When it comes to packing for a holiday, every inch of space counts. It’s not enough to merely roll up your clothes or lean on packing cubes – 21st-century travellers need to pack smart. Don’t stuff your suitcase with single-use items or throw in five old-school accessories when one next-gen option will do. Here are 17 best-in-class gadgets that will work hard to make your trip easier and your luggage lighter.
Mophie 3-in-1 Travel Charger1/18
If there’s one thing you can’t always count on when in transit, it’s free powerpoints. Alleviate yourself from this conundrum (and the tangle of multiple cords) with the Mophie 3-in-1 Travel Charger, a powerhouse trio of charging pads that can pump your watch, phone and wireless earbuds full of juice at the same time. Once you’re done, it easily folds up to the size of an average wallet.
Maison de Sabré The Resilon Nylon Duffle Bag2/18
Leather may be hardy but it’s a material that, once scratched, can have a frustratingly long memory. By comparison, Nylon is a terrific choice for travel – it’s lightweight, water-resistant and easy to wipe clean when stains and scuffs occur. Maison de Sabré’s The Resilon Nylon Duffle Bag is the perfect marriage of effortless style and durability. It has all the benefits of hard-wearing nylon and the clever features of a great weekender: there’s a “priority pocket” for essentials such as a passport and phone, a handy external strap that can be looped over the handle of a wheeled suitcase and the option to personalise the leather key bell so you don’t lose your luggage.
Instax Mini Evo camera3/18
Switching off from daily tech is crucial for a restful and restorative holiday. An Instax Mini Evo camera gets you a step closer by replacing your phone camera. Consider it an updated Polaroid camera: it features a rechargeable battery; several shooting modes, from party to landscape; a bunch of filters to pique your creativity; and, best of all, the camera prints your holiday memories on the spot while also storing them in a digital format so you can add them to your feed.
Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones4/18
Sony’s WH-1000XM5 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones brim with tech that soothes the pain points of being on the go, offering multipoint connectivity that automatically switches between listening and call modes, a locate option that will save you from frantically searching your hotel room and an incredible 30 hours of battery life. Their noise-cancelling tech is especially well suited to blocking out the persistent bassy drone of jet engines, making them a regular flyer’s dream. And because a three-minute charge can get you three hours of use, you’ll never have to go without them, no matter how long your journey is.
TA-105 Epicka Universal Travel Adapter5/18
If you’re flitting between countries with a truckload of adapters, it’s time for an upgrade. The Epicka Universal Travel Adapter tackles it all with four USB-A, a USB-C and an AC socket port, plus an adapter that can be converted to charge your devices in more than 150 countries.
Backbone One Mobile Gaming Controller6/18
Any iPhone can become a gaming console with the Backbone One controller. The snap-on device connects to a phone’s lightning port and enhances play with analog triggers. It doesn’t require charging and there are no connectivity delays – it’s just good, instant fun.
Yogasleep Rohm Travel Sound Machine7/18
The one thing you can’t anticipate when travelling? The shut-eye conditions of your chosen accommodation. This lightweight, easily-packed white-noise machine solves myriad sleeping problems with soft sounds and has three soothing options, from “Gentle Surf” to “Deep White Noise”.
GoPro Hero12 Black Action Camera8/18
The ultimate companion for memory-making, the new GoPro Hero12 Black is the in-your-pocket camera every adventurer should have in their arsenal. It offers up to 2.5 hours of run time for off-track filming, as well as Bluetooth audio support, which makes it easy to connect the device to your headphones for sound recording and voice commands. It’s famously durable and waterproof to a depth of 10 metres, plus it provides 360-degree capture so you can immortalise your holiday antics from every angle.
Sleep disruptions, a rolling schedule of transit deadlines and a dizzying array of new experiences means travel can be as testing as it is transformative. The Apollo, an app-paired wearable device, aims to reduce stress, improve sleep and boost wellbeing by emitting vibrations to rebalance your nervous system. You can set the pulses for your desired state: in the morning, opt for “Energy and Wake Up”; for evening, switch to “Sleep and Renew”. Wear the device on a band around your ankle or wrist; for a more discreet look, clip it on your belt or bra straps.
Good Citizens Sunglasses10/18
Sydney-based brand Good Citizens has a stack of awards for its clever and sustainable sunnies – and for good reason. The frames are crafted from 100 per cent recycled materials – one discarded 600-millilitre single-use bottle, to be exact – and are completely modular, meaning repairs and customisation are a breeze. The impact goes far beyond shielding your eyes from the sun: for every pair purchased, 500 grams of plastic rubbish is prevented from reaching the ocean and 10 kilograms of CO2 is prevented from reaching the atmosphere.
GlocalMe U3 - HyperConn Mobile Wi-Fi11/18
Finding (and keeping) a good wi-fi connection can be near impossible when you’re away from home and roaming costs can be eye-watering. Enter the GlocalMe hotspot, a portable device that gives you global wi-fi without the roaming costs. The GlocalMe box automatically connects to local 4G networks and has more than 12 hours of battery life. Daily packages start at around AUD$1.50 per day for 500MB.
Apple Watch Series 812/18
The ultimate piece of wearable tech, the Apple Watch Series 8 can do almost anything. For the frequent traveller, it’s helpfully crack-, dust- and water-resistant, plus it even has car-crash and fall-detection systems that automatically get you help in the case of an emergency. That, alongside everyday assistance (cashless purchases, remote control of your smartphone camera for capturing perfect holiday snaps and providing itinerary details at the flick of your wrist), makes travel as convenient as it can be.
Casetify Magnetic Privacy MacBook Screen Protector13/18
Stopping strangers from snooping on your computer isn’t the only benefit of a laptop privacy screen. Some, like Casetify’s Magnetic Privacy MacBook Screen Protector, act as a filter that blocks up to 30 per cent of harmful blue light, potentially contributing to a better night’s sleep. Plus, it helps protect your screen from scuffs and scratches.
Twelve South AirFly Pro Adapter14/18
You brought fancy wireless headphones for the journey… but the plane has specialised headphone jacks. Leapfrog this annoyance by packing the Twelve South AirFly Pro in your carry-on. Pop it into any headphone jack, be it on a plane seat or treadmill, and you’ll be able to wirelessly connect your headphones in an instant.
So-Mine Commuter Essential Bag15/18
Squishing your must-haves into the pocket of a plane seat can be tough – and it’s even harder when you’re in a car with no holder at all. This multi-pocket organiser has space for all your wares, as well as a clip for your noise-cancelling headphones (and one for the accompanying charging cable). Plus, if you’re travelling with kids, there’s plenty of space for crayons and other distractions.
Bose Sleepbuds II16/18
There are a broad range of earplugs on the market that will effectively block out sounds that might otherwise disturb your slumber on a flight. However, 21st-century innovation has upped the ante with this headphone-cum-earplug hybrid that not only masks unwelcome rackets, but also pipes in soothing sounds. These clinically tested “sleepbuds” come enabled (via an app) with a library of more than 50 specially curated, relaxing tracks to gently usher you to the land of nod. A battery life of ten hours ensures users get a full-night’s sleep and an alarm function will even wake you at the desired time.
Larq PureVis Water Bottle17/18
Reliably accessing clean, safe drinking water can be a challenge while travelling, as can be keeping a reusable bottle hygienic. This ingenious “self-purifying” water bottle takes care of both issues by using UV-C light, beamed in from the bottle’s cap, to effectively kill 99.99 per cent of all bacteria and viruses, without the need for added chemicals or detergents. The bottle can’t filter out sediments or chemical contaminants, but for peace of mind when refilling from the tap, the Larq PureVis Water Bottle is a game changer.