Are you preparing for your trip and looking for tips for useful travel gear and travel gadgets? Or maybe you’re looking for gifts for a travel enthusiast? Therefore I’ll tell you my personal top 20 useful travel gadgets for backpackers. I can hardly travel without these super handy travel gear!
20 useful travel gadgets for backpackers:
With a Powerbank in your bag, you can charge your devices whenever and wherever you want. To be honest, I can’t live without my Powerbank! It’s so useful when traveling or in places without power (think of the San Blas islands in Panama where there aren’t any electrical outlets).
Choose a Power Bank of at least 10,000 mAh so that it lasts a long time without charging in between. Power banks are often compact so that they can easily fit in your bag or pocket.
Many hostels have lockers where you can leave your belongings. But often there is no lock on this. So very handy to bring one yourself from home. A lock is also ideal for locking your flight bag or backpack.
Choose a lock with a key and store it well, or perhaps hang it around your neck to avoid losing it. But what I prefer is a combination lock so that you no longer need a key.
3. Packing Cubes
Packing Cubes make your life so much easier when traveling. Put your belongings in different Packing Cubes so that your backpack is better organized. This way you will lose your belongings less quickly and they will not disappear in another dimension in your backpack. So grabbing your stuff is as good as a thing of the past! Ideal for shirts, cardigans, underwear, socks or small items.
A Spork is a brilliant combination of a spoon, a knife and a fork. Ideal to take with you on a trip, because this way you always have cutlery. And the Spork naturally takes up very little space and weighs almost nothing. So if you buy a bowl of fruit or food to go from the 7-Eleven somewhere, you always have your own cutlery with you. Very handy.
5. Disinfectant Hand gel
With me a lot of disinfectant hand gel goes through on a journey. After a ride in the metro, stroking cats or dogs (be careful with this by the way) and before and after dinner. In some places you do not have access to clean water or soap, so it’s very nice to still clean your hands with disinfectant hand gel. Fear of blemishes? No, just hygienic!
6. Sleeping Mask and Earplugs
I think a lot of backpackers agree with me that a sleeping mask and earplugs can absolutely not be missed during backpacking. On the plane, on the bus and in hostels, these handy travel gadgets come in very handy. This way you’re less bothered by the light and common noise when traveling.
7. Travel detergent
Especially when you travel for a long time it is necessary to wash your clothes regularly. If you do not have a washing machine or you want to wash something small, then travel detergent is ideal. This detergent is suitable for a hand wash in warm and cold water. So even if you don’t have hot water, you can still wash some clothes. And it also smells super nice!
I was delighted with this tube of laundry detergent on my 3 month trip around South East Asia. When my underwear or socks started to run out, I could just wash them everywhere, even in places without warm water.
8. Microvezel Handdoek
A microfibre towel is perfect as a replacement for your normal towel. A microfibre towel dries very quickly, is very lightweight and takes up little space.
The experience of some travelers is that it feels like drying yourself with a pad. I think it’s important to buy a microfibre towel made of a fine material. I also encountered that “pad” in the store and it didn’t feel good. The good ones are available in different sizes and can be purchased in the store or online.
9. Hammam towel
You see hammam towels more and more often, and of course for a reason. It’s very nice to take it to the beach and use it as a beach towel. A hammam towel is also very nice to wrap around after swimming. They take up less space than a beach towel / towel and they are also available in the nicest colors and with the cutest motifs.
In some places, thieves like to grab your backpack or even steal your bag if given the chance. Of course you should not think about losing your valuables. A money belt is very useful to carry your valuable and handy travel items safely with you. What is also practical about a money belt is that you can wear it under your clothing so that it does not stand out. Ideal for traveling in large cities, for example.
11. Neck pillow: Memory Foam or inflatable
Neck pillows come in all shapes, materials and sizes. You can choose a variant of Memory Foam or an inflatable. I really like a memory foam neck pillow because it’s nice and soft and handy to take with you. I like it a lot better than an inflatable pillow, but it also takes up more space.
The memory foam neck pillow is also very nice to use as a pillow. On the Surin islands in Thailand this neck pillow came in very handy because our pillows had gotten wet on the boat. It is easy to fold and store in a small bag and it weighs very little. So very handy!
12. Flexible Bluetooth Keyboard
No, this is not a joke. A flexible bluetooth keyboard really exists! How convenient is that ?! This keyboard can be rolled up completely and weighs almost nothing, making it one of the most useful travel gadgets for bloggers.
The flexible keyboard is easy to connect to Bluetooth from your mobile or tablet. The keys have to be pressed a bit more firmly than with a normal keyboard, but it works very well. Many of those flexible keyboards are also dust and water resistant. And that for less than € 15.
I use Banggood’s Flexible Bluetooth Keyboard and have been very satisfied with it so far. Of course you must have a table or a sturdy book where you can put the keyboard on while typing. Consider a long shipping time, because it has to come all the way from China, so order it on time!
13. LifeStraw Drinking Bottle
The LifeStraw drinking bottle is a true lifesaver. If you don’t have access to clean drinking water, this friend will save you out of need. You can fill the bottle with any water and, thanks to the built-in filter, you can drink the water without getting sick. So you can just drink tap water anywhere in the world. It is even possible to filter water from a river, if it’s not standing water.
A Lifestraw drinking bottle is not cheap, but in my opinion definitely worth it. It is one of the most useful travel gadgets if you plan on camping and hiking a lot. I used it quite a lot when traveling in Asia and mainly during the Poon Hill trekking in Nepal.
14. Waterproof bag / Drybag
Are you going on a boat trip, kayaking, canoeing or simply to the pool or beach but still want to bring some stuff? Then a waterproof bag is very useful. This way you prevent your valuables from getting wet accidentally. You roll this bag up after which you click it closed so that it is completely waterproof. When retracted, air remains in it, allowing it to float if necessary.
I use the waterproof bag from Aliexpress. This bag is very cheap and is also transparent, which is super handy! As a result you don’t have to grab your stuff.
Choose from a size of 2, 5 or 10 liters. 2 liters seems to me only practical for storing small things, such as a camera or mobile. If you also want to put clothes and a towel in it, choose 5 or 10 liters. I chose a 5 liter bag, not too big and not too small. I definitely like it!
15. Bed sheet and Pillowcase
Unfortunately, you don’t always sleep in super clean hostels during backpacking. A sheet bag and pillowcase are not an unnecessary luxury. A sheet bag is a very thin sleeping bag especially for the tropics. The advantage is that it often weighs very little and can be folded very small.
You can of course buy the sheet bag online or in an outdoor store, but you can also make one yourself. For this you need a single duvet cover that, if necessary, makes it slightly narrower. It’s also nice to open the sides of the cover at the top, so that you can also put your pillow on it and easily open the sheet bag if it is too hot. A sheet bag is also easy to make by folding a double sheet and sewing it together.
Reisflesjes en potjes zijn welbekend onder de handige reisspullen. Maar heb je ook weleens gehoord van knijpflesjes? Nou, ik tot een paar jaar geleden dus nog niet. Maar wat een uitvinding! Ik vind ze super handig om te gebruiken voor shampoo, conditioner en badschuim. Zo zit je niet te klooien met het dopje dat je onder de douche moet losmaken en vervolgens kwijtraakt (ik spreek uit ervaring). Aanrader dus!
De soapbars zijn de laatste jaren aanzienlijk populairder geworden. Deze stukken zeep zijn verkrijgbaar als shampoo, conditioner of een combi hiervan. Ik kocht mijn shampoo en conditioner bar destijds bij de Lush. De 2-in-1 soapbar verkopen ze helaas niet meer, maar wel nog de losse varianten.
Het is wel handig om er een klein metalen opbergdoosje bij te kopen (verkrijgbaar bij de Lush) of een handig zeepzakje.
18. Quick-drying clothing
Maybe you know the feeling: you just washed your clothes or you’re soaked from the rain and the next day your clothes are still wet! The high humidity isn’t your best friend when traveling in that regard.
While traveling, I’ve noticed that certain fabrics dry much more faster than others. Which is perfect if you want to do a quick wash before you’re back on the bus or train to your next destination the next day. I can therefore definitely recommend to choose quick-drying t-shirts, often made of polyester.
19. Lightweight hiking boots
Before I started my first real backpacking trip in South East Asia, I wanted to bring way too much stuff. The first time I put 3 pairs of shoes in my bag. Not necessary at all, of course, I found out quickly enough myself. The second time, I stuck to two pairs, giving away one pair halfway through the trip. One pair of walking shoes is actually more than enough, if you choose decent ones.
That’s why I recommend choosing light sturdy walking shoes. The real die-hard/professional walking shoes aren’t necessary in my opinion, unless you expect to make very long hikes. During my four-day hike in Nepal, I wore my regular walking shoes which had excellent grip. It’s especially important that you choose shoes that have a good grip and that run smoothly for you.
Pro tip: don’t forget to walk them in beforehand!
20. Yoga leggings
For the female travelers among us, yoga leggings are highly recommended. Ideal during hikes and trekking or even for sleeping. They’re super multifunctional if you ask me. I would definitely go for a yoga legging made of polyester, which dries very quickly.
Updated Feb 8, 2021.