There are all sorts of gadgets out there that promise to make traveling easier but often fall short. Some are cheaply made and fall apart after one trip. Others are just impractical, a realization that only comes after lugging them around the globe.

Travel Gadget Alternatives

Below are some of the not-so-great travel gadgets we’ve either purchased ourselves or have spotted in the wild, and the handy alternatives that you may find more useful.
Had your own bad experience with useless travel accessories? Warn your fellow travelers in the comments below.

Selfie Sticks

If you live in any metropolitan city, you’ve seen at least one or two groups of tourists using these sticks to snap pics while sightseeing. You may find them useful at the moment but they can be really dangerous and also make you stand out. Instead, just use a camera timer or live-action cameras like GoPro or Polaroid Cube, or just go old school and ask a stranger to snap your pic.

U-Shaped Travel Pillows

We’ve all seen and probably even purchased one of these travel pillows at the airport prior to a flight. They’re everywhere but there are much better neck-supportive pillows available. One of my favorites, the Trtl Pillow, is scientifically proven to keep your head in a better position. The pillow is also easy to store while traveling. Another great option is the J-Pillow. This one looks a little weird but adds extra support that you just can’t get from a traditional U-shaped pillow.

Solar Powered Chargers

Unless you are going to spend a hefty amount of time in direct sun, most solar-powered chargers may not be the best choice for keeping your devices charged. Go for a powerful rechargeable one like this one from Anker.

Smart Suitcases

Not every suitcase is as smart as they claim. When purchasing a so-called smart suitcase, it’s best to double-check that the battery can be removed or you might run into major problems with security agents scanning your bag or even confiscating it entirely. It’s best to use a traditional spinner or go for a suitcase with a removable battery like these from AWAY.

Jet Lag/Hangover Cures

There are countless products online claiming to cure hangovers and prevent jet lag. Make sure to do some digging before purchasing these products. There are also a few things you do to help with jet lag in advance of your flight, such as adjusting your internal clock before your trip. When it comes to hangovers, the best way to avoid one is to drink moderately.

Instant Cameras

Remember how excited we all were to take digital photos? Capitalizing on folks who romanticize all things analog, there have been quite a few new instant film cameras released over the past few years. Instead of paying $50+ for one, plus buying expensive refills, why not just purchase a pack of disposable cameras for your trip? Or just stick to your phone and add filters. Apple also now has filters built into it’s camera app.

Waterproof Umbrella Hats

Unless you’re actually going to spend the day sitting in a downpour, you probably don’t need an umbrella hat. A much more useful and definitely less weird option is a poncho or rain jacket. However, if you’re really interested in umbrella hats, we’ve seen some for under $20.

Intro image by gmstockstudio via Shutterstock

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