The tech products you need before traveling

Last Updated November 2019

In the digital age, going on vacation doesn’t just mean spending time away from home — it also means spending time away from your home network and all of the gadgets you use to power your day-to-day life, which can be a scary proposition for some.

As we rely more and more on everything from our smartphones to wearable tech, it’s important to be able to take our gadgets with us wherever we go, whether that’s on a business trip or a family road trip to a theme park.

Thankfully, inventors, manufacturers, and gadget-makers have all risen to the challenge of helping us make our technology more portable, so you can enjoy the convenience of your gear anywhere. Whether you’re miles from the nearest power outlet, or just afraid that you’re going to lose something while you’re away from home, it pays to bring the right accessories.

Here are our favorites for the most common types of travel: The gear we’d never leave home without.

Our picks

For the business traveler

If you’re travelling for work, it’s important to never run out of power; a dead laptop or smartphone can stop your productivity in its tracks. Make sure your back-up plan has a back-up plan with things like:

  • A power bank. A power bank is basically a giant battery that can store enough power to recharge a smartphone or laptop. There are a lot of so-so power banks out there, so make sure to pick one up with at least 5,000 mAh (which is enough to fully recharge a laptop twice over), and the right ports to connect to all of your devices.

    • Our pick: The Aivant AC power bank is one of the best available. Not only does it have a 42,000 mAh battery inside, but it also features a three-prong plug input, so you can use it to easily charge your laptop several times over. And if you’re concerned that all of your devices will go through the battery quickly, don’t sweat it — the Aivant AC power bank has an input for a solar charger, so you’ll always be covered, so long as you can find a window (and you bring your own portable solar panel).
       

  • An international power adapter. If you frequently visit other countries, you don’t want to be caught abroad without a power adapter. Most international power adapters have a plethora of connectivity options, so you can rest assured that you’ll be able to charge any device, regardless of what country you’re in.

    • Our pick: Haozi’s Universal Travel Adapter is reliable and easy to use, and it’s a lot cuter than all of the other nondescript adapters on the market. It’s got two USB ports, can charge up to three devices at once, and it’s got adapters for using it in more than 150 countries. This isn’t just one of the best adapters around — it’s also one of the most affordable.
       

  • Noise-cancelling headphones. If you’re traveling for work, chances are you deal with a lot of noisy situations, from crowded flights to coffee shops buzzing with conversation. Cut yourself a break from all of the cacophony: Get a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. Noise-cancelling headphones let you listen to whatever audio you want while simultaneously generating a frequency that blocks out outside sounds. If you’ve ever dreamed of being able to push a mute button on the world around you, noise-cancelling headphones are the way to go.

    • Our pick: Sennheiser’s HD 4.50 Bluetooth Wireless Headphones show off why they’ve been in the headphone business for decades. They sound better than a comparable pair from Bose, they’re lighter and more comfortable than anything from Beats, and they’re 30% cheaper than both.

For the rugged outdoors-person

Who says you have to leave tech behind to enjoy the great outdoors? Technology can make any trip more enjoyable — even camping. Here are the gadgets we take with us when we’re braving the elements.

  • A portable coffee machine. If coffee is part of your daily routine, it’s easy to take it with you using a portable coffee machine —  just because you’re in the wilderness doesn’t mean you need to be uncivilized.

    • Our pick: Trim’s Single-Serve Portable Espresso Maker makes legitimate espresso that brings your favorite flavors to life. If your first thought about camping is, “Where’s the closest Starbucks?”, this is the travel coffee maker that will help get you your caffeine fix first thing.
       

  • A portable laptop charger. Some power banks are referred to as laptop chargers, because they hold enough power to recharge a laptop (smaller models are more designed to charge only smaller electronics like smartphones and tablets). If you want to make sure you never run out of juice while you’re in the woods, you’re going to need one with as much power as you can get.

    • Our pick: OmniCharge’s Portable Power Bank comes with adapters so it can work with any laptop. The built-in OLED screen shows you key information about how much power is left, but the big deal here is capacity: the included 20,400 mAh battery is big enough to recharge even the most power-thirsty of devices several times over.
       

  • A portable speaker. Music makes everything better — including spending time outdoors. Most Bluetooth speakers have internal batteries, so you can keep your tunes going for hours, even if there isn’t a power outlet nearby.

    • Our pick: Sony’s Bluetooth speakers have been quietly evolving to be the best on the market, and the Sony XB10 Bluetooth speaker shows off their commitment to rich, omnidirectional audio at a shockingly low price point. Perhaps best of all: It comes in different colors, so you can pick your favorite.

For the family vacation

If you’re getting ready to go on a trip with your spouse and little ones, having the right tech can mean the difference between a peaceful ride and hours spent asking, “Are we there yet?” Here are the technological conveniences you’ll need to make sure your next family road trip is smooth sailing.

  • A USB hub that charges. If your kids have discovered the magic of being entertained by a tablet on road trips or plane rides, make sure their devices always have a way to recharge. With a USB hub, you can plug multiple devices in and have them all recharge at once, without having to waste the few available ports in your car.

    • Our pick: Sabrent’s 4-Port USB 3.0 Hub is ideal, because each of the available USB ports has a dedicated button that allows you to toggle whether or not the device gets charged — all at one of the lowest price points on the market.
       

  • A Bluetooth tracker. Having kids means constantly losing things — whether it’s a pacifier, a unique charging cable, or your keys, when you’ve got little ones to chase around, some things are bound to get misplaced. By attaching Bluetooth trackers to things, you can use your phone to find them again.

    • Our pick: Tile’s Mate and Slim Combo Pack gives you plenty of options for tagging your most prized possessions. Use the standard Tile Mates for larger items like your car keys or your bag; Tile Slims are perfect for situations with less room, like your wallet.

Written by:
  • Jaime
    Jaime
    Writer