Best Travel Gadgets and Accessories for Tackling the Open Road

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As a mother daughter travel blogger team, we’ve learned the rule of the road: be prepared for nearly every contingency. As a result, we’ve compiled a list of must-have travel gadgets and accessories.

And while we usually write our travel trips and guides separately, we’re tag-teaming this article to bring you the complete list of travel gadgets and accessories we’re really excited about this year.

Kat’s List of Best Travel Gadgets and Accessories

1. Charge it up and Never Lose Your Precious Travel Photos

I rely on iCloud to back up my travel photos and have rarely been let down.  However, I have had the occasional glitch when pictures I take on the road don’t upload to the cloud for awhile, particularly when we are out in remote locations. That’s why I’m especially excited about this travel gadget. The Sandisk iXpand wireless charger helps to alleviate the concerns I have about protecting travel photos while wirelessly charging my phone in the process.

A generous 256GB solid-state hard drive backs up this charger with some serious image-saving power. With the ability to hold over 32,000 8 MB pictures, it’s enough to keep my entire camera role on hold just in case the unthinkable happens.

Best of all, it backs up as it charges, so you can go to bed at night knowing that you’ll wake up in the morning to a ready-to-go device and safely stored images. Just understand that it may take several backup sessions to download your entire camera role, so to protect the photos you take on the road, start using the charger to back up old pictures before you head out.

The Sandisk iXpand works with all Qi-compatible phones. For those of us who aren’t as tech savvy as some, that covers most of the brands on the market today, including iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, LG, Microsoft Lumina and Blackberry.

You can easily restore images to your device’s camera roll through the iXpand app or download them to your computer by removing the SD card from the charger and inserting into your computer’s card reader.

While we were originally disappointed in the availability and price of the iXpand Sync, things have changed quite a bit in the past few years. We now find this particular device in multiple stores, including Amazon, where the 128-GB version retails for a slim $19.99. Stepping up to the 256-GB device usually adds another $10-$15 dollars to the price.

If you don’t need a charge but want an easy way to back up photos while traveling, Sandisk also makes the iXpand Flash Drive Go. Just connect this small thumb drive to your phone’s lightning port and start saving your images. Best of all for travel enthusiasts, you can shoot video directly to the drive, saving space on your phone. When it’s time to transfer to a computer, you’ll find that the other end sports a handy USB adapter.

Sandisk iXpand travel gadget for backing up photos from iPhone
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For iPhone 15 Plus/Pro/Max phones, or any device sporting a USB-C connector, you’ll need to step into the SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive Luxe. This handy storage device is available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB sizes.

2. Prepare for Those Dark Moments with this Travel Accessory

We discovered the necessity of an easy to tote, but super bright flashlight, on a recent visit to the lava tube caves outside of Bend, Oregon. It’s true, you never really realize what dark is until you find yourself underground and completely sealed from outside sources of illumination. Our standard beam flashlights could barely cut the gloom, so we started a search for the world’s brightest, but most portable flashlight.

I read far and wide, learning things that I never knew about flashlights. For one thing, brightness is determined by something called lumens. The higher the number of lumens, the brighter your flashlight. For greatest visibility inside those caves, we’d want a flashlight with over 1,000 lumens. However, if we just wanted to see around a campsite at night, a lower luminosity would do.

We also looked at durability and size, narrowing it down to the Nitecore EA 41. With 1020 lumens, it’ pierces the dark and its scant 4.6-inch length makes it easy to tuck into a backpack, purse or glove compartment. We also like that it runs on AA batteries instead of rechargeables, giving us greater control. It’s much easier to swap out a few disposables on the road than it is to plug in and recharge a lithium ion unit.

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Overall, this one of our favorites on this list of travel gadgets and accessories. Unfortunately, this model is no longer manufactured, which seems to be the eventual fate of all great devices. Fortunately, Nitecore now makes an even smaller and brighter flashlight in the Nitecore Tiny Monster TM06S. The price is the same as we paid for our original Nitecore several years ago, but at 4,000 lumens shines even brighter.

We’ve had our Nitecore for nearly 4 years now and it’s traveled many roads, accompanied us on many early morning dog walks and has even illuminated the way through rain storms without a single glitch.

Ali’s List of Best Travel Gadgets and Accessories

Pivo: turn your smartphone into your photographer

Pivo is the ultimate smartphone tripod for adventurers and influencers alike. We live in the world of social media, and does it really count as travelling if you don’t post something on Instagram? With its included app, Pivo tracks you as it films for perfect photos, videos, and even more.

Pivo can spin 360 degrees to track you, your dog, even your horse while you adventure. Now the technology is not perfect. For example, if you get too far away, Pivo will lose you during its tracking, but all things considered, I think it works pretty well. Plus it’s tiny, making it a packable travel accessory!

I often use mine to film my rides on my horse, and I love being able to take these videos without having to bring in a second party to shoot. And I know when it comes to hikes this summer, Pivo will be coming along for the ride to help my mom and I get more photos together that aren’t selfies.

Pop Photo has a great in depth review of the latest Pivo model. We’ll put up some travel footage as soon as we can get out and travel again.

First Aid Kit- the Travel Accessory You Hope You Don’t Need

Luckily, during our travels, we have not needed any emergency supplies, but it is best to be prepared. A first aid kit is an essential travel gadget or accessory, especially for outdoor adventures.

But, when traveling you want to keep your baggage as light as possible. This small first aid kit from amazon features 100 pieces, and weighs just 8 ounces. The kit includes Band-Aids, a tourniquet, CPR mask, eye wash, and many more essentials. Plus, it is rated 4.8 stars out of five on amazon!

travel accessory first aid kit
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Reviews praise this first aid kit as “small but mighty” and “compact, convenient, and perfect for travel!”

Another great option is the Adventure Medical Sportsman series medical kit. It comes with many of the same supplies as the Amazon kit, except that it’s waterproof and contains a trauma pad instead of a tourniquet. Since each play a different part in bleeding control, it would be nice to find one that contained both, but for a small travel kit, both are excellent choices. Best of all, the FSA store says the kit can be purchased using FSA funds. Be sure to check current federal guidelines though, as these things can change.

Binoculars: So, You Can See All Your Adventures Crystal Clear

We often end up hiking or driving through some remote places with incredible views. Unfortunately, our family is not blessed with perfect vision, so all too regularly we are left wondering what is in some of the more distant horizons.

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These binoculars are lightweight, yet powerful, and will make it easy to get the best of all the views along your travels. They come with a great reputation of 4.6 stars out of five with over 2,500 reviews. And many reviews even state how great the company is to work with.

These ten times magnification binoculars are an item we are adding to our travel bags for this summer.

More Travel Tips from Kat and Ali

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Kathleen Hesketh

Kathleen is a travel agent with Mickey World Travel, a platinum level Authorized Disney vacation planner, where she helps people discover the magic of a Disney vacation and other travel destinations. She is also the chief author and editor for Seconds to Go - a travel blog where she shares experiences from traveling the U.S. with her daughters. Kathleen has been a professional writer for more than a decade, helping businesses craft compelling content to advance organizational goals.

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