Phone charger. Check. Hiking boots. Check. When it comes to packing for a trip, the stress can set in. AFAR team members know this well—in 2018, our staff traveled to more than 50 countries, from the busy streets of Vietnam to the tranquil shores of Bermuda to the grasslands of Rwanda. In short, they know a thing or two about packing a suitcase. Here are more than a dozen tried-and-true items that can make your next trip smooth sailing.
REI Co-op Expandable Packing Cubes are my ultimate hack for organized packing. The zip-up cubes come in different sizes, are made of waterproof nylon, and have handles that make them easy to grab. —Sarah Buder, Editorial Assistant
I throw on my Fjällräven Abisko trekking tights when I’m heading to an adventure. I can move around in them and they always stay in place, no matter the climb. —Laney Boland, Senior Integrated Marketing Manager
The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Hooded Jacket goes in my bag 90 percent of the time. It’s SUPER lightweight, packable, durable, and can handle just about any weather that comes at you. —Bryan Kincade, Publisher
It’s all about comfort and ease for me, so a pair or two of Havaianas flip-flops can always be found in my suitcase no matter where I am traveling. —Onnalee MacDonald, Executive Sales Director, West Coast
At the airport
Having sat through too many Frasier reruns on my last trip to SF, I now make sure I have an HDMI cord to connect my laptop and Netflix to the hotel TV. —Tim Chester, Senior Editor
My AirPods have made travel way easier. In a stressful TSA line, I just pop ’em in and go. Now if only airlines had Bluetooth entertainment systems . . . —Brennan King, Video Editor
Mobile Passport is my secret weapon for avoiding the long lines upon arrival. You can download the app for free and you get your own designated customs lane inside the arrivals hall at certain airports. I’ve even beaten my husband (who has Global Entry) through the line.—Katie Galeotti, Marketing and Special Projects Director
On the go
When I was on Bryce Canyon last month, I was able to recharge my iPhone and keep taking photos of all the beautiful rocks thanks to the Anker PowerCore 5000 charger I keep in my bag. —Maria Stegner, Senior UX Designer
I’m always ready for the unexpected with a Tide stick, sunscreen, and an extra handkerchief for humid climates. —Barry Brown, Executive Sales Director, Caribbean
Everyday Backpack by Peak Design has spoiled me. Customizable interior dividers and slick details like swiveling straps and side-loading zippers make it easy to access my camera (plus, there is still plenty of room for snacks). —Rachel McCord, Assistant Photo Editor
I keep Flight 001’s 4-in-1 universal adapter in my luggage and don’t bother to unpack it between trips. I like having just one adapter that works almost everywhere in the world, and when I’m not using it, it turns into a compact and colorful cube. —John Newton, Branded Content Advisor
AFAR participates in affiliate marketing programs, which means we may earn a commission if you purchase an item featured in this story. All products and services listed here are independently selected by AFAR staff.