We have been travelling full time for over four years now. In that time, we have packed, repacked and packed again. In doing so, we have re-evaluated the things we can and can’t travel without.
When your life fits into two bags and some carry-on, you get pretty savvy about what you buy, especially when it comes to tech gadgets for travel. You also get pretty savvy about not depriving yourself of too many little luxuries at the risk of having to pay excess baggage.
So after four years and much trial and error, here are some of the tech gadgets we always travel with. While these may not be all of our absolute essential travel gadgets like laptops, smartphones, etc. And, of course, not counting the excess weight in camera gear alone, these are the few gadgets we can honestly say make long term travel a little more agreeable.
These are the essential tech and gadgets for travellers, no matter what kind of traveller you are.
Unlocator Smart DNS – For Online Streaming and Browsing.
Bag Space/weight: Zero – it’s a download.
Cost: USD$50/ year.
We think it’s pretty good value for internet flexibility and peace of mind. There is also a 7 day no credit card required Smart DNS free trial.
By now most people understand the merits of having a VPN for travel. Being able to surf the web in your own private cyberspace ensuring absolute security. It allows you to enjoy any of your favourite sites from anywhere in the world. Just choose your virtual nationality and away you go. For us, as bloggers and travellers, this means being able to access our usual sites from anywhere, especially when we are in countries notorious for web censorship, such as Russia and Turkey.
It means you can be sure of security when online in public places such as airports and cafes. And best of all, it means we can watch all of our favourite TV shows as they air around the world and shop from any online store.
Why Unlocator? Unlike a VPN, Unlocator is a Smart DNS which offers a more efficient, cheaper, and simpler way of streaming content to devices. Unlocator is also the only DNS provider we have found who manage to stay one step ahead of Netflix shutdowns where other VPN providers have failed. Let’s face it; reliability is key when the next season of Game Of Thrones is about to start!
Amazon Fire Stick for TV Anywhere in the World
Bag Space/weight: The USB stick and remote are small enough to fit in your pockets. It has no attachments, just a power cord and obviously weighs very little so it makes the cut. In fact, it outdoes the Apple TV for value and portability.Check Prices Here
Want to be able to watch your favourite TV shows anywhere in the world and not be confined to your laptop screen?
Combined with your Unlocator DNS, the Fire TV Stick is possibly the most compact solution. No larger than a USB stick, just plug it straight into any HDMI TV and start streaming. It is perfect for hotel rooms, especially those that offer cable but nothing in your language. With over 3,000 channels, apps and games. Including all prime movies and TV such as Netflix, HBO, Amazon Video and Showtime, this tiny device is the perfect gadget for travel. Adding your DNS to your Fire TV Stick is as easy as adjusting the settings when connecting to the current wireless network.
Bag Space/weight: Relatively small so doesn’t take much space (5 x 2.1 x 5.3 in). Is durable so doesn’t need to be packed too carefully and is lightweight (1.25 pounds). Has USB and wall charger so you could opt to take one or the other.Check Prices Here
The Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speaker is small, durable and at only 1.25 pounds it’s lightweight. Roughly the size of a small novel, this speaker has definitely earnt its place in our bag. Those times when you have to watch a movie on your laptop, just pair it via Bluetooth for better sound.
It pairs to any smart device so you can enjoy your music wirelessly and has an 8-hour battery life, so perfect when you are on the move. And while it may be compact and portable, it delivers surprisingly excellent sound.
We’ve all had it, the screaming child on the plane or the relentless Chatty Cathy behind you on that long bus trip. When you travel, there are often times when you just want to retreat into your own peace and quiet. Noise cancelling earphones block the distractions of the world making long journeys all the more pleasant.
The best noise cancelling headphones for travel are the in-ear versions. They have come leaps and bounds in terms of technology and quality offering significantly better noise reduction meaning you don’t have to travel with the bulky over-ear models.
Bag Space/weight: While slightly larger (6.5 x 2.3 x 0.9 in) and heavier (356g/12.56oz) than the small one charge options, this device will still slip into your handbag or daypack.Check Prices Here
How many times have you found yourself searching for a cafe where you can charge your smart devices or watched your battery go into the red at the worst possible time while in transit? While the idea of an external battery charger is a given in this day and age, we believe a traveller shouldn’t settle for mere one charge capabilities. Let’s face it; travel is not always that convenient.
Opting for a multiple USB port charger with high speed, high capacity charging capabilities can be a godsend, especially when you are on the move. Imagine being able to charge multiple devices over a number of days? We chose a device that can fully charge 1 MacBook, an iPhone and an iPad on a single charge or an iPhone up to seven times.Many lower-end, reasonable quality portable chargers start at around USD $39.99. Higher quality with better charging capabilities will start at approx USD $60.00. We believe these are better for travel. A quality external charger is more than just a travel accessory; it is a must-have travel gadget.
Bag Space/weight: No larger than a standard luggage scale or external battery charger (5 x 1.69 x 0.94 in) but lighter than a high capacity external charger (156g / 0.34 lbs) This will fit nicely in your handbag or daypack.Check Prices Here
A quality luggage scale is essential in today’s environment of exorbitant excess luggage fees. We have had many luggage scales over the years; we know an accurate scale can save us hundreds of dollars at the check-in counter. For those who want to travel very light, this combined luggage scale, with external battery charger is a fantastic travel gadget. We like it in addition to the high capacity charger.
At roughly the same size and weight as a quality digital luggage scale, the additional battery charging capabilities make this a very handy travel accessory. It can weigh up to 40kg/88 lbs and has fast charging speeds for more than two full smartphone charges. You’ll have no surprise excessive baggage fees and a fully charged phone battery while you travel – win, win.
Bag Space/weight: These units are made up of small USB dongle with and antenna usually no longer than 5 in so are great for even carry on only trips.Check Prices Here
How often do you check in to a hotel with free WIFI only to find the signal doesn’t extend to your room? A wireless USB WIFI extender is a great lightweight, low-cost solution to dodgy wifi when you travel. Just plug it into your laptop, and you’ll be uploading your holiday snaps to Facebook without having to stand on a chair looking for a signal or leaving your hotel room. Some models are so powerful they will even find networks your laptop can’t see.
We also travel with a more substantial Netgear extender as we often need a longer-term solution for wifi reach over multiple devices. When we stay in holiday rentals like Airbnb’s for a month or more at a time, it enables us to boost the WIFI to the Fire Stick as well as all our devices no matter where they are in the house or property. Unlike the cheaper, wireless USB extenders, they do take a little more configuration.
Stop by the Vagrants of the World Travel Shop for a comprehensive list of all our best-rated travel gear. Gear that has been travel tested.
We would love to hear about any gadgets you find makes life on the road just that little bit more enjoyable or maybe a gadget you just cannot do without.
Want great gift ideas for the die-hard traveller? The Ultimate List of Gifts for Backpackers has great gifts for travellers.