The Best Travel Gadgets For The Thrifty Traveler

The best travel gadgets for the thrifty traveler

If you’ve ever seen the high-tech movie African Safari in the Congo, you probably know where all the latest in travel gadgets are – air conditioners in tents, laser detectors to catch animals wandering too close, etc. There is another way to travel too, and that involves austerity. You’ve set out into the wilderness and you have nothing more than a few sticks to rub together to make a fire, and maybe a tube of mosquito repellent. But for now, for the rest of us, let’s go the other way—with travel gadgets that don’t cost more than $50, the ones we’d really need if we weren’t Crocodile Dundee.

You can find travel gadgets at your regular travel store that range from the ubiquitous iPods tricked out with noise-canceling headphones, to Olympus’ robust range of indestructible digital cameras and wearable GPS trackers. The thing is, these tools need a certain amount of babysitting — they’re heavy, you need to carry them, and you need to worry about how to operate them. Of course, these devices are expensive to buy, and easy to drop (it doesn’t matter for those powerful cameras). What we’re talking about here is stuff for the thrifty traveler—someone who doesn’t have a tribe to carry their backpack behind them, someone who needs to do everything themselves. For those self-reliant travelers, here are the best travel gadgets you’ll need, the ones you won’t need to break the bank.

Let’s start with what it takes to pack for a trip. You have a standard 22-inch piece of luggage, and you have a week’s worth of clothes to fit in. How do you do that? Using space suitcases, of course. What these bags do for about three dollars a pop is they let you suck all the extra air out of your garment bags so you can fit more into less space.

Now that you know what to pack, let’s get into what you can pack. Most travel gadgets happen to be electronic, or they’re pretty smart. This is not the case, but it is still very useful. It’s an all-in-one tool, the Swiss Army Knife. When you’re out there in the foothills of the Himalayas, and out and about, you’ll probably kill for one of these. Look to the Leatherman series for some great action when you need it. Some models come with pliers to help you strip the electrical insulation, a screwdriver to help you fix a broken bag handle, a pointed point to help you hit the reset button, and so on. The best part is that they won’t cost you more than $50 on Amazon, if you go for the high-end stuff.

Whenever you travel anywhere, in the third or first world, you simply need to carry a bundle of cash that you need for your entire trip; But what about pickpockets when they strike? You don’t want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with no way to pay for your next drink, do you? Get a money clip I’m sure there are thieves who know how to get around this, but I haven’t personally been robbed since I switched to one of those. If you buy one of these new machines with a built-in flash drive, you’ll have a little extra preparation on your hands, too. And while you’re securing things, why not get a nice cable lock to lock your suitcase somewhere, or whatever. The Kryptonite R4 is a great option, because not only does it give you the standard cable lock with a 3-foot extension cable, it also gives you a flashlight built into the body. After all of this, you won’t spend more than $20.

Now you need to take care of a few of the equipment you have – phone, camera, etc. Simply purchase an adapter that will allow you to plug your stuff into an alien receptacle; But how many of these can you carry? Get a small power strip that also provides power to the USB ports. Belkin has a great selection here. You’ll need a collapsible mini tripod like the GorillaPod, too. They make it so that you can balance your camera on any surface, even a tree. And of course, let’s not forget that you need some babysitting yourself; Get yourself one of several medical kits on the market – like the Adventure Medical Kit with a ready-made and great first aid kit. So there you go, everything you need, to keep you safe, to keep you going.