You’ve been upgraded: 6 travel amenities to make your trip more enjoyable

Travel can be a wonderful experience, but even the most seasoned travelers can find getting to their destination less than pleasant. Flight delays, crowded cabins, and temperatures that swing from Arctic cold to equatorial heat are common complaints. Some of it we can’t control, and it’s best to pack a big load of patience. But I’ve found a few little travel amenities that can help make the journey a little more pleasant, both in flight and upon arrival.

6 travel amenities I always pack


Silk sleep mask. On long flights, even just a few hours’ snooze can help me adjust to new time zones, and arrive feeling less fatigued. But even if cabin lights are dimmed, I still often find it’s not dark enough to fall asleep easily. (And then there’s the light from neighbors’ video screens.) A silk sleep mask like this one comfortably blocks ambient light, and you won’t wake up with face creases. (Also great for hotel rooms with too much ambient light.)

Hydrating mist. Cabin air can be dry, dry, dry. Though drinking lots of water helps, a little spritz of this hydrating mist helps my face feel soothed and less tight. The lavender fragrance also has a calming effect. This smallest size container won’t take up too much real estate in your liquids bag, and is refillable. (Though it goes without saying, please be considerate of those in neighboring seats.)

Compression socks. These help prevent feet and legs from swelling up in flight. I’ve had mine for a few years now and need to replace, have been considering these.

Lightweight wrap. When they’re not too warm, I usually find cabin temperatures too chilly. A non-bulky scarf or wrap (I prefer cashmere and cashmere blends) keeps me comfortable without feeling too bundled up. And scarves can be a great way to add color or print to your travel outfits.

At your destination

Lighted magnifying mirror. Is it just me, or is the lighting in most hotel bathrooms something out of a horror movie? And even if there is a makeup mirror, it’s often not working or mounted in an awkward spot. I’ve tried a few different travel mirrors over the last couple of years, but always keep coming back to this one. It’s rechargeable and a nice size.

Packing cubes. Not only do these lightweight cubes help compress clothing to save space, but are excellent for keeping your things organized at your destination. And if your travel includes multiple destinations, packing cubes make unpacking and re-packing a breeze. I’ve used these from ebags for years, but this set also gets great reviews. (I recommend using cubes with a see-through mesh top, to make it easier to identify contents.)

What little amenities do you never leave home without?

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  1. Hi Susan,
    When we first travelled long-haul from London as Kiwi backpackers on a budget, we found the money to buy Evian facial spray…another lifesaver was the wee pottle of nasal balm we found in a left behind first class amenities kit…unused…and 20 years before the pandemic!…little luxuries worth their weight in gold!
    Another reason to pack a pashmina or blanket scarf: they save your outfit from food and drink spills, much like a baby’s bib!
    Best wishes,
    Julie xx

  2. Those packing cubes seem tobe so handy. When I will be traveling again (hopefully soon…I am slowly getting over my phobia), I’ll order them.

  3. I love your ideas here, especially my cashmere wrap to use on planes when cool air is pumping! The only piece I don’t include is that large magnifying mirror only a tiny compact mirror.

  4. A folding memory foam lumbar pillow to sit on or put behind my back and an inflatable foot rest to get your feet off a cold cabin floor and ease back strain. I’ll be flying overseas this summer and have found both items help make me more comfortable. An eye mask, earplugs and neck pillow and I can snooze pretty well!

  5. Hi, the Ecco shoes I’ve worn for years that can withstand a ten mile city walk, have changed and are no longer amazing. . I splurged on a pair of Paul Green and while they are visually appealing and good for a short time, the comfort for walking doesn’t compare to Ecco. I know you have showcased both these brands but do you have other suggestions. I am so disappointed about Ecco and by all the reviews, so are many , many others. I need a very cushioned sole which the Paul Greens were lacking. Thanks!!!!

    1. I have the exact same issue. I depart in 2 days for an Italy (cobblestones!) trip and after ordering tons of platform sole styles hoping for lots of cushioning, I found that platform does not equal greater cushioning!

      1. Last year, I did a long trip to Israel and Europe – lots of walking. I looked at Ecco and other brands, but ended up buying the Frankie 4 Dimity shoe. But, colours are grey, black or (for some reason) pinkish hues. The shoe comes with various innersoles -I used the full length one which provided great padding and support. Best walking shoe I have and were perfect for Italy’s cobblestones. You can order them online,

        1. Thank you for this tip! So happy to see these come in larger sizes too — I wear size 12 and it can be hard to find in many walking shoes other than athletic (Nike, e.g.) sneakers.

  6. Unscented facial spray, please! I’m so sensitive to scents; they can trigger a migraine. I’d probably go ballistic if someone near me sprayed that on a plane.

  7. I got a 7-day pill holder (with compartments for morning and night so I can use it for 14 days) to hold my allergy pill and supplements. It is easier to use and takes up less space than packing all the bottles.

  8. I love packing cubes! I don’t think they save any space, in fact might take up a little more room in the suitcase. But it’s so convenient to have all the undies in one cube, the pants in one, the tops in another. No rooting through the suitcase looking for items! I’m also a big fan of my mini nightlight, which has interchangeable plug ends for foreign outlets, plus usb ports so I can use it as a charger. The nightlight is great for middle-of-the-night trips to an unfamiliar hotel bathroom & keeps me from having to turn on the bright overhead light. Another useful item is my lighted makeup mirror; mine isn’t a magnifying mirror like yours though, Susan. It’s a full face size which is about the size and thickness of an iPad, and is rechargeable.

    1. I agree packing cubes are the best and roll all your items when packing.
      I tried them and my husband was not so sure but we have now traveled countless trips to Europe with cubes and he has declared they are the “greatest invention ever.” we don’t move too many times in two months of travel but when you get dressed or take a quick side trip… it’s all in one cube. so easy.
      and easy to move on to next destination.
      I’d like to know more about the mini nightlight.

      1. Judy, I tried to post a link but it didn’t work. Google Lencent usb charger plug, I think that will get you to the nightlight

  9. We would LOVE to fly first class but we would rather spend more money on lodging & fun. Some of these items are a must have for me. The packing cubes are fantastic (I bought ours because you recommended them), my husband & I can now pack all of our clothes in 1 suitcase (I’ve also learned so much from you about a capsule wardrobe for traveling). The compression socks are a MUST have for people that have had blood clots like myself. I have been wanting to get a cashmere wrap but found the price to be a deterrent however, keeping my eye out for end of season sales, I snagged a beautiful 100% cashmere wrap on sale for $50. I’m short & the wrap is much longer than I am, it’s perfect for traveling! Thank you SO much for all the tips & tricks, they really work!

  10. Hi Susan-have you ever reviewed travel pillows? At home, I sleep with a down pillow and sometimes alternate with a Tempur pedic memory pillow. Any down sized travel suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Hi Cathy, I haven’t but that’s an interesting question. I’ll look into it and share if I find anything that looks promising.

      1. Susan, I travel with a Beaudoir size pillow from Cuddledown, and available elsewhere (but they sell a cover and pillowcase for it) bc I need a thinner pillow that hotels usually don’t offer. I purchased a gel foam lumbar pillow, as mentioned by another reader, but its weight and bulk are a problem for me. A summary of travel pillow options would be useful!

  11. Susan, I tried Bombas compression socks for my recent trip to Spain and they were very comfortable (no tight binding at the top of my calves). And not swelling visible upon arrival.

    Just a thought.

  12. Those are all great recommendations. I already use packing cubes (love them!) and always bring a wrap and magnifying mirror (although 3x magnification is not enough for me!) In addition to the items you mentioned, I also keep a pair of Isotoner slippers permanently in my roller board bag. I can wear them with or without socks when I am padding around in the hotel room so I don’t have to walk barefoot on the carpet or cold bathroom floor. I also have a small case where I keep all my electronics accessories–cords, earbuds, chargers, etc.–organized and corralled in one place. It is easy to see at a glance if something is missing, which means I am much less likely to leave behind a cord I had to plug in behind the nightstand or under my airline seat.

  13. Since I discovered these flat anti theft travel bags that lie close to the body, I wouldn’t travel without one.
    sling bag
    This one is from Amazon but they’re all basically the same. Keeps passports, wallet and documents handy at the airport and also when you’re travelling around at your destination sightseeing etc. It lies flat against the body and you can wear it under a jacket too.

  14. Thank you for these travel tips! I’ve been eyeing the simplehuman travel mirror and wonder – do you use the 3x or 10x magnification?