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With the ongoing advent of new technology, packing checklists have grown to more than outfits and toiletries to include a long list of electronics, gear, and the many wires and chargers needed to support them. Not only are travelers thinking about how they’re going to dress and where they’re going to go—they’re worried about how to photograph themselves in those outfits, plus how to get the best shots of the sights and, probably, their food.
But it’s not just frivolous items either—in an ever-connected world, even leisure travelers are frequently expected to stay productive and check in with work emails. And what about those photos of the kids that grandma is expecting? That means making sure devices like phones, cameras, tablets and laptops stay charged and ready to go.
Looking to streamline your travel checklist? From clip-on lenses for high-quality phone photos to universal adapters and the best battery charger on the market, here are the nine best travel gadgets to bring on your work trips and vacations.
Speaking of connectivity: While traveling internationally is easier than ever, staying truly connected while abroad can still be tricky, what with costly phone plans and weak data coverage. Enter the Skyroam, whose original Skyroam Solis was named by Forbes as the best Wi-Fi hotspot on the market last year. This month, however, the company is launching its Skyroam Solis X, an even more powerful hotspot that they’re billing as “the world’s first WiFi-hotspot.” You can either purchase or rent the device, which essentially gives you a gigabyte of worldwide full-speed 4G LTE mobile data for a monthly fee of $9. The Solis X specifically allows you to connect up to ten devices, and is also fitted with a virtual assistant, remote camera, and power bank.
For those in creative professions (or really anyone accustomed to working with dual-screen setups in the office), losing a monitor can slow down productivity significantly. Thankfully, today’s portable monitors are sturdier, brighter and lighter than ever. The best among these is perhaps this 15.6-inch, full-HD monitor—the slimmest and lightest on the market—from ASUS, which is powered entirely by USB. Included in the bundle is the sleek, metallic screen, a two-way adjustable stand and a protective sleeve.
The quality of mobile photography continues to improve at a rapid rate. For under 20 bucks, you can take your phone photos to the next level with the best adjustable clip-on lenses out there. Aukey’s lens kit includes a wide-angle option with a 140-degree view and a 10x macro lens for zooming in. Made of aluminum alloy, they’re tough enough for outdoor trips and adventure photos. If you’re packing light, this is a great alternative to dragging along a bulky DSLR and camera bag.
Running out of power on the go is every traveler’s nightmare. So get you an adapter that can do it all. Amazon’s bestselling universal travel adapter allows you to charge seven devices simultaneously—there are three outlets and four USB ports. There’s a built-in voltage converter, should you want to power a hair dryer or electric toothbrush. It’s light and compact, and comes with a 5-foot detachable power cable to reach even the most inconveniently located hotel outlets. And interchangeable plugs that work on every continent.
For truly portable power, consider Anker’s selection of high-speed chargers. These include this compact two-port option, which can charge an iPhone 8 almost five times and an iPhone X three times. If you have a new Macbook, Anker’s also got this option with a USB-C connection.
For those who travel to areas with high elevation or who, like me, have experienced respiratory issues with dusty or dirty hotel air-conditioning units, it’s a good idea to pack a portable humidifier. The benefit of this particular device is that there’s no special water bottle required—simply twist on a regular plastic bottle and you’re good to go. The unit can be powered via a USB cord or by 3 AA batteries that will last up to 18 hours.
Relive all your underwater adventures with this 4K60, 12-megapixel action camera. Built-in stabilization ensures quality videos as deep as 33 feet (any deeper and you’ll need a waterproof case). For those needing advanced functionality, the camera offers 30x speed increase, voice control and Facebook live-streaming capabilities.
If you travel often for business, forget that clunky hotel ironing board and remove wrinkles with this portable mini steamer. The device takes about a minute to heat up and offers about 9 minutes of steam ironing. While smaller options exist, their water capacity means you’ll need to refill constantly; meanwhile, Lemontec’s device takes a good 6 ounces.
We’ve all been on a plane with a crying child or intrusively loud adult conversations. So when you need to block out the din, these noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones from Sennheiser ofter a high level of comfort and audio quality. Additional features include voice prompts, touch controls, smart pause and automatic on/off power.
If you need the functionality of a multi-tool while traveling, this pocket-sized, 13-tool option from Victorinox—the company behind Swiss Army Knives—includes a small detachable blade (more of a letter opener, but you still need to remove it if you’re traveling), scissors, a straight pin, ballpoint pen, tweezers, magnifying glass, two screwdrivers, ruler and a LED mini light. The best part? It fits right in your wallet.