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14 Genius Gadgets for Travel

With our access to devices and gadgets, electronics and cameras, our ability to stay connected and capture memories as we travel the world is greatly enhanced.

If that means we can consolidate the books and magazines and camera film, I’m all for technological advances. My electronic devices feature prominently on my travel lists and they should on your lists too. If you are looking for additional travel must-haves, check out my Favorite Travel Things.

Haiyaha Lake is one of the beautiful lakes in the world

Whether you are planning travels to the South of France or Day Trips in Italy, be sure to have these genius gadgets packed to make your travel experience easier.

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1. Water-resistant Travel Bags

You might find that investing in Water-Resistant Zippered Bags or something similar handily keeps many small essentials in one easy-to-find location. These bags are great for electronics and gadgets (as well as for snacks).

2. Headphones and Earbuds

The options for headphones are endless. I don’t wear headphones a lot other than when I travel (and sometimes for exercise), even so, I am particular about the ones I like.

So perhaps this is TMI, but I have small ears and cannot wear most earbuds comfortably. My choice is Skullcandy Ink’d 2 (affiliate). I suppose the drawback is that these headphones are corded and they often get stuck in my curly hair.

Because my headphones are corded, I also travel with an Apple Lightning to 3.5 mm Headphone Jack Adapter (affiliate) in order to plug my headphones into my iPhone. It is a necessary gadget!

TIP: Create habits in your travel, especially as you prepare to deplane, so you don’t forget anything.

Two of my daughters have Apple AirPods, which would be so much easier and compact for traveling. (Sadly, they don’t fit in my ears.)

Don’t forget the AirPods Silicone Case Cover available in a variety of vibrant colors as well!

My other daughter likes her Beats Solo3. You might find that over-the-head headphones are more comfortable for sleeping while traveling. The Beats do fold, but are certainly not as compact as earbuds.

Beats Solo3 on ear headphones
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Before Covid, Chris was trying out the effectiveness of the noise-canceling Apple Airpods Pro for long international and cross-country flights.

Apple airpods pro
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As a frequent traveler and airplane sleeper, Chris has tested a few varieties of noise canceling headphones. They are essential for him to block out crying babies, chatty seat mates, and airplane noise to be able to sleep.

You can also find AirPods Pro Silicone Case Covers [affiliates] with a keychain that easily attaches to your travel bag, purse, or carry-on.

You have a lot of options in the headphones or earbuds you choose. Find one that fits your needs the best.

Hikes in Colorado to Alberta Peak

3. Portable Charger (or two)

My girls have all used the Anker Power Core Portable Chargers. They are pretty slick for a quick device charge with a size not much bigger than a tube of lipstick. The Anker IQ’s are an easy gadget to slip into a carry-on.

My youngest daughter gave me an INIU Portable Charger [affiliates] with a flashlight for Christmas. I had to get her one of her own because she was using mine so often.

It is a little bigger—a cell phone size—than the Anker Power Core and delivers 10,000mAh for charging compared to the 5000mAh of the Anker. And it comes with a handy dandy travel light. Choose one that works best for you; just be sure to have one…or two.

4. Smart Phone

Again, many options are available for smart phones. Whatever phone you have or choose to purchase, this is one device that you don’t want to leave home without.

In fact, on my first solo international flight, I dropped my youngest off with a friend before heading off to the airport and then remembered I had left my iPhone on the counter to do some last-minute charging.

I was grateful to be close enough to home to make a quick stop to pick it up.

Don’t forget an iPhone Case [affiliates]!

**Be sure to order the correct size for your model and style of phone.**

Lighthouse in Boston

5. Tablet (+Keyboard)

I love my Apple iPad Pro 11″ 256GB (with its corresponding iPad Cover).

Love it.

As a blogger, I also love the Apple iPad Magic Keyboard [affiliates] with its easy connect and no need for pairing or charging.

I forgot to bring the keyboard once on an international trip.

I was still able to blog using the built in keyboard on the iPad screen, but it was an exercise in frustration. In fact, I misspelt or mistyped “frustrated” ten times just trying to express my frustration.

Put this on your list and don’t forget it.

6. E-Reader

Do you love to read? My girls have loved loading their Kindle Fire [affiliate] with books to read while we travel. We have had it for a number of years now, and it is a gadget that still finds its way on many trips.

7. Camera & Lenses

I LOVE my camera.

Not sure which would win in a battle, my camera or my iPad, so let’s just say I love them both.

I had an older version of the Canon T8i and it served me well over the years. If you aren’t going to take the time to learn the manual features, this camera or any DSLR wouldn’t be worth the effort or neck strain to carry in my opinion.

I have since upgraded to a Canon 6d Mark II [affiliates] and look forward to the amazing memories I can capture in a photograph.

The Cameras on Cell Phones are so amazing nowadays, you can use them for all of your photography needs and be completely happy with the results.

If you have a knack for photography, then a DSLR would be awesome. The photo opportunities around the world are plentiful.

Check out my Photo Gallery for some of my favorite photos.

Camera with lens attached

My favorite lens for my Canon T-series Camera, and the one I traveled with 100% of the time, was the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 with Image Stabilization.

I also travel with my Canon “Nifty Fifty” because it is light and compact and just a handy all-round camera gadget to have.

I am looking to invest in a new “go to” lens for the Canon 6d Mark II next month? The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens (affiliate) is my current plan.

If you have any suggestions or recommendations for your favorite lens, leave a note in the comment section below.

8. Camera Battery, Charger & Memory Card

My first Camera Battery Charger was a corded version that just took up too much valuable space in my carry-on backpack.

I switched to a charger with a flip out plug and was much happier with it.

It is perfect for charging your devices and gadgets as you travel and making sure that your camera is always ready for the perfect shot.

Be sure to pick a charger, battery, or any gadget listed here that is specific to YOUR camera, phone, tablet, etc.

I would recommend original Canon Batteries every time, but if that is not in your price range or readily available, you can try these Camera Batteries.

I don’t know that I have taken enough pictures in a day to use up all of the battery in my camera, but I have come close. I always keep a charged battery in my backpack just in case.

I have a SanDisk 256GB Memory Card (affiliate) for my camera and it is plenty big; as I learn more about photography and want to begin shooting in RAW format, it will be the perfect size for photo storage as I travel.

Photography gadgets deserve a post of their own.

Check out a recent post on 15 Popular Photography Gadgets. Gadgets just make life so much easier.

Bicycle in France

9. Power Strip

I carry a Power Strip with USB Ports [affiliate] with me whenever I travel. The options are varied when you search on Amazon, so find the one that best suits your needs.

When I return home from vacation and unpack, the power strip just stays in my luggage until the next time. It is definitely one of my must-have gadgets.

Invariably, with all of the devices to be charged, this power strip comes in pretty handy anywhere in the world as I plug into a plug converter.

10. Travel Adapters

With my husband’s international travel, he invested in International Power Adapters that we have used on our family trips as well.

Even in different European countries, the plugs vary, so an Adapter Plug Set [affiliates] may also come in handy or be another option if you plan to travel throughout Europe and other countries.

11. Wall Chargers & Cables

While the smaller cubes (pictured below) are pretty handy for travel and convenience, they do not charge as quickly as the larger wall cube and may not have enough power to charge larger devices such as laptops and tablets.

Need to charge multiple devices at once? Check out the dual port options on charging cubes.

Chris loves this USB C charging gadget and says it charges his laptop in record time.

Have you ever tried retractable cables? If you can keep your kids from playing with this fun little gadget and messing up the spring action, they are great for keeping cables organized.

We often buy Amazon Basics Charging Cables for our electronic devices. Whether you are an Apple or an Android user, you will find a multitude of cable options online (make sure you select the right option for your device).

12. Watch

Smart watches, especially the Apple Watch Series 3 that I wear, come in a variety of shapes, colors, and tracking abilities.

And don’t forget to toss in the Apple Watch Magnetic Charging Cable [affiliates] to be sure to keep your watch charged as needed.

13. USB Car Charger (Cigarette Lighter insert)

Planning to rent a car while on vacation? Not all vehicles are intuitively designed and you will find in some rentals that the USB charging port is hidden or inconveniently placed.

A cigarette lighter USB Dual Car Charger [affiliate] is convenient for charging or connecting devices in your rental car.

My husband loves this handy gadget.

Just don’t forget to take it with you when you return the car!

14. Air Vent Magnetic Phone Car Mounts

These magnetic car phone mounts are such awesome little gadgets.

You place a metal plate (included with your purchase) inside your phone case. The Magnetized Phone Mount [affiliate] slides on to your air vent slat; place your phone against the phone mount and voila! instant attachment.

Again, don’t be like us and forget to remove it from the car when you return the rental!

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14 Genius Gadgets for Travel

Final Thoughts on Genius Gadgets for Travel

Do you have a gadget that enhances your travel experience? Comment below.

Chris and I are always on the lookout for new devices to streamline and consolidate our travel electronics.

You may also enjoy these additional planning and gift guides…

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Ann Schmitz
Ann Schmitz
1 year ago

I once thought I was purchasing a converter so that I could use my curling iron in Europe. Much to my surprise it wasn’t a converter but just an adapter. Needless to say, I singed my hair pretty good because my curling iron was way too hot. Luckily my hair was the only thing that burned!

1 year ago
Reply to  Ann Schmitz

Oh my goodness Ann, I’m not sure I would consider that LUCKY!

1 year ago

I used to travel A LOT! In fact, I took a year off to travel around the world and I had SO many books in my bag! I wish e-readers existed back then. It would have made my life easier and it would have also been easier to find English books to read when I was in other countries.

1 year ago

Yes to multiple chargers and adapters! And yes to being homesick for travel. Go away Covid!

Julie Plagens
1 year ago

This is a thorough list of things you might need to travel. I wouldn’t mind if it were just for home. I like the magnetized phone mount. Looks like it would hold a phone for easy reading of directions.

1 year ago

I never leave for a trip with my trusty Kindle (loaded with purchased and library books, of course). I keep most of our travel accessories in one tote, so it’s easy for packing. But, we’ve been caught off guard a time or two with dead a dead camera battery and a full memory card (with no way to download). Need to get an extra of both and leave a “don’t forget” note in the travel tote!

1 year ago

My e-reader has been such a game-changer for travel. No more packing an entire suitcase just for books haha! These were all great suggestions!

1 year ago

Traveling at all feels like such a dream right now, but I know I have completely forgotten all the basics on how to do it. Thanks for sharing this list to make it easier to get back into it.

Mary Monique
1 year ago

Love the water-resistant travel bags (super helpful considering we have children every time we travel). Those earphones look so good for a birthday present too. Enjoyed viewing the rest of the gadgets. Thanks for sharing!

Kelly Bolen
1 year ago

I need some of these gadgets just to have!!!! Love the air pod cases and the magnetic phone mount! These are have to haves in my book!

1 year ago

I will keep this things on my list the next time we can travel, I always need to buy charger, Sd or something…..

Lindsay Madsen
1 year ago

An Apple iPad Keyboard would be so helpful!! We love ours but I don’t use it for blogging and my own personal use because it doesn’t have a keyboard. Thanks for the great list of travel gadgets.

1 year ago

I will say that the last one is something I use constantly! I have a magnet in my car and it makes life a thousand times easier. I also love my camera, of course. And I highly recommend earbuds and portable chargers when traveling. I haven’t done much traveling, to be honest, but I’m sure I’ll refer back to this in the future!

1 year ago

This is so helpful for “layman” travelers such as myself! Thank you Jolayne!

1 year ago

This is such a helpful post! I love my portable charger, and it’s saved me on multiple occasions. Also, converters are so important for traveling internationally, so that’s a great suggestion. Thanks for sharing!

1 year ago

This is a great list. We have all of these except for the smart watch, and are actively using them pretty much on a daily basis.

Amy Aed
1 year ago

I have never taken a portable charger with me before on a trip, but it makes so much sense that I will have to do it next time!

1 year ago

I never even thought about taking a power strip but that really is genius!! Great tips- we never leave home without our airpods and chargers!!

1 year ago

A lot of these items we bring along also. They’re indeed genius gadgets for travel! Didn’t knwo about the Water Resistant Travel Bags, so will have to check those out.

1 year ago

I love this list! So many essential items you never want to travel without! Water resistant bags come in so handy! Thanks for the great guide!

1 year ago

I always forget about adapter! 😀 but I never go out without my camera equipment! nice list!

Vanessa Shields
Vanessa Shields
1 year ago

So many great electronic gadgets that are not only helpful but life savers at times! I love my water resistant bags, portable charger and of course my camera the most!

1 year ago

You can never have enough battery chargers when travelling! Camera, photo, I always bring a portable one.

Linda (LD Holland)
1 year ago

I am a bit of a gadget girl and am always looking for great suggestions for new adds to my pack. I always travel with my iPad but it is not always a great reading device in places like the pool deck. May need to start carrying my eReader too. I agree about carrying a power strip with you since so many places don’t have enough power. I may need to upgrade to one like yours that takes 3 prong plugs and has USB power.

1 year ago

Super post, you have a solid collection of travel gadgets. We keep a drawer full of many of these to use when we packing for our next trips. Like you, we have given some of these as gifts to each other too. They are perfect!

1 year ago

Love the power strip you featured! I need to get that similar one!

1 year ago

Great list you’ve put together! I don’t go anywhere without having a fully charged portable charger with me. The amount of times I’ve almost run out of battery and not had anywhere to plug my phone into is crazy.

1 year ago

Good ideas! Some of them are. indeed essential! Like the adapter! Thanks for this list!

1 year ago

This is such a useful list! I really need to get one of these USB-C chargers. I’ve heard the same thing from everyone…record charging times. An absolute must when traveling. 🙂

Colleen Christensen
1 year ago

Nice list of necessary items! Thanks. I left my kindle on a plane once and think the idea of developing a de-planing routine is very important. Good tip!

1 year ago

Such a great list of gadgets. I love how you mentioned the SD card. The extreme pro really makes a different in photo quality. BTW we have the same camera and I love it.

1 year ago

Thank you for sharing this great list of travel gadgets. I’ve travelled a lot and only just purchased a power strip. I bet that will make my life so much easier than trying to find enough plugs to charge everything.

Travelling Tam
1 year ago

I will not travel without the majority of these things!! Especially wireless headphones, a spare camera memory card for my camera and travel adaptor!

1 year ago

I definitely love my portable charger! I take it everywhere with me when I travel.

Jacqueline Le
1 year ago

Totally agreed with everything on this list. I don’t think it’s even possible to have a good trip without a camera, portable charger and headphones. That’s just asking for problems! Never thought about the car air vents though that’s a new one for me but definitely handy for sure.

Nina Clapperton
Nina Clapperton
1 year ago

My portable charger has saved my life more times than I cna count!

1 year ago

I like the idea of water resistant usable travel bags! I am going to have to check these out.

11 months ago

We have a trip coming up for Costa Rica…at the beginning of rainy season…so I think those water resistant bags would work very well for us!

11 months ago

Great list of TRavel Go-To Gadgets!

11 months ago

Some really great suggestions! The one travel accessory I love is a charge adapter. It adapts to every possible plug socket and accepts 4 USB which means I can charge everything from my phones to watch to camera on a single socket!

9 months ago

I love travel gadgets that make life more organized and efficient! Great ideas!