Whether you’re headed on a vacation or studying abroad, there are some basic necessities to bring with you. But as any frequent traveler knows, there are also tricks, gadgets, and apps to make your experience 10x better:
A universal power adapter should be the first thing you pack if you’re going out of the country. Find one that is all-in-one like this so that you don’t have to worry about losing or forgetting the adapter part that you need for the country you’re visiting.
Invest in a luggage lock; they can give you peace of mind when you’re out of your hotel for the day but need to leave your valuables in your room.
One common household item that can prevent travel disasters is a Ziploc bag. Always bring extras! They will prevent spills in your luggage and help keep items separate. Also look for travel space saver bags that roll up to reduce the air in your belongings so you can bring twice as much if needed!
Noise cancelling headphones can give you peace of mind during a road trip or on a flight. Look for ones that eliminate sound instead of just reducing it so you don’t have to listen to the screaming baby in front of you during those long flights.
If you’re looking at purchasing new luggage for your trip, be sure to look at 4 wheel suitcases. Studies have shown that baggage handlers at airports don’t throw these bags around as much because they’re easier to handle. Plus 4 wheels means no more twisting your wrist pulling your bag over the curb! Look for one with a unique pattern or color to stand out and save time at the baggage claim.
Concerned about having your bag lost or stolen? Trakdot luggage tracker can put your mind at ease. This gadget uses microelectronics and ground based cellular technology to pinpoint the location of your bag.
If you’re going somewhere exotic, consider investing in a SteriPEN, especially if you frequent places with unsafe drinking water. This handy gadget uses UV light to disinfect water! It’s also great for camping and long backpacking trips.
AirBnB: Whether you’re backpacking through Europe with friends or couch surfing across the US, AirBnB is your friend. If you’ve never heard of it before, AirBnB matches trustworthy hosts with travelers willing to stay in one of their rooms for a couple of nights. Listings vary by location and range from a living room to an entire apartment. The locations are generally nicer than hostels, but can be a lot cheaper than staying in a hotel, which is great for students.
Foodspotting: Whether you’re looking for a place to satisfy your cravings, or just a good restaurant near your hotel, Foodspotting is a visual guide to good eats in your area.
Google Maps: Many of you may question why this one is on the list because either you already have it, or you use the maps app already on your phone. But there is a secret trick to Google Maps! When you know you’re going to be out of service or in spotty wifi areas in the future, zoom to the area you’ll need to reach your next destination and type “ok maps” into the search bar. This saves the map that’s on your screen so that you can follow it without service!
Jetsetter: You may think that travel apps like this are pointless because you can do it all online anyway, but jet setter has a special feature that allows you to book 4 and 5 star hotels for a very low price on the day of your stay. If you’re in the city and can’t decide whether to go home, or if your hotel turns out to be a cockroach filled dump, check the tonight tab to see what else is available. Even though rooms are posted at noon, and can fill up pretty quickly, it’s a great option for impromptu trips to NYC or other local cities.
Packpoint Packing List Travel Companion: This app helps you remember what you need to pack based on where you’re going and what activities you’ll be doing. You can also customize your list based on the weather and check out suggestions from other travelers.
Rick Steve’s Audio Europe: Don’t waste money on buying an audio guide in the museum or sightseeing center. With this app, you can download an audio guide the night before (so you don’t have to worry about a spotty connection) and listen to the history and significance of your destination. I used Rick Steve’s guides in Athens and Rome and learned so much more about the cultural heritage sites than I would have just reading the brochures! I’d definitely recommend at least trying it when you travel.
Uber:Quickly gaining in popularity, this app is expanding and the service is currently operating in 45 countries. Uber is a transportation service that schedules a driver approved by the company (but not a professional) to get you from your location to your destination. It’s similar to calling a taxi, but can be a lot more enjoyable.
What’sapp, Viper, and Skype:These apps are perfect for keeping in touch with friends and family while traveling. Viber and Whatsapp are great messengers if you’re abroad and don’t want to end up with an exorbitant bill at the end of your trip for texting or calling home. Skype is geared more towards video chat, if you prefer talking “face to face” but also can be used as a messenger if you don’t get service.
XE Currency App: If you’re going to another country that doesn’t take dollars, download XE Currency. This app converts prices from one currency to another so you don’t have to worry about exchange rates. It also helps you realize how much money you’re spending and whether some of your purchases are really worth it!