Okay, you actually can travel without these accessories but it makes life abroad sooooo much easier if you have them! Think about tossing at least a couple of these into your suitcase before you hop on that plane.
Whether you’re wanting to spend a semester volunteering in Europe or just taking a week long vacation in Asia, these little pieces of technology make traveling lots easier.
Oh and to make things really really easy, this post has affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, we earn a small commission). Just know that we only share products that we ourselves have used and loved, that other volunteers have recommended, or that we think just look like they'd be pretty useful!
- SD Card Phone Reader
- A Flash Drive For Your Phone
- Wireless Sticks
- Battery Pack
- Headphone Splitter
- Multiple USB Converter/Adapter
Retractable Phone Charger
- GPS Tracking Luggage Lock
SD Card Phone Reader
This is a must for anyone with a DSLR camera. All you have to do is plug it into your phone (or your friends’ phone) and insert your camera’s memory card. Then, just download the pictures right onto your phone — no need to fuss with a computer or sending pictures over email before posting that awesome Dominican Republic beach photo to Instagram.
I have this one from Apple but you can also snag one on Amazon.
Wondering how to travel with your camera? We have a blog post that talks all about it.
A Flash Drive For Your Phone
You're finally standing in front of the Eiffel Tower and your phone runs out of space. Oh no. You can’t delete the pictures from your recent Grecian getaway but you have to get that perfect Parisian shot! Don’t worry — just plug in this tiny phone USB and move stuff around to clear up space on your phone. This teeny USB holds 64 gigs so you’ll have plenty of space for aaallll your Paris pics. We also love that it's another way to backup your photos, because you don't quite understand how devastating it is to lose your phone along with all the photos you just took until it happens to you.
Find it on Amazon here. If you are willing to spend a little more, you can get even more GB of memory (up to a 1TB).
Stick this into your pocket and you'll be set — this USB-like device wirelessly transfers photos from your phone over to the stick, so you won't have to worry about running out of space.
Volunteers in the past have had good luck with the Sandisk Wireless Stick Flash Drive, but there are other brands you can try out, too. They're small, relatively inexpensive (depending on storage) and a lifesaver because no one likes deleting pictures on vacation just so you can take one more picture of the Trevi Fountain.
Worried about losing your photos while you're on vacation? Here's how to back up your pictures while you're abroad.
Portable Battery Pack
Never run out of battery with one of these in your backpack. You can buy a bigger one that will charge your phone on-the-go three or four times or get a smaller one that will give you one full charge. Now there’s no need to find an outlet while camping overnight on the Great Wall of China!
You can also get ones that have multiple USB outlets so you can charge all of your gadgets and a couple of your friends’. Nice!
Pro tip on these: If you're taking a portable battery on a flight, you have to pack it in your carry on bags. They won't allow you to check a bag with a battery.
My friend loves this portable charger, but I'm really partial to these slimmer options: this one or this one. But honestly, you'd be doing yourself a favor getting a couple of these. At home, I have one in my car, one in my purse, and one in my apartment so I can just grab a couple and be set no matter where I'm going.
Plus, if you are going somewhere sunny you can even get a solar-powered battery pack. This one is the top editor's pick on Amazon for traveling.
You and friend can both tune out the noise with some music (or one of these podcasts) with a headphone splitter. Just plug the splitter into your phone and then plug your headphones into the other outlets — Each splitter lets at least 2 people listen but you can get ones that fit up to 5 pairs of headphones. Perfect for your whole ILP group!
Multiple USB Converter/Adapter
Depending on where you are traveling, you might need to get a converter (an adapter that changes the type of plug to fit into the socket, while a converter changes the amount of electricity so your electronics don’t fry when you plug them in).
Do yourself a favorite and grab a converter with multiple USB outlets so you can charge all your devices and your friend’s too while you are waiting for a train or a plane.
Love snorkeling or swimming? If you're headed to volunteer in one of our programs that'll have you living close to the beach for your semester abroad, this is a must.
You can get a waterproof camera that uses old-fashioned film for pretty cheap, or this is a nice disposable option.
You can also just get a waterproof case for your phone, like this one. Just slide your phone in the case, wrap the strap around your wrist, and you're good to go. Personally, I tend to use this budget friendly option whenever I'm out swimming, but I will admit that it's not the easiest way to take a lot of photos. It does a good job at keeping your phone dry, but it can be testy when you're trying use your phone while it's in the case.
Or, if you are more committed, you might invest a bit more and get something like this case — essentially it turns your phone into an underwater camera with a fancy button and screen and everything.
Retractable Phone Charger
Are you the organized type like me and absolutely hate those loose cords strung all over your bag? You need your chargers ... but it's just driving you crazy.
Did you know that you can buy retractable chargers? It's true! The cord stays nicely tucked away, free from damage or tangling, and you can keep your phone charged. Plus, you can even find ones like this one that have more than one charger available, so you can help your ILP travel groupies, too!
GPS Tracking Luggage Lock
I've always been paranoid about losing my luggage or the airport sending it to the wrong place. And of course it doesn't help that the airport lost my cousin's luggage and he didn't get it back for 6 months (!).
If you are paranoid too, there are amazing tech tools for that now. These luggage locks are sturdy and strong, unlock via Bluetooth from your phone so you don't have to remember a combination, and work as a GPS tracker for your luggage! If you're taking a flight across the world and have several stops, it's so nice to be able to keep tabs on your bag and know it's with you every step of the way (and that it hasn't been accidentally diverted to another destination by the airline). There's several options out here, but check out eGee Touch Smart Lock or the Safedome lock.
Need more travel tips in your life?
Get them all first hand as an ILP volunteer!
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