Our travel gear has evolved over the years, and while there are still a few old standby items that we recommend, there’s a lot of new ideas for you to add to your travel list too. Things have changed a lot in travel. We have to think about a few more things when stepping on a plane, eating out and staying in hotels when traveling in 2021. We’ve updated our travel packing list to include the best travel gear for 2021 and beyond!
Enjoy our suggestions of items to add to your travel gear list.
Best Travel Gear and Travel Accessories for 2021
Table of Contents
Health and Safety Gadgets for 2021
UV Phone Sanitizer
Let’s face it, our phones are a cess pool of germs. We carry them everywhere, they are a part of us, but we never clean them properly. This UV Phone Sanitizer and Charger kills 99% of bacteria and viruses that build up on your phone. It’s fast easy and will help to keep the germs away. Get it on Amazon for $27.95
We’ve all tried a bunch of face masks throughout the year and some are much better than others. While mask mandates are starting to lift, it is still a good idea to keep a face mask handy in your travel gear. We like this Halo Life Face Mask because it is reuseable, washable and breathable. See it on Amazon
Refillable Water Bottle
Get this collapsible water bottle to take through airport security and to reuse cutting down on waste. Staying hydrated helps your immune system so having water on hand is a must. Being Collapsible, it goes through security with ease and save space in your carry on bag. Buy it here.
The SteriPen purifies water in a snap, it is a great compliment to your water bottle and it an essential part of our travel accessories. You can fill your re-usable water bottle with tap water and even water from lakes and rivers and purify the water using the Steripens UV lighting. Another alternative that we have used a LifeStraw. It is a great two-in one water bottle and water purifier. But I prefer the water bottle with streripen as I can purify a lot of water at once and I don’t have to drink out of a filter, I have an open lid. But check it out here and decide what works for you.
Miscellaneous Travel Accessories
It’s a good idea to pack a few travel essentials for hygiene and cleaning in your carryon bags. Travel size hand sanitizer spray, disinfectant wipes and surgical gloves are great items to keep on hand. We always have surgical gloves in our first aid kit. Make sure they are lightweight, travel size to go through security (less than 50 ml)
Best Luggage and Accessories
Carry-on Travel Backpack
We’ve recently started using this carryon backpack by Standard Luggage. The 3 in 1 bag turns into a travel backpack, a shoulder bag or a suitcase to suit your needs. It meets all airline cabin rules which is a bonus and expands from 35 – 45 L. Plus, it’s water resistant to help keep valuable electronics and camera gear safe. If you want an all in one backpack and are traveling light, this is the one for you. Read more here.
Roller Luggage / Suitcase
We have graduated from backpacks to TravelPro lolling luggage for our travels. When traveling to cities, islands or resorts, we really love using proper luggage with wheels. The TravelPro is a high quality travel bag that has lasted us for years. It is lightweight, durable and fashionable. Our luggages is TravelPro Maxite 5 Spinner – If you are traveling to a place that has paved roads and sidewalks, this is the best travel gear for you. Four wheels make it easier to roll and they tend to be more durable.
If you aren’t ready to make the switch to a suitcase the Eagle Creek’s 28 Road Warrior rolling duffel is fantastic. It’s not too big so you won’t over pack. it stands up on its own with ease and it is made for stacking packing cubes and wardrobe envelopes.
Okay, I know I said we don’t use backpacks anymore for our luggage, but that is not entirely true. When traveling to Africa on Safari, to the polar regions on an expedition or if we are going overland in Southeast Asia, a backpack is still the best option. They are easy to throw onto buses, carry over beaches and to lug through subway stations. We recommend the Osprey Fairpoint for men and the Osprey Fairview for women.
Best Travel Photography Bags
Adventure Camera Backpack
Shimoda Explore 40 adventure camera backpack is well organized and can hold all of my photography gear. In addition to that, it is durable, comes with a rain cover, has waterproof zipper, utilizes a rear entry (so I don’t have to worry about thieves), it uses a modular insert system that allows me to customize the inside of the bag and take things in and out with ease and it is carry-on friendly. I use it for hiking and walking around the city. It is by far my favourite photography backpack to date.
Small Camera Bag
Deb uses the Peak Design Messanger Bag for her videography gear. It is a fantastic piece of gear that she wears over the shoulder. It carries my DSLR video camera, Go Pro Hero 8s, phone and computer. Plus there are pockets to wallets and phones. Peak Design Everyday Messenger V2
These nylon sacks help to organize our gear and clothing and free up a lot of space. I put my clothes in colour coded cubes. Underwear in white, shirts in red, shorts and skirts in blue. They are lightweight and durable and we have had some of our packing cubes for nearly a decade. We can stuff our clothing into them and have a completely neat travel back. We recently read that Eagle Creek has gone out of business, but they are still on Amazon for now here at Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Cubes. That is what we use, but you can also look at Osprey Ultralight Packing Cube Set
If you want to save space in your travel bags, Compression Cubes are an amazing addition. The Eagle Creek Compression Cube Set is an excellent choice. They act as stuff sacks where we can cram our clothes into a bag and then zip it closed to free up even more space in our backpacks. We cram odds and ends in, pack it to the max and then use the second zipper to compress it down to a small and neat little bag holding everything.
A good toiletry bag has really keep us organized, neat and clean. The Packit Wallaby is a great organizer that we can hang on the back of doors. It’s zipper pockets keep things from falling out and it is compact enough that it doesn’t take up the space of bulky leather toiltery bags.
Foldable Hiking Bag
Even if we are staying at a five star resort and using our travel pro suitcase instead of a backpack, we like to keep a small foldable hiking bag on hand. This bag is a great lightweight option to add to your packing list. It saves space, is very light weight and folds up to pocket size. It is perfect to fill with beach items, essential hiking gear and it can hold some small photograph equipment. We always have it as part of our travel gear list. Check it out on Amazon
Another accessory we keep in our bag is a small waterproof dry bag. Get the dry bags that are lightweight. when kayaking, hiking through rain or heading out on a boat, we love having our photography gear and even our wallets in a waterproof bag rather than a regular bag. Plus, if you are kayaking or canoeing, you can hook the bag onto the boat so you won’t lose your valuables. Buy it now
Carryon vs Non Carry On
Dave and I don’t do carry on only. We have been traveling around the world for nearly two decades and we rarely travel carry on only. What’s the reason? We carry a lot of camera gear when we travel and that pretty much fills up our travel bags. Between our drone, DSLR cameras, laptops and hard drives, we wouldn’t have a lot of room for our clothing and toiletries. Besides, we don’t just do beach vacations. We often backpack through mountains, and different climate so we travel with an array of gear including everything from winter layers to hiking boots and water shoes. Just make sure you have a care packing in your carryon. If you do have a delay and have to wait for your travel bags you will want the essentials.
To help decide what travel bag is right for you, read: The Best Anti Theft Travel Bags and Accessories
Cool Travel Tech Gear
When we travel, we carry a lot of electronics including cameras, computers, iPhones even a drone. It’s our job, so we go overboard with gear, you don’t have to carry so much, but the travel gear listed below are great options to support the electronics you bring with you. For charging, storing and keeping everything safe we’ve got you covered.
Belkin Mini Surge Protector
The Belkin Surge Protector has three plugs to charge multiple items as well as two USB ports to charge things like your iPhone or camera. We can charge five items at once and only have to carry one adapter with us. The surge protector also ensures that our electronics never get fried in unstable environments. We travel to some sketchy destinations and it’s not uncommon for power surges that could easily ruin your computer.
Portable USB Charger
Have you ever made a point of going in to a coffee shop or restaurant just to use a plug to charge your phone? Well, if you get yourself a portable USB external battery charger you won’t have to worry about missing calls or updating facebook during your travels ever again.
Make sure to get one with two outlets and 20000 mAh so you have lots of charges. We’ve charged GoPros and cameras with our portable chargers and never miss a shot! This has been a lifesaver on safaris when we’re out all day and the batteries go dead on our cameras. We never miss a shot!
Have you noticed that with all the electronics that we’re all carrying, our charging cables are getting all mixed up and tangled? When we pack our iPhone cables, computer chords and camera chargers, we wrap up all the loose ends with Gear Ties They’re way better than tape or zip ties because they coil and uncoil with ease.
If you want to take your organization even further, this top-rated electronics organizer is economical, well laid out, durable and the perfect size for traveling. What I like about its multiple elastic loops for all our cords and it has a holder for SD cards as well. See it here: BAGSMART Electronic Organizer Travel
World Travel Adapter
Forget all the different adapters you used to have to dig out of a drawer before traveling, now you can get all the world’s power outlets in one cube. The World Travel Adapters have come a long way. Wherever you land, you’ll have the right plug at your fingertips in one compact place. All you have to do is fold or pull out the right plug for the right country and you are good to go. We will never go back to the old individual adapters. Check it out.
See our full travel packing list at : The Ultimate Travel Packing List (By Professional Travellers)
I actually prefer reading on my iPad, but I have a Kindle as well and it’s great for outdoors or bright sun. Save browsing books on the shelf and browse on your own device that you can sanitize and read with ease. Kindles are great for travel. They are lightweight, free up space (in comparison to several books) and they save money. My Kindle editions of books are cheaper than hard copies. Get this Kindle Paper White – it is now also waterproof which is awesome at the beach or by the pool
Unique Travel Gadgets
Luckily she was organized and had all her travel documents backed up. You too can keep back ups of all your documents in a USB that never has to leave your body. USB Bracelets and necklaces can hold all backups of your travel documents in one place. Get your Hidden USB here.
If you are traveling to an area that you don’t feel completely secure or if you are taking a lot of public transportation, we highly recommend the PacSafe. When traveling India, we wrapped the PacSafe’s steel coil around our bags and locked them to our seats and slept easily with peace of mind. When we stayed in questionable accommodation, we’d put all our electronics inside and lock them to something secure. It is amazing for peace of mind. Read more at The Best Anti Theft Travel Bags and Accessories Another option to this is to get a pad lock and bike chain. It doesn’t completely cover your bags, but it does secure your bags.
- PacSafe Items we use:
- Pacsafe RFIDsafe Blocking Travel Organizer – This carries all my money, passports and credit cards and it blocks anyone trying to steal our information.
- PacSafe Bag Protector – the steel net goes around your luggage or backpack protecting theft and you can lock it to anything. This is the best travel gear for anyone backpacking, staying in dorms and taking a lot of public transport.
Iron Socket VPN
While it isn’t exactly a travel gadget and is more of a virtural gadget, this is a great addition for any traveler. If you are using public wireless wifi, a VPN can help to add security to your computer. If you have to do banking, you can cloak your IP address keeping other’s off your system. A VPN is a must for travel to countries like China too. Behind the iron curtain, you can still access Twitter and Facebook. We also love watching TV when traveling but we find that a lot of our favourite shows aren’t available overseas. A VPN allows you to change your computer’s IP address. Check out Iron Socket VPN
World Sim Card
KnowRoaming is the easiest solution to international data roaming and cell phone usage. It is a micro sized sticker that you put on your home SIM card. You decide how much money you want to load onto your SIM card for each trip and you can top up anytime. It never automatically tops up your account, so you never have to worry about spending more than you want. The KnowRoaming SIM sticker doesn’t affect your home cell phone plan and only activates once you land in another country. It remains dormant until you decide to use it. You don’t have to activate should you choose not to. Read all about it here. ThePlanetD readers receive a 50% credit when you use the Promo Code DDSave50: Visit KnowRoaming for details.
We’ve been taking things one step further than a SIM Card these days. While traveling in Europe and always rent a MiFi. It’s a personal wifi that uses 3G and allows up to 5 devices at one time using the Internet. It’s amazing to keep up to date on work and to stay connected with your friends and family.
You order it online and they deliver it to your hotel when you arrive. Once you are done with it, you send it back in the return envelop and you are all done. It’s that easy. There are a few options, we tend to use TepWireless.
Electronics Travel Gear
Laptop or Tablet
Even the regular traveler who isn’t working might want to carry a laptop or tablet these days. I have read that remote controls carry a ton of germs. Download your favourite series or movies and watch on your laptop and then you can avoid the entertainment system on the plane and in your hotel room. My laptop has become one of my most used piece of travel gear. The Macbook Pro 13 inch is small and lightweight like a MacBook Air, but it has the power of a full MacBook Pro for video and photography editing.
Portable Hard Drive
When taking travel photos, you want to make sure that you have memories to take home with you. It’s important to back up your photos while on vacation. I’m not lying when I say that we’ve met more than one person who has lost all their photos during their and didn’t back them up. Even if you want to keep the photos on your SIM Card until you get home, back them up on a hard drive too. We love the Samsung T5 2TB hard Drive. This tiny hard drive is as lightweight as it gets, it hold a ton of data and is high quality. I can edit video directly on this.
Noise Cancelling Headphones or EarBuds
Whether you are on a flight, a bus or a train, noise cancelling headphones are a life saver. Many times people are talking too loud, children are crying or there is a lot of noise in general. We put on our noise cancelling headphones (We like Apple’s earbuds pro) and with some mellow music we sleep like a charm.
GoPro Hero 9
For waterproof sports cameras, you really can’t beat the GoPro. We have been using GoPros since they first came out and the GoPro Hero 9 is revolutionary. With front screen, great mic for adventure travel (you don’t necessarily need an external mic for quick talking). It is waterproof, takes high quality 5k video and amazing steadiness if fits all our needs. Add it to your travel gear today. Details here.
We have an entire article sharing our complete photography gear list. You can do a lot these days with your smart phone, so if you aren’t looking for completely professional photos, our iPhone combined with the GoPro Hero 9 does the trick. But we also have a drone, 3 DSLRs (two for photography, and one for video) plus a small vlogging Sony camera. See our complete photography gear list here.
We never travel without travel insurance and in a post COVID World this has never been more important. We have used our travel insurance on four continents including being air lifted out of the Amazon when Dave broke his back. We have several articles highlighting the importance of travel insurance that you can read below. But the best advice we can give is to call your company before you fly to ask about restrictions, what is includes, how much your deductible is and what activites you are allowed to do on your vacation.
These may seem obvious, but I cannot tell you how many times I’ve forgotten my ear plugs. Or I have forgotten to keep them on me while riding on a bus or train. If you don’t want to sleep with music, make sure you pack earplugs. When backpacking around the world on a budget, you will be staying in some pretty loud hotels (say someone snoring next door?) and ear plugs are a must for any world traveler. Get them on Amazon
I know what you are thinking? But I have a flashlight on my phone! That is true, but a headlamp is a must for hiking, camping or even doing astral photography. It is more powerful than your phone light and it is hands free so you can wear it on your head and get all your tasks done. We like to invest in a high quality headlamp for optimal lighting and this Black Diamond Headlamps is also recharcheable by USB. Read our tips for camping: 25 Camping Tips and Hacks for Happy Campers
For more ideas for travel gear and gadgets, check out the Ultimate Travel Packing List
Do you have any travel gear suggestions that you can’t live without? Have you discovered a new gadget or item that everyone should pack in their travel kit? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
- Check out our complete travel packing list here: The Ultimate Travel Packing List (By Professional Travellers)
Eager for more travel tips?
If you enjoyed our list of the best travel organizers, why not check out som of our other travel packing tips to help you get the most out of your next vacation.
- The Ultimate Travel Packing List (By Professional Travellers)
- Packing for Europe – Tips That Will Make Your Travel Life Easier
- Packing for Travel – 6 Tips to Make Your Trip a Breeze
- The Ultimate Camping Gear List
- The Best Anti Theft Travel Bags and Accessories
- Travel Photography Gear Guide: What’s In My Camera Bag?
- Best Travel Tips From 20 Years Traveling the World