Our favourite essential gadgets for travel

Amanda Angus / 15 July 2019

These essential travel gadgets will take up next to no space in your luggage.

If you struggle to close the suitcase after packing everything you might need on holiday, don’t worry – help is at hand. 

Rather than jettisoning a few pairs of socks or choosing between shoes, simply make the things that you can’t be without a bit more compact.

Bite zapper

If you’re travelling somewhere that suffers from biting insects (ie, anywhere warm) and you don’t want to be loaded down with various soothing creams and lotions to stop the itching once the inevitable happens, perhaps invest in a bite zapper. 

When pressed against the skin and triggered, this small contraption delivers a harmless static charge to the area surrounding the bite, stopping the release of histamine that causes the itching sensation. 

The faster you can zap the bite the better, which makes the small size of the bite zapper even more invaluable, as you can simply pop it in your bag when venturing out for the day, with no worries about creams escaping their tubes and melting all over your belongings.

Buy it now from £5 on Amazon

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USB charger

When travelling anywhere outside of the UK, one thing you’ll kick yourself for forgetting is a power adapter to suit the different plug sockets of the country you’re exploring. 

And if you do manage to remember, and fill your luggage with adapters, then when you arrive at the hotel you’ll discover there’s only one plug and you have to alternate between charging your phone, camera and kindle – unless you’ve though ahead and brought a multiway-plug, which took up even more space. 

Odds are, one of these electronic devices will be forgotten about or not charged quite fully, leaving you with a dead battery at a crucial moment. 

And after all that, you’ll probably end up leaving the adaptor in the hotel room. 

That’s where the USB charger comes in; it comes with three different pin sets to cover the UK, the continent and the States, and has four USB charging points, so you can charge four things at once. 

Most electronic devices now come with USB chargers that double up as connections to download from or upload to your computer, so you can save even more room in your bag by leaving the plug attachments at home.

Buy it now from £12.99 on Amazon

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Power pen

On the subject of charging, if you tend to use your phone camera instead of an actual camera to document your time spend exploring new countries, you’re probably well used to the battery dying before you’re back in your hotel room. It’s irritating, but what can you do about it?

And on the subject of small irritations, have you ever been in the plane, about to touch down, had to fill in a customs form to say where you’re staying and your reasons for being in the country and realised you don’t have a pen, and had to ask your fellow passengers if you could borrow one? 

This might seem tangential, but bear with me – what if you could solve both these issues in one, easy-to-pack, fell swoop?

You’ve probably worked out where I’m going with this, but in case you haven’t, then what you’re looking for is a power pen. When you’re not filling in customs forms with it, you simply flip it and plug it into your phone for a quick fix of juice – just enough to make sure you get that last picture of the Empire State or the Eiffel Tower.

Buy it now from £22 on Amazon

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USB Flash Drive for iPhone and iPad

The nifty SanDisk iXpand is an easy (and affordable) way to free up space on your iPhone while you’re on the move. It automatically backs up your camera roll, and lets you watch videos straight from the drive itself.

It’s also small enough to fit in your rucksack, so if you’re taking a trip to a volcano in Costa Rica, watching whales in Iceland or visiting the shrine of Lord Skanda and Temple of Kiri Vehera in Sri Lanka you can make sure you capture every special moment! 

It's designed to be very user-friendly rather than complicated and techy, and with the flexible lightning & USB 3.0 connector it allows for stress-free transfers from iPhone/iPad to computer. 

Buy it now for £23.99 on Amazon

Solid cologne

If you want to smell beautifully fragrant during your flight, or like to reapply your favourite scent regularly throughout the day whilst you're travelling, you'll love solid cologne. Much more compact and safer to pop into your hand luggage than a bulky but delicate glass perfume bottle, these wax-based colognes come in a small tin with a sliding lid and are made up of beeswax, shea butter and jojoba oil to leave your skin feeling refreshed and protected.

Buy it now from £14.99 on solidcologne.co.uk

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.