34 Cool Travel Gadgets For Techies

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Last Updated: Jan 08, 2020

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Here is my top 34 list of the best travel accessories and cool gadgets for techies. You can find many of these gadgets in my backpack, regardless of if I am traveling for business or leisure.

Range Leather Travellr Case

Range Leather Travellr Case
Range Leather Travellr Case
 Benefits
  • Hand-made from full-grain Horween leather in Wyoming
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Beautiful and versatile
  • Comes in two different sizes

If you travel frequently, you likely own a toiletry bag to carry all the small toiletries that don’t need to go into a ziplock bag, such as:

  • Shaving utensils
  • Nail care products
  • Travel toothbrush
  • Dental floss
  • Mouthguard

For the past few years, I have used a Tumi bag Delta gave me during a flight in business class to Europe. I collected a few of those bags over the years and even used one of them to throw in all my travel adapters and chargers.

Recently, I discovered the awesome leather products Range Leather hand-makes in their Wyoming facility when I updated my review of leather bands for the Apple Watch. As part of that research, I stumbled across the Travellr Case and the Travellr XL Dopp Kit, two different-size travel pouches that Range Leather crafted from full-grain Horween leather before applying a water-resistant finish.

Range Leather Travellr Dopp Kit
Range Leather Travellr Dopp Kit

They look beautiful on pictures, but they are stunning when you hold them in your hands. I could immediately see the attention to detail that went into making these cases, and I can’t get over the distinct smell of full-grain leather. On top of manufacturing an incredibly product, Range Leather includes a lifetime warranty for the Travellr Case.

The Travellr Case is about 50% larger than the Tumi pouch I had, and I use it for domestic travel and shorter trips. The larger Travellr XL Dopp Kit I use for longer trips, which often take me overseas.

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Quip Toothbrush

Quip Electric Toothbrush
Quip Electric Toothbrush
 Highlights
  • Offers the benefits of an electric toothbrush in the size of a regular one
  • Waterproof and shower-safe
  • Convenient to use while traveling

We used to have an electric toothbrush at home but would use a manual toothbrush for traveling. Then I saw an ad on Instagram for something that looked like a manual brush, but that had batteries.

Quip promises the perfect oral care in a product that’s the same size as a regular toothbrush, and was thus, easy to bring on trips. I was intrigued and bought a pair of Quips.

That was last year, and both my wife and I have been using Quip since then and love it! The convenient thing is that each toothbrush comes with a travel tube that protects the toothbrush while it’s in your purse, bag, or suitcase.

The other thing we like about Quip is that you can sign up for a subscription and get automatic refills of toothpaste and replacement brush heads. If you want to give Quip a try, you can use code michael247534263527 and get $5 as refill credits.

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Apple USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter

Apple USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter
Apple USB-C VGA Multiport Adapter
 Benefits
  • USB-C Pass-through
  • VGA Connector
  • USB-A Connector

I am in sales and frequently give presentations at trade shows and customers. Most projectors I come across these days offer an HDMI connection, but occasionally, I am forced to connect my MacBook Pro via VGA. Sometimes the location I’m presenting at has old equipment, or the HDMI connection doesn’t work.

I have had the latter problem just recently where my MacBook Pro detected that I plugged in an external device (projector) via HDMI, but the projector couldn’t find the signal. So I had to revert to VGA, which worked.

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Asunflower USB-C Hub

Asunflower USB-C Hub
Asunflower USB-C Hub
 Benefits
  • USB-C Pass-through
  • Ethernet port
  • PROS
  • 4k HDMI Output
  • 3x USB-A 3.0
  • Micro SDHC and SDHC ports

Before upgrading to a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, I used to own a first-generation 12-inch MacBook. The MacBook has only a single USB-C port so I couldn’t charge it while having plugged in other devices without using an adapter or hub.

My 13-inch MacBook Pro has 4 USB-C ports, but I still appreciate the flexibility the Asunflower hub offers, and especially the HDMI and Ethernet ports. This hub has replaced the Apple HDMI adapter and a third-party Ethernet dongle I used to carry.

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Apple Watch Series 4 (GPS + Cellular)

Apple Watch Series 4 GPS+Cellular
Apple Watch Series 4 GPS+Cellular
 Benefits
  • Accurate timekeeper that automatically updates with timezones
  • Music playback control
  • Notification Center

The Apple Watch Series 4 is one of my favorite travel gadgets of all time. I travel across time zones a lot and still see plenty of folks manually change the time on their analog watches when the plane lands. I much appreciate that the Apple Watch changes automatically as soon as turn off Airplane Mode on my iPhone.

The Apple Watch is also my primary playback control, especially when I’m listening to music or a podcast using my AirPods. I just have to raise my wrist to wake up my watch if I need to quickly change the volume, hit pause or skip a song. That’s convenient and usually much faster than trying to fumble with the tiny playback control buttons that some wireless headphones have.

Last but not least, the Apple Watch also acts as my Notification Center. It’s much quicker to glance at notifications and dismiss them than having to pull out my iPhone. If I want to take action on a notification, I can often do it directly on the watch, or I will handle it on my iPhone later.

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Nomad Sport Strap

Nomad Sport Strap
Nomad Sport Strap
 Benefits
  • Made from Vulcanized LSR silicone
  • Antimicrobial and hypoallergenic
  • Comfortable to wear and waterproof

The Nomad Sport Strap is one of my favorite Apple Watch straps for working out because the silicone Nomad used to make it allows the band to stretch. That allows for a tight, yet comfortable fit around my wrist.

For the same reasons, I enjoy wearing the strap while traveling. Plus, the Sport Strap looks less casual than Apple’s Sports Band, which makes it a better fit when I have to wear business attire.

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Twelve South TimePorter for Apple Watch

Twelve South TimePorter for Apple Watch
Twelve South TimePorter for Apple Watch
 Benefits
  • Nightstand charger
  • Carrying case for additional plugs, straps, and adapters
  • Works in portrait and landscape mode

I have used TimePorter for several years as my primary charger for the Apple Watch. What I appreciate most about TimePorter is that it allows me to charge my Apple Watch in either landscape or portrait mode and it keeps the charging cable neatly organized when it’s not in use.

As an additional benefit, TimePorter has enough room for extra watch straps, power plugs, and adapters.

The first time I left TimePorter at home while going on a trip was a few weeks ago when I started testing the Asunflower Dual Wireless Charger, which can charge my iPhone and Apple Watch at the same time (see below). But it’s too early to tell which of these two travel gadgets will earn a permanent spot in my backpack going forward.

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Nomad Universal Cable

Nomad Universal Cable
Nomad Universal Cable
 Benefits
  • 10K Mil-spec flex tested
  • USB-A connector on one side
  • USB-C, Lightning, and Micro-USB on the other side

I used to travel with separate USB-C, Lightning, and Micro-USB cables before discovering the Nomad Universal Cable.

When I travel, I typically use a Lightning cable to charge my iPhone every night. My headphones, on the other hand, usually last for a few days before I have to recharge them. So I barely ever have to charge both iPhone and headphones at the same time, and that’s why Nomad’s Universal Cable is so convenient. I can use it to charge my iPhone overnight and then pop on the Micro-USB adapter to charge my headphones the next day.

Nomad’s cable also offers a USB-C plug, but I can’t use it to charge a MacBook. Under the hood, it’s just a regular USB cable with a USB-C connector, and it doesn’t meet USB-C specifications. If that’s what you need, Nomad has another 4-in-1 cable that also supports USB-C charging.

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Apple USB-C to Lightning Cable

Apple USB-C to Lightning Cable
Apple USB-C to Lightning Cable
 Benefits
  • The fastest way to charge an iPhone
  • Supports data transfer as well as charging

The Apple USB-C to Lightning cable with Power Delivery (PD) offers the fastest way to charge an iPhone 8 or newer if you connect it with a compatible USB-C power adapter. I usually rely on wireless charging to top off the battery of my devices overnight, but if I don’t have a lot of time, I resort to this cable!

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Twelve South CableSnap

Twelve South CableSnap
Twelve South CableSnap
 Benefits
  • Made from genuine leather
  • Belt-loop keeps them attached when the cord is in use
  • Easy to take on an off

One of the challenges I have had while traveling is to keep my cables and cords organized. I used to just throw the most important cables and chargers into the “quick-access” compartment of my backpack. That way, I could conveniently grab what I needed, without even having to look.

The disadvantage of that approach was that my “quick-access” compartment became an unorganized mess. To remedy that situation, I tried cable organizers from various brands. Some were similar to CableSnap, but none had the belt-loop that reduces the chance of losing them. That’s what I like about TwelveSouth’s solution, they stay attached, even when the cable is in use.

Each pack of CableSnap comes with three wraps: two small and one large wrap. The smaller ones are ideal for iPhone/iPad charging cables, and I use the larger one for longer cables, such as the USB-C charging cable of the MacBook.

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Apple 5W USB Power Adapter

Apple 5W USB Power Adapter
Apple 5W USB Power Adapter
 Benefits
  • Small footprint
  • Ideal for difficult to access power outlets

I don’t use the 5W USB power brick very often anymore to charge my iPhone, but I keep one in my backpack in case my primary chargers fail, or if the power outlet is small or difficult to reach. Sometimes, the power outlets on airline seats are finicky and not easily accessible. That’s where the Apple power brick can come in handy.

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Asunflower Wireless Power Bank

Asunflower Wireless Power Bank
Asunflower Wireless Power Bank
 Pros
  • Contains a 6700mAh battery to charge my phone wirelessly
  • 1x USB-C and 2x USB-A ports to charge devices simultaneously
  • 5W Wireless Charging Output
 Cons
  • The build quality is OK but not outstanding

Asunflower’s Wireless Power Bank is an impressive 3-in-1 charging solution that has replaced my regular MacBook and iPhone/iPad/Android chargers by featuring two USB-A and one USB-C port.

But that’s not all; I can also lie the Wireless Power Bank flat on a table and use it as a wireless charging pad for my Qi-enabled iPhone X. That feature is incredibly useful when space is limited, such as when I’m on an airplane, or if I don’t have a power outlet nearby.

To see how much charge the battery has left, Asunflower added an LED display that shows me the percentage of battery power. To recharge the battery, I just have to connect the power bank to a wall outlet.

I’d also like to mention that the US power plug the device comes with is exchangeable. I own Apple’s World Travel Adapter Kit, and all those plugs are compatible with the power bank.

Asunflower’s product shares the same disadvantages of Apple’s original MacBook (Pro) power brick. When plugged in vertically to an already worn out wall outlet, it may not stay connected and slide back out of the socket.

The Asunflower Wireless Power Bank is a solid product, and the build quality is on par with many other third-party chargers. But I can tell it is not on the same level as, for example, Apple’s power brick for the MacBook Pro.

$39.99 on Amazon*

Asunflower Dual Wireless Charger

Asunflower Dual Wireless Charger
Asunflower Dual Wireless Charger
 Pros
  • Charges smartphone and Apple Watch at the same time
  • Supports fast charging
  • Automatic disconnect when the battery is charged
 Cons
  • The build quality is OK but not impressive

The Asunflower Dual Wireless Charger is the reason why I have left my other Apple Watch charging solutions at home lately. That’s because this wireless charging pad can charge both my iPhone as well as my Apple Watch at the same time. How cool is that?

The charging pad even supports 7.5W fast charging, but only if you supply sufficient power, for example, by using an Apple 12W USB Power Adapter*.

I have used Asunflower’s Dual Wireless Charger for the past few weeks and truly enjoyed the convenience of being able to charge both my iPhone X and Apple Watch at the same time, without having to carry additional adapters and cables.

Quality-wise, it’s a solid product but not on the same level as similar products from some of the premium brands I have reviewed.

Find on Amazon*

CHOETECH 6-Port Desktop Charger

CHOETECH 50W 6-Port Desktop USB Charger
CHOETECH 50W 6-Port Desktop USB Charger
 Benefits
  • Charges six devices at the same time
  • 2x Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 ports
  • 50W total power output

The CHOETECH 6-Port USB Charger is the ideal companion for family trips because it can charge up to six devices at the same time. Two of the six USB-A ports even support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 protocol, which quadruples the charging speed compared to regular USB chargers. Compared to the OneAdaptr’s Evri, the CHOETECH charger is lighter, a bit smaller (length/width) but thicker and has only two instead of four Quick Charge-enabled ports.

CHOETECH Desktop Charger Features
CHOETECH Desktop Charger Features

Additionally, this charger comes with a removable stand, which makes it the perfect desktop companion. Four of the six USB ports can intelligently identify connected devices to provide the most suitable charging speed.

Find on Amazon*

CHOETECH Solar Panel Charger

Solar Charger, CHOETECH 19W Solar Panel Charger
Solar Charger, CHOETECH 19W Solar Panel Charger
 Benefits
  • 19W SunPower solar array
  • Waterproof design
  • Charges two devices simultaneously
  • Enough power to charge an iPhone and iPad at the same time

I used to have a large-capacity power bank from ZeroLemon* in the past that had a small solar array that could recharge its battery in emergencies. Unfortunately, the solar panel was too small to be effective, and the power bank itself was too heavy.

In comparison, the solar array on the CHOETECH charger is enormous and delivers charging speeds of up to 2.4 amps. Additionally, the SunPower solar technology CHOETECH uses is 21.5 – 23.5% more efficient than traditional solar panels, and, as a result, it enables you to charge two devices simultaneously.

CHOETECH Solar Panel Charger Use Cases
CHOETECH Solar Panel Charger Use Cases

Note that this solar panel charger does not include a battery. As a result, it’s incredibly lightweight, but it won’t charge your device if you don’t expose it to direct sunlight.

To improve its versatility, the waterproof design of the CHOETECH solar panel charger features three hooks on each side, so you can easily attach the solar array to your backpack, the top of a tent, or the dashboard of your car.

I don’t permanently carry this solar panel charger in my backpack, especially not on business trips. But when we go hiking, or we spend the day at the lake, the solar panel charger the solar panel charger makes for an incredibly useful gadget.

Find on Amazon*

Nomad Base Station

Nomad Base Station
Nomad Base Station
 Benefits
  • Offers wireless as well as wired charging (USB-A and USB-C)
  • Can charge multiple devices at the same time
  • Features three charging coils with 10W output each

Nomad’s Base Station is one of my favorite wireless charging solutions because it is rock-solid and made from premium components. It features three 10W charging coils that allow you to charge two compatible devices (phones) at the same time. Plus, you can place your phone in either orientation on the pad and it’ll charge it.

Best of all, the Base Station also has dedicated USB-A and USB-C ports to charge additional devices. The USB-C port offers 18W of power output, which is sufficient to achieve the fastest charging speeds that iPhone supports.

Nomad Base Station Ports
Nomad Base Station Ports

If you travel internationally a lot, as I do, you’ll appreciate that Nomad includes three different power socket adapters that can you use with the provided power brick.

Find on HelloNomad.com

OneAdaptr Evri Charging Station

OneAdaptr Evri Charging Station
OneAdaptr Evri Charging Station
 Benefits
  • 4x Qualcomm Quick Charge USB-A 3.0 ports
  • 1x 80W USB-C port
  • Ultraslim and portable

The Evri Charging Station is the only power adapter I need to charge all of my devices simultaneously, including my MacBook, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and anything else I might have with me. What I like most about the Evri Charging Station is its small footprint. It’s so slim that it comfortably fits into any backpack or pocket I may have, including the super-slim Cocoon backpack I’m testing right now.

OneAdaptr Evri on Delta Airlines
The Evri aboard Delta Airlines kept all my devices charges

What’s worth mentioning is that the four USB-A ports of the Evri support Qualcomm’s Quick Charge protocol, which increases the charging speed of compatible devices of up to four times. Additionally, the USB-C port features Power Delivery 2.0 and in combination with a USB-C to Lightning* cable offers the fastest way to charge an iPhone X/8/8+ or an iPad Pro.

The Evri Charging Station supports 100-240V input voltage and is thus compatible with worldwide power sources.

Find on OneAdaptr.com*

OneAdaptr Twist+ World Charging Station

OneAdaptr Twist+ World Charging Station
OneAdaptr Twist+ World Charging Station
 Pros
  • Worldwide compatibility in over 150 countries
  • 4x USB-A ports (4 amps each)
  • MagSafe 1 & 2 compatible
 Cons
  • Relatively bulky

I’ve had the Twist+ for several years, and it has served me incredibly well during trips to over a dozen different countries. The unique twist and release mechanism makes it easy to pop out the exact plug configuration I need based on the country I’m visiting. That means, I no longer have to bring special plug converters when I go on a trip abroad.

Additionally, the Twist+ allows me to directly connect a MacBook Pro power adapter while simultaneously providing power to up to four USB devices. To protect my devices from unreliable power sources, the Twist+ also has a fuse protection built-in.

The only disadvantage of the Twist+ is its width. It’s relatively bulky and not as slim as its cousin, the Evri. That’s why I prefer the Evri for domestic travel, and I only pack the Twist+ when I travel abroad.

Find on OneAdaptr.com*

Homey PowerUp MacBook Charger and USB-C Hub

Homey PowerUp MacBook Charger and USB-C Hub
Homey PowerUp MacBook Charger and USB-C Hub
 Pros
  • 72W power output
  • 1x USB-C and 3x USB-A ports
  • Charger and Hub in one
 Cons
  • Short USB-C cord

I originally bought the PowerUp as a replacement for my MacBook’s power brick because I liked the idea of its small form factor and the additional USB-A ports to charge my other Apple devices while traveling. Plus, I ordered an extra power cable for the PowerUp with a plug that works in many European countries. So depending on where I would go, I’d pack either the US or the EU cable.

What’s convenient about the PowerUp is that it doubles as a USB-C hub. That means, while plugged into my MacBook Pro, I could use it to sync my iPhone or charge it via pass-through charging, even if I haven’t connected PowerUp to a power source.

What’s inconvenient about PowerUp is the relatively short, integrated USB-C cable. Homey does mention an extension cord, but I couldn’t find a way to buy it.

Find on HomeyLab.com

Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
 Benefits
  • Lightweight and powerful
  • 4x USB-C ports
  • Incredible display

Before upgrading to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, I used to have a 12-inch MacBook. Unfortunately, I never got used to the first-generation butterfly keyboard of the 12-inch MacBook and didn’t like typing on it. Additionally, the Intel M CPU that Apple put into the lightweight MacBook was not up to many of the tasks I needed the MacBook for. So a few months ago, I upgraded to the more powerful 13-inch MacBook Pro, which features the second generation butterfly keyboard.

I like the keyboard on the 13-inch MacBook Pro much better than the previous generation, and I have no complaints so far. But I heard that many other users had issues with dust getting stuck under individual keys of their MacBook Pro’s keyboard, thus rendering the key unusable and triggering a potentially costly repair.

Besides the keyboard, I love how powerful and yet lightweight the new MacBook Pro is, and I truly enjoy working on it. So much so, that I barely bring my iPad anymore when I travel. While I had the 12-inch MacBook, I often used my iPad Pro on trips, because it was so much more responsive for simple tasks like web browsing, or typing emails.

Find on Amazon*

ZAGG Slim Book for the iPad Pro

ZAGG Wireless Keyboard for the iPad Pro
ZAGG Slim Book for the iPad Pro
 Benefits
  • Incredibly battery life
  • Supports two simultaneous device connections
  • Keyboard is removable

I consider the ZAGG Wireless Keyboard one of the best keyboards for the 10.5-inch iPad Pro*. You can read more about why I like it so much in my review, but in a nutshell, ZAGG offers an incredible battery life and versatility that makes typing on the keyboard enjoyable.

The other feature of the ZAGG keyboard I like is the ability to pop off the keyboard and use it as a case. That’s useful when I want to read on the iPad while holding it in portrait mode.

Despite the awesomeness of the wireless keyboard I have to admit, that my iPad Pro has stayed at home during my recent trips across the country. That’s because I have enjoyed using the new 13-inch MacBook Pro so much, and so I haven’t bothered carrying my iPad.

Find on Amazon*

Apple AirPods

Apple AirPods
Apple AirPods
 Benefits
  • Excellent sound
  • Incredibly comfortable to wear
  • Amazing technology

I barely leave home without my AirPods. They are hands down one of my favorite gadgets for listening to music on the go or working out. What I appreciate most about the AirPods is how well and seamless they work. To turn them on, I just take them out of their case and pop them into my ears.

They automatically turn on and connect via Bluetooth to my iPhone and Apple Watch. If I take one AirPod out of my ear, playback stops automatically. As soon as I put the AirPod back in, playback resumes. It’s magical and it almost always “just works.”

As a result, I take the AirPods everywhere I go, especially when I’m traveling and the only time they come out is when I board a plane and switch to my Bose QuietComfort 35 noise-canceling headphones.

Find on Amazon*

Bose QuietControl 30

Bose QuietControl 30 Wireless Headphones
Bose QuietControl 30 Wireless Headphones
 Benefits
  • Best-in-class noise-cancelation technology
  • Comfortable to wear for hours
  • Excellent sound considering the noisy environment I often use them in

Bose makes arguably the best noise-canceling wireless headphones on the market. The headphones may not be an audiophile’s first choice, but considering the noisy environment you will likely use them in, they produce excellent sound.

When I wear the QuietControl 30, I often wear them for hours, and so comfort is important to me. I have reviewed a variety of different wireless headphones in the past, and the Bose are among the most comfortable headphones I could find, especially in comparison to the Beats by Dr. Dre.

The QuietControl 30 wireless headphones offer a 10-hour battery life, and via the Bose app, you can even stream your music to two headphones at the same time. So if you and your partner have the same taste in music, you can listen to the same playlist and have it streamed from a single device to both of your own Bose headphones.

Find on Amazon*

Twelve South AirFly

Twelve South Airfly Wireless Transmitter
Twelve South Airfly Wireless Transmitter
 Benefits
  • Use wireless headphones with any headphone jack
  • Ideal for watching movies on airplanes
  • 8-hour battery life

AirFly is another ingenious invention from my friends at Twelve South. AirFly is a wireless transmitter that you can plug into any standard headphone jack to stream audio to your wireless headphones. Imagine you are on an airplane and you only brought your AirPods to listen to music.

What if you want to watch a movie with the in-flight entertainment system? The AirPods, like many other in-ear wireless headphones, don’t have a plug to connect a cable. That’s where AirFly comes in as it bridges the gap between the headphone jack of the audio source and your wireless headphones.

I usually wear my Bose QuietComfort 35 while traveling by plane and they have a headphone jack, but I never carry the audio cable because I don’t need it very often. Plus, I don’t like to tether my head to my seat.

The AirFly are brand new, and I just got them, but I haven’t had a chance to test them on the road yet. I’ll make sure to update this article as I start using AirFly while traveling.

What’s good about AirFly is that you can charge it using a Micro-USB cable – the same cable I use to charge my Bose headphones and other gadgets, and they work with any wireless headphones, not just AirPods.

Find on TwelveSouth.com*

Cocoon SLIM S Laptop Backpack

Cocoon Innovations Slim S Laptop Backpack
Cocoon Innovations SLIM S Laptop Backpack
 Pros
  • Grid-It! organizational system
  • Slim form factor
  • Waterproof zippers
 Cons
  • The slim form factor may not provide sufficient room for thicker items

The Cocoon SLIM S laptop backpack features one of the most innovative and useful organizational systems I have come across. Cocoon calls it Grid-It!® and it’s a grid of varying length elastic bands you can use to secure your stuff.

When I got Cocoon’s SLIM S, I started cleaning out my old backpack to see how everything would fit. Despite its slim and compact form factor, the Slim S offered space for pretty much all my stuff, with minor exceptions that included mostly redundant gadgets I was carrying.

The only gadget that I could not find enough space for, without pushing it, was my Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones. They did not fit because the carrying case is almost as thick as the Cocoon backpack. That’s a bummer, but I am looking into getting a slimmer carrying case for the headphones.

Grid-It! Organizational system of the Cocoon backpack
Grid-It! Organizational system of the Cocoon backpack

Due to its width, the Cocoon also doesn’t offer space for bottles or jackets, but that’s not an issue for me as I never travel without a carry-on roller bag. On the bright side, you will always be able to slide the backpack underneath the seat in front of you, even on the smallest and most cramped of aircraft. I can’t say the same about my PEGASUS backpack.

Despite its compact size, the Cocoon SLIM S offers a ton of intuitive storage options, waterproof zippers and padded compartments for your 13-inch laptop and 10-inch tablet. The backpack is well-made and comfortable to wear over long periods.

PS: If you like the Grid-It!® system but would like to use it in a larger backpack, Cocoon sells their organizational systems separately*.

Find on Amazon*

Cocoon SLIM XL 17″ Backpack

Cocoon SLIM S vs. SLIM XL
Cocoon SLIM S vs. SLIM XL

Shortly after I had reviewed the smaller Cocoon SLIM S, I decided to give the larger SLIM XL a try. I just couldn’t get around the fact that my Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones didn’t fit in the smaller backpack. So I ordered the SLIM XL and found my perfect backpack. Not only is it a bit taller, and thus providing more grid-space, but it’s also a few inches thicker, which means more space for stuff inside the backpack.

Difference in thickness between SLIM S and SLIM XL
The difference in thickness between SLIM S and SLIM XL

Additionally, it has a small mesh pocket on each side where I can store my disinfecting wipes or a bottle of Ample. Despite its larger size, the Cocoon SLIM XL is still significantly thinner than the PEGASUS backpack I used to use.

Find on Amazon*

PEGASUS from SwissGear by Wenger Backpack

PEGASUS from SwissGear by Wenger Backpack
PEGASUS from SwissGear by Wenger Backpack
 Pros
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Shock-absorbing shoulder straps
  • Airflow back-padding
 Cons
  • When filled up, you may no longer be able to slide it underneath the (airplane) seat in front of you

I’ve had the PEGASUS for years, and it’s one of my favorite pieces of luggage. Frequent travelers know SwissGear for their high-quality products and the PEGASUS is no different. All the zippers, the handles, and straps are heavy-duty that you can abuse without breaking anything. I have abused this backpack a couple of times by filling it to the gills and using force to close the zippers. So far, all the zippers are still in perfect working order.

The backpack also features plenty of storage room through its various compartments and pockets. The only thing I am missing from the PEGASUS is a Grid-It!® system, now that I have experienced how great it works while testing the Cocoon backpack.

Find on Amazon*

Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 Softside Spinner Boarding Bag

Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 Softside Spinner Boarding Bag
Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 Softside Spinner Boarding Bag
 Benefits
  • Perfect for a one or two-day trip
  • The handle is padded and comfortable to operate
  • Rolls smoothly in all directions

I own a few different Samsonite products, and while all are good, this boarding bag is the best luggage I own. The Samsonite Silhouette Sphere 2 series is available in various sizes, but I decided to get the boarding bag, which is the smallest one Samsonite offers.

Due to its size, it’s perfect for short trips that don’t last longer than one or two days. For such trips, I’m able to fit the following items in the suitcase:

What I like most about the Silhouette Sphere 2 boarding bag is how smooth the hardware works. For example, pulling out the handle requires virtually zero effort and the four independent spinner wheels make rolling the bag effortless, even on a rough surface. I enjoy using this luggage so much that I try to make it work on every trip that I go, despite the numerous other (larger) Samsonite suitcases I own.

Find on Amazon*

Qubix – Double Compression Packing Cubes

Qubix Double Compression Packing Cubes - Set
Qubix Packing Cubes – Set
 Benefits
  • Makes organizing the contents of your luggage much easier
  • Come in various sizes, shapes, and forms
  • Double compression feature to make space for more clothing

My wife taught me how to roll up my clothes when packing a suitcase to save space and reduce the chance of wrinkling. That’s how we have been packing our luggage until we stumbled across packing cubes.

Packing cubes are soft storage containers that dramatically simplify packing, by adding a level of organization and compression.

These days, when we go on a family trip, everybody gets a few packing cubes assigned. That way, we know exactly where everyone’s clothes are when we arrive at our final destination.

But even when I travel alone, I use the Qubix double compression packing cubes to reduce the chance of my dress shirts getting wrinkled, and to keep my luggage neat and organized.

If you want to give Qubix a try, you can use discount code MK10% to get 10% off your purchase. Note, the code does not work in combination with other promos.

Find on GadgetOMG.com*

Twelve South BookBook CaddySack

Twelve South BookBook CaddySack
Twelve South BookBook CaddySack
 Benefits
  • Unique design that looks like a book when the zipper is closed
  • Plenty of storage options for chargers, adapters, cables, and more
  • Made from genuine leather

I own different versions and sizes of Twelve South’s BookBook organizational system, and each one looks like an expensive, leather-wrapped book when the zipper is closed. So I can put it on a bookshelf or lie it on a table, and most people would mistake it for a book, not knowing what’s inside.

Unlike the Cocoon Slim S, my PEGASUS backpack doesn’t have a smart storage system built in and so I have relied on the CaddySack to keep my most-used chargers, adapters, and cables organized.

Due to its size, I couldn’t fit all of my chargers and cables in the CaddySack, only the most important ones. The rest of them, I threw into one of the compartments of my PEGASUS backpack. The disadvantage of that approach was that I occasionally had to go to two places to get the stuff I needed.

Find on TwelveSouth.com*

Nomad iPhone X Hexagon Case

Nomad iPhone X Hexagon Case
Nomad iPhone X Hexagon Case
 Benefits
  • 10-feet Mil-Spec drop protection
  • Offers a convenient balance of protection and thickness
  • Appealing and unique Hexagon design

The Nomad Hexagon is an excellent case to protect your iPhone from drops of up to 10 feet while you are on the road. What I like about the case is how it feels in my hands, and that Nomad found a way not to make it look as bulky as some of the other cases I have tested (see my complete review of iPhone X cases).

The back of the case features a unique and appealing hexagon design, and all buttons and switches operate as precisely as they would without a case.

The only thing I am not too crazy about is the relatively thick lip that protects the screen. I know it’s there to protect the screen from scratches and cracks, but it makes some of the swipe gestures on the iPhone X more challenging to execute.

Find on Amazon*

Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow

Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow
Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow
 Pros
  • Provides excellent head support in all directions
  • Comfortable and soft
  • Comes with a carry- and storage bag
 Cons
  • Not compatible with many over-the-ear headphones

Flying in economy class across the Atlantic sucks, there is no better way to describe it. Like many other frequent travelers, I am continually looking for ways to improve my travel experience. Wearing the proper clothing helps, but if you are trying to get some sleep in an uncomfortable airplane seat, you probably need a good travel pillow.

I have tried dozens of pillows, including the highly-praised J Pillow*, but none has worked for me as well as the Cabeau Evolution, which I consider one of the best travel pillows on the market.

What I like most about the Cabeau Evolution Memory Foam Travel Pillow is the strap that ensures that I have sufficient head support under my chin. Ordinary travel pillows may provide decent head support on the back and the sides, but they don’t prevent your head from tilting forward.

The only disadvantage of the Cabeau Evolution is that it’s so tall on both sides that you cannot comfortably wear over-the-ear headphones, like the Bose QuietComfort 35. To solve this problem, I use earplugs* when I am trying to sleep, instead of my noise-canceling headphones.

Find on Amazon*

AYO Blue-light wearable

AYO Blue-light wearable
AYO Blue-light wearable
 Benefits
  • Helps you to get over jetlag quicker
  • Simulates natural light
  • Helps you to improve your sleeping pattern

AYO is a blue light emitting wearable that can help you to increase your energy, improve your sleeping patterns, and get over jetlag quicker. I have reviewed AYO as part of an article I wrote about how to overcome jetlag when traveling to the US west coast and Europe.

As part of my trips, I have successfully used AYO numerous times, and I can confirm it helped me to reduce the symptoms of jetlag. More importantly, it helped me to understand better why I suffered so severely from jetlag in the past and to adjust my sleep and wake patterns during trips.

Cool Travel Accessories and Gadgets for Techies
Me wearing the AYO while traveling by train from Munich to Salzburg

These days, I suffer much less from jet lag because I know how to avoid the common mistakes I have made in the past. Still, if I go on an overseas trip, I take AYO with me, just in case.

Find on Amazon*

Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes

Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes
Wet Ones Antibacterial Hand Wipes
 Benefits
  • Kills 99.99% of germs
  • Easy to carry
  • Wet lock keeps the wipes moist

Traveling increases your exposure to germs and the risk of getting sick. Places that see a lot of traffic, such as hotel rooms or airplanes are especially likely harbor germs that I’d like to stay away from. So one of the first things I do after boarding a plane is to wipe the stuff I’m likely to touch during the flight, including:

  • Air outlets
  • Tray table
  • Button to recline the seat
  • Seatbelt buckle

In a hotel, I wipe the door knobs, light switches, and the TV remote, if I’m planning on watching TV. The travel-sized Wet Ones are ideal for that purpose because they don’t take up a lot of space and they don’t readily dry out, thanks to the Wet Lock system.

Find on Amazon*

PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer

PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer
PURELL Advanced Hand Sanitizer
 Benefits
  • Kills over 99% of all germs
  • Convenient to carry
  • Don’t dry out your hands completely

Much like I carry disinfecting wipes, I always carry a bottle or two of hand sanitizer. I prefer washing my hands with water and soap, but that’s not always possible. Besides, sometimes I prefer to use sanitizer than to touch the dirty faucet or paper towel dispenser.

Find on Amazon*

Travel Accessories and gadgets you won’t find in my backpack

Mobile Hotspot

Automatic Hotspot in macOS
Automatic Hotspot in macOS

I have never owned a mobile hotspot because my iPhone has one built-in and Apple has made using it from my Mac a seamless experience. Theoretically, at least, because occasionally, I have to turn Bluetooth and WLAN on and off on my iPhone before the hotspot works.

During international travel, I can leverage the unlimited roaming option of my T-Mobile plan to stay connected. It is slow and capped at 256kbits, which T-Mobile is ballsy enough to call 3G, but it is usually enough for emails and texts. In some countries (Mexico, Germany, etc.) T-Mobile offers 5GB of free LTE data before they throttle me.

Best Travel gadgets for men and women

With the right gadgets, you can make your travel experience much smoother and more pleasant. My goal with this roundup of the best travel accessories was to introduce you to some useful product that you may not have known about.

But now I want to hear from you! What cool travel gadgets do you have in your backpack? Let me know by leaving a comment below, and maybe I can include them in a future update of this blog post.

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