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The 15 Best Things We Bought in 2022

SmarterTravel

As frequent travelers, the SmarterTravel staff is always shopping for the best travel gear out there, along with the best items to make our life at home easier when we’re not on the road. But what items actually live up to the hype? We polled our team to find out what everyone’s number one purchase was for 2022.

Some of the links featured in this story are affiliate links, and SmarterTravel may collect a commission (at no cost to you) if you shop through them.

Away The Insider Packing Cubes

Away The Insider Packing Cubes
Away Travel

I use this set of packing cubes from Away all the time! The different sizes are great for packing small or large items and for keeping everything organized—and they save so much space in my Away suitcase.—Bridget C

Airrobo T10+ 2 in 1 Robot Vacuum and Mop

Airrobo T10+ 2 in 1 Robot Vacuum and Mop
Amazon

Is there anything better than returning home from a trip to a clean house? While I don’t have the budget for a housecleaner, I can at least come back to clean floors, thanks to the Airrobo T10+.

I can program it to run while I’m away (or schedule it to clean via the app right before I return), and my floors will be vacuumed and mopped without me lifting a finger. I have high thresholds and steep stairs in my house, and this robot magically climbs over thresholds and avoids drop offs with ease. Unlike other robot vacuums, the Airrobo features an automatic dirt disposal base. When it’s done cleaning, it returns to the dock and self-empties the dirt and grime into the base—so I only have to empty out the canister when it’s full, which is about every 45 days. —Caroline T

CASEtiFY Phone Case

CASEtiFY Phone Case in several colors and designs
Amazon

At first I didn’t think that the CASEtiFY 6-foot drop protection was real, but after accidentally launching my phone across the room without a scratch, I’m a believer. Having a MagSafe compatible case has also made charging so much quicker and easier. —Carol M

Bluetooth 3-in-1 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Adapter

Bluetooth 3-in-1 Portable Wireless Bluetooth Adapter
Amazon

I haven’t bought one yet, but I’ve seen this adapter on TikTok. It connects to plane tvs that use wired headphones. Plug it in and you can use your Bluetooth headphones with airplane tvs.—Juliana M

Matein Travel Laptop Backpack

Matein Travel Laptop Backpack
Amazon

This year, I realized that my style was whack. The zippers on my backpack had detached, and I looked like a student. This new backpack hasn’t fallen apart yet, but most importantly marks me as a Serious Professional Adult who wears a Serious Adult Backpack.—Eamonn M

Travigo 4-in-1 Travel Dispenser Bottles

Travigo 4-in-1 Travel Dispenser Bottles
Amazon

I’ve really enjoyed these 4-in-1 travel dispensers for weekend trips or whenever I don’t want to check a bag. Each holds four 1.4 oz refillable bottles (which is under the liquid TSA limit). One holds all the basic shower essentials: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and face wash. It helps me keep my toiletries organized and I never have to buy the travel sizes of my favorite products!—Lucy M

San Diego Hat Gondolier With Bow Hat & Hat Holder

San Diego Hat Gondolier With Bow Hat & Hat Holder
Amazon & PiesBonitos

Truly the most amazing hat. Perfect for summer, but I’m obsessed with it all year long. It’s been a game changer as someone who wears glasses. I now have shade on my face and the hat doesn’t push my glasses down my nose. Little known problems of those who wear glasses, but there you go! Not to mention I feel effortlessly cool wearing it. 

And to go with the hat, this hat holder. It’s got a crazy strong magnet and you can hook it onto whatever bag you are carrying. It solves the problem of having a scrunched up hat while traveling because you can just hook it to the outside of your purse, carry on, or backpack!—Cristina F

Ride-On Tractor

Child riding a Ride-On Tractor (left) and Ride-On Tractor on a white backdrop (right)
Amazon

This ride-on tractor has a remote control with it, so we can stop it and steer it—which was HUGE when my toddler first got it. He’s an expert now, so we don’t need the remote as much, but it was key at the beginning. My three-year-old considers himself an expert driver now that he has this. —Megan J

Let’s Get Checked Home Test Kit

Let’s Get Checked Home Test Kit
Amazon

The $70 I spent on a Let’s Get Checked kit back in January is probably the best impulse buy I’ve ever made. The test I got indicated some extremely low blood hormone levels, which helped me advocate for more testing from my doctor. After a bunch of other blood testing and an MRI, I found out that I had a benign brain tumor that would need to be removed. I had successful surgery back in March to remove the tumor and without that surgery, I probably would have been experiencing vision loss by now from the tumor compressing my optic chiasm.

The symptoms I had resulting from various hormone deficiencies were hand-waved away by countless doctors over the past 10ish years and could have been explained by a number of different causes. I actually suggested to one of my doctors eight years ago that we do more comprehensive blood testing, but she said she couldn’t justify the expense at the time given how common many of my symptoms were. One $70 test and 10 months full of doctors visits later and I feel better than ever!—Andy M

Dog Toys

Dog chewing on dragon chew toy (left) and colorful dog toy shaped like a fish (right)
PetCareRx & Amazon

Some fun toys that my dog Troy has been tearing through lately: 

  • Bark Dingbert the Dragon: It’s tougher than it looks and has some crinkly paper in the body that makes it extra stimulating.

The Magic Puzzle 1,000 Piece Puzzle

The Magic Puzzle 1,000 Piece Puzzle
Amazon

This one was a gift, but The Forest Feast was a genuinely captivating puzzle with a lot of fun surprises. I generally am not a huge puzzle fan, but plan on buying more puzzles from this company as I enjoyed it so much. Going back to regular puzzles will be tough to do.—Kyle M

Rhoback Hoodie

Rhoback Hoodie in teal
Rhoback

A Rhoback hoodiesoft, comfortable and durable. This year, it’s been used as everything from a pillow to a seat cushion to a blanket for a sleeping kid! Still looks good as new. Note: the guy’s hoodies have better color options than the women’s. —Liz S

Kristen Ess Reconstructive Moisture Mask

Kristen Ess Reconstructive Moisture Mask
Ulta

This mask brought my bleach-damaged hair back to life this summer. It’s lightweight, helps detangle brittle hair without leaving it feeling greasy, and only needs to sit for five minutes. This is a go-to part of the post-vacation routine after spending time in the dry plane cabin air.—Carol M

Vicks Vaporub

Vicks Vaporub
Amazon

This classic remedy has been essential all year—we’ve had all sorts of colds and allergies, and a little bit of this around our noses made our symptoms nearly disappear overnight!—Megan J

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We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

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