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Weirdo Travel Gadgets You Actually Need

Is there a better time to write about must-have travel gadgets than after you’ve just gotten off the plane from a whirlwind trip to the Big Apple? (O.K., maybe writing about it before traveling would’ve been more helpful, at least to me … but I digress.) Travel! It’s the best, isn’t it? Exploring new places, trying new things, sampling new foods; I think now, more than ever, people are turning to experiences over things. Some “things,” however, are still crucial — especially when it comes to simplifying those experiences.

This list is full of travel gadgets that are equal parts weird and wonderful. Some of them will help you stay entertained during long flights or even longer car rides. Others will keep your clothes clean, your bags (and body) safe and your gadgets fully charged. There are also genius solutions for extra cargo and grabbing some privacy, too. So, dust off your passport and pick up some of these travel gadgets guaranteed to make your next destination just part of the fun.

You will love our editor’s curated product picks! FYI: We are an Amazon affiliate partner and may get a share of the sale of your purchase (at no cost to you).

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Netflix And Flex Flap

  via Amazon  

If you’ve been on a plane lately, you know the struggle to not only get comfortable but also to make the trip enjoyable. The Flex Flap is a portable phone holder and tablet stand designed by a flight attendant who saw a need and filled it. This works beyond a plane, too, making it simpler to watch movies in the car or even scope out recipes in the kitchen.

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Get Rolling

  via Amazon  

Don’t you hate getting somewhere only to notice you’ve picked up every piece of lint along the way? This retractable lint roller is small enough to stash in your handbag to keep you looking neat and tidy wherever you are. With its reusable and refillable design, it also eliminates the need to continually buy new lint rollers. This is a travel and office must-have.

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Cut The Cords

  via Amazon  

It is virtually impossible to travel these days without a plethora of cords and cables. This storage pouch at least corrals the corded mess into something that resembles order so you can find what you need quickly. It’s small enough to stay out of your way but large enough to hold that obnoxiously-large MacBook charger. This has an interior mesh pocket and a zipper closure.

Lock Down

  via Amazon  

If you’ve got a flight coming up, TSA is a fact of life. This keyless combination lock lets TSA agents lock and unlock luggage without having to break anything to do so. There’s no key to lose, thanks to the easy three-digit combination that can generate 1,000 different code possibilities. Choose from seven colors and packs from one to six to protect all your gear.

Hold Your Own

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There’s never been a more tedious time to have to hold your phone than when you’re sitting on an airplane. Don’t ask me why; it’s science. This universal phone holder lets you watch your favorite shows and videos with a hands-free design that can also rotate 360 degrees. Attach it directly to a seat back or tray table for convenience in the air.

You’re In Charge

  via Amazon  

No one wants to lug a heavy power bank along on a trip but how else will you keep your phone up and running? This portable charger gets the job done in a package the size of a credit card with a built-in cable for an all-in-one solution. Having a small charger eliminates those “My phone just died” conversations during layovers and long days of exploring.

Ring The Alarm

  via Amazon  

Traveling can sometimes be dangerous but there are ways to safeguard yourself, like this personal emergency alarm. When triggered, this alarm lets out a loud 130-decibel alarm sure to scare off would-be criminals. Simply pull the pin to activate; it’ll sound for 30 minutes or until the pin is returned to the device. What might perhaps be the world’s smallest SOS alarm, this is a no-brainer when you’re in a new place.

Recharge Your Batteries

  via Amazon  

I’ve always heard the phrase, “Recharge your batteries,” but now I’ve actually seen it in person! These rechargeable batteries have USB adapters built right inside so you can plug these into any USB outlet (even your computer!) to start charging. Each battery is designed to use more than 500 times and has a built-in light indicator that shows when the batteries are fully charged.

Get A Leg Up

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All I want to do when I’m on a plane is stretch out but “stretching out” was never a part of the plan when they were designing planes. This portable footrest may make things a bit more comfortable if you’re on a long flight, thanks to its evenly-padded design and sufficient size. Despite that, it’s lightweight and compact and comes in a travel bag for convenience in carrying.

In A Sound Sleep

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Nothing says, “Please don’t talk to me,” like slapping on a wireless eye mask that not only blocks out light for a good snooze but also has built-in Bluetooth so you can listen to your favorite music, book or podcast. You can even take a call with this but why would you want to? You can remove the wires and module for washing the mask by hand with warm water.

A Stuffed Shirt

  via Amazon  

It never fails — every time I go somewhere I end up coming back with more than I set out with. This travel neck pillow is weirdly genius because you can pack it full of souvenir T-shirts or beach towels and use it as a pillow instead of having yet another thing to carry. This thing will fit up to three days of travel essentials. Heck, you may not even need a suitcase!

Cable Company

  via Amazon  

I won’t travel with any charging cables except these universal charging cables because they cover a multitude of devices without requiring a multitude of cords. This two-pack features six-foot cables with Type-C, micro USB and lightning ports for cell phones and more. You’ll never root around in your bag only to pull out the wrong cable ever again.

Hold The Phone

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Keep your phone on a short leash with this cell phone lanyard, a universal phone holder (with built-in ID or credit card pocket) you can wear right around your neck. Nowhere is this more convenient than in an airport or on vacation when you really need your hands free for other things. Choose from more than 10 colors of extra-strong silicone.

Air Your Dirty Laundry

  via Amazon  

Traveling doesn’t always mean you’re free of adult responsibilities like laundry. This retractable and portable clothesline expands to upward of 12 feet, has positioning beads so your clothes don’t bunch up, and includes 13 anti-skid clips that are windproof. Two strong stainless steel hooks let you attach this anywhere and remove it easily when it’s time to go. Twelve clips let you wash multiple pieces.

Pretty Fly For An AirFly

  via Amazon  

Raise your hand if you hate cords and cables; my hand is up. The AirFly is a wireless Bluetooth transmitter that lets you get in on the in-flight entertainment by connecting directly to your earbuds or wireless headphones. This even works with gym equipment and gaming devices — virtually anything with a 3.5mm audio jack. A battery life of more than 20 hours keeps you up and running for a long time between charges.

Throwing Shade

  via Amazon  

I simply can’t imagine traveling with five pairs of sunglasses but I can respect those of you who do. This five-slot storage box has a hanging apparatus for convenience and lets you tote up to five pairs of glasses or sunglasses so you’re always chic no matter what the moment brings. These come in multiple colors to match your luggage or your personality.

You’ve Got The Power

  via Amazon  

If you’re lucky, you’re not always going to be around an outlet to keep your devices charged. This solar power bank is great for camping and hiking and other outdoor pursuits where you’re “off the grid” but not really “off the grid.” This power bank has a built-in flashlight and an included lanyard so you can hang it from your backpack.

Sock It To Me

  via Amazon  

You wouldn’t think that something as basic as socks would improve your travels but here we are. These aren’t just any socks, though; they’re compression socks, which apply pressure to your lower legs to reduce discomfort and swelling. These have a graduated silhouette for the ideal fit from foot to calf. Stock up on a few pairs and see how much more comfortable traveling can be.

Your Cup Of Tea

  via Amazon  

Your luggage is important. Your coffee is important-er. This luggage cup holder frees your hands and puts your coffee, water or soda directly atop your suitcase. This pouch has adjustable Velcro that’ll fit just about any suitcase and multiple compartments you can even use for your phone, passport, cash and more. For less than $8, this is nearly a must-have travel gadget.

You’re Not The Bose Of Me

  via Amazon  

Even if you haven’t been on vacation recently, I suspect you already understand the importance of a good quality pair of headphones. These noise-canceling earbuds from Bose are top-of-the-line with high-fidelity audio, an adjustable fit and simple touch controls. If you’re serious about your music, you know Bose is hard to beat. Listen for up to six hours on a single charge and get an additional 12 hours from the charging case.

Stand Under My Umbrella

  via Amazon  

You can’t cancel your vacay if rain’s in the forecast but you can be better prepared for it with this portable travel umbrella. Windproof, strong, compact and equipped with an automatic operation system, this is an easy pack and perfect for opening and closing quickly as you travel to your destination. I love the blue sky version but the rainbow and starry night options are cool, too.

Passport To Travel

  via Amazon  

Carry your passport in style with this passport holder that’s slim and waterproof and has a snap button closure. I love this one because it gives you additional room for boarding passes, your ID, debit card and more, and is equipped with RFID-blocking technology to safeguard your identity and finances. Choose from nine different color options for this lightweight wallet.

Sink Your Teeth In

  via Amazon  

You aren’t always going to be in a place where you can pull out the toothbrush and paste and go to town. These disposable oral care swabs let you clean, moisten and refresh your mouth, teeth and gums wherever you are. The simple four-angle-shaped device effectively sanitizes and is disposable for portable use and tossing in the trash. These are unflavored so no weird “bubble gum” taste.

So Fresh And So Clean

  via Amazon  

I think we’ve all become a little more aware of germs around us lately, haven’t we? And, it’s not always possible to wipe everything down. This mini ultraviolet sterilizer is small enough to slip into your pocket, letting you eliminate germs and viruses on the go. Fast-acting, it has a smart timer on the LED screen so you can ensure you’re being extra thorough.

It All Comes Out In The Wash

  via Amazon  

If you’re serious about clean clothes on the go or you want to pack less and wear things multiple times, this portable wash bag gives you a way to wash your gear with a light, small and eco-friendly laundry solution. Wash in just minutes (and hang with that laundry line a few products above) whether you’re in a dorm, hostel, campsite or RV.

Blow Off Some Steam

  via Amazon  

So many of these products are related to your clothes and why not? You can’t travel naked (can you?). This mini steam iron will keep you looking sleek and fresh with dual voltage so you can use it anywhere in the world. This has an anti-slip handle, a 7.5-ft. power cord for reachability and a 1.4-ounce water tank that heats up in just 15 seconds.

Just Plane Organization

  via Amazon  

This organizing station looks like you have your own personal butler aboard any aircraft. Designed to sit in the window of an aircraft, the BevLedge holds your drinks, cell phones, writing utensils, eye wear, earbuds and more in one convenient location. This BevLedge folds flat when not in use and can easily slip inside a laptop case or carry-on bag.

Tag, You’re It

  via Amazon  

Luggage tags are a travel necessity and they run the gamut from boring old black to something as vibrant as these bright green ones. Made from durable silicone, these include name cards with privacy covers and stainless steel loops for secure fastening. The best part, though, is the shocking color, which will be super easy to spot on the baggage carousels.

Pack Your Suitcase

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You’re not going to get very far if you don’t have the right suitcase and this hardside expandable carry-on might be the perfect fit. A convenient 20-inch carry-on side, it has spinner wheels, an expandable design and side-mounted TSA locks. Inside, it offers a mesh divider and cross-straps along with a zipped modesty pocket. Choose from multiple sizes and a variety of cute colors.