Truth: There are far too many “must-have” gadget articles filled with things that you’d never actually buy. But for you, dear Wide World of Travel readers, we have field-tested recommendations that actually will improve your travel life and make your journeys more pleasurable.
Our philosophy here is simple: Skip the extra checked bag and end the security line mayhem. Because traveling lighter is traveling better, we’ve identified five devices that will allow you to pack lighter and avoid clunky security hiccups.
White Kaiman Global Travel Wireless Power Bank
Most people these days have a drawer full of power banks and wall plug adapters. Why not leave them at home and just bring one brick to power them all? This impressive travel gadget from White Kaiman functions both as a 6,700 mAh portable power bank and as an AC charger with a variety of adapters for international travel. It features USB-C compatibility to power the latest Apple laptops, plus Qi wireless charging for enabled devices.
Moment Cell Phone Lens Attachments
We’ve been wanting to leave the camera at home and just take our mobile phones for years. Unfortunately, the earliest entrants into the lens attachment world were of such poor quality that we just couldn’t recommend them. That’s starting to change—better glass is finally finding its way into cell phone attachments. Our favorite comes from Seattle-based Moment, whose selection of wide-angle, telephoto, macro, and other lenses should more than satisfy the amateur and semi-pro photogs of the world. You’ll need to buy one of Moment’s phone cases for compatibility with the lenses, but this purchase is easily justified by the quality of photos you’ll suddenly be taking with your cell.
Katadyn BeFree Collapsible Water Filter Bottle
You’re taking a water bottle anyway, so why not grab one that makes the local water safer to drink in myriad locations around the globe? Katadyn’s BeFree Water Filter Bottle collapses when empty to speed you through the airport, then expands to hold 20 ounces of water. There are a number of competitors in this space, but we like the simplicity and convenience of Katadyn’s screw-on filter and the lack of aftertaste we typically experience from plastic water bottles. While the filter makes all water safer and better tasting, be sure to check with the health agency in your destination to ensure that filtering water is enough to make it truly potable.
Scrubba Wash Bag Portable Laundry System
As frequent travelers, we develop our own favorite ways of washing our clothes wherever we are—from basic hand-washing in a hotel sink to agitating with beach rocks in a plastic bag. The Scrubba wash bag takes care of it anywhere on Earth. Throw it in with your clean clothes at the start of your trip, then use it as a portable washing machine when your duds get stinky. Scrubba’s unique “flexible internal washboard” really gets the job done with a minimum amount of effort.
Garmin inReach Mini
If you like to really get off the beaten path, you’ve no doubt been waiting for a travel gadget like the Garmin inReach. This tiny transceiver combines a GPS unit, weather app, signal booster, and emergency messenger into a single unit. When paired with your mobile phone and a Garmin messaging subscription, the inReach lets you stay in touch with friends and family from basically anywhere in the world. It’s not cheap, but anyone who ever needs to send an SOS signal from a remote location will immediately see the value.
For more tips on how to better navigate airport security generally, check out our recent article posted here.