along this sharp-looking S’well insulated water bottle. From $25.


Bring a Small Tablet

ipad mini apple outside new rules of travel
(Courtesy of Apple)

For everything from watching movies to surfing the Web, it’s the best device out there. We still love the iPad Mini because it’s superlight, small, and the most user-friendly gadget on the planet. $400.


Pack These

icebreaker merino lycra boxers new rules of travel outside
(Courtesy of Icebreaker)

Let us now praise Icebreaker’s merino and Lycra boxers: they’re comfortable, fast-drying, and featherweight. Pack two pairs and you’ll be set for a three-day or three-week trip (with washings, dirtbags). From $40.

Essential Overnight Items

olukai cw-x eagle creek rei new rules of travel outside
(Hannah McCaughey)

OluKai Pahono Lace shoes
Don’t fumble to tie your shoes for a 3 A.M. bathroom run. The Pahono’s heel folds down, so you can slip in and out of them easily. They’re bedroom-slipper cozy but still sharp enough for everyday wear. $120.

olukai cw-x eagle creek rei new rules of travel outside
(Hannah McCaughey)

CW-X compression socks
We wear these to reduce foot and leg swelling at altitude. $55.

olukai cw-x eagle creek rei new rules of travel outside
(Hannah McCaughey)

Eagle Creek Sandman neck pillow
Super comfy and deflates down to pocket size. $24.

olukai cw-x eagle creek rei new rules of travel outside
(Hannah McCaughey)

REI Cushioned Eye Mask and Earplugs set
Blocks out light and the hick-hop blasting from your seatmate’s iPod. $11.

Sleep Aid
Outside editors recommend melatonin, Tylenol PM, or Ambien*.

* The best way to beat jet lag on a long journey is to hydrate, walk around the cabin every couple of hours, set your watch to your destination time, and swallow five to ten milligrams of Ambien on the longest leg. (I take mine with an airplane bottle of Johnnie Walker, even though our fact-checkers insist this could kill me.) Just be sure you tell the flight attendant what you’re doing, in case you start to sleepwalk—a known side effect. When you arrive, you’ll feel ready to go. Bonus: Ambien is the only sleeping pill that doesn’t slow your breathing, so it’s generally safe at altitude. Most physicians will prescribe it as a travel medication. —Grayson Schaffer

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