Best Travel Gear and Gadgets to Make Travel Easier without Taking up Space
I love reading lists and of course, I read a lot of top travel accessories lists. I often think that if I bought and packed all those wonderful things my luggage would be stuffed full with no room for clothes or other essentials. So, although, it’s very tempting to list every possible useful item that you could pack in your suitcase I’m going to concentrate on things that I think will add to your travel experience WITHOUT taking up too much space.
I want this to be a list of useful travel accessories that won’t take over your case. Nothing in this post will take up much space in your luggage but every single one of the travel items will do something to make your travel experience better. Well, in my opinion anyway. None of them will break the bank either. I don’t like expensive travel gadgets. I only lose or break them.
These are my must have travel items. They’re all things I own and use myself so I recommend them from personal experience. I think they’re really cool travel accessories. If you fancy adding any of them to your travel gear collection then just click on the image to go straight through to Amazon to purchase. It’s that easy!
My Top Travel Accessories
- Portable Charger
- TSA Approved Locks
- Worldwide Travel Adaptor
- Lightweight Towel
- Rainproof Mac
- Universal Sink Plug
I resisted getting an e-reader or Kindle for ages. I’m a book lover but I didn’t think I’d ever get used to not holding the actual book in my hand while I was reading. What made me give in? When we decided to go travelling for 2 months and I couldn’t face the risk of running out of books to read. Nor could I carry that much reading material with me.
Then there were my guide books. We were visiting Russia, China, Japan, USA and Canada. I piled up all my favourite guide books and they were so heavy. Of course, I didn’t want to leave home without them but I knew I couldn’t carry them either.
I gave in and bought myself a Kindle and I love it. Now, I have hundreds of novels that I can carry with me wherever I go. It’s wonderful. Moreover, I can take all my guidebooks with me! Kindle is exclusive to Amazon so if you click on the image below you can go straight there.
Get your Kindle here!
You don’t have to buy a Kindle, you could buy a different kind of e-reader. I must admit I’m hooked on my Kindle. Not only is it light and that’s important when you’re holding it to read but it’s easy on the eyes too. I like the backlighting and the fact that it’s adjustable to suit the surrounding lighting. You can also add new books to it really easily, directly from your Kindle. You’ll see suggestions on your homepage which is great as you won’t miss out on any great new books.
Anker Portable Charger
There’s nothing worse than running out of power on your mobile phone just when you need to make a call or check something online. I know because it always seems to happen to me. I spent an entire ferry crossing in Croatia frantically searching for somewhere to charge my phone so that I could book a hotel. I’m sure it’s not just me that these things happen to!
After that, I bought a portable charger so that I can always have power no matter where I am. I highly recommend getting one. However, there are a lot of different types available and some of them are really expensive. I found it really difficult to choose one. In the end, I found a reasonably priced Anker one which had good reviews. I did worry that it might not be very good as it was such a good price but actually, it’s excellent. It charges quite quickly and keeps its charge well. It also powers up my phone really fast and I can get several full charges out of it.
At under £15 ($30), I think this is one of my most useful travel accessories. It’s a great little travel gadget and I wouldn’t be without mine now. I just have to persuade Paul to buy his own as he’s currently always borrowing mine!
Get your portable charger here
TSA Approved Luggage Locks
TSA Approved Locks
I must admit that I didn’t use to lock my suitcase when flying. I know you hear horror stories about rogue baggage handlers but I never carry anything valuable with me. This is my first rule of travel. Leave your valuables at home. I don’t even wear my engagement ring and I swap out my expensive jewellery for a few cheap silver earrings. I have a nickel allergy otherwise they wouldn’t even be silver. The only valuable items I have are my phone and my Kindle and they’re in my handbag.
So why have I put travel locks on my list of top travel accessories? Well, I bought the ones you see in the image above when we travelled to India. At railway stations in India, you have to lock your bags if you want to leave them in left luggage. I decided to look for some TSA ones as I thought they might as well be useful when travelling in the future.
I actually found them really easy to use. They come with clear instructions to put your own PIN in so you can’t forget the code. This is brilliant for me as in the past I’ve lost the little keys that come with them or forgotten the code. I also bought a cable to link mine and Paul’s together but in the end, I didn’t use that at all so I can’t really recommend it.
Having used a lock I have to admit that it did make me feel a bit more reassured about my luggage. I’ll use it in future when storing bags in hotels as well as flying. It will also offer some protection for bags left at the end of the carriage when travelling by train. Certainly, it will slow thieves down a bit and probably put off opportunists.
These LWD locks are really good value. I bought a pack of two for under £20. They’re very robust and the cable top to them makes them easier to manoeuvre. The cable bits can be linked together as well so you can attach two bags together very easily. You can pay a lot more but I think these are really good quality and an absolute bargain.
TSA Approved Locks
Worldwide Travel Adaptor
Worldwide Travel Adaptor with USB
I was given one of these and since then I’ve bought another one. They are so much better than the one I had before. Basically, you just move the sliders on the side to get the plug configuration that you need. It has several USB slots on one side as well so you can charge several phones at ones. This is always handy in hotels which have limited plugs available. Trust me, once you’ve tried one of these cube type adaptors you won’t go back to the more traditional ones.
Worldwide Travel Adaptor with USB
Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of travel towels and never really liked any of them. Yes, they may be smaller but they don’t dry you like a proper towel. Or they’re too small so you can’t wrap them around you. So I was delighted when I discovered these Turkish Hammam towels. They’re designed for use in the traditional Turkish bath or Hammam so they’re big enough to wrap right around you. Despite this, they’re very lightweight and fold up to almost nothing. Another bonus is that they dry really quickly if you hang them up.
Turkish towels are perfect for travelling
If you’re from the UK click this image to buy
The Hammam towel will dry you really quickly too. I also use mine as a wrap since it’s basically the same size as a sarong. Another space saved in the case! Additionally, they come in lovely colours and stripes so are great as a beach towel. The sand shakes off them really easily as well. I’ve had mine for years now and it’s still in excellent condition so they last a long time.
If you’re from the US, click this image to buy
Lightweight Waterproof Mac
Not the most glamorous thing in my wardrobe but definitely one of the most useful. Mine has flowers on it as I think that shows I don’t take it too seriously as a fashion statement! What I love about it is that it rolls up and fits in my handbag. So if we go out walking in the morning and it starts to rain I’m good. It’s so lightweight I really don’t have to worry about it being in my bag so I can leave it in there just in case.
Take a waterproof raincoat that folds up small
I use it as part of my layering strategy for keeping warm when travelling with minimum luggage. Because it’s waterproof it’s good for keeping the wind out too. I find that the mac over a fleece or jumper is enough to keep me cosy even if the temperature drops.
Universal Sink Plug
Don’t laugh but this is one of my favourite discoveries. I got the idea from that famous explorer, Michael Palin. In the series where he travels around the Arctic Circle, he struggles to buy a sink plug anywhere. If you only stay in posh Western hotels you’ll never need one. However, if you get a bit off the beaten track, stay in more traditional local guest houses or travel long distance by sleeper train then you’ll come to love yours too.
Using this little gem I was able to wash my hair on the trans-Siberian train across Russia. No plugs in the sink on the train! I use it to soak small items of laundry – knickers, socks, the odd t-shirt in hotel sinks that seem to drain slowly if you use the normal plug. It’s also great on campsites where they seem to hate providing plugs so it makes it really hard to do your washing up unless you have a bowl. Bowls take up a lot of space. This little beauty is flat and thin so you don’t even notice it’s in your bag.
Universal Sink Plug
I always used to suffer from ear infections and itchy ears when we were travelling. I discovered that it is due to water getting in them more than usual. Now I carry a pair of waterproof earplugs with me and pop them in before I go swimming. I also use them when taking a shower or bath as you can’t be too careful. It really works and I’ve not had a single ear infection since.
I have Mack’s swimming earplugs. They come in a handy little case for travelling and, as I mentioned, they work really well. The case is also handy to pop a pair of wax earplugs in. These are great for noise reduction so if you’re very sensitive to noise when travelling you could add these. I used to carry both but I find Mack’s earplugs reduce noise enough for me so now I just use those.
These Queies was earplugs give excellent noise reduction
It’s handy on trains if you have trouble sleeping due to the constant noise or in busy hotels or hostels. I even use them on flights to block out cabin noise. I paid |£3.50 for mine. One of the best small travel gadgets you can get in my opinion.
Mack’s Waterproof Earplugs
So, that’s my list of top travel accessories and gadgets. As I’ve mentioned, each one is something I own and use myself. I have to admit that I’ve bought a lot of other stuff over the years as well but I can’t recommend those as I’ve discarded them as too bulky or not worth the travel space. I’m very particular about what goes in my case. After all, I have to carry it! Hopefully, you’ll find the list useful. Do let me know if you find any of my items useful.