There are thousands of travel accessories and gadgets, but most of them are gimmicky and a waste of money and precious space. This is what I wanted to talk about about some of the best travel accessories that I think deserve a place in your luggage.
Domestic European SIM (for high speed mobile data)
Having reliable, high-speed mobile data on your phone is a basic requirement for traveling in Europe these days because so much of everyday European life revolves around smartphones.
- Train and flight tickets/reservations are now digital.
- Museum tickets, concert tickets, event cards, etc. are now digital.
- Restaurant menus and payments are now digital.
- Reservations for hotels and rental apartments are now digital.
- Everyday communication has become digital.
- Navigate cities and check bar/restaurant ratings with Google Maps digitally.
All of this requires high-speed data that actually works – for example, assuming you can find free wifi hotspots, that’s a disaster waiting to happen.
But don’t rely on files Your local carrier’s international data plan as it will be expensive and often hardly usable. For example, on my recent trip to France, I used the US T-Mobile plan which offers free international data and email could barely load, and Google Maps took a long time to load (and often didn’t work).
That’s why I’ve previously purchased an Orange Holiday Europe Prepaid SIM and Bouygues Telecom Vacation Prepaid Plan from SimOptions.com. It literally popped into the SIM and my data started working in 30 seconds. My data was very fast the whole time.
Read more in my guide to using SIM cards and mobile data plans in Europe.
External battery pack
Your mobile phone usage rises while traveling – that’s why the external battery charger is a must-have accessory because constantly searching for a place to charge your phone is a real pain.
There are multiple types of external power banks, but I would suggest sticking with something small that can easily fit in a bag.
Most External battery chargers cost about $20-35 on Amazon, and a fully charged power bank should give your 1.5-3 phone a full charge.
iPad (with keyboard)
I hate traveling with my laptop (even my Macbook Air is difficult to navigate) but there are times when I want to have more than my iPhone.
This is why my iPad is one of my favorite travel gadgets. It makes planning travel on the go easier, great for browsing the web, and great for watching movies. It’s also lightweight and portable so I can easily put it in my backpack without worrying too much about it. You can also add an external keyboard if you want to type.
You can find affordable previous generation iPads if you don’t want to buy a brand new iPad (it’s a few years old and still works great).
These days, I consider travel apps to be just as important as many physical travel accessories. Notably, I will also download Google Maps and TrainLine offline to book train tickets. I’ve written more about the best travel apps if you want more recommendations.
Watch with 24 hours
I still crash randomly for 24 hours, so having a watch that shows at the same 12 hours and 24 hours helps me keep things straight.
You can also set your phone to a 24 hour clock but I find the time that is easily accessible on my wrist very useful.
There are multiple styles of watches at all price points:
Electronic plug adapter with USB charger ports
You will need a plug adapter to be able to power all of your electronic devices.
There is no need to buy anything expensive/luxury, but I would recommend getting one that also has USB ports since many modern devices are USB powered.
Extra long charging cable
Do yourself a favor by packing a very long cable for your phone because you will often find yourself dealing with strange electrical sockets – especially in hostels and airports. I find 6 feet 10 feet tall to be good.
I also recommend packing an extra charger cable since they tend to get lost.
Packable small backpack
Bring a packable backpack that can hold your everyday essentials but is small enough so that it won’t get in your way while wearing it on public transportation or at museums. REI has a lot of daypack options but I personally use the AER Go Pack.
Compression stockings help increase Blood circulation and reduced swelling in your legs while flying – ultimately helping you feel better during and after a long flight. I first wore them on a transatlantic flight recently and I can really feel the difference.
Compression stockings can help your legs recover faster after a long day of walking, so many travelers wear them for a few hours at the end of the day.
Compression stockings come in different compression levels – 15-20 mmHg light compression and 20-30 mmHg medium/heavy pressure.
Wireless headphones (noise canceling)
Wireless noise-canceling headphones are a game changer on flights and long train rides. Personally, I’m a big fan of wireless earbuds because they’re small but over-ear headphones have better noise cancellation and are generally comfortable.
Personally, I use Apple Airbuds but there are plenty of cheaper earbuds on Amazon as well.
Wired headphones (for in-flight entertainment)
I usually use AirPods but you’ll need wired headphones if you want to watch your airline movies on the plane – make sure they have the standard headphone plug. The airline will often give you a very cheap pair for free, but that doesn’t look good and doesn’t feel comfortable.
Sunglasses with protective case
Traveling can make a mess of your sunglasses, so I recommend choosing Protective case to prevent damage. If you have expensive glasses, you can consider buying a cheap pair that you won’t mind losing/broken.
pen + notepad
The world may turn digital, but owning a small pocket-sized notebook and pen can come in handy while you’re on the road.
I use a notebook to write down addresses, confirmation numbers, recommendations from fellow travelers, or even just random thoughts.
Your feet will take a beating while traveling, so a nice set of insoles can add some much-needed comfort. Test the insoles first to make sure they fit your shoes, as some can make your shoes feel too tight.
Anti-heating powder or gel/cream
Too much walking can lead to chafing – especially during the summer. Personally, I’m a fan of Body Glide because it helps prevent chafing that causes irritation, rashes, chafing, pimples, and rough skin. Some people think it’s a little greasy, so do a test while at home.
I also like Anti Monkey Butt Anti-chafing Powder or Gold Bond because they fight chafing and also help absorb moisture—which is really helpful in a sweaty summer.
Any seasoned traveler would sing the praises of packing cubes (especially backpackers) as they help organize things and provide some stress. Once you start using the packing cubes, you’ll never want to go back.
Personally, I mainly use packing cubes for socks and underwear but I often use them for things like T-shirts. Check out my guide to the best packing cubes for my top picks.
Dialyte Electrolyte Powder
Travel leads to dehydration, so adding salt to your water can give you a much-needed boost. I will drink something like Pedialyte AdvancedCare Plus Electrolyte Powder before the flight. It is also useful in cases of excessive alcohol intake.
travel guide books
Despite the amount of travel information you can find online, a reliable guide is still an excellent way to get to a lot of curated information about a destination in a short amount of time.
There are many guide books and each one caters to a different niche. Favorites are:
leak proof bottles
Humangear GoToob Travel Bottles They are probably the best travel bottles for shampoo and other liquids/gels because they don’t leak. There are multiple sizes of GoToob travel bottles So check Amazon to see what’s best for your needs.
I like to bring my own Pillowcases when kept in any kind Budget hotel, Airbnb, or hostel – especially since these types of accommodations tend to use inexpensive fabrics. It’s a little thing that adds extra comfort and I find it helps me sleep better.
More Travel Packing Lists
I have written at length about what and how to pack for your trip to Europe. Check out some of my articles below:
no funny business
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