As an avid planner and deal-seeker, I’m always on the hunt for inexpensive and affordable practical travel items.
I’ve tested numerous products over the years and these are the ones that I’ve found that have the best value for money!
After years of traveling, I’ve learned that a few simple travel hacks can make life so much easier. When I first started traveling, I was always worried about forgetting something (sometimes I still do!!!), but I’ve since learned the art of streamlining my packing and only bringing useful travel items to cut down on unnecessary fluff and save on precious luggage space.
Travel safer and smarter with this list of the best travel items under $20!
Buy them for yourself or others – these affordable travel products make great gifts for travellers!
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1. Mini Wet Brush
- Mini Detangler: An on-the-go brush that helps hair stay strong and healthy! The Wet Brush Mini Detangler gently loosens…
- Untangle Your World: IntelliFlex bristles glide through tangles with ease, with 45% less breakage and 55% less effort for…
- Painless: Flexible bristles minimize pain and protect against split ends and breakage.
My hairdresser introduced me to the Wet Brush a couple years ago, and I’ve never looked back. I have thick hair and it used to take ages to comb my hair after washing it. The Wet Brush is perfect for untangling messes with ease – and I have no idea how it does it, but it prevent tugging, pulling, ripping, and damage that can cause split ends, breakage, and hair loss.
And the Mini Wet Brush is just so cute!
I’ve gifted this many times to all my female family members and some friends.
The mini version is easy to throw into luggage for a trip and does the same job as it’s bigger sister, making it perfect for travel!
2. Compression Socks
- COMPRESSION SOCKS – We intend combining fashion, technology and science to bring you the triple comfort without. The material…
- COMFORT – We carefully designed and manufactured our compression socks to provide premium support, comfort, and relief…
- EFFECTIVE – Our compression socks (15-20 mmHg) are highly recommended by preferred by trainers. These are designed to promote…
These aren’t exactly glamorous, but they will help with blood flow during long flights while you’re just sitting there. Compression socks also help to avoid blood clots, swelling, and general discomfort.
They shouldn’t be painful to wear (if they are, they may be too small), but you should feel some gentle pressure around your calves.
3. Packing Cubes
- 【Various Selection.Choose Your Love!】4 Set includes: 4 Medium (35x25x9 cm /13.8×9.8×3.54 inches)
- 【Durable Nylon. Make Packing Easy!】Super lightweight and durable honeycomb RipStop nylon fabric. Our packing cubes keeps…
- 【Friendly Zipper and Handle!】Double-way zipper pulls make opening/closing simple and fast. Webbing handle is convenience…
This is probably the number one item I recommend to everyone when they mention they’re going on a trip. It has made my life SO much easier. You’ll be surprised how much these little cubes can pack in – and keep you organized, especially if you travel with a carry-on.
How much simpler is it to just throw a couple of organized cubes into your luggage instead of individual items?
I’ve become a little bit obsessed with these and probably own 3 sets, but they also make great gifts (I’ve done it!) because I really feel everyone should travel with these.
4. Portable Charger
- ✅【From INIU–the SAFE Fast Charge Pro】Experience the safest charging with over 38 million global users. At INIU, we…
- ✅【Market’s Thinnest 10000mAh】 The market’s one and only 0.5-inch power bank that breaks the limit of 10000mAh,…
- ✅【Only 5% Got USB-C IN&OUT】INIU is the only 5% of power banks got a USB-C IN&OUT port. Unlike others only recharge…
I will never leave home without one of these ever again!
I learned my lesson while we were in Italy and because I was taking so many photos, my battery died! I never travel without one of these now. They’re easy to travel with and charge.
One of these usually ends up as a gift every year. Everyone should have one!
5. Luggage Scale
I prefer the digital scale over the manual one since I find it more accurate, but this is a handy little item to have on you while packing for a trip (and to allot for some souvenirs on the way back!😉).
- Gift for travellers: Weight before you go to avoid overweight fees and fit the scale in pockets easily
- High-accuracy sensor：The travel sacle has 110lb/50kg weight capacity & 0.1lb/50g graduation，it also can measure the ambient temperature
- Multifunction Suitcase scale:Tare and auto-off functions included to preserve both time and energy; Low battery and overload indication; Automatically lock weight results
6. Travel Journal
- Blank Paper: No lined feature, you can draw mind maps, sketch ideas or write notes freely on the page.Perfectly work as…
- Refillable Notebook: Take out pages that aren’t important and swap in for blanks to keep filling it out.Take paper out or in…
- Leather Journal: Made of high quality PU leather,soft in hands,durable for travel or outdoor adventure.Inserts are craft…
I used to keep my travel notes in my iPhone, but over the years I’ve come to realize it doesn’t evoke the same emotion. I love looking back at old notes and reminiscing about past travels.
Opt for a soft cover like this one that will fit easily into your luggage and not take up a lot of weight.
7. Travel Wallet
- Travel Priority – the wallet is made from high quality ECO-Friendly PU leather, passed Euro REACH Quality Standard, US EN71 and US CA Prop 65 Test
- Travel Protection – Keep Identification-Thief away from you and protect your personal information with inside RFID blocking shield material under frequence 13.56 Mhz, safe your privacy
- Travel Organized – Roomy and Collected, 1 passport pocket, 1 boarding pass compartment, 3 credit cards slots, 1 id slot, 1 sim card pouch, 1 coupon ticket slot, 1 cellphone pouch (max 5.8 inches), 1 money & coins zippered pocket (fit U.S. money), 1 key holder and 1 pen holder, 1 slim pocket
I’m the type of person to check my documents a million times before we leave, AND feel for my passport and double check it’s actually mine (😂). I even do this before we walk out the door AND once we get into the car. What is wrong with me????
Keeping everything organized prevents you from fumbling around at check-in kiosks or during security. Ones with added RFID protection are even better to prevent your cards from getting hacked.
8. Luggage Tags
- 【Flexible & Durable】Our luggage tags Made of quality durable Silicone ability to bend without breaking. The reinformed…
- 【Privacy Protection】with only your name visual to other strangers around you, your vital personal information such as…
- 【Stylish & Practical】Tags size: 3.6” X 2” X 0.25”, small size and light weight, convenient to carry, Very suitable…
Seems pretty basic right? But they make great gifts and come in allllll shapes, sizes and colours. Know a couple getting married and going on their honeymoon? Check these Mr & Mrs ones out!
Your luggage tag should contain your name, email address, and a phone number. Addresses are also used, but I find that could target you for robbery. However, the address where you are travelling to many be a good idea (include a smaller slip of paper in addition to your main information), or if you are travelling home and don’t want to list your home address, a work address would also suit.
Always look for a tag with a cover so it can’t easily be scanned by others.
9. Luggage Strap
- 【Safe and Reliable】 Made of advanced thickened materials, greatly improved durability and reliability.
- 【Adjustable Straps】Universal Luggage belts fit for 20″-34″ suitcase, with adjustable length 46″-78″ / 120-200CM
- 【Easy to Recognize】The vibrant color suitcase straps makes your luggage apart from the multitude suitcases, and easy to identify.
If we ever check luggage, I get paranoid that the zipper will bust during transit and all of our contents will come out (😂). Keep your luggage intact with some inexpensive straps.
They also make for great identifiers on the carousel, since it seems like 99% of travellers own black suitcases.
10. TSA Locks
- TSA Accepted – Can be unlocked and unlocked by TSA agents without having to break the tsa luggage locks open
- No Key to Lose – The keyless combination lock is easy to use and set. 3 Digits offer multiple combinations for your maximum safety. Suitcase locks tsa approved for safety of your documents.
- Resettable to 1,000 Possibilities – Set a combination for your backpack lock that you won’t forget from 1.000 possible combinations. BV travel locks tsa approved with multiple possibilities.
Have you ever wondered, “should I have locked my luggage?” as you see it gliding down the conveyor belt? I have moments of panic if mine isn’t locked, since I have this irrational fear that my zippers will separate and all my contents will spill out!
A good luggage lock will help protect your luggage against any unnecessary attention from potential looters and keep it safe while in transit.
A great luggage lock will also be accessible for TSA (Transportation Security Administration) agents that may need to inspect your luggage. This has happened to me a few times, actually! We arrived at our destination and I went to unpack and there was a note stating it was inspected.
If you opt to not use a TSA approved lock, you will risk the change of your lock being cut, or your zippers or other parts of your suitcase, in order for them to access the contents.
By the way, luggage locks just aren’t for air travel. They’re really useful if you’re staying in a hostel/rooming with others, in transit in busy cities, or when your luggage is in your room for the day while you’re out.
Using a luggage lock won’t keep your items totally safe, which is a reminder to carry your valuables with you in your carry-on, and not in checked luggage.
11. Reusable Bottles
- 【Excellent Triple Leak-Proof Design】① 3 Layer Covers Design:Prevent liquid leakage from bottle caps.②X Mark Air Valve:Prevent liquid leakage from the bottle…
- 【TSA Approved Capacity&Travel Essentials】5Pack 3oz silicone bottle is a TSA approved Capacity that allows for unobstructed boarding. These bottles are lightweight and…
- 【Food Grade BPA Free Silicone】Our silicone travel bottles are made of food grade silicone that is BPA-free, ensuring that the liquid is not contaminated. Sauce, salad…
I never travel with full-size toiletries, and instead I only take what I know I’ll need during my time away.
Reusable bottles are so simple to keep your luggage weight to a minimum, too.
12. Power Adapter
- This Travel Adapter with 4 international plug adapters. Cover more than 150 Countries with US/EU/UK/AU plugs, but this adapter cannot be used in South African, India, Swiss and Italy. Please kindly pay attention to avoid any inconvenience.
- This Charger Adapter Plug Converts the Power Outlet Only, it Does Not Convert Electrical Output Current and Voltage
- All-in-one Adapter with Fuse protect, Built-in Safety Shutters, LED Power Indicator.
This may not be something that is often thought of, since most people may assume where they are travelling offers these (check with your accommodations prior to leaving!). Power adapters are crucial to charge your devices.
These are easy to miss while you’re packing up. I’ve lost many during my travels! I usually check the room a few times before leaving (and find myself checking drawers I wasn’t even in at all! I have a problem!😂).
13. Mini umbrella
- If your unit is defective or broken, we will arrange a replacement for you. You cannot go wrong with this umbrella if you are looking for a compact…
- IDEAL FOR GIFT: Get this umbrella for your girl friend, wife and daughter who need extra protection from the sunlight and rainwater; This is the most…
- PERFECT FOR A COSTUME: This beautiful umbrella makes your costume come to life. You get it to go with a costume but you also are finding it useful to…
It may seem like a negligible item, but learn from my experience!
It always rains when we go to England. Always. On one of our most recent trips we didn’t think to bring on and had to buy one at the Imperial War Museum for £20 – but hey it makes for a great souvenir!😂
Mini umbrellas are easy to transport (you can fit it in a purse or jacket pocket).
- COMFORTABLE AND WARM- Breathable and cashmere hand feel,keep you warm in cold days and nights.
- Pashmina Silk scarf Shawl Size : Length:70” Width:27.5” Tassel:4”,ONE SIZE ,enough long to cover your neck,shoulders and arms.
- Material:High quality Cashmere-like viscose and acrylic blended.
Carrying a versatile item like this serves multiple purposes.
For the plane, you can use it as a blanket (which I often do!) or drape around your shoulders for extra warmth.
I also used one of these during our trip to the Vatican since women have to cover their shoulders.
They’re easy to pack and carry, and I never leave without it!
15. Collapsible water bottle
- ✅ HYDRATION ON-THE-GO: Whether you’re hiking, biking, walking, or just relaxing, these colorful collapsible water bottles…
- ✅ PLENTY OF STORAGE: Made from flexible 100% BPA free plastic, these water bottles hold up to 480 mL of water or your…
- ✅ CONVENIENT SIZE: Each water bottle measures 10.25″ x 4.75″ x 1.25″ when empty and can be easily rolled up to fit into…
I strive to become more eco-friendly and have been researching collapsible water bottles, since usually the reason for me buying one at the airport was because I didn’t want to lug a big container around, especially when we only travel with carry-ons!
Tip: Usually you can ask your flight attendant to fill it for you once you’re on board, but I am seriously doubting they will do that given the current situation. There are usually water fountains at airports, so you can fill your bottle before you board.
These collapsible (folding, if you will) bottles will pack away tightly when you don’t need it, making for convenient transport.
- ORIGINAL SPF 50 SUNSCREEN LOTION . This is the stuff we use every day. It’s the formula that started it all. People say it…
- MOISTURIZING SUN PROTECTION. Dermatologist and Sonny approved, this non-comedogenic sunscreen delivers UVA/UVB protection and…
- HOW TO USE. 15 minutes before sun exposure, apply liberally to all areas of the skin and avoid the eye area. For best…
I know, I know. I feel like someone’s mother reminding them to put their sunscreen on. But I have had wayyyy too many burns in my life (you think I would’ve learned my lesson???). This is my favourite one that I’ve used, and I use it every day for my face too.
You can find sunscreen all sorts of sizes, if you’re concerned about finding one under 100 ml for carry-on travel!
17. Safety whistle
- PACKAGE— 2PCS plastic whistles with lanyards. These red whistles are eye-catching. You and your red whistles will be noticed easily in any situation. Perfect for lifeguard, self-defense and emergency.
- LOUD CRISP SOUND— The whistles sound loud and clear. Easily up to 120dB.
- FREE YOUR HANDS— Each whistle comes with a comfortable nylon lanyard, you can hang them around your neck, or on a wall mount, to keep your hands free.
This might seem kind of lame, but it can really come in handy if you’re travelling solo or hiking. It’s an added peace of mind for you (and your loved ones at home) if you carry this on you.
You may not always have a phone (or reception), and you can easily wear it around your neck or attach to your bag.
These can also be used to scare away any unwanted attention from animals (like a pack of intimidating monkeys – no joke – they can be really scary!!😂).
18. Mini first aid kit
- One Coleman 27 piece all purpose Mini First Aid Kit – for car, home and emergency prepardness
- Small travel first aid kit offers commonly used first aid essentials for minor emergencies including latex free bandages, antibiotic ointment and antiseptic wipes
- Travel first aid kit also includes safety pins, sting relief wipes, razor blade, butterfly bandages, spot bandages and knuckle bandages
Bandaids don’t always cut it (hahaha I just made a pun and didn’t even realize). Consider bringing a mini first aid kit with other items like antiseptic wipes, sting relief, safety pins, and antibiotic cream.
You can also make your own, but I like how the kits have individually wrapped items instead of having to bring the whole tube or roll of something.
19. Sanitizing Wipes
- 20 Hand Sanitizing Wipes in a resealable pouch; Great for on-the-go use to clean your hands
- Williams hand sanitizer products are FDA compliant, exceeds the CDC’s minimum recommended alcohol level, and kills 99.99% of many common bacteria
- Contains 70% ethyl pharmaceutical grade alcohol, an active antibacterial ingredient
We never leave home without these. My husband and I started using these years ago on airplanes (since we know those tray tables never get cleaned). Even more important during the times of a pandemic, they don’t take up a lot of space and it only takes a few seconds to wipe down all your surfaces (don’t forget about your seatbelt buckle!).
20. Before-You-Go Spray
- Poo-Pourri Before-You-Go Toilet Spray leaves your bathroom smelling fresh and clean. Simply spray the water in the bowl with Poo-Pourri Toilet Spray before using the toilet to prevent odors before they begin!
- Scent: Lemon, Bergamot and Lemongrass. Eliminate bathroom odor before it begins so you can leave the porcelain throne smelling better than you found it!
- How It Works: Shake well. Spritz 3-5 sprays into the toilet bowl on the water’s surface. Proceed to do your thing. Poo-Pourri traps bathroom odor under the water’s surface, so it never enters the air.
Yeah, I saved this one for last. Is it weird? Maybe. Is it also the most useful travel item in existence? It’s definitely one of my top 5!
If you’re spending a lot of time in close quarters with someone else…you may want to pick this up. It masks any bathroom odours and you will thank me for it later.
It also comes in a larger size for at home, but I’m really happy I found a travel size. I gift it every Christmas 😂. It will save relationships!!!!
I hope you enjoyed this list of the best cheap travel accessories and gadgets! I hope it makes your packing easier and leaves you a little more prepared for your adventures!
p.s. Heading on an all-inclusive vacation? Here’s what to pack (+ free printable!).
What are your top picks for cheap travel gifts? Share and comment below!
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