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Here is my top 35 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.