updated on February 16th, 2020
We wrote this post in 2015 and had some products that helped us in our early travels. However, with the years we’ve changed a lot (and so has technology), and have updated this post as of April 2019 to provide you with the BEST items we use now!
Sometimes when I travel I want to unplug and turn everything off. Realistically, I end up finding myself needing technology during my travels, so that “go unplugged” thing doesn’t work out. Here are our personal favorite tech must haves to keep you connected- whether you travel by plane, train, or automobile.
Must Have #1: A Portable Charger
First things first. If you’re on the road, you need to keep your stuff charged. We have had lots of luck with these chargers. They pack an insane amount of power to give us multiple charges of our phones, laptops, etc. We have a ton of products that use USB-C cords so we always have enough, plus an extra. If you’re using Apple products, you’ll also need cords that work for those. Our best luck has been Amazon for finding low-cost charging cords, since they’re often overpriced in stores. Always pack an extra or two!
Must Have #2: WiFi On The Go
Internet connection! We travel frequently and keep this website updated as well as keeping our normal 9-5 jobs at home. It’s important to us to stay in touch!
Lots of hotels, hostels, and AirBnbs offer free wi-fi. However, if you’re getting off the beaten path a bit, you can’t rely on that. We used to use a “jetpack” product from Verizon, which used our data plans, but those days have passed us by. However, your phone company may offer something similar, but you’ll often end up on a contract for a device you may only use once.
Our new interest is the Skyroam Solis, which we plan to bring along on our next trip. This little device offers 4G LTE connection and also charges your devices. It offers service in more than 130 countries, and if the price tag is too hefty, they also offer rentals. We’ll post a review once we’ve tested it!
Even better, Skyroam has offered us the chance to give our readers 10% off their order by clicking here and using the coupon code BOLDTOURIST at checkout. We’re excited to put this product to the test.
Must Have #3: Fire Stick
Going somewhere, but not in the mood to get out and explore? If your trip involves staying in a hotel and hiding out watching TV, we suggest bringing an Amazon Fire Stick. Although we use this all the time at home, we haven’t personally used it a lot on the road. However, the potential for travelers is huge! You can send media from a ton of apps to your phone, tablet, or laptop to your TV. This includes YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu. So, if you’re on a trip where you might want to watch a movie, this device is small and super-useful! See the previous paragraph about internet connection… this will plow through your data so I wouldn’t use it unless you’ve found a free wi-fi connection. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy a movie!
Must Have #4: Movies, TV, & Media for Travel
If you have a digital collection of movies, TV shows, or music and want to take that all on the road with you, we highly recommend Plex. Simply install Plex on your computer and install the app on mobile devices. Plex will then organize all of your personal media, pretty it up, and make it available to stream to all of your devices. Combine this with a Chromecast and you can watch your media on a TV, anywhere. Best of all? Plex is free. They do offer paid features like offline syncing, which is great for times when you have no WiFi but still want to watch something.
Must Have #5: Reading While Traveling
We’re avid readers, and the Nook from Barnes and Noble has been a lifesaver! No more lugging around heavy books or browsing the airport gift shop trying to find something to read. We both have the GlowLight devices, which uses their “e-ink” technology and can be read anywhere. The battery life is insane, so a long airplane trip won’t leave you without reading material. When connected to the internet, you have access to millions of books at the touch of a button. Once the book is downloaded, you don’t need internet connection, which is perfect for travel. For a traveler who likes to read, this is the device for you. Load up on books before you set off. Have a library with Amazon? They offer a Kindle that has similar features.
Must Have #6: Tech Storage
All these cords, plugs, devices… I used to keep it organized tossing it all into a big Ziploc bag. Then, to avoid breakage, I’d wrap it in my suitcase around clothes. This is the budget-friendly option. However, the tangle of cords finally drove me to buy this nifty roll-up pouch and I’m really happy with it! It’s small enough for my carry-on backpack and keeps my stuff way more organized.
All these things keep us in touch while we’re on the road. We use them frequently during our travels. However, there’s something to be said for leaving the world behind, truly being in the world around you- unconnected. Keep that in mind during your travels. We usually spend the day without our typical tech, except cameras and a phone with Google Maps, and then check-in with email and social media once we’re back to the hotel. All these devices make it easier for us to reconnect, but we will never substitute technology for the adventures we’ve had when putting our phones down and experiencing our surroundings.