Best travel tech to buy now

Travelling might be as much about the journey as the destination. But if you arrive at the airport to be hit with oversized bag fees, get stuck on a flight next to a loud snorer or your luggage goes awol, you’ll be thankful you had these travel gadgets with you to make getting from A to B a little less stressful.

The right kit can make all the difference to your trip when you arrive, whether it’s a city break or a weekend of camping and hiking. You’ll need some power to keep your gadgets running, as well as jet-lag busters to get you on the move, so we’ve sourced the best options to keep you and your tech powered up.

To keep your bags light, we’ve also saved you some weight by helping you ditch the paperbacks and replacing it with the best e-reader to fill up with guidebooks and beach reads.

Main photo: Camping with a Kindle Paperwhite

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1. Noise-cancelling headphones

Wired, Sennheiser HD 599, £135
The justifiably renowned Bose QuietComfort noise-cancelling headphone range has been a firm traveller’s favourite for years — but at a price. These Sennheisers are nearly as good and cost less than half, earning them Which? Best Buy status this year.

Noted for their exceptional sound quality, there is one small point against them — they leak sound, so your seatmates might not be thrilled. Having said that, on a plane or train, it’s unlikely that the small amount of sound leakage would be noticeable over the noise of the engines or rails. What will be noticeable is the extremely crisp and clear sound of film dialogue and music.

Bluetooth, Anker Soundcore Life Q20, £50
If the Sennheisers are still out of your price range, then go for these Bluetooth alternatives. They will block out most airplane engine rumbles and conversational chatter near you while providing good-quality sound. These might not be as sharp or have the same range as the Sennheisers or the Bose QuietComfort, but for decent headphones with true Active Noise Cancellation, you’ll find it very hard to beat this price. 

Beurer's luggage scale and tape measure
Beurer’s luggage scale and tape measure

2. Luggage scale with tape measure

Beurer LS06, £12.99
The rules around luggage sizes and weights seem to change daily, and vary from airline to airline and ticket type. That’s why it’s vital to have luggage scales and a measuring tape to be sure you don’t get hit with hefty fees at the airport. This two-in-one luggage scale comes with a measuring tape built in, so that you’ll never be caught out, even when you have to buy that extra bag to stuff all your souvenirs into.

3. Lost luggage finder

Winnes Mini GPS Tracker, £49.99
Few things ruin a trip faster than lost luggage — an increasingly common occurrence at airports. And even when you plan to fly with hand luggage only, you’re often forced to hand over your carry-on at the plane door. Being able to see where your bag is if it goes walkabout could get it returned to you more quickly. But the technology of your tracker is crucial. 

Most cheaper Bluetooth trackers, such as Apple AirTag and Tile, only work when other users with the app on their phone are nearby. As your bag is likely to be in an airport warehouse far from the madding crowd, that makes them unlikely to work. 

You need true GPS to have the best chance of recovery, such as this model by Winnes.

4. Filtering water bottle

Philips Water GoZero Smart UV Bottle, £49.29
Whether you’re trekking or visiting a country with questionable water quality, this bottle will keep you hydrated with clean water. Using an advanced UVC-LED system to eliminate almost all water-borne bacteria and viruses, it’s twin-walled to keep your drinks hot or cold for at least 12 hours. The in-built UVC-LED light also self-cleans your flask after use and has a battery that lasts for up to 30 days, so you only need to give it a proper wash and recharge every few weeks. 

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5. Mini power bank

Duracell Power Bank 6700 mAh, £24.99
When you’re on the road, you tend to use your devices’ batteries more and have less-frequent access to power sockets as you’re out and about sightseeing, which is why it’s always a good idea to have a portable battery with you to recharge phones, laptops and tablets. This one by Duracell holds enough charge for two phones and juices them up three times faster than a normal socket. It comes with a handy extra USB to USB-C cable, too.

6. Solar power pack

Goal Zero Nomad 10 Solar Panel, £105.89
If you’re camping, sailing or on other off-the-grid adventures, you might still want some power for your phone, a radio, lamp or other devices. This solar panel weighs just over a pound, so isn’t too onerous to carry in a backpack or pannier. On sunny days, it should give you enough juice to fill up a power bank or phone. 

If you’re hoping to charge a laptop or something more powerful, you’ll need to upgrade to a larger, heavier and more expensive solar pack from the Goal Zero range. For most holidaymakers, though, the Nomad 10 provides the right balance between weight and power. Note that it doesn’t include a power bank and works best in full sun.

The Kindle Oasis is one of the best pieces of travel tech
The Kindle Oasis

7. Ebook reader

Kindle Oasis, £229.99
With its large seven-inch screen, buttons that make page-turning a breeze and ample LEDs and light-warmth adjustment, this top-of-the-range Kindle is easily the best e-reader on the market right now. It’s waterproof, too, so you can take it to the pool or beach without worry. 

The only downside is that it hasn’t performed brilliantly in drop tests, so make sure you get a decent case protector for it. It’s not cheap, either, so if you’re looking for a better-value option, go for the Paperwhite, which is almost as good and around £100 less. 

8. Jet lag relief

Re-Timer Light Therapy Glasses, £179
When you’re travelling somewhere with a time difference of more than about three hours from your home, chances are, you’ll experience jet lag. You can help your body recover from this much more quickly by getting sunlight as early as possible in the day and spending time outdoors from morning to mid-afternoon. If that’s not going to be possible, these travel glasses are your best option.

You will look like a bit of a plonker while wearing them, but luckily, you only need to keep them on for 30-60 minutes first thing in the morning, so you can use them while you’re sipping your morning coffee. 

They work by blasting green light waves into your eyes, which tells your body it’s time to wake up and get moving. You can still see while wearing them, and there are plenty of studies to show how this type of light can make a difference. Bonus: they also work to help with the winter blues when you’re back home.

AeroPress Go's portable coffee maker is one of the best pieces of travel tech to buy
AeroPress Go’s portable coffee maker (J Andersson Photography)

9. Portable coffee maker

AeroPress Go, £30.99
To really power up your jet lag plan, a jolt of early-morning caffeine at your destination can help. For the perfect brew, whether you’re in a yurt by the sea or in a city centre hotel, throw the small, low-tech, easy-clean AeroPress Go coffee maker in your backpack. 

To make your cup of joe, you simply pour coffee grounds into the plastic receptacle, add in water that’s slightly cooler than boiling (around 80-90C is ideal), swirl, wait one minute, then slowly plunge. The pressure of the plunger results in a brew that’s halfway between an espresso and a filter coffee. In fancy coffee competitions, the AeroPress rates much higher than pod machines and cafetieres, and it’s so compact and lightweight, it takes up little room in your bag. 

This travel version includes a travel mug with lid, too, which at 444ml is much more generous than those miniscule teacups you get in hotel rooms.

10. Travel plug adapter

MyTravelPal Pro, £26.99
If you’re leaving the UK, you’ll need a plug adapter. But instead of scrabbling around to buy the right one for your destination on every trip, it’s better value in the long-term to get this all-in-one model. 

Put your UK plug in the back, then use the toggles to push out the relevant prongs for your destination. It works in more than 150 countries and has three USB ports so you can power up your phones while charging your laptop. 

What sets this adapter apart from similar all-in-one adaptors is that it can take a higher range of voltage input, allowing you to use it with kettles, hair dryers and other power-hungry devices.

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