I've Traveled All Over the World. These Are 7 Things I Always Pack
Over the course of six years, I traveled all over the world, including across Europe, inside ancient castles in Japan and a 10,000-mile road trip around the US. I travel light with a backpack or a tiny car, as a digital nomad. I don’t leave home without some of the key devices.
I don’t like expensive, single-use gadgets and specialized ones. It’s expensive to travel, but you don’t have to put on fancy fluff. Because I travel light, I don’t want anything heavy or bulky, and there are a few things that are worth having regardless of cost or size.
No matter where you’re headed, or how long, these are a few things you should bring with you.
The best e- reader for the year of 2022.
After a long day of taking pictures and using the internet, your phone’s battery is going to die. It’s a good idea to top up your phone’s battery often. The large ones can fit in a purse or backpack. They’ll charge your wireless headphones and your camera, too, if you have ausb port.
I upgrade mine every two years or so. The stretch of time over which the size drops for a given capacity or increases for a given size seems to be. The cable is always a weak point in models with built-in cables, which is why they are so convenient. If you’re only using it for travel, the added convenience is more important than its overall longevity.
A lot of the biggest names in battery packs are from Anker. Over the years, I’ve handed down different sizes to newer models. The newer model of the one in my backpack is actually the PowerCore 10000PD Redux. It can give you some extra hours of use on your laptop or phone. It is possible to fast-charge most phones.
There are guides to the best portable chargers and power banks for both the iPad and the iPhone.
I’ve traveled for many years and have had to replace a lot of things, but the ones I’ve had to replace the most are theusb cables. No cable is meant to endure constant plugging and unplugging, coiling and uncoiling, and getting stepped on.
If one of your cables goes out while you’re on vacation, the overpriced ones you’re likely to find in tourist areas probably won’t let you charge your phone as fast.
I usually bring a mix of cables with me, most are short for convenience, but at least one is a longer, six-foot (2m) cable that will hopefully reach between my bed and wherever the terribly placed outlet is in the hotel or hostel. I usually go for braided cables since they have survived a little longer. It’s fairly common for a phone to have a linked cable, but you might need to use a different cable if you want to use Lightning.
Don’t over pay. They’re all going to break. There’s no need to spend a lot of money.
If you have an non-Apple device, you should use a Micro-USB cable. These are all from AmazonBasics.
With the vast majority of hotel rooms woefully short of outlets, it’s better to have an accessory that can charge multiple devices quickly. Some charges perform better than others. Make sure you check the rating and aim for one that does at least 2.4 Amp on each output. If your phone is capable of fast-charging, make sure you get a charging port that can do that as well. The MacBook Air was charged from dead to 65 percent in an hour. If you want to charge more devices at the same time, there are models with additional outputs. A foldable plug, like this one, is an added bonus.
There are more options in our guide to the best charging devices.
Most of the electronics you own don’t need to have a transformer. Your electronics need to run or charge from the wall, and most of the time the incoming voltage is converted from the wall to a different voltage. Take a look at the fine print on the card. It’s likely to say “input: 100-240V, 50-60Hz.” It’s possible to plug it in just about anywhere in the world, as long as you have an accessory that can fit the local outlets. You probably can’t use it overseas if it doesn’t say that. Nearly every hotel and hostel in the country will have a hair dryer, though it might not work in another country.
Simple and cheap plugs are what I like the most. I’m not a fan of the all-in-one travel charger cubes that give you a block with slide-out options for outlets all over the world. They’re bulky, fragile, and often only give you one outlet for their size. Plug adapters are small enough to fit on the end of your charging device. They’re almost impossible to break because they don’t have any moving parts.
If you’re going to cross areas with different plug types, grab another and put it in your bag. If you have more than one thing to plug in, several of these are much easier to have with you than multiple all-in-one bricks. It’s possible to have three plug ins for different chargers and never have to swap outlets like you would with a travel charger cube. This is more convenient and likely cheaper too.
I’ve traveled with the plug for a long time. I use the small travel bag to store the five-piece set when I’m at home. One plug type will suffice for most of a continent, as I only bring with me the plug or plugs I need for that specific trip. Before you leave for a multicountry adventure, make sure to double check. There is a $22 set that is pretty much every plug type in the world.
I was torn between calling these “vital” or just “optional.” It’s definitely the latter if you’re tight on finances. I have a pair of noise-canceling headphones with me on every trip. They reduce the hum and roar that can make travel so tiring.
There are two important things to know about noise-canceling headphones. The first is that they don’t protect the world. They reduce the sound of jet engines and tires on the pavement. They won’t stop people from talking. Not all noise cancelling headphones work as advertised. The details are meaningless. Two headphones that claim to reduce sound can perform differently.
Some people like the better isolation of headphones for travel, but their bulk is a problem for me. The true wireless Sony WF-1000XM4 has top-notch noise canceling and sound quality according to David Carnoy, the Executive Editor. In the case of the latter, it’s comparable to or better than Bose’s work. The Sonys do sound better.
We have a guide to the best noise-canceling headphones.
Unless you’re traveling all the time or for longer than a typical American vacation, you probably don’t need a specific travel laptop.
It’s worth considering something small and light if you’re looking for a longer time away or know you’re going to be working a bit. The sort of hassle I aim to avoid is a full-size laptop with lots of cables. There is no single thing that can make travel easy, but there are a lot of little things that add up to make it hard. The latter includes a heavy laptop.
For good reason, many travelers love the iPad or iPad Pro, but their software situation still requires jumping through too many hoops to get stuff done. I finally upgraded to a Microsoft Surface Go after many years of cheap laptops. It runs a full version of Windows and is roughly the size of a Tablets. It’s still fairly low-powered compared to most laptops, but it can run just fine with a bunch of chrome tabs open. I do most of my photo editing with it, and did a little video editing with it. If you do most of the latter, I wouldn’t recommend one of these.
The Go’s size and battery life make it a better travel companion than a laptop, as most people have far more laptop than they really need. The Go 3 has faster processors than the original Go I’ve used for a long time. Unless you want to game on the road or edit a lot of videos, one of these will work great.
If you think you’ll only work a small amount of time, then you should get a keyboard for your tablet.
Since you can read books on your phone, tablet or in that ancient, carbon-based analog form, it seems like this is a frivolous addition. Tablets and phones are hard to read in the sun. Even in night mode, the light from a screen can affect sleep. For any extended trip, you’re going to have to carry a lot of paperbacks, even though paper books are great.
Thanks to their e-Ink screens, a dedicated e-readers is a great compromise. They only need to be charged every week or two and work great in the sun. If you don’t want to disturb your partner, most lamps have built-in illumination. It’s a good idea to read on the beach with the latest Kindle Paperwhite models, they are waterproof and check all the boxes.
Our guide to the best e-book readers has more options.
As well as covering TV and other display tech,Geoff does photo tours of cool museums and locations around the world, including nuclear submarines, massive aircraft carriers, and medieval castles. You can check out Tech Treks for all of his tours.
He wrote a novel about city-size submarines. You can follow him on social media.