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Ready, jet, go: These are the 23 travel essentials Yahoo shopping editors always pack for a trip

Some cushy slip-on shoes and a supportive neck pillow will make your vacation actually feel like ... a vacation.

travel essentials: a yellow and gray neck pillow, purple packing cubes, a silver rolling suitcase and a navy blue slipper floating on a blue sky with clouds
Having the right travel gear means a less stressful, more enjoyable trip — "plane" and simple. (Amazon)

From weather and flight delays to the neverending TSA lines, so many things are out of our control when we travel. But packing smartly is one step we can take to minimize the chance of our trip turning into something out of a National Lampoon movie. With vacation season ramping up, I asked our trusty team of shopping editors — many of whom log thousands of miles each year — to share the items you'll always find in their suitcases (and in some cases, their go-to luggage itself). From staples like packing cubes and neck pillows to less conventional finds — a portable electric kettle or bidet, anyone? — these are the 23 must-haves our team won't travel without. Bon voyage!

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"Last summer I had my fair share of destination weddings, and this travel steamer was the ultimate +1. It folds flat, so it's small enough to squeeze into my carry-on, but it still has enough power to bring life back into my dresses and boyfriend’s suits after hours of travel. And while it’s an investment, it’s worth every penny, especially since I know I’ll take advantage of the dual voltage on upcoming travels to Europe." —Amanda Garrity, Commerce Editor, Gift Guides

$50 at Amazon
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$50 at Walmart$50 at Macy's

"Packing cubes are easily one of the best travel accessories of my time — I have a set for every member of my family. These handy travel helpers are made of water-resistant nylon and range in size and purpose. I can easily keep everything organized by tops and bottoms or have a cube dedicated to casual clothes, one for workout clothes and a cube just for dressier outfits. And when staying in a hotel for an extended time, I unpack in minutes by slipping the cubes into the dresser drawers. These are worth every penny and then some!" —April McCormick, Senior Health Editor

$21 at Amazon

"If you don't love those crescent-shaped travel neck pillows — I personally find [them] cumbersome to carry and not very comfortable to use — then this inflatable pillow is well worth a try. It takes up minimal room in your carry-on and can be inflated to your desired firmness or only partially and folded in half to use as a lumbar cushion. I also love that the soft cover is removable and machine-washable. It also makes for a heck of a camping pillow!" —April McCormick, Senior Health Editor

$22 at Amazon

"When I travel, I always opt for a small backpack over a shoulder bag to even out the weight between my shoulders. I purchased this one for my honeymoon in Italy, and I don't think I'll ever go on a trip without it again. Because it zips up from the back, I can feel confident knowing a pickpocket won't be able to access my belongings, and it has not one, but two water bottle holders — a must when clocking 20,000-plus steps in the summer heat! Plus, the faux leather material allowed me to bring it to nicer restaurants without anyone giving me the side eye." —Britt Ross, Deals Writer

Check out my full Pincnel Anti-Theft Backpack review for more. 

$28 at Amazon

"I've had this carryall for over five years and I've convinced countless friends to get one too. I've used it as my personal item on a plane or a weekender bag for short trips. It's stretchy, so as an over-packer, I definitely stretch it to its limit, but it's still in amazing shape. Inside, it has a laptop sleeve, a small zipper pocket and two mesh pockets on the ends. (I usually stick a pair of shoes in one end pocket and my makeup bag in the other.) It also has a tiny pocket on the outside that I put my wallet and AirPods in for quick access. It comes with a shoe bag, small mesh bag (for keys and such) and a detachable, longer shoulder strap. But I think the two attached straps on top fit perfectly over my shoulder and make it easy to carry whatever I have with me." —Ellie Conley, Senior Commerce Editor

(Psst: Yahoo Life Senior Commerce Writer, Kristin Granero, is also a fan!)

$215 at Dagne Dover

"This Mary Poppins-style bag is great for wet swimsuits, dirty socks, worn gym clothes and just about anything stinky that you don’t want near your clean clothes. It beats having to pack a spare packing cube or using a plastic bag, plus you never have to touch the stinky clothes after they’re in the bag: Just unzip it, toss it in the wash, and voila — your stuff and the bag are both clean and ready for your next trip to Boca (or to the gym, whichever comes first)." —Izabella Zaydenberg, Deputy Editor

$27 at Amazon

"I fly cross country several times each year to visit my family and I never travel without these compression sleeves. Not only do these tight-fitting sleeves help with feet and leg swelling during long flights, but they also keep my RLS symptoms at bay when I'm sitting still for 6+ hours. I own them in black, blue and pink and don't think I'd survive a flight without them." —Jeanine Edwards, Commerce Director

$10 at Amazon

"I'm a tea drinker and a cold person generally, and I travel a lot. Tea options in hotels are generally terrible, so these days I never go anywhere without this portable tea kettle. It heats water in seconds, is the size of a small canteen (when not in use, the cord fits neatly inside) and is affordable too. I've had it for going on five years — it means I can have my favorite tea whenever I wake up and a cup before I go to bed without ordering a $15 hot water from room service or messing with the hotel room's (often gross) coffee machine." —Jennifer Romolini, Senior Beauty Editor

$30 at Amazon

"Let's face it: Sometimes travel is both anxiety-inducing and smells bad. This essential oil is a soothing mix of lavender and other calming herbs — I shake a few drops into my travel scarf (or, in the pandemic days, a mask) and take a few deep breaths. It helps with both the stress, and the unfortunate smells." —Jennifer Romolini, Senior Beauty Editor

$13 at Amazon

"This duffel has been my go-to piece of luggage for about three years, and I don't think that's changing anytime soon. Great as an overnight bag and perfect as a personal item, it's so thoughtfully designed that it helps to keep me calm even on hectic travel days because there's a place for everything. Plus, it's water- and scratch-resistant so it's still in great shape after being put through the travel ringer. It comes in over 20 colors to boot." —Julia Webb, Commerce Manager

$128 at Calpak

"For a hands-free option, I use and love this backpack. It's large enough to fit my laptop, along with other plane and travel essentials, and it strikes the perfect balance between sporty and chic." —Kristin Granero, Senior Commerce Writer

$115 at Calpak

"I've tried what seems like ALL the travel pillows on the market and they have been rather disappointing. My latest purchase is this memory foam neck pillow. It was pretty helpful on a 4-hour flight in keeping my head in the right place for rest, without the dreaded head flop or any cramping from truly ridiculous attempts at sleeping on planes. It cinches with an adjustable rope lock for the right fit and the cover is removable and washable, which is key for any item you bring through an airport." —Lisa Schweitzer, Senior Editor

$16 at Amazon

"I'm a toiletry overpacker when I travel. From skin care and body care to hair care and sun protection (and everything in between), I like to be prepared. This toiletry case somehow manages to fit everything I need without bulking up, thanks to its expandable design. I basically feel like I get two toiletry cases in one with this bad boy. I pack my larger containers and loose items in the main zippered compartment and put toothpaste, travel-size fragrances and other smaller bottles in the outside zip pocket. The hanging loop also makes it the perfect travel-friendly case since it hangs from any hook in your hotel room, allowing me to access everything without digging through the bag — it's all laid out in front of me, just as I packed it." —Moriba Cummings, Senior Commerce Editor

$95 at Monos

"Genius product alert: The best inventions solve a problem. This handy hat clip? Tackles the issue of wanting to bring a sun hat on vacation without 1. stuffing it in your suitcase, risking damage and 2. taking up precious packing space. This leather doodad clips to your carry-on or purse and has two magnetic sides that snap onto the brim of your hat, keeping it crease-free and at the ready so you can put it on the second you land in Boca. See, I told you this thing was brilliant! Now prepare for compliments as you breeze through the airport with confidence, knowing you won the packing game." —Nicole Sforza, Executive Editor

$27 at Amazon

"We've all heard the horror stories about hotel coffee pots and the frequency with which they are (not) cleaned. I'm a big coffee guy — can't start my day without it. This AeroPress makes it easy to brew up a great cup of coffee in something that I know is clean. It's also small enough that the size it takes up in a bag is negligible. Take that, major coffee shop chains!" —Patrick Hearn, Deals Writer

$40 at REI
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$40 at Amazon$40 at Target

"I love my bidet and the thought of traveling without it seems a tad too unsanitary. For peace of mind, I got this portable bidet for a recent trip and it kept me feeling fresh and clean for ten days! All you do is fill the squeeze bottle with water and pop the nozzle on top and you're good to go. When it's not in use, the nozzle fits into the bottle neatly and it has a little travel pouch as an extra barrier between it and the rest of your travel gear." —Rachel Roszmann, Weekend Editor

$10 at Amazon
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$12 at Walmart

"I just used this bag for a 10-day trip to Europe, and it is seriously the best suitcase I've ever used. It rolled so much more smoothly than any other bags I've used in the past, and the handle was super cushioned, making it even more comfortable to navigate. I was able to fit 10 days' worth of clothing inside the carry-on and still had room for souvenirs, thanks to its expandable zipper that gave me an extra two inches of packing room. I carried it on the flight there and it fit perfectly in the overhead compartment, and checked it on the way home and it still looked good as new, even after tumbling down the luggage belt." —Rebecca Carhart, Style & Beauty Writer

$365 at Amazon

"My three tech essentials while traveling: iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods. Normally that would mean three separate charging solutions, which is why I strongly prefer this folding 3-in-1 dock. It's a compact sandwich in my carry-on, but it unfolds to provide charging stations for all three devices. This one also comes with an AC adapter; steer clear of similar products that don't." —Rick Broida, Senior Technology Writer

$30 at Amazon

"Before a vacation last year, my carry-on bag ripped and I snapped up this winner from Amazon. Let me tell you: I've used it several times since then while traveling and recommended it to multiple friends and family members. The bag has tons of pockets to store clothes, shoes, laptops and other personal items — on the return trip, you can expand the bottom to add in all those souvenirs you bought. The trolly sleeve fit over the handle of my Away suitcase like a glove and made getting through the airport a breeze." —Rory Halperin, Senior Commerce Editor, Branded Content & Special Projects

$23 at Amazon

"This backpack is my favorite travel buddy. It’s so roomy and has so, so many pockets in just about every possible place. There’s a key clip, zipper compartments galore and plenty of padding to keep my laptop safe and my back happy. A strap on the back slides right over carry-on handles, which is nice for taking a load off in the airport. It’s not the cheapest, but it still looks and feels brand new after a couple years of heavy use — a worthy investment for sure." —Saundra Latham, Commerce Editor

$120 at Amazon
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$120 at Macy's

"This is a garment bag that folds into a duffle bag, perhaps a better transformation (certainly a more useful one) than Clark Kent into Superman. I've had it for a little more than a year now, and saying it's served me well would be an understatement. I entrusted this thing, in fact, with carrying my wedding suit — and I'm happy to report the suit arrived wrinkle-free. I've been able to fit two suits in the garment bag, along with a weekend's worth of clothing, books and all my other doodads." —Scott Simone, Managing Editor

$98 at Halfday

"I love to travel, but am not the biggest fan of all the gymanstics that come with getting in and out of airports. While TSA Precheck makes getting out of the country a breeze, I still have to remove my liquids, electronics and more upon returning. These slippers help make that process a bit more tolerable since they're super easy to take on and off at security. Plus, they're incredibly comfy — which is a savior for my flat feet that are prone to discomfort. Even better: They're also great 'everyday' shoes for quick errands and walks. I adore them and may or may not own them in three different colors!" —Zainab Akande, Editorial Manager, Commerce Curation

$36 at Amazon