You arrive in a foreign country. Your smartphone is in your pocket. You’ve inserted a SIM card so you can make calls and consult Google Maps. You even have a translator app that will help you read signs and ask questions. What more do you need?
But wait! Did you remember to bring a charger? Will it actually plug into the outlet in your hotel room? You also forgot to pick up that paperback at the airport bookstore. Now you have nothing to do while you wait for your train.
Packing for a journey is always an exciting experience, but you want to make sure you pack the right gear. If you’re accustomed to being wired all the time, you’ll want gadgets that are efficient, portable and secure against bumps in the road. Here are some must-have travel accessories for your next overseas adventure:
International power adapter
It’s a given: You’ll need to charge your gadgets wherever you go. The key here is “international.” Many people travel to places like India and Ethiopia and don’t realize that the electrical sockets are completely different than they are in the U.S. Some adapters double as chargers or even portable batteries. The more rugged your destination, the more prepared you’ll want to be in the electricity department.
Waterproof cellphone case
Many cellphone cases are tough and shock-proof, but they’re only water resistant. If you venture into the rainforest, you’re going to want a case that is completely invincible to water. Most cellphones die because of water damage, and you don’t want to sit out a rafting trip or snorkeling excursion because you’re worried about your phone. Cases are often reasonably priced and very dependable, and some allow you to use your touchscreen. This is perfect for getting underwater video.
Durable digital camera
Your smartphone is great for taking snapshots, but do you really want to risk your more treasured device in a crowded market? Dropping your phone down a cathedral staircase could ruin a great vacation. That’s why camera companies have designed ultra-durable cameras, which are often waterproof, shockproof and resistant to dust and other contaminants. These are especially handy in outdoor situations where the elements can be rough and unpredictable. What’s more, point-and-shoot models are jaw-droppingly affordable.
Many people end up in their hotel rooms for an extended period of time, and they don’t necessarily like what’s on TV. Depending on the country, you might not even be able to understand what’s on TV. But bring your Roku or Fire TV stick and you have access to every movie and television series you have at home. All you have to do is plug your stick into the TV’s USB port and pick up a wireless signal, and you’re good to go.
A travel router allows you to plug into a hotel’s ethernet connection and create your own personal Wi-Fi hotspot. This is convenient, allowing you to roam around and still be able to use the internet. But it’s also good protection as well: A properly used router offers you a secure connection that publicly accessible Wi-Fi usually can’t.
When you’re on vacation, tablets are the way to go. What’s nice about e-readers is that they’re so light and simple, and they don’t scream “work” the way your laptop or iPad might. Whether you prefer a Kindle, Nook or Kobo, you’ll find plenty of ways to pass the time on long layovers. Even among the simplest e-readers, you can read a book and peruse saved PDFs, and some will let you listen to audiobooks as well. Get a really sophisticated e-reader, like the Kindle Fire, and you can watch movies as well.