By Rachel Besser

Published on November 4, 2018

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Photography by Meghan McNeer

Let’s face it, the holidays can be intense. For one, getting ready for the holidays can feel like a whirlwind. At work, you’re racing to meet deadlines. At home, you’re hustling in anticipation of hosting friends and family, or in anticipation of traveling to see friends and family. So much has to happen before you can finally put your feet up and relish in the time off with loved ones. The last thing anyone needs amidst the hustle and bustle of holiday prep is to forget key items for travel, like essential toiletries, necessary clothes for all the events afoot, or even your child (remember Home Alone?!).

We want you to have a relaxing holiday season. So, we’ve taken the liberty of rounding up a list of the most important travel essentials we could think of, that way you’re all prepped and ready to go without missing a beat (or your underwear). Take a look at the picks ahead and start getting excited for the holidays around the corner! 

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courtesy of AWAY

The Bigger Carry On Aluminum Edition, AWAY, $495.00

First things first, a proper carry-on to manage holiday travel without losing your mind is a must. If you already have one, great job. If you don’t, consider this roomy carry-on option by AWAY. It fits most major airline sizers, the aluminum shell is unbreakable, and it even has a port to charge your cell phone, nevermind a hidden laundry bag. There’s a reason why AWAY luggage has become a cult favorite.  

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courtesy of Lo and Sons

Catalina Deluxe, Lo & Sons, $138.00

Second things second, you’ll need a solid weekender bag that can act as your second carry-on. When it comes to weekenders, Lo and Sons reigns supreme because they live and breathe organization. Every single design element is thoughtfully planned out, so much so, that the brand even has awesome videos to demonstrate just how much stuff you can fit inside each of their bags. Pop this weekender on top of your AWAY bag, and you’re good to go.

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courtesy of Madewell

Large Crystalline Half-Moon Pouch, Madewell, $24.50

When it comes to getting organized for traveling, pouches are one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Keep charging cables and earbuds, toiletries, makeup, or any other loose items in their own pouch. Stow your pouches in your weekender, or backpack. A word to the wise: opt for see-through pouches, that way you can see which pouch houses what items right away, saving you the time you’d otherwise spend digging through each pouch to find what you need.

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courtesy of Herschel

Packable Duffle, Herschel, $49.99

The holidays are all about giving. Due to the fact, there’s a high probability that you’ll need to take home a gift or two, and there might not be any extra room in your already stuffed suitcase(s). That’s where Herschel’s packable duffle bag comes in handy. This small duffle bag folds into its own internal self-storage pocket. If you need the extra bag, great. If not, this duffle barely takes up any room in your bag, anyways.

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courtesy of Shopbop

Go Clean Bag Set, Flight 001, $52.00

It’s important to keep your dirty clothes and clean clothes separate in the name of efficiency. This bag set from Flight 001 is ideal because it includes a bag for your dirty clothes, two bags to keep your shoes away from your clean clothes, and another bag for miscellaneous items (which you could very well use to stow your undergarments so they are not loose in your bag).

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courtesy of Honest

 Hand Sanitizer Spray, Honest, $5.95

It’s always a good idea to have hand sanitizer on your person, especially when it’s cold and flu season. Some hand sanitizers employ a plethora of harmful chemicals in order to kill germs. These hand sanitizer sprays from the Honest Company don’t use many of the harmful chemicals found in other sanitizers but still get the job done.

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courtesy of Calpak

Packing Cubes 5 Piece Set, Calpak, $58.00

While laundry bags and pouches are essential, packing cubes can be of great help, too. Many people swear by ‘em. This set of 5 packing cubes is intended to make packing and unpacking easier by keeping you organized with a large packing cube, a medium packing cube, two small packing cubes, and a water-resistant envelope pouch. These cubes fit seamlessly into your luggage, dresser drawers, tote bags, weekenders, gym bags, etc. Still trying to figure out what packing cubes are all about? Don’t worry, we got you.

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courtesy of Ban.do

Hold It Magnetic Keepers, Ban.do, $20.00

It is extremely annoying to have to untangle your headphones or phone charger every time you want to use them. Skip the untangling once and for all with these helpful magnetic keepers. Bonus: they can also be used to clean your glasses. Score.

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courtesy of Raen

Flora Women’s Cat-Eye Sunglasses, Raen, $140.00

Sunglasses are an essential to have on you, always. This sentiment rings especially true during the holidays when the chance of running into someone from your past at the airport skyrockets. Use sunglasses as your way to hide in plain sight from your high school ex, or use your sunnies in lieu of an eye mask when you’re sleeping.

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courtesy of Kikkerland

Mirror Power Bank, Kikkerland, $14.88

Keep an extra power bank handy in case your phone dies for some unforeseen reason. This sleek option is easy to pack, less clunky than many of its counterparts and doubles as a mirror, too.

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courtesy of Urban Outfitters

Travel Light Case Set, Urban Outfitters, $10.00

This travel set is TSA-approved and includes a spray bottle, a pump bottle, and three jars. There is also a spatula included to help you transfer product from one container to another without having to use your fingers.

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courtesy of Magic Stripes

Hylauronic Intensive Treatment Mask, Magic Stripes, $18.00

If you’re flying somewhere for the holidays, keep a face mask on hand. Pop it on halfway through the flight so your skin feels hydrated upon landing. Not flying for the holidays? It’s still wise to stock up on face masks. Whether you need a little “me” time away from family this holiday season, or just want to take a moment for self-care, a luxurious face mask will bring you back to life.

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courtesy of Shinola

Small Soft Linen Journal, Shinola, $16.00

Whether you want to record memories made over the holidays, work through some things that happened over the holidays, or take a quick note, having a notebook on hand is a good way to keep yourself organized and practice self-care.

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