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10 must-have travel accessories for less than $15

Sept. 28, 2022
7 min read
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Have you ever seen something small and seemingly insignificant that simply blew your mind — something you didn't even know you needed until it came into your life? That's how we feel about a handful of essential travel gadgets we refuse to leave home without.

TPG staffers Ashley Kosciolek and Kristy Tolley have teamed up to bring you their short list of gizmos — from a shoe wallet to a rubber ball — that every savvy traveler should consider acquiring before their next trip. Some may even surprise you.

Bonus: Each is less than $15.

Shoe wallet

AMAZON

Ashley: When I travel, I often go for runs in places I visit in order to ward off the pounds from all the local foods I know I'll be trying. It's difficult to hold essentials without carrying some sort of pack, which is why a small wallet that attaches to your sneaker is ideal. This version, by Amphipod, attaches around your laces with Velcro and expands to securely hold cash, an ID and a credit card or two with its zipper pocket.

When you're not out exercising, shoe wallets can be used to hold small items inside a larger bag or backpack so you can more easily find them later.

Cost: $12.95.

Bug Bite Thing

AMAZON

Ashley: If you're anything like me, mosquitoes find you wherever you go. It doesn't matter if you wear long sleeves and pants or if you douse yourself in DEET. You still find yourself covered in bites any time you venture outside.

Instead of stressing about exceeding carry-on liquid rules with preventative sprays and after-bite itch creams, toss the Bug Bite Thing in your bag. The small, reusable plastic device, which comes in a variety of colors, creates suction that draws out insect venom and saliva to help alleviate itching after you're bitten.

Cost: $9.95.

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Riemot luggage caddy

AMAZON

Ashley: When I fly, I end up having to go in and out of my backpack 20 times to grab my ID, and then there's the added headache of finding a place to put my phone when it won't fit in my pocket. Throw in a bottle of water and a coffee to sip on before I board, and it's like I've got my own juggling act.

This Riemot cloth cup holder for luggage has been a lifesaver on multiple occasions when I just didn't have enough hands. It slides easily over the telescoping handle of any piece of luggage, and it has three pockets to carry drinks, your phone and travel documents in an easily accessible spot. When not in use, the pocket folds up super thin to be stowed in my backpack.

Cost: $14.99.

Duct tape

AMAZON

Ashley: Duct tape isn't exactly a new or groundbreaking product, but it's more versatile than you might realize, especially when you travel. I keep a roll in my carry-on for use in emergencies -- like when my luggage breaks, I tear a piece of clothing or I need to attach paper luggage tags before boarding a cruise.

These days, Duck Tape brand duct tape comes in tons of fun colors that can be used for just about anything. Made of polyethylene, it comes in 10-yard rolls that are 1.88" thick. It's one of my go-to essentials; the minute I don't have it with me is exactly when I seem to need it.

Cost: $7.49.

Hat clip

AMAZON

Ashley: Over the years, I've accumulated several cute hats during my travels, but for the longest time, I rarely took them back out into the wild with me when I left home. I found that wearing them on the plane to my destination made me feel silly, and packing them in my luggage was a no-go because I didn't want to crush them.

Then, one day, while walking through the airport, I saw a woman with a hat clip. I immediately went to Amazon and bought one that allows me to clip any hat to my carry-on backpack, eliminating the need for me to wear or carry the hat or squish it into my bag. This one, which is available in several colors, offers two metal clips joined by a durable elastic band.

Cost: $11.99.

Portable door lock

AMAZON

Kristy: I travel solo quite a bit and safety is always top of mind for me, especially since I tend to listen to more true crime podcasts than I probably should. There’s no such thing as being too cautious, in my opinion.

Most hotel doors have both a latch and deadbolt. However, bed and breakfasts, vacation rental properties and older or smaller hotels may not.

Wherever I’m staying, these portable door locks provide an additional layer of security and help me sleep better during my travels. They’re also TSA-compliant.

For additional security consider this portable door lock and door stop alarm combo.

Cost: $12.88 (single door lock), $12.99 (door lock and door stop combo).

Pinky Ball

AMAZON

Kristy: It may seem unconventional, but this traditional child’s toy can work wonders for tired muscles after a hectic travel day.

Lie on the floor and place a couple under your upper back between your shoulder blades. Push up with your feet and roll yourself up and down and let the balls do their magic.

For a long tour day, use them to show your feet some love. Stand on them to stretch out your arches.

Cost: $4.89 (for two).

Shower caps

AMAZON

Kristy: I rarely leave a hotel without packing the toiletries, so I’ve amassed quite a stockpile of shower caps. When I travel, I slip my shoes into them before packing them. It keeps the rest of my luggage items dirt free.

If you don’t have a stash of hotel shower caps, you can snag a three-pack of shower caps on Amazon.

Cost: Free or $4.99.

Silica gel packets

AMAZON

Kristy: This is another item you can have for free. Simply collect the silica gel packets from the packaging of recent purchases and store them in a mason jar. If you can’t secure free ones before your next trip, purchase a bag (of 55) gel packs from Amazon.

Their moisture-wicking power can protect your camera equipment and electronics from moisture damage, especially when you’re traveling to a high-humidity destination.

Stash a few in your luggage or place them in your shoes to help prevent odor-causing bacteria. Your swimsuit didn’t dry completely before you had to pack it to go home? Pop it in a Ziploc bag with a silica gel packet and your suit will be dry within hours.

Cost: Free or $8.99.

Baby swaddling blanket

AMAZON

Kristy: Our family is well past the newborn kid stage, but we’ll never outgrow these blankets. They serve as the ideal all-purpose towel. They’re super lightweight and absorbent.

If you get caught in the rain, use one to dry yourself. If you don’t already have a scarf or jacket, it makes a great plane blanket.

Cost: $14.99 (for a four-pack)

Bottom line

You don't have to spend a lot of money on invaluable (dare we say life-changing?) travel products. If you have an inexpensive or non-traditional travel item you never leave home without, let us know. Drop us a line at tips@thepointsguy.com or join our TPG Lounge community on Facebook.

Featured image by DOBLE-D/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023