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All the small items that will make a big difference in your summer trip

Take your vacation to the next level with these tech essentials.
Written by Min Shin, Associate Editor
Reviewed by Christina Darby
JBL Clip 4 | A portable speaker
JBL Clip 4
JBL Clip 4
A portable speaker
View now View at Amazon
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition | A lightweight e-reader
Kindle Paperwhite against wood backdrop
Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition
A lightweight e-reader
View now View at Amazon
iWalk Mini Portable Charger | A compact portable charger
iWalk Mini Portable Charger
A compact portable charger
View now View at Amazon
Larq water bottle | A self-cleaning smart water bottle
LARQ Water Bottle
Larq water bottle
A self-cleaning smart water bottle
View now View at Amazon

As your long-anticipated summer travel plans get closer and start coming to fruition, so does the daunting task of packing. So that you can have more room in your mind to think about the details of your trip than what's in your suitcase, we compiled a list of gadgets and devices you'll need -- all of which are fit for a carry-on or even a backpack. 

Also: Everything you need to host a summer party 

While portable, our selections still come stacked with helpful features like waterproof ratings and long battery lives, ready to withstand any summer adventure. Read on for our essentials, from portable speakers to make travel feel like a party to portable chargers that pack a lot of power, and even a smart water bottle to keep you hydrated. 

A speaker  

Whether you're going on a weekend camping trip, to the beach, or to Europe for a backpacking excursion, music makes everything more fun. Thanks to the best portable speakers, you don't have to sacrifice full sound while you're on the go.  

With a built-in carabiner for your bag, the JBL Clip 4 is great to play music for your whole group of friends or family on a hike. Its IP67 waterproof and dustproof rating also means you can also bring it with you to the pool, lake, or beach. 

At only 0.53 pounds, it's especially impressive that the lightweight speaker packs a 5W output power and ten hours of battery life, which is likely to last for your whole day trip. You can even personalize your own design on JBL's website and choose from different colors to avoid any speaker mix-ups. 

View at Best BuyView at Amazon

An e-reader 

If you're like me, nothing makes a long travel day go by quicker than getting lost in a good book, but not at the expense of lugging around multiple books. E-readers offer a more compact solution for an on-the-go library. With waterproof ratings, these top e-readers make for a perfect beach read. 

If you're looking for an e-reader to last you all trip long without having to plug it in, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition will last up to 10 weeks on a single charge. With on-device storage of 32 GB, the Paperwhite can house thousands of books. 

Review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2021)

Because the Paperwhite is so thin and lightweight, it relieves the need to rummage and repack your bag every time you want to get some reading in.

View at AmazonView at Amazon

A portable charger

Between taking photos, navigating a new place, or streaming your favorite content, traveling can quickly drains your phone battery. The best portable chargers can offer a quick fix to keep your phone powered on the go. 

Thanks to its lipstick-sized, cylindrical shape, the best part about this cable-free portable charger is that it makes for an easy carry. 

Also: The best iPhone power banks

The iWalk Mini Portable Charger eliminates the frustration of some bulkier portable chargers, which makes it feel like I'm holding two phones. Plus, it's affordable, costing only $26 at the time of writing. 

View at AmazonView at Amazon

A smart water bottle 

Between hot weather, high altitudes, and low humidity from air travel, it's important to stay hydrated. A smart water bottle is a good way to stay accountable, track your daily water intake, and send reminders to take sip from your bottle. Just be sure you empty it out before going through airport security to avoid confiscation. 

This award-winning smart water bottle uses Purvis technology to rid your bottle and water of up to 99% of bio-contaminants, including E.Coli. 

You can buy an insulated or non-insulated option and with a double-wall vacuum stainless steel design, you can keep water cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours. The Larq water bottle also cleans itself automatically every two hours. 

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You might also need: 

Speakers, e-readers, portable chargers, and smart water bottles are some of ZDNET's essential on-the-go tech items, but there are other gadgets to check out that could make travel easier and more comfortable. Check out options like a portable neck fan, waterproof and sandproof blankets, and more. 

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