Best travel tech 2021: Gear to stuff in your luggage


Perlow and Cipriani share their top travel tech choices.

If you’re like most people, you won’t leave your home for long periods of time without charging up your smartphone. If you’re going out of town for a few weeks, you’ll likely pack a dozen devices to ensure you can still do some work while you’re on the move. Deciding what things to bring is a personal decision. 

Everyone has their own favorite brand, ecosystem and random gadgets that make their journey more enjoyable and less stressful. Here’s what you should bring when you travel. Remember that we are freelance writers so our gear list is mainly tailored to our work lives.

Jason Cipriani Jason, what is one of your favorite things to take on the road?

Jason Perlow: I don’t have a favorite but there are some things that are essential for anyone who is driving, especially with all the gadgets nowadays. My current employer gifted me a MacBook Pro, the 2019 model. It charges via USB-C. USB-C is my standard for everything, just because it’s more complicated. You don’t need to have 15 different cables.

Anker Powerline



Jason Perlow:  I’m an iPhone user and an Android user, so I carry straight through USB charging cables. It also includes a Thunderbolt certified Thunderbolt Cable, which can be used with Android phones. It will simply step down. The iPhones are a bit more complicated, as you need to have USB-C to Lightning. It’s insane. Now you have at least two cables. If you have an older accessory with USB micro, you should have at least two cables. You will need to carry at least two cables. Because of their excellent quality cables, I like to choose the Anker brand.

The PowerLine series includes extra reinforcement in the connections at the bend areas. It has a maximum power consumption of 100W. The USB-C to USBC version can charge an Android Phone, iPad Pro, and an Intel laptop. The USB-C connector to Lightning can output 60W at maximum.

They come in a variety of styles and colors, which I like. You don’t want to carry four identical black or white cables around in your bag. It will make it difficult to identify which one you are. 

Jason Cipriani That’s a good point. I used to use magnetic wraps that wrapped around my cables. However, those wraps would get lost in my bag and cause a mess. I borrow cables from the boxes, as we are given so many gadgets and other stuff for review. I think having color-coded cable is a good life hack. I always have a spare battery with me.

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Mophie Powerstation, or Anker Batteries



Jason Perlow: You must have a battery.

Jason Cipriani Mophie Power StationXXL is what I have in my bag right now. It’s their latest portable.

Jason Perlow: Great product, a little expensive for the money but very high-quality product. It is also very reliable.

Jason Cipriani  It is a little pricy, but It has a nice fabric finish to it that I like. I review and test battery packs. I have hooked up gadgets to them to test their kilowatt or kilowatt-hours. It’d be a very strong battery pack. These packs are among the most efficient I have ever tested.

Jason Perlow:Mophie has nothing to complain about. Mophie is a great choice. Anker’s battery packs are excellent and available in a variety of sizes and configurations.

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Anker Batteries

Anker Multi-Port, Anker Nano Gan Charger



Jason CiprianiJason, what do you do to get power? Once you arrive at the hotel,

Jason Perlow: Here’s the deal. Modern hotels will have USB A ports built into the desks and light lamps. However, they are not very powerful. They are not as powerful as 10-watt ports. They are two-watt ports and older than USB-C. These ports are not recommended for people who are low on power or need to travel to the hotel to change. They can be used overnight, but they are slow. They are not compatible with iPads and other devices that use 10- to 15-watt power draws. You can charge your device faster with these ports than you can draw.

You’ll need at least one multi-port power brick. Anker is the perfect choice. I am partial to the 100W model with twin USB C and twin USB A. It is powerful enough for charging a laptop, phone, tablet, or any other device. There used to be more brands we recommended. But Amazon recently removed many of these mobile accessory companies from our recommendations for their fake reviews. I will stick with Anker desktop chargers for the time being.

These are great for your hotel room, office desk, or anywhere else you might be going. I like the small gallium-nitride Nano chargers from Anker for on-the-go, especially if you don’t know where you’re going. 

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Anker Nano Gan Chargers




Jason Perlow: I also like to carry a surge suppressor. Tripp Lite offers a variety of good models. Belkin offers a nice model with three AC adapter connectors and two USBs. 

These are handy if you live in tight areas and cannot get the plug into the back of your bed. You won’t get the same amenities if you stay at a $100 per night place as a $200 or $300 per night place. Major corporations and expense accounts are limiting the number of places we can stay at. It’s great to be able to work around some of these issues.

Jason Cipriani As a freelance writer, I pay for my own travel. I also have a tight budget and have stayed in some pretty shady locations.

Jason Perlow: Yes.

Jason Cipriani I didn’t know, and not intentionally. I thought, “Hey, it’ll work when I get there.”

Jason Perlow: A free breakfast is more important than room amenities.

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MingTong Travel Adapter



Jason Cipriani I have never thought of taking a surge protector or protector with me on my travels. For international travel, however, I have an electric adapter that acts as a Swiss Army knife for power.

Jason Perlow: The cool thing about this device is that the receptacles can be opened with a push of a button. It’s a cube-shaped thing. It’s quite neat.

Jason Cipriani Because you never know. I’ve only been to Europe once. I’ve only been to Japan once. I don’t know much about the charging standards and electrical ports standards in Japan. This little cube is about the size of a Rubik’s cube. It has buttons that you press and the correct type of connector comes out the bottom. There are labels next to it that indicate which country you are in and which standard you are using.

Jason Cipriani Okay. We’ve covered charging your gadgets, which is an important part of being mobile.

Jason Perlow: Do you know which gadget I have had to make some special considerations when charging?

Jason Cipriani What’s the deal?

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Jason Perlow: The Apple Watch! The Apple Watch! Because if your watch is worn out or you have other items, it will take a good hour to charge it. There is no USB C port connector. The Apple proprietary charging connector is required.

Third-party charging docks can be purchased that use the same type of connector and they will work. However, Apple’s charging cable is still the best. You can also get cases that look like AirPods. The cable is placed inside the case and the watch is secured. Once the case has been closed, the cord comes out and you plug it into the outlet. It keeps the cable from falling out. This ensures that it charges well.

Jason Cipriani Take your watch off when you travel and put it in your bag. Then, it will charge up and keep going.

Jason Perlow: Yes, it’s true.

Jason Cipriani That’s cool. Yes, I have never had to do that. I wait, even if the machine dies, and then wait until I return to my hotel room. That’s a good thing. Yes, when it comes to Apple Watch. Stick with  their proprietary cable. Get it great directly from Apple, because you never know what software update will cause it to break. It’s magnetic charger that connects.

Jason Perlow: You also know what type of magnetic charger cable to keep on hand? A Magsafe cable for iPhone 12. An air conditioner vent mount and 12-volt connector are included if you need it to drive. I like the Mophie ones that just came out.

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Mophie MagSafe Automotive Vent Mount

Soundcore or AirPods



Jason Cipriani What do you do when you’re bored of listening to music or watching movies?

Jason Perlow: I know many people like AirPods and the smaller headphones and the things that hang down and all that kind of stuff. The Sony WH1000MX4 is the Bluetooth 5 standard for headphones. I am an old-school over-the ear guy. They also offer exceptional audio quality and noise cancelling. 

Soundcore is another Anker product. I love the sound quality of Soundcore headphones and earbuds. Excellent feature set and excellent quality for the price.

Jason Cipriani These are a great buy. I like the AirPods from Apple. I don’t mind the plane’s background noise. As a father of three children, I don’t mind crying babies unless they are hysterical. My AirPods are always with me, because they’re lightweight, portable, and have a good battery life. 

I live in Colorado so a flight of five to six hours is rare for me. I live in the center of everything. When I’m using an Android, I sometimes use AirPods. Once Samsung introduced the Galaxy Buds, I switched.

Jason Perlow: How does AirPods function on Android?

Jason Cipriani AirPods work perfectly. The magic of taking the AirPod out is lost. Your music will pause and the AirPod will not turn on. But the battery life is still there. There are third-party apps that can recognize your AirPod and add some Apple magic. They’re regular Bluetooth earbuds and have the same battery life. They are very small. You can’t double-tap it and other such things. 

When I travel, I am very minimalist. I don’t like to have a lot of stuff. Because I am on overnight trips, my backpack often has my clothes in. I don’t go on three- or four-day trips. The more I can pack and still do my work and have all the tools I need, the better. So yes. I’m all set to take my AirPods, Galaxy Buds or any other lightweight and compact device with me.

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Anker Soundcore

iPad Pro 2021 5G + ZAGG keyboard



Jason Perlow: How big is your laptop? Do you have either a 13-inch or a 15 inch laptop?

Jason Cipriani I have a 13-inch MacBook Pro M1. 

Jason Perlow: Cool.

Jason Cipriani That goes in my bag. Actually, that’s only half of my trips. I don’t even take it with me on 50% of them. I always bring my 12.9-inch iPad Pro.

Jason Perlow: I love the 12.9. I love the 12.9. It was a great keyboard that I brought on my last trip. I love ZAGG’s keyboard case for this purpose.

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Nintendo Switch or OtterBox



Jason Cipriani My Nintendo Switch is another staple in my travel bag. Growing up

Jason Perlow: You are a gamer.

Jason Cipriani Yes, I did. But growing up, I played a lot of video games. After having children, I gave up gaming. Because it’s so portable, and easy to use, I found the Switch what got me back into gaming. I played around with it. I was in Europe last summer and played Fortnite while sitting in an italian airport.

Jason Perlow: That was a lot better than your iPhone for Fortnite.

Jason Cipriani I hate the fact that my phone’s battery is constantly draining. We’ve discussed batteries and such, but I hate worrying about the percentage and trying to figure out “Do I have enough to get to this point to charge?” And worrying about cables and all that. 

I would prefer a dedicated gaming device. I wish there were more upgrades to the Switch. The Switch Pro is the next generation of the Switch, so this year’s release is a bit of a holdover.

Jason Perlow: They’re not too expensive, especially if you’re talking about the Switch Light, which is $100 less, and they have a decent game environment, so I can definitely understand the appeal of that.

Jason Cipriani Yes. The original price is $300. For as low as $5, you can find a variety of mobile-like games that will keep you entertained for hours. Fortnite is a great game to play with your children. What about you? So now you have your MacBook Pro.

Jason Perlow: OtterBox has just released a new case and stand for iPhone that turns it into a game console when paired with an XBOX controller. 

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Kindle Oasis



Jason Perlow When I want to chill out, it is when I take out My Kindle Oasis. There are many Kindles that are much less expensive. The Oasis is my favorite. It is so small and the screen is sharp for an eink display. 

It’s great to just get rid of all those gadgets that are bleeping and notifying you and all that rubbish. It’s nice to be able just to read a book and have a cup of coffee in your hotel room. Turn off the light, dimm the lights and add a bit of incense to the background lighting. Enjoy a good book. It’s wonderful to be able that.

Jason Cipriani Yes, it can be difficult to travel, especially when you are far from your family. It’s nice to have a few minutes to relax and get away from the daily grind. What else do you have in your bag for emergencies?

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PurePort and MagicFibre



Jason Perlow: I have a cleaning cloth I keep in my phone. Because we all know that these phones get a lot dirt and grime. First, I have a screen protect for my iPhone 12 Pro Max. It naturally gets smudgy. OtterBox has a new 3M Corning system called Amplify that allows for full outdoor sunlight to polarize the screen. It also provides excellent anti-scratch protection.

The sensors on the back of your phone and the selfie camera get smudged a lot, especially in Florida where there is high humidity. A typical scenario is that you leave an air-conditioned room and go outside.

First, my glasses get completely fogged. Then, my iPhone, or any other smartphone I have, also gets fogged. It is important to ensure that your lens is clean when you are moving around. You should not use a tee-shirt or dress shirt to clean your lenses. You need something that is optimized for cleaning your lenses. I always have a fiber cloth on me.

I also carry a PurePort cable cleaning kit and a USB-C port for my smartphone. It is amazing how often USB-C or Lightning ports need to cleaned out. Also, how easily the Lightning and USB-C connectors on cables oxidize. Sometimes you don’t need to replace a cable. You can just clean the connector and it will look as good as new.

Jason Cipriani Yes, I have to admit that I do clean my clothes with my shirt. Although I shouldn’t, it’s something I have done and I haven’t considered using a cloth. That’s a solid point.

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Joby Gorilla



Jason Perlow: I also like to have a tripod, a little tripod.

Jason Cipriani Yes, a little Joby gorilla.

Jason Cipriani These were my old habits. I don’t take them anymore.

Jason Perlow: Although it can be a large addition to your kit bag — you really need one if you want those stable shots.

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