Have you ever been in a noisy café trying to siphon WiFi for an important business meeting? Or in a foreign country, only to realize you have the incorrect wall adapter for charging your laptop or critical device?
We’ve all been there. And after more than a decade of travel, I’ve learned which travel gadgets are packing essentials and which ones are better off left at home. These are 34 of the best travel gadgets to pack when traveling both domestically and internationally.
1. Portable Power Bank
One of the most important things to have is power. Not just personal power over your travel plans, but actual power to your devices. In a recent study of 1,000 participants conducted by technology company ZAGG, 89% of people considered a portable power bank to be an essential packing item.
Indeed, choosing a high-quality power bank will help keep your devices alive and thriving. It’s an essential travel gadget.
To utilize fast charging on a USB-C output, check out the mophie powerstation. With multiple USB ports, it also means you can charge it all at once. The powerstation portable chargers have a surprisingly high capacity for their size which makes it an excellent choice for travel.
Especially in the name of safety, it’s worthwhile to have a portable battery charger on hand. If your car breaks down or you get stranded in the middle of nowhere, you’ll be thankful for that extra bit of juice to send out an SOS text or to call that Uber to come to your rescue.
2. Phone Vent Mount
The mophie snap+ wireless vent mount is a phone mount that clips onto your car’s vents. Utilizing MagSafe technology, your phone magnetically attaches to the charging puck. The vent mount is easy to pop off and take with you for usage in any car, anywhere in the world.
It’s, low key, one of my favorite travel gadgets in my arsenal. I use my phone for navigation every day, and an easy to use vent mount for your car is super handy to have on hand.
I use this wireless vent mount in my car at home then pack it in my suitcase to use in rental cars whenever I’m traveling.
3. Multi-Device Portable Battery Charger
If you travel with a lot of tech gadgets and need to charge multiple devices at once, a multi-device portable charger like the mophie 3-in-1 travel charger is going to be a necessity for keeping you juiced up.
This sleek and stylish portable charger unfolds like a mini-portfolio, with three dedicated charging pads for your Apple products (whether it’s your Apple Watch, AirPods, or iPhone). A USB-C cable and adapter is included as well.
I love that this travel charger packs up neatly for travel specifically. It’s helpful for saving space in your backpack, and it has fast charging capabilities to boot. It’s one of the best travel gadgets if you have multiple devices to charge each day.
4. Protective Phone Case
Unless cracking your phone screen is on your bucket list, a protective phone case is a must-have. If you’re traveling a lot, your phone is likely to get a fairer share of beatings, so an ultra-durable case is going to suit you well.
A heavy-duty, protective case like any of the Gear4 Protective Phone Cases is an extra measure to keep your goods safe.
5. Blue Light Blocking Screen Protector
We spend a lot of time in today’s world staring at the screens of our mobile devices and other travel gadgets these days, and the blue LED light from our cell phones may actually harm your eyes long-term and even disrupt your circadian rhythm.
A blue light blocking screen protector like the InvisibleShield Glass Elite VisionGuard reduces eye strain by blocking blue light, and it has the added bonus of protecting your phone from impacts and scratches.
6. Universal Travel Adapter
Have you ever checked into your hotel room after a long travel day, fumbled around to charge your devices, and then realized you don’t have the right power adapter for the country you’re in?
Yep, it has happened to me way more times than this travel expert would like to admit.
Since there’s no such thing as standardized power sockets around the world, a universal travel adapter is one of the most essential travel accessories you can buy. The HERO Power Adapter is one of the more affordable travel adapters out there, and best of all, it comes with two USB ports, too.
A universal adapter is one of the best gadgets you can buy if you’re traveling.
7. Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones
Ok, there might be something worse than not having the right adapter to charge your travel gadgets: screaming babies on planes and trains.
Even travel to the most remote places typically consists of stopping in big cities and let’s face it: the world is a noisy place. The Bose NC 700 headphones are noise canceling headphones that help turn off the unwanted noise. Bose always has the latest noise canceling, which cancels out noise and delivers perfect sound quality.
For more information about the different models, check out my full comparison between the Bose 700 vs QC35.
8. Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Whenever I’m traveling abroad, my JBL Flip 6 portable bluetooth speaker is a travel essential. It always helps to start the party, whether I’m at a hostel in Thailand or a pool in the Caribbean.
Since it’s waterproof, you can bring this baby anywhere. This small Bluetooth speaker delivers a surprisingly crisp, clear and powerful volume, especially compared to other speakers on the market. The battery is fantastic too—once it’s fully charged, you’ll get a full 12 hours of play time.
9. Nintendo Switch
A Nintendo Switch is a pretty cool gadget to pack on your next trip. This lightweight device is perfect for gaming on the go, even if you’re not much of a gamer.
The Switch has an enormous roster of available games—everything from Minecraft to Animal Crossing to Mario Bros—so you’re guaranteed to find something to keep you entertained on those long haul flights (or those budget flights without any TVs).
And, fun fact: you can buy international eShop games as you’re traveling.
The Nintendo Switch also has an impressive battery life, so you don’t have to constantly recharge your battery like your other devices.
10. Travel Pillow
A good travel pillow is one of the ultimate travel accessories for long bouts of travel. For me, a travel pillow can make or break a long-haul flight. Either you’re constantly adjusting your pillow, or you’re snoozing like a baby.
The Ergonomic Travel Neck Pillow from Cushion Lab is a pillow that’s designed to work for everyone: the asymmetrical design supports your entire neck, chin, and head so you’re not flopping around. You can also rotate it to better suit your sleeping style.
It even packs down into a handy little travel kit no bigger than a mug.
11. Compression Packing Cubes
I have been using compression packing cubes since I started traveling years ago and they’re still some of the best travel gadgets I’ve ever used. They work twofold by separating your clothing and compressing everything down to save lots of space (something digital nomads will appreciate).
The Gonex Compression Packing Cubes set comes with four expandable organizers in an assortment of colors, so you can pick whatever suits your style.
When you unload your backpack in your hostel or hotel and start easily pulling out your packing cubes without having to root around for your pajamas, you’ll be grateful for these. If you haven’t used compression packing cubes before, pick some up for your next trip.
12. DJI Mavic 3 Drone
If you’re looking to up your photography game, the DJI Mini 3 Pro is one of the best drones on the market right now. It weighs in at only <249 grams and packs down to about the size of a cell phone, yet it’s a powerful piece of photography gear.
The DJI Mini 3 Pro can fly up to 11-15.5 miles and for 30-40 minutes, and it comes with a 48 MP, 1/1.3 inch CMOS sensor which can capture professional-level images and video.
As far as travel tech goes, this is one of the most impressive drones out there, and it’s super fun to travel with.
13. Mirrorless Camera
There’s no need to carry a bulky camera around with you on your travels anymore, because nowadays mirrorless cameras provide the same level of quality as DSLRs. I even wrote a whole article about the best cameras for travel.
The Fujifilm X-T30 is my top choice when it comes to mirrorless travel cameras, offering packing an incredible punch into quite a small package. With 26.2 megapixels of detail and a beautiful color profile, you get stunning photos with the Fujifilm X line. It’s a little pricier than some other options on the market, but you really can’t beat this kind of price to value ratio.
14. Portable WiFi and Hotspot
A portable WiFi hotspot is one of the coolest travel gadgets you can get your hands on these days—especially if you’re a digital nomad, and even more so if you’re spending lots of time in places with less than reliable Internet.
The Skyroam Solis is a super fast 4G LTE hotspot with the fun perk of having an embedded power bank. You’ll get more than 16 hours of battery life regardless, but the best part is that you get full WiFi coverage in 130+ countries.
It also comes with encrypted security to keep all your stuff safe.
15. Travel Door Alarm
Here’s another one of my favorite top gadgets and accessories: a travel door alarm, like this one from Lewis n Clark.
For a little bit of extra security while you’re staying in a hotel or hostel, just attach the alarm to a door by simply hanging it from the door knob and placing the clip in the doorframe.
When the alarm senses some vibration, it lets out a massive 91 db alarm to wake up your neighbors. Take it on your next trip for some peace of mind.
16. Pacsafe Portable Travel Safe
Pacsafe is a frequent presence on my list of top anti-theft backpacks, and that’s because the brand offers state of the art technology when it comes to anti-theft travel gadgets.
The Travelsafe 3L GII Anti-Theft Portable Safe is exactly how it sounds: it’s a safe you can travel with. It has revolutionary 360° wire eXomesh® technology and a locking cable so you can lock your valuables down.
The 3L is ideal for stashing in your bag, but it comes in three different sizes up to 12L.
17. Portable Luggage Scale
Not a fan of traveling carry-on only? A portable luggage scale is one of those handy travel accessories that will help make life easier.
They won’t break the bank—a reliable portable luggage scale should cost less than $15, but could save you a ton of money in baggage fees in the long run. It’s a great idea especially if you’re known to splurge on souvenirs while you’re traveling.
18. Kindle Paperwhite
According to the summer travel study by ZAGG, 53% of people considered books and entertainment to be a packing essential. I’m a big fan of paperbacks, but having an e-reader (instead of 20lbs of books in my luggage) is so much better. For avid readers and frequent travelers, a Kindle Paperwhite is the perfect companion.
I’m impressed by how much the Paperwhite has advanced over the years. My first Kindle was barely readable, but the latest versions almost feel like a real paperback, they come with extra storage (up to 16GB), an adjustable warm light, waterproof coating (for the beach or bath tub!), and a fast charge via USB-C for up to 10 weeks of battery life.
19. Inflatable Solar Powered Light
I know the concept of an inflatable light sounds weird, but the Luci Original inflatable solar powered light is one of my favorite travel gadgets this year.
It’s fully inflatable and collapsible so it fits easily into your backpack or camping gear, and it lasts up to 24 hours on a single charge. It comes with 65 lumens and warm white LEDs to light up your space, making it one of those essential items to carry in case of an emergency or to simply to find your way in the dark. For such a small light, it’s incredibly powerful.
20. Gotenna Mesh GPS Device
One thing I make it a point to not do when off grid is pick up my cell phone. But in case of emergency, the Gotenna Mesh GPS Device is one of the best ways to stay on the path and connected to other people when I’m doing anything off-grid, whether it’s hiking or road tripping.
This simple small device pairs with your smartphone to send text and GPS coordinates to your group, even without cell or WiFi. I highly suggest picking up one of these for your next adventure, even just to give Mom and Dad some peace of mind. It privately relays messages and comes with micro USB connections for charging as well.
21. Vago Travel Vacuum Compressor
I’m all for packing light, but having extra room is just a nice luxury sometimes. That’s why the Vago Travel Vacuum Compressor is such a brilliant tool.
All you need is this tiny vacuum device and the included vacuum bag. Attach the Vago, press the button, and watch your clothes compress.
It takes only 5 minutes, and sensors will let the Vago know automatically when to stop. The entire thing weighs just 86 grams, so you’ll barely even notice it in your luggage.
22. Sea to Summit Eye Shades
I’m a sensitive sleeper, and I absolutely hate light filtering through my window. So when I’m traveling, I block out unwanted light with these comfy Sea to Summit Eye Shades.
They have an adjustable strap to keep secured against your face while blocking out light, and they come with a set of earplugs. (Or maybe you can just pair them with your wireless headphones for the ultimate nap experience.)
These shades are lined with microfiber, and they’re easy to wash and reuse. Once you get a pair, I promise you’ll take them everywhere with you.
23. Passport Holder
I’ve never thought of a passport holder as a necessary travel gadget, but my friends who are business travelers absolutely swear by them.
When you’re in transit and dashing through customs and security while trying to make connections, the ease of having all your documents in one place can be really helpful.
There are limitless options for passport holders, but I suggest one with multiple pockets for additional documents like your Nexus card, boarding pass, visas, etc.
24. Combination Luggage Lock
I’m all about luggage security. Since I travel with a lot of photography gear and other travel gadgets, keeping my stuff safe is an absolute priority.
Using a combination luggage lock like the Pacsafe Prosafe 800 keeps both my carry-on and checked baggage secure while I’m on the go. Nowadays you can even find thumbprint-release luggage locks, and they’re TSA approved too.
25. DJI Osmo 6 Phone Gimbal
Taking your travel videography to the next level doesn’t mean you have to invest time and money into fancy cameras or training programs—sometimes it’s as simple as using a smartphone stabilizer.
The DJI Osmo Mobile 6 is one of the most intelligent smartphone stabilizers out there. It’s super compact and packs up into a tidy, foldable package that fits in your palm. But even when folded, it’s easy to whip out in a pinch—the minute you need that perfect shot, you can unfold the gimbal in an instant.
The app is also excellent and lets you shoot, edit, and share quickly and efficiently.
26. Lume Cube Mobile Creator and Lighting Kit
The Lume Cube Mobile Creator and Lighting Kit is like a selfie stick on steroids. It’s one of those cool gadgets built with content creators in mind, and is entirely multi-functional so that you can capture photo and video content no matter where you are.
The 3-in-1 does it all: custom lighting, perfect audio, and different mounting options so you can set up your smartphone however you’d like.
The kit comes with a light panel and stand, a mic with a foam windshield and screen, and an extension stick that doubles as a hands-free tripod. It’s probably the most versatile travel gadget on this list!
27. Scrubba Washing Bag
The Scrubba Washing Bag is one of the best travel gadgets for backpackers and long distance hikers (or campers). It’s pretty much a portable washing machine for all of your trail gear, and it’s an incredibly smart bit of technology.
Toss all your dirty clothes in with a bit of detergent and some water, and you’ll be clean and fresh in no time.
You might think the Scrubba Washing Bag is an unnecessary addition to your luggage, but actually, being able to wash your clothes mid-trip means you don’t have to pack more stuff. You’ll just get to reuse your worn clothes. Plus, if there’s no laundromat or laundry services nearby, you might not have any other options.
28. Roku Streaming Stick
If you’re a frequent traveler who spends a lot of time in hotels, it’s time to invest in a Roku streaming stick. It might be the most underrated travel gadget on this list.
Watching TV or movies from an iPad or laptop is easy, but being able to catch up on your shows via your hotel’s big screen TV is so much better. Just plug the streaming stick into the HDMI port, wait for it to connect to the WiFi, and then use the app on your mobile device as a remote control.
You’ll have all your streaming services at your fingertips, even Spotify. Easy peasy.
29. LARQ Water Bottle
One of my best travel tips: make sure you’re always drinking clean water. Always. Nobody wants to miss several days of travel because they drank the tap water and ended up with crippling stomach issues.
I love the LARQ water bottle because it’s completely self-cleaning, with a built-in UV-C light that kills nearly 100% of viruses and bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella. It even cleans the inside of the bottle, so you don’t have to ever clean it again.
You’ll also cut down on a significant amount of waste with this water bottle…at least 300 plastic bottles per filter, actually.
30. Cable Ties
When you travel with lots of gear and you’re trying to detangle millions of wires flowing from millions of USB ports in the middle of a busy coffee shop as you set your work station up for the day…you’ll be thankful that you have cable ties.
Reusable cable ties are a godsend. You can gather your cables together, wind them tightly with the cord, and keep them neat and tidy out of the way. I use them while on the road and also at home to keep my workspace nice and orderly.
31. Compact Binoculars
I’m not sure if it’s a sign that I’m getting older, but suddenly I love having a compact pair of binoculars with me when I’m hiking or camping. Whether it’s for birdwatching, wildlife viewing, or scouting out the trail ahead, my binoculars have gotten a whole lot of use lately.
There are a ton of brands to choose from, but Nikon makes excellent high-quality, water resistant binoculars. They fold down small enough you can even stash them into your coat pocket.
32. Wacaco Portable Espresso Maker
I know—this gadget is pure luxury, but whipping out the Minipresso GR Portable Espresso Maker and brewing your own fine quality espresso shot wherever you are is a pleasure that’s worth the splurge, in my opinion.
The Minipresso GR is extremely light and versatile, and compact enough to fit in most day bags.
Grind your own beans beforehand and then add the grind to the filter basket with the included scoop, tap down the grind, add hot water into the tank, and voila! Espresso that tastes like it’s straight out of Italy.
33. Anti-Spy Detector
Did you know that you could actually buy a hidden device detector that helps detect hidden cameras, audio bugs, and other trackers? The G4 Pro Anti-Spy Detector does just that. It’s like anti-creep detector, really.
This small, pen-like detector only weighs 30 grams and yet has the ability to detect radio waves, 2-4G mobile signals, as well as bugs at certain frequencies.
You can never be too safe these days, especially if you’re traveling by yourself.
34. Travel Insurance
I’d be remiss to write a whole article about the best travel gadgets without at least bringing up one of my favorite topics: insurance for travel. It’s the ultimate travel accessory. Believe me.
Making sure you’re insured while you’re on the road is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success. You really don’t want to be left holding a $100,000 bill.
If you’re unsure where to even begin, this comprehensive deep dive into travel insurance will teach you a few things.
Best Travel Gadget & Travel Accessories Summary
This list of travel gadgets and accessories is by no means conclusive, and there are likely a few things you’ll want to add to your own list as you’re traveling. (Compact wine bottle opener or quick-drying towel, anyone?)
These gadgets are meant to make your life a little easier. Enjoy the journey without all the extra fuss, and you’ll feel right at home on the road.