20 Gear Items and Gadgets That Promise to Make Your Trip Easier

No matter whether you’re just going away for a weekend or heading off for a year-long RTW trip,  you’re probably hoping to pack as much utility as you can into the smallest space. Luckily, there are dozens of gear items out there to help you lighten your load while making your travels easier.

From apps and adapters to gear to keep your gear safe and secure, there’s a gadget for just about every function you can think of. But how many do you really need? Advertisers can make us feel as if we absolutely need the newest gadgets that they are presenting and in some cases, the products can come in more than handy. But in others, there would have been an easy way to get around taking yet another gadget on the road, so it’s important to evaluate what you really need, and what you can do without for your particular travel style. Here, we take a critical look at 20 of the latest gadgets that promise to make your trip easier.

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AirPort Express

Should you be spending a lot of time in hotel rooms using 3” Ethernet cables or getting skyrocketing wi-fi charges, the AirPort Express could come in more than handy. Weighing only 7.58 ounces, the gadget is powerful enough to run a home Wi-Fi network, yet small enough to take on the road. It will also allow you to print from any room to one central printer, in addition to streaming your music through AirPlay.

Do you need it?

Whether you really need this device will depend on how much you need wi-fi connections while traveling. For business travelers or bloggers on the go, this lightweight addition to your pack will be well worth the space it takes up.

Clear Card

Accepted at 20 airports in the United States, the Clear Card allows holders to clear airport security and controls faster. Clear card holders apply online, and then go to an enrollment center to present two forms of government issued I.D. as well as their biometric data, all of which is loaded onto the card.

Do you need it?

There’s no doubt the Card saves time and hassle, but only at select airports. If you’re a road warrior always on the go and regularly fly through one of these airports, it’s a great way to make your travels easier. But for the casual traveler, it may not be worth it.

Bluetooth Laser Virtual Keyboard

Thanks to the laser function, this gadget beams a regular-sized keyboard onto whatever surface you put it on (best if it is flat so that you can actually see the keys). In addition, your finger can serve as the mouse if you turn on the mouse mode. This is especially useful if you are using a laptop and want to use your finger as a mouse (instead of typing, since the laptop already comes with a keyboard). The Bluetooth keyboard’s battery runs for around 150 minutes and you can charge it via the USB entry.

Do you need it?

Most travelers don’t need a fancy keyboard; most travelers don’t spent enough time on a computer while on the road. But, if you need to type a lot for work or a blog on the road, this matchbox-size gadget might be right for you – it connects not only to most laptops but also to most Smartphones and tablets via Bluetooth. It’s great for the business traveler and an awesome technology addition for anyone trying to do work from a tablet.

Knee Defender

This “defender will grant you protection from reclining airplane seats,” as it keeps the seat in front of you from reclining more than you’d like. The pocket-sized gadget clips onto the tray table and can be adjusted for your preferences.

Do you need it?

Sure, if you want to be passive-aggressive to your fellow passengers.  While the plight of tall travelers who have to squish into economy seats is understandable, the person in front still has a right to recline if they choose. Rather than forcibly stopping them, why not have a polite adult conversation and come to a compromise so everyone gets the space they paid for?

Pelican Micro Case Series

The Pelican micro case series is ideal if you tend to throw your other small gadgets around. Be it a cell phone, iPod or other small device, you can store it inside one of the cases and it will protect your valuables from water, as well as getting crushed. (In fact, the cases are so crush-resistant that a 5,000 pound truck could drive over them without the contents getting any sort of damage!).

Do you need it?

If you’re a person who tends to drop things, these are ideal. Or, if you’re planning to do extreme water sports and need to protect your personal items, they can come in handy, too. Think about where you’re going and whether you can take care of your things on your own – if not, the series will do it for you.

Jet Lag Relief packs

If you’re prone to suffering the effects of jet lag, get this relief pack. Made of natural ingredients, this pack helps you get back to your normal everyday habits and combat tiredness and other jet lag-related symptoms. One pack comes with both 3 AM and 3 PM formulas. Dissolve the respective one in water and you’ll feel great again!

Do you need it?

While it probably can’t hurt to try, there’s no proof the vitamins and herbal extracts in the formulas will get your body pack on track any more so than eating healthy, staying hydrated, taking your vitamins and getting some exercise.

The 150-Country Auto-Detecting Travel Adapter And Converter

Gadget-loving travelers know that all their tech needs to be charged, and that means having a variety of adapters on hand to keep the electronic juice flowing at all times. As its name already states, this gadget serves as an adapter and converter throughout 150 countries. This includes locations in Europe, Africa, Asia, America, the Caribbean and also Australia. No matter where you go, the charger can tell what the incoming voltage is. After that, the converter function transforms it to 120-volt AC power. Last but not least, the device has a USB port. This way, you won’t need to carry around all of your other chargers.

Do you need it?

If you travel with (and depend on) a lot of other gadgets, this one is the ideal product to keep them all charged. And if you’re visiting multiple countries, if means only bringing one item to keep you plugged in no matter where you go.

Poolpod

We’ve all heard of conventional docking stations, but with the waterproof speakers of the Poolpod, you can take lounging at the pool to another level. Dock your device in the included wireless docking stations, and throw the speakers in the pool – they float and guarantee a strong, clear signal up to 150 feet away.

Do you need it?

Probably not. Without a doubt, it’s a luxury item that’s more novelty than necessity. If you have a conventional docking station, you can take that with you instead, and just set it up beside the pool instead of in the water. A simple set of headphones will also do to listen to headphones – and you won’t be disturbing others, either. But if you’re traveling with kids or plan on spending lots of time relaxing in or near the water, it’ll keep your speakers dry and your pool time fun.

SteriPEN Journey

SteriPEN is known for its water purification products and this one is perfect for those traveling in the outdoors. By way of universal symbols, the LCD screen displays your choice of how much water you want to purify (half or whole liter), battery status as well as a countdown timer to tell you when your water is safe to drink.

Do you need it?

A casual traveler may no be concerned with the availability of potable water; where there’s a convenience store, there’s bottled H2O. But if you’re heading somewhere further off the beaten path or doing some backcountry camping, this is a great gadget to take along. It’s not worth risking your health – just pack this item and you’re safe.

Space Bag to Go

Space Bags are ideal for those trying to pack light on a long trip, but they can come in handy for the conventional traveler trying to avoid luggage fees, too. Place your clothes inside the vacuum bags and they will suck the air out. This way, you can pack more in less space.

Do you need it? 

If packing light seems to be a skill you can’t master, these can help you cram more into your bag so you can go carryon only without sacrificing.  There’s no doubt the bags save space, but other packing tricks like rolling your clothes, also help you pack more without extra cost.

GoClean Laundry Pack

These simple drawstring bags can save you when it comes to laundry. The material, – heavyweight nylon, – keeps the smell of dirty clothes in. This way, your whole suitcase won’t reek when you travel from one place to the next. Just make sure to do laundry eventually!

Do you need it?

While these packs look especially cute, a simple plastic bag can do the job, too. Many high-end hotels will have plastic laundry bags for you to use or just bring your own extra large ziploc bags.

Zuni Connect

Small and lightweight, this travel router packs neatly into luggage and lets you keep bulky and heavy wall charger transformers at home. Patent pending technology detects the main network’s IP address and it comes with two USB charging ports.

Do you need it?

Again, if you plan on using the internet a lot while abroad, this product could come in handy. If not, use your vacation to get offline and really disconnect.

Audio-Technica ATH-CKM50A Earbuds

Instead of bulky headphones, go for ear buds. These block out nearly as much ambient sound as a noise-canceling headset, and they have an impressive dynamic range.

Do you need it? 

If space and noise are concerns for you while traveling, these may be worth the splurge. They’ll keep your pack light and cancel out unwanted noise around you.

Franklin 12-Language Translator

Taking along a human interpreter and translator is expensive, if not impossible. Thanks to technology, there is no need for that. The Franklin Translator fits in your pocket and not only displays, but also speaks, foreign words and phrases (both colloquial and eloquent). You’re covered in 12 languages, including Chinese (Mandarin), Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Do you need it?

On the average vacation, a translation app on for your Smartphone or tablet would do the same job as this item. But if you’re traveling without cell or wifi connections, these keeps a translator at your fingertips without roaming or data charges.

QuickPod ComPod Slim Tripod

If you’re keen on including yourself in photos and videos, this gadget could come in handy. It attaches to your camera or camcorder and at the same time, serves as tripod. For storage, it will collapse to 9”.

Do you need it?

If you’re sick of trying to take your own photos in front of every monument or of trying to explain your camera functions to helpful strangers so they can snap your picture, this is a very helpful tool. It also comes in handy for solo travelers trying to capture self-portraits.

ProSafe

ProSafe is a carabineer combination lock with LED light, which means you can see to unlock the combination in the dark. At first glance it seems to fall into the “random combination gadget” category, but for anyone who has fumbled with a lock in a dark hostel room, it makes perfect sense.

Do you need it?

If you plan on staying in hostel dorms on your trip, this gadget will earn you the appreciation of your bunkmates. Rather than turning on the lights to lock or unlock your locker in the middle of the night, you can just use the small LED to light your way without disturbing the other guests.

Scanner Bag

Airport security demands you “take all metal items off and out of your pockets,” but with the scanner bag, you no longer need to place each item individually onto the provided trays. The bag has a luggage tag with a quick-fold pouch inside to hold your cell phone, coins, iPod, keys, jewelry, pen, and whatever else could set off the detector.

Do you need it?

Doubtful. An alternative is just to plan ahead and pack appropriately, stashing your stuff in compartments in your luggage instead of in your pockets. By knowing what you will need to take out at security, you can do so easily when the time comes.

HitchSafe Hidden Trailer Hitch Safe

The HitchSafe is an innovative key storage safe device that is made to looks like an ordinary hitch cover and can be attached to your car, RV, SUV or truck. It’s ideal for storing a bit of cash, credit cards, or spare keys.

Do you need it?
If you’re concerned about break-ins, this gadget will provide peace of mind.  Hardly anyone would expect to look there for valuables and even if they do, they would have to be skilled enough to open the HitchSafe. But, a small safe in the RV serves the same function.

Ankle Swim Weights

Staying fit on the road can be a challenge. It’s impossible to take certain fitness equipment, like weights, with you when you travel and many fitness centers abroad can be expensive. If your hotel will have a pool, you can stay fit by strapping these weights on your ankles. While you swim, you will be training with some extra resistance.

Do you need them?

Probably not. There are plenty of other ways to stay fit, including working out with your own body weight (doing lunges, pushes, etc) or just good old-fashioned running. Besides, any hotel with a pool is likely to have even a basic fitness center.

Heys Digital Touch Luggage Scale

If you have packed too many of the above gadgets, you can use this one to weigh your luggage. Instead of having to place your luggage on a conventional scale, the digital hook produces accurate readings and is small and light enough to throw in your pack.

Do you need it?

A portable luggage scale is one of those items that you never really need, until you really need it. Most travelers don’t compulsively weigh their luggage before each trip, but packing and using a personal scale can help you avoid having luggage that’s too heavier or help you contest unfairly-assessed overweight luggage fees.  If you’re going on a trip and have very specific weigh requirements, this little tool can be a great investment.

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