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.
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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.
Before Covid, Chris was trying out the effectiveness of the noise-canceling Apple Airpods Pro for long international and cross-country flights.
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.
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.**
5. Tablet (+Keyboard)
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.
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.
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.
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).
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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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.