Last Chance! I’m a world traveler — my 12 packing essentials are on sale for Memorial Day

·8 min read

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towel, neck pillow, sandal, battery pack
Pack wisely with these travel gear picks I swear by. (Photo: Amazon/Getty)

If anyone knows how to pack a suitcase, it’s me…because I live out of one! As a remote worker, I spend much of my time abroad. Trust me: understanding how and what to bring can make or break a trip.

As a rule of thumb, it helps enormously to have things that conjure comfort, safety and a sense of familiarity (no, it’s not all about cute outfits!). Some of my essential pieces of travel gear are totally unexpected — like an HDMI adapter and sunscreen for my hair — and they're on sale, but this is your last chance to grab these Memorial Day deals!

If you have Amazon Prime, you’ll get free shipping, of course. Not yet a member? No problem. You can sign up for your free 30-day trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)

Travelpro Platinum Elite Softside Expandable Upright suitcase

Travelpro luggage
Travelpro is the brand flight attendants and pilots use. (Photo: Amazon)

...and that includes the suitcase itself. In this connected world, it just makes sense to travel with a piece of luggage that also charges your phone; it’s so helpful when you’re stuck at an airport gate or on a long bus ride. Flight attendants and pilots swear by Travelpro luggage — and this Travelpro Platinum Elite Softside Expandable Upright suitcase is the perfect pick. It’s a softside (I find these wear better than hardsides), and has an external USB port and a dedicated power bank pocket (the power bank itself is separate). Plus, it’s $50 off, or just $280 — the lowest price I've ever seen on Amazon.

$280 $330 at Amazon

As for what to put inside? I consider the following pieces of travel gear indispensable.

Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger

 Anker power bank
An Anker power bank is indispensable. (Photo: Amazon)

Remember that portable power bank I mentioned? It’s going to save the day, so don’t skip it. Now that we mainly use our smartphones to take pictures, get directions and even pay for things, it’s important that yours is always juiced up when you’re out sightseeing. The best-selling Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger is compact enough to fit in your purse and charges your iPhone or Android phone up to three and a half times at high speed.

$20 $34 at Amazon

Funky Monkey Women's Comfort Slides

Funky Monkey slides #1 best-selling flip flops on Amazon
I live in these. So will you. (Photo: Amazon)

I like to spend as much time as possible in beach towns, and I practically live in these Funky Monkey EVA beach slides. They’re basically Birkenstock dupes for a fraction of the price, but just as comfortable (they're heaven, in fact), and they’ve never given me blisters. It speaks volumes that they’re Amazon’s No. 1 bestselling flip-flops and have more than 31,000 five-star reviews. Right now they’re on sale in some colors, including my favorite: white! They go with everything.

$16 $23 at Amazon

Realgrandbazaar Lucky Turkish Towels Beach Towels

Turkish towel
Forget bulky hotel towels: this one's cuter, more absorbent, and it doubles as a blanket! (Photo: Amazon)

I thank myself all the time for buying a Turkish towel three years ago. It’s durable, highly absorbent, ultra-thin and takes up about the same luggage space as a pair of pants. I got mine in Croatia, and it’s been my constant companion all over the world, holding up impeccably through countless beach days, road trips and machine washes. This 100% cotton Turkish towel by Realgrandbazaar — down to $18 for Memorial Day — is identical to mine. It’s super cute and doubles as an on-the-go blanket.

$18 $23 at Amazon

Coola Organic Scalp Spray & Hair Sunscreen Mist with SPF 30

Coola scalp & hair mask
Your hair is susceptible to sun damage just like your skin. (Photo: Amazon)

You know you need a good sunscreen for your skin every day (I prefer mineral sunscreen, like this Kate Somerville pick, which sits on top of your skin to deflect rays), but don’t discount the damage UV rays do to your hair and scalp, too. My delicate, color-treated strands get fried and bleached by the tropical sun if I don’t use a great product like Coola Organic Scalp and Hair Sunscreen, which is marked down $5 when you apply the on-page coupon. The lightweight, coral reef–friendly mist has SPF 30 to protect against harsh rays and provides 80 hours of protection against another culprit: salt water.

$21 with coupon $26 at Amazon

QRxLabs Pure Plant-Based Squalane HA+ Moisturizing Cream with Hyaluronic Acid

QRxLabs squalane and hyaluronic acid moisturizing cream
Squalane is a magically moisturizing ingredient — it smells kinda funny, but it works! (Photo: Amazon)

The low humidity on planes is notorious for drying out skin, and then there are the elements, jet lag and forgetting to hydrate on your actual trip. They all take a toll on the skin. I constantly have a small stash of skin care with me while I travel, and a lightweight yet deeply hydrating moisturizer is absolutely essential. I’m loyal to ingredients, not brands, and this top-rated QRxLabs moisturizer contains two of my favorites: plant-based squalane and hydration superstar hyaluronic acid. Grab it for 50% off (!) and store it in your purse — it’s a carry-on-friendly two ounces.

$19 $40 at Amazon

Takeya Ocean Originals Vacuum-Insulated Stainless-Steel Water Bottle

Takeya water bottle
Keep your water cold on the go. (Photo: Amazon)

Here’s another great way to keep your skin — and your whole body — hydrated while you travel: keep drinking water! Novel idea, huh? It's even more important if you're walking more than usual, touring ancient ruins, or doing anything that puts you in the blazing sun all day. This top-rated, vacuum-insulated, reusable Takeya Ocean Originals water bottle makes it easy: it has a loop handle that lets you hook it onto a bag or a belt and carry it hands-free. It keeps water cold for a full 24 hours, and it’s 32% off.

$17 $25 at Amazon

QGeeM USB C to HDMI Adapter

QGeeM HDMI adapter
This HDMI adapter is my secret weapon. (Photo: Amazon)

Not everyone considers an HDMI adapter essential, but I do, and here’s why. A lot of hotels and vacation accommodations offer smart TVs, but that means you have to log in to your own Netflix, Hulu and other accounts. And then you forget to log out, which is a security risk. This QGeeM HDMI adapter connects your smartphone or laptop to any flatscreen TV with its HDMI cord attached, and mirrors whatever’s on your screen. I don’t travel anywhere without mine. This one is on sale for 40% off with the on-page coupon.

$12 with coupon $20 at Amazon

Bose QuietComfort Noise Canceling Earbuds

Bose QuietComfort ear buds
Bose is the gold standard in noise-canceling technology. (Photo: Amazon)

Like my Turkish towel, my Bose QuietComfort Bluetooth earbuds are my constant companions. They have superior noise-canceling and audio abilities, are sweat- and waterproof and have seen me through long trips on planes, trains, automobiles — and boats! My favorite part is how fast they charge — about 15 minutes for up to 12 hours of play time. They’re compatible with both Android and iPhone, and they’re 29% off in three colors. Bose is rarely on sale, so grab these for Memorial Day!

$199 $279 at Amazon

Flents Foam Ear Plugs

Ear plugs
These tiny ear make a huge difference. (Photo: Amazon)

One of the least predictable things about travel is sleep quality. Will you get noisy neighbors? Construction? Will you be stuck next to a heavy snorer on your flight? While staying in Bali, I had a rude awakening — I was literally awoken by the sound of roosters every morning at dawn. Lesson learned: Now I never travel without foam ear plugs. They're absolute game changers, and this box of 10 pairs of Flents ear plugs is more than 50% — just $3. You’ll thank me later.

$3 $7 at Amazon

Lug RFID Crossbody with Multi-Strap and Charm

Lug RFID purse
This is the perfect purse for travel: a super cute crossbody with RFID technology. (Photo: QVC)

I never advocate fear-based travel advice. But pickpocketing and card skimming are real, so I advocate the best safety precautions so you can enjoy your trip with a clear head. This Lug Crossbody bag is a perfect example of a smart purse. A crossbody bag keeps your stuff close to your body and in front where you can see it, and RFID technology protects all the cards in your wallet. It’s got lots of handy compartments too, so you don’t have to dig through a bottomless pit to find your keys, wallet, phone and all your little accessories.

$55 $61 at QVC

Bcozzy Flexible Travel Pillow

This travel pillow is totally adjustable for different sleep positions. (Photo: Amazon)
This travel pillow is totally adjustable for different sleep positions. (Photo: Amazon)

Neck pillows are a dime a dozen and yes, they do make travel so much more comfortable. But I also get back pain from traveling, and sometimes I need pillows in other places. This Bcozzy travel pillow is one of my best Amazon finds, and it comes with its own travel case. It’s flexible so you can conform it to your shape and for different sleeping and sitting positions. That’s probably why it’s Amazon’s #1 bestselling travel pillow. And good news! It’s 40% off right now.

$30 $50 at Amazon

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