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Heading out of town soon? According to AAA, an estimated 42.3 million people are expected to travel at least 50 miles or more over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, while close to 3.4 million people will be traveling by plane.
The post-pandemic spike means that travelers can likely expect long lines at airports and traffic jams on the road — depending on which day you decide to leave.
What is the best day to travel for Memorial Day weekend? Friday, May 26, will be the busiest travel day but if you’re planning on driving, Saturday and Sundays are notoriously mild traffic days, per AAA.
When is the best time to hit the road? If you’re traveling by car, you should aim to leave in the early morning or after 6 p.m. local time.
Because Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, the three-day weekend is one of the most popular travel periods of the year. With gas prices cheaper than they were this time last year, many people will be hitting the road for Memorial Day and well into the summer. This also means that travel costs are higher than in previous years, but you can find travel deals on airplane tickets, hotels, rental cars and more through sites such as Expedia, Booking.com, Travelocity, Priceline and Groupon.
Traveling can be overwhelming, any time of year, but there are tips that can help relieve some of your anxiety like making sure that you have everything needed for your upcoming trip. To make the travel process a little easier, we’ve put together a list of travel necessities to take on your flight, cruise or road trip.
First on the list: luggage! When it comes to the best suitcase for travel, pricier doesn’t always equal better quality. Although top brands such as Samsonite, CalPak and Rimowa are well worth the investment, you can find moderately-priced, hardshell suitcases and duffle bags at just about every major retailer like Walmart where this iFly Hardside Fibertech 20-inch luggage is on sale for $41 and this 3-piece set is less than $110. Hard-shell suitcases are great for flying but a soft-shell suitcase might be more suitable for road trips. Traveling by car? Be sure to keep snacks, travel toiletries and other things you might need within arm’s reach, so that they’re easily accessible while you drive. (Need a handbag holder for the car? Click here.)
Airline passengers are allowed to bring one carry-on and a small personal item, including a purse or tote bag or travel backpack such as the Troubadour Momentum Backpack ($275). See more travel backpack options here.
Not sure what you can and can’t bring on the plane? Be sure to review the TSA travel guidelines, and don’t forget to put an AirTag or another kind of GPS tracker in your luggage, especially if you plan on checking bags.
Take it from us, packing cubes will change the way you travel! They help you keep everything organized and can stop you from overpacking.
This eight-piece set pictured above includes lightweight and durable packing cubes, toiletry bags, an underwear organizer and a bag for your shoes. The bestselling packing cubes are available in nearly a dozen different colors including black, white, grey, pink, blue, red, purple, along with stripes and pink leopard.
Sneakers, UGGs or slides? No matter your style preference, comfortable shoes are a must-have for travel.
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly option, Cariuma off-white canvas sneakers are one of the brand’s most popular options. Apart from being incredibly comfortable for traveling, the shoe is affordable and sustainable (it’s made from recycled plastics, bamboo knit, a sugarcane outsole and cork insole). Cariuma sneakers are available over a dozen different colors including white, black, yellow, pink, red, green and grey. The eco-friendly brand makes low-tops, high-tops and slip-on shoes in men’s sizes and women’s sizes.
Also on the list of comfortable travel shoes: Adidas, Nike and New Balance are a few of the major brands you should look into. For more, read our roundups on best travel shoes and sales on men’s sneakers.
Tablet Streaming Device
Whether you’re traveling by car, bus, plane or train, you’ll need a streaming device. Although you can stream mostly anything from a smart phone, it doesn’t hurt to have an iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab or another kind of notebook such as the Microsoft Surface Pro or Amazon Fire 8.
Traveling by plane? Most streaming platforms allow subscribers to access in-flight Wifi and download content that can be streamed while your device is in airplane mode.
Binge your favorite shows and movies on Prime Video, HBO Max, Paramount+, Disney+, Apple TV+ and other streaming platforms while you travel.
Delta and other airlines provide in-flight entertainment on domestic flights, while American Airlines makes passengers stream from their own devices. If you plan on flying AA, be sure to have a smart phone, notebook or tablet device handy, along with a charging cable or portable charger; an Airplane Phone Holder Mount and a travel adapter, if you’re traveling internationally.
Headphones or Earbuds
Headphones have are essential, regardless of how you travel. And they’re especially useful for binge watching content, jamming away to music, streaming podcasts and more, without disturbing those around you.
If you prefer earbuds, Beats Studio Buds, Apple AirPods, Google Pixel Buds and Sony LinkBuds are some of the better options on the market. For over-ear headphones, AirPods Max ($479.99), Marshall’s Monitor II A.N.C. Wireless Headphones (299.99) and Bose QuietComfort 45 ($329) are a few of the best headphones under $600. For a more affordable choice, Soundcore Life Q20 headphones are on sale for $50. Click here for a list of the best over-ear headphones.
A Good Book
A long flight might be the only time you get to relax and read a good book! Kindle, Nook Glow and other gadgets have made it easy to read digitally, but for those of you who still enjoy reading physical books, the New York Times Best-Sellers List acts as a great reading guide.
Currently on the NYT‘s list: Michelle Obama’s The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times, Prince Harry’s Spare and Jennette McCurdy’s I’m Glad My Mom Died. Dave Ghrohl’s NYT bestselling memoir, Storyteller, was released in 2021 and it’s still on Amazon’s bestseller’s list.
Travel Blanket & Pillow
Don’t skip the cozy section! No matter which climate you plan to travel to, make sure to pack a warm and cozy travel blanket (and matching pillow).
The EverSnug travel blanket and pillow combo is available in teal, pink, black, grey, burgundy, navy blue and other colors. If you’re not interested in a matching travel pillow, you can always rock with a traditional neck pillow.
The pandemic made us more aware of spreading germs. Airplanes and hotels get professional cleaning, but it’s good to have your own disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer or anti-bacterial spray on hand. Clean Boss hand sanitizer wipes are made to last up to six hours, which is much longer than your average, alcohol-based hand sanitizer that usually evaporates within seconds (sanitizing wipes and disinfecting sprays can also be used to clean your luggage once you get back from your trip).
Although face masks are no longer required for travel, the CDC recommends wearing them if you’re sick, experiencing symptoms of illness, have a weakened immune system or an increased risk of severe illness.