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I don’t know about you, reader, but I’ve seen too many travel blogs idolizing super-expensive gadgets that have far too limited use. Furthermore, many products that seem cool, like heavy laptops, DVD players and PSPs, aren’t going to add to your trip, they’re going to take away.

Below is the best of the best that I’ve found, all of it is reasonably priced for what you’re getting, and all of them have excellent and vital uses on any trip, for business or pleasure.

2 or more LED Flashlights

I don’t know why no one ever talks flashlights, but I’ve done quite a bit of traveling, from road trips to Europe to Japan, and the lowly flashlight is just as useful as a laptop. Also, never carry just one, but always at least one more than you’ll need. Buy some here.

Nikken Water Bottle and Insteps

If Nintendo made health products instead of video games, they would be Nikken. This company has tons of strange and useful gadgets, and the two best for travel are Water Bottle and Insteps. The Water Bottle has a built-in filtration system that I once put Coca Cola through and it came out very light brown water on the other side, so it works great. The Insteps have small magnets inside, helping your feet last longer on hikes or long tourist walks. You can buy both of these amazing products from https://www.dfydaily.com/ at an affordable price along with super-fast delivery at your doorstep.

MintyBoost

MintyBoost is a kit offered by LadyAda and others and acts as a quick and easy way to use AA batteries to charge any device. Just plug it in and your handy dandy whatever has life again. Although you should only buy this kit if you have a soldering iron and a modest amount of circuitry skill, it’s damn useful on a trip. Buy the kit here.

WikiReader

The WikiReader turns the iPod on its head, so instead of having 1000 songs in your pocket, you have Wikipedia in your pocket, even without an Internet connection or Wifi. This is perfect for researching some interesting foreign statues or buildings because you know Wikipedia will have it, and you can brush up on national history, local culture and more. Buy one here.

iPhone

I know I said I’d stay away from expensive stuff, but the iPhone kicks ass abroad. Why? In addition to a lot of area-specific apps made just for travelers, it also has that awesome ability to connect to WiFi. On my trip to Europe, a guy had one of these and got to check his email and make Skype calls while the rest of us just had paperweight phones. Now that I have an iPhone myself, I have to say, it’s not too expensive considering all it does. Get one here.

Acer Netbook

So iPhones and Wikipedia aside, at some point you might need to see a screen larger than a shipping label, so bring along a small laptop at least. I am slightly obsessed with traveling light, getting down to a single duffel bag for a one week trip and adding a backpack if absolutely necessary. If you’re like me and don’t have space for a giant laptop and don’t have the money for a gizmo with all the special functions, pick up the Acer Aspire One, with plenty of space for Internet use, plus a built-in webcam and mic for video calling. Buy one cheap here.

17% OC Pepper Spray

Another category of travel gadgets that generally slips the minds of other journalists is self-defense. I’ve encountered criminals in Mexico, Germany, New York, and Austin, if you’re traveling, arm yourself, because you never know. Having been hit with a blast of 17% OC pepper spray (see that crazy article here), I can attest that no one will be bothering you after a hit. An added bonus is that pepper spray is much more likely to be legal in more countries and US states than any other self-defense device, save perhaps the kubaton. Buy a really cool one that’s disguised as a ring here.

UnderArmour Heatgear and Coldgear

Imagine you’re in Kansas City and it’s getting really chilly. You’re bundled up and still feel the cold, and your crazy hot female friend goes out in nothing but a stretchy catsuit. Is she insane? Is she freezing? No. She has UnderArmour Coldgear, and she can survive surprisingly cold temperatures even without additional layers. The sister product, Heatgear, does the opposite, keeping you cool in hot weather, so they make a great combo for extended travel. Buy them both here.

Flip Video Camera

Taking pictures is so 20th century. Taking pictures is what your cell phone is for if you’re out at a club and you want a new Facebook profile pic. No, you want a really good vacation media clip, take video, put it on YouTube, show everyone else how much fun your life is. Watch it and it’s like living the moment again, useful if your boss cut your vacation time. The Flip Video Camera is the super easy to use a device that is great for travel, so ditch the hassle and start having fun. Buy one here.

Garmin GPS

Ah, Garmin. It’ll tell you how to drive from New York City to Austin and back again. Needless to say, a must for road trips, but also useful for international travel in that you can get your exact location if need be. Plus, everyone needs to know where the next gas station or burger joint is. Buy one here.