At Gizmodo, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you’ll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.
If you’ve been tentatively planning your next trip, whether it’s overseas or domestically, you might feel like a stranger to the realm of travel. It’s been awhile since some of us have had to make our way to an airport. For many of us, there’s a lot of anxiety around stepping on a plane, especially with Omicron still hovering around. But if you can’t bear the wanderlust any longer, then snatch that flight ticket and hit submit on your annual leave.
Amidst all the excitement, you shouldn’t forget to pack all of the essentials inside your suitcase. We’re not talking about your toothbrush or phone charger, but a few travel safety gadgets that will ensure you enjoy the ultimate peace of mind while you’re on holiday mode.
From a personal safety alarm to a portable door lock, here are our top travel safety gadgets we recommend you bring on your next trip.
The best travel gadgets to take on the road and in the air
A portable door lock acts as a convenient, inexpensive way to install a deadlock on any door. Even if someone has a key or pass on the other side, there’s no chance of them getting in.
This travel gadget is especially handy to have when you’re sleeping alone, or staying at a hotel or Airbnb that makes you feel uncomfortable.
To install it, align the size of the metal wedge with the large hole on its end with the door hinge. Shut the door gently until it clicks into place, then take the red wedge and insert the side with the sliding metal rod into the middle hole of the metal wedge. And voila, done.
We cannot stress this enough — padlock your goddamn suitcases. Even when you’re not in transit, if you don’t own a suitcase with a built-in luggage lock then you’re just dancing with the devil of stolen goods.
We’ve all stayed at a dodgy hotel or two over our lifetimes and just because it hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean it won’t happen ever.
Instead of using cumbersome number combinations, this smart lock allows you to unlock it with a press of your thumb. It even allows you to add your family and friends’ fingerprints, so they can borrow it too.
Don’t be that person who has to wait around the airport after your bag has ended up on the wrong flight. You can one-up the airline crew by chucking a luggage leash tracker in your suitcase.
This handy device uses crowd-sourced bluetooth GPS tracking to locate your bag, whether you left it in the back of an Uber, or if it ended up on the other side of the country.
Honestly, this one isn’t just for travelling. If you’re walking alone at night, or even enjoy going for runs on your own, you should attach a personal safety alarm onto your keys.
For roughly $10, this alarm drops a 120-130 decibel noise and emits a flashing light that will alert those around you if you need help, and likely scare off any attackers.
These devices are cheap, discreet and super compact, so there’s really no reason not to pick one up. You never know when one could come in handy.
You bet a power bank is a travel safety gadget you can’t do without. A fully charged phone battery can make a huge difference in a foreign country, or even just unfamiliar territory. If you ever get into a tight spot, you’ll be glad you were able to share your location with friends, or call the police in a jiff.
If you’re travelling on the reg, or in areas that aren’t particularly secure, a portable door alarm is a must-have.
They’re super simple to set up, and will wake you (and everyone around you) up with a super loud noise if someone tries to break into your room while you’re asleep.
Warning: you might want to give this a miss if you’re bunking with somebody who is likely to come home drunk at 3am, unless you want a rude awakening.
It never hurts to carry an anti-theft backpack with you when you’re travelling. The amount of credit card skimmers and pickpockets out there would surprise you.
This travel backpack is full of extra compartments for you to organise your belongings and comes with a USB charging port inside, so you don’t have to worry about running out of phone juice while exploring.
While this one isn’t super tech-savvy, it’s an important one: privacy luggage tags.
Obviously, you need to be able to identify your bag, and have it returned to you if it gets lost. However, you don’t necessarily want every Tom, Dick and Harry at baggage claim knowing your full name, phone number and address, do you?
Something as simple as covering your information with a luggage tag can make a huge difference if somebody is trying to find your personal information. Sure, they can open it and take a look, but this is far less discreet and you’ll likely notice them doing it.
Smart suitcases have been banned by most airlines for safety issues relating to batteries, which is such a disappointment because some of the designs were extremely cool.
However, this suitcase from July is about as smart as they come without being banned by airlines.
For $375, the suitcase comes with an ejectable battery that is neatly hidden away so you won’t lose it. It also comes with a detachable laptop sleeve, which is perfect for in-flight work.
You can read our full review here.
If you happen to be on Team iPhone, then you must grab an Apple Airtag (or four).
Apple Airtags are a handy way to keep track of all your devices and find their locations through the Find My app in no time. If you suspect anything of yours has been nicked, or perhaps you’re running late for your flight because you can’t find that one thing, then an Airtag is a major lifesaver since it can play a little sound to help you find your belongings quicker.
Well, duh. If you’re using a public Wi-Fi network (which you often do while travelling, unless you’re Richie Rich and have a million gigabytes of data to chew through), use a VPN. It’s such a simple and affordable way to protect yourself from hackers on a public network. Seriously, use a VPN.
Your best bet is to purchase a VPN subscription, which will allow you to hide your IP address through a configured remote server via a VPN host, such as Express VPN.