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Fodor’s Approved: Editors’ All-Time Favorite Travel Wares

We all have something we wouldn’t travel without, whether it’s something that brings back memories or is some unexpected item that you’ve found one million uses for. They’re the things you brag about—using a shower cap to store your shoes, the magic spray that gets wrinkles out in a pinch. In short, they make you feel like a travel boss. So I asked Fodor’s entire editorial staff to divulge their travel must-haves, and divulge they did. From the scarf you can’t leave behind to a perpetually-packed cosmetics bag, here are the things our editors could never (ever) travel without.

Looking for more Fodor’s Approved? We’ve ranked the best carry-ons, checked bags, TSA-approved beauty products, and summer weekenders.

All-Star Bags


Always-Packed Cosmetic Bag: This cosmetics bag ($30) is my ultimate go-to travel item. Not really for the bag itself, but because it is always packed and ready to go. I have tweezers that have helped me with splinters in Hawaii and served as mini-pliers in Wales; I have Neosporin and Band-Aids; there’s a nice, thick lotion; and even souvenirs from trips like Dead Sea salt and minerals. – Linda Cabasin, Editorial Director

Multi-Use Makeup Bag: I always take my little LeSportSac passport holder ($20). Technically it’s a makeup bag, but I use it as a passport holder—it has all the right pockets for my travel needs like a passport, boarding pass, a pen to fill out forms, iPhone headphones, some foreign cash, Tylenol , and more. – Caroline Trefler, Senior Cities and Culture Editor

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Pacsafe Slingsafe GII: I bought this backpack ($83) a few years ago and love how safe it is to carry on even the relatively mean streets. All the pockets can be closed, and the straps can be unhooked and wrapped around a chair leg to deter snatchers. I take it all the time as my carry-on because it’s lightweight yet still holds everything I need on the flight, including my iPad. – Doug Stallings, Senior Editor Cruises and Resorts

All-Star Travel Style


Travel-Ready Dress: I am obsessed with Kamali Kulture dresses (from $96), by Norma Kamali. You can ball them up and throw them in your bag, and no matter how long your flight is or how bumpy the roads are, it arrives in perfect condition. Amazingly, it’s also a really affordable collection. My favorite piece is the long sleeve, side draped LBD. You can dress it up or down, and it’s at home in virtually any country. – Erica Duecy, Deputy Editor,

Lightweight Scarf: A few years ago, I bought a bright blue scarf with a white elephant on it from a women’s co-op in Cape Town, South Africa. It is the best $10 I have ever spent and I don’t go anywhere without it. I have used it as a shawl on chilly airplanes (and even sometimes bunched up as a pillow), to shield me from the sun, over my bikini on the beach, and as a scarf in cold destinations. – Nicole Campoy, Blog Editor

Easy Cotton Kaftan: I love my blue floral cotton Kaftan, found at the Anokhi shop ($105) at the outdoor market in Delhi. It works as a swim cover-up or to throw on with jeans for a casual evening out. And, bonus: You can purchase Anokhi online in the US now, too! – Kristan Schiller, Editor, Cities and Cultural Destinations

All-Star Shoes


Chic Flats: I often get asked what heels I travel with. In fact, I usually pack flats; they’re a lot easier to fit in my carry-on. French Soles (from $150) are my year-round go-to’s: They are chic, comfortable, and super-light, with choices in every color and trend imaginable. I can dress up an outfit or kick about town in trendy pair. Buy them online or, better yet, visit their New York outlet for fantastic discounts. – Arabella Bowen, Executive Editorial Director

Walking Shoes: I always pack at least one pair of Tom’s (from $40). They’re so comfortable, versatile, lightweight, and smush-able that I can take a pairs in different colors for different outfits. – Caroline Trefler

Clogs: They may not be sexy, but my Dansko Professional clogs (from $125) are oh-so-comfy. They’re ideal for whizzing through airport security since they slip on and off so easily. Don’t believe me? Ask any chef why they wear them and you’ll get a glowing report. – Kristan Schiller

All-Star Gadgets


Power Strip & Emergency Battery: Between power cords for laptops, cell phone chargers, and e-readers, outlets can run out quickly in a hotel room. So to avoid moving the furniture, I bring a mini power strip ($12). It keeps everything localized and easily accessible. Plus then you don’t find any unsavory things behind the hotel room couch. But for those times when my batteries do die on me, I turn to these emergency USB-juiced power packs ($35) to give them new life. – Dennis Tyrell, Senior Manager, Online Marketing & Web Development

Portable Speakers: Ever since my husband and I spent a 7-day cruise in a room next to two toddlers, we’ve carried portable speakers ($20) that plug into an iPod. We bought a set on that cruise and it saved us—they drowned out the noise and let us fall back asleep in the mornings (after the kids’ early wakeup). But they also added a nice soundtrack to evening cocktails on the balcony. – Salwa Jabado, Senior Editor Countryside and Adventure

Noise-Canceling Headphones: When my in-laws gave me a pair of QuietComfort 15 Bose headphones ($300), I was initially put off by their size (yes, it totally stressed me out that they were larger than earbuds). One trans-Atlantic trip later and they’re guaranteed a spot in my bag. They’re perfect for shutting out airplane noise–and binge-watching TV shows on my iPad—and now rank among the best travel presents I’ve ever received. – Arabella Bowen

All-Star Hybrids


Dryer Sheets: I always travel with used dryer sheets (approx. $5). I pack them in my suitcase to keep clothes smelling fresh. And since they’re already used, they don’t leave a residue. (Fresh ones do!) – Emily Davis, Digital Marketing Manager

Masking Tape: When I went to art school, brown masking tape ($5.50) was a staple. 20 years later, I had a couple rolls kicking around and it turns out they are great to travel with. First, I tape down the lids of any packable liquids. And on the road, I use the tape for lint removal. And then there are those unpredictable situations where something breaks or leaks and you’ll always be happy to have your trusty roll of tape! – Siobhan O’Hare, Director, Content Management & Publishing Technology

Shower Caps: I learned this last year and I am never going back. I bought a cute reusable shower cap (approx. $5) at the drugstore (i.e. more durable than the hotel bathroom kind) and I use it to cover the bottoms of my shoes before putting them in my bag. It keeps icky street dirt off my clean clothes! – Katie Fleming, Senior Publicist

Convertible Pants: I never travel without my Columbia convertible pants ($60). I’m not a fan of shorts (#covermyknobbyknees), so I appreciate that these are lightweight enough for very warm weather, which makes them excellent for sun and bug protection! They are great for hiking, but they’re my go-to pants for the airplane, too. The two side pockets are perfect for documents. I use the zipper pocket to secure my passport, boarding pass, etc. – Eric Wechter, Editor, Cruises and Resorts

3 Fluid Ounce All Stars


Sunscreen: I am VERY SERIOUS about sunscreen. I went on a Quest to find the best one. (Intensive research was involved.) And Elta MD Sunscreen (from $13) was my winner. It’s zinc based (which means it offers stable UVA and UVB coverage); it’s fragrance free; and it’s fairly natural. I slather it on every day, but I keep it handy in my carry-on during flights because when you’re above the clouds, the sunlight up there is like strapping a tanning booth to your forehead and protection is a must. – Maria Hart, Editor, Cities and Cultural Destinations

Moisturizer: A part of my regular routine, Neutrogena Visibly Even Daily Moisturizer ($14) is one of the only products I bring on beach or hiking trips, where I know looking made up isn’t necessary. It’s SPF 30 and I’ve never once gotten sun burnt on my face while using it (and I rarely reapply—don’t tell). My skin is pretty sensitive, and I’ve never had a problem with redness or breakouts with it. It’s just the best. – Amanda Sadlowski, Assistant Editor

Cleansing Towlettes: I’ve tried other brands and always come back to Olay Wet Cleansing Towelettes (from $5). After (or during) a flight they make me feel human again. The “normal” ones have a pretty, refreshing scent. The “sensitive” skin version is unscented therefore a bit more gender neutral. – Siobhan O’Hare

Wrinkle Releaser: You want to know my perfect product? Downey Wrinkle Releaser (travel size from $2.50; larger bottles from $8.50). Irons aren’t always available on the road, but wrinkles are still a problem. A quick spray of this plus a tug on the material makes you presentable for dinner, the opera, anything. It also kills odors. Downey makes a travel-sized version, but it’s hard to find. So I pour 3 ounces in a small spray bottle and carry it on the plane. – Doug Stallings

All-Star Comforts


Cozy Socks: One mainstay in my carry-on is easily a pair of J.Crew cashmere socks ($69.50). Planes get freezing, and these socks keep my toes from going blue. Plus the little touch of cashmere adds a vital dose of elegance to trips in coach—especially overnight flights when I’m surrounded by sad fleece blankets and spongy pillows. They make everything feel like business class. – Maria Hart

Cozy Slippers: The second I walk through the hotel room door (or find my seat on a plane), I kick off my shoes and throw on these Muji Travel Slippers ($10.50). I don’t like being barefoot in hotel rooms and these are so easy to travel with—they fold up and are stored in a little drawstring bag. – Siobhan O’Hare

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