Getting ready for a vacation is never easy (there’s always something you’re bound to forget to pack), but once you’re there, you want the trip to be a breeze. Some travel gadgets are essential to just about every packing list. Besides your smartphone—which is a given for just about all of us—here are the 15 best travel gadgets that deserve inclusion in your carry-on.
Portable Phone Charger PowerCore
An external battery is the one thing you should never go on a trip without because no one wants to carry around a dead cell phone. PowerCore 20100 Power Bank will give you a heap of charges, which beats buying drinks you don’t need at a coffee shop just to be able to plug in. It has two USB ports, so two people can charge their phones at the same time.
Lightning to USB A Cable
These 4-inch charging cords great for use with an external battery (like the Anker Power Bank!). They are also way more comfortable to carry around than those 3-foot-long cables that always get tangled in your bag.
Noise-Canceling Bluetooth Headphones
SONY Noise-Canceling Bluetooth Headphones make long flights and red eyes a lot more bearable. These comfy, lightweight headphones let you shut out the general din of the aircraft so you can relax more easily, permit you to sleep in flight without getting woken up by chatting passengers and crying babies, and signal to others that you are not up for socializing. Plus, come with a cable so you can use the plane’s audio jack.
Wi-Fi Hotspot Jetpack MiFi 8800L
Wi-Fi hotspot can save you money on international plans and data charges. These devices broadcast a secure, dependable Wi-Fi signal you can use in any country, without having to rely on sketchy public Wi-Fi signals or use your own pricey data. With this Verizon Jetpack, you can connect up to 15 devices to your very own personal network. Plus, it has an impressive battery life — it works as a charger, too!
Pack-it Specter Compression Cube Set
Packing cubes are a savior when it comes to keeping your suitcase organized. These Eagle Creek cubes are made with ultra-lightweight material so you can organize your packing without adding extra weight. The cubes expand to more than triple their size so you can pack and reach your clothes with ease. These cubes are also water-resistant, so you can enjoy your trip without having to worry about your clothes staying dry.
Osmo Mobile 2 Handheld Smartphone Gimbal
The Osmo Mobile 2 is a handheld smartphone gimbal made for the storyteller in all of us. Don’t forget to pack this gadget if you want smooth, stabilized footage of your next vacation. It holds your phone and has built-in controls that rotate it in one sweeping motion — a.k.a. way steadier than a shaky hand. With this, you’ll easily have professional-looking footage of your trip. Wherever your destination, and whenever you feel inspired, capture moments with cinematic movement and incredible ease.
Tile Mate with Replaceable Battery
If you’re worried about losing your passport or plane ticket, just tuck one of Tile’s tiny Bluetooth devices into your holder, and you can keep tabs on everything right from your phone. Can’t find your phone? Simply double press the Tile button on your Tile Mate to make your phone ring, even when it’s on silent.
Evolution S3 Travel Pillow
Anyone who’s ever tried to sleep on a long flight knows it’s hard to get comfy. The Evolution S3 is the only travel pillow on the market with a patented Seat Strap System that supports both sides and eliminates head drop and neck strain by attaching to your headrest – holding your head in perfect alignment. It comes with a compact travel case that cuts your pillow size in half! Quick-release clasp attaches to your carry-on and saves critical storage space.
Fire HD 8 Tablet
You don’t have to leave home with more than five pounds of paper reading material. With a Fire HD 8 Tablet, you can download your favorite books and TV shows so you can stay entertained on the go. It’s lightweight and gives you many benefits of a tablet, minus the hefty price tag. Plus, it claims to have a battery life that lasts throughout 10 hours of reading books or watching videos.
SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker
Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker may be small, but it still packs a punch when it comes to sound. Wireless Bluetooth pairing with voice prompts allows you to easily take calls and access your phone’s virtual assistant — hands-free. It’s also water-resistant, so you can safely use it outdoors — and most importantly, while lounging by the pool.
Rohm Portable White Noise Sound Machine
If you or your little ones sleep with a sound machine on at home, you’ll definitely want to bring along this Rohm Portable White Noise Sound Machine on your trip. The Rohm effectively masks noises that may disturb or distract for improved sleep for adults and children. This model has three different sound options to help drown out any noises that could disturb your sleep. The device fits easily in a carry-on bag or backpack and comes with a lanyard for easy handling or hanging.
Digital Burrito Pouch
JanSport Digital Burrito Pouch might not fit your hangry cravings like a real burrito, but it fits your electronic cords and more keeping them in order with an innovative wrap design. This clever pouch safely stores all of your chargers, cables, pens, and headphones, and then rolls up to easily fit in your backpack or other luggage. No need to worry about misplacing your small items or having them fall to the bottom of your bag.
We’re in the early days of smart suitcases, but the idea is extremely compelling—being able to check on your smartphone where your bag is, how heavy it is, and whether it has been opened. Many smart suitcases even provide the ability to charge devices through a USB connection.
There are also simple tracking devices you can put into your luggage, so that might be another way to tap into this type of tech without going all-in on an expensive bag.
For heavy vacation/travel reading, many hardcore readers swear by the Kindle because it’s so easy to read outside in strong light. If you read a ton while traveling, and in all kinds of places, a branded Kindle e-reader is probably the way to go in lieu of a tablet. The battery lasts weeks, the screen has an adjustable backlight for night reading, and it’s much easier to carry around than carrying 2 or 3 books. It’s also waterproof, so you’re free to read and relax at the beach, by the pool, or in the bath.