The Best Travel Gear – Unique Ideas for Smart Packing

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.

Enjoy our suggestions of items to add to your travel gear list.

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.

Read: The Complete Travel Photography Gear Guide for all our camera and video gear

dave and deb travel gear

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.

Read: 8 Great Travel Organizers for Better Packing

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 pone?

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!

Gear Ties

Have you noticed that with all the electronics that we’re all carrying, our charging cables are getting all mixed up and tangled?

Thanks to a tip from our pal EarthXplorer, we’ve solved that problem with Gear Ties.


Now 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.

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. The Lacie Hard Drive is light weight and super rugged.

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.

Travel Gear – Safety

Hidden USB

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.

PacSafe

If you are traveling to an area that you don’t feel completely secure in, or if you are going to take a lot of public transportation. We highly recommend the PacSafe. When traveling India, we could sleep easily on the overnight sleeper trains and never have to worry about our packs.

We wrapped the 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.

Iron Socket VPN

If you are on a 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 because let’s face it, Who can live without Twitter these days?

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. You may be in Istanbul, but you can pretend that you’re in New York. It’s an excellent tool for watching Netflix or buying movies on your favourite movie channel. It’s also great for security.

Travel Gear – Packing Organizers

Eagle Creek’s Pack-It Specter Cube Set

Fellow Travelers have been raving about these packing cubes for years and Dave and I only just discovered them. At only 2.2 ounces they’re ultra light weight and are an amazing way to organize your clothes. They’re durable and water resistant too.

If you want to add more room to your bag, the Eagle Creek Compression Cube Set  is an excellent choice. 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.

Hobo Roll

When we were first sent the Hoboroll, we resisted using it. We tried packing our clothes in it once and gave up. We decided that we could just roll our clothes ourselves. Luckily we decided to give it another try. We now pack all our underwear, socks, bating suits, buffs and bandanas in one hoboroll. It’s cleaned up our backpacks and the great thing is that we can stuff all kinds of small clothing items into different compartments and then pull the straps to compress the sack down as small as possible. It’s given us a lot more space in our backpacks and tidied up our items. We no longer have underwear and socks in separate sacks or scattered loosely in our bags, we now have one bag with all our stuff nicely packed away in an organized manner.

Eagle Creek Pack it Wallaby – Toiletry Bag

We’ve been using the same toiletry bag from Walmart for years. It’s bulky, it’s heavy and it’s way too big. Now that we have our Wallaby, we are packing smarter and taking less, but it’s still big enough to hold all we need. There are several compartments to organize your stuff and there’s even a hanger so you can put it up on the back of a door.

Travel Gear – Communication

KnowRoaming 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. Once you activate it, it is ready to go. 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. 

Portable Wifi

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.

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.

travel gear
Ultimate travel gear guide

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • World Nomads - Digital Nomads or Frequent Travelers.
  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

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26 thoughts on “The Best Travel Gear – Unique Ideas for Smart Packing”

  1. Why oh why have I only just came across your site! You guys are amazing. This list is so handy, a couple things I never thought about. I am about to make the move out to Australia and do a working holiday visa for a couple years before maybe making the full move out. Your guides are really helpful! Stay safe!

    Reply
  2. Hey guys – just came across your list. Great stuff! I love the Belkin surge protector. I never take a trip without mine. I would add the Dream Essentials Escape Luxury Sleep Mask – I honestly can no longer sleep without it. It has little eye sockets – awesomeness. Also a pack-it folder is a must. At least if the trip involves wearing descent looking clothes. I love the Bluff Works pants though. I’ll have to check them out.

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    • Thanks for the tip on the mask. We’ll check it out. We’re also going to look for the folder, we have never had to worry about clothes looking good in the past, but now that we are doing more business travel, it’s becoming an issue and we didn’t know how to pack nice clothes without wrinkling them.

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  3. I am so so happy you wrote this article – it has on it almost everything we have been talking about. Ugh – all my business ideas out the window haha! As you can imagine, packing up a motorbike is really challenging as both weight and size are critical.. very similar to backpacking. Sadly, we have 3 panniers to share so items are very, very limited. We have been looking into solar chargers, which may be a good addition..?

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  4. Wow! I want every single one of theses gadgets! They seem so useful! It’s a shame I’m reading this now, just a day before a 3 weeks holiday. I’ll make sure to check them out for next time!:)

    Thanks for the list!!

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  5. Hoborolls is an idea but I just use my side pockets for small items, one for my 4 pairs of socks, and the other for my 5 pairs of Pop&Go PopandGo Knickers.

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    Reply
  7. Love the Hoboroll from GobiGear and the Belkin. Those are always in my gear bag. I’ll have to check out that VPN. I have been using Hide My Ass for a while now which is great too.

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      • In China, we used Astrill, which is another really popular VPN. I don’t know about the HMN (other than the great name), but Astrill allows you to switch locations. Personally, I find Portland and Seattle to be the best connections.

        If you can beat the Chinese government, you can beat anyone! Hehe

  8. Awesome suggestions – I love finding things that just work, that just make sense. Keep the gear reviews coming!

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  9. Thanks! I’ve enjoyed using the Belkin many times. It helps at airports when the electrical outlets are all taken. I can offer to share and help others and myself! The Lacie HD has also been a useful travel ally. I look forward to checking out your other recommends.

    I also suggest packing SPF clothing from SunPrecaution. http://luxurytravelmavens.com/destinations/spfclothesfortropicshome/ You still need Sunblock for your face and hands, but it can easily take care of the rest of you and is versatile for jungle, sea or restaurant.
    Happy Travels!
    @TravelExplorer

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  10. Love the suggestions, going to look more into mifi.

    One thing we use that saves us a bit of money traveling through Central and South America is the Steripen. You just pop it in your glass of tap water for 50 seconds, and hey presto, you have purified water! It’s crazy how buying bottled water all the time can eat into your travel budget.

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  11. Excellent list! I was looking at the Lacie Rugged Hard Drive a few days ago. I think the items 4, 6, 7 & 8 are must haves for any traveler these days.

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    • No, thats the only problem i have with it…since it is a surge protector, it cant handle autoswitching/220-240v. Otherwise, I take it everywhere, even using it on planes.

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  12. Wonderful article. For me it has to be my Grid-it to keep all my wires neatly arranged and flat and GoToobs for perfect liquid travel containers. Now Im really hoping there’s a female equivalent to those gorgeous Bluff Work Pants to help with stylish travelling!

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  13. I have the clothesline and must admit that it is super useful.I’ll have to check our the hoboroll and mifi. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply