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9 Autostraddle-Approved Travel Accessories for Your Next Vacation

Travel season is upon us. Below you’ll find some of our staff’s must-have travel accessories.

The Phone Case That Doubles as a Wallet

My number one “carrying stuff and/or traveling” favorite thing is this iPhone case with room for two cards. It doesn’t look like a wallet case, but it keeps my ID and debit card from falling out, and it doesn’t get in the way of phone use like cases that have flaps or more of a wallet feel can. It’s also flexible enough to secret away an emergency bill between the case and the body of the phone, and is sturdy enough that even though I drop my phone all the time, both my phone and the case have survived. I like having to remember as few things as possible, and carrying a full wallet hasn’t been part of my lifestyle for a while because who has that many hands/pockets anyway, but this case lets me just go about my life without ever turning up somewhere without my ID or card. Carolyn, Literary and NSFW Editor

The Passport Cover That’ll Keep You Charged Up

As someone who generally doesn’t carry a purse, this nifty accessory is my holy grail. It stores anything and everything I’ll need to dig out of my carry-on bag (like my phone, passport, charger, credit card, etc.), and has room to stuff other things into it, like boarding passes or train tickets. It’s so handy, and even comes in a variety of colors! #thewanderlustisreal Priya, Staff Writer

The One-Two Punch for All Your Toiletries

I’ve gotten slightly better over time at packing light clothing-wise, but still struggle to narrow down various goops and serums. Will my bangs get weird if I don’t bring color-safe conditioner? What if I don’t have six lip color options? I should bring extra makeup remover, because I am definitely going to fuck up my eyeliner. This toiletry bag/bottles combo has replaced my previous tradition of attempting to stuff a Ziplock way too full of specially bought travel-size products that I don’t even like; I even give my bottles little taped-on labels now! I may be vain as ever, but when it comes to organization, I’m a whole new woman. Nora, Fashion and Beauty Editor

The Tomboy Classic Knapsack

Sounds cheesy, but I love my Herschel Bag as a carry-on for flying. It’s slim and light, low-profile and has a pocket for my laptop. No frills, no mess, no back-breaking load. Ali, Geekery Editor

The Sturdy (and Surprising) Weekender Bag

I just love the ruggedly classy aesthetic of the canvas and leather. It’s got zippered compartments galore, expands to fit some shoes, and after a few years of use it still looks pretty new and the shoulder strap/handles haven’t really worn down at all. Faith, Staff Writer

The Two-in-One Backpack/Day Bag

This bag was more like my home during my month-and-a-half-long trip to Bangladesh and India last year, so forgive my verbose response, but I am absolutely in love with it. If you’re traveling light and want a piece of luggage that is well-designed, comfortable, and easy to use, this is your backpack. I hate digging through a bag, so I love that it’s zippered compartments mimic those of a suitcase, zipping entirely open so you have full access to all your stuff. It also features all the great things a good backpack should have (compression and adjustment straps, breathable mesh so your back doesn’t swamp out, and a padded harness). The best feature is the detachable day pack, which is essentially a smaller backpack that zips onto the front of the larger compartment. It looks like a miniature version of the big pack, so it’s got the breathable mesh and even a tiny adjustable waist strap! I use it as my day-to-day bag when I’m not traveling. In our first moments in the airport together as bag and girl, something magical happened – the bag was deemed too heavy to carry on, so I just zipped off the day pack and checked the remaining bag. This bag will not let you down! – Sarah, Marketing Director

The Backpack That Lasts, Like, Forever

I love this bag. I’ve used it for backpacking, but it also makes a great suitcase when I’m traveling without a single destination — whether that’s an international trip with multiple cities on the schedule or a long weekend trip where I’ll be hopping between a few friends’ houses. It has many many pockets, and because it’s built for backpacking, it’s extremely durable. It’s a bit pricey, but I’ve used mine consistently for seven years with no rips, and all the zippers still work too. Bonus: if you strap it down tight, it’ll fit in the overhead bin. Audrey, Staff Writer

The Laptop-Friendly Carry-On Roller

This is my current favorite bag. It fits in most overhead compartments, is very cute, and zips open to be a little bigger if needed. It also has a dedicated spot for a laptop, which I need, and I love the yellow wheels. Cee, Tech Director

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Nora is a writer and shoot producer living in Brooklyn. Send her links to weird clothing and dog videos to nora [at] autostraddle [dot] com.

Nora has written 52 articles for us.


  1. I love my (size small) North Face Base Camp duffel. Between roller derby, long distance relationships, and work, I travel A LOT. This bag is great because it fits everything I need for a weekend derby trip or a week-long work trip, is incredibly durable, zips open like a suitcase, and still fits in an overhead bin. It may not have a hip belt, but without a frame, a hip belt doesn’t really do all that much anyways. Best of all, I got mine in black with glitter sparkles, which, yes.

  2. I was so into having all my cards attached to my phone, in one of those cheap mum-approved phone cases, but it was handy amd I loved it. Until one time I was paying at the self service checkout and didnt realise I’d left my phone until I was trying to get on a bus and ran back to the shop in the biggest panic. Because it was my whole life all in one neat case! Some kind soul had handed it in thank god. But I immediately binned the phone case. As a forgetful person I learnt that I am gonna leave my things in places but I don’t have to leave all the things all at once. The memory still makes me nervous.

    • Being a forgetful person was one of the plusses for me for carrying my ID inside a phone case (that wasn’t made for it but totally worked to do that) in college because I can easily know if the phone (and therefore ID) is in my pocket when out in the world. When in my room or someone else’s room, I’d invariably lose my phone and/or ID card. I can call my phone. I can’t call my ID card. Being able to have my ID card in a place that I can call it to locate it was SOOOOO GREAT. No more missed meals because I couldn’t find the damned card to get into the dining hall and then also back into my room. I’m also much less likely to take my phone out of my pocket and set in on top of my car and drive away with in still on my car–unlike both my wallet, multiple pairs of glasses, my water bottle on many, many occasions, and the “most weird object I’ve driven away with while it’s still on my roof” award goes to a pair of my own shoes, multiple times. I’m not saying it COULDN’T happen. But it’s just less likely.

      Not living in a dorm anymore, I’ve lost both my wallet and my keys more times than I can count. I have yet to lose my phone for more than 3 minutes.

    • Yes! Osprey is the best. I did a 2 month stint in South East Asia with the Osprey Farpoint 40, and never needed anything else. I originally debated between the 55 and 40 litre version but chose the smaller one for minimalism/just to make sure it will always be small enough as a carry on.

      I feel like you can always squeeze *just one more thing* in there, though I usually end up looking like one of those prehistoric armadillos when its full up cause I’m tiny.

    • Osprey is fantastic! I used my girlfriend’s weekly when I had to trek uphill to do laundry last fall, barely weighed a thing when it was on my back. It was awesome to travel with, too. We went to Puerto Rico with an Osprey bag and a regular backpack, carry-ons only, and it was so nice! I never want to travel with a suitcase again. The lifetime warranty is pretty sweet, too.

    • I have an Osprey Pixel as my go-to carry-on bag, and it really is fantastic. Slim profile, fits under the seat in front of me with no issues, but holds way more stuff than I would ever have expected it to. And it’s held up to a ton of traveling over the last couple of years with only minimal signs of wear. They’re pricey, but well worth it, from what I’ve seen. I also had an Osprey day pack that I used when I worked on the railroad, since we had manuals and stuff we had to carry. That thing took a beating and held up great.

  3. I’m currently 3 months on the road and looking at another 2-3 minimum. I never thought I’d be so chill about living out of a suitcase but seriously, PACKING CUBES CHANGED MY LIFE. Despite the name they are not rigid, they’re well suited to not only the neat and tidy sort but also more of a managed chaos approach – or what I would call ‘a total mess but I can actually fucking find what I need’.

    • I use stuff sacks rather than packing cubes, but yes, so useful to have all your stuff sorted and organized.

  4. For folks who’re committed to a very, very light packing lifestyle, I highly recommend the https://shop.ryu.com/products/quick-pack-lux-v2#black or https://topodesigns.com/products/trip-pack. When I travel abroad, I usually nest them, so I can use the TD one as a day pack. IMO it’s much better to bring 3 pairs of underwear, and one extra shirt, and buy anything if you need it, than carry a lot of weight.
    If you’re curious https://medium.com/@brookshelley/stuff-in-my-travel-bag-87b320efefc7 that’s how I do it.

  5. Oh, nice! I wish I had somewhere I could travel and make use of these, lol. :p

  6. I am genuinely going to refer to this if I ever have to replace my backpack, but I was like ‘what? why?’ Then I clicked on all the links in hopes AS gets some money that way. If anyone is like ‘wait why Autostraddle promoting products not obviously for & by queer people’ pls think hard about whether you can possibly afford (or team up with a friend for) an A+ subscription so the lovely AS staff can write their amazing stuff in peace :)

  7. I’m surprised that Ali didn’t give a recommendation related to RFID protection for passport and credit cards.

  8. Nice post! I want people to know just how good this information is in your writing! I usually travel with a weekender bag I bought from Bosidu, but I’m recently on the hunt for a backup bag for my next trip. It seems Osprey’s day bag is what I’m looking for. Thanks again for sharing!
    Keep posting and I’ll be back for the newest post.

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