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Choosing the Best Travel Accessories for your next trip

Updated on April 10, 2014

What are the top travel gadgets that you need to pack?

We all love a holiday but I am not sure anyone likes packing... There are the rare travellers that can survive with a day pack and 3 changes of underpants but for most of us what we should put in our luggage causes us no end of procrastination. After several long overseas holidays and almost as many "discussions" with my travel companion I have come up with this list of things that are worth their weight when travelling.

I hope you find the list useful.. please feel free to add your tips at the end and let me know if you think I have missed the mark with any of these.

10 things I always pack when I travel

  1. Digital Camera and spare memory sticks
  2. USB
  3. Microfibre towel
  4. Travel Umbrella
  5. Zip lock bags in various sizes
  6. Smart phone or i-pod - no more visits to internet cafes - just find the free wi-fi zone
  7. Travel adapter
  8. Hand wash gel
  9. Flight socks
  10. Good headphones - noise cancelling

Grid it organizer - You will wish you bought 2.

My cocoon has saved me a fortune in damaged iPhone chargers and bent pins on my camera cord. I am not sure if it is just me but almost every apple charger cord I have ever owned had to be replaced before I started to be more careful about how I pack them. The money you spend on this will save you on replacement cords and the frustration of have to pull everything out of your bag to get your hands on the cord you need when you need it.

Cocoon CPG5BK Grid-It Organizer (Black)
Cocoon CPG5BK Grid-It Organizer (Black)

It might look like a toiletries bag this nifty organizer will change your life if are anything like me. Little pockets hold all those things you need to get your hands on in a hurry. Headphones, spare batteries, chargers, pens, painkillers, memory cards or usb's all within reach instead on floating in the bottom of your bag. Great for your carry on luggage too.

See all the grid it organizers

 

Stay safe on the plane - These socks can help avoid thrombosis

Ever since I had a suspected thrombosis after a long trip years I have worn flight socks. They are pretty comfortable and can even keep you warm on the plane. Once after arriving in Rome in the very early after a 23 hour journey I left them on while I walked around the city till check in. My legs felt great and I think they tired less easily. Who knows, not sure of the science on that but it felt good.

Take a USB - this USB has built in security

These days I back EVERYTHING up to a cloud site but I also like to have a secure copy of really important documents on me for when internet access is difficult.

Transcend JetFlash 220 - 8 GB Biometric USB 2.0 Flash Drive TS8GJF220 (Ruby Red)
Transcend JetFlash 220 - 8 GB Biometric USB 2.0 Flash Drive TS8GJF220 (Ruby Red)

This is not just an ordinary USB... it has fingerprint technology to keep your documents super safe... great for when you leave it in an internet cafe or hotel PC by mistake (yes i did that!) Also make sure you keep a backup of photos, handy PDF's of guidebooks.. You can just plug it in to a pc in your hotel or hostel and you have everything at your fingertips - with or without an internet connection.

More portable file storage ideas

 

A great backpack for serious photographers - Make it easy to carry your camera so you use it

Case Logic SLRC-206 SLR Camera and 15.4-Inch Laptop Backpack (Black)
Case Logic SLRC-206 SLR Camera and 15.4-Inch Laptop Backpack (Black)

How many times have you taken your digital SLR on holidays to find yourself leaving it in your room because its a hassle to carry around? If you are anything like me you end up using your pocket camera. Well this bag will change that. It is comfortable to carry, has nine compartments to separate your lenses, filters and other items and keeps everything safe with great padding.

See all the backpacks for photographers

 

Travel Umbrella - A small umbrella is a must for most holidays

Travel Accessories Samsonite Flat Pack Umbrella Black
Travel Accessories Samsonite Flat Pack Umbrella Black

This umbrella is feather weight and sturdy to survive a few months on the road. I was given an ultra light umbrella before my last trip... it's so light it was often in my raincoat pocket when I was in Paris and I would walk around the apartment trying to find it before we left each morning... (yes it was April)

Lots more travel umbrellas at Amazon

 

Roll your clothes to fit more in your bag

A travel towel - You will love these micro-fibre towels

Microfibre is the travellers friend, it weighs nothing and dries in no time. These used to only be available in specialist hiking stores and cost a fortune but are much easier and more affordable these days. Best of all cause they dry so quickly they don't end up having that sort of musty smell that regular towels can take on when you have to pack them back in your bag half damp.

Rick Steves 50" Travel Towel, Spruce
Rick Steves 50" Travel Towel, Spruce

A microfibre travel towel is so handy, dries in no time at all and takes up hardly any room in your bag.

Alternate styles of travel towels

 

Rick Steve - packing like an expert

More great travel products from Rick Steves - What does the travel guru take on the road?

Rick seems to polarize travelers but love him or hate him he travels more than most of us and has some great products that make life on the road easier. The items he sells are also well made and affordable.

Kiva RSK-05201 Packing Cube Set - Black
Kiva RSK-05201 Packing Cube Set - Black

These cubes help you keep similar things together in your bag and keep your bag tidy, particularly on long trips when you are changing hotels frequently.

 
Rick Steves Silk Neck Wallet, Natural
Rick Steves Silk Neck Wallet, Natural

I have a neck wallet to hold my passport when I am at the airport, sure it looks a bit lame hanging round my neck but it means I have it at easy reach for the countless times you need to show it these days and there is no danger of leaving it behind anywhere. Once I arrive at my destination I tend to only use it for money in less safe areas.

 
Rick Steves 21 Inch Wheeled Bag, Graphite, One Size
Rick Steves 21 Inch Wheeled Bag, Graphite, One Size

After taking several overseas trips in the last few years I have decided this is the only way to go.

 

A smart phone is the number one travel accessory of 2012

iPhone and iPad or iPod - Any of these will complement your trip

I am so glad I got an iphone before I left on my 2 month trip to Europe. I used it more than any other tech tool. Downloaded maps, itineraries, language apps, currency tools it really is all you need to survive on the road these days.

Apple iPad 2 2nd generation Tablet, 1 GHz processor, 16GB, Wifi (White)
Apple iPad 2 2nd generation Tablet, 1 GHz processor, 16GB, Wifi (White)

I always travel with my iPad loaded with all the shows I have missed on TV so I can watch what I want on the plane. Perfect for travelling on low cost airlines that have terrible entertainment choices.

 
Apple iPad Mini MD528LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi, Black & Slate)
Apple iPad Mini MD528LL/A (16GB, Wi-Fi, Black & Slate)

I want one of these so badly but with an iphone and an ipad it's a bit hard to justify. If you don't already have an ipad this is a much better travel option.

 
Apple iPhone 4 Black Smartphone 32GB (AT&T)
Apple iPhone 4 Black Smartphone 32GB (AT&T)

This is my travel lifesaver... There are so many travel apps and so much free wi =-fi these days I can not imagine heading away without mine.

 

Spare memory sticks - You will take more photos than you think

I got caught out on my last trip having to buy memory cards in Germany and Italy for a lot more than they cost at home. Expect the unexpected and have a spare or two with you

Transcend 16GB SDHC Class 10 Flash Memory Card Up to 30MB/s (TS16GSDHC10E)
Transcend 16GB SDHC Class 10 Flash Memory Card Up to 30MB/s (TS16GSDHC10E)

Take several so you don't get caught out. I change them for each city then if my camera is stolen I still have all the other cards with the rest of my holiday.

 

Retractable cable Kit

Belkin 7-in-1 Retractable Cable Travel Pack (BLKF3X1724)
Belkin 7-in-1 Retractable Cable Travel Pack (BLKF3X1724)

Cables can get messed up at home but when you are traveling there is nothing worse than sifting through your bag for the right cable only to find then in a knotted mess. This completely eliminates that problem.

 

Noise cancelling headphones - you will wonder how you ever travelled without them

Crying baby on the plane? really? I did not hear a thing!

JVC HANC250 Noise Cancelling Headphones - Black
JVC HANC250 Noise Cancelling Headphones - Black

$100 you will not regret spending - I promise. This was my favourite travel accessory on my last trip to Europe. I am not sure how I ever travelled without them. Granted they do take up a little space in your luggage but for the extra hours sleep they gave me on the plane it was well worth it.

Lots more noise cancelling headphones

 

Limit your footwear - 2 pairs of comfortable shoes should be all you need

A good quality travel adapter

Travel Smart By Conair Adapter/Converter Combo with Surge Protection
Travel Smart By Conair Adapter/Converter Combo with Surge Protection

Unless you are a true luddite you are going to need to take one of these and if you are going to a couple of different countries a multi zone adapter is a must. You may find you need two if you love your technology. Consider a small double adapter too often I wanted to charge my camera and my i-phone at the same time and waiting for them was a real pain.

 

What type of traveller are you?

How much luggage do you take when you travel?

See results

Packing list resources

Learn how to pack like a pro

What is the travel accessory you can not live without?

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    • profile image

      tessmckay 4 years ago

      thanks for the tips.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      What a good idea.I better buy some of those fashion faux pas flight socks. My poor feet give me a really hard time when I fly long distances from Australia. It really hurts.

    • BlogsWriter profile image

      BlogsWriter 5 years ago

      Great tips, I agree that one should travel lightly.

    • Oneshotvariety LM profile image

      Oneshotvariety LM 5 years ago

      There is a lot of handy travel tools here. Thank you for the great tips!

    • Klaartje Loose profile image

      Klaartje Loose 5 years ago

      my iphone! and a book or an e-reader

    • webgirl256 profile image

      webgirl256 5 years ago

      Thanks for all the helpful travel tips and gadgets just what I need for traveling!

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      A book is my best travel accessory, but that's because I have never travelled since receiving my Kindle as a present recently! Blessings

    • profile image

      indiatravelagent 5 years ago

      Thanks for shared useful travel info. accessorie

    • wagedonkey profile image

      wagedonkey 5 years ago

      I agree with noise cancelling headphones great for listening to audio books on long flights.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Love it.....we do a lot of travelling, your lens is very helpful, nice work and well done

    • profile image

      jorge-zaldo-salas 5 years ago

      Excellente suggestions y just add two more medicine pills for stomach or heddache, always is a problem to get medicine in a foreig country and get a map or GPS. plan your trip don let anything on the air you will enjoy your trip better Cancun Airporta>

    • UrbanTG LM profile image

      UrbanTG LM 5 years ago

      Very useful lense

    • MobileMakeup4U profile image

      Edita 5 years ago from Auckland NZ

      I'll take this lens with me when traveling. .:-)

    • MonetteMiro profile image

      Monette 5 years ago from Dubai

      wow it's a nice lense

    • profile image

      momsfunny 5 years ago

      These are wonderful tips. I cannot go without my camera, phone and eReader.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Great list. we have been traveling for the past 6 months already, and we travel light, but have nearly everything on your list - no umbrella for us, but we have amazing rain coats. Blessed.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      The most important travel accessory is my eReader!

    • Scullyvan profile image

      Scullyvan 5 years ago

      Anything that plays my DVDs. If I can watch a show, I'm happy.

    • tcorbs profile image

      tcorbs 5 years ago

      Great travel accessories for travel!

    • montanatravel52 profile image

      montanatravel52 5 years ago

      Great idea for a lens, and wonderful tips! I just wrote a lens on basic travel tips and used your lens as a resource. Thanks for the great info!

    • Mariajomith profile image

      ria 5 years ago

      i love this organizational purse that i have, it even holds a bottle of water

    • profile image

      tonyplaysthemambo 5 years ago

      My aunt gave me a great little bag you wear underneath your shirt (but over your bra for the ladies) to store important things like your money, passport, etc. She figured you would notice someone was trying to pickpocket you if they had to lift up your shirt to do so!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Just received our Cocoon and it is fantastic! I am so glad that I found this lens and that you had highlighted this great product on the lens. Cheers, folks, I will thank you every time we travel.

      Cheers, Beejay

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 6 years ago

      The Samsonite umbrella is great, weighs nothing and does help for smaller showers. Want to try the microfiber towel now, since it dries so quickly.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Here's a problem - I love the concept of the cocoon, and just went to order one. I opted for the larger model, and think it's just brilliant. But the killer was that Amazon were going to charge me $76 for shipping. Yikes, this could cost you some sales. I know you're here in Oz. Does that sound correct to you, or do you think Amazon was having a bit of a hiccough when I tried to order my cocoon?

      Cheers, Beejay

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @PaulaMorgan: I contacted Amazon and that because the grey one - which is what I wanted - wasn't through them but one of their sellers, they couldn't help with that rate. I checked on the seller's site and that really is what they were charging. Phew!! Not acceptable. Amazon, though, did point out that I could get the blue or the black through them at normal shipping rates, which I have done. I had no idea that sellers can charge whatever they want - it really was $76 for shipping with that seller, but $8 with Amazon. I'll certainly be aware of that in future.

      Anyway, thanks for highlighting this great item; I know we'll get lots of use out of it.

      Cheers, Beejay

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      @PaulaMorgan: Hi there. I keep trying, and it keeps coming up with a postage cost of $76, making the total something like $96. I know this is a problem at Amazon's end, and I will definitely buy one of the Grid Its once the problem is sorted out.

    • PaulaMorgan profile image
      Author

      Paula Morgan 6 years ago from Sydney Australia

      @anonymous: That sounds like a hiccup to me. I think I paid about about $9 as part of a bigger order. Just checked and postage on the larger one was only $7.83. Have another go :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      A great lens - I thought I'd posted this comment, but it seems to have disappeared - so well done, you two. I love the look of that coccoon, so will investigate it further. I'm going to add your lens to my listed of related lenses on my travelling songs lens as I think it's a really good fit.

      Cheers, Beejay4016

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      A great lens, so well done you two. I'm happily going to add this to my travelling music lens as I think it will blend in beautifully. Have to really investigate that coccoon - it's fascinating me.

      Cheers, Beejay4016

    • rt8ca profile image

      rt8ca 6 years ago

      A good pair of sunglasses! Like the travel towel idea, will have a closer look. Thanks

    • Ninche profile image

      Ninche 6 years ago

      photo camera: Great accessories you have here!

    • ChenB profile image

      ChenB 6 years ago

      Love the lens, particularly the Rick Steves video. He always something interesting to say!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      There are many travel accessories that i can't live with ... it is difficult for me to name only one.

    • dann7trdro lm profile image

      dann7trdro lm 6 years ago

      you should add some more

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      A headlamp! Makes it easy to read at night if we are ever stuck on a long bus or train ride.

    • profile image

      sherioz 6 years ago

      I agree with all your selections of basic necessities.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      My notebook and Kindle comes along and with my passport and wallet, the whole world can go nuts. Great recommendations.

    • The-Bard profile image

      The-Bard 7 years ago

      Nice lens. I also travel with an Asus netbook, but also with a usb wifi antenna. Its small, compact and lightweight with a directional aerial, with a two mile range. Inbuilt wifi has very limited range on netbooks, but this device can still be used just to boost the signal. I had to order it from Hong Kong because I couldn't get it in the UK. Cost about £30. Whenever I go to the Philippines I ship a crate about six weeks in advance - about £80. So I travel very light, although it would be foolish not to take advantage of the airline allowance for check-in baggage. I also recommend the hand carry to be a wheel-trolley type. Some distances between terminals at major airports can be huge. You never see cabin crew with anything less. It's for a reason. The butch among us may be happy to carry grips over our shoulder, but it can be a chore. Get a dual purpose one. Also look for such bags with outside zip compartments where easy access can get at the netbook or other necessaries, and with a decent telescopic handle suitable for posture. And don't order from the internet without checking one first hand - some of these trolley-cases are only suitable if your under 5ft tall. I've got loads of travel tips, but I don't want to hog this space. I admire your lens-crafting.

    • globalodyssi profile image

      globalodyssi 7 years ago

      good info, I like the travel towel idea, ours always get saturated on surf trips.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Yup, I'm with Rick Steve's, just travel light. He always seems to be wearing the same clothes and nobody care. Great ideas!

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Very practical and good list of travel accessories. One of the most important travel accessories (if I had a choose just one) would be the travel adapter, especially if I'm traveling across continents.

    • profile image

      CannyGranny 7 years ago

      I'm glad you mentioned the adapter in your handy travel gadgets. Don't leave home without a good multi-zone adapter.(from one who learned the hard way)

    • profile image

      jgelien 7 years ago

      What an excellent lens! You have neat ideas that I would never have thought of, the microfibre towel and the cool tripod for example. Thanks

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      Some useful recommendations here, that tripod looks like a great idea! My camera is the one thing I'd never travel without, but these days a battery charger is an essential too!

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 7 years ago

      Very nice tips and I like that you added the Mr. Bean video for laughs. Right now I can't live without my iPad when I travel.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Good job.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 7 years ago from La Verne, CA

      I think you did rather well.

    • profile image

      aishu19 7 years ago

      this is a great travel checklist that covers the basics!

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