There are a lot of travel gadgets that claim to make your trips easier and more enjoyable, but for the most part, they seem to just take up space, are one more thing to keep track of, and you probably don’t need it in the first place.
Here are four travel gadgets we’ve done without for hundreds of years, and could probably do without for hundreds more. Ever since the first pioneer families piled into the family-covered wagon and headed west on a lifelong vacation, they managed to get along without these travel gadgets. As well as running water and air conditioning.)
1. SELFIE STICKS
Yes, many of you have selfie sticks, and you love using them. But let’s say it anyway: You don’t need selfie sticks. They’re totally banned in Disney World, banned on the rides in Sea World, and must be stowed away on the rides at Universal Studios.
To begin with, your arm is probably long enough to get the whole family into a picture and get everyone to crowd together. If there are too many of you, you can always ask a stranger to take a photo, or you can prop your phone up on a ledge and use the timer.
You’re only going to use a selfie stick a few times a day, and you’ll likely find that the thing you thought was a good idea at 8:00 AM is a terrible burden at 3:00 PM, and you’ve still got another 7 hours to go.
2. PORTABLE SPEAKERS
If you’re on vacation, hopefully, you’re doing something else that doesn’t require a soundtrack. Maybe you can spend that time talking with your family or just enjoying the scenery. If you need usic or want to listen to a podcast, use a set of earbuds because there’s a good chance that not everyone wants to hear your entertainment choices.
Even the smallest portable speakers can get heavy after you have to carry them for a few hours, especially when you can only get a few hours of charge out of them. I could see using them if you were camping and wanted to keep up with the news or have a little background noise. But even so, you’ll need a power source, like a portable power supply or a solar charger.
3. AN EXPENSIVE DSLR CAMERA
Cameras are rather inconvenient as a travel gadget, but a lot of luxury travel articles list the latest and most expensive consumer-grade cameras as a “must have” travel gadget. That’s nonsense.
That’s not to say you don’t need a camera. You maybe just don’t need an expensive digital SLR camera with interchangeable lenses. That is unless you’re already a photographer.
If you’re new to photography, don’t buy a $900 camera in the hopes of learning how to use it on vacation. They’re cumbersome and complicated, and capturing that once-in-a-lifetime shot while reading the manual is next to impossible. You’ll either miss the shot or take it badly.
If you really want a fancy camera, get one a few months before your trip and spend many hours getting familiar with it first. Go on walks and take photos. Experiment with the settings, and learn how to take great photos without using the Full Auto setting. You should use this camera enough so it becomes second nature to you, and you know what settings you need in any lighting situation.
Until then, just take photos on your smartphone like the rest of us.
4. POCKET/CREDIT CARD MULTI-TOOLS
It’s a big trend, especially for men, to carry a multi-tool as part of their EDC (Everyday Carry) stash, even though I can’t imagine being in a situation where I needed the tool on a regular basis to fix a problem. Of course, I work in an office, so there’s never been a need to loosen a slightly stuck bolt or needed to cut small branches.
Oh, I might have found myself where a credit card-sized multi-tool was helpful, but those are so rare that it seems like too much trouble to carry one of these travel gadgets. Besides, I know a friend who lost his favorite Leatherman multi-tool to a TSA checkpoint a few years ago, and he says he’s still bitter about it.
If you like carrying a multi-tool, consider a credit card multi-tool without a knife or cutting edge on it. You can take those on airplane flights. And I’ve even seen one that will fold up into a mobile phone tripod you can use on a desk or an airplane tray table. But if you’re taking a road trip, it’s a good idea to have a small toolbox in your trunk and maybe a larger multi-tool.
What do you think of our travel gadgets list? Do you agree or disagree? Are there any you would add to the list? Tell us about it on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.
Photo credit: Wokandpix (Pixabay, Creative Commons 0)