When travelling, I’m often asked ‘what essential gadgets/kit do you take with you?’ Aside from clothes and toiletries, I usually pack the following few items. A lot depends on the trip I am making but these are usually somewhere in my luggage.
Below are my must-have items that I take with me when travelling…
1) iStay strap
When travelling, my bags, cameras and laptops are all carried on straps over the shoulder.
After several mishaps when straps slipped off the shoulder, I discovered the iStay strap. Clever design means it does exactly what it says on the packet – stays put. The strap avoids hunching one shoulder to keep things slipping off, and prevents unnatural body posture. For this reason, the iStay strap is approved by the Royal College of Chiropractors. Its swiveling clips make it easy to attach to almost anything.
Initially, I bought one with a case to carry my iPad but have now expanded my collection with an i-Stay strap for both my camera and laptop bag.
2) A power pack or charger for… well, everything
These days, we all travel with technical gear and most people will have a tale of battery failure at a critical moment. I avoid this risk by taking multiple chargers along on my travels.
Firstly, there is a small pocket size charger that will charge my smart-phone just once. I also carry a higher-capacity charger that will charge my phone three times. It’s virtually bombproof, having been dropped, laid in the mud and sand and taken kayaking.
I also use a solar charger for when I’m away from a source of electricity.
3) External Storage for my smartphone
Second to running out of power is running out of space on my smartphone. The answer is to make certain you carry external storage.
It’s always wise to backup all those holiday snaps externally. Relying on backing up to some form of Cloud storage is not ideal if the internet connection fails or there is no Wi-Fi available when you’re away.
What storage medium you use depends on your brand of smartphone. I use a Leef external storage device for IOS with my Apple iPhone which has been a real saver in times of space shortage on my phone or iPad.
4) Underwater case for my smartphone
For only a few pounds I have purchased an underwater pouch for my smartphone. Not only does it protect the phone from sand and inclement weather, but I can, and have, taken it underwater while kayaking and still have an iPhone that works perfectly. It is not iPhone specific but also takes a whole range of smartphones.
5) Cable Organiser Case
The trouble with today’s technology is that it all needs charging and that means an array of cables.
Apple have one type of connector, Samsung another and cameras of different brands have a third. Add in the e-readers, and suddenly you have too many cables to count. The answer I’ve found is to use a cable organiser case. The organiser case I use comes with handy cable ties, pockets for SD cards and even space for a small power pack.
6) Cabin Max Lyon Trolley Backpack Bag
Although I take different luggage depending on the type of trip I’m going on, my go-to bag is the Cabin Max Lyon, which is a roller bag-backpack.
This no nonsense piece of luggage is something I have used in both the cabin and in the hold, depending on what size/weight restrictions apply.
I like the way the bag converts to a backpack when it is impractical to wheel it along.
7) Books to Travel
There used to be a time when you took physical books with you on holiday and used up precious weight allowance. Now, we have the option to take books in a digital format and can take a whole library that doesn’t even weigh as much as a single novel.
E-books are increasingly popular and all you need is an e-reader. Kindle, from Amazon, is by far the most popular and there are a number of choices. Some have anti-glare screens that make it easy to read in bright sunlight. The Kindle Paperwhite with a backlit screen is great to buy if you plan on reading in a darkened room.
The other form of digital book is the audiobook. All you need is an mp3 player, something which comes as standard on most modern smartphones. Complete books can be downloaded and listened to from a number of sources. I personally use Audible, who offer a subscription based service as well as a one-off purchase service. This is ideal for when doing activities when holding an e-reader is impractical or when being totally inactive on the sun lounger.
8) Coffee Cup
I enjoy a decent freshly brewed coffee, so when practical and when there is space I take my Kahvi Cafetiere Cup on my travels. It’s basically a cafietiere or French press that you can drink from.
All you do is add the coffee grounds and hot water, and press the plunger down after four minutes. A seal keeps the coffee grinds at the bottom and you can drink a hot cup of coffee without a mouthful of gritty grinds. The cup also keeps the coffee hot so you can have your coffee-to-go.
Gordon Lethbridge is a travel writer and editor who blogs at www.travelunpacked.co.uk. You can also find him on Twitter (@lethers) and Instagram (@travelunpacked).