Skip to main content

25 totally unnecessary but desirable travel gadgets

By Jill Becker and Tamara Hinson, for CNN
updated 12:59 AM EDT, Tue July 8, 2014
Narrative is a tiny 5-megapixel camera you clip onto your clothes. It takes two photos every minute automatically when turned on. Narrative is a tiny 5-megapixel camera you clip onto your clothes. It takes two photos every minute automatically when turned on.
HIDE CAPTION
Narrative clip-on camera
Louis Vuitton shower-in-a-trunk
BioLite CampStove
SteriPEN Ultra
Modern-twist mark-mat
FitKit exercise solution
Bentley Mulsanne B-001 WG sunglasses
SleepPhones
Williams Handmade luggage
Blackout Pocket
The Orator's Briefcase PA System
Dom Reilly Watch Roll
Clever Travel Companion secure clothing
Two-Person Sandless Beach Mat
Hendrick's Gin with Traveler's Case
SwaggerTag
Bang and Olufsen Beolit 12 travel speaker
Trakdot luggage tracker
Panasonic HX-A500 wearable camcorder
Zeiss Victory HT 8x42 binoculars
'The Dog Lover's Guide to Travel'
Ultimate Bag on Wheels
simple.be metal-free belts
myTask URBAN iPhone case and toolkit
Smythson Chameleon Collection Travel Journal
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Narrative is a hands-free (it clips to your clothes) camera that snaps pics automatically every 30 seconds
  • SleepPhones are headphones in a headband -- perfect for falling asleep to tunes without your bulky earpiece falling out
  • LV's shower in a trunk is a bit ambitious, not to say impractical, but what an eye-catcher
  • Steripen Ultra kills bacteria in water in 48 seconds

(CNN) -- Yes, it's great to travel light.

Sure, too much tech can make life trickier, not easier.

No, that's not going to stop us listing some of the coolest gadgets, gizmos and accessories that could just make you the happiest traveler this side of the Apple store. (If only till you lose them/have them stolen.)

Narrative clip-on camera

This is a tiny five-megapixel camera that clips onto your clothes and does the work for you, automatically taking two photos every minute when turned on. The accompanying app lets you save, organize and search the images. Narrative, $279.

Modern-twist mark-mat

A washable mark-mat is a great time-waster for kids to draw on. The doodle-friendly placemats feature scenes from several top cities, including Paris and New York, and come alone or with four dry-erase markers so kids can wipe off their work and start over again. Modern-twist, $18-25.

Dom Reilly Watch Roll

This layer of high-tech foam (the same stuff used in F1 cars) protects your timepieces from 97% of the shock from an impact. Dom Reilly, $500.

Smythson Chameleon Collection Travel Journal

Jotting down your travel-related musings is made less choresome by this luxurious notebook, which has a goatskin cover and ultra-thin pages. Smythson, $280.

MORE: 5 best travel gadgets from CES 2013

Vacation time is workout time.
Vacation time is workout time.

Fitkit fitness solution

This portable fitness solution combines resistance bands, handled resistance tubes, a jump rope, pedometer and more in a handy package weighing less than two pounds. Fitkit, $34.99.

SleepPhones

A "headphone in a headband" that fits snugly around your ears and provides hours of audio to help reduce ambient noises? Finally!

The wireless version ($99.95) syncs with your smart phone or other Bluetooth-enabled device. SleepPhones, $39.95.

Scottevest Blackout Pocket

You can foil, or at least delay, digital thieves with this high-tech clothing pocket. The totable 5x6.5-inch pouch is lined with an RFID-blocking material, securing the info on credit cards and cellphones from scanners, skimmers and the like. SCOTTEVEST, $20-40.

Panasonic HX-A500 wearable camcorder

This is the world's first 25-frame-a-second, 4K (very high resolution) wearable camcorder, worn on any part of the body and operated with a separate control panel. It can record underwater and if your shots are wonky, it'll automatically level them out. Panasonic, $399.99.

MORE: Luxury necessities: Best new travel accessories

BioLite CampStove

The BioLite CampStove can toast your marshmallows and charge your smart phone. By burning a few sticks inside, enough electricity is generated to charge multiple electronic devices, while you heat water, grill some burgers or sear some s'mores. Biolitestove, $129.95.

Hidden pockets -- for hiding valuables, collecting sand.
Hidden pockets -- for hiding valuables, collecting sand.

Clever Travel Companion secure clothing

Cash, passports and other treasures can be secured in the hidden pockets of a stylish line of T-shirts, tank tops and, yes, even undies and long johns. Clever Travel Companion, starting at $21.90.

SwaggerTag

This is a colorful ID tag to personalize your baggage using a family photo, the logo of your favorite sports team or any other image. Your personal information is stored safely inside. SwaggerTag, $3.99.

SteriPEN Ultra

This clever piece of kit eliminates 99.9% of bacteria from water in just 48 seconds. The UV lamp can be used to treat 8,000 one-liter containers. SteriPEN, $99.95.

MORE: 10 most ridiculous travel accessories

Zeiss Victory HT 8x42 binoculars

These binoculars claim to offer the best light transmission on the market, which means you'll still get great vision on the cloudiest of days. They're also extremely tough, with housing made from high tensile magnesium and a coating that repels water. Cabelas, $2,249.99.

When airline luggage services fail, Trakdot wins.
When airline luggage services fail, Trakdot wins.

Trakdot luggage tracker

Trakdot is a compact unit outfitted with a GSM chip that you tuck in your bag, allowing you to track its location on your computer or smart phone. The price tag includes activation and your first year's service. Trakdot, $89.99.

Bentley Mulsanne B-001 WG sunglasses

First step on the road to owning a Bentley car -- the Bentley sunglasses. Made from white gold and featuring the same B found on your Bentley Mulsanne gear lever (if you own one), even the case is impressive -- a reassuringly solid box designed to fit perfectly into the center console of your Bentley. Again, if you own one. Bentley Eyewear, $15,950.

"Dog Lover's Guide To Travel"

Kelly Carter's new book dishes advice on everything from prepping your pooch for a trek to the beach (yes, they should wear sunscreen) to finding the most Fido-friendly hotels, restaurants, parks and more in 75 cities across North America. "The Dog Lover's Guide to Travel," $22.95.

MORE: The 50-cent accessory that could save your trip

Ultimate Bag on Wheels pet carrier

Sherpa's Ultimate Bag on Wheels pet carrier is a medium-sized bag with wheels for animals weighing up to 16 pounds. It's part of the company's Guaranteed on Board program, ensuring acceptance on Delta, Southwest and most other major airlines. Ultimate on Wheels, $147.

Simple.be metal-free belts

Simple.be makes metal-free belts that won't set off airport security detectors. They're made of sturdy polypropylene or polyester webbing and feature an acetal buckle.

The belts are available in a multitude of colors and feature either a diamond or zigzag pattern. simple.be, $19-29.

The Swiss Army Knife of iPhone cases.
The Swiss Army Knife of iPhone cases.

Mytask Urban iPhone case and toolkit

This iPhone case protects your precious cellphone, yes, but it also features a slide-out drawer outfitted with a mirror, tweezers, bottle opener, stylus, screwdriver, USB drive, mini LED light and even a pair of scissors. It's TSA compliant, so it's safe to go through the X-ray machine. Mytask URBAN iphone case, $60.

Louis Vuitton shower-trunk

If a standard suitcase won't cut it, you'll be pleased to know one of LV's made-to-order options now includes this shower-in-a-trunk -- a suitcase that turns into a shower. The bad news is you'll only be given a price quote if you commission the brand to make one. Risky. Louis Vuitton, price on request.

MORE: 'Smart' luggage will text you when it gets lost

Williams Handmade luggage

Williams Handmade is a luxury leather luggage company founded by creative genius Sarah Williams -- a British designer whose background includes stints at some of the world's top leather goods companies. Her the cross-shaped Emmett case is lovely, but if you're an imaginative traveler with money to burn, her bespoke service is the easiest way to guarantee your luggage stands out. Williams Handmade, from $146.

Two-Person Sandless Beach Mat

This towel was reportedly developed for military use, made from a woven polyurethane material that sand won't stick to. It also won't absorb moisture, so it won't go moldy. Hammacher, $59.95.

Who cares what you play when it looks this good?
Who cares what you play when it looks this good?

Bang and Olufsen Beolit 12 travel speaker

This is just about the coolest-looking iPhone-ported speaker set you'll find. It comes with an eight-hour battery life. Beoplay, $599.

Hendrick's Gin with Traveler's Case

Why reduce yourself to a hip flask when a leather satchel says so much more? A bottle of gin isn't the only thing inside this leather bag -- you also get a hip flask and a cashmere and silk scarf. Harrods, $1,349.

The Orator's Briefcase PA System

This multipurpose suitcase is designed for businessmen making speeches on short notice. The case comes with a built-in, 20-watt amplifier, a pop-up lectern and two microphones. Hammacher, $349.95.

MORE: Best new apps for travelers

Jill Becker is a freelance travel journalist based in Atlanta.
Tamara Hinson is a freelance travel and lifestyle journalist based in the UK.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:56 PM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Journals, luggage tags, Panama hats? Yawn. We've got a selection of gifts travelers will actually use.
updated 7:26 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Global events, new attractions and anniversary celebrations will put these destinations on travel radars next year. Question is, which one(s) to visit?
updated 7:48 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Of all Christmas traditions out there, one has an All-American pedigree: electric Christmas tree lights.
updated 9:51 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it's never looked better.
updated 5:04 AM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
.
Looking for snow porn? This helicopter ski adventure will fly you into the Coast Mountains for the freshest runs.
updated 10:19 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
From Singapore to Norway, there are plenty of reasons to plan your next trip around a fabulous hotel opening its doors next year.
updated 4:25 AM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
Step aside Mount Everest, this mountain country is home to cool cafes, crazy drinks and ancient Buddhist tradition.
updated 5:56 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Nonprofit Ethical Traveler has released its annual list of the developing countries doing the most to promote human rights and preserve their environments.
updated 5:36 AM EST, Thu December 11, 2014
These waterfront watering holes have killer ocean views, creative drinks and the mahalo vibe we demand.
updated 3:38 PM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
Can't wait to book your ticket to Indianapolis and Oakland? The venerable guidebook is right there with you
updated 1:25 AM EST, Wed December 10, 2014
By helicopter, snowmobile and big-wheel truck across some of the world's most volatile landscapes.
updated 4:42 PM EST, Tue December 9, 2014
Construction begins on a new Singapore airport complex that could make delays and layovers a pleasure.
updated 9:41 AM EST, Tue December 9, 2014
Inflight chatterboxes are annoying but they're not the worst violators of onboard etiquette, according to an Expedia study.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT