The Ultimate Guide for Travel Gadgets and Electronics 

Iconic writer John Steinbeck once said, “People don’t take trips; trips take people.” If you know every concourse at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport like the back of your hand, you may not appreciate the poetic nature of Steinbeck’s sentiment because for you, travel is a central part of your life.

What makes travel bearable? Cool travel gadgets. Electronics. Your favorite airport watering hole. These pleasures momentarily remove you from the stress of late and cancelled flights, weather fronts and other inconveniences, but if you treat yourself to travel gadgets and electronics that do everything from keeping you entertained to keeping you healthy, everything about your journeys will improve.

4 Cool Travel Gadgets that Changed the Way We Travel keeps tabs on innovation, so when Michael Gebicki decided to research gadgets that have literally impacted travel patterns, we were curious. Can you imagine what your travel life would be if the following had never been invented?

1. The Biometric Passport. Imbedded chips have become a way of life, and it’s no secret that this technology has become a boon to travelers. Today’s ePassport features a tiny data chip attached to fingerprints, an image or a retinal scan. The U.S. is still catching up to Australia, a pioneer in Smartgate technology use.

2. RFID baggage tags. RFID baggage tagging continues to evolve since it was introduced in the early 1990s. This baggage tagging system got off to a rocky start but things are improving. As of mid-2018, the International Air Transport Association has made RFID luggage tracking compulsory.

3. Technical travel clothing. There’s a new industry that focuses exclusively on creating fashion just for travelers. New textiles eschew wrinkles, weigh next to nothing, wash and dry fast and repel rain, yet garments still help travelers look as fashionably turned out as models on the pages of "Vogue" and "GQ."

4. Wi-fi. calls Wi-Fi a “game changer” and “an umbilical cord” that tethers travelers to the world, so staying connected, no matter where you travel, is possible. Even small inns catering to tourists know that they could lose business if they don’t supply guests with a Wi-Fi connection!

Today’s Traveler Need Never Feel Deprived

A dizzying array of new travel toys, gadgets, gimmicks and electronics enter the consumer market daily. You can’t buy them all, but you can figure out specific items you must pack if your business or pleasure trip is to be a success. To assist you in identifying cool travel gadgets and products that are currently trending, peruse these general categories:

  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • Smartphones
  • Cases for electronics
  • Phone cards
  • Smart phone camera lenses
  • Communications apps
  • Travel locks
  • Power adapters/packs
  • Portable batteries
  • Film bags
  • Speakers
  • Wi-Fi boosters
  • Gadget bags
  • Wrist devices
  • Beverage brewers
  • Organizers
  • Entertainment apps
  • Health aids
  • Camera accessories
  • Ear gear
  • Food and beverage gadgets
  • and a whole lot more!

6 Ways to Travel on the Wild Side

Not every frequent traveler stays tethered to an airline seat racking up frequent flyer miles. Plenty of adventurers devote downtime to camping, hiking and the great outdoors, which is why so many unusual products are always in the pipeline that are geared toward non-traditional travelers. We turned to The Idea Factory for products that go above and beyond to identify 6 fringe items that may appeal to you.

1. Rescue Me Balloon. It’s every trekkers nightmare: Stuck in No Man’s Land with a dead cell phone and no way to call for help. A Kickstarter crowdfund campaign gave birth to the Rescue Me Balloon, an inexpensive orange signal that rises 150 feet above trees to summon help.

2. Road ID Band. Even healthy travelers need a way to identify themselves should an accident or medical condition render them unconscious. More stylish and practical than ID bracelets, the Road ID band is attractive and contains a wealth of information first responders need to help you.

3. K-Tor Pocket Socket2. It’s the way things used to be done: a hand-crank charger brings your electronics back to life if the charge dies and you need power. This little gadget surpasses competitors’ energy generation capacity by delivering 120 volts courtesy of your muscles.

4. Gotta Tinkle. Ladies, let’s be honest. Not every bathroom you encounter is freshly scrubbed and pristine—and sometimes, there is no loo—so the Gotta Tinkle kit is sheer genius. Easy to use and easier to carry, Gotta Tinkle is an inexpensive solution to a pressing problem!

5. Sea to Summit Pocket Shower. The concept is simple: this 4.25-ounce bladder produces an 8-minute shower and if you camp for days without a proper shower, this could become your favorite camping gadget.

6. The Lifestraw collection of water purifiers takes up very little room in your suitcase, but if travels take you to areas where potable water is hard to find, this award-winning filtering system can save you from getting sick or worse.

The Products

25 Best Travel Gadgets and Products

From A to Z

We can see you shaking your head and mumbling, “Just 25?” We hear you—but after all, it’s our job to inform you about the best of the best, so you neither empty your child’s college fund nor buy items that are inefficient or not worth the expenditure. We’ve created an alpha-list for your browsing pleasure.

Apple MacBook Pro


Apple MacBook Pro

Specifically, the new Apple MacBook Pro MPTT2LL/A 15.4" with Touch Bar Laptop (check out this YouTube video). It’s whisper thin yet more powerful than ever. The new quad-core processor and Radeon Pro graphics begin your adventure, and if you’re into style, this Apple laptop features an elegant multi-touch bar made of glass built into the keyboard.

Featuring a 2.9 GHz Intel Core i7 Quad-Core, 16GB RAM, the 2880 x 1800-pixel retina display, this Apple is packed with good stuff. It's Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled, has 3 USB Type-C ports, a headphone jack, stereo speakers, macOS Sierra operating system and offers up to 10 hours of battery life. Weighing just 4 pounds, even a kid could carry it.

Jaybird Freedom 2 Bluetooth Headphones


Jaybird Freedom 2 Bluetooth Headphones

Jaybird Freedom 2 headphones won over tough reviewers at “Popular Mechanics” magazine. “I’m not sure I can live without the Speedfit feature,” wrote Eric Limer when reviewing these buds and pronouncing them one super travel gadget. Interior wiring zig-zags between two plastic fittings so the wiring “triples back on itself,” so there's no wire slack to ruin your mood or tickle your neck when you’re in no mood for small annoyances.

A contemporary generation of the Jaybird family, this tiny product has a flaw. If you’ve got long hair, it could tangle, but you may not care if you agree with Limer who insists that, “this is what real, practical innovation looks like.”

Respironics CPAP Travel Case


Respironics CPAP Travel Case

If you suffer from respiratory issues like sleep apnea and need a travel bag to house your CPAP equipment, purchasing a Respironics CPAP Travel Briefcase is a wise move because this case carries more than the machine. There’s room to fit your mask, hose and items necessary to keep your machine clean and hygienic. Not only will this CPAP bag transport your system and keep it from being damaged, but there’s a place to stow your laptop inside one of the case’s two sections.

Measuring 16- x 11.5- x 7.5-inches, the bag weighs just 1.5 pounds, is crafted of high-density polyester and it's fully lined. This Respironics case fits comfortably under airline seats and in overhead bins. You can spend more on a carry case, but why bother when this one covers all bases?

Dell’s Flagship Touchscreen Laptop


Dell’s Flagship Touchscreen Laptop

Despite the hefty price tag, the newest Dell Business Flagship 15.6" FHD Touchscreen Laptop is selling like hotcakes—-so much so, only a handful were left on a popular website, alongside the warning urging shoppers to order soon before they're all gone! The inner workings include Windows 10 and a 7th generation Intel Core i7-7500u processor known to dazzle folks who are particular about graphics and visuals.

Get 10-finger multi-touch support, extended battery life and a processor that moves at warp speed. Memory tops out at 16GB and the hard drive stores 1TB of data. If you’re a gamer, multi-media experiences sizzle thanks to advanced power management and studio-quality sound pumps up the bass and delivers clear highs plus increased volume.

Espresso Maker by Wacaco


Espresso Maker by Wacaco

No need to apologize for wanting creature comforts when you’re far from home, so don’t feel guilty about lusting after this Wacaco Company Mini-Presso GR espresso maker. This brew machine is so compact and light, it literally adds nothing to the weight of your luggage, even if you bring beans along. The hand-held design is innovative and the strength of your brew won’t disappoint, whether you’re fueling up in Paris or Panama.

This espresso maker doesn’t require compressed air or N2O cartridges, so even if you travel to places where electricity is spotty, you'll still impress travel companions with shots of freshly-brewed espresso. A semi-automatic piston control function helps you dispense the proper amount of extracted coffee, yet this intuitive travel toy costs only about the same amount of money as a nice dinner on the town (tip included)!

Furhaven Pet Travel Carriers


Furhaven Pet Travel Carriers

You can confine Fluffy to the cargo hold and worry about her for the duration of your flight or purchase a Furhaven Pet Backpack-Roller Carrier in grey, blue, pink or raspberry to take her along. Pet parents bring cats and dogs on trips more often these days thanks to hotels and motels offering pet-friendly accommodations. For less than the cost of a vet visit, this Furhaven carrier functions as a backpack, roller or carrier.

Made of 100-percent poly-canvas fabric with foam lining, the open mesh front gives your pet a window on the world and keeps him cool. The interior leash acts like a seat belt to constrain your pet and the sturdy zipper keeps Rex from escaping. If you’ve wanted to travel with your pet but haven't found the right carrier, you no longer have an excuse say no to those sweet, pleading eyes!

Gonex Packing Cubes


Gonex Packing Cubes

Want to pack twice as many items in the same amount of room? Consider compression bag pouches that could double up your wardrobe items because these cubes minimize volume. Relatively inexpensive in return for the benefits you receive, these colorful pouches come in 9 colors and 3 sizes: Small (1.9 liters), medium (3.8 liters) and large (5.9 liters).

Each waterproof cube is fabricated of a soft, expandable, lightweight nylon that won’t tear or collect dirt. Hefty compression zippers constrain cube contents so they don’t move around and get wrinkled. At your destination, unpack all three or just one if you've sorted out essentials properly. There’s a 100-percent guarantee attached to Gonex compression bags and the company urges you to “Make the most of all funky spaces in your travel bag with our packing cubes.” Get into the habit of using them and you could revolutionize your packing strategies.

Haiyu Chinese-English Electronic Translator


Haiyu Chinese-English Electronic Translator

It looks like a hand-held microphone but in fact, it's an innovative travel tool that can speed up your business transactions or social interaction simply by delivering translations in real time. Forget keyboards and the time it takes to type words into a device. This clever gadget never met a complex sentence it couldn’t translate, so you’ll be less stressed about errors when meeting with clients.

Intelligent and intuitive, this diminutive translator is accurate 95-percent of the time and it constantly updates itself as idioms, slang and quirky phraseology go mainstream. This translator runs on lithium batteries (included) and weighs just 1.3 ounces so you can tuck it into a purse or jacket pocket. One of the coolest, most innovative translation tools to hit the market, the Haiyu could even act as your Chinese language instructor if you prefer not to spend hundreds of dollars on tutors, language lessons or media.



Instagram and Other Applications

Need an app library boost before you travel abroad? You might if all you’ve got is Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But the dizzying array of apps currently circling the globe could lead to brain overload, so we turned to “U.S. News and World Report” to identify 7 apps you can add to your arsenal so you never feel alone when you roam.

  • Make Trip-It your travel agent and let the app handle all of your arrangements.
  • The Weather+ app informs you (in English) of the climate in multiple locations.
  • Love sending postcards to make your friends envious? You need the Postagram app.
  • Goby, the event guru, clues you in on destination museums, hotels, eateries and more.
  • Wi-Fi Finder by JiWire directs you to free wireless hubs.
  • Download Google Translate to figure out what that Paris cabbie is saying.
  • The Oanda Currency Converter outperforms your brain when swapping bucks for Euros.
JBS No. 1 Protective Suitcase Slipcovers


JBS No. 1 Protective Suitcase Slipcovers

There’s next to no chance you’ll miss your suitcase when it hits the luggage carousel because it will be wearing a slipcover that costs next to nothing but protects soft- or hard-side bags from scuffs, dirt, scratches and other assaults. These covers are so new, you can be the trendsetter in your circle by slipcovering your suitcase in patterns that range from abstract art to barnyard critters.

Because these covers are made of 85-percent polyester and 15-percent spandex, one size stretches over suitcases measuring from 18- to 30-inches. Slide them on and off fast--the spandex textile is super-elastic and so tough, you’ll use these inexpensive covers everywhere you go--and there are no pesky zippers to deal with. Just slide ‘em on and you’re ready to roll.



Keyboard—but this One’s Virtual!

Drag along a keyboard while you’re traveling? That’s so yesterday. You need a virtual keyboard like the Atongm virtual projection Bluetooth wireless model for iPads, iPhones and Androids. This is a seriously clever invention: A space age beam shines down on a surface and voila! An English QWERTY keyboard layout is promptly projected onto a table or other surface.

Powered by a Lithium-ion Polymer rechargeable battery and compatible with Windows and OS operating systems, there’s even a toggle mouse function if you dislike finger-pad navigation. This Atongm virtual keyboard makes a clever gift at an affordable price, so buy one for yourself and another for a business associate who appreciates your talent for unearthing cool gadgets.

TSA-approved Luggage Locks by TravelMore


TSA-approved Luggage Locks by TravelMore

All it takes is one slippery baggage handler with theft on the mind to ruin your trip, so play it safe by spending around 10 bucks for TravelMore, TSA-approved combination cable luggage locks. No keys to lose because these two black locks open after accessing the 3-digit code you set on the dials. TravelMore locks have not only received TSA approval but they’re 100-percent Travel Sentry certified and often referred to as the strongest, most reliable luggage locks profiled on best travel gadgets lists.

Made of high-strength zinc alloy with hardened steel shackles and patented mechanisms, you get a 100-percent lifetime warranty with your lock plus an instructional video. Thread this lock through zippers or loops and relax knowing that your luggage is safe. That assurance may be all you need to sleep through the entire flight.

Music Courtesy of DOSS Touch Wireless Speakers


Music Courtesy of DOSS Touch Wireless Speakers

Does music gets you through difficult travel? You need wireless travel speakers offering superior quality at a price that won’t kill your budget. Find both in DOSS Touch Wireless Bluetooth V4.0 Portable Speakers. Savvy travelers have relied on DOSS Soundbox systems for 18 years and these wireless, 12-watt speakers deliver rich sound and the kind of bass usually found in more powerful speakers.

Portable and sleek, DOSS wireless speakers are controlled by a sensitive-touch button and interface with these options: Bluetooth, Micro SD or Aux-In. Pause, play and skip--plus volume control on the speaker’s top ring--deliver high-quality notes despite its size. Enjoy less than 1-percent total distortion and 12 continuous hours of play backed by the rechargeable lithium-ion battery, so you can pack up your music hub in its dedicated drawstring travel pouch and luxuriate in high-def sound anywhere you roam.

nord vpn


Nord VPN Services

When asked frequent travelers which VPN resources gives them the most service and fewest frustrations, Nord VPN won hands down. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, VPN is the technology that allows you to roam the planet without missing an episode of the series you’re watching on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and other streaming services.

NordVPN is designed to keep you safe from hackers when you operate from hot spots. Military-grade encryption is superior, data is reliable and digital privacy is assured. Named a Best VPN Editor’s Choice pick, Nord covers 61 nations and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee if it doesn’t work for you. At half the monthly cost of 2nd place Express VPN profiled on that Editor’s Choice list, this is a great deal that lets you finish “A Handmaiden’s Tale” before you return home, so you won't have to wait to see how it ends!

Organizer Bags by BUBM


Organizer Bags by BUBM

If you admit to being addicted to organizing travel supplies, the best-selling BUBM waterproof, double-layer travel gadget organizer and electronics accessories bag in black could take your breath away. Fabricated of heavy-duty waterproof nylon and measuring just 9.5- x 7- x 4.5-inches, this two-layer carryall is prepared to tether, tuck and secure a wealth of items you require to run your devices.

Clever compartments with cushioning and zippers that allow you full display of contents mean you don’t have to rummage around looking for your charger when you could be bar hopping. There are 11 elastic loops and 6 mesh pockets in the first layer; the second features a large zipper pocket and that grid of adjustable, padded dividers. Think about your stash. If it includes USB cables, GPS, memory cards, external drive, power pack, tablet, cell phone, headset and more, this affordable organizer bag could revolutionize the way you travel with your electronics.

Portable Charger by Romoss


Portable Charger by Romoss

Lots of companies swear their portable chargers have the longest battery life on the planet, but Romoss offers laboratory tests to support company claims about this reliable charging tool. The 10000mAh Aluminum Power Bank with 2-port output and external battery packs can resurrect your iPhone, iPad, Samsung and other electronics from the dead.

Romoss certifies this charger for 1000 cycles so it outperforms around 60-percent of chargers in this price range. One button control plus green LED lights indicate dwindling power levels so you’re never stuck in the lurch. This unit offers you exceptionally-fast recharging so you’re not waiting around in your room while your charger gets powered up. Because this product is self-diagnosing and uses nine built-in safeguards to troubleshoot the unit, you don't have to consult with a rocket scientist to figure out what's wrong.

RAVPower 26800 Battery Bank


RAVPower 26800 Battery Bank

So popular, retailers can’t keep this 26800mAh Total 5.5A Output 3-Port Power Bank (2A Input, iSmart 2.0 USB Power Pack) in stock, this product can keep your smart devices humming, no matter how long you’re away from home. It’s comforting to know that this portable product is “trusted by 100,000+ customers,” all likely impressed by the unit's colossal battery capacity (26800mAh) and ability to charge up to 3 items in concert.

With a recharge period of 14 to 15 hours, by the time you get a good night’s sleep, have breakfast and get ready to conquer your day, your power bank will have taken care of your devices. This collection includes the charger itself, micro USB cables, a carry bag, user guide and 18-month guarantee. Small, packable and stress-saving, the RAVPower bank has the ability to make or break your vacation or business trip.

Samsung Touchscreen Laptop


Samsung Touchscreen Laptop

This laptop is a force to be reckoned with when you consider inner workings that include a 15.6-Inch Premium HD Touchscreen, 7th version of Intel Core, 8GB of Ram, HDMI, Bluetooth, Webcam capacity—all driven by Windows 10. Natural finger-touch navigation, an LED backlit screen and ultra-low-voltage platform allows you to toggle back and forth between work and pleasure effortlessly.

The 1TB of hard drive is so expansive, you could store the travel novel you’ve been writing and the photos that inspired it. Transfer those photos. Store data on multiple memory card formats. Play games. Watch videos. Make videos if you like. The sound system is so rich, it can drown out the chatter of folks sitting beside you on the concourse if you’ve got the right headphones. Worry about the quintessential power issue? Don't. Samsung’s 3-cell Lithium Ion battery is so dependable, it's been known to trigger a happy dance or two.

Teastar Smart Unlocked Wristwatch Cell Phone with Camera


Teastar Smart Unlocked Wristwatch Cell Phone with Camera

Teastar’s Samsung/Motorola collaboration may look like a small wrist device but its capacity to do everything but pack your bag is huge. You’ll be notified of incoming calls via vibration and caller ID, receive message reminders and if you can’t function without checking your Gmail, Facebook page or Twitter account, this Bluetooth-enabled unlocked watch does it in working or network mode via your sim card. Stay healthy on the run.

This device will monitor your sleep patterns, count the steps you take and the stylish, Android-compatible Teastar serves as a phone directory, camera, alarm clock, calendar and music player, too. With hands-free calling powered by a 300 mAh battery with 24-hours of standby time, get a refund or replacement courtesy of Teastar’s “no questions asked” guarantee if you're disappointed. This multi-tasking, unlocked watch won’t make breakfast, but that shouldn’t stop you from asking!

Sanfire UV-C Automatic Portable Air Sanitizer/Sterilizer


Sanfire UV-C Automatic Portable Air Sanitizer/Sterilizer

Whether you’re plagued by respiratory issues or you spend time in China, Singapore, Malaysia and nations known for unhealthy air, safeguard your well-being with a Sanfire air filtration machine. Known to vanquish pollutants, this air sanitizer is fast becoming the darling of travelers who count on it to kill up to 99-percent of germs, bacteria, allergens and odor.

Ultra-violate rays, ozone and titanium dioxide generated by this UV-C machine attack at the molecular level and power is provided by an 800 mAh battery (built-in) that requires only a one-hour charge to power it up via a USB cord. This machine cleans up to a 2-square meter radius and then turns itself off after 15 minutes while the air cleaning process continues. This health-saving device comes with a one-year guarantee.

Voxkin Universal Waterproof Case and Compass


Voxkin Universal Waterproof Case and Compass

Would you spend less than 10 bucks to keep your smart phone from being ravaged by dust, snow and water? Of course you would, so why not buy your phone its own “travel case”? This handy sleeve is a phone pouch. A compass. And the detachable lanyard can be tethered to your neck, arm or wrist so your phone won’t wander off, even when you do.

Safe, stylish and universal, this Voxkin case never met a smartphone it couldn’t accommodate and this is no cheap plastic sleeve: it’s been tested on snorkelers, kayakers, swimmers and skiers. This case even floats! Indulge in any underwater sport you crave because this case allows you to converse, snap and shoot video footage and it withstands punishing blows because it’s shatterproof, shockproof and dirt proof. A “No questions asked” 100-percent guarantee comes with this indispensable product and it also happens to be stylish. A great gift? Buy one for yourself first.

Wi-Fi Extender Manufactured by MSRMS


Wi-Fi Extender Manufactured by MSRMS

The MSRM US302 Wi-Fi Range Extender with dual external antennas for 360-degree Wi-Fi coverage is so small and compact, you’ll only have to remove a couple of pairs of socks to accommodate it when you pack. A simple solution for extending the range of an existing Wi-Fi network, it couldn’t be easier to put this product to work: Plug it into a power outlet, push a button and connect with the world.

The dual antenna system boosts signal capacity and offers universal compatibility. Operation modes include Repeater Mode for an instant, private wireless networking and you can use this product with a variety of wireless devices and routers. No need to purchase additional items to use this extender since it comes with an Ethernet cable and user manual. When you’re not traveling, this extender is happy to work for you at home by creating a bridge to online content that’s so efficient, dropouts are rare.

X-ray Filmguard Bags by Domke


X-ray Filmguard Bags by Domke

Not every traveler relies upon a cell phone for photos. If your travel is prompted by a desire to photograph the world using film rather than a digital card and you won’t want that film compromised by x-ray machines, the Domke 711-12B Medium Filmguard Bag comes to the rescue! This inexpensive bag has saved the reputations of amateur and professional photographers, so if your intention is channeling Alfred Stieglitz, this bag will bring your film home safely.

Fabricated of durable, triple-layer and water-resistant ballistic nylon, it’s what’s inside that matters: a lead-impregnated, 420-denier vinyl sheet acts as a shield to stop those rays. Forget about dirt and weather. Velcro closer seals protect this bag’s contents from the elements so for the cost of a couple of fast-food meals, you can protect your prize images from being destroyed forever.

Yeti Travel Mugs


Yeti Travel Mugs

Beloved by sophisticated business travelers and dedicated backpackers, if you carry the YETI Rambler Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Tumbler with Lid, you’ll be seen as a savvy traveler. This particular Yeti mug earns high marks for affordability and performance, upping the ante on the number of hours your hot or cold beverage maintains its temperature thanks to double-wall insulation made of 18/8 stainless steel. The Yeti folks take pride in “over-engineering” this mug because they know travelers depend upon a constant supply of beverages to keep them hydrated whether they’re on a mountain or in Morocco.

Mother Nature endorses this vessel: The Rambler is constructed of BPA-free materials, it’s dishwasher safe and if exterior sweat plagues you so much you drop your drinking vessels, the Rambler promises a no-sweat grip. Throw the tumbler and shatter-resistant lid into the dishwasher to keep it sanitized and you can keep tabs on refills without letting out the heat or cold by peeking into the clear lid. At nearly 7-inches tall, the Rambler is contoured to fit standard-size cup holders when it’s not tucked into a suitcase pocket or in your hand.

Zoetouch Cell Phone Lenses


Zoetouch Cell Phone Lenses

For most travelers, dragging cameras has become passé thanks to the quality and miniaturization of today’s cell phone. The ZOETOUCH wide-angle and macro lens 2-in-1 cell phone kit for iPhone 7 and Samsung Android phones is as good as it gets because these lenses are high-quality. Get both a 0.45X super wide-angle lens (allowing you a 60-percent larger viewing area) and a 12.5X macro lens, engineered to capture details that produce razor-sharp, crisp images.

These lenses may be professional grade, but you don’t have to be a professional since these lenses are so easy to pop on and off. Each one is framed with durable aluminum alloy and once clipped to the lens, optics reduce glass flare and vanquish reflection ghosts. Soft rubber clips detach when you’re not shooting photos using your cell, but you needn’t worry about marks or scratches left behind because while tenacious, the rubber is soft. Use both lenses with most regular cameras, too. Get everything you need to start snapping: lenses, clip, lens cover and bag. You supply the subject ideas!


When it comes to apples-to-oranges comparisons, we would be hard-pressed to evaluate, for example, a Yeti travel mug with a Samsung touchscreen laptop! But when considering the merits, prices and features—not to mention the value to the traveler—it’s incumbent upon us to give credit where credit is due, so after due diligence, we have reached the following conclusions.

Best touch screen laptop

Many Apple addicts are neither willing nor able to deal with Windows operating systems; nor are they wild about graphics management one must deal with when using a PC, so for purposes of our comparison, we’ve removed the Apple from contention.

This pits the Dell against the Samsung, and while we’re impressed with the 2017 Dell Flagship, not every traveler is willing to invest this much money in a laptop that has the potential to be subjected to the hazards of travel. If you’re seeking a travel laptop that works like a charm, supports Windows and won’t cost an arm and a leg, we put the Samsung at the top of the list and relegate the Dell to “honorable mention.”

Most clever gadgets

This choice was hard because the word clever has taken on new meaning in this day and age of innovation, so when we took a hard look at the Wacaco Espresso maker, Furhaven pet carrier, Voxkin Premium Quality Universal Waterproof Case with Armband and Zoetouch Cell Phone Lenses, that inexpensive waterproof case with armband tether captured our imagination most.

Sure, it's small and cheap, but when you think about the protection a cell gets in scary situations--and the number of things you can do thanks to the protective nature of this case, we can't help but be impressed. As espresso lovers, choosing the Wacaco coffee maker for "honorable mention" proved to be a no brainer. Only the thought of ground espresso beans spilling all over the contents of our suitcase stopped us from elevating it to the number one slot.

Most helpful gadgets

We were torn between the Respironics CPAP travel case, Haiyu Chinese-English translator, Sanfire UV-C automatic portable air sanitizer/sterilizer and the Teastar Unlocked Wristwatch/Cell Phone/Camera. That translator is amazing, but not everyone goes to China. The CPAP travel case is aimed at a rather small market, at which point the air sanitizer and Teastar wrist device both floated to the top.

While the Teastar gets our top recommendation because it does so many things it's almost invaluable, but we hope folks traveling to destinations with less-than healthy air consider our “honorable mention,” the Sanfire UV-C portable air machine, so they don't get sick far from home and suffer buyer's regret because they ignored our advice.

Best guilty pleasures

That virtual keyboard produced by Atongm is a standout and the wave of the future, and when it comes to tunes, Jaybird Freedom 2 Bluetooth headphones won’t cost you a fortune but will deliver on the sound quality you have come to expect. That stated, if you worry that cranking up the volume via a headset could impact your hearing down the road, DOSS Touch Wireless music speakers should be on your guilty pleasures radar.

Can you live without the quirky luggage slipcovers and Gonex packing cubes? Probably. But since we are required to choose the most outstanding products, we admit that we’re most tempted to splurge on both the virtual keyboard and Jaybird Freedom headphones because together, they deliver on pleasure and enjoyment for too many reasons to list here without writing another review. That said, if you were asked to identify just one product from our list of 25, would you be able to stop at one or have you already got a couple of these on your holiday wish list?