I’ve traveled around the world, attending conferences and events, capturing content and staying connected. Throughout those travels, I’ve had a chance to test countless gadgets and gizmos, to see how they perform ‘out in the field.’ I’ve also come to discover which gadgets I absolutely must have in my bag when I travel, and which ones seem like a great idea at home, but don’t quite live up to their promise when I try to use them. I’ve been able to whittle my travel gadget-bag down to the just the essentials, and want to share these must-have gadgets for travelers with you.

1. Portable Power Banks – I carry this one from RadioShack, but you can find them all over. The key features you want to look for are size and capacity. Most smartphones today have a 2,000-3,000 mAh battery, so this 6,000 mAh pack can fully recharge my phone at least twice over. It also has 2 USB ports, so I can charge two devices at once. It recharges via microUSB, so I can typically use the same cable to charge my device that I use to refill the power bank. I carry two of these in my bag, so I’m never tethered to the wall when I’m out of juice.

2. LEEF bridge USB drive – With any trip, there are always documents that I need easy access to. The LEEF bridge USB drive has both a standard USB plug and a microUSB plug, so I can use it with my laptop or my Android-powered tablet or phone. It’s saved me on more than one occasion, and it’s really small, so it doesn’t take up much room. Sure, you could also use something like DropBox or Google Drive, but the LEEF bridge is nice because it doesn’t rely on an Internet connection.

micro USB drive

3. Portable Power Strip – While traveling, I always plug my gear in at night, so I start the day with everything full. This Belkin portable power strip makes that easy, as long as I have at least one outlet. It’s also a great way to quickly make friends at a conference or the airport, where outlets can be hard to come by. The two USB ports make it easy to refill the portable power banks mentioned above, as well.Travel Power Strip

4. Noise-cancelling headphones – When you’re travelling, there are an endless array of sounds polluting our hearing and trying to distract us. A good pair of noise-cancelling headphones can help me escape an upset baby sitting across the aisle, or make a noisy downtown hotel room bearable. Look for ones with active noise cancelling  – these usually have a switch to activate and do the best job of filtering outside noise.

nesting dolls

5. Nesting bags – For my carry on, I use two bags. One is a large backpack with lots of pockets – this helps me know where everything is, so it’s easily accessible and doesn’t have me rummaging for a cable or headphones. It also has a padded pocket for my laptop. Inside this bag, I have a smaller satchel, also with lots of pockets. When I get to my destination, I can leave the larger bag in my hotel room, and wear the smaller satchel out and about – it lightens my load and makes it easier to only carry what I need for the day.

What gadgets/gear do you find invaluable on a trip?