Travel gadgets

Best Accessories for Travel in 2020 (and the Worst!)

Learn about all the best travel gadgets and accessories, according to travel bloggers!

When it comes to traveling, who do you think knows the most about the best accessories for travel?  Frequent travelers, of course!

Frequent travelers have bought and tested most of the best travel accessories on the market today.  They’ve put the travel gadgets through their paces too!  Who better to ask about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to the best gadgets for travel?

I asked the top travel bloggers to tell me about their best travel accessories (as well as their worst ones!).   Travel bloggers know how to assess the best travel gadgets. They use their best travel gear day in and day out.  It’s what they do for a living!  Their opinions are gold.

These best travel gadgets are truly useful when you travel.  They’ll make your travel easier or more relaxing.  In some cases, you’ll take better travel photos.  Some of these best items for travel will help you to sleep better on planes, trains and automobiles!  There are the best travel accessories for men.  Some are the best travel accessories for women.  There are even some traveler gadgets good for both 😉

All of these travel products will make your traveling life better.  Don’t forget they’re used and endorsed by frequent travelers.  When you’re thinking it’s time to buy must have travel gadgets, don’t forget this list!

Don’t miss reading about the worst travel gadgets and accessories too!  Let me know if  you agree or disagree with their choices.

Disclosure:  Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Thank you for support – it means a lot!

Best Travel Gadgets – Quick Reference Guide

Scroll down for more details and controversial opinions on these travel accessories.

What is it?Best/WorstPhotoPriceWhat is It?Best/WorstPhotoPrice
Noise Cancelling HeadphonesBestCHECKPac Safe Portable Travel SafeBestCHECK
Kindle e-Book ReaderBestCHECKPortable Power BankBestCHECK
Universal Travel AdapterBestCHECKPortable Lunch SetBestCHECK
Packing CubesBestCHECKPortable Cutlery SetBestCHECK
Skyroam Pocket Wifi HotspotBestCHECKCabeau Travel PillowBest/WorstCHECK
Soft Silicone Ear PlugsBestCHECKGorilla PodBestCHECK
Travel Money BeltBestCHECKScrubba Wash BagWorstCHECK
Go Pro HeroBestCHECKMulti-ToolWorstCHECK
Steripen Water PurifierBestCHECKMini Bluetooth SpeakerWorstCHECK
Travel BackpackBestCHECKPolaroid CameraWorstCHECK
Aeropress Coffee MakerBestCHECKPortable ClotheslineWorstCHECK
Netgear Travel RouterBestCHECKSelfie StickWorstCHECK
Backpack Camera ClipsBestCHECK

Best Accessories for Travel (Best Travel Gadgets)

Noise cancelling headphones 

Helen from Helen on her Holidays

Noise Canceling Headphones, one of the great traveling accessories

They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and that’s so true for me and my noise-cancelling headphones. On a recent trip to Brussels, I decided that, because it was only a short flight and I was packing light, that I’d leave my over-ear noise-cancelling headphones out of my bag. Big mistake. On the (late night) flight home we were sat in front of a row of people who didn’t stop talking from the second they got on the flight to the second they got off. I made my partner promise me that he’d never let me leave them at home again.  They are truly traveling necessities.

My noise-cancelling headphones are the AKG N60NC model, which have the option to use them either wirelessly (through an advanced form of Bluetooth) or with a cable. They also came with a handy carry case, and they fold flat for travel, so I really had no excuse not to take them with me. They’re comfortable to wear, the sound quality is great, and the noise cancelling feature does a brilliant job of blocking out both engine noise and that annoying fellow passenger. After my phone, they’re one of the best luxury travel accessories and gadgets.

(I’ve wanted a pair of these for years!  They’re great traveling accessories for women or men.  One of the great travel tips.)

Check the price of these great noise canceling headphones on Amazon

Kindle E-Book Reader – One of the Best Travel Accessories

Hannah at Hannah’s Happy Adventures 
A Kindle e-reader, a traveling essentialThe Kindle is one of the perfect traveler products and after using mine for the last four years I’m going to explain to you why. A Kindle allows you to store, read and purchase E-books through it.I’m a big reader and always have been. If I have relaxing time on a beach, a long flight or time to kill in an airport, I like to spend my time reading a new book. The sad issue that comes when travelling is that you cannot carry multiple books with you due to weight and size. The Kindle solves this issue nicely.

My Kindle also has a back-light. This means if you are sleeping in dorm rooms you can still read without needing an overhead light on. It helps to reduce your annoyance to fellow travelers! Furthermore, E-books are significantly cheaper to buy than real books. So despite the initial pay out with the Kindle, you will make this money back through buying less expensive books.

My Kindle has been with me through South America, Europe and Asia. It is very well suited to it’s intended purpose and is definitely one of my travel must haves. I highly recommend buying one if you are a keen reader.  It’s also one of the best luxury travel gifts.

(I know many people who view their Kindle as one of their traveling must-haves)

Check the price of a Kindle e-Reader on Amazon

Universal Travel Adapter

Khushboo of Munniofalltrades  & Sheree from Winging the World

a travel adaptor, one of the woman travel accessories

Access to electricity should be the least of our worries when you are off exploring the world. Most countries have different socket points and voltages making it difficult to charge your gadgets on the go. Buying an adapter for every country you travel to is impractical and expensive. A universal travel adapter ensures that you are able to charge your gadgets with ease. It has different plug points that are suitable for over 100 countries. Universal Travel adapters also have dual USB ports to ensure that you can charge multiple devices with ease.

I have used my adapter in different countries and I think it is one of the best European travel accessories everyone should pack while travelling. The adapter is easy to use, lightweight and compact. I have traveled from Japan to Malaysia and back to India and all I needed was my universal travel adapter to charge my important gadgets.  

(This is one of my traveling must haves too – perfect for a first trip to Paris)

Check the price of a very useful universal travel adapter on Amazon.

Packing Cubes

Gemma from Families Can Travel 

Packing cubes, one of the travel gadgets best

Once you’ve tried them, you’ll never look back! Packing cubes are travel must-haves to help you compact your belongings neatly into a larger bag or suitcase. They’ll help keep your clothes neat and organised, saving you time when it comes to packing and unpacking.

Packing cubes are small fabric compartments with zips and usually come in sets of different sizes. First and foremost, they transform a completely un-organised mess into smaller organised and contained groups of clothing and belongings.

How you pack your cubes is completely up to you. As a family of four with two kids, we use separate cubes for each family member. It’s super easy and quick to pick out the cube you need, unzip and slip out the item you are looking for.

(I included packing cubes in our packing list for Mexico too)

You could also choose one cube per day, packing a complete day’s outfit into one cube. This means you don’t even have to spend time unpacking, simply pick out the cube you need each day.

We also use one cube for nightwear which is helpful if arriving late at your destination and want to go straight to bed. Simply pick out the cube and everything you need for the night is right there. We also do the same with swimwear, so that everything is in one place when we’re ready to go swimming.

Packing cubes also help keep your clothes neat and compact, meaning you can fit more in your case. The best way to pack your clothes into the cubes is by rolling them, which helps them to stay crease-free.

If you want a way to organise your packing, keep your clothes compact, neat and save time, then packing cubes are the answer. Try them and become a packing cube convert!

(packing cubes are one of my must have travel accessories and one of the best travel accessories for women)

Check the price for packing cubes on Amazon

Skyroam Pocket Wifi Hotspot – One of the Most Useful Travel Accessories

Jessica from Unearth the Voyage  

a wifi hotspot, a great piece of travel tech

One of the most useful new travel gadgets for any type of traveler out there is most definitely a Skyroam. Skyroam is a pocket WiFi hotspot that works in over 130 different countries and doesn’t come with a huge price tag. If you are only going on one trip and don’t really want to buy a device you can actually rent a Skyroam for a short period of time.

If you think you will be traveling a lot and will need WiFi then it’s probably better to just buy one. They have different plan options but essentially you can either pay $9.00 for 24 hours worth of WiFi or $100 a month for unlimited.

We found having a Skyroam was best for us when in certain situations such as the WiFi at our Airbnb or hotel went down for a couple of hours and we needed to work. We have also used it while at bus or train stations where there was no WiFi. Since we work on the road- we find that a pocket WiFi hotspot is definitely one of the best travel accessories for Europe!

(I’m definitely putting this on my list of must have travel accessories)

Check the price for a Skyroam on Amazon

Handy Travel Gadgets – Soft silicone earplugs

Inma from A World to Travel 

soft silicone ear plugs, a best travel gadget

One of the cheapest and best investments ever, if you are a light sleeper like me, you’ll know that sleeping well while traveling is priceless and needed in order to make the most out of your trips. Hence, if you haven’t already, get a box of soft silicone earplugs (blue ones tend to last longer than the pink ones I’ve tried so far) and get ready to upgrade your sleep while traveling.  They are one of the best travel products.

These are especially good for sleeping on an aged plane, in the tent of a music festival when it seems that getting some sleep will be an impossible task, in a dorm hostel full of distinctive characters and random noise, in a poorly located hotel room next to the airport or train tracks, and even if your partner snores on a daily basis. They are gold and I never leave them at home.

(I use silicone ear plugs at home and on the road.  They’re one of my must have travel items)

Check the price of these great silicone earplugs on Amazon.

Travel Money Belt

Marta & Milosz from Backpackerswro 

a money belt, not one of the weird travel gadgets

A travel wallet money belt is one of my must-have traveling accessories.  I bought mine over ten years ago, and I always take it with me.  Because it is made of thin and durable fabric, it perfectly adheres to the body and is not visible under clothing.  At the same time, I can discreetly take out my things whenever I want.

Using it, I feel safe and comfortable.  I do not have to check my pocket and my backpack every five minutes in the crowded places to fear of pickpockets.  The only problem arises when I have to wear a dress.  Then the use of the belt is not very comfortable in public places.

In my pouch I always carry my ID card, passport, credit card and cash.  Ideally it’s waterproof and easy to clean, as it usually gets sweaty after using it for a few days in hot and humid climates.

(This is one of the classic must have traveling accessories, perfect for crowded visitor attractions like the Eiffel Tower)

Check the price of this great RFID blocking money belt on Amazon.

Best Items for Travel – Go Pro Mini Camera 

Go Pro Hero - an essential item on your list of travel accessoriesA Go Pro is one of the most useful items any traveler may have.  Back in the day, heavy DSLR cameras or camcorder recorders had to be brought when traveling and they were heavy and cumbersome to carry.  In the last decade, Go Pro has come into the market, creating a small pocket-sized adventure camera that is perfect for travelers looking to create eye-catching videos and amazing shots.

Go Pros have traveled with us everywhere over the years.  We first started with the Hero 4, which came with many accessories and has lasted us over the years.  We currently switched over to the Hero 7 Black, which has better image stabilization and is waterproof. During our trip to Portugal, it was our most used piece of travel equipment.

We use our Go Pro for videos nearly everywhere as its main purpose is to be used as a video camera especially when being active.  It suits most situations very well, unless the area is poorly lit, but a few adjustments on the camera usually do well.  It is one of the most useful travel gadgets anyone can own.

Check the price of a Go Pro Hero on Amazon.

Steripen Water Purifier

Wendy at The Nomadic Vegan 

a steripen for sterilizing dirty water. A great backpacking giftsI’ve been using water purifiers for the past 15 years or so whenever I travel in places where the tap water is not drinkable. Not only does it save money in the long run by eliminating the expense of bottled water, it’s also a step in the right direction towards zero waste travel.

Over the years, I’ve tried different brands and models and found some to be more convenient than others. My latest water purifier is the Steripen Ultra, and it’s the best one so far. The Steripen works by emitting UV light that kills bacteria and viruses. Just swirl it around inside a 1-liter bottle for 90 seconds, and you instantly have drinkable water.

Unlike with ceramic water filters, there’s no hand pumping required. And, since the batteries can be recharged via USB on a laptop, you don’t need to go searching for replacements. A single charge can last for several weeks, too. I’ve had a few hiccups where the UV light wouldn’t come on, but I’ve always managed to get it working eventually.

The Steripen does not filter out any dirt or other particles from the water. It simply sterilizes it, making it safe to drink. If you are sourcing water from rivers or streams, you will still have particles floating in your water bottle, but they will be harmless.

The first time I used the Steripen was on a three-month trip in Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay. I’m now currently using it while I travel by train on the Trans-Siberian Railway across Russia and into Mongolia, China, Taiwan, Korea and Japan.

(This is definitely one of the cool travel gadgets!  Another great option for getting pure drinking water anywhere and creating less waste is a filtered water bottle.  It’s definitely best tech for travel.  Check out the Government of Canada’s advice on water quality.)

Check the price of the Steripen Ultra on Amazon.

Best Items for Travel – Travel Backpack

Mel at Traveling Mel

A backpack for travel, which will contain your travel accessories list

The most useful travel gadget, in my mind, is the one that carries all my other travel gadgets – my backpacks. There are a lot of great backpacks for travel, but I especially like the ones that open in a U-shape, have several pockets inside and out, and with a cover for the shoulder strap for times when you want to check your back on an airplane. My pack has a dedicated sleeve for my laptop, which is great since I work when I travel.

Everyone in my family has their own pack and we see them as essentials for traveling to Europe and the Americas.  Using a backpack, versus a traditional suitcase or roller bag, has made it easier for us to jump on trains, slip onto buses, and walk a few kilometers to our destinations.

The only downside I can see is if you have trouble carrying a little weight on your back. Our kids started carrying their own packs (smaller than ours) when they were seven and eight-years-old without too much trouble, but if you have back problems or other issues, it might not work.

(I love using a wheeled backpack when I travel)

Check out the price of an Osprey travel backpack on Amazon.

Aeropress Coffee Maker

Daniel James of Layer Culture  

aeropress coffee maker, one of your travel bag accessories

If you like to drink coffee when you travel then you won’t want to leave home without an Aeropress.  The Aeropress is the perfect travel gadget because it can make you a delicious barista-style in just a few minutes.  All you have to do is add your coffee, hot water and stir.  Slowly press down the plunger and that’s it!  Oh, and it’s super simple to clean; it leaves virtually no mess.  I have used this gadget all over Latin America and it has saved me a fortune.

You can get great coffee in Vancouver when you go for brunch at one of the great local brunch places.

Learning the art of brewing your own coffee can be difficult.  However, with the Aeropress, you’ll find that not only can you add it to your packing list without it taking up too much room in your luggage, but you’ll save tons of money buying coffee elsewhere.  So, now you know how useful this travel gadget can be, when will you get yours?

(This is one of the truly useful travel accessories!)

Netgear Travel Router

Stacy from One Trip at a Time  
Netgear travel route, an essential for your travel tech bag
Our most useful travel gadget is a Netgear Travel Router, which was surprising as I wasn’t really sure what it was when I opened it as a gift from my wife! The device acts as an intermediary between your devices and the WiFi in the place where you are staying.

The travel router offers a few great benefits that make it so useful as some of the best travel tech.

Firstly, it offers additional security because your personal devices are kept one step further away from the open internet behind the device’s firewall.

Secondly, it allows you to connect your devices to the WiFi more quickly as you only connect the travel router to the WiFi and all your devices are connected to it. What this means is that once you’ve entered the (potentially complicated) password into the device, all your personal devices see your personal WiFi and reconnect to it instantly.

Finally, it can boost a weak WiFi signal making it more reliable. The antenna on the travel router is bigger than in your phone or tablet and can, therefore, pick up weaker signals which are then re-transmitted much more strongly from the small device sitting in the same room as you.

From not being sure what the present was, this cool travel accessory has become the first thing we set up when arriving at a new hotel or Airbnb.

Check the price of a Netgear Travel Router on Amazon.

Backpack Camera Clips

Hanna from Solar Powered Blonde 

backpack camera clips, one of the things you need for traveling

My partner and I travel full time and work by creating videos for hotels and tourism boards around the world as well as photos, both for work and to share on our Instagram pages.

When we are shooting, we need to have easy and quick access to both the photo and video camera at the same time, as often we will need to create both photo and video content in one place. I used to have a camera strap for around my neck, but with two cameras this is not ideal, and even with one camera, it swings back and forth and can be hard when you need to climb up to reach a location.

We discovered backpack clips, which screw onto your backpack, so they are held on very tightly, and the camera clicks into place, making it secure. You can place these anywhere along your backpack strap. To release the camera, there is a mechanism you press on, so it is not possible for it to slide out by itself.

This is one of the most useful things we have bought recently, and makes our work so much faster and easier, meaning we don’t have to stop and open a bag each time we want to use a camera.

(Sounds like backpack camera clips are one of the best travel accessories for business and a great backpacking gadget!)

Check the price of Backpack Camera Clips on Amazon.

Pac Safe Portable Travel Safe 

Lee from The Travel Scribes 

a PacSafe personal safe, arguably one of the luxury travel accessories

Safety might not be your first concern when travelling but if you’re looking to keep your valuables secure, one of the best travel essentials is undoubtedly the Pac Safe.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, essentially the Pac Safe is an almost impenetrable bag made out of reinforced fabric, which uses a flexible locking system and attaches to really any fixed item in your room – think a hanging rail, a window frame or even under the bathroom sink.

For us, the Pac Safe is ideal. Travelling with two laptops, a DSLR camera and of course passports and associated paraphernalia, means that usually a hotel safe (if it’s even provided) is not large enough. So the Pac Safe gives us peace of mind when we’re out sightseeing for the day.

It fits quite easily into the bottom of a suitcase or large backpack, so it’s easy to transport. And, if you’re really keen on safety, they have a larger range of Pac Safe items including backpacks which you could take out onto the streets, knowing that you’re safe from pickpockets.

We’d give the Pac Safe two thumbs up, making it one of the most essential travel gadgets we’ve found!

(this travel safe is certainly one of the unique traveling accessories, and definitely one of the cool travel accessories!)

Check the price of a Pac Safe Portable Safe on Amazon.

Portable Power Bank

Sean Lau from Living out Lau  

When it comes to a travel must have, there is nothing that comes to my mind more than a portable power bank. It is literally the king of all travel gadgets and has saved my life multiple times.

For those not in the know, a portable power bank is literally a small lightweight battery that you can carry around to charge your electronics (phone, tablets, sometimes even cameras). Some portable power banks come with a flash light, which I find to be less useful but better to have it than to not.

It has saved me in times of emergency when I needed to call an Uber or risk taking one of the million-dollar taxi in Colombia (million-dollar taxis are the ones that you get on and then they rob you).

A portable power bank is definitely an essential gadget for traveling and I wouldn’t travel without one. It is one of the few items you should splurge on and make sure you have a nice and reliable one.

(this is definitely on the list of  business travel essentials!)

Check the price of a very useful Portable Power Bank on Amazon.

Lunch Set with Collapsible bowl and cutlery

Dominika from Sunday in Wonderland  

collapsible bowl set, part of men's travel accessories
portable cutlery set, part of mens travel accessories

One of my international travel must haves that I adore is a lunch set. It might not be that obvious, but I’m going to explain to you why it’s a must-have item on the road.

When you travel mostly in big cities, you probably have no problems with eating out and you don’t worry about the food in general. But things change when you plan a daylong trip to the countryside or to a hiking trail. In this situation, you simply must pack some snacks into your bag to keep you going  throughout the day.

This is where the lunch set comes with help. This top travel accessory always includes a water bottle with filter, reusable cutlery, and a foldable silicone lunchbox. I love this last item because it uses a minimal amount of space in a bag after eating the contents.

(Definitely TSA approved!)

Usually I buy some local delicacies and prepare  snacks from them. Fruits, sweets, sandwiches or even a small portion of a full meal is easy to pack with the lunch set.

The lunch set might be handy also in the city. If you want to enjoy the street food, reusable cutlery with your own lunch box will definitely be useful. Especially if you aim to care about our planet and reduce plastic waste. The water bottle will not only save some plastic but some cash in your wallet as well!

(what a combination of useful items for travel!)

Check the price of the lunch set including the collapsible bowl and cutlery on Amazon.

Cabeau Travel Pillow

Alex from The Swedish Nomad

The travel pillow from Cabeau has been one of my must have travel gadgets for the last 3 years, and after traveling full-time for 5 years, I’ve tried plenty of different travel pillows to find out the best one. It’s one of the best air travel accessories to use on long flights, bus rides, and even train rides or car rides.

The neck support from this travel pillow is amazing, and when not using it, you can push it down inside a smaller bag that’s included in the package. Almost every airport in the world has a shop selling Cabeau travel pillows, and for a good reason.  They’re the best!

I use it mostly on long-haul flights, but also on bus rides that are usually quite uncomfortable for a longer period. With this travel pillow, it gets a lot more comfy and you can actually get some sleep.

It’s very well designed, doesn’t take up too much space, and has a light weight yet being sturdy and firm enough to have a longer lifespan.

(don’t miss Ming’s opinion below on the how useless a travel neck pillow is!)

Check the price of a great Cabeau travel pillow on Amazon.

Lightweight Tripod

Michael from The World Was Here First

Gorilla Pod tripod. Not part of kids travel accessories

A must have for travelers who enjoy photography is a lightweight tripod. Out of all the accessories that you can buy to improve your photography, a tripod is undoubtedly the first thing you should buy as it will help you take a much greater range of photos during your travels.

While a few years ago only heavy and clunky tripods were available on the market, there are now plenty of lightweight options available to buy. One of my favourite choices is the Joby GorillaPod as its flexible legs allow you to wrap it around objects such as tree branches or railings to capture unique photography. This tripod, in particular, is quite lightweight meaning you don’t add unnecessary heft to your luggage and comes in a range of sizes so you can buy one that is suitable for your camera weight.

Overall, travelling with a lightweight tripod is a travel must-have I’ve added to my packing list as it has helped me improve my photography immensely.

Check the price of a Joby GorillaPod on Amazon

The Most Useless Travel Gadgets

Scrubba Wash Bag

Both Tiffany from A Girl and her Passport and  Melanie from Passport Amigo thought this was a very useless item!
Scubba wash bag, one of the Amazon travel accessories


The most useless travel gadget I have encountered is the Scrubba Wash Bag.  A friend bought it and then gave it to me when moving.  It is basically a dry bag with scrubbers on the inside to aid with cleaning.  I used it on a trip to clean undergarments  The scrubbers didn’t do much and I felt like washing by hand in the sink was better at getting the items cleaned.

While you can roll it up, I also felt it took up too much space in my luggage.  It also costs over $50 (US) on Amazon!


I hate to think of the number of hours I spent researching and consider whether or not to buy a Scrubba Wash Bag for my 6-month group trip travelling by overland truck from Istanbul to Singapore. 

It seemed like the perfect travel gadget.  I’d be able to wash my clothes anywhere there was the water and not hog the bathroom.  Perfect.  But in the end, old travel habits die hard and I ended up washing clothes in either the bathroom sink or the bath.

I did try using the Scrubba a number of times and it is a well thought-out product.  It was good for soaking clothes, which was great if you wanted to go out for the day and leave items in it.   However, you are quite limited to the number of items you can wash in it at any one time and actually, in the end, sending your laundry out can be fairly cheap with the added bonus it (usually) came back dry AND folded. Bliss.   

 I had hoped that the Scrubba could also be used as a dry bag but the internal ‘washboard’ meant it wasn’t really suitable and, understandably, it has to fairly robust material so it was bulky, too.   For the right person in the right environment, it is a good product but I’m not the right person! 

(I must agree with Tiffany and Melanie that this is not one of my travel gear essentials)

Check the price of the useless Scrubba Wash Bag on Amazon.

Multi-tool (Swiss Army Knife)

Art from The Broke Backpacker 

Swiss army knife - not one of your air travel accessories
It seems like the best tool to have with you on your travels is all the tools in one! Yes, multi-tools, like Victorinox’s Swiss Army Knife, those plier contraptions, and the metal monster buddy used to uncap your beer at a full moon party in your early twenties. Multi-tools are marketed to do it all, but beyond the aforementioned beer cracking, what exactly are we supposed to use them for?

After carrying my multi-tool around on an extended 6-month backpacking trip, I unwillingly donated it to TSA dangerous materials bin and never looked back! I reflected on the loss, realizing I’d only really used the toothpick (which I’d chewed into a seaweedy looking shape) and one time I used the itty bitty knife to whittle away some wood for tinder. Oh, and I’d opened a few beers until I realized it was cooler to open them with a spoon or a carabiner (I obviously haven’t given up all my extraneous gear).

If you’re going to do woodsman-type activities, maybe use a real knife to whittle that tinder and trim your rope. DO you need a bottle opener? Watch a couple YouTube videos and you’ll never have that problem again! If it’s that toothpick you’re after, it’s a whole lot lighter to carry around a toothpick than an entire multi-tool.

(I’m not sure I agree with Art that this is not one of the must-have travel gadgets, but I find his argument is quite convincing!)

Check the price of the somewhat useless Multi-tool on Amazon

Travel Neck Pillow

Ming Lee at Flyerism

travel neck pillow - one of the things to take when traveling

Ever since I started traveling decades ago, I’ve bought a lot of travel gadgets. According to the advertising claims, these gadgets were supposed to make my journey safer, easier and more enjoyable. However, quite a few turned out to be a huge letdown. The worst one was a neck pillow which I bought before a long-haul flight. Prior to the flight, I experienced a stressful period of time at work. It has resulted in insomnia and neck stiffness for days. I was hoping the neck pillow could improve my sleep quality on the plane. 

Alas, the pillow was too soft for to make comfortable rest. It was not strong enough to hold my neck and head in proper position. I went online for a quick search and found that there’s no enough clinical evidence that neck pillow helps to reduce neck discomfort. If anything, my pillow had actually made my neck pain worse! Not to mention, it carries unpleasant chemical odor. 

For anyone who can vouch for neck pillow, here’s the million dollar question: does it really work, or is it just placebo effect? I am not sure about your answer, but I am definitely ditching mine to travel lighter.

Check the price of controversial travel neck pillow on Amazon.  

(scroll up to see Alex’s opinion on how great his neck pillow is!)

Mini Bluetooth Speaker

Khushboo of Munniofalltrades  

Portable bluetooth speaker - travel accessories for kids

My mini bluetooth speaker is compact, lightweight, looks very cute and works wonderfully. However, I find it to be a useless gadget to carry around while travelling. I like to go on nature trails, visit national parks or go hiking. A Bluetooth speaker is nothing but a disturbing element in these serene surroundings.  

Most of the time, I prefer using my headphones while flying or on long drives as it does not disturb my fellow passengers. At hotels, TVs are easily available and a bluetooth speaker is not required.  Generally, I am so tired after a day of exploration that I prefer going straight to bed rather than watching a movie or a TV show. 

I enjoy letting the ambiance and natural sounds wash over me rather than drowning it out with a speaker. That is why I think it is a useful gadget to have around the house, but not necessary while traveling.  

(I might disagree with Khushboo on the usefulness of a mini speaker – I always bring mine when I travel and love it!  Perhaps it would work best as one of your must have cruise accessories?)

Check the price of this disputedly useless/useful Mini Bluetooth Speaker on Amazon

Polaroid Camera

Sophie from Lifestyle Queensland

Polaroid camera - perhaps one of your road trip gadgets

When I first decided to travel and my friends asked what I wanted as a gift, I immediately replied “Polaroid Camera!!”

Cut to me 5 years later slapping myself in the face! What was I thinking? Obviously practicality was not top of my travel packing list but maybe “looking cool” was. I already had a decent camera and lens so why I thought I needed an extra one to carry around beats me.

I used the camera a total of 3 times to take edgy “look at me, I’m so old school” photos.  Then I realized that the film was super expensive and I was going to have to carry around a mountain of tiny Polaroid photos if I kept it up.

Needless to say it hasn’t been used since!

(I really don’t think this is one of my Europe travel essentials!)

Check the price of this really useless Polaroid Camera on Amazon.

Portable Travel Clothesline

Mitch Glass of  Project Untetheredlaundry kit, not a best gift for traveler woman

Once upon a time, I was preparing for my first ever backpacking trip, SUPER excited to stock up on all the coolest travel gadgets. I found an “ultimate packing list” online, opened up Amazon, and went crazy with the “Add to cart” button.  Turns out I bought some REALLY stupid things that ended up being not the most useful travel accessories – one of which was a travel clothes line.

I remember rolling up in Thailand, thinking I was the bee’s knees with my awesome “clothespin-less” clothes line, travel laundry powder, and sink plug.   Pay someone else to do my laundry? HA! That’s for fools! I was gonna save a fortune doing it myself in the sink.

After accumulating some dirty clothes, it was time to test it out.  The test did not go well. 

First, assuming you (1) find a place to actually hang said clothes line, and (2) it is strong enough to support actual wet clothes, it’s STILL a terrible idea.  Why?  Because your small hotel/hostel/Airbnb/bungalow is going to have a line of clothes running through the center of it, forcing you to duck under it and play “obstacle course” every time you need to walk across the room. 

Needless to say, I used my “sweet mobile laundry system” one time. Now it will be forever buried in the depths of my backpack, never to see the light of day again. 

In conclusion, whether you’re buying gear for yourself or need a gift for someone traveling overseas—DO NOT buy a travel clothesline. It will surely wind up in the trash.  It’s not one of the best travel kits.

Check the price of a truly useless travel clothesline on Amazon.

Selfie Stick

Marya from The BeauTraveler

selfie stick - best travel accessories amazon

Long before the selfie stick was invented, I traveled with a tripod only to end up hating it. Not only was it bulky, but I also didn’t use it as often as I thought I would by the end of the trip.

However, with the hype of selfie sticks in the past few years, I bought one to see if I’d like it better than the tripod. As it turned out, my opinion about both tripods and selfie sticks is pretty much the same: I despise them.

Despite the fact that I won’t call myself a backpacker, when it’s time to explore my destination I’d prefer to only travel with a small backpack. A selfie stick uses a fair space in my backpack, and I’m clumsy enough to end up losing it somewhere. That, if I ever use it. So far, I’ve purchased 2 selfie sticks only to end up losing both  as I forgot where I put them the last time.

Besides, I’m not exactly the type of person who has to have a photo on my holiday destination. If anything, I’d prefer to have more landscape pictures than photos with my face in it. So, yes… I could avoid the selfie stick any time and I don’t think the gadget is useful for  travel either.

(I actually have used a selfie stick at times, but I can see Marya’s point)

Check the price of the largely useless selfie stick on Amazon.

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16 thoughts on “Best Accessories for Travel in 2020 (and the Worst!)

  1. Love these ideas. I love my noise-canceling headphones so I don’t have to listen to the conversations around me on the plane. I’m definitely a “leave me alone and let me read” traveler!

    1. Thanks Megan. I find the noise canceling headphones really de-stress the whole airplane experience. I hate that drone of the engines and the headphones really help with that.

  2. I love that you also included some “worst” items. Some travel gadgets are truly useless. Also, I learned something new about personal routers and am now researching getting one.

  3. The aero press is my most favourite travel accessory! After having watered down coffee in so many places I now make myself an awesome coffee in the morning.

    1. Thanks Lia. For years I thought selfie sticks were useless and a bit of a vanity item, but then I tried one and actually kind of liked it!

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