The 22 Best Travel Tech Essentials of 2023

Here’s the gear you need to travel this year, from laptops to luggage trackers.

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21 Best Travel Tech Essentials of 2022

Harber London

Kudos if you’re able to travel without your laptop and take a true vacation. For many of us who work and travel, bringing tech with us on our trips is non-negotiable. I rarely leave home without my computer, headphones, laptop stand, keyboard, mouse, and tech organizer.

When traveling with lots of devices, you’ll need to be thoughtful about what you take. Weight immediately comes to mind — you don’t want to be lugging around heavy equipment — but you’ll also want tech that can do more than one thing and won’t break on you during the trip. With those features in mind, we gathered some of the best travel gear around, including laptops, digital cameras, headphones, portable projectors, luggage trackers, and emergency alarms.

Here’s our list of the top travel tech essentials.

Best Laptop

Apple MacBook Air M2

Apple MacBook Air M2

Amazon

Why We Love It: This is hands down the best lightweight laptop for remote working.

What to Consider: The lack of ports is annoying – there are only two USB-C slots and a headphone jack.

Apple’s lightest laptop got even lighter with its 2022 release. It also got a faster M2 chip (the sequel to Apple’s game-changing M1), a brighter, wider screen, a super-long 14- to 18-hour battery life, and a renewed Magsafe charger. I own the M1, and the only complaint I have is the lack of ports — you’ll need an adapter to plug in a classic USB to both that model and this upgraded one. Other than that, this is a terrific laptop for your at-home and traveling life. Pair it with a set of blue light-blocking glasses to instantly upgrade your remote work game.

Price at time of publish: $1,199

Best Tablet

Apple iPad Air (2022)

Apple iPad Air (2022)

Courtesy of Amazon

Why We Love It: It’s a super-light alternative to traveling with a laptop.

What to Consider: The standard 64GB storage isn’t enough if you plan to make this your main working device.

While there’s much competition in this market, Apple still reigns supreme in the tablet department. Its new fifth-generation iPad Air is extremely lightweight at 16 ounces and just a quarter-inch thin, making it easy to handle while watching movies on a plane or train. If you’re looking to do light work on the road, the iPad Air is a worthy alternative to the iPad Pro thanks to its M1 chip and 10.9-inch screen, though the Pro has a better display and can have more RAM. If you’re going to make this your main travel computer, pair it with a Magic Keyboard.

Price at time of publish: $559

Best E-reader

Amazon All-new Kindle (2022 release)

All-new Kindle (2022 release)

Amazon

Why We Love It: The 2022 model manages to improve what was already the best e-reader on the market.

What to Consider: Look into a tablet if you want to do more than read books.

It has been 15 years since Amazon released its first Kindle, and the device continues to be the best e-reader available. The 2022 update is lighter than ever with an improved Paperwhite screen (which is really the only way to read books on an electronic device). It also has more storage (16GB), which is enough for thousands of books, and faster charging (lasting up to six weeks on a single charge). If you’ve been lugging books around on your travels, now might be the time to consider shifting to a Kindle.

Price at time of publish: $100

Best Adapter

Jomfeen Travel Adapter

Jomfeen Travel Adapter

Amazon

Why We Love It: It works in more than 150 countries for one affordable price.

What to Consider: If the countries you plan to visit all use the same plug, there are smaller adapters out there.

Who says great things can’t come cheap? This universal adapter is a favorite among travelers for its simplicity, two USB slots, light weight (at 91 grams), and, yeah, because of the price. It allows you to charge three devices at the same time and will work in more than 150 countries if you’re trekking the world.

Price at time of publish: $13

Best Smartwatch

Garmin Venu 2

Garmin Venu 2

Amazon

Why We Love It: It has a long battery life and plenty of fitness and health tracking options.

What to Consider: If you want a smartwatch that works like a phone, consider an Apple or Android alternative instead.

The Garmin Venu 2 is a worthy alternative to the Apple Watch, and even better in some ways, especially if you don’t have, or want, an iPhone. First off, it has a smaller, round display, which is less "look-at-my-watch" than Apple’s. Next, it has some pretty cool fitness and health features, like settings to help you train for a marathon and the ability to monitor your stress levels. But, best of all, the Venu 2 has a way longer battery life than the Apple Watch.

Price at time of publish: $400

Best Wi-fi Hotspot

GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

GlocalMe G4 Pro 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot

Amazon

Why We Love It: It’s an essential device for country hoppers.

What to Consider: Investing in a local SIM card at your destination will be cheaper.

Anyone who’s tried out the digital nomad lifestyle knows the world isn’t as connected as you might hope. Wi-fi in hotels, Airbnbs, and cafes are usually not reliable, and it’s a hassle to get local SIMs, especially if you’re going to many different countries. This device gives you peace of mind with a connection pretty much anywhere you go (as long as there’s cellular service). Simply buy a package via the Glocal app (on Android or iPhone), and get internet access in more than 140 countries on up to 10 devices. Unlimited data globally is about $200 per month, though there are cheaper and shorter plans if you’re going to specific locations. Alternatively, you can rent this device from GlocalMe to try it out first.

Price at time of publish: $170

Best SLR Camera

Fujifilm X-T4

Fujifilm X-T4

Amazon

Why We Love It: It offers modern camera tech with a vintage look.

What to Consider: It’s not as capable when it comes to video compared to other brands like Sony.

I’m biased because I own an earlier version of this camera, but I really think it’s great for traveling. It’s mirrorless, so it’s super light and takes great photos in most situations. There’s no need to fiddle with the settings and miss that bird or whale or whatever — just turn the dial on the right to adjust the exposure. And you’ve gotta love that retro look. I can’t count how many times people have been fooled into thinking it’s a vintage film camera.

Price at time of publish: $1,700

Best Point-and-shoot Camera

Sony RX100 VII

Sony RX100 VII

Amazon

Why We Love It: It offers great pics in a small package.

What to Consider: It’s a bit slippery, so be careful not to drop it.

If you don’t want to worry about changing lenses, this little camera packs a punch. It takes quality pics at 20.1 megapixels and does 4K video with image stabilization. But what really makes it stand out is its surprisingly-awesome zoom, which can reach 200 millimeters. It also has a tiltable monitor, which comes in handy more often than you’d think.

Price at time of publish: $1,298

Best Instant Camera

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6

Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6

Amazon

Why We Love It: It’s great for weddings and instantly sharable travel memories.

What to Consider: The price comes out to about a buck a photo.

Sorry Polaroid, but Fujifilm has a better camera with instant pics. This retro camera takes consistently good, 2.4-inch square photos, and each image is roughly half the price of the ones that print from the Polaroid Now ($15 for a 20-photo cartridge versus $30 for 16). The Instax Square SQ6 also allows you to switch between macro, landscape, and double-exposure modes and has a mirror beside the lens for selfies.

Price at time of publish: $219

Best Tech Pouch

Harber London Nomad Organiser

Harber London Nomad Organiser

Harber London

Why We Love It: Keep all your tech in one place.

What to Consider: It’s an investment if you don’t plan to fully fill it.

It might be expensive and heavy, but damn is this tech organizer pretty. Made with premium full-grain leather, the Nomad Organiser can fit up to a 14-inch laptop along with an assortment of other items like a mouse and keyboard, cables, smartphones, credit cards — you name it. It’s rare for tech organizers to have a slot for your laptop, so it’s a real treat that this one allows you to just unzip and access all, or most, of your stuff. You can even turn it into a bag with an included leather strap.

While its features and look justify the price, if you’re looking for something cheaper, and don’t need to hold your laptop, Bellroy’s Tech Kit is worth a look as well.

Price at time of publish: $409

Best Over-ear Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM4

4.5
Sony WH-1000XM4

Amazon

Why We Love It: These are amazing headphones that you can likely catch on sale.

What to Consider: The newer, more expensive version has improved battery life and noise-canceling tech.

Sony’s over-ear headphones consistently edge out flagship Bose and Sennheiser models for being the best at most things. This model is the previous version, but it’s nearly as good as, and more affordable than, the latest pair. The XM4 has amazing active noise canceling — which is something you can’t go back from after wearing them on an airplane. These headphones also last for nearly 20 hours on a single charge and are quite durable, being able to lay flat or roll up in a ball.

Price at time of publish: $350

Best Earbuds

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Amazon

Why We Love It: These offer incredible noise cancellation in a tiny package.

What to Consider: You might want to go with the second generation of Apple AirPods Pro if you have an iPhone or Mac.

When it comes to noise cancelation, you can’t beat Bose. The second edition of the company’s popular Earbuds are arguably better than Apple’s AirPods Pro (2nd generation) with a more secure fit, better bass, and a shorter tail. (I own the first AirPods Pro and I often accidentally knock them out of my ears.) Another big advantage for Bose is they’re IPX4 water resistant. That said, both earbuds are top-of-the-line, and your choice will probably come down to whether you have Apple products or not.

Price at time of publish: $299

Best Portable Speaker

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3

Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3

Amazon

Why We Love It: Get big sound from a tiny, durable speaker.

What to Consider: There are better-sounding speakers on the market, but you’ll have to go bigger.

For years, Ultimate Ears’ Wonderboom 2 was quietly, err loudly, the best small portable speaker on the market. It’s petite, lightweight, durable, and IPX7 waterproof — and can even float! UE has finally updated its beloved model, but it sure followed the dogma: don’t mess with a good thing. The Wonderboom 3 is identical to the previous version, except for having a longer range and battery life, and new colors. Thankfully, UE hasn’t used this opportunity to spike the price as the Wonderboom 3 is currently the same price as the Wonderboom 2.

Price at time of publish: $100

Best Portable Projector

LG PF50KA 100” Portable Full HD LED Smart TV Home Theater CineBeam Projector

LG PF50KA 100” Portable Full HD LED Smart TV Home Theater CineBeam Projector

Amazon

Why We Love It: It’s very portable and has decent movie quality for the price.

What to Consider: Consider plugging it into a power bank as the battery may not last the full length of a movie, especially if you want to watch a three-hour epic.

It might be a little played out on #vanlife Instagram, but being able to cozy up outside your camper or tent and watch a movie is pretty awesome. Unfortunately, you’ll need to spend some moolah to get a projector that delivers good enough movie quality and that can last more than two hours without being charged. This sleek LG model does just that. It’s lightweight at just over 2 pounds, delivers good movie quality at 1080p resolution at up to 100 inches wide, and has a 2.5-hour battery life. Just plug in your streaming stick or USB loaded with movies and go.

Price at time of publish: $700

Best Laptop Backpack

Nomatic Backpack Water-resistant RFID Laptop Bag 20L

NOMATIC Backpack Water-Resistant RFID Laptop Bag 20L

Amazon

Why We Love It: It’s expandable with amazing organization inside.

What to Consider: Go for the 40L if you want to be a one-bag minimalist.

Made by digital nomads, for digital nomads, this backpack has great features you didn’t know you needed. There are specified pockets for your sunglasses, your shoes, and a laptop up to 16 inches. It’s also waterproof and opens up luggage-style so you don’t have to dig in the bottom and feel around for that tiny USB key. 

Nomatic also sells larger carry-on backpacks that you could, hypothetically, use for all of your stuff when you travel so if you’re looking for something larger, consider one with a 40-liter capacity.

Price at time of publish: $280

Best Portable Charger

Nimble Champ Portable Charger

nimble-eco-friendly-champ-portable-charger

Best Buy

Why We Love It: It’s a quick, good-looking charger that cares about the environment.

What to Consider: There are thinner, faster chargers out there.

It’s neither the cheapest nor the smallest portable charger, but Nimble Champ has asserted itself as one of the best. It’s a 10,000 mAh battery with 18W USB-C fast charging, so it can charge up to 80 percent in half an hour. It’s also pretty small at 6.4 ounces and 3 inches thick. 

But what’s really cool is that Nimble is trying to mitigate its impact on the environment (because lithium mining isn’t so great for the planet). To do so, the company uses recycled plastic, donates to charity as a "B" corp, and encourages customers to recycle old electronics by including a package that you can send back.

Price at time of publish: $50

Best Portable Monitor

ASUS ZenScreen 15.6” 1080P Portable Monitor MB16ACV

ASUS ZenScreen 15.6” 1080P Portable Monitor MB16ACV

Amazon

Why We Love It: This simple and lightweight extra monitor is great for travel.

What to Consider: It isn’t a touchscreen.

Beloved by digital nomads, the Asus ZenScreen is an affordable 15.6-inch monitor that weighs almost nothing at 1.8 pounds. It connects with a simple USB-C cable and can be flipped up to portrait mode — so take that small cafe table. The only drawback is it doesn’t have a touchscreen or a built-in battery.

Price at time of publish: $200

Best Laptop Stand

Roost V3 Laptop Stand

Roost V3 Laptop Stand

Amazon

Why We Love It: It relieves back pain and is easily portable.

What to Consider: It’s on the pricier side for a laptop stand.

The primacy of laptops, including for those now working from home, has turned many of us into hunched creatures with back pain. No more, says Roost, the maker of the best portable laptop stand. This stand is lightweight and very well-built, adjusting to fit any laptop and then folding into a small stick that easily slides into your bag. 

(If you don’t need the best of the best, Nextstand makes an imitation that’s pretty much the same, only flimsier.)

Price at time of publish: $90

Best Portable Keyboard

Logitech K380 + M355 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo

Logitech K380 + M355 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo

Amazon

Why We Love It: It’s lightweight and will work with both laptops and tablets.

What to Consider: At 11 inches wide, you’ll have to get used to typing a little closer together than usual.

The thing about opting for a laptop stand to help your aching back is you’ll also need a keyboard and a mouse. Fortunately, the best portable keyboard is affordable and comes with a great little mouse. The keyboard weighs less than a pound and does the trick. I personally own one and found adapting to it a breeze, though I do notice it’s a little smaller than my Macbook Air keyboard so I have to type with my fingers closer together. The M350 mouse that comes with it will fit in your pocket and weighs less than a quarter of a pound as well.

Price at time of publish: $70

Best Luggage Tracker

Apple AirTag

4.7
Apple AirTag

Apple

Why We Love It: It’s like Batman’s tracker in real life.

What to Consider: It’s really best for someone who already owns Apple products.

Luggage Nightmare 2022 made this nifty little gadget a must-have for anyone that checks suitcases. Just toss one in your bag and keep track of it with Apple’s Find My app. The battery lasts a year, but you can easily replace it by buying a commonly-found battery.

If you don’t have any Apple products, opt for a Tile instead.

Price at time of publish: $29

Best Emergency Alarm

Basu eAlarm Plus 130db Emergency Alarm

Basu eAlarm Plus 130db Emergency Alarm

Amazon

Why We Love It: It’s small, loud, and long-lasting.

What to Consider: It isn’t very easy to change the battery.

If you love to go hiking on your own, the safe thing to do is to get an eAlarm. This little gadget doesn’t require reception and is louder than a whistle at 130 decibels. When you pull the pin, it will sound continuously for 30 minutes or until you put the pin back in. Those bears surely won’t stick around with that kind of noise.

Price at time of publish: $26

Best Smart Water Bottle

LARQ Bottle PureVis

LARQ Bottle PureVis

Amazon

Why We Love It: It’ll help you avoid buying plastic water bottles when traveling.

What to Consider: It’s expensive for a water bottle.

If you hate buying disposable plastic water bottles as much as I do, then you’ll love this invention from the Shark Tank-approved folks at Larq. The rechargeable bottle blasts UV-C LED in your water to remove 99% of bacteria, including stomach-busting E.coli, as well as other viruses. This can be helpful at home to keep your bottle and water clean, but even more so if you’re traveling to a country where the water isn’t safe to drink. Just beware that if the water is murky, it won’t be of much help and, if you want to be extra careful, you’ll need both the PureVis and the brand’s filtered cap to remove contaminants like lead, mercury, and other particulates.

Price at time of publish: $99

Tips for Buying Travel Tech Essentials

Consider your destination and itinerary

Just because you can do some work while you travel doesn’t mean you should. Suffice to say, if you’re going on a vacation or retreat, you might not need a laptop, stand, keyboard, and mouse. Alternatively, if you plan to stay and work awhile, you’ll need to pack some gear as you might not be able to find it upon landing.

Think about organizational needs

Traveling with tech can easily turn into wire chaos as all your devices get tangled together. Consider making your life a little more organized with items like laptop cases and dedicated laptop backpacks. It also could be a good idea to bring an additional lightweight, packable pouch or bag you can use if you just need a few things.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What electronics should I travel with?

    Tech can be very heavy, so travel as lightly as possible if you can and bring only what is absolutely necessary. Again, if you can leave your laptop at home for a true getaway, that could be a very nice favor to your mental health.

  • What tech items should I not bring while traveling?

    If it’s too big to comfortably fit or too delicate to get bashed around a bit, consider leaving it at home. I’d also be very careful with anything that isn’t waterproof unless it’s in a water-resistant bag.

  • What are the best gadgets for airplane travel?

    Once you’ve tried noise-canceling headphones on a plane, you won’t go back. Other stuff to keep you busy like a tablet and eReader are key, as well as a small pouch or purse to ensure you have your passport and phone at the ready.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this article, writer Joel Balsam, a frequent traveler who has visited more than 50 countries, reviewed and selected from the industry’s best options.

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