Traveling brings the best of times and the worst of times. While a trip provides a chance to see new places and have new experiences, it can also cause discomfort, stress and exhaustion. I just went on a week-long jaunt to London and managed to avoid paying (most of) the physical and emotional toll with the help of items recommended by TikTok.
Almost as soon as I booked my ticket five months ago, TikTok began serving up videos of users raving about travel hacks and products. Of course, if you've ever tried a TikTok recommendation, you know that they don't all pan out.
But I can verify that these TikTok-approved travel items are legit. I used them myself and they saved me in different ways. Plus, they all happen to be on sale right now for Prime Day so you can save and prepare for your next trip!
1. Trtl travel pillow
I already have two travel pillows, neither of which I really like. Both are cumbersome and aren't actually all that comfortable. After seeing numerous TikTokkers praise the Trtl travel pillow, I decided to try it out — and ended up loving it. First of all, it's much more compact than either of my other pillows. It's also adjustable!
2. Belt bag
Belt bags, aka fanny packs, are back in a big way. I resisted the revived trend for awhile, but was slowly won over by all the TikToks about how convenient they are for traveling. The "in" version, Lululemon's Everywhere bag, starts at $35. But this excellent dupe fanny pack found on Amazon is just as good at less than a third of the price! I wore it around my waist, as a sling and a shoulder purse all around London. It fit my iPhone 13 Pro, AirPods Pro 2, passport, hand sanitizer, mask, small tube of sunscreen, a few bandaids in case of blisters and mints, with room to spare.
3. Compact portable charger
As with travel pillows, I already own at least two portable chargers (maybe even three or four, if I dig further into the free-for-all that is my small electronics bin). But they're both big and clunky. I wanted something I could carry with me in my belt bag to recharge my iPhone while I was attending Wimbledon, which meant it had to be lightweight and compact. TikTok pointed me to the iWalk, which fit all my needs. As a bonus, it plugs directly into an iPhone so no extra Lightning cord required.
4. Compression packing cubes
I've used packing cubes for years to keep clothing organized in my suitcase. And then I learned about compression packing cubes from TikTok videos — and where have these been my whole life? While regular cubes are good for keeping your belongings neat and tidy, the compression variety actually creates space in your luggage. They have a double zipper. So, what you do is pack a bunch of T-shirts in a cube and zip it up. Then, you zip it up a second time to compress them down into a thinner, flatter bundle. When you only travel with one suitcase like I do, this is a game-changer.
5. Luggage cup holder
I've seen cup holders that attach to your suitcase everywhere on TikTok, but considered them an unnecessary accessory. I could just stash my cup in the side panel of my backpack or hold onto it. But the algo got to me and I finally ordered one before my trip. Reader, I was wrong — the cup holder came in handy all the time. It's not only useful for holding cups and bottles, but my phone, passport, sunglasses, snacks and other random bits and pieces that are good to have be easily accessible.
Honorable mention: Airplane tray table cover
My colleague Kate Kozuch alerted me to this really cool product, which has been making the rounds on TikTok and I'll try out on my next trip. The Airplane Pockets fit right over a tray table, giving you a clean and sanitary surface as well as four stretchable compartments for storing your phone, water bottle, book and other stuff that typically gets lost in the depths of the seatback pocket.
Airplane Pockets: was $24 now $20
Slip this cover over your tray table and have a clean surface to eat and work on. The stretchy fabric will fit on any size tray table and is machine washable. The four pockets expand to hold items including phones, tablets, books, magazines, cups and bottles.
Prime Day 2023 — Quick links
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Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.