Must Have Gadgets for International Travel

Traveling to new countries, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures are always fun! If you have caught the travel bug like me, you will find yourself always dreaming of the next new place to visit and you would almost definitely be very restless and antsy to jump on a jet plane if you have not been away for a while.

As I am writing this blog, I am all ready for my next adventure. My flight to Australia is less than 2 weeks away (super excited!!!!) and I am now in the midst of packing…trying to figure out what are the essential items that I MUST bring along with me.

Here is a list of items I came up with…

1. Travel Adapters and converters

Different countries use different voltages. Appliances in Europe and most other countries in the world use 220 volts, which is twice that of the US. American appliances run on 110 volts. Fortunately, todays gadgets are “dual voltage”. To find out if your appliances support dual voltage, first look for a range of voltages printed on the item or its plug (such as "110–220"). Second, look for a switch to see if you can move it from one voltage setting to another. If your appliances are indeed dual voltage, all you need now is an adapter. If they are not dual voltage, you will need to get a converter and/or adapter. I have a very compact converter that is also an adapter, which has served me well all over Europe.

The reason why you need a travel adapter regardless of whether your appliances support dual voltage or not is because the plugs and sockets differ from one country to another. Without the adapter, you will not be able to insert your appliances’ plugs into the socket.

2. Portable Charger / Power Bank

I always have my cellphone with me when I travel. I cannot imagine not having one. FYI, cell phones are not always referred to as ‘cellphones’ in other countries. In most countries in Asia, a cellphones are called ‘handphones’. In the UK, it is called ‘mobile’, ‘mobi’, or ‘moby’, and in Germany, cell phones are called ‘handies’. In two weekends I’ll be sure to use my “mobile-phone” (not cellphone) when I am wondering the street of Sydney Australia!! While traveling, chances are you’ll always be on the move. Unless you are like my brother-in-law whose idea of traveling is staying in a hotel room watching tv. You may need 2-3 power banks to last through the day. When I was traveling with my family in London, I went through 2 1/2 fully charged powerbanks in a single day. This is because I used my phone’s GPS app to navigate myself around the nooks and crannies of the beautiful city of London. I also used it to research for restaurants, find London tube stations near me, banks… just to name a few. Trust me, your phone juice drains like crazy and you will thank me for suggesting to bring along more than one powerbank.

3. Cameras and selfie sticks

Although cellphones these days take great pictures, when you are traveling thousands of miles away and spending your hard earn mullah on a trip, you might as well take high quality pictures that will last you a lifetime. It’s worth investing on a great travel camera. The best camera for travel is a high-end, point-and-shoot that does just about everything well and fits in a pocket.

Oh, don’t forget to bring along a selfie stick with you, unless you enjoy pestering strangers to take a good shot of you each time you found a spot that’s worth a snap.

If you are traveling to an exotic sandy beach, It’s probably a good idea to bring along a waterproof camera and a cellphone case.

4. Headphones

Another gadget that is vital when traveling is a good set of headphones. I can’t tell you the number of times I regret forgetting my headphones while traveling in crowded and noisy trains in Asia. I could have spent that time catching up with breaking news or just listening to my favorite music instead of having to listen to the passengers around me. Tip: It is a good tool to avoid unwelcome conversation while on a long plane ride.

5. Luggage scale

A luggage scale costs less than $20 and its worth getting one especially if you will be taking a lot of flights. Keep in mind that most airlines charge an excess baggage fee if your checked bag is over 50 lbs. So, when you find yourself wondering if you should be shopping for more souvenirs and gifts for friends and family at home, your luggage scale will come in handy.