I feel like I need to start off this by admitting that I am a reformed gadget nerd. There’s no question I’m still a sucker for lists when I run across them. “Travel gadgets you must have for 2022”. You’ll catch me opening that every single time. Yet, there is also no question that times have changed. Maybe it’s today’s prices on just about everything. Maybe it’s the age on my driver’s license. Functional and strategic are more appealing than “just realeased”. There are still products that still have the power to grab my attention. FOMO is just not the biggest concern I have in my life at the moment. Far from it. So, new, and shiny just doesn’t quite move the needle with me the way it once might have.

One thing that bugs me is when marketers try and tell me or my family what we need. So, I hope you’ll never catch me trying to do that to you. The closest I’ll get to that is telling you what works for me and why. Without further ado, here are several travel items I never leave the house without. Doesn’t matter if I’m taking the family to Disney or heading out on a work trip. These items ALWAYS come in handy.

1. Apple iPad. Personally, I need a device with flexibility to provide both entertainment and some business functionality. I get it though, not everyone is an Apple fan. If you wanted to throw in Kindle here, we can still be friends. For me, everything in the Apple ecosystem works well together and that is something that scores big points in my book. If you’ve never tried buying a renewed version of an iPad, it’s a good way to save a little money.

2. Apple Airpods Pro. So now you understand why the Apple ecosystem is important to me. Truth be told, the over ear headphones are preferred. BUT, if you’re talking about flying or headphones you can sleep with, the Airpods are just tough to beat. The sound quality is high and these are so much easier to transport than over the ear headphones. There is nothing worse to me than trying to pull out my over the ear headphones or put them back in my back while I’m trying to deplane. The Pro version are the preferred version because of the active noise cancelling and the charging case. For longer trips, having the ability to let the case do some of the charging for you can be clutch. You can take calls with these earbuds as well.

3. Power Bank. You really can’t go anywhere on a trip with any distance without a power bank. If you’re visiting a theme park, flying cross country, or even driving in car with your family, a power bank always saves the day. For me, Anker is the brand of choice. The durability and the amount of charge packed into one of these power banks is awesome. The Anker 325 Power Bank is the right blend of price and power. One full charge can rechard an iPhone 11 four times, a Samsung Galaxy S10 almost 5 full charges and a iPad mini two and a half charges. We store just about everything on our phones these days, airline tickets, reservations, theme park tickets, ID, Credit Cards, etc. Can you really afford for the phone to die or have to go outlet hunting? No thanks.

4. Luggage Scale. The LAST thing you want to happen is to show up at the airport and be over the dreaded weight limit for your suitcase. No one wants that. Take the guesswork out of it with this Digital Hanging Luggage Scale. This model is easier to handle your suitcase while you’re weighing it. Another low tech option is to pack a smaller bag in your suitcase so if you have to take some things out (Shoes, normally). You can carry that on, if need be. I always carry the luggage scale with me because the return always seems to add weight to the suitcase. Always.

5. Packing Cubes. These things are life savers for me when I travel. I either pack by garment style or by day, but these cubes always make packing easier and more organized. Some people are perfectly comfortable living out of a suitcase (Barbarians!) but for those of us that unpack, the cubes make keeping your life organized that much easier. We’ve talked about these several times on the podcast. Try them once and I’m betting you’ll be hooked like I am.

6. Multi-Outlet/Surge Protector. Traveling with a family means traveling with lots and lots of electronic devices. Watches, tablets, computers, phones, video games, etc. All of those items need to be charged. Good luck with the expectations you’ll have enough outlets. Even when I’m traveling solo I never seem to have enough in the way of free outlets in a convenient place. There is no need to leave it to chance. Belkin is a name I trust, so that’s what I go with. There are many different sizes, but my preference is the one with 3 outlets and two USB outlets. Now, I may travel with two or three of them, but I like the size of it and traveling with several of them allows me to position chargers stations in several places in the room if I need to.

7. Luggage. I’m seemingly on a never ending quest to find luggage that is the perfect match of price, durability, style, and options. Nomatic has some fantastic luggage options. The Carry On 37L is my luggage of choice. This piece of luggage is almost 8lbs empty. But it has a 100% Makrolon Polycarbonate Shell and is expandable. Typically has enough space for a 4-5 day trip. This piece comes with 4 external grab handles and a 3 stage aluminum handle. The 37L offers places for tech organization and all of the Nomatic ecosystem of accessories fit within this piece. This is my go to whether I’m flying or driving.

Navigator Carry-On 37L

There you have it. Seven travel items I never leave the house without. Functional pieces that make the logistics of travel just a little easier.

Here comes the legal fun!

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Last updated August 29, 2022
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