6 Essentials for Smart Travel: Tech Edition

Lumsing power bank in champagne

I still have a little less than a week before I depart for China indefinitely, but since realizing this morning how much more difficult packing for the potential long term will be, I—uncharacteristically of me—already started.

Since returning from Prague (post coming soon!), I’ve been spending a ton of time researching and taking advantage of my Amazon Prime membership to have everything I need to travel smarter. I adore the mantra that I’ve been telling myself to fail and fail often, because I’ve always been afraid to fail. I’m becoming more and more aware that not allowing that fear to take over is the best way not only to learn new things, but also to grow as a person. I mean, I’m shipping off to China, while acknowledging I may very well live up to the expectations of even my parents who, although may not always admit it, think I will fail to adjust to a lifestyle in China. But hey, if I’m going to try it, I need to try it now.

Anyway, what I would most like to share is more helpful packing advice based on recent travels. I’ve written about my biggest traveling mistake from my post-grad trip of overpacking, but having returned from Prague and done much more research in preparation for China, I feel better about packing than even when I wrote that post a few weeks ago.

I hope you find my tech-related travel essentials useful for your own travels, whether they’re short or long term. Yes, a beauty edition is coming soon, because I’ve failed with packing in that area, too.

Lumsing power bank in champagne
Great travel accessory came just in time: the Lumsing power bank in champagne.

Lumsing Power Bank

Thanks to Amazon Prime, I received this portable battery pack right on the day I left for Prague. So far, it’s working well.

Pros: It has two USB ports, which is especially helpful if you’re traveling with someone else. The lights next to the dual ports indicate how much battery the pack itself has. It claims to charge an iPhone four to five times. It comes with a cute carrying case.

Cons: It’s a bit heavier than an iPhone 6. It comes with a cord that charges the pack only via USB, so you either have to use your laptop or a power strip that has USB ports, which brings me to…

4 USB Port and 8 AC Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip

I just added this to my cart, so I haven’t had a chance yet to give it a try, but I chose this one because…

Pros: It’s one of the few that actually comes in different colors (i.e., it’s one of the more stylish options). It has 4 USB ports and 8 outlets, compared to the also popular and stylish Belkin mini travel surge protector, which only has two ports and at most 6 outlets. It does not have Cable Matters’ bright green light that some people find too bright for a bedroom. This is best for long-term travel and even just everyday use at home, because the concern I have is…

Con: It’s quite big.

Shacke Pak’s 4-Set Packing Cubes with Laundry Bag

This isn’t directly tech-related, but it’s so ridiculously necessary that I must include it. And hey, you can pack all your chargers, adaptors, etc. in the smallest one so that’s something. Again, I just ordered these so I haven’t used them, but I already know how life-changing packing cubes will be. These are most useful for long-term trips, but even a few cubes for a short-term one will save you the headache of a messy suitcase.

Pros: ORGANIZATION!! I’ve said this before and I’m not afraid to say it again: I failed so hard with my post-grad trip packing that it became just a shameful mess. I’m SO glad I failed, because now I can use these packing cubes will have my suitcase looking pristine and clean at any stage of a trip. There are many good brands out there, including eBags, Eagle Creek, and TravelWise, but of course for the wannabe chic traveler, I chose the one that looks the best (which may also speak to better quality).

Cons: None right now.

Snugg Macbook Air & Pro Leather Sleeve

I bought this a few months ago and still use it every day.

Pros: #CLASSY for both men and women. I use it as a mat to place between my laptop and, well, my lap or a coffee table to avoid overheating myself or making my laptop dirty. It has a large pocket in the back for those random notes and papers. It even has a business card holder on the back for those opportunists (I myself carry around a business card holder so I haven’t really needed to use this).

Cons: It definitely adds weight, which is a huge downside when traveling. If you’re looking for lighter options, I would recommend going with a cheaper, rubberized case that is equally as chic and one on which you can add stickers 🙂 That means that you probably can’t use another case if you want this sleeve.

Creative Aurvana Live! 2 Headset with In-Line Mic

I also received these just before leaving for Prague. I literally spent days researching the best headphones under $100, because I’ve been itching to try headphones instead of earbuds for a while now, after using earbuds like Audio-Technica’s (which are great and inexpensive, by the way).

Pros: Incredible bass makes for great EDM listening (mainly what sold me on these). Comfortable, adjustable, noise-canceling, and of course stylish. It comes with a cute drawstring carrying case. It comes with a mic, so you can use it for phone calls (but I’ve found that I’m still not comfortable with how I look wearing them for Skype…).

Cons: Like with many headphones, the top part can hurt after a while, despite padding, so you may need to keep adjusting if you’re in it for the long haul (e.g., watching movies on a long flight). Otherwise, it remains comfortable on my ears no matter how long I wear it.

Bottom line: I would DEFINITELY get the JayBird headphones if I had the heart to splurge. But I’m happy with mine for now. #oneday…

Mpow Clip-On Lenses

I’ve raved about these before, but I’ll remind you again: GET THE CLIP-ON FOR YOUR SMARTPHONE NOW. Some of my best Instagram photos are thanks to using the fisheye lens. I’ve literally received dozens of inquiries from strangers when I have this on my phone, and people are amazed every time I demonstrate the magic. But more specifically…

Pros: (use an infomercial-like sorority-girl voice) You, too, can take legit profesh photos! It’s SO easy! Just clip it onto your phone when you want to use it, or slide it over or take it off when you don’t! Prepare for all the compliments you’ll receive not only on your legit photos, but also on how awesome you are for using this. For more pros, read why you should invest in this. (How am I not its official spokeswoman by now…)

Cons: Hard to believe there are any, right? But to be more objective, you have to use this with a bumper case or without a case at all, because it may be more difficult with any other case. I admit, there are now slightly sleeker options that make this white clip-on seem clunky. Oh, well. More attention on you wonderful geniuses.

Bottom line: Avoid the embarrassment of using a selfie stick with a clip-on, please.

And that’s all for now! I’ll probably update this as I fail some more 😉 Any essentials I’m missing?