21st February 2024

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Technology and Computer

The 22 Best Travel Tech Essentials of 2024

We live in a technologically advanced society, and that means we usually bring some sort of gadget with us wherever we go, even if it’s just a phone. Some provide entertainment — like tablets, eReaders, and headphones — while others can make journeys more convenient or comfortable instead (such as luggage trackers, folding keyboards, and portable sound machines). To help you discover what your packing list could be missing, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite tech-related items whether you’re traveling for fun or business.

Best eReader

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Amazon All-new Kindle (2022 release)

Amazon


One of the biggest players in the eReader game, the Kindle Paperwhite hits all the marks when it comes to features you need in a digital book. It has a 6.8-inch glare-free display screen with adjustable warm lighting for reading in the dark (say, on a plane at night), with a monumental battery life of 10 weeks and storage capabilities up to 16 GB. It’s also water-resistant for poolside reading.

Best Earbuds

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Amazon


When we tested these Bose earbuds, we were impressed by a number of features, including effective active noise cancellation (ANC) technology, quick Bluetooth connectivity, and a lightweight fit. We also love that each pair comes with three sets of rubber earpieces, each a different size to accommodate multiple ear shapes and sizes. And, as for sound quality, Bose can’t be beat, whether you’re listening to music or taking a call. Though the headphones are pricey, we think these features make them worth the cost.

Best On-ear Headphones

Apple AirPods Max

Amazon Apple AirPods Max

Amazon


These days, it’s not good enough for a pair of headphones to simply deliver good sound — it needs to block sound, too. The Apple AirPods Max Wireless Over-ear Headphones do the trick with their ANC technology, which we found to be top-notch in tests. We also loved the intuitive nature, which can quickly and easily be controlled by buttons on the earpiece. But the one flaw here is that to turn them off, you must put the headphones in their carrying case. We’d appreciate a simple power button next time!

Best Power Bank

TG90° Portable Charger

TG90° Portable Charger

Amazon


Portable charges come in all shapes and sizes, but if it’s portability and convenience you seek, your best bet is to purchase this handy little device. Roughly the size of a credit card (albeit thicker) and weighing just 4.32 ounces, the TG90° Portable Charger is easy to toss in your bag or in your pocket. At 6000mAh, it holds less than two full charges for most phones, but it works perfectly when you need some juice in a pinch. Best of all, it has built-in Lightning and USB-C cords attached, so you don’t need to waste space with extra cords.

Best Adapter

Epicka Universal Travel Adapter

Amazon epicka-universal-travel-adapter

Amazon


A travel adapter is a must-have tool for all international travelers, since socket shapes vary in different parts of the world. This one by Epicka is our tester favorite — it can be used in more than 150 countries, making it a practical all-in-one device. It has an impressive six ports for chagrin: four USB-A, one USB-C, and 1 AC socket. So no matter what type of charger you’re using, you’ll be able to plug it into this adapter. As a bonus, it comes in four colors so you don’t have to choose the standard black of so many tech items.

Best Wi-Fi Hotspot

Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro

Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro

Netgear


Portable Wi-Fi hotspots can be useful when you’re traveling somewhere without a guaranteed internet connection, but do note that you’ll usually need cell service to operate them. NETGEAR’s Nighthawk M6 Pro is unlocked, so you can use it on any major cell network by adding a SIM card — and it taps into both 5G and the new Wi-Fi 6E to offer the highest speeds possible. You can also use a wired connection if you happen to have an ethernet cable.

Best Luggage Tracker

Eufy SmartTrack Link

Amazon Eufy SmartTrack Link

Amazon


Apple AirTags might seem to run the show, but in our tests, we preferred Eufy’s SmartTrack Link. For one thing, it’s cheaper than an AirTag. And for another, it still works with the Find My app on iPhone just like an AirTag. Simply activate the device with the app, then put it in your checked suitcase, and you’ll be able to track your bags as they make their journey through the airport and into your plane’s cargo hold.

Best Projector

Nebula by Anker Solar Portable Projector

Amazon Nebula Solar Portable 1080p Smart Projector

Amazon


No, you probably won’t need a portable projector on every trip you take. But if you’re heading to a beach house or in a cabin in the woods, it could be a fun way to have a family movie night — particularly if your vacation rental lacks a big TV. If you’re using it outdoors, note that we found the device to have a 3-hour battery life, which should work for most movies. Otherwise, you’ll want to bring an extension cord to plug it in, as its built-in cord is just two feet long.

Best Smart Sunglasses

Ray-Ban Meta Headliner

Ray-Ban Meta Headliner

Ray-Ban


We’ve always been fans of Ray-ban sunglasses, but these smart glasses take the game to the next level. Within these frames, which have a slightly different shape than Ray-ban’s classic Wayfarer, is a 12-megapixel camera with an ultra-wide lens to capture photos and videos — and you can even livestream directly to Facebook or Instagram. There are five built-in microphones to capture audio, whether that’s during a video recording or a phone call for extra-clear sound. The audio output quality is excellent, too, for both music and calls.

Best Digital Notebook

Rocketbook Core

Rocketbook Core

Rocketbook


Digital notebooks might not have the nostalgia factor of a traditional notebook, but they are pretty handy if you do a lot of journaling or doodling while you’re traveling. This way, you won’t have to lug around multiple notebooks on a months-long adventure! With Rocketbook Core, you can write or draw on the pages of the notebook with a Pilot pen, then scan a QR code to upload to an app. Once you’re ready to start fresh, you can just wipe down each page with a slightly damp microfiber cloth (included). This is the full-size model, but there’s also a mini size available if you’d prefer something more travel-friendly.

Best Laptop

Apple MacBook Air 13.6” Laptop

MacBook Air 13.6” Laptop

Best Buy


If you’re an Apple person, the newest MacBook Air is the best device for travelers. It has the ultra-fast M2 processing chip which is 1.4 times faster than the previous model, the M1. And, as an Air, it’s lighter than the standard MacBook or MacBook Pro models which is always helpful when traveling. However, what we really love about the newest MacBook Air is that it’s returned to a magnetic charging port, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally ripping out your charging cable or pulling down a laptop if you trip over the cord.

Best Tablet

Apple 10.9” iPad (9th Generation)

Apple 10.9” iPad (9th Generation)

Best Buy


Some planes aren’t equipped with built-in in-flight entertainment systems, which means you should probably bring a screen with you. We’re partial to the Apple iPad, specifically, not the latest model for one simple reason: it’s usually on sale. Unless you plan on working from your iPad, in which case you’d probably want to upgrade to something more powerful or even a laptop, this one will do just fine for things like watching movies and shows. It’ll still work for other tasks where a screen larger than a phone comes in handy, like sending email, making notes, and even taking photos.

Best DSLR Camera

Sony Alpha 7R V

Sony Alpha 7R V

Sony


For those seriously interested in photography and videography, you can’t go wrong with the Sony Alpha 7R V. Ultimately, it has extremely high-quality imagery and video that works on a professional level. We’re also impressed with its smart features, including fast Wi-Fi, real-time auto video tracking, and accurate subject recognition. And, for travelers, it’s fairly lightweight for a DSLR, and it has a long battery life. Just know that it’s on the more expensive side if you’re just dabbling and the price does not include any lenses.

Best Point-and-shoot Camera

Sony RX100 III 20.1 MP Premium Compact Digital Camera

Sony RX100 III

Amazon


For more casual travel photographers, a point-and-shoot camera like the Sony RX100 III is an easier-to-use, more-travel-friendly option than a DSLR with much higher quality than a smartphone. It’s still a smart camera, with built-in WiFi, a touch screen, and continuous autofocus to use in video mode, but it’s far smaller and more lightweight than a DSLR. One feature we particularly like is its zoom — the built-in Leica lens has a 24–720-millimeter zoom range.

Best Portable Speaker

Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3

Amazon Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3

Amazon


Headphones are great for solo listening, but if you’re with a group, you’re going to need a portable speaker. We love the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3, first and foremost, for the small size and loud, crisp sound, but, second, for its waterproof and dustproof nature. That means it’s perfectly fine to take this on a more rugged journey into the woods or to a beach party, or toss it in a backpack without concern. If you want to amplify the noise, you can connect it to multiple Wonderboom speakers, though we found the process a little bit complicated.

Best Portable Monitor

ASUS ZenScreen GO 15.6″ IPS LCD FHD Monitor

ASUS ZenScreen GO 15.6" IPS LCD FHD Monitor

Amazon


Nothing beats a multi-screen set-up in your office, but bringing multiple screens on the go isn’t realistically feasible. Or is it? Enter: the portable monitor. ASUS ZenScreen is a 15.6-inch screen with an adjustable kickstand that can easily be set up as a second monitor with its included adapters. Or you can use it as a larger screen to stream from your phone, thanks to wireless mirroring capabilities with Apple, Android, and Google. Perhaps most impressively, it can run on battery power alone for up to 3.5 hours.

Best Folding Keyboard

Samsers Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard

Amazon Samsers Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard with Touchpad

Amazon


For people who have to type lengthy emails, articles, or notes during their travels, sometimes the touchscreen keyboard of your phone or tablet doesn’t cut it. If you’d like to leave your laptop behind but still have full typing capabilities, you’ll want to pack this foldable Bluetooth keyboard . It’s super compact, lightweight, and long-lasting (up to 40 hours of use on a single charge), but it unfurls to a full keyboard size.

Best Mini Photo Printer

Canon Selphy Square QX10 Compact Photo Printer

Canon Selphy Square QX10 Compact Photo Printer

Amazon


Turn any camera into an instant camera with this portable photo printer. The Canon Selphy QX10 prints images on 2.7 x 2.7, adhesive-backed photo paper, making it easy to stick them into a notebook or onto a wall. If you download the Canon Selphy app, available on both iPhone and Android, you can even create multi-photo layouts and add effects, filters, and stickers to your images before printing.

Best Portable Sound Machine

Babelio White Noise Machine

Babelio White Noise Machine

Amazon


Can’t sleep without white noise? Bring this teensy portable sound machine with you on your next trip. There are 15 sound options on the device, which rain from white and pink ambient sounds to natural sounds like waves and rain. The battery will last the whole night (charged by a USB-C port), or you can set a timer for 30 or 60 minutes to automatically shut the sound machine off.

Best Headphone Adapter

Twelve South AirFly Pro

Twelve South AirFly Pro Bluetooth Transmitter

Amazon


While many headphone-wearers have cut cords and opted for wireless earbuds or headphones, in-flight entertainment systems on planes are still largely wired (though cabins are slowly debuting wireless audio capabilities!). Not only are they wired, but they’re only compatible with a traditional 3.5-millimeter headphone jack. Fortunately, there’s AirFly, a device that transmits audio from that jack to your wireless headphones via Bluetooth. It has up to 20 hours of battery life, which pretty much covers every flight in the world.

Best Tech Organizer

Bagsmart Cable Organizer Bag

Amazon Bagsmart Electronics Organizer Travel Case

Amazon


What to Consider

  • It’s not particularly small, so if you only have a few items to store, you might want to pick a more petite model.

Cords tend to get tangled in transit, so keep all your chargers nice and tidy with a tech organizer. This one has a variety of pouches and loops that can be used to keep your cords separate, as well as pockets for other small tech gizmos, like a Lightning to USB adapter or lightning to audio jack adapter. There’s a spot for everything in this organizer, which makes it a touch bulky. You can always opt for a smaller version if you don’t think you’ll fill this one.

Best Laptop Backpack

Solo Re:Define Backpack

Solo Re:Define Backpack

Solo


If you’re traveling with a laptop, you’ll definitely want some sort of bag or carrying case to store it in. Because laptops can be fairly heavy — or at least feel heavy after lugging them around all day — we recommend a laptop backpack. In our tests, we ranked Solo’s Re:Define Laptop Backpack quite highly, praising it for its slim look yet surprisingly spacious interior. Then, of course, there’s a padded laptop pocket that can fit devices up to 15.6 inches in size. With its sleek look, we think the bag is great for both students and commuters, but it’ll also fare well on leisure trips, too.

Tips for Buying Travel Tech Essentials

Prioritize convenience, entertainment, or both

Typically, travel tech essentials should either make things more convenient as you travel, or provide entertainment on a long day or during downtime at your destination. Of course, exact purposes vary but, before deciding to buy (or pack) any travel tech items, consider their portability as well as how much use you’ll get out of each pick as space is often limited on the go.

Plan for your organizational needs

Remember that you’re going to have to store your travel tech somewhere so have an organizational plan in mind for the items you plan to bring. You can do this with bags with numerous pockets, such as easy-access ones where you can stash things you might need to take out frequently, such as your passport or headphones. Or you can store important items in smaller bags that go into bigger ones such as a cord organizer or travel pouch.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What tech items should I bring while traveling?

    Consider your mode of transportation, your destination, and your itinerary. If you have limited space, you may want to watch movies on your phone with a pair of earbuds but, if you plan on taking long train rides or red-eye flights, on-ear, noise-canceling headphones may be an item you’ll want to leave space for in your bag.If you’re traveling for long periods and plan to work, a laptop or tablet and folding keyboard can come in handy and, if you know you’ll have a bunch of travel tech items, having some sort of organizer or a backpack with ample pockets will be key.

  • What tech items should I not bring while traveling?

    It’s advisable to avoid bringing delicate and heavy items — the hardier and more lightweight, the better. Plus, remember that not all items can be taken on the road, specifically on planes. Lithium batteries and portable power banks, for example, cannot be stored in checked bags and must be brought with you in the cabin.

  • What are the best travel gadgets for flying?

    When flying, travelers commonly appreciate bringing headphones, headphone adapters, and portable entertainment like a tablet loaded with shows or movies or an eReader.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

T+L contributor Stefanie Waldek is a freelance travel writer with a decade of experience. She flies 200,000 miles a year and spends months in remote destinations like Antarctica and the Arctic. so being fully prepared with tech essentials is part of her travel routine. For this article, she evaluated various pieces of travel tech to enhance a traveler’s journey, taking into account personal experience, T+L tester insights, and customer reviews.

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