My 8 Favorite Tech Gadgets For Travel – One Mile at a Time

My 8 Favorite Tech Gadgets For Travel – One Mile at a Time

My 8 Favorite Tech Gadgets For Travel – One Mile at a Time

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We all have our routines when it comes to travel, and things we don’t leave home without. After well over a decade of heavy travel, I figured I’d share some of the travel tech gadgets I won’t travel without.
Let me add the caveat that I’m a pretty low-tech guy, so you won’t find anything cutting edge. However, everything in my bag serves a purpose, so let me share the tech accessories that I value most. In no particular order…
In this post:
Having some sort of a travel adapter is essential for international travel, but not all adapters are created equal. Personally I have the EPICKA universal travel adapter. Why this one? It had one AC power port, four USB-A ports, and one USB-C port. It’s rare to find such a compact adapter that has so many USB ports, and also even has a USB-C port.
I feel like one of the biggest challenges of traveling is keeping all your electronics charged, given how reliant we are on gadgets nowadays. All too many hotels, airports, lounges, etc., have a shortage of power outlets. That’s why having a compact power strip is so useful, so that you can charge many electronics with just one outlet.
There are lots of options for these, but again, I’m looking for something with AC, USB-A, and USB-C ports. I’m a fan of Anker’s power strip, featuring three AC ports, two USB-A ports, and one USB-C port.
Charging when traveling really is important, eh? While I have gadgets that help me charge when I have access to plugs, sometimes you don’t have access to plugs for an extended period of time. Lots of airlines still don’t have outlets onboard, and that can be tricky.
So I always travel with a portable charger, and in my case I use the Anker portable charger with a 10,000mAh battery pack. It charges my iPhone quickly, and I found the battery pack to be compact and lightweight.
I realize I’m way behind the curve here, because I only picked up my first pair of Apple AirPods Pro in 2021 (read my review here). I’m a huge fan of these, and use them constantly. They’re incredibly versatile, as I can use them at the gym, and I can also use them to watch a show on my iPad.
For me, they’re good enough to the point that I no longer travel with my Bose headphones. Sure, the sound quality is a bit better on Bose headphones, but to me it’s just not worth lugging them around, given how bulky they are.
For frequent travelers, AirFly is the absolute best companion to Apple AirPods. Most airplanes with personal televisions don’t support bluetooth connections. In other words, you can’t typically use AirPods Pro for inflight entertainment, and you’d be stuck with whatever (inferior) headphones an airline offers you (and in some cases you even have to purchase headphones on planes).
That’s where AirFly comes in handy, as it’s a wireless transmitter and receiver that offers audio sharing for up to two AirPods. This allows you to hook up your AirPods Pro to virtually any inflight entertainment.
There’s another benefit to this, as it essentially also works as a headphone splitter. If I’m traveling with someone and we both want to watch a show on my iPad, I can hook both headphones up via this.
Like just about everyone else, I have an iPhone. I still have an iPhone 11, and only plan to upgrade once I start to have issues with it. Perhaps the interesting point here is that I’ve completely stopped traveling with a camera — the iPhone does the trick for me.
In the interest of being thorough with the travel tech “gadgets” I travel with, my go-to computer is a 13″ MacBook Air. I’ve been using the MacBook Air as my primary computer for a very long time, and it has served me well — the battery life is great, the computer is compact, and it’s easy to use. Admittedly I’ve gone through a few of these over the years, given heavy use.
I’ve had a “standard” 10.2″ iPad for several now years, but I use it differently than most. Personally I don’t like browsing the web on my iPad, but rather I use it to watch TV shows when traveling. I don’t watch that much TV, but when I do, it’s usually shows I’ve downloaded to my iPad.
I’d say 80% of my iPad use is while doing cardio at the gym (I just find the iPhone screen too small to properly watch a show), and the rest of my watching of shows is typically while flying.
While I’m a low-tech guy, there are some travel gadgets I won’t travel without. I try to strike the right balance between traveling as light as possible, while also bringing all the essentials that prevent tech frustration.
I have the basics, like a MacBook Air, iPad, and AirPods Pro. But beyond that I have accessories that help keep all my electronics charged, ranging from international adapters, to portable chargers, to power strips. Are there some other accessories that would be nice to have? Sure. But I really value being able to travel light, so I only bring things along that I get significant use out of.
I’m curious to hear from OMAAT readers — how do you travel tech gadgets compare to mine?


Anker also sells a (poorly promoted) version of the power cube without the built-in extension cord. I use that one with a separate (longer) cord of my own with a right angle plug. That way, there’s more flexibility where to position the cord and you don’t have to use the extension cord at all if you don’t need it (eg. a desk level outlet). Also, be careful with “universal” adapters because they work properly in…
Anker also sells a (poorly promoted) version of the power cube without the built-in extension cord. I use that one with a separate (longer) cord of my own with a right angle plug. That way, there’s more flexibility where to position the cord and you don’t have to use the extension cord at all if you don’t need it (eg. a desk level outlet). Also, be careful with “universal” adapters because they work properly in many but not all outlets. Depending on where you are going and the types of places you stay and whether your devices require a ground, you might also find it useful to have a Type N (Brazil), Type L (some Italian outlets), Type J (Switzerland), Type D (India), and potentially other types. The “European” universal plug is insertable into some of these types, but only without a ground. Finally, some portable battery banks will work with some laptops that charge through USB-C provided that the wattage matches across both devices.
Anker 20k charger is a godsend. Bose noise cancelling headphones *with* 3.5mm cable and a Y adaptor. Kindle for sure. Mixed of USB charging cables for all devices. USB multiport FAST charger.And last but not least, my Roku. I travel mostly in the US and this setup has worked well through the years, even traveling during the start of the plague when Texas was shut down.
You missed the 24ft/8 m extension cord. This allows plugging stuff in with out moving furniture in some hotel rooms
Mine is lit so I can see if power goes out and has three outlets on it
Ben, totally agree with you about that particular international converter. Mine has different branding (I got it as a Kickstarter pre-release offer) but it’s incredibly convenient not to have to search around in my electronics bag before an international trip looking for the right converter.
Hope you and Ford are doing well! I keep seeing his name on the STARS leader board (and of course winning the FS trip) — congratulations on your blog being…
Ben, totally agree with you about that particular international converter. Mine has different branding (I got it as a Kickstarter pre-release offer) but it’s incredibly convenient not to have to search around in my electronics bag before an international trip looking for the right converter.
Hope you and Ford are doing well! I keep seeing his name on the STARS leader board (and of course winning the FS trip) — congratulations on your blog being such a great way to market travel advising 😉
I wonder what bag to you use to carry all those and keep things well organized.
Thank you
Great article – more of these please!
For that anker charger there is also the same version but with wireless charging feature. If you just want straight forward power I recommend their 20k or 25k version. While wider is also much flatter which imo is better for packing.
I also recommend kablecard so that you don’t need to worry about bringing a lot of extra cables. Just make sure you get the original (think it’s $35 now) and not any of the…
For that anker charger there is also the same version but with wireless charging feature. If you just want straight forward power I recommend their 20k or 25k version. While wider is also much flatter which imo is better for packing.
I also recommend kablecard so that you don’t need to worry about bringing a lot of extra cables. Just make sure you get the original (think it’s $35 now) and not any of the Chinese $20 knock offs stealing these guy’s kick started invention.
Travel surge protector
I don’t think any gadget is capable of limiting Ben’s travel surges! (But perhaps you mean ‘power surge limiter’?)
A few of my favorites:
– Kindle – I prefer paper books, but for travel an eReader makes a lot more sense. If space was at an absolute premium, the kindle app on a phone/tablet certainly works – but I prefer the e-ink screen for longer reading sessions.
– Bose Sleep Buds – expensive and not without issues, but for myself, I’ve found these worth every penny when it comes to salvaging sleep hours when…
A few of my favorites:
– Kindle – I prefer paper books, but for travel an eReader makes a lot more sense. If space was at an absolute premium, the kindle app on a phone/tablet certainly works – but I prefer the e-ink screen for longer reading sessions.
– Bose Sleep Buds – expensive and not without issues, but for myself, I’ve found these worth every penny when it comes to salvaging sleep hours when a hotel room ends up nosier than expected.
– Jabra Speak 710 – bluetooth/usb speakerphone – which I generally prefer to headphones when taking conference calls in the hotel room. Also provides a reasonable, though not amazing, option for playing music in the hotel as well.
Not an Apple person here (I tried religions in the past but they’re not for me). Still, I agree on the universal travel adapter (mine has 3 USB A and one USB C ports). I also carry a 65W mini USB C adapter that powers my laptop and everything else..
I also have two 3-ft 100W USB C cables, one regular USB C cable and several mini-adapters for USB C to C (joining my…
Not an Apple person here (I tried religions in the past but they’re not for me). Still, I agree on the universal travel adapter (mine has 3 USB A and one USB C ports). I also carry a 65W mini USB C adapter that powers my laptop and everything else..
I also have two 3-ft 100W USB C cables, one regular USB C cable and several mini-adapters for USB C to C (joining my two cables), USB C to A and USB C to micro.
With this setup I can quickly charge all my gadgets out of a single outlet.
My other gadgets: Android phone, run-of-the-mill work laptop, portable USB C battery pack, Kindle e-reader, noise canceling Sony headphones (for the plane) and Pixel Buds (for running/sleeping).
It’s all pretty minimalist, all my adapters and cables fit in an old airline first class toiletry bag.
My wish list: a USB C Kindle and a way to charge my Garmin watch that doesn’t require a proprietary adapter.
I’ve now finally consolidated all but one device in my travel collection to USB-C, which means that I’ve also stopped carrying a multi-port power strip in favor of a single 100-watt multi-port USB-C charger and a few good-quality USB-C cables (I’m on Android so I don’t need any Lightning cables). Now with just one outlet, I can plug in as many devices as I need.
The last micro-USB device I have left is my travel…
I’ve now finally consolidated all but one device in my travel collection to USB-C, which means that I’ve also stopped carrying a multi-port power strip in favor of a single 100-watt multi-port USB-C charger and a few good-quality USB-C cables (I’m on Android so I don’t need any Lightning cables). Now with just one outlet, I can plug in as many devices as I need.
The last micro-USB device I have left is my travel mouse but I’m not interested in paying $80 to upgrade to the MX Anywhere 3 for USB-C since my MX Anywhere 2 works just fine. Before that the other micro-USB stragglers were my old Kindle (which only needed a charge once a month at most anyway, now replaced with a Kobo Sage) and my earbuds (Elite 65ts now replaced with WF-1000XM4s).
I was an Apple guy since before the Mac. Now, I am a very anti-Apple guy. But, use Ben’s equipment as a template and plug in your own items — don’t be critical. For years, I’ve worked at simplification. EVERYTHING electronic is now USB-C. Life is so much easier. I’ve seen the universal power adapter mentioned and I’ve tried similar ones. In the end, I use Apple power adapters with the international plug kit.
PS One adapter for the work desk and one adapter for the side of the bed. I found that I didn’t need multiple outlets at the work desk — daisy chain the power adapter to the laptop to the cell phone — all USB-C.
i agree 100%. i was a huge Apple Evangelist but then Apple went to the dark side trying to control what i can and can’t do with the devices that I paid for. They’re evil because the cables on their power supplies are fixed. All cables fray eventually. Why do I need to spend $100+ for a new power supply when only the cable is broken? And seriously, 19 bucks for a polishing cloth?? Tell…
i agree 100%. i was a huge Apple Evangelist but then Apple went to the dark side trying to control what i can and can’t do with the devices that I paid for. They’re evil because the cables on their power supplies are fixed. All cables fray eventually. Why do I need to spend $100+ for a new power supply when only the cable is broken? And seriously, 19 bucks for a polishing cloth?? Tell me Apple users are not suckers.
And then let’s look at iPhoto, iTunes, iThis and iThat; they are so weak compared to other products and services.
So funny that before the iPhone came out, Mac users were ostracized. Now everybody has to have a Macbook or iPad to be cool.
There are better products out there.
The power supply cable thing hasn’t been an issue for a few years, since they switched the laptops over to USB-C. Now you get a power supply and USB-C charging cable in the box.
I’ve been looking for a compact strip (much better to have this than loads of adapters) with at least three plug sockets and (here’s the hard bit) a collapsible plug (like the Apple charger).
The spiky UK plugs make it a bit of a pain to fit anything else in my laptop bag. Though I guess I could try and find some sort of soft cover for the plug and accept the loss of space.
Interesting that you carry an iPad along with your MacBook & iPhone.
Is it that viewing video on your MacBook feels too much like “work”?
@ Never In Doubt — It’s more about practicality than anything else. For example, if I’m on the elliptical at the gym, there’s usually a holder for an iPad, but you can’t really put a laptop on there. Furthermore, I’d say most of my watching of TV shows on airplanes is during the taxi and takeoff stage of flight, when you can’t have a laptop out. Otherwise I’d just stick with a laptop.
Interesting.
I find viewing video on my “Max” size iPhone an acceptable substitute to carrying an iPad for the purpose, but acknowledge that’s 100% personal preference.
I have an HP 13 inch laptop that flips into tablet mode and I use it in tablet mode for taxi thru 10k feet and then on approach and landing and have never had a US flight attendant tell me it needs to be stowed. in cruise, I often switch it to laptop mode because it is easier to sit it on the tray table.
I totally agree that plug adaptors are the main thing. Not only are power outlets often scarce, they are following numerous standards. The clumpsy plug adaptors are usually catering for most of them – but they are clumpsy. And because more than one is needed, this makes things worse.
However, mostly you don’t need all the different options, because you travel two one or two countries at a time. I therefore started buying a number…
I totally agree that plug adaptors are the main thing. Not only are power outlets often scarce, they are following numerous standards. The clumpsy plug adaptors are usually catering for most of them – but they are clumpsy. And because more than one is needed, this makes things worse.
However, mostly you don’t need all the different options, because you travel two one or two countries at a time. I therefore started buying a number of slim plug adaptors, which are just for one standard.
Yeah, those multi country adapters are a bulky kludge.
Try an Apple power adapter with the international plug kit. The power adapter itself is quite compact.
And, depending, you might only need one or two swap-out plugs. (I’m an anti-Apple guy but give credit to Apple for this.)
Reno Joe,
Thanks for the tip. As a non-Apple person, that option wasn’t on my radar. When my current batch of cheap plug adapters inevitably breaks, I’ll likely pick up that power/plug combination.
is this an apple commercial?
I agree, I came here in hopes to find some handy things to help… not a laptop, cell phone, tablet and headphones… I mean, duh!
I do appreciate the adapter, and the Airfly, but I think 4 of these are obvious and therefore, unnecessary on this list. I mean, who is not going to travel with there cell phone? and who doesn’t have headphones that go with the tablet/cell phone of some sort.
I found it interesting that he doesn’t use his Bose anymore. I also have a pair of airpods but gave them to my SO as the noise canceling and comfort on an intercontinental is still beter with my QC35.
@ Mike L — The point of this post wasn’t to say “here’s this thing called a laptop you’ve maybe never heard of.” Rather it was to share how I approach what I travel with and what I don’t travel with, and explaining what I use each device for. I get that’s not interesting to everyone, though.
I find the universal charging wires to be helpful. For one usb plug you can plug in either an iPhone, a usb-c device, or a standard mini usb device. One wire to rule them all. Just be careful what wire you purchase, I’ve had mixed luck with how well they charge.
Bingo. Simplify everything down to one cable type. And, you are absolutely correct about what wire you purchase. DO NOT go cheap. Buy Native Union. It might cost $5 more but it can handle “fast charge” rates when the cheaper wires can only handle slower charge rates.
Great list, Lucky! I stopped taking a camera too. I just use my iPhone.
Ben, you should republish this article each year so that newbies come across it.
I like my Anker charger. Slim profile. Not heavy. Nice LONG cord. Has 2 ports USB-A and 2 ports USB-C one which charge at 45W. It’s perfect for me. +1 on the Bose Sleepbuds also.
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For that anker charger there is also the same version but with wireless charging feature. If you just want straight forward power I recommend their 20k or 25k version. While wider is also much flatter which imo is better for packing. I also recommend kablecard so that you don't need to worry about bringing a lot of extra cables. Just make sure you get the original (think it's $35 now) and not any of the Chinese $20 knock offs stealing these guy's kick started invention.
A few of my favorites: – Kindle – I prefer paper books, but for travel an eReader makes a lot more sense. If space was at an absolute premium, the kindle app on a phone/tablet certainly works – but I prefer the e-ink screen for longer reading sessions. – Bose Sleep Buds – expensive and not without issues, but for myself, I've found these worth every penny when it comes to salvaging sleep hours when a hotel room ends up nosier than expected. – Jabra Speak 710 – bluetooth/usb speakerphone – which I generally prefer to headphones when taking conference calls in the hotel room. Also provides a reasonable, though not amazing, option for playing music in the hotel as well.
Yeah, those multi country adapters are a bulky kludge.

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