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  • Laura Smith

Best Travel Gadgets, Apps, and Gear for 2022/2023

Updated: Sep 16


The famous EF pink bus!

Friends and family often ask me about my favorite travel items, so I decided to share them here on the blog. I often share these on my Facebook Page, iTravel With Laura , and keep it updated as things are constantly changing.


There are a few items that I have consistently traveled with over the past ten years, but I will start with what you will ALWAYS find with me. **I don’t receive any commission or compensation for any items listed. I just love to share.


Packing Cubes (one for dirty clothes, one for souvenirs, and one for undies. The rest I roll and usually pack as normal. Eagle Creek packing cubes have lasted the longest for me.


Crossbody bag with easy access to my phone. This has changed over the years. I started with the expensive Bandolier brand, then when I got a new phone and that no longer fit, I switched to the inexpensive Amazon brand, which promptly broke halfway into my trip. Make sure whatever you buy fits the current phone you are using. If you are planning an upgrade soon I would hold off on the purchase.


Purse or lightweight backpack: This holds a water bottle, my cash, a raincoat if needed, an extra pair of shoes (really helps with sore feet), an external battery charger, and any daily purchases. I love my Longchamps bag. It packs small and I like holding on to it over my shoulder for safety. But I have also loved packing a lightweight backpack that rolls up. I found them to be about the same as far as ergonomics. You don’t want to carry around a big backpack all do so try to avoid that. Opt for something packable and water resistant so you can wipe it down.


*You can see the crossbody phone case and the Longchamps bag in the photo with the pink bus!


TWO electronic adaptors: Although this adaptor is larger, it covers most of the world. There are also smaller options available. Just check compatability with where you are going.


Apple Watch Charger I have learned that the fewer cords when I travel the better. This travel sized charger will reside in our campervan, Toaster, when it’s not globetrotting!


External Battery Charger This is a game changer in the realm of chargers! It holds a charge for an entire trip and has various ports to use! Again, no more cords!!


Apps:

Google Maps

Uber

WhatsApp (free messaging with everyone in your group and your tour director)

Free Now (a taxi app that calls a taxi like it would call an Uber, but this is only in certain countries)

City Mapper (best app I know (thanks Jessie!) for ALL cities and their options for transportation.

The app for your airline complete with enrollment in their system so they send you live updates.

SIRI: Use SIRI as a translator! She will type the phrase AND pronounce it! It may not be grammatically correct and could be awkward, but it will get the point across!



My last student tour to Barcelona, Switzerland, and France!

Suitcases and Packs: I don’t favor any one brand, but I do prefer an expandable hard-sided suitcase with 4 rotating wheels. The smaller the better is my motto so it’s easy to transport on and off the plane, bus, taxi, etc….

I go back and forth on what to bring for a personal item on the plane. I usually check my suitcase so I don’t have to mess with it and bring a big backpack and then a crossbody bag as my personal item. But many times I have brought my suitcase as a carry-on and then a small bag that fits on top of it for when I am walking.

Some nice brands that will handle a lot of years of wear and tear are Cotapaxi, Osprey, and Eagle Creek, but honestly, anything will do!


What I DO NOT bring:


A special belt or undershirt document holder. I keep my passport in my suitcase in the hidden zipper compartment that nobody understands its purpose. I created a purpose. I keep a copy on my phone. If you choose to bring that belt then make sur eyou are never getting in to it where you can be seen. That can bring more danger to you.


A water bottle. I buy water in the airport (I KNOW I KNOW IT’S expensive) and then I have it with me on the plane and don’t have to use their cups. Then when I am at my destination, I refill it at night in the hotel. I just prefer to not have to bring a water bottle in the first place because once it’s empty you are still toting it around. Eventually I buy a new cold water at a market.


Lots of toiletries: It’s amazing what you can get by with for a couple of weeks. Most hotels are now supplying shampoo and body wash in the shower. I do like my small bar of dial soap to feel super clean and my friend bought 3 mini loofahs that I thought was brilliant! She left them behind when we moved to a new hotel! Great tip, Laura!

I pack minimal makeup and small jars of my skincare. A tip if you use toner is to moisten a lot of little pads and then put them in a ziploc.


Nice jewelry. I love to have a few pairs of earrings since my hair is always up and a necklace and that’s about it! No need to draw attention to yourself.


Hair dryer or curling iron. This is my personal preference. Hotels always have a hair dryer and I don’t mess with curling or straightening my hair. I am so tired at night that my favorite thing to do is shower and go to bed with wet hair if it’s been a hot day. If you need a curling or straightening iron, make sure it has a voltage switch to change to 220 or it will burn up.


Pretty shoes: Bring comfie shoes. That is all.


Local currency: I get local currency when I arrive at my destination.

ATM’s are everywhere and you will get the best rate. Do NOT ever go to an exchange desk. It is the WORST exchange rate ever. It’s appalling actually. Most of Europe is tap and pay anyway.


Pro Tip: Bring at least 3 credit cards. I have a credit card, a debit card, and a Venmo card. The Venmo card only worked in England. The others mostly worked. I was glad to have other methods of payment when one didn’t work. You want the cards with the 3 “internet” lines so you can tap and pay if possible.


Below is my most recent packing video. Would love you to like and subscribe to this YouTube channel as well! Follow me on Instagram @toastertravelstheworld


Curious about group travel with me and EF Go Ahead Tours. There are links at the top of the website for trips occurring in 2023 and 2024 or HERE or you can email me at laurasmithjourney@gmail.com for information!






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