Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Lewis Osborne, Retailer
Prime Day — which technically runs over two days, from now until midnight on Wednesday, July 12 — coincides with peak summer-travel season, and it’s a great time to invest in the trip essentials that’ll make vacations (as well as work trips and weekends away) that much easier and more enjoyable. After all, money saved today increases the restaurant budget at your chosen destination.
As a Strategist writer specializing in outdoor and travel gear, I’m recommending products here that I and other staffers have personally vetted or heard about from the frequent travelers we talk to all the time. Happily, many of those tried-and-true travel products are significantly discounted right now, including soft- and hard-sided suitcases from our best-in-class rolling-luggage list, the two most powerful pairs of noise-canceling headphones on the market, and a reliable set of packing cubes for less than $15. I was especially on the lookout for items from our new “Travel 100” list as well as our perennially popular gift guide for frequent travelers. If you are looking for travel gifts, I’ve taken note of a few smaller gadgets, like reusable earplugs and Bluetooth luggage-tracking tiles, that would be well appreciated by any globe-trotter in your life.
This is my final update for today, but I’ll be up bright and early tomorrow, adding to this list as new products go on sale and cross-referencing each deal with our archive of travel-related product guides to make sure that they’re worth your while. So make sure you check back here for the latest. Indeed, our entire team has spent the past week obsessively preparing for Prime Day, so you should be sure to check out the hard work from my colleagues, too. Find everything via our Amazon Prime Day hub, where there are bargains to be had across beauty, tech, home, kitchen, fashion, and kids and baby products.
Here’s a carry-on spinner suitcase for just $50 in an appealing frog-green shade that’ll stand out in the overhead locker. Tiny but mighty, it can expand a couple of inches if your weekend trip includes a bit of shopping.
It’s hard to look past the value of this three-piece hardside set that is still a bargain at full price. I think it would be ideal for small families and anyone taking an extended trip, like a cruise. Double spinner wheels add stability, especially if you’re one to overpack.
If you’re a more frequent traveler and looking to invest in a check-in suitcase that’ll last, this expander from Samsonite has a ten-year warranty and an anti-scratch finish that will be the envy of everyone at the carousel. I use a Samsonite myself, and it has held up to years of use. In fact, I purchased it secondhand and have yet to see any particular signs of wear and tear.
Or here’s a carry-on suitcase has a handy front pocket that will make life much easier when you’re forced to hand that laptop over to the TSA.
It almost feels old-fashioned these days to check luggage, but if you’re feeling retro, this smart-looking set (in a pretty snow white) is more than 60 percent off right now. Samsonite deals have been going very quickly today, though, so definitely grab these two while you can.
I love the look of hard suitcases, but I have to admit the simple truth that soft ones can fit a lot more stuff. They’re also much more durable and easy to repair. This set, while not as discounted or shiny as the one above, is an investment in vacations for years and years to come.
With Travelpro luggage, it’s literally all in the name. These are the suitcases that the real airline point-accumulators swear by — the people who travel to travel, not just to flaunt a Rimowa on Instagram. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that if you have the budget.) This soft suitcase makes our best rolling-luggage list because it’s made from easy-to-repair nylon and has just two encased wheels that won’t snap off. It expands up to two inches and has multiple compartments for stuffing last-minute purchases into.
Or here’s a classy-looking Travelpro hard suitcase if you just can’t stand the look of a soft one. It expands easily and has double spinner wheels for cruising toward the gate.
A leather duffel will last forever and make any old weekend trip upstate feel a bit luxurious. Our former writer Karen Iorio Adelson recommends this one from Kenneth Cole for anyone who isn’t quite ready to drop nearly $1,000 on their Airbnb getaway bag. She notes that because the leather is soft and slouchy, the already nice-looking (and rather roomy) duffel will probably look even better with age.
Travelon makes some of our favorite totes and cross-body bags for travel, and this one fits a lot of smart storage pockets into a surprisingly minimal and stylish design — that crescent shape actually hits right on the current Y2K trend. The bag’s fabric is slashproof, so you can keep your smartphone and passport safe during more adventurous trips.
With packing cubes, “all of a sudden, everything has its place before you’ve even packed it,” says editor and self-proclaimed overpacker Foster Kamer. “By the second or third time you use them, you’ll already know exactly what fits where and how much of it you can take with you — down to the very last sock.” At 50 percent off right now, this set is an easy buy for any sort of travel you’ve got coming up. I’m always a fan of packing cubes with a mesh exterior, for the simple reason that it makes it easy to see what’s in there without unzipping.
The above Amazon Basics packing cubes will do exactly what’s required, which is handily separate the stuff in your suitcase. But this slightly pricier set from Bagsmart offers better compression, which means you can squish down a few more T-shirts for additional outfit options on the trip.
Thule’s industrial-looking laptop case comes recommended to us by tasteful tech folk. Because it’s hardsided, those experts told us it’s perfect for situations in which you’ll need extra protection — like putting your laptop in a checked suitcase that’ll likely get jostled in transport. Don’t worry about scratches on your MacBook, either; the case has a soft lining in order to prevent laptops from scraping against its hard plastic exterior.
Running to the gate with a Starbucks cup in hand is a recipe for disaster, which is where this clever caddy comes in. It’s adjustable enough that it should slip over the handles of any suitcase.
Strategist contributing writer Alyse Whitney calls this expandable pill organizer her “Mary Poppins medicine cabinet.” Another one of our Travel 100 picks, it’s just a little larger than a deck of cards but houses all of your medications in pleasingly organized apartments labeled with neon stickers. The case opens “with the flourish of French doors in a Nancy Meyer movie,” then snaps shut with a magnetic closure.
Bose is synonymous with noise-canceling headphones, and Prime Day is always a smart time to invest in a discounted pair. Frequent flier Brian Kelly, a.k.a. the Points Guy, told us these are his “must-have for every flight, especially the red-eyes and long hauls,” because they “tune out everything and anything.” Travel blogger Pauline Egge is another fan, saying, “The sound is, of course, phenomenal — so perfect to watch a movie, listen to some music, or get into a meditation mode.” They’re even Chris Black–approved: “I wanted to hate them because they are standard issue for any true frequent flier, but they are the best and therefore … I must use them.”
Sony’s headphones have emerged as a Bose competitor in recent years with similarly astonishing noise-reduction and lightness of weight. Our contributing writer David Pogue says he’s impressed by both brands but that Sony’s noise-canceling headphones sound just a tad better because “the bass is stronger and deeper; the midrange is balanced; the highs are crisp.”
During peak travel season, a.k.a. right now, luggage gets lost and airlines can be unhelpful at best. Even just for peace of mind, stashing a Tile tracker in your suitcase can help. One of these would also make a great little gift or stocking stuffer for anyone you know who is embarking on a trip.
While, sadly, I can’t provide you with an AirTag Prime Day deal, this clever holder is a nice buy that will let you attach one to your backpack or suitcase. When you’re not traveling, attach it to your house keys and never lose them again.
Travel TikTok loves this portable charger, which also doubles as a phone stand that makes use of Apple’s surprisingly useful MagSafe technology. (Let my colleague Jordan McMahon teach you more about how it works over here.) Perfect for budget or short-haul flights that don’t include back-of-seat screens — just prop your phone up on one of these to watch TV while your phone charges.
This, the lightest and most compact Kindle model, is perfectly packable, which is why it recently earned a spot on our Travel 100. As McMahon — who has tried out every Kindle since 2013 — notes, the six-inch display makes it especially easy to stuff into the front pocket of a backpack.
This portable fan, which doubles as a flashlight and phone charger, made Strategist contributing writer Annachiara Barretto-Grignoli’s summer vacation in Italy much more comfortable. “Throughout the trip, I only needed to charge the fan overnight, via USB-C, once every two or three days,” she says. It’s an easy and currently very affordable way to stand in line for museums in the heat.
Jeff Jenkins, founder of Chubby Diaries, likes to bring this water-purifying straw wherever he goes. “I can drink almost any water in any city, country, or random pond in the middle of nowhere because of this thing,” he says. It’s also slim enough to stash in any bag.
Just a few bucks more than your standard, garbage drugstore umbrella, this Amazon Basics number will actually last, according to New York deputy editor Alexis Swerdloff. It’s also cheap enough that you won’t be too upset about leaving it behind at a restaurant or hotel. The wind vent (which you hardly notice) makes it much less likely that the umbrella will flip; opening and closing it is a breeze, and the soft handle rivals the Daveks and Repels of the world.
Reviewers of this mesh folding travel bassinet like how they can see their baby through the sides. It folds down flat for easy storage on top of the packing cubes in your suitcase.
Here’s our favorite sunscreen, on sale in two TSA-friendly travel tubes. A classic for a reason, numerous dermatologists have recommended this formula to us, saying that it’s lightweight and won’t clog your pores. SPF 45 means you’ll be protected on even the most tropical of vacations.
These soothing facial sprays are a favorite among flight attendants like Katherine Gibbons, who told us that she likes how they come in four pleasing scents: “I find them to be calming, especially if it’s a long day of flying,” she says. “They’re also great because they can be sprayed over your makeup.”
I truly believe that earplugs are even more crucial than a sleep mask when it comes to surviving economy class. These reusable ones are subtle and comfortable and come in four different sizes so you can customize the fit perfectly.
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.