Tom Merritt tells us his five essential gadgets for travel. Don’t leave home without these.
Even with more people meeting remotely than ever there’s still an amount of travel that seemingly has to happen. And when you’re required to jet off somewhere for whatever reason, packing light and efficiently is a huge help.
But you have so many devices you have to bring and keep charged. And you need to keep yourself sane, too. It’s the little things that make all the difference. The dongles. The cables. The wall warts.
Here are five essential travel tech accessories.
- A small, powerful portable charger. You can get lipstick-sized chargers that have the capacity of your phone or more. No need to lug a huge battery anymore. Get one that makes it easy to see when it needs to be charged and makes it easy to plug in. Anker makes a 10,000mAh battery that’s got USB-A and USB-C ports and is smaller than your phone.
- Headphones. Many people will tell you to get noise-canceling headphones for the airplane and if you have room in your carry-on knock yourself out. I prefer to carry one set of wireless earbuds with noise cancellation like the Jabra 74ts or Apple AirPods and a set of good old-fashioned wired minijack headphones. The first work with all your devices and won’t get tangled up. The second is for that occasional airplane or train system that only takes minijack. And they’re both much lighter than over-the-ear headphones.
- A luggage tag weight scale. These handy little things loop around your suitcase handle. Then you lift your luggage up with them and they estimate the weight. They are accurate enough to help you avoid repacking at the check-in counter and small enough not to take up too much space in your bag. There are many out there that work about the same. I use one from Tarriss that cost me less than $20.
- Multi-cables. Rather than carry dozens of dongles, reduce down to one cable that has the port you need—say USB-C at one end—and the connector you need—say lightning or USB-A or whatever—at the other end. There are multiple configurations out there, so get the one you need. They’ll run you between $10 and $20.
- A surge protector. I have never felt more love from strangers than when sharing that one outlet at the airport gate because I had the surge protector. But it’s also handy in the hotel and elsewhere. And for travel you don’t need a big old strip anymore. Belkin makes a compact one that has three AC outlets and two USB ports.
Hopefully these tips will help you reduce your tech hassles and your bag weight.
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