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The best travel gadgets you can buy: Chargers, headphones, and more

Traveling this year? These top travel gadgets will make your trip a more smooth and stress-free experience.
Written by Christina Darby, Associate Editor
Anker 747 GaNPrime 150W charger | Best travel tech gadget overall
Anker 747 GaNPrime Charger
Anker 747 GaNPrime 150W charger
Best travel tech gadget overall
View now View at Amazon
Tessan International Plug Adapter | Best adapter for international travel
Tessan universal adapter
Tessan International Plug Adapter
Best adapter for international travel
View now View at Amazon
Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones | Best travel headphones
Sony WH-1000XM5 Headphones
Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones
Best travel headphones
View now View at Amazon
AirPods Pro 2 | Best travel earbuds
AirPods Pro 2 on a plane
AirPods Pro 2
Best travel earbuds
View now View at B&H Photo-Video
iPad Pro | Best travel tablet
iPad Pro
Best travel tablet
View now View at Walmart
Duex Plus monitor | Best travel monitor
A MacBook Pro powering the Mobile Pixels Duex Plus monitor.
Duex Plus monitor
Best travel monitor
View now View at Amazon
Insta360 X3 | Best action camera for travel
Insta360 X3
Best action camera for travel
View now View at Insta360
Guide AI trip planner | Best travel planner
Guide AI trip planner
Best travel planner
View now View at Guide
Show more (3 items)

The holiday season is here, and with it, lots of plans for travel to see family or just to get away. If you're already starting to stress about some of the logistics, don't worry -- there are things you can do and pack that make travel easier, less stressful, and combat some metaphorical turbulence. For example, you can slip an AirTag into your bag to at least know the whereabouts of "lost" luggage.

Also: The best travel VPNs you can buy

AirTags, however, aren't the only tech travel gadget you should consider as a stowaway. There's lots of tech out there that can save you space, battery, trip memories, and all three combined. To find the gadgets best suited for the job -- and your luggage or even car --  I talked to travel experts and enthusiasts to see what they consider essential, and you should, too. Our pick for best travel tech gadget overall is Anker's 747 GaNPrime 150W charger due to its compact form and its ability to charge up to four devices quickly. However, this charger is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to essential travel gadgets. Check out the rest of our top picks below. 

The best travel gadgets of 2024

Pros & Cons
  • Can charge up to 4 devices quickly
  • Compact
  • Compatible with iOS and Android devices
  • USB-A and USB-C charging ports
  • Heavy
  • Pricey
More Details

Anker 747 GaNPrime charger features: 3 USB-C ports and 1 USB-A port | Can charge 2 laptops at once | Can charge up to 4 devices at once | 38% smaller than Apple's 140W charger, but packs in 10 more Watts (150W)

When you're traveling, it's important to keep all your devices powered and ready to go. Has anyone else ever had their phone die just as you're scanning your mobile boarding pass? To avoid that embarrassment, world traveler Nick Yiu is saving up for the Anker 747 charger to power all his devices for the five flights he has coming up. Even though the brick is smaller than a standard Mac charger from Apple, it offers three USB-C style ports, a traditional USB-A port, and all at a whopping 150W total output. To put it in perspective, it's powerful enough to charge two laptops in a short amount of time. 

"This would replace the need to carry any additional power bricks, so you just need this one alone," said Yiu. 

The 747 also employs Anker's GaNPrime technology, which is a faster, more powerful, and even more sustainable semiconductor than traditional silicon chargers. Anker's ActiveShield 2.0 technology also monitors temperature throughout the day and makes the appropriate power output adjustments, safeguarding connected devices. For these reasons and more, this charger is even essential for ZDNET contributor Jason Cipriani when he travels for work. 

However, Cipriani points out that while the brick is compact, it is heavy, "falling out of most outlets, which is why Anker includes a plate that fits around the adapter and has a bunch of small suction cups to hold it against the wall." Aside from its density, the only other downside of the 747 power brick is the $110 price tag. However, when you factor in its adaptability and power, you're really paying for multiple charges rolled into one. 

Pros & Cons
  • Lightweight
  • 5 total USB ports
  • Can use adapter for almost any country
  • Enough wattage to charge a laptop
  • Only compatible for 100V to 250V devices
  • Max of 15W on USB-C
More Details

Tessan International Plug Adapter features: 2 USB-A ports (12W) | 3 USB-C ports (15W) | 4 different built-in plugs, which covers over 150 countries | 6 in 1 travel adapter outlet 

The New York Times' recent daily crossword acknowledged that the most "annoying thing" you can forget to pack for a trip is, by far, a charger. Even more frustrating is remembering a charger, and don't forget that if you're traveling abroad, there's a high likelihood your charger won't work. Enter the Tessan International Plug Adapter. This compact tool has four different built-in plug types, which covers over 150 countries, and also includes a universal AC outlet that can convert plugs from the ES, EU, UK, and AU to fit your chargers' socket. 

Featuring five total USB ports, three of which are USB-C, this can also be used both internationally and domestically as a multi-charging brick. In fact, the executive editor of The Points Guy, Scott Mayerowitz, says this is one of his biggest tricks since they easily plug into airplane outlets and can be a one-stop, compact shop to keep track of different cords. 

This is especially a good option if you don't want the heavy price tag or physical weight of something like the Anker 747. It may not be as fast, but it's definitely efficient and price-conscious. However, keep in mind that devices requiring a higher voltage, such as a hair dryer, are only compatible with devices in the 150V-250V range. 

Pros & Cons
  • Noise canceling quality is best in class
  • Long lasting battery life
  • Advanced voice chat quality makes for quality video conferencing
  • Over-ear headphones take up more space than earbuds
  • Expensive
  • Larger carrying case than previous generations
More Details

Sony WH-1000XM5 headphone features: Over ear, closed back | Bluetooth 5.2 | USB-C charging port | Up to 30 hours of battery (3 hours on a 3-minute charge) | 4Hz-40,000Hz frequency response 

Sony's WH-1000XM5 headphones are a cult classic. With market-leading active noise cancellation and up to 30 hours of battery, they've rightfully earned the top spot on our best headphones and best noise-canceling headphones list and in Lonely Planet Managing Destination Editor Alex Howard's favorite travel bag

"The drone of the engines disappears into a pleasant background hum, and you can focus on catching up with the Last of Us instead of the screaming baby a few rows over," Howard said.  

Excellent sound quality isn't their only travel perk; the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones include a folding design and compact carrying case, making them easy to take on the go for short and long trips alike. 

Pros & Cons
  • Transparent and noise canceling quality is best in class
  • Wireless charging
  • Integrates Apple's FindMy system
  • Remain some of the most expensive earbuds on the market
  • If you have multiple Apple devices, beware of connectivity chaos
  • Not the greatest for non-iPhone users
More Details

Apple AirPods Pro 2 features: 6-hour battery life and 30 hours in the case | IPX4 waterproof rating | 5.3 g each | Wireless charging | New Apple H2 chip 

Over-ear headphones are a powerful sound blocker, but they're not necessarily space-conscious. If you're not ready to sacrifice precious luggage real estate with headphones, no matter how compact or portable, a pair of pocket-sized noise-canceling earbuds can be just as effective. I personally never leave my apartment without my Apple AirPods Pro 2 or get on a plane without them. What I love about the second-gen AirPods is that they deliver outstanding sound quality in both noise-canceling and transparent modes

Also: Flying soon? Flighty is a must-have iOS app for air travel

Sure, it's great to block out the rattles of the subway car as I make my way to the airport or the crying baby on the plane, but it's also important to be aware when traveling. And with my AirPods, I can clearly hear the flight attendant announce which carousel my luggage has (hopefully) arrived at without having to pause Taylor Swift's "Welcome to New York" as I fly into the city, per Scott Mayerowitz's suggestion.

Plus, there's a built-in case speaker that makes it easy to ping your AirPods case if it's lost in the depths of your bag or waiting to be rescued from the airplane seatback pocket. Apple's FindMy feature also comes in handy to keep track of all Apple-associated devices when you're on the go, sending you a notification when one isn't on the move with you. The second-gen Pros also employ wireless charging, even via the Apple Watch charger, which may save you packing one less cable. 

Review: AirPods Pro 2 offer two big upgrades but connectivity chaos hasn't been tamed

Pros & Cons
  • 12.9-inch screen and high resolution display
  • 1600 nits at peak brightness
  • Lightweight for an iPad Pro
  • Doesn't have the newest M2 chip
  • Camera suite isn't as updated as newer models
More Details

iPad Pro (2018) features: M1 chip | 12.9 inch Liquid Retina XDR display | WiFi 6 connection available | 12MP Ultra-Wide camera | 4K video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps | Five microphones and four speakers | FaceID | USB-C charging port 

Speaking of Apple, Alex Howard relies on his iPad Pro for inflight entertainment. But his main pro tip is to upgrade to a bigger storage size to "accommodate extra seasons of your favorite TV show when Wi-Fi is spotty." 

While a few years old, the 2018 iPad Pro features Apple's fast-performing M1 chip, a 12.9 Liquid Retina HDR display that makes for sharp and vivid visuals, and 1600 nits at peak brightness. Plus, if you take Alex's suggestion and opt for more storage, you won't face much latency and can let the high-res graphics shine. 

At  22.26oz and around $480 at most retailers, you won't be adding too much weight to your travel gear or your wallet, especially compared to the most recent iPad Pro model. Additionally, the iPad Pro 2018 (3rd generation) is compatible with the more sleek, capless second-generation Apple Pencil, which simply attaches to the magnetic strip to pair and charge. And if you're like me, it's great for taking notes that can even sync to and stay on your other devices while you're on the go. 

Of course, the iPad Pro 2018 also integrates Apple's FindMy system, making it easy to track and find as you destination hop. 

Pros & Cons
  • Folds up and flips out easily
  • USB-C connectivity – no HDMI cords
  • 1080p resolution
  • Adds bulk to your laptop
  • Pricey at $280
  • Drains laptop battery
More Details

Duex Plus monitor features: 13-inch display | Compatible with Mac and Windows laptops | Auto-Rotation display | Multi-device compatibility | 1.33 mm | USB-C plug-and-play 

Traveling doesn't mean you have to sacrifice work productivity. If you, like me and many other working professionals, rely on a monitor to multitask, the Duex Plus is a great portable option. Coming with four adhesive magnets, the monitor easily attaches to your laptop cover and flips out hassle-free. From there, it's as easy as connecting via USB-C to either your Mac or Windows laptop -- no extra HDMI cord is needed. 

ZDNET's June Wan reviewed the monitor and was not only impressed with the easy setup but also with its ability to enhance his workflow, from responding to Slack messages to video editing. 

What makes the Duex optimal for travel is its ability to slide in and out from the laptop lid and then just collapse and act as a makeshift case before you pack it away in your back. While there's no need to lug around an extra bag or pack the monitor as a new entity, it unsurprisingly does add some bulk to your laptop. 

Review: This flip-out portable monitor is my productivity secret weapon

Pros & Cons
  • 360-degree footage
  • Compact and rugged for adventurous travel
  • User-friendly
  • 2.29-inch display makes for an excellent viewfinder
  • Software support can be sluggish
  • 360-footage requires a larger MicroSD card
More Details

Insta360 X3 features: 180g | 2.29-inch touchscreen | ½" 48MP sensor | Up to 5.7K resolution | 1,800 mAh removable battery | USB-C or MicroSD connectivity | Waterproof up to 33ft 

The best part of traveling is making memories and capturing them. However, lugging around a big camera takes up space, adds weight, and places limits on capturing fun action shots. As of right now, travel buff Nick Yiu likes throwing in his tiny but mighty GoPro to take versatile footage but has his eye on the Insta360 X3 action camera. As the name suggests, the camera films at every angle and assures you won't miss a shot -- even if you're skydiving. 

ZDNET's June Wan did have the chance to go hands-on with the Insta360 X3, and his experience confirmed that it's worth a spot on Nick's packing list and our best travel tech list. 

"Whether you're a professional or a beginner, the X3 brings a lot to the table for all to play," said Wan. 

This third-generation action cam is the Insta360's most compact, refined design yet and, according to Wan, "the exterior is gilded with a rugged blend of rubber and texturized ridges which assures you that the X3 can hang in the toughest outings and/or within the slipperiest of fingers." 

Perfect for long adventures, the camera is also capable of lasting two to three days on one charge, limiting yet another device you have to charge on your trip. Additionally, Insta360 puts "art" in artificial intelligence, as June Wan puts it, packing a suite of photo editing AI features on the back and front end. 

Review: Insta360 X3 360-degree action cam will blow you away 

Pros & Cons
  • Personalized travel itinerary
  • Hotel booking
  • Can modify recommendations
  • Group planning enabled
  • Only available as a website
  • No flight, transportation, or restaurant booking
More Details

Guide features: AI trip planning tool | AI chatbot to ask questions | Free | Can book hotels | Group planning

If you want to make your trip as seamless and efficient as possible, you need a trip planner. While not a tech gadget per se, a planner can help you stay organized before and during your trip, making travel much less stressful. 
Guide is an AI travel planning tool that helps you create personalized itineraries based on your trip preferences. (Full disclosure: It's also ZDNET's sister brand. It's currently in private beta, but you can join a wait list.) Once you create an account, you can input your travel details, and Guide will generate a customizable schedule for your desired trip, with hotel, restaurant, activity, and attraction suggestions. 

You can modify Guide's suggested itinerary to your liking by adding new activities and restaurants or by moving current suggestions around -- a feature ZDNET associate editor Gabriela Perez Jordan loves. In a recent trip, she used Guide to find the top activities and restaurants to visit in Austin, Texas. 

With Guide, you can also send your schedule to friends and family to assist in the trip-planning process, or you can use its chatbot to ask your most burning questions regarding your destination. While you currently can't book any flights, transportation, or restaurant reservations through Guide, you can book and find great hotel deals powered by Expedia. 

What is the best travel tech gadget?

There are lots of tech gadgets that can optimize travel, from canceling out distractions on a long flight to capturing memories around you, and a device to power all of those devices. The items on this list consider functionality, durability, build, battery life, and more that hopefully enhance your journey.

Tech gadget


Main function


Anker 747 GaNPrime 150W charger


Charges multiple devices at once

1.3 pounds

Tessan International Plug Adapter


Universal adapter with multiple charging ports

140 grams

Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones


Noise-canceling over-ear headphones with a compact travel case

254 grams

Apple AirPods Pro 2


Noise-canceling earbuds with a case featuring wireless charging

5.3 grams

iPad Pro 2018


Tablet for entertainment with a high-resolution and lightweight build

22.26 oz

Duex Plus portable monitor


Portable monitor that attaches to your laptop as a second screen

1.6 pounds

Insta360 X3


Compact action camera that can capture shots from every angle

6.3 oz

Guide AI trip planner


 AI travel planning tool that creates personalized travel itineraries based on your preferences


 *Lowest price at the time of writing. Please note that prices may vary based on retailer and available promotions, sales, or discounts.

Which travel tech gadget should you buy?

All the items on this list were carefully selected, as most have various functionality for different needs, preferences, and even budgets. Here's a further breakdown if you're trying to decide which gadgets are essential for your next trip. 

Choose this best travel tech gadget…

If you…

Anker 747 GaNPrime 150W charger

Want a 150W charger that's smaller and more powerful than a 140W Mac charger and can power up to 4 devices at once.

Tessan International Plug Adapter

Want a compact adapter with 4 plug-in types, universal AC outlet, and 5 total USB ports.

Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones

Want a compact solution to blocking out noise around you. Sony's best-in-class headphones also come with a folding design and travel case, making them optimal for when you're on-the-go.

Apple AirPods Pro 2

Want a pocket-sized noise canceling solution with a fantastic transparency mode and Apple's FindMy tracking integration.

iPad Pro 2018

Want in-flight entertainment, a reasonably priced iPad Pro with 2nd-gen Apple Pencil compatibility, and a 12.9-inch display.

Duex Plus portable monitor

Don't want to sacrifice space or productivity when you travel. This flip out monitor with USB-C connectivity has great resolution and makes it easy to multitask.

Insta360 X3

Want a compact action camera that captures photos at every angle.

Guide AI trip planner

Want to plan your trip itinerary using AI or looking to stay organized throughout your travels. 

How did I choose these travel tech gadgets?

To compile my list and decide which travel tech was the best of the best, I turned to experts and enthusiasts. I consulted Nick Yiu, who took 15 flights in 2022, the executive editor of travel publication The Points Guy, Scott Mayerowitz, and Lonely Planet Destinations Managing Editor Alex Howard. As a frequent traveler myself, I also drew from my own experience and looked at products ZDNET has reviewed. 
Ultimately, I weighted the following aspects when curating this list: 

  • Design: When selecting travel tech gadgets, portability and design were top of mind since you must always consider where you will store your devices during your trip. Most, if not all, of these devices are lightweight and compact, perfect to store in a purse, backpack, carry-on, or suitcase. 
  • Durability: No one likes to buy products that break at first use, which is why I only included items you could buy and count on their performance for years to come.
  • Price: Useful travel gadgets don't have to be a hefty investment, especially when you have hotel, transportation, and flights to consider -- or, let's be real, you can easily forget the gadgets in a car or hotel. The devices on this list are top-quality devices that won't break the bank. 
  • Functionality: Traveling requires fitting all of your essentials in a tight, compact space. This means you should only take devices that advance common traveling components, such as charging your phone, tuning out noise on the plane, or storing and recording memories.  

What should I look for in a good piece of travel tech?

According to The Points Guy Executive Editor Scott Mayerowtiz, it's important to travel with tech that is lightweight, compact, and durable. 

"You might have to pay an extra $10 to $15, but it's well worth it to have the lightest device or the one with the battery that lasts that extra 20 to 30 minutes. It makes all the difference when you're on the road or in the air," he said. 

That said, it's also important not to get the most expensive item on the market, "How many chargers have you left in a hotel room when checking out in a rush?" joked Mayerowitz. "Maybe it doesn't have to be the 'best' product out there. Be mindful that things on the road get damaged." 

I considered Mayerowitzs' tips on what to look for when compiling this list -- making sure I talked to someone who had hands-on experience with every product and could vouch for it's quality. 

Is smart luggage worth it?

Smart luggage has been a hot-button item, but they don't necessarily make travel easier. If a smart suitcase has a lithium battery, you'll have to remove it before even getting to the airport. However, certain smart suitcases, like the Away suitcase, can be purchased without the lithium battery pack. 

Are there alternative travel tech gadgets worth considering?

While deciding on the best products on the market, we tried to find the best options to throw in your luggage and make your next trip as stress-free, entertaining, and easy as possible. 

However, there are also other options worth considering, depending on your different preferences and how you like to spend your travel time. 

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