38 Things For Travelers Who Really, Really Dislike Checking Bags

Just think of all the time you won't spend hassling the airline about your lost baggage.

Popular items from this list include:

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An on-the-go Gillette razor
It comes with one handle and one blade refill.

Promising review: "I got this for a vacation and it was great! The little carrying container is awesome, and keeps you from having a weird, loose razor floating around in your suitcase. Plus the heads are the same as a regular-sized razor, so you can keep using it when that one is worn out!" — Tegan H
Tide sink packets
Each set comes with three detergent packets. And, because they are liquid, they'll easily slide into the side of your toiletries bag. I've packed these on international trips to much success.

Promising review: "Taking these out of the country to wash under things is exactly the right size." — Laura Wilson
Or pack of laundry soap sheets
I just came off a 2 1/2-week Europe trip (I went to Nice, Barcelona, Mallorca, and Rhodes Island, Greece) and only had in-unit laundry in one of those places. These sheets were a lifesaver for washing underwear, clothes that I sweated so much in, and also swimsuits that were laden with very salty sea water. They got the job done and I even found that the towel-warming rack in my Nice hotel did a fine job of hang drying my hand-washed undies much faster! Now, I went through about half of the sheets because my friend and I were having to wash a lot. But it was such a small investment (size- and money-wise) to keep our travel loads significantly lighter. Available in four other styles, including hand soap and shampoo.

Promising review: "This came SO in handy during my vacation to Europe! I was making lots of different stops to places with different types of weather. With these laundry soap sheets I was able to wash my clothes in the sink — letting me pack just the right amount of clothes for all the different places I went." — Katie Fujarski
A pair of elastic band sneakers
FYI, if you have Amazon Prime Wardrobe you can give this a spin before you buy it!

Reviewers say these are super comfy. Available in sizes 6–11 and 20 styles.

Promising review: "These shoes are so comfortable and well-made. They fit true to size, in my opinion. They fit perfectly. I just wore them traveling. They were the perfect airport shoe — easy on and off. And again, very comfortable for walking and standing for awhile. Great shoes, great price!! I highly recommend!!" — Justin D.
And a pair of flexible flat sandals
And at this price, you can wear them to death on a weeklong trip (like I did with a similar pair of Old Navy sandals on a weeklong trip to Croatia, shout out to For The Love of Travel) to activities like walking tours, dinner, clubbing (!!), and if you're really desperate, kayaking (like I said about wearing them to death). Available in sizes 5–11 and 11 styles.

Promising review: "These are so comfortable, I wore them every day on vacation and didn’t even get a single blister. However I have no arch so I don’t think they would have enough support for people who do. The 'leather' parts are very soft and not stiff. These will be my everyday shoes this summer for sure." — Allie McCarthy
A compact travel adapter
It accepts plugs from more than 150 countries! It has a side for American-type, British-type, European-type, and Australia-type inputs. Available in two colors.

Promising review: "This unit is not too large so it fits in carry-on or backpack very easily. I like how I can use this for other traveling abroad, as well. You just push out the correct plug part that is needed in the other country. I also really liked the options of USB ports on there to plug in our phones the same time as the computers. It did everything we needed it to do." — DKMese
Emma McAnaw / BuzzFeed
A Dagne Dover carryall duffle bag
My colleague Emma McAnaw owns this very bag and raves about it. Here's what she has to say: "I use this every time I travel — and I never, I mean NEVER, check bags. I even took this with me to Amsterdam and easily packed about four sweaters, DOC MARTENS, and all my undies and toiletries. To be fair I wore the same pants for four days (I am cheap, guys), but I never felt like I needed more space. And yes — even Spirit lets me take this."

Available in four colors.

Promising review: "I love this bag for travel. Size-wise it's acceptable as a carry on and I've even brought this bag with my roll aboard and had no problems on Alaska or American airlines. It's pushing the limits on you second personal item, but as long as you don't stuff it too full, you should be okay. This bag has pockets on all sides, a really nice shoe bag and a small zippered pouch that I keep my lululemon travel shawl in. The grey neoprene is really nice and I get lots of compliments. It is prone to picking up dirt marks, so you need to be careful about putting it on the ground or shoving it anywhere that might be dirty." — CdnNordyFan
Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed
A Beis backpack that zips open like a suitcase
I snagged this backpack after hearing my colleague Chelsea Stuart sing its praises. I had a trusty (now discontinued) InCase backpack I used as a personal item and served me well on dozens of trips for about five years. But I wanted a bag for some upcoming travel (2.5 weeks in Europe with just carry-on for five flights) that opens up like a suitcase for easier packing. Since buying, I've taken it on two long weekend trips (Amtrak to Newport, RI, for a wedding and regional train to a CT country lake house) with no complaints. In fact, for both of those trips I packed MORE than I needed.

Inside, you'll find a mesh zippered pocket and a plastic pocket perfect for your toiletries. I can fit enough wet toilet toiletries in the second pocket as I'd be allowed to carry-on for a plane. In the mesh pocket I put other necessities like cotton swabs, medicine, eye glasses, etc. The main compartment is deceptively deep so you can easily roll clothes and Lego-fit them in together without using packing cubes. In fact, I fit all of the stuff in the second picture in that section (a romper, PJs, a bikini, sunscreen, five pairs of undies, a pair of jean shorts, nap dress, three pairs of socks, two pairs of sandals, two T-shirts, a slip skirt, sleep mask, curling iron, mini flat iron, makeup bag, and tote bag). AND it has stretchy X-straps to keep it all secure like you'd see in a roller suitcase so when I unzip it, everything stays put. But before I forget, there's a separate cushioned laptop pocket close to the backpack straps that I found works well for books or a Kindle if your travel leaves you laptop-less.

I love that this backpack has DEEP side pockets so your umbrella or water bottle won't fall out. In fact, I stuck a flashlight and an umbrella in one side pocket. (You could always use a flashlight.) Plus! It has a generously sized pocket on the front of the backpack with easy access for sunglasses, snacks, writing pens...all sorts of those little extras you need to access quickly. To top it all off, the backpack straps and top handle are STURDY. I felt totally secure toting it around and slinging it into overhead storage compartments on the trains. I love the look and construction of it with faux leather and sturdy black canvas, and the trolley passthrough to easily fit on my roller suitcase I'm about to drag through a bunch of airports. At nearly $80, this isn't the cheapest backpack option but if you're a frequent traveler, you'll get so much mileage on it and seriously save on some baggage fees, making it well worth the cost. This backpack and I are going places, for sure.

Also available in beige.
Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed
A pocket-sized, refillable travel perfume atomizer
That's me pumping my signature perfume into one of these travel atomizers I've been using for about a year. As the reviewer down below mentions, it's great to just throw in your purse on the reg for a fragrance re-up throughout the day. As you can see, it's about the size of my thumb and therefore takes up very little room. Plus! It's smaller than most rollerball travel fragrances you can pick up. This first one is working so well, that I just have the other three in storage. But if this one bites the dust this summer during travels, I'll be OK about digging into my stores to use one of the remaining three, especially at this price point.

Promising review: "These work so great. Love it!!! I put my favorite perfumes in each one. When I wear a perfume I put the matching one to the perfume I’m wearing for the day in my purse. So I can freshen up my scent later! I like to smell pretty all day!!! They are small and compact but hold enough before you have to refill as well." — Nikki
A bodycon midi dress
Available in sizes S–XL and eight colors.

Promising review:
"I am in love with this dress! It is so soft and stretchy but looks sexy and chic even though it’s only $17. It wasn’t see through at all. It hit me at the perfect midi length and it was great being able to slightly adjust the straps. I wore it with nude heels for a fancy dinner out and got so many compliments, but it would also be great layered with tights and boots and a sweater for fall/winter. I 100% recommend this dress! Best Amazon purchase ever! I can’t wait to wear it again." — Sarah L.
Or a satin spaghetti strap dress
Available in sizes XL–4X and eight colors.

Promising review:
"I recommend 100%. I loved the fit and and was super comfortable. Got a lot of compliments about it and it was accurate on the size. Perfect!" — Cynthia Arizpe
A set of four washable market bags to ball up really tiny
Promising review: "I use these when I travel and as a pool/beach bag! Perfect for if you need to pack it in your suitcase! One bag has ripped slightly, so be careful they don't snag on things! Love these bags and will probably order more." — DAS
A pack of insect-repellent wipes
Promising review: "I’ve use these wipes in a few different countries, exotic and not, and they really work. I wasn’t sure because they were all natural and all that, but they work rather well, in fact they worked so well I didn’t get any bites on my Panama Canal cruise. In the past I’ve been eaten alive (thank you, blood type O), but no more thanks to these wipes!" — Didi
Beginning Boutique
A satin scarf you can wear as a top
Beginning Boutique is an Australia-based woman-owned small biz.
A clear TSA-approved toiletry bag
Available in 11 colors.

Promising review
: "Everything I needed fit perfectly, and I had no issues in TSA/China security. So far I have been through MSP, IAD, NKG, and PEK airports using this pack already, and it's a life-changer! I will never again have to worry about having to scramble to buy plastic bags just for liquids, and it is much more durable." — Courtney Swanson
A set of silicone travel bottles
I've used containers like these to carry shampoo, conditioner, hair masks, body wash, clothes detergent, and more.

Promising review: "These are perfect for travel or overnight stays. Each bottle holds 3 fl oz. Bottles are easy to squeeze and easy to fill." — Chris
Elizabeth Lilly / BuzzFeed
A solid hair conditioner bar
This bar is basically foolproof. You rub it directly on your wet hair after rinsing out your shampoo. I normally wash my naturally curly hair once or twice a week but on this trip was taking daily dips in the sea, so I washed my hair five over a week. Because of this, I let the conditioner sit for a few minutes, though you probably don't need to do that if you're washing your hair your usual amount on your trip. Each bar is supposed to last 200 washes and it might do a little less for me, but I know it will be good for many future trips!
A set of compression bags
And they come with a hand pump for travel! Available in four sizes.

Promising review: "This is a great product. I have a memory foam pillow that I try to take on trips, due to neck issues, so I purchased this product and put it to the test to see if it could flatten the pillow so I can also carry my clothes and the pillow in the same bag, carry-on size travel bag. The pillow's been sitting in the vacuum pack for the last three days now and hasn't let any air into the package at all. The pump removed so much air that the foam is as solid as a rock with less that an 1/8 of an inch of give when I press on it firmly with my thumb." — 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor
Or a collection of compression packing cubes
Again, just be sure to look up any weight restrictions on carry-on luggage. I recently ran into that problem myself, but the person at the airport check-in counter that gave me some trouble about my bag only seemed to care about my roller carry-on. So I'd suggest using these in a backpack or tote bag you plan to put under the seat. Available in four designs.

Promising review: "My daughter challenged me to travel her way with just a backpack to our recent five-day trip to Portugal. When I found these on Amazon, I thought they were just what I needed. I have cubes, but they don’t compress. I was so impressed that I bought a set for my daughter and son-in-law. The large one contains a swimsuit, cover-up, sun shirt, windbreaker, shrug, dress, cardigan, T-shirt, capris, underwear. My husband’s medium bag contains, swim trunks, shorts, two shirts, one long sleeved T-shirt, and two pairs of underwear. The small contains misc. items." — Trish
A multipurpose passport-holding wallet with RFID-blocking technology
Available in six colors.

Promising review
: "Despite visiting 20+ different countries without a wallet, on my last trip with JetBlue I had approximately five layovers to get home and realized how desperately I needed a wallet. After much research I decided on this wallet! It holds all the essentials and then some. There's a place for a pen to fill out the custom forms, a money pouch, and a pocket for your phone and passport. Also, it is light and compact. I am someone who travels light — a three to four week trip needs to fit in a carry-on backpack. This wallets enables you to carry everything you need in one spot. I don't want something that takes up more space than it needs to or adds extra weight." — Amazon customer
A stylish quilted crossbody bag
Available in 25 colors.

Promising review
: "Excellent travel purse! Very comfortable on the shoulder because of its wide strap. Fits reading glasses, a long wallet, small pouch for lipsticks, mask, and sun glasses comfortably in the main compartment. Hair tie, small hand sanitizer, and keys in the inside pocket, checkbook, pen, and business card holder in the inner zippered pocket. And my iPhone XS in the outside pocket. And here’s the kicker, you can even fit a small umbrella on top of all this in the main compartment and zip it all up! AND it goes from day to night seamlessly! Does not look cheap. Ridiculous!" — TinaMat
A makeup-removing cloth
Their plush microfiber gently lifts away dirt, oil, and makeup! Use it wet with water or your fave liquid makeup remover. Available in 12 colors.

Promising review: "This product...I have no clue how this works, but it does! Let me start by saying I was wearing a full face of makeup. I mean foundation, contour highlight, eyeliner, seriously the whole nine yards. All I did was wet it and wiped my face, my jaw literally dropped. This is hands-down my favorite makeup remover. The best part is that they are reusable so you don't have to keep buying those expensive disposables that leave your face feeling greasy." — Heather and Ryne Griffith
Or a pack of water-activated cleansing cloths
Promising review: "Great for sensitive faces every day and traveling. I have very sensitive skin and these are great. They leave my face clean and soft. They are great for travel because they are dry until you wet them — they can go in your carry-on. At home they catch all my makeup and I don't have to worry about my washcloths getting stained. It took two but they even took off my heavy Halloween makeup. They have a waffle texture but are not rough on your skin .The pic shows a used one next to a new one. Great find." — iLuvTech
A travel-sized bottle of Poo-Pouri
Poo-Pouri: 1; hostel bathrooms: 0. Available in nine sizes.

Promising review: "I think this is the most adorable thing ever. I bought it so I could keep it in my purse, but once I started working in an office, I decided to tuck it into my desk drawer. It's discreet, and when I need to go to the restroom, I can bring it along without anyone noticing. Now I don't need to use obnoxious chemicals to mask the smells. One of the women in my office has a sensitivity to chemical perfumes, so I'm sure she'd appreciate that I'm not contributing to her suffering." — brinnet
A mini 2-in-1 hair tool
That's right, it's both a hair straightener and a curling iron! And it's only 1 inch long and it has a carry-on bag. Just slip a sock over this tool to protect it in your suitcase without taking up a ton of room. Available in two colors.

Promising review: "I bought this in advance of a big trip to Asia, because I was worried about blowing out my other curling iron and straightener, and this was perfect. You obviously need to purchase an adapter in order to plug it into international outlets, but it doesn't require a converter which is awesome, since the converters are the ones that get super expensive. I also have super thick, straight hair, and have been through, almost literally, 20 separate curling irons in my life in an attempt to find one that actually works on my hair, so I was a little skeptical of this guy, but it works great! This guy will be a new staple. And it's reasonably priced, so it's a win-win!" — Not Tryna Be a Diva
A wheeled carry-on bag
Now you won't even have to pull your suitcase out of the overhead! Available in two colors.

Promising review: "I purchased this bag specifically to use with Allegiant airlines. They have some of the smallest dimensions making it difficult to find a 'personal item' bag that will fit in their size. Well, this one works. It is a tad bit wider than allowed but if you don't pack it completely full it will fit. All the pockets are nice for storing various things to carry on. It also has an external charge port for a power bank. So you can plug the bank in and leave it in your bag and just plug your cord into the little port on the side. I only wish the clear pouch was removable. Overall I am happy with the quality and the price." — Mark F
A pair of cushioned ballet flats
Available in sizes 5–12 and 22 colors.

Promising review
: "I originally bought this for the unique color and thought for the price I would give it a try. When I tried them on they were so comfortable. I wore them all day without any issues. Needless, to say I ordered another pair in black since I wear flats all the time to work. If you want shoes that look nice and are super comfortable, I would recommend these shoes. " — Scuba one
A lightweight, waterproof raincoat
Available in sizes S–XL and 20 colors.

Promising review
: "I got this a little bigger to go over my sweatshirt and it was perfect. It is super lightweight and kept me dry. It also helped lock in some extra warmth so that was a bonus. It's the perfect little rain jacket for the price." — Amie Linsday
A pair of tall compression socks
Available in sizes S/M–L/XL and nine colors.

Promising review
: "I've purchased these for my trip to Russia, which is total 24 hours of travel. It's a 12-hour flight to Turkey and then a nine hours layover and then connecting flight to Russia. Let me tell you that when I did it last time, my feet were size of an elephant's. These socks worked great. I took them off when I arrived at my parents house in Russia and my feet looked semi normal!No painful swelling or cramps! I used to spend first night after the trip crying from aches and cramps, but this time it was NOTHING! No pain at all. I wore them again on my return flights to US and same great result." — Natalie

Waypoint Goods
A fashionable travel scarf
Waypoint Goods is a small business focused on creating travel and lifestyle accessories for women to empower them to explore the world safely. Their Travel Scarf was debuted in 2015 on a Scandinavian urban cycling trip where the founder, Caitlin, realized a purse was not an option. Each color and style has a unique story behind it that inspired the design. Available in 16 styles.

Promising review: "Fabulous scarf for traveling. Hidden pocket is very discreet and large enough for cash, passport, credit cards, etc. Sturdy zipper and beautiful design. Just got back from three weeks in China. I was able to easily carry all of the above, leaving my hands free. Superior product, practical and discreet. I've since purchased two more!" — Florida Girl
Jasmin Sandal / BuzzFeed
An Alleyoop Pen Pal
My colleague Jasmin Sandal has this and loves it. She says:

"I didn't realize I'd ever use a makeup product in my 20s that had the ability to transport me back to something I used in sixth grade, but here we are; and here I am using a multitool pen... for my face. I gotta say, I love the concept of the Pen Pal from Alleyoop! After using all of the functions (eyeliner, highlighter, lip liner, eyebrow pencil) and as someone who LOVES makeup but was applying as little as humanly possible during lockdown, I think it’s a great tool for anyone looking to streamline their routine. It's ideal to use for touch-ups come the end of the work day, or a subtle, minimalist way to apply makeup in the a.m. The brow pencil is particularly soft and pigmented, and filled in my eyebrows quickly. I just adore the ease of application of each product, and appreciate the universal, does-it-all-for-you concept. Plus, it saves me so much room in my already overflowing makeup bag!"

Available in three shades.

Promising review: "Such a time saver to have this 4-in-1 tool! I use it daily and love that it is so compact." — Lauren F.
Fluide’s universal crayon
Fluide is a queer-owned and woman-owned small business specializing in vegan, cruelty-free and paraben-free cosmetics. Available in four colors.

Promising review: "I'm a huge fan of quick and easy enhancements and it doesn't get any easier than this. Drag across your eyelids, lips, rub into your cheeks and nose for a fabulous rosy shimmer." —Teneca Kennedy
Hackwith Design House
A Hackwith Design House shirt you can wear in six different ways
Hackwith Design House is a woman-owned small business. Their sustainable designs are made to order and sewn in their Minnesota studio. Their sizes run from XS–4X. On Mondays, they also release limited-edition designs so you can be one of only 25 people to own a piece! Available in women's sizes XS–4X and in four colors.

My colleague Chelsea Stuart owns this and loves it. Here's what she has to say:

"All credit for its discovery goes to TikToker @jennifer.bianca who I happened to stumble across on my FYP. It checks all my boxes: black, comfortable, versatile, and durable. My initial worry was that I wouldn't feel secure in it (I have a 38DDD chest and most wrap tops/dresses I've tried haven't stayed where they're supposed to), but I haven't had an issue with this! I've worn it tied in the front giving me a square neck (like the middle picture) and tied in the back giving me a V-neck up front (just like the photo on the right) — both were super comfortable and I didn't have to adjust myself at all. As someone whose weight fluctuates, I also appreciate that this piece can handle pounds gained and lost. The fabric is medium weight so I'll be wearing it season to season and there's just enough elasticity in the arms that if you roll up your sleeves, they won't fall back down. All that is to say trust that I will be buying additional colors!"
A cosmetic travel bag
Available in six colors and various sizes.

Promising review
: "This purchase was so worth it! I had my makeup in 3 different bags and was able to consolidate everything into this one makeup case. Easy to travel with and great to organize everything. The inserts to separate items were a little strange but I made it work by overlapping them." — Tammy Otarodi
A foldable jewelry organizer
Available in two sizes and nine colors.

Promising review:
"This is the perfect way to organize all of your jewelry pieces when traveling. It is compact yet holds a lot. Keeps necklaces from tangling and rings from getting lost. Perfect for plenty of bracelets as well. Love it!" — Kindle customer
A mini steamer
Promising review: "I travel constantly for work, and I would hate to use the irons at the hotel. I bought this on a whim right before my most recent work trip (I'm telling you like three days before I left). I didn't have much hope for it as I had another steamer at home that was AWFUL. This steamer? AMAZING. I was genuinely shocked, when the wrinkles from one of my most difficult shirts just came out effortlessly. I was so excited I ironed ALL of my work shirts in ONE GO. It was crazy, and very unlike me to actually be motivated to continue to steam my clothes. PLEASE BUY. I am never going on another work trip without this machine. PLEASE BUY IT. Worth every penny." — J Ortiz
An inflatable neck travel pillow
Promising review: "I have always preferred inflatable travel pillows for my air travel, because of ease of packing and stowing them when not in use. I have never been attracted to the stuffed pillows because there is no reducing them —people need to either wear them around their neck or hang them from their carry-ons pre-boarding. I prefer to have my pillow in my carry-on bag/purse. I found it easy to put back in its bag and either stow it in a carry-on, or externally attached by its carabiner to carry-on or belt-loop. I definitely recommend!" — Phoenix K
A packing list
Promising review: "We travel frequently and have two children. As any parent knows, packing for yourself and your children can be overwhelming — especially for trip longer than a few days. I have found this list to be a lifesaver and I also give it as a gift for other traveling families. It is easy to plan, organize, and list out items that are easily forgotten. You can also list the quantity of each item needed. Overall, a wonderful purchase and has likely saved me many forgotten items!" — Mike D.

Before You Go

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