Best bicycle tour bags

The best way to tour somewhere, IMHO, is via bicycle. E-bikes make that even easier these days. For overnight touring, you’ll need some bags (panniers). The blue-ribbon panniers are classic Ortlieb dry bags. Each is a roomy, rubberized single bag (no dividers or pockets) that seals off at the top to provide an absolutely waterproof container. Not cheap, but because of their simplicity they will last a lifetime. After 2,000 miles of use, I am very attached to mine, in bright yellow. — KK

Travel GearClaudia Dawson
Better neck pillow

I just got back from an overseas trip and this ergonomic Trtl pillow helped me sleep through most of my long flights. It’s super soft and supports my head better than traditional neck pillows. The best part of course is that it takes up virtually no space when packing. — CD

TSA-proof knife

After decades of using a Utili-key as my choice of a small knife to pass through airport security, I lost it in the woods. I replaced it with Victorinox SwissCard. This tool is a mini-Swiss Army knife flattened into a plastic holder the size of credit card but thicker. It has a tiny (1.5 inch) sharp blade, scissors, tweezers, a pen, toothpick, and a pin. You can carry it in your wallet or bag. Goes through security. There is a knock-off version which remarkably adds a magnifier, a light, and four screwdriver heads in the same size card for half the price at $9 — but you’ll need to sharpen the flimsy blade. — KK

Best travel day pack

On a recent trip to Tokyo, I brought along the Sea to Summit Travelling Light Day Pack ($33). It weighs 2.4 oz (my iPhone 6 Plus weighs 6.2 ounces) and zips up into a bundle smaller than my fist. But it holds 20 liters of stuff, and I used it every day to carry water, snacks, sweaters, an iPhone charger, a portable wifi, groceries, and things my wife and I bought while walking around. The material feels indestructible. — MF

Travel GearClaudia Dawson
Collapsible water bottle

You aren’t allowed to bring a bottle of water past airport security, and the bottled water sold at airport convenience stores is expensive. But many airports now have filtered water dispensers. I keep a collapsible water bottle in my travel bag. It rolls up to a tiny size and weighs nothing. Free water, what a concept! — MF

Travel GearClaudia Dawson
Women’s travel kit essential

I recently visited my grandmother in Mexico and the first thing I packed was my pStyle, which helps women pee while standing. It was the perfect travel tool for Mexico, where most public bathrooms have no toilet seat and you have to pay for toilet paper. There was no mess, easy to use and I just attached it to my purse in one of these discreet carrying cases. — CD

Travel GearClaudia Dawson
Flat toiletry bag

This eBags toiletry bag is the perfect size to fit all essential travel toiletries plus a lot of my makeup. It has four compartments and stays pretty flat, so I can slip it into my large tote if I need to. My favorite feature is the hook for hanging which is great for hotels with little counter space. — CD

Travel GearClaudia Dawson
My primary travel luggage

I travel a lot, mostly overseas, often for many weeks at a time, and sometimes in very remote parts of the world. I pack everything I need for 3 weeks or more of adventuring and business speeches into one carry-on size luggage. My bag of choice is the Travel Pro Crew, also highly recommended by the intense researchers at the Wirecutter. At 20-inches in length it fits easily overhead, has plenty of storage, pockets, and recessed wheelies. Fully packed it won’t tip over. This is slightly lighter, cheaper (and shorter) than Travel Pro’s Magna 22-inch model, but since I carry on rather than check it, it’s held up fine. — KK

Travel GearClaudia Dawson
Avoid luggage fees

Certain airlines offer very low prices on flights, and then charge for things most airlines include. On Frontier, a carry-on bag is $35-$60. I avoided the fee by using luggage that was small enough to be considered a “personal item” (It has to be under 14" high, 18" wide, 8" deep). A lot of backpacks will meet the size requirements. I have a Swissgear rolling bag, similar to this one. It held enough summer clothes for a 4-night trip, plus a gadget case, a toiletries bag, and my 13-inch laptop with charger. — MF

Travel GearClaudia Dawson
Cheap packing cubes 

On our last trip my husband and I shared one large suitcase for a week. This 4-piece set of packing cubes by Amazon Basics (I bought two sets) kept it from getting out of hand. Everything stayed organized and folded. I like that they’re soft and not rigid, because they expand as you fill them up and saves space when you don’t. The long, slim cube was perfect for my hair styling tools. — CD 

Travel GearClaudia Dawson