Editor's pick: Originally published Dec. 19.
With the holidays upon us, twinkling lights come to line city streets, snow covers parking spaces and shoppers block intersections with bags of the latest overpriced cinnamon stick candles. For those of us not trying to get to work on time, the holiday season brings an undeniable sense of excitement and joy.
But for those with family out of state, the holidays carry the added stress of delayed trains, overpriced flights and wall-to-wall traffic. Whether it's a better way to pack or a convenience to make the trip more bearable, make your trek home for the holidays a little more manageable with the right gear.
It's time to upgrade from your college gym duffel; your mom's Christmas present shouldn't smell like socks. This carry on from Samsonite gives all the storage you need for a quick trip home and its compact size and wheels ease your rush from work to taxi to airport.
Clearly, you'll need at least ten different outfits for the three-day holiday weekend. You might run into your high school ex; dress to impress. These colorful compression bags will help fit and organize all of your weekend needs into your already over-sized carry on. The set also includes laundry bags, so your dirty clothes can maintain the mandatory two inches from your clean clothes.
Nothing is worse than arriving at your destination and realizing that your razor is four states away. Save your shampoo and your sanity, and pick up a toiletry organizer. The Neat Pack includes separate compartments for your razors, shampoos and cleansers and has a convenient hook for hanging on any towel rack or shower rod. Now you just need to remember to fill it up before you leave.
If you're going all carry on (advosed), don't leave your favorite shampoo behind. These squeezable TSA approved bottles provide a reusable alternative to the standard travel bottle. They're also perfectly capable of holding your favorite liquor...
Unless you have direct access to Santa's sleigh, you probably need to catch a plane if you're spending the holidays overseas. Better navigate through customs with a passport organizer from Zoppen. Rather than jumbling through six Ziplocks to get to your identification, this wallet keeps your passport, credit cards, tickets and cell phone all in one place. The lightweight wallet also has a RFID blocking shield to protect your information from holiday hackers.
Don't fall prey to the Grinch who stole your backpack. If you can't travel for an hour without falling asleep, step up your personal security with a luggage combination lock. You paid good money for those knock-off shoes. Protect your investment with pride.
After working for eight hours and having to travel eight more, it's O.K. to be a little shameless. Upgrade your subway slumber with the right neck support. Don't worry about it taking up space normally reserved for your extra underwear. The Purefly takes up minimal room, easily inflating and deflating to fit in a convenient travel pouch.
Nothing is worse than when your phone dies during a long trip. It completely robs your mother of the ability to demand an ETA update every 15 minutes. Keep all of your Apple devices juiced with a set that includes a wall and car charger, as well as an emergency power bank.
We both know you're going to end up seated next to a crying baby. As much as you like kids, nothing makes better birth control than the plane's token wailer. Silence two feedings and three diaper changes with an ANC inverter that reduces 85% of background noise. The MonoDeal's lightweight construction and foldable hinges make it a perfect addition to any backpack.
Who doesn't want an airplane cocktail? After braving airport traffic gridlock, dealing with a humorless TSA agent and finally remembering what you forgot at home, you deserve a drink. Scoutmob provides what you need to make two perfect Moscow Mules (Also Bloody Mary's) 30,000 above the nearest bar. The kit only lacks the alcohol so remember those convenient travel bottles above.