5 Essential Travel Accessories You Need For Every Trip
We all carry a lot of electronic gadgets with us these days. Nearly everyone has a smartphone, and most people when traveling will carry a laptop or tablet as well. And remembering to take the charging cables for those gadgets is as important as remembering your passport and ticket confirmation. But there are some other accessories that are important to take for a trouble-free journey as well.
Travel accessories are designed to make traveling easier. You’ll see them in airport shops, department stores, on the websites of online luggage retailers like Luggage Direct, and even in drugstores in some countries. But if you took every one of the accessories that are advertised to make your trip smoother, you’d end up with a bag of travel accessories and nothing else! So which are the important ones that you need to take?
Here are our tips for the top 5 accessories that you need to take based on the experience of many travelers who have been around the globe many times on both business and leisure trips.
- USB Power Bank – For Additional Battery Power
It may surprise you that we list this first, but there’s a good reason for that. In recent years, many airlines, and countries have introduced a new rule requiring that laptops be switched on when going through airport security. As yet, that rule hasn’t been applied to tablets, but that may well happen. So if you arrive at an airport and your laptop’s battery is dead, you may be in for a rude shock if told by security that you can’t board your flight because they can’t turn your laptop on. You simply won’t have any option but to charge your laptop. If you can’t do that before boarding closes, then you’ll have to buy a new ticket for the next available flight – which might cost you as much as a new laptop!
You won’t get any refund from the airline or compensation for your flight delay either. To avoid such nasty surprises – because you never know where it will happen – always ensure you have a fully charged USB Power Bank with you. The slimline type that are a little larger than a cigarette packet are the best buy because they pack more punch than the $10-20 mini Power Banks, so they will charge your laptop faster. For tablets go for one that has a capacity rating of at least 10,000 mAh but for laptops you’ll be better off with a 20,000 mAh rated Power Bank.
- Electrical Adaptors
You may need more than one electrical outlet adaptor depending on how many countries you are traveling to, or you can invest in a universal travel adaptor that matches the plugs and can be inserted into the sockets of any country. The universal adaptors are much more expensive though – usually around $50 for a good one that will last – but they are also prone to giving problems because of their more complicated design. Therefore more experienced travelers tend to prefer the simpler adaptors, especially if you need to be charging more than one device at a time.
Note that these adaptors do not change the voltage, so you’ll need to ensure that the gadget or electrical device that you are traveling with can adjust to either 120 or 240 volts, depending on the country you are visiting.
If you forget to bring an adaptor, you’ll easily find one in the country that you are visiting to fit their sockets, but they may not always accommodate the plugs of the country from which you are coming. So that’s why it’s important to bring them with you.
- Portable Baggage Scales
There’s nothing worse than getting to the airport on your return trip and finding that your baggage is overweight because you’ve bought too many souvenirs or other items that you wanted to bring home. Excess baggage charges can be extremely expensive, and on a long haul trip and can mount up to a lot of money. Better to be prepared and carry a small baggage scale that can be attached to the handle of each bag, and the weight measured on a digital readout whilst holding the bag off the ground.
These baggage scales are very lightweight, so they don’t add much weight to your baggage. They can read up to 50kg with accuracy down to 10 grams. But be aware that there are some cheap Chinese-made scales on the market that do not give accurate readings. Some travelers have found these giving readouts that are up to 5kg difference from the airport scales, which defeats the purpose of using them. So for this accessory it’s important that you invest in a good brand from a reputable retailer, and test it on a known weight before you leave.
- RFID Blocking Pouch
With the advent of electronic chips on credit cards, the use of credit cards became easier and more convenient, but it also became easier for criminals to steal your bank account information with handheld Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) scanning equipment. This however can be easily prevented by keeping credit cards in a RFID blocking pouch or wallet which has a thin layer of metal built into the fabric or leather to prevent the chip being scanned. There are also pouches available for passports as some criminals have been scanning passport chips for the purpose of identity theft as well as credit card fraud.
Another alternative is to use a RFID blocking money belt or handbag. There is quite a wide of travel products that utilise RFID blocking technology on the market these days, so use the one that best suits your needs.
- In-car USB charger
If your trip will involve any driving, then another essential accessory will be an in-car USB charger. This is the type that plugs into the cigarette lighter socket on a car’s dashboard, and has one or two USB sockets enabling you to charge your smartphone or tablet whilst on the move. This is especially useful if you are using a navigation app on your phone as these apps tend to use up much more power than other apps, and you can easily find yourself with a flat battery on the phone before the day is out when using navigation apps.
To ensure that you never forget to bring these 4 or 5 essential travel accessories, store them at home in your usual carry-on bag so that you don’t have to go looking for them when packing. This will give you peace of mind that you haven’t forgotten anything important during the last minute panic that often prevails when packing for a trip away!