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Looking for the best travel gadgets of 2018? If you're like me then you LOVE your technology and are always on the hunt for something new to make life a little easier. Not all technology has to be electronic and as you'll see in this post many travelers use modern technological conveniences to make life easier on the road.
I asked several other travel bloggers what their tech travel must haves were and put together this list to give you some new ideas! Obviously I don't recommend packing all of these things for your next vacation but you might discover something new that will make your next trip a little easier.
The hardest part? Choosing which one you want to try next!
One of the best travel gadgets I have is a portable electronic luggage scale. I first realised this was something I needed when I was moving to Canada and all my luggage was over, including my hand luggage. My checked luggage was at 32kg which is the max and it resulted in me having to throw some items away to get within the limits.
I now travel frequently and sometimes use different airlines and visit multiple destinations. They often all have different allowances for both checked and hand luggage, so by having a small and portable luggage scale means that I never have to worry about going over as I can easily keep an eye on it
Mike of Travel and Destinations
When I ask a stranger to take a photo, it always turn out terrible. One of the best gadget that a solo traveler can have is this amazing selfie stick. This is not a normal selfie stick as it has an in-built tripod which allows for handsfree photographs.
The difference between this model and other selfie stick-with-tripod is that the tripod here is in-built, whereas other models come with an attachable (and bulky) tripod. When the legs are shut, it looks and feel just like any selfie stick, making it extremely portable Simply place it on a flat ground, frame your shot, and snap away! It comes with a Bluetooth remote, but you can also use a timer or the timelapse mode on a Gopro for candid shots.
Some examples of photos taken with the selfie stick-cum-tripod.
Owen of My Turn to Travel
The one thing which I never forget when I plan a short or long trip is my travel case for small accessories and electronics.The case is a medium sized handy material where I keep my mobile,cameras,torch lights, batteries,fm radios,watches,flash lights and some other important accessories.It is durable and portable and the good thing is that I can carry it wherever I want without many hurdles.
Another important feature is that it is readily available in Amazon stores at an affordable price without spending too much money. I just love this case as it has helped me a lot without worrying too much about the safety and carrying too many bags during any trip.It can be inserted easily in the bag that you are carrying alongside with you without any hassles.
Somnath of Travel Crusade
I won’t leave home without myTravelTap water filter bottle. This nifty little piece of engineering lets me drink tap or river water because of its ingenious filter system. I not only save $$$ (because even in SE Asia buying bottle water costs on average US$20 a month), but I’m not putting two or three plastic bottles in a landfill every day. The technology in the filter removes 99.9% of viruses, protozoa, anthrax and pathogens. The filter auto shuts down when full, although it will filter around 1600 litres of water before that happens. The British Army and disaster relief teams use this technology too. AND it doesn’t leak when the bottle falls on its side! When I’m in an area where the tap water is safe to drink, I just unscrew the filter and it’s a reusable water bottle too. It’s a simple idea that saves me money and the world from an ecological nightmare!
Note: This bottle is not available in the US. For a similar product, I have linked to Lifestraw bottles.
Sarah of A Social Nomad
Purchasing or renting a mobile WiFi device can be a cost-effective way to maintain an internet connection while you are on the road. I don’t go anywhere without my Skyroam Solis 4G LTE global WiFi hotspot. This easy to use, palm sized gadget easily fits into my backpack or jacket pocket. It promises unlimited WiFi in more than one hundred countries. For under $10 per day you can connect up to five devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops) at time. You pay only for the days you use. With 16+-hour battery life, you can take with you for a full day of exploring and never worry about it running out of juice. Plus it acts as a power bank to keeps your devices charged wherever you go.
Dana of Dana Freeman Travels
Just a couple years ago if you wanted to take your phone around at a water park or while doing some type of watersport, you needed an expensive case to keep it dry. I was happy to find a very inexpensive fix when I went to a waterpark in Texas last year. Looking around there were tons of people wearing a plastic dry bag pouch around their necks. This allowed them to carry a protected phone around with them. You can also check the time easily and see if you have any notifications through the plastic. I found one online for $7 and bring it everywhere now.
Dan of Honeymoon Always
The travel gadget I don’t leave home without with is definitely my noise cancelling headphones. Not only is the sound quality great when listening to music or watching a movie but they also cancel out that dreary hum from the plane engine.
Maybe you just want to chill or get some work done at a cafe or other public place, switch them on with or without music and you will feel like you are in your own space.
My favourite way to use them though is when I’m trying to get some sleep on a plane. I connect them to my phone and then play the “sleep well” app, this is a guided meditation which then plays a low sleep inducing sound. I get good chunks of sleep this way and I no longer dread overnight flights.
Kaylie of Happiness Travels Here
As people who love to travel with laptops, a DSLR camera and lenses, and all sorts of electronic accessories, the peace of mind that our Pacsafe brings us is unmatched. Lightweight and extremely durable, the Pacsafe is a portable safe designed to attach to whatever the strongest item in your hotel/hostel/apartment is when traveling: the bathroom sink, the base of the toilet, the bed frame in a pinch.
When we go out for the day, particularly in places where the rooms feel less secure, we place all of our electronic gear, our passports and backup credit cards into our Pacsafe, lock it to the strongest thing in the room, and set off far less worried about theft than we would be otherwise. In some destinations, we use it on a daily basis, and to us, it is worth every penny!
Kate of Our Escape Clause
A handy little gadget that simply clips on to your smartphone, the rechargeable Selfie Ring Light is a great tool to enhance your photos. There are three different brightness settings to remove shadows and wrinkles from faces, but I personally find it more useful as a backlight for food photos and to improve the quality nighttime shots in dark bars and lounges. For less than $15, it's a great thing to throw in your purse that makes all your photos look like they were shot with a professional camera.
Lauren of The Downlo
As a professional travel blogger and photographer, Since 2012 I never traveled without my Canon 5D Mark II. It was my number one camera for taking great pictures. But making travel videos with it was a different story. It was simply too bulky and heavy. I decided to buy the Canon G7X Mark II exclusively for making travel videos. But I have to admit that my DSLR stays at the hotel a little bit more often nowadays. It's one of the most popular camera's for vlogging but the point-and-shoot camera takes incredible pictures as well. Perfect for traveling light, without compromising on quality.
Denise of In Het Vliegtuig
One gadget I don’t leave home without on my travels is my remote clicker. As a solo traveller, I love to try and capture pictures of me on my adventures. And when you’re hiking somewhere remote (for example, along the Pembrokeshire Coast path) there is not always someone to take your photo. The remote clicker works great with my camera, I simply set my tripod up then can jump around (I like jumping photos) to capture my shot. It’s small and easily fits in your pocket, in fact, it’s so small I’ve nearly lost it a few times! This not only works for solo travellers but couples or families that want to include everyone in the photo
Becky of Becky the Traveller
Olympus OMD E10 Mark lll
I've been using this Olympus mirrorless for over a month and after testing it against different weather conditions and, destinations and situations, I have realized it is perfect for anyone looking forward to packing as light as possible without compromising the quality of their photography.
Pair the body with a wide angle lens and a telephoto one plus a tripod and you are good to go!
Inma of A World to Travel
I almost never travel without this gem of a tripod in my bag. I have a compact Canon EOS M6 mirrorless camera and this tripod can hold it perfectly well. I have been able to shoot some excellent timelapses with this. My husband carries a DSLR and the best part is, this tripod can hold that as well! Of course, not with the huge telephoto lenses. This is excellent for those strenuous hikes where you can’t carry too much. The legs are sturdy and unlike other cheap mini tripods, this is made of a durable material. The ball head is the easiest I have worked with. Just press, adjust the camera and move on! And if I take the right holder for my phone and action camera, this can hold them with the same ease as it holds anything else. This is also excellent for vlogging because it gives you a perfect distance away from the camera. The only downside is that you cannot be sure whether you have set the camera in a flat angle. But that is true with any mini tripod.
Anuradha of Travel Highway
If there is one thing I never travel without it is a travel towel. I never know when I'll be staying in a hotel, Airbnb, hostel, or camping and will need an extra towel so there is always one in my bag. Not only that, but they are eco-friendly, as using one prevents hotels from constantly washing once used towels.
Travel towels are not normal bath towels. Oh no – they are so much more. A good travel towel should be lightweight, quick – drying, Anti-microbial, compact, and comfortable. I've has my Youphoria travel towel for almost three years now, and it has held up through all my camping adventures through Africa and beyond!
Seriously, get yourself a travel towel for your next trip! They are cheap and can easily save you when you are in a bind!
Natasha and Cameron of The World Pursuit
I love camping and making road trips, but it can be a challenge to power your devices when you are wild-camping in a beautiful secluded spot of nature. Or when you are hiking in Nepal and must pay to charge your phone/camera/tablet in the cozy tea lodges. For those moments I have my portable solar panel!
This lightweight panel (12.8 oz/363g) can charge your smartphone, GPS and most USB devices directly. For tablets and camera’s you’ll need to charge a power bank, for example the Venture 30 Power Bank and with this power bank you can charge those devices as well. Of course you’ll need sunny weather and a bit of time, but on a good camping trip those should be available in abundance.
Lotte of Phenomenal Globe Travel Blog
Cold Brew Coffee Bottle
I care about my coffee. Like a lot. I lived on a coffee farm in Nicaragua for a month just to learn more about it.
I've played around with more brewing methods while traveling than I can count (melitta pour over, aeropress, Costa Rican chorreador), but when I started using this cold brew coffee water bottle, I stuck with it. First of all, cold brew is my favorite (it's smoother and wayyy less acidic! NO heartburn!). This water bottle has a little filter inside that you fill with coffee, then you fill the bottle with water and let it sit for 24 hours. It can sit in heat during long travel days – just pop it in the fridge before bed. You can even cold brew iced tea with loose leaf tea (I like earl grey with lavender buds). If you want hot coffee one morning, just pour it into a mug and microwave it. You have to play around with it a few times to get your perfect cup, but once you do, it's SO EASY to clean, use, and carry around, and so tasty. I'm obsessed!
Elizabeth of Temporary Provisions
Having been through all sorts of sizes the past few years, I've become more conscious of my figure. So I adapted a healthy diet and got into working out. I got so consumed with this lifestyle to the point that I make sure I get enough calories and protein in a day. (I'm not anorexic but I just want to look good when I need to take off my shirt in public.#humblebrag)
Someone that's on the go as I am, working full-time and some traveling here and there , I just can't live without my trusty portable battery powered blender where I make my protein smoothie anywhere! These portable blenders are gifts from above. It is like the outdated Blend n' Go but with a built-in motor. I'm still amazed of how flexible it is and you can charge it anywhere through a USB cable.
I always love it when traveling when I take a quick stop at the grocery to buy some ingredients for my smoothie. With Just one press of a button , I ‘ll have my customized smoothie and back to sightseeing again. That is such a huge convenience for me. Talk about on the “On the go” on another level! If you want to maintain your physique while traveling , then the portable blender is the way to go.
The Safe-Go is a small portable safe that locks to a beach chair, stroller, bench, tree, (whatever!) that can hold your valuables. I seriously love this travel gadget, and bring it with me everywhere! Everyone who sees it wants one immediately, it really is genius! The SafeGo holds a wallet, keys and two iPhones easily, which is typically what I have along at the beach. I am so happy to be able to go into the water or take a stroll and not have to worry about where I am going to hide my phone! When we've traveled with kids we've also used it to lock our stroller to a beach chair, which is also an awesome hack when you're traveling with kids.
Kaitlyn of Tear Free Travel
Generally when I travel there are never enough outlets near the hotel bed for me to charge all of my electronics at once. I have to prioritize, generally keeping my phone and laptop near me while scattering my other belongings around the room wherever there's an outlet available, sometimes even having to charge electronics in the bathroom.
I get around this by traveling with an extension cord with a built in surge protector. Then, I'm able to be in one spot (generally the bed) and edit photos, post to social media, write posts, etc all while charging everything at once and having it within reach.
Nathan of Foodie Flashpacker
US-based Android fans should check out Project Fi, Google’s innovative low-cost phone carrier that covers 135+ countries. US monthly rates consist of a flat fee of $20 for unlimited calls and texts plus data at $10 per gigabyte. Overseas rates are identical except that calls are 20¢/minute. Fi is currently only available to US residents and on Google phones like the Pixel or the budget-friendly Android One Moto X4. Older Google phones also work; I’ve used Fi on my Nexus 5X in eight countries without a hitch. Love crossing a border and having instant coverage. No more local SIM cards or roaming charges!
Ingrid of Second Half Travels
Most of you would agree when I say that the secret to happy travels is less baggage. If you want to enjoy more and worry less then travel light. What’s that one thing you think of when you think of travel? Of course, Camera! That’s a must! We all love to take a zillion of pictures of us at the lovelylocations we travel to. Photographs are the beautiful reminders of the moments we spent at the
places we visited.
A good and professional camera like DSLR can take up a lot of space and add to your baggage as it’s bulky. Carrying it around your neck or on your shoulder all the time can spoil the fun. Don’t we all want to make lasting memories with ease! To avoid the hassle, I use my One plus 5T mobile phone with pro camera features. It has seriously turned DSLR redundant for me. It’s pocket-friendly, convenient and never fails to surprise me with its camera performance. I just click a picture, use filter (editing apps) and share it instantly on all the social media channels. Made my life as a traveller easy!
Anjali of Travel Melodies
From safari camps in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park to goat-hair Bedouin tents in the middle of Jordan's Wadi Rum Desert, we tend to travel to a lot of places where keeping your electronic devices charged can be a bit of a challenge. In some, access to electricity is limited to just a few hours each day. For those situations, the LightSaver from PowerFilm is a surprisingly powerful little solar panel for its size. It measures 18.5 inches long and 7.8 inches wide. But it's designed to be ultra-portable, rolling up into a pocket-sized (1.5-inch) package not much bigger than a roll of quarters. It fully recharges with 6 to 8 hours of sunlight, and its 3200 mAh battery is strong enough to charge your phone and one other small electronic device every day.
Bret & Mary of Green Global Travel
One gadget I have found particularly useful on my travels is a headphone splitter. It is very cheap to buy, and simply turns one headphone port on a phone or laptop into two ports, so then two people can listen at once. There are numerous times when travelling, where you have long periods of doing nothing, whether it be at a train station or airport, or on the actual journey itself. I love to in this time listen to music or a podcast, or watch a film/TV show.
However I’ve found sharing this experience is a great way to bond with fellow travelers, by enjoying the same entertainment as them, such as listening to a true crime podcast together, can make a 16 hour Indian bus journey fly by (well at least make it seem slightly quicker than it is!)
Nikon lens cleaning pen is the most useful thing in my camera kit (after my camera of course). The lens cleaning system has a retractable soft brush for dust and a flat disk-shaped chamois for removing dirt and smudges. The pen isn’t filled with liquid so it doesn’t leak. It’s the size of a marker so it doesn’t take up much space in my bag and I can easily slide it into a pocket for a more intensive photo shoot.
All of that for only about $7. It’s a workhorse for me and I don’t travel or go shooting without it.
Carol of Wayfaring Views
One of our favorite iPhone apps for traveling is TripIt. This fantastic app keeps all of our travel plans in the one spot including an area to upload things like passport details in case they are lost on the road. It makes travel, especially with our kids, so much easier as there is no fumbling through emails trying to find our bookings. We just use the lite version that is free but for longer term travellers, the pro version may be useful to get information like real time flight alerts and easier ways to find alternate flights if yours is delayed or cancelled. We highly recommend this app.
Kate of Rolling Along with Kids
As an avid amateur photographer I love taking photos with my iPhone. While snapping away all the time can easily become an addiction, it can be frustrating when it comes to organising photos on the phone. In 1.5 years I managed to get +8000 photos on my iPhone! After moving photos onto USB keys and storing them on iCloud, I was happy to come across Travly, a free photo journal app that allows me to snap shots directly from within the app. Moreover I can create beautiful geo-located photo albums that I can share through email or Facebook. But there are more special features, read on to learn more about how to manage photos on iPhone.
Michela of Rocky Travel
One travel gadget that I won’t be leaving home without is my new DJI Mavic Air drone. For the longest time I resisted buying a drone because I was worried it would take too much room in my luggage and I like to travel super light. But this new drone is both foldable and ultraportable. It is super small (it can fit in a pocket) so it does not take much room in my bag. I love that I can use it to take amazing aerial photos and video of beautiful landscapes that would be impossible to get with a regular camera.
Matilda of The Travel Sisters
As a traveler, I swear by carrying a universal adapter. For years, I've traveled with the same universal adapter, which is a must for anyone who travels abroad. I find that carrying a universal adapter saves me money as instead of needing to buy a new hair straightener, I can drag the same American hair straightener with me that has traveled to countless countries with me. Even when visiting countries close to each other, you might have very different plugs (e.g. Indonesia and Malaysia), so it's best to prepared if you're visiting more than one country on the trip as some countries are isolates compared to their fellow countries (e.g. Japan with American plugs).
Karen of Wanderlustingk
I never travel without a mini LED flashlight/lantern. This device isn’t just a flashlight. When placed upright on a flat surface (e.g., table or desk), it also functions as a lantern so you have a hands-free light source. I’ve taken mine on camping trips but it’s been most useful in developing countries where power failures and rolling blackouts are commonplace. You just never know when you’ll need it. From India to Rwanda, my mini flashlight/lantern has provided me with light when I needed it most.
The great thing about it is that it’s small and lightweight – a hand-held device that fits in your hand and takes up little space in a backpack or suitcase!
Helen of Not Without My Passport
One travel gadget I never leave home without is my power bank. My power bank can charge my phone, GoPro, Kindle and all my other USB cable gadgets through the USB ports. I have two power banks, one I use to carry in my purse if I am out all day, and another, larger, heavier one that I use for long days traveling in the car when I need to charge my electronics. I love them because it makes sure I don't have any gadgets without power or function. They’re a lifesaver!
Nikki of Traveling Ginger
The Joby Gorillapod is a game changer for travellers. Its flexible legs easily allow it to be placed anywhere, whether on fences, poles, trees and of course flat surfaces. This comes with benefits. Easily take long exposure shots on crowded streets and hook it up at any angle to shoot from different perspectives. Best of all, it takes up minimal space, unlike a traditional tripod. Despite its flexible legs, the Joby Gorillapod is sturdy and allows you to take clear, crisp images. It plays towards the convenience factor and I've preferred it over my traditional tripod many times. It's small, light and great for travel.
Samah of God and Wanderlust
My Kindle is the one gadget I never leave home without. As an avid reader and someone that will take any and every opportunity to pick up a book it's been my constant companion for years. While I love reading paper books, they don't travel very easily and I love being able to choose from my BIG library whatever I am in the mood for. Living abroad I learned to adapt and rely on my Kindle for English language reading material. You never know when you'll be stuck sitting somewhere for hours! Plus, this version has a really long battery life. I only have to charge it every few weeks and I use it daily.
Me! Amanda of MarocMama