Beyond just the usual suspects of iPhones, chargers, laptops, tablets, and the like, what's your top must-pack travel gadget? And for fun, the one travel gadget you refuse to travel with (say like a selfie stick or knee defender). GO!
It may seem very simple but a classic yellow brad envelope. I make copies of all of my important documents, reservations, flight info, restaurant recommendations, travel itinerary, etc. It is kinda old school, but I like to have paper copies in case of an emergency. Keeps me organized.
I have a made a vow to never use a selfie stick.
If I had one more "must have" I would say my Charles Schwab debit card. Fee free ATMs and currency exchange world wide and the account is free. I highly recommend it; it's just so convenient.
I agree about the microfiber towel, and I'll add an adapter for the plugs. If you're bringing all the usual suspects somewhere international, you're going to need an adapter to plug them in!
I have one that's like a swiss army knife of alternate inputs. Without it, I'm quickly powerless.
My Kindle would be the most important, along with a smartphone for maps and email, and my camera. But those would all seem to fall in the "usual suspects" category.
It may be too basic to be a "gadget," but for me, a good, small knife is indispensable; for impromptu picnics of saucisson, baguette and brie in France, or mozzarella and tomato sandwiches in Italy, or getting into a ripe mango or durian in Southeast Asia. For Europe (and South Africa) travels, a corkscrew is pretty key.
Runners up include a headlamp and a Y-splitter for headphones, so that my girlfriend and I can watch videos together on a laptop.
A battery-powered headlamp. That thing has bailed me out of so many situations. I use a Petzl Tikka ... but any decent brand will do.
My only true travel gadgets fall into the phone/camera/charger category. Really, other than the absolute necessary, I'd rather travel light and bring home a few souvenirs in addition to the notes and photos I take.
A gadget? I do have a nice pro-quality voice recorder that is a nice-to-have item especially for festivals or small tours/personal guides, but I don't take it often. A nice pen and a notebook is all I need.
Just say no to selfie-sticks and translating devices.
A portable, external battery pack with a good charge is always good to have in case of an emergency. Anker makes a great one. A little heavy, but always gives me peace of mind in case I get stranded somewhere with a dead phone battery. I'm dying for a GoPro. I think that would be a must-carry for me, especially in places where I'm at risk of damaging my camera equipment.
I confess I actually had to look up what a knee defender is. And it is safe to say I will never ever own them. So ridiculous!
Quick and simple for me to come up with this answer.
A Micro Fiber Towel - doesn't have to be big. The one I travel with (and they last forever! I've had mine for 4 years.) is 24" x 24".
Many hostels don't provide towels, and then also if you've had a long flight and just want to freshen up they work great too!
Here is one similar to the one I carry:PackTowl Personal Towel
Leatherman or a cigarette lighter. The former is the most useful tool where ever you are and lets you be helpful to other's and gets you inside info to a new area. Much can be said for a lighter, cigs seem to be a universal travel language and people are more open if you have a light.
I am leaving for Turkey on Sunday for two weeks and I am packing a luggage scale. Different weight limits for Delta and Turkish Air and I want to be sure I don't owe any additional fees for bags. Here is a link to the one I have AND a coupon code to save $5 at checkout starting 30 June! - JULY5OFF. http://www.amazon.com/SimplyTravel-Digital-Luggage-Scale-Satisfaction/dp/B00MXE6OB0/ref=sr_1_153?ie=UTF8&qid=1414362303&sr=8-
The knee defender is a big no in my book.
My Kindle Paperwhite. Although I usually travel to tech conferences with a Laptop and phone, I think I would be more devastated if I lost my Kindle than the other two. The other two devices are electronic tethers. My Kindle is pure escape.
I am actively on my phone for directions and or pictures, so I always carry a portable charger in my purse. I know it was banned in Disneyland, but a selfie stick is great for solo or couple trips.
Never leave home for a vacation without our camera. We take a tremendous amount of photos, and I still print and label them all. There is just something about opening a photo album.
Will never, ever, purchase or use a selfie stick.