Whether you’re a city break gal, a two-week holiday hell raiser or a long-term backpacker - anything that makes your life easier when travelling is only a good thing in my book. I’m always looking for any new addition to my collection that will help my travels run smoother, safer and more efficiently. Some of my favourites over the years have been travel towels and waterproof cameras, both have made such a difference to my travelling experience and are something I never leave behind. Just before I headed off on my holiday to Santorini, I was asked to review a few products and thought what better time to test them out? I’ll be continuing to trial them throughout my travels in Eastern Europe and Australia over the next few months, but as always all opinions are my own! These products are fantastic for all kinds of travellers and will make a huge difference to both living the experience, and capturing it - whether you’re a travel blogger or not.
First up are a couple of products from what is quickly becoming one of my favourite brands - Juice is an ethically sound, high quality company that works to create the best electronic accessories. Everything you could need to charge, protect and complement your devices and plenty of affordable additions that will not only look super cute but will make your life a lot more streamlined and easier when you travel.
Juice Universal Travel Adapter
Something we all need when travelling is a reliable adapter that will fit with sockets in every country. It doesn’t matter if you’re off on a short holiday to one country or you’re crossing several borders, you’ll always need to charge your phone, iPod, or turn on your straighteners. If you’re the kind of girl who can’t go out without taming her mane, you’ll know the absolute annoyance when you can’t plug in your bloody hairdryer after a long flight. It’s one of those boring things your dad always has to remind you about, but really could make or break the holiday if you arrive without - you can’t get good replacements everywhere even in the modern world! One of the newest additions to the Travel Juice range, the Universal Adapter even comes in a range of cute colours!My bright pink set definitely won’t be forgotten when I’m in a mad rush to pack my bags next time before a flight, and if my phone, MP3 or iPad cuts out I know the Travel Juice Adapter is equipped with FASTcharge and has three slots so I can charge all three at the same time. The set comes with four interchangeable plugs which are compatible with sockets in over 150 countries - now I’m only on 25 countries so far but I’m determined to trial the charger in as many as possible. If you’re sick of rubbish, cheap quality adapters, this is a good one to invest in for the long term, and best thing yet - it’s still a budget buy at £22.99 so you can keep your money for your holiday! Not yet available from the website, you can find it in-store in Sainsburys and it will soon be available from Tesco and WHSmith.
Juice Power Station
I've been in need of a power pack for my phone for a long time, let's be honest no-one's battery ever lasts long enough when you're Instagramming your holiday snaps, Tweeting your pals back home and catching Pokemon. When you're backpacking and need your phone to survive a 50-hour bus journey so you can use maps at the other end, it becomes even more important to be able to recharge. The Juice Power Station is a high capacity power bank which can recharge your iPhone 6 not once, not twice, but over six times.It also works with your iPad or tablet and you can charge two devices at once, on a long journey, that could be one hell of a saviour and I sure could have used it when I was constantly on my phone in my sales job. With the same rapid charging function, it's very efficient at giving your phone the boost it needs - trust me, I tried it out at a blogging event and a week later I was still able to use it to charge up my phone - it's very good. The LED lights on the top let you know at a glance how much power is left in it. The hot pink means it's never going to get lost in your bag, and if you prefer another colour it comes in any of 13 options. Costing £29.99, it's a great investment and available here to buy.
Ordel GoPro Accessories
Another fantastic brand for travellers of all types is Ordel, they've got something to suit all your electronic needs and their range of GoPro accessories is amazing! Before I set out on my 18 month travelling adventure, I invested in a Go Pro - everyone had one and I kept reading they were just the best camera to take backpacking. I already had a waterproof compact camera at this point but was convinced I would use a GoPro as well - I was wrong. I barely used it in the time I was away and actually posted it home in the end. Since being in Santorini, I’ve rediscovered it thanks to Ordel who sent me some awesome accessories including the Monopod and a body and head harness. Having these really showed me how easy the camera is to use and the fantastic quality of the photos I can get that give a totally different perspective to those I’m used to. As someone who loves photography and is constantly trying to improve and capture images in a different way, I think it’s great to be able to take such wide images of the landscape.I’ll be honest, I’m not a selfie stick person. I’m the kind of person who finds the crowds of tourists with them so irritating when I’m trying to watch the sunrise at Angkor Wat on no sleep. BUT, when you’re a travel blogger, a solo traveller, or just someone who loves a good photo - they are a fantastic addition to your travelling gadgets. Plus the Monopod is much slimmer and more streamlined than many of the other selfie sticks I’ve seen previously, much more subtle, and at £4.95 it's a bargain! I have some great pics from the top of an active volcano and a mountain I climbed during the holiday, plus some great underwater videos from snorkelling. I loved that the pack also came with a head and a body harness - I haven’t yet had the opportunity to try these but they’re coming back to Oz with me for the ride! If you’re looking for a cheap and good quality kit to help boost your Go Pro pics - look no further than Ordel. You can also find the kit here on Amazon.
Any other travelling gadgets you’d like to recommend? If you’re a brand interested in sharing your products for a review - email email@example.com
When packing for an extended trip, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the serious lack of space in your rucksack. Whether you’re someone who wants to squeeze in their entire wardrobe, or someone who just can’t stand to leave behind those chunky books, it’s never easy to decide what makes the final cut. I remember when I was first packing to come away and had no idea what to bring - luckily I ended up vetoing a lot of things because when I reached Asia I started to wish I had left it all behind and bought it cheap out there! I have met so many people on the road who have told me all their travelling secrets for packing light and keeping things simple - so many of these pieces of wisdom have had a huge impact on my journey. From rolling your clothes and stuffing your socks in your shoes, to finding multi-purpose gadgets that will cut back on the weight of your bag - there’s so many ways to slim-line your life when cutting it down to a 65l bag. Trust me, any shortcuts you find at the beginning will change your life further down the road.
Gadgets are a great way to make your life easier when on the road and a whole range of fantastic products are now available from travel and outdoor shops. I’ve tried out a few since travelling and felt conflicted over others, but I can’t deny that some of them have been a godsend when it comes to last minute packing, overnight bus journeys and any little crisis along the way. Here are some of my favourites, and a few that I’ll be investing in next time I’m on the move:
The most valuable item you will ever pack - not only will it work in every country so you won’t have to pack several different plugs, but they are usually very streamlined to fit neatly in your bag. It’s a good idea to get one that offers surge protection as quite often the power is unreliable or can overpower items plugged in, this will stop any of your electrical from being damaged if there is a storm or surge. Check out this one from Gap Year Travel Store for just $5.99.
I bought a travel towel when I first left home and absolutely loved it - it was lightweight, dried me twice as quickly as a regular towel and never felt damp. It made it all the way round Asia with me and was a fantastic space saver in my bag, friends who were carrying bath towels always felt a bit foolish when comparing the size of it to mine. They always come in cute colours - my first one was purple and I’m loving this new pink Solotrekk Microfibre Travel Towel that was sent to me by The Gap Year Travel Store. It’s going to make a huge difference to my packing when I get rid of the beach towel I’ve been using since Sydney, despite it being the same size, and I love that it comes in this neat little travel pouch. At just $8.99 it’s one of the cheapest and best additions to your travelling gadget collection.
I’ve never owned a set of these but have luckily always run into someone who did when I needed them most. It’s the sort of item that only one person has but the whole hostel borrows when they leave for the airport. Particularly in Australia, I’ve found certain airlines are a bit tight when it comes to hand luggage allowance and stick to the 7kg rule, even weighing to check. I’ve had o move a few things into my big bag before - and we all know how embarrassing it is to dig through your bag in the airport queue. The good thing about these is it’s just a hook so it can pack away nice and tiny when you’re ready to move on. Here are scales for just $6.99.
My waterproof camera has been one of my favourite and most treasured possessions since coming travelling. From snorkelling and swimming with sea turtles, to splashing around in waterfalls and tubing down rivers, it has been everywhere with me capturing every moment. On so many occasions I have been the only one with a waterproof camera and afterwards all of my friends have been over the moon to see photos of all our hilarious and beautiful memories. My particular camera is a Nikon Coolpix which I would really recommend if you don’t fancy a GoPro. I actually had a GoPro as well and sold it because I found this camera a lot more quick and effective to use, plus I much preferred the picture quality.
I’ve been conflicted over Kindles ever since they came out, I’ve been an iPad girl for quite a while so that I didn’t have to take a laptop while travelling. But I’ve always hated reading off a screen, I’m more of a traditional girl who likes the feel of a book in her hand. I’ve spent much of my time in Asia relying on book swaps, but I have to admit the books I like to read are often pretty chunk and weigh a lot. Even my Australia travel guide is huge, it would be great to cut back on the weight and space by having a Kindle to read on.
It’s amazing how such small items that seem so insignificant at home can have such a huge impact on your travelling life, but going prepared with items such as these can really help you from the second you step off the place. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to buy a cheap adapter in Bangkok as your phone battery is dying then getting one back to the hostel to find it doesn’t even work! Gadgets are one time when it is good to go prepared or make sure you buy them from a reputable company - leaving them to the markets in Asia can often mean the quality is less. Packing just a couple of these items could save you a lot of backpack space, plus a lot of time and stress later on, and who doesn't want that? Looking for something that could make your backpacking life run more smoothly - look no further than Gap Year Travel Store for all the essentials.
What gadgets have helped you on your travels? Which items would you suggest leaving at home, and which ones should you definitely not forget?
*This post was a collaboration with The Gap Year Travel Store, but all views remain my own.